As I watched the snow fall over East Tennessee last week, I thought to myself: I didn't leave Wisconsin for this.
This weather reminds me of my three years in Sweden. Dark days, snow showers, icy roads, freezing cold, all of which force us to stay inside and turn on many lights and candles, to create that much needed coziness.
I cannot express how much I look forward to writing about how to best use the fresh vegetables we've just picked from our gardens, and what our best options for the grill might be. Spring is officially just over a month away, but as I write this, with another winter storm forecast to hit the day before this column runs, a month seems like a century.
How many times have you quoted or heard someone quote Murphy's Law? I'm talking about the law that says, "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong." Have you ever wondered exactly who Murphy was? Did he or she actually come up with such a law? When? Why? What were the circumstances?
Fifty years ago, the nation was mesmerized by the Selma to Montgomery marches taking place in Alabama, part of the voting rights movement that led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act. The previous year, on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting segregation in public facilities. The entire country, particularly the South, was going through a period of cultural transformation.
Earlier this week, I wrote a story about an improvisational music workshop that will take place in Gatlinburg next month, free of charge.
Happy Year of the Goat! Or is it the Year of the Ram? Possibly sheep…
I was standing near an exchange/return line at a big-box store and overheard a conversation between a customer and an employee. It was a good example of how to handle a hard-to-satisfy customer.
In the middle of a hectic week, I spent a good portion of my day Wednesday keeping up with the college decisions of some high school kids I've never met.
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.