• If you’re reading this, you’re probably a terrorist

    This has been one of those times that a series of random, seemingly unrelated events have all reinforced a common lesson for me. First, it was reported on Jan. 21 (“Opposed to Fracking? You Might Be a Terrorist,” PopularResistance.org) that Canadian and U.S. law enforcement …

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  • Vance Randolph: Folklorist of the Ozarks

    Like many scholars, Vance Randolph’s lifelong work was not recognized until near the end of his life. While in his early 20s, he had a strong desire to study Ozark mountain culture. Randolph was born in 1892 in Pittsburg, Kan., to John (an attorney) and …

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  • CrossFit: Working out an understanding

    Flipping through a recent issue of Time magazine, I discovered the wildly popular phenomenon CrossFit and similar extreme workout programs. The hyperintensive exercise sessions weed out a high percentage of the merely curious, but are almost a religion for those dedicated enough to stick with …

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  • Shirley Temple’s America

    Shirley Temple, the iconic child actress, died earlier this week at age 85. Reports on her death were easy to miss. I was dismayed by the sparse reaction to the loss of this woman who lived a great American life. Had Shirley Temple died 50 …

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  • Wondering if animal rights activists use shampoo, medicine

    Recently my eighth-grader had a school project in which she had to pick a speech that someone else had given, read it to her class and then discuss it. I was thinking of all kinds of famous speeches by individuals such as Martin Luther King …

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  • Voice for civil rights in Arkansas

    John Gray Lucas was born in the chaos of the Civil War and became a voice for civil rights in Arkansas. He was born in East Texas in 1864. His mother had been a slave who became a refugee as she sought to escape the …

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  • Stress, thy name is Valentine’s Day

    At the risk of being branded a Valentine Grinch, I must take issue with opinions expressed recently in the Winnipeg Sun. Writer Shelley Cook tried to contrast Valentine’s Day as experienced by adults and by children. She saw the holiday as complicated and anxiety-producing for …

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  • Frontier line: Defining the ‘West’

    The Census Bureau definition of the “frontier line” was a settlement density of two people per square mile. The “West” was the recently settled area near that boundary. The frontier line, moved steadily westward from the 1630s to the 1880s. In the 21st century, however, …

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  • Horror stories in Sochi

    We thought the big controversies in the Sochi Winter Olympics would be toothpaste terrorism or government-sanctioned homophobia. Then the press tried to check into their hotels and discovered a comical array of foibles that will do nothing to boost the Russian tourism industry. But what …

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  • First Cherokees fled to Arkansas

    Most historians think of Arkansas Cherokees as the people who settled on a reservation located between the White and Arkansas rivers, starting in 1817. They were forced west by Euro-American expansion into their homelands in the Carolinas and Georgia. However, about 1,000 Cherokees began migrating …

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  • Sick of McMansions: Why Americans want smaller, cozier houses

    Get this: Americans are getting sick of McMansions. So says The Wall Street Journal in a recent report. Americans are favoring more historic designs, such as the arts-and-crafts houses their grandparents once lived in, over gargantuan suburban houses. A new style of housing developer is …

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  • Correct spelling, canceled

    As an American, I laugh at those archaic British spellings. Colour? Honour? Their inferiourity, if you will, is obvious. Centre? Theatre? Ridiculous. Most of these barbaric forms were corrected in America hundreds of years ago. Yet one galling Britishism is appearing on my computer screen …

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