Road trip

December 16, 2009 The chillerins dropped word on us, several weeks back, to hold open the dates of Dec. 17 through Dec. 21… as if we ever have anything planned. Naturally, we assumed, given the broad window, that they were concocting some kind of trip. Being the anti-social type that I am, my first hope was that it would be to some remote corner of the country where there were very few people and maybe a lot of sand, cigars and adult beverages. Maybe some place we could drive to in order to minimize my admittedly irrational hatred of air travel. But that was not how it turned out.

Musician laid to rest

December 16, 2009 Out of all the Ward children, Lynn was the only one I didn’t know. Probably because he was older, and only a few years in age makes a big difference when you are a child.I did know brothers Danny, Jackie, Randy and David, along with sister Janice.The person in the Ward family I remember most was their mother Lorene. I can still recall her walking to and from work through extremely cold and hot weather in order to raise her children, back when raising a house full of children was hard.And she did a really good job.

Holiday spirit

December 15, 2009 The snow started coming down hard a few hours after we’d arrived.It was Christmas Eve 1976. We were 20 miles from home, visiting my mother’s sister at her home in the country.Earlier that evening, my mother, father, grandmother and sisters had piled into the station wagon to begin our trek.I was 14 then. My sisters and I were getting older — growing up. Only our youngest sister still believed in Santa Claus.Teenagers don’t much enjoy being stuck in a car together and the annoyance was clear.

The Great American Comeback

December 15, 2009 In an effort to boost my finances and exposure in these troubled economic times, I am hereby officially linking myself romantically to Tiger Woods. Never mind that I am a 57-year-old male cartoonist who has never played real golf and is clobbered by his own children at mini-golf. But that’s my day job. By night I am transformed, via blonde wig, stilettos, a model-thin physique, creamy skin and luscious eyes, into a siren of the 19th hole!So, I’m waiting, TMZ! And here’s your headline: COUGAR MAULS TIGER.

A more open government?

December 14, 2009 We’re either on the verge of a new era in transparency in the federal government — or we’re not.On just his first full day in office, Jan. 21, President Barack Obama pledged that the public would have more and easier access to official records and information in his presidency, saying federal agencies should live up to the Freedom of Information Act by presuming records open unless there’s good reason to close them.

Christmas — not just for kids

December 14, 2009 I don’t understand why kids have to grow up so fast.It seems every generation learns and knows more at a much earlier age than the previous and I know a lot of it has to do with technology or the fact that these times call for children to grow up faster.Whatever the reason it saddens me, especially this time of year. Is it me or do children stop believing in Santa Claus at a much younger age than 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago?

Visitors to ancient America

December 11, 2009 It’s just coincidence that my fellow researcher Myron Paine of Martinez, Calif., and I both have articles in the current issue of Ancient American magazine. The subtitle of the magazine is “Archaeology of the Americas Before Columbus.”Dr. Paine’s article is titled “Lenni Lenape Were Christians.” Lenni Lenape is the name the Delaware Indians called themselves. During Paine’s research, he learned artist John White had painted 18 pictures of the Indians before Ralph Lane, the commander of  the first English survey trip to the Roanoke, Va., area, arrived in 1585.

Taxpayers on strike

December 10, 2009 As a sign of the end of the Great Recession or as the heralding of the roots of the next one Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank are set to hand out 30 billion in combined bonuses to employees this year. The companies are referring to them as earned but let’s call it what it is.

Question: Who does AARP really serve?

December 9, 2009 The AARP used to be known as the American Association of Retired Persons. For years it has presented itself as advocacy group dedicated to the best interests of America’s senior citizens.We have to wonder, though, just whom the organization really serves.