• Halloween will never be the same

    Maybe it’s just the haze of nostalgia, but it seems that 40-plus years ago when I was trick-or-treating age, we could put the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, civil unrest and the drug culture out of our minds long enough for some good old-fashioned fun. …

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  • Interview with Big Bird

    A butler opens the door of the large Sesame Street brownstone and guides me to the parlor. Big Bird is sitting on a large couch, wearing a silk smoking jacket, holding a bourbon and enjoying a drag on what appears to be an unfiltered Camel …

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  • Cutting down on food waste

    When we were children, our mothers told us to eat all the food on our plates because it was good for us and bad to throw it out. Today, professionals who manage the disposal of our garbage say there are direct consequences of not cleaning …

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  • Math professor remembers initiation at pudding throw

    “OK,” our department chairman said as the department meeting wound down. “One last item of business. We need someone to go and support our math club at the Halloween Carnival.” I was the newest member of the department, the first addition in a long time. …

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  • The eye of a needle

    You know me, I don’t like to get political, but once every blue moon something comes up that I find hard to ignore. This presidential election thing seems to have sparked a whole conversation having to do with whether it’s better for us, as a …

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  • RIP Alex Karras

    Alex Karras, the former Detroit Lions All-Pro defensive tackle and later a successful actor, died on Oct. 10. I have vivid memories of him before he ever gained immortality as “Mongo” in “Blazing Saddles” or as the dad of “Webster.” Karras was a star on …

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  • Buffalo herds roamed Oil Trough

    The late historian Ernie Deane wrote, “The name Oil Trough is one that arouses much curiosity.” It is always near the top of “unusual” place names in America. When Sallie Stockard wrote a history of this region in 1904, she interviewed elderly residents who had …

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  • Debate: Illegal or ‘undocumented’ immigrants?

    Fifteen years ago, I embarked on an independent, personal mission to lift mainstream media immigration reporting up to the standards journalists set for themselves. By 1995, I had been a professional journalist for more than a decade. Immigration reporters’ utter failure to adhere to their …

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  • Professor shares secret on how not to name a baby

    Kevin hung around my desk after class was over, and I could tell he wanted to visit. When I turned to him to see if he had any questions, he said he would like to talk privately. Usually this means a student is concerned about …

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  • New World forgotten

    Monday. I got up at the regular time (no need for you to know what that is); stumbled across the hall to my office, and opened up the computer to begin another fun-filled exciting day of dealing with crashed cars, mangled people and all that …

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  • Concerns about HIV discrimination

    Even after 30 years of fighting HIV, health experts say that the stigma and discrimination faced by those living with the disease remains one of the most significant barriers to treatment and prevention. The unequal treatment can occur in employment settings, or in educational opportunities, …

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  • You come at Elmo, you best not miss

    The very rich are different from us. For one, their Etch a Sketches are better. The handheld toy I played with as a boy must be tiny compared to whatever Romney used to reinvent himself in the Denver debate. Gone was the “severely conservative” firebrand, …

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