As a teenager in Pennsylvania, I delivered The Morning Call and The Evening Chronicle to customers in a suburb of Allentown. On rainy days, I'd try to make sure the paper stayed dry inside the screen door. Now, I get The State and the New York Times delivered to my driveway in plastic bags, though the Times delivery is erratic. I can, of course, also read the Times on my iPhone, iPad and desktop computer.
Once or twice a year while living in the Washington, D.C., area as a child, my father would drive me and my sister to New York's Long Island to visit my grandparents, Ira and Barbara Cahn. They lived in Wantaugh, but spent much of their waking hours -- as well as time they should have been sleeping -- a little east of there in Massapequa.
Twenty-five years after sociologist William Julius Wilson's important study of urban decline and vanishing "marriageable men," poverty is still with us. At least, we're finding lots of new ways to argue about it, even if our theories are no less sharply divided than the rest of our politics.
Move over Duggar family, TLC has a new hit show on their hands.
Six weeks have passed since my oldest son walked through our back door. The mere mention of this makes the stretch seem even longer. Of course, aside from a normal dose of missing their brother, for his siblings, this time represents six weeks of more slices of pizza at dinner, shorter waits for the bathroom, and total control of the TV remote. For me, it suggests more intangibles. It is the void, the missing place setting at our table, and the one less body charging down the stairs for breakfast like a horse running for open country.
Research tells us Americans are getting smarter as time goes by.
WASHINGTON -- Gloria Steinem is unmistakable.
The European's triumph during the final round of the Ryder Cup Sunday may provide a preview of things to come on the PGA Tour.
That morning, a piano tune from boyhood days echoed down the halls of Pinedale, a senior citizens care facility located near Camden. As we drew abreast of the piano player's room, there sat Neva Shannon ("Coota") Montgomery with her near 100-year-old, yet nimble fingers "tickling the ivories" into the song "Jesus Loves Me."
If there's one thing I have an unnatural fear of, it's insects of both the crawling and flying variety. I've known that about myself since I was at least 12 years old when a huge bumblebee landed on my head. Not knowing what it was, I reached up and grabbed it only for it to -- naturally -- sting me. Luckily, I'm not allergic, but, boy!, did it hurt. Why that translated to a fear of crawling insects, I'm not sure except that I remember a giant millipede (or something like that) crawling up my bedroom wall ...
Amidst a necessary, but life-threatening, debate on the future of health care for millions of Americans, presidential candidate Mitt Romney revealed why it's OK that almost 50 million Americans are uninsured. Romney said in an interview with a TV broadcast news program that people who are uninsured are "care(d) for" with the help of America's emergency room services:
You might not be finding much to laugh about these days.
WASHINGTON -- I've written variations of this column a couple of times during the past 20 years, but certain occasions bear revisiting -- and surely the disappearance of a friend is one.
With the official start of autumn last week and the holidays soon upon us, my thoughts turn to a truly unique American holiday. No, not Thanksgiving but Arbor Day. Perhaps you may recall celebrating Arbor Day in elementary school, perhaps you remember hearing John Denver singing "Trees for Your Tomorrow" on television or radio on behalf of the National Arbor Day Foundation or perhaps you've seen an article about it in The Chronicle Independent with a photo of people standing around a newly planted tree.
WASHINGTON -- In Mitt Romney's Fantasyland version of the American Dream, all it takes to succeed in this country is determination and hard work. Government merely needs to get out of the way, roust the Entitlement Society slackers, and let the Opportunity Society strivers go for it.
I don't often get the chance, simply due to my work schedule, but every now and then I like to see what our sister paper in Bishopville, the Lee County Observer, has on its front page.
My people, as I have long said, were raised up on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don't know that I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a $100 bill in hand.
I was browsing through a community newspaper recently -- not this one -- when I came across photos from the senior prom at a particular high school.
Trigger warning: This column will include discussion of ideas which may conflict with your own.
I am a musician, so I am, of course, also a big music fan. As far back as my memory can stretch, way before I ever learned to play an instrument, I loved to listen to music. Mostly it was on the radio, but my parents and older sister had a few record albums, too.
Nothing instills fear in the heart and soul of humans as does a snake. Since the beginning of recorded history, snakes have been a symbol of evil, treachery, poison, etc., and because of this perception, misinformation and folklore, most people hate snakes. Personally I have no problem with snakes; roaches and tarantulas are a different story, but a snake? No worries.
WASHINGTON -- You know we're off to the races when the first slip of the tongue by the presumed Republican presidential front-runner consumes the news for days and launches the primary race in earnest.
I have a picture -- probably my favorite of my parents -- which sits on my desk in my office at home. It was taken circa 1960, give or take a year or two, on the evening of the West Point Founder's Day ball.
More than 60 percent of us who live in South Carolina today were born here. As native South Carolinians, we grew up imbibing the history, heritage and myths of the South. And there is no stronger myth of the South than the myth of the Lost Cause, as beautifully and brilliantly portrayed by the 1939 romantic historical film epic, Gone With the Wind.
Last week, I revealed my birthday wish come true of traveling to New Orleans next month -- my No. 1 choice of cities to visit I've never been in before.
It was over Sunday dinner when my sister told me what I did not know. A childhood friend, the red-headed, freckle-faced girl with laughing eyes and the brightest sense of humor possible, was sitting vigil with her husband as death crept close.
One of the groups I meet with on a regular basis is Student Cabinet, which is made up of students from each of our three high schools. It's always interesting and informative for me to hear the insights, opinions and perspectives from this very formidable group of young people. They don't hold back on what they think, which is a good thing.
It is a rare occurrence, but occasionally in the world of professional sports an individual comes along who becomes the standard bearer for his particular field of competition.
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