Comebacks to stupid pickup lines

December 15, 2010 Phil, my roommate, stopped me as I gathered my books to go study at the library. “Don’t you think that maybe you study too much?”“I doubt it,” I replied.  “I need to keep good grades so I can retain my scholarships, or I won’t have enough money to pay for college.”“I’m glad my parents are paying for my college so I don’t have to worry about that,” Phil said.“You know, it really wouldn’t hurt for you to put a little more time into your schooling,” I told him.Phil laughed. “Maybe we could both learn from each other.”

Who are the poor in spirit?

December 15, 2010 During this time of year — true, some now labor to label it “correctly” — most of us give more consideration to those we would call “the least of these” than we might otherwise do. Such commendable conduct is in keeping with the spirit of “the season.” Even those who eschew calling it Christmas intrinsically understand it to be linked with a spirit of giving — and of peace, both in the soul and among neighbors.

7 tips for miserable holidays

December 14, 2010 For every person looking forward to spending the holidays with family, there’s another one, or five, who are dreading it. For some, time with extended family is practically purgatory. I’m lucky. I like my family; in fact, I love them. Yet as I listen to people grumble about their awful in-laws, crazy sister or cheapskate uncle, it strikes me that some people aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about.

‘(Bleep) My Stepdad Says’

December 14, 2010 After seeing the Twitter account, Facebook page, book and now TV show with Bill Shatner, “(Bleep) My Dad Says,” I’ve got an idea for all those too: “(Bleep) My Dad Deadpans.”No one deadpans like my stepdad, Ron.Maybe it’s because he’s a Yankee. Maybe it’s because he’s a former Marine. Or maybe it’s because he married two crazy women in a row, my mom being the latter of the two. (Just kidding, Mom!)

America’s 2nd Revolution

December 14, 2010 “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” —H.G. Wells, “The Outline of Human History”In a previous column I once asked, while discussing the ever-growing burdens producers are being forced to shoulder in order to subsidize the parasites, “So, where’s the snapping point? At what point of the trend do the producers simply revolt and refuse to play their perennial role of self-sacrificial serfs?”

For better or worse?

December 13, 2010 President Obama and those who voted for him could use a good marriage counselor.Like many couples for whom the honeymoon is a fuzzy memory, the President and some who embraced him adoringly find that the relationship has become strained. Each saw in the other what they wanted to see and now wonder how it all changed, when in fact nothing really did.

Believers’ Community play brings Christmas spirit

December 13, 2010 If I had closed my eyes I would have thought it was actor Jimmy Stewart himself on the stage of Believers’ Community Church of Batesville Saturday night.Clay Mitchell, portraying George Bailey in the church’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” was that good. In fact the entire cast and crew of more than 30 put on an incredible show Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and I am glad Luke and I attended one of the performances. The Batesville area has some incredible talent.

A criminal is still a criminal

December 13, 2010 The state, in legal theory, is the entity claiming the sole right to define what is lawful or criminal activity in a given territory.Perhaps just coincidentally, the state tends to judge the actions of its official agents and favored clients by a less strict standard of criminality than the one it uses to judge the actions of its subjects. And it tends to hold those it regards as enemies to a much higher standard of legality than those it regards as friends — again, perhaps just a coincidence.

Snapshot of America

December 10, 2010 It was a fine night that offered an interesting snapshot of America.Over the Thanksgiving break, I joined with 50 others for an impromptu high school reunion.We grew up in Bethel Park, a fairly typical American suburb in Pittsburgh, PA that exploded in population in the ‘60s and ‘70s.Many of our parents had grown up in the city in the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. They were brimming with optimism by the time they moved to Bethel.By 1946, America had won World War II. The baby boom was under way and would last some 18 years.

Offensive coordinator ‘graduates’

December 10, 2010 Gus Malzahn is finally getting some respect, and it is richly deserved.Malzahn, offensive coordinator for the 13-0 Auburn University Tigers — who will play 12-0 Oregon for the national college football championship on Jan. 10, won the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant college football coach, on Monday.Malzahn, 45, coached football teams at Shiloh Christian and Springdale high schools into the national limelight before getting into the Division I collegiate coaching ranks at the University of Arkansas in 2006.