How I spent my summer vacation

June 2, 2009 I remember several grade school years when the first English assignment in September was to write, specifically, “How I spent my summer vacation.” Uh…wasted, mostly, was my usual answer to that. But oh, Lord, some of those summers were so much fun.

Hollywood needs a remake

June 2, 2009 I thought it was pretty bad when I heard that Hollywood was doing a remake of “Footloose.” True, I used to think Kevin Bacon was hot stuff (I am an ’80s girl, after all) and sang loudly and off-key whenever anything from the soundtrack came on the radio, but that does not mean I think the movie is overdue for a remake.

Watchdog for school reforms

June 1, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Ken James spent more than five years as Arkansas’ education commissioner, fighting battles he didn’t pick.He wasn’t behind the law requiring tiny school districts to consolidate or many of the other reforms the state took up in response to the long-running Lake View school funding case.

Can you sign this?

June 1, 2009 You know that feeling you get when you slip your hand inside a coat pocket and find money you didn’t know you had?I had the same feeling last week after getting the mail and finding a self-addressed stamped envelope containing an autographed picture from actress Debra Paget.It had been nine months or more since I had sent her a letter, in which I  requested an autograph while also telling her how much I enjoyed her acting and movies, most notably, “Love Me Tender” with Elvis Presley.

Good deal for the press?

May 29, 2009 When a North Carolina weekly newspaper asked for and was given a $50,000 business loan by town aldermen in mid-May, no quotation from free-press defenders and the nation’s founders like Madison and Jefferson immediately came to mind.Rather, it was a thought sometimes expressed by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, often a critic of the press: “With the shekels come the shackles.”

Let the shopping begin

May 29, 2009 I bought my first Christmas gift.That’s right, for Christmas 2009.Every year I think to myself that I’ll start early, and how early is this? It’s not even June.The minute I saw it in the store I knew it was a perfect gift. It brought back so many good memories and I knew the recipient would get a kick out of it.

Stories from grandpas

May 28, 2009 Having written recently about the 1918 flu pandemic and its association with World War I got me to thinking about people who were soldiers in that war.My wife Wanda’s grandpa, the late John Brock of Alread, was one soldier who came back with a dramatic story. Since he was elderly when I met him, I don’t know for sure but I feel he probably did not tell that story much, or perhaps at all, until just a few years before his death.

Confessions of a TVoholic

May 27, 2009 I love television. I truly love it. I wept when TiVo was invented, because it meant I could watch even more of it. Sophisticated people claim to be “soooo busy” that they don’t have time for mindless TV. Or at least that’s what they’re all quick to tell whenever the subject comes up at cocktail parties. But not me, I manage to park myself in front of the tube almost every day.