Terror of a ‘headless’ horseman

October 31, 2011 The Headless Horseman once “terrorized” Strawberry on Halloween, but I bet I was only the only one who was terrified.He came to the River Valley School District, roamed the playground as all the students in kindergarten through sixth grades stood watching in awe as he rode his horse and with sword drawn.That is, everyone but me, who either hid behind my classmates and on one occasion stayed behind in the classroom to avoid the terror of the man without a head.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2011 Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s simple, to the point and involves large quantities of chocolate. Decorations and planning don’t start months in advance like Christmas and the cost of the candy won’t break my budget.

Dish washing wars

October 28, 2011 As a mother, I am responsible for teaching my daughters certain things in life such as cleaning the house. My youngest, Alexas, is 11 and it is really past time for her to start doing more work around the house. She’s been responsible for her bedroom for some years now, but now I have begun giving her more duties.Last weekend was bathroom duty for the little princess. “This sink is disgusting!” she exclaimed.

Secondhand smoke, meet secondhand TV

October 28, 2011 My wife and I took a certain perverse pride in how we handled television around our son, scrupulously not letting him watch for the first two years of his life. Now we find that may not have been enough.We knew not to plop a toddler down in front of the boob tube and use it as a babysitter, but now the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time has included warnings about “secondhand television” in its guidelines for kids under age 2. In short, if toddlers are in the room while adults are watching TV (no matter how innocuous the content), they’re being affected.

Karen, the Sales Rep who Loved

October 28, 2011 Her name was Karen.She sold the same prescription drug products as every other rep in her company. Her geographic territory was a nondescript slice of interstates, strip malls, aging hospitals and understaffed, high stress, fake plant-adorned doctors’ offices, just like the other 450 reps in her organization.

Flat tax or flat-out dead

October 28, 2011 Despite the recent chatter about a flat income tax — a tax that every income earner pays regardless of their level of income — the idea is dead unless its supporters figure out a way to get together and support the idea that a flat tax is a fair tax. I believe we can unite.In a system of flat taxation there is only one level of taxation. Everybody pays the same rate no matter how much money they earn. Taxpayers are not punished for having succeeded by being taxed at rates higher than that paid by the lowest earners of income.

The way Halloween should be

October 27, 2011 Not until it got dark!That was the trick-or-treating rule my mother set down every year. She didn’t want me to embarrass her by interrupting families still having dinner.I hated the rule. Tommy Gillen and I had big plans to hit as many houses as possible before we had to come home.It was the 1970s, after all. Schools weren’t yet banning Halloween activities. There was no kid obesity epidemic. There weren’t many modern sensitivities at all.

Communication and the gathering crowds

October 27, 2011 It’s only happened a few times in all of man’s history that an invention, which was known to be profound even at its inception, surpassed expectations and ended up reshaping all of history. Usually, the invention has something to do with communication.When the 20th century was coming to a close a lot of lists were compiled about the last thousand years and the Gutenberg Printing Press was most often number one. When Johannes Gutenberg invented moveable type around 1439 he made it possible for the first time to spread information quickly and cheaply to the masses.

We’re homesteaders, not the eventual rich

October 27, 2011 I spoke with a 30-something mother of two residing in suburban New Jersey about the Occupy Wall Street movement. She was disgusted by their antics. “Our business failed, our house was foreclosed on, we lost everything and you don’t see us blaming someone else for it!” she exclaimed. “It’s about personal responsibility!” She lost everything as a result of the economic meltdown and yet still puts it on herself for not having anticipated or planned properly beforehand. I tried to explain that protesting a rigged system isn’t the opposite of personal responsibility.

Writer’s young daughter foretells sign of winter

October 26, 2011 It is that time of year when I go out to help my mother winterize her yard, so, one evening, I took my son along to help me with the heavy lifting, and I took my two littlest girls who wanted to see their grandma. It was a beautiful fall day. The geese were winging their way south, honking their rhythm to their wing beats like a person directing the rowing of a racing canoe across the blue ocean of the sky. They were fat and happy from gleaning the grain the farmers had left behind in the yellow stubble fields.