Stimulating bankruptcy

January 9, 2009 Like millions of my fellow Americans I want Barack Obama to succeed in governing America and reviving the economy, despite my opposition to his candidacy. I had hoped that being the cautious man he appears to be, President-elect Obama would avoid taking extreme positions and policies vis-à-vis the economy and settle for the tried-and-true approaches to economic stability.

Someone say ‘Geronimo’?

January 8, 2009 A while back, some brainiac with time enough to play with numbers sent out one of those e-mails that got picked up and forwarded by just about everybody - as a joke, or rather, some trivial thing people could read and agree with, and then forget because it was never going to happen. The premise was that, instead of "bailing out" big business, Uncle Sam could just send that money direct to the people. According to the e-mail, each of us would receive some ridiculous amount of money - into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The ‘Phantom Marine’

January 8, 2009 "You've got a dead man sitting at your counter." Those words were the beginning of the mystifying trail of the Phantom Marine. The words were spoken to Lacy Field of the Front Street Cafe in Newport on or about Jan. 20, 1946.

Why begrudge a nap?

January 7, 2009 If you want to infuriate your wife, try taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon just as she's revving up the to-do list. Forget sex, communication, in-laws and the toilet seat wars. If you really want to stir up a hornet's nest inside a marriage, just bring up the subject of naps.

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.