• Freedom of too much information

    We are all celebrities now. Ever since we won Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006, the same year we first found out about the National Security Administration spying on us, we’ve all become essentially public figures. It’s the new equality: We are all …

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  • Toy gun buyback? Just shoot me

    According to Townhall.com and other sources, Stobridge Elementary School in Hayward, Calif., may be shooting itself in the foot, publicity-wise. As part of a safety day, the school sponsored a touchy-feely toy gun buyback program, rewarding students with books and bike raffle tickets if they …

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  • World record stood 17 years

    Howard “Rip” Collins needed to check out his outboard motor and fishing gear, because his son was driving over from Memphis and wanted to fish on the Little Red River. It was May 5, 1992, so Rip and his friend, Van Cooper, had nice spring …

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  • Take the time to document family stories

    The other day it occurred to me that I have been writing down all these stories about the lives of people and I realized how little I really know about some of my own family members. I have decided that I am going to start …

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  • America is in need of all the good dads it can get these days

    It’s no news to anyone that I disagree strongly with President Obama on just about any issue or policy position you can name. But I’m not the least bit uncomfortable saying I admire something about the president that transcends politics and makes him a role …

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  • The apple core, a cheap toilet and Dad

    Editor Note: This is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s new book, “An Apple Core, a Toilet: Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood.”   I don’t know what I was thinking: In 1973, when I was 11, I flushed an apple core down the toilet, an action …

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  • Inner lives of clouds among things not taught in school

    Some things they never taught in school: • Water does not always freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). In fact, water sometimes will not freeze until it reaches around 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Conversely, water can freeze at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit in …

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  • Most adults are not smarter than a fifth-grader

    Have you seen Jeff Foxworthy’s show “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?” Well, I’ve watched it. Trust me: Most of us are not smarter. Now I’m not talking about common sense stuff or the things you learn through life experiences. I’m not even talking …

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  • Will America regret Snowden’s intelligence leaks?

    A popular graphic making the rounds on the Internet shows Boston Marathon bombing terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the caption: “Apparently Not Verizon Customers.” It refers to news reports that under a secret court order in April, the National Security Agency was collecting …

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  • Mister, Mister

    Here’s a little game I invented the other day after phoning the water company to complain about my bill and hearing an overly-chipper woman say, “Hi, Peter. How may I help you?” Increasingly I find that strangers who address me by my first name are …

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  • Intelligence omissions

    One hundred fifty years ago, following excursions and raids into Missouri, the Confederate forces in Jacksonport reported in good condition and ready for another confrontation with the enemy of blue coats, now settled in eastern Arkansas. On June 9, 1863, Gen. Sterling Price sent Gen. …

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  • 19th century laissez-faire: Who benefits today?

    Last week Michael Lind asked a silly question: If libertarianism is so great, why hasn’t any country tried it? The question is silly because the libertarian answer is obvious: Libertarianism is great for ordinary people, but not for the power elites that control countries and …

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