The Forever Tree

January 7, 2009 It's time to make a confession. Our Christmas tree was set up on Halloween. Oh, it wasn't fully decorated until about Thanksgiving, but it's been up since the end of October. My kids are Christmas junkies. There's no other more socially acceptable way to put it. We made do with a small, table-top tree the last two years, which was pretty pathetic, as far as I'm concerned. Back in Illinois, I had a favorite cut-your-own tree lot two miles from my house. I'd get out my trusty saw, jump in the car, cut down a beautiful, fresh blue spruce, pay the $16 and fill the house with the smell, and spirit of Christmas ... all in an hour.

Media should stay out of myth

January 6, 2009 Being raised Jewish I never had to deal with my parents pretending that Santa Claus brought me presents and I was more than smart enough to understand from a young age that no such magical man existed. I also, perhaps through intelligence and perhaps through my inability to sleep well, always understood that my mother or father put the dollar under my pillow when I lost a tooth.

Red ink did me good

January 6, 2009 My second-grade teacher would be at once shocked and proud. Maybe I better explain. According to Britain's Daily Mail, yet another trend is under way in which we're turning our kids into a bunch of softies. Many schools within the UK have barred teachers from marking student papers in red. This trend has also been documented in Australia and the United States.

Swap and share

January 6, 2009 I made a trip to the post office Monday with a book in hand, wrapped with white paper held in place with clear mailing tape. I bid adieu to my paperback and got back to the office, where an e-mail awaited telling me I was to mail yet another book.

Happy 74th, Elvis!

January 5, 2009 On his 11th birthday in 1946, he got a guitar. Some stories claim he wanted a bike, but something like that was too expensive for the son of a sharecropper from Tupelo, Miss. Besides, Elvis Presley, the bicyclist?

Higher power needed

January 5, 2009 Why do we always wait until things get awful before we ask for help? We wait until our marriage is in a ditch before we go to a counselor. We wait until our kid is failing before we hire a tutor.

A London Christmas

January 2, 2009 Diane, Nell, and I just had a different Christmas. We spent it in the merry old city of London, England, leaving home on the 20th and returning on the 29th. We'd been to England five times before, two of those times in London. We found this trip different in some ways, similar in others.

History repeats itself

January 1, 2009 During my years as a newspaperman, I've turned into a real news junkie. Often, when I'm up at 2 a.m. for one reason or another, I turn on the computer to look at Yahoo News for a few minutes. A news item a couple of mornings ago shocked me because it was so tragic and it so mirrored what happened in the winter of 1886 to little Johnny Lee in Izard County.


December 31, 2008 Pay attention drivers Dear editor: There seems to be a constant problem at the stop light at St. Louis and College St. Although there have been countless accidents there, people still don't get who has the right of way. Maybe some who have moved here from another country should be required to take a drivers ed course before a license is issued. (Although some Americans are just as guilty.)

Tackling elephants

December 31, 2008 While the rest of the world is making resolutions to quit smoking, lose weight, get financially secure, organized or put more emphasis on their spiritual, mental and physical life, my resolution for 2009 is to tackle the elephant.