We need to talk

January 19, 2009 I didn't answer it, but the question had me thinking after visiting one of my favorite blogging Web sites, Livejournal.com, recently. "What is your first reaction when someone says 'I need to talk to you'?"

New author introduced

January 16, 2009 Last summer I discovered a contemporary novelist you may enjoy as much as I do. He's a North Carolinian named Ron Rash. I just finished his fourth and latest novel. Rash creates plots with plenty of tension, themes he allows you to see both sides of, and prose that flows so smooth and easy you're surprised how fast you read his novels. Here's a brief description of each:

Dad’s Army buddies

January 15, 2009 My dad, Alvie Stroud, never talked about his World War II combat experience while I was growing up. Many years later, after he started getting Alzheimer's disease, his mind went back to, in particular, four of those combat experiences and he talked about them then, over and over.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

January 15, 2009 Dear editor: On the economic development program, all information disseminated encouraged an overwhelming vote for. I voted against the proposal. I won't criticize the panel; neither will I take part in anything other than civil diatribe. Apparently, they worked hard, with the best interests of the people in mind, but sometimes a camel built by a committee comes out looking like an elephant. Invited to join the group, I don't now want to snipe, but I believed that a new tax was the target, even during a severe recession.

Silent heroes laid foundation

January 14, 2009 It will be a moment, a moment when the entire world watches, as the United States of America inaugurates our first African-American president. There will be parties. There will be cheering. There will be speeches. I suspect a lot of people will probably start to cry.

Soldier’s life revisited

January 14, 2009 After spending a year in Iraq from 2003-2004, I had it in my head that I knew exactly what training for this mission would be like. After all, I'm a veteran with a combat patch and a Combat Action Badge! After 14 years in the U.S. Army, I'm ready for anything, right? Uh…right.

Abe awakens … part 1

January 13, 2009 "Mr. President. Abraham. Abe? Wake up." The tall, bearded, gaunt man slowly opened his eyes. He blinked twice, then slammed his eyes shut again. The light! It was blinding. "Get that light out of my eyes, for God's sake," he cried.

Last presidential ticket

January 13, 2009 There are still a few days left before President Obama takes office and it looks as if the 2012 GOP ticket is already taking form. Let me be the first to predict the ticket -Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Literally. I mean, I think Joe Whathisface will actually change his last name to "ThePlumber," for, you know, name recognition.

Books, DVDs, CDs, oh my!

January 13, 2009 After writing my column last week about a Web site that allows members to swap books of all sorts, I received plenty of feedback. Some was from people interested in the site, www.paperbackswap.com, some from people letting me know about other sites (www.bookmooch.com is one) and some about a movie swapping Web site, www.swapadvd.com.

Legislative Odd Couple

January 12, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Bob Johnson doesn't mind referring to himself as a lightning rod. Robbie Wills says he's proud to be boring. Meet the Arkansas Legislature's version of the Odd Couple. The personality gap between the firebrand of a Senate president and the politically cautious House speaker were on full display days before the 87th General Assembly convened. Meeting with a roomful of reporters and editors last week, both seemed to relish in the way they're perceived.