For a good month or so, there hasn't been any real doubt about the topic of this week's column. It's my last one before Valentine's Day, and though it's not official as I'm writing this, by the time you read this, I will be engaged.
February rolls around, finally, and it's time to celebrate: the groundhog, the Valentine thingy and my birthday. The groundhog is easy because, regardless of his prediction, he is adorable. And when those handlers handle him, he just sits there looking all furry and fat, and you just want to reach into your TV screen or whatever device screen you happen to be watching on, and pet him.
Like many football fans, I wasn't familiar with Malcolm Butler prior to the recent Super Bowl. Actually, I still wasn't familiar with him until he made that pass interception at the Patriots' goal line with approximately 20 seconds in the game to keep the Seahawks from scoring, securing New England's 28-24 victory over Seattle. Not even until announcers mentioned it did I remember Butler was the victimized defender only moments earlier when the Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse made an incredible juggling catch, which gained 33 yards and got Seattle to the five-yard line.
A few days ago, my dentist had her hands in my mouth.
Not long ago I was talking to a class of young people with writing aspirations. During the Q&A session regarding columns and articles, a student asked which of my recent subjects solicited the most responses, i.e., emails, comments, etc. Well, of course, I have always appreciated responses and acknowledgements – even the ones that may not agree with my point of view on something. I do thank God, however, that most of the reactions I have received have been positive ones from people who are encouraged or uplifted by my words.
It's Monday morning, and about 30 young children, from toddlers to younger elementary students, are exploring science at the Muse Knoxville, formerly the East Tennessee Discovery Center. Inside the space shuttle, an intense game of pretend spaceflight keeps about seven of them engrossed in dialogue worthy of sci-fi movies.
I was recently talking with a friend about some good times we had several years ago, and a topic came up that I had completely forgotten about: my work at the college television station.
Every time I go along with local law enforcement officers during one of their roundups or other operations, as I did on Tuesday, I'm reminded of their side of the ongoing debate over the "militarization" of police.
I'm sad. College football is done for the year, and the NFL only has three games left in the season. I suppose I'll have to figure out something to do with my weekend afternoons.
As I was recently reading one of many annual articles about making plans and setting goals for a new year, I ran across one that began with the question, "What are you most proud of about yourself this past year?" I understand the question and have actually used this idea in articles, columns and speeches. The question asks people to reflect on such things as reached goals, accomplishments, strengthened relationships, situations and challenges handled well, lessons learned or better attitudes developed. And then, the big question here is, "Are the things of which I am most proud helping me to reach my main purpose in life?"
We all know how January spells blah. After all the holiday cheer and the glorious New Year's resolutions, the bills start coming in. Besides, we all must go back to the reality of work and school schedules. If your anchor does not go deep into the rock of some solid hope for tomorrow, however you get that hope, January equals dreary month.
I’m fond of yesterday’s consumer technologies. I’ve written here before about my LP collection. I also am fascinated by old computers, old video games.
Sayings come and go. I remember when it was pretty common upon departing company someone would say, "I'll see you in the funny pages." The other person would respond, "Not if I see you first." Today, most people under 50 would probably have no idea what you're talking about if you should use such a way of saying goodbye. Many under-50s probably wouldn't realize "funny pages" (or "funny papers") is another term for newspaper comic sections.
A few more days, and it’s 2015. For some strange reason, I was writing 2015 throughout 2014 whenever I needed to date something. So I feel like I will not have any problems writing the proper date as we go into the new year.
I've written previously about various types of greeting cards, including Christmas, birthday, Valentine, sympathy, etc. I guess I have an above-average interest in cards because I'm a writer myself. Even though my work has focused on books, dramas, musicals, columns and articles, I have written a few cards. Several years ago, artist Vern Hippensteal and I teamed together on some cards, and I later penned some verses for Blue Mountain Arts. Among my columns is one about greeting card guru Helen Steiner Rice (1900-1981), a truly amazing lady.
I enjoy my colleague Jake Old's columns about his music career. They have inspired me to share musical memories of my own.
Of all the Christmas traditions in the Western world, watching the "Nutcracker" ballet is the most ethereal. As one watches ballerinas glide gracefully, perpetual smile on their faces, weaving a story of dreams, toys, gifts, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, reality fades. Minds travel to beautiful lands. For some of us, we travel to our childhood, when our parents used to take us to this ballet.
A good many years ago, my mom and a friend of hers engaged in a friendly competition to see who could come up with the tastiest and prettiest holiday dessert. I don't recall what her friend made, but it doesn't matter. Mom won; it wasn't even close.
During the past few weeks, I've found an incredibly daunting task in front of me:
Someone asked me the other day, "What exactly does 'Advent' mean?" Good question. Like many other words, it does have a general meaning, and then it has a more specific meaning to specific people. According to various dictionaries, the general meaning of "advent," without capitalization, is "the coming into being, use or arrival of an event, a thing or a person." Examples include: "the advent of winter is upon us; the advent of the polio vaccine halted the spread of the dreaded disease; the advent of Elvis changed American music."
It gets more and more difficult lately to be a cops and courts reporter observing the growing conflict over police behavior.
I’ve written about New Orleans previously. I only lived there three years, but memories are many. It was a busy and exciting time as I attended graduate school at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, taught and coached at John Curtis High School and served as youth director for the New Orleans Baptist Association while on the staff of Kenner First Baptist Church. My work and studies involved activities with churches of various denominations, schools, hospitals and such institutions as a home for unwed mothers and a French Quarter coffee house. As you might imagine, the memories are firmly branded.
When I was a kid, Silicon Valley fascinated me.
You may have leftover dishes in your refrigerator from this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Is there anything on that menu more delicious than cranberry sauce? I think not. I love everything on the Thanksgiving menu, though – except for the turkey, bless its heart, to use a Southern phrase.
Simply known to millions of churchgoers through the years as the Doxology, the lyrics are, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow: Praise Him all creatures here below; Praise Him above ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." I've always appreciated the strong, rhythmic beat that accompanies these words of worship. And I've appreciated the hymn's closing "Amen" that echoes a strong, affirmative "so be it!" Attributed to Thomas Ken in 1674, the hymn serves well as a great anthem for the year-round meaning of Thanksgiving.