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Columns

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Christmas glow comes from heart

    Ahh, Christmas.
    When I was a child, it was all about decorations and presents.
    Back then, in the days before Christmas, I sometimes would fall asleep on the couch beside the Christmas tree and its twinkling lights.
    There I would dream of all the gift possibilities.
    The truth is, I did not then nor have I ever gotten a Christmas present that knocked my socks off.
    My parents seemed at a loss when choosing gifts for me.

  • Don’t add e-waste to your landfills

    By STEVE SKURNAC
    Electronics are once again dominating holiday shopping lists this season.

    In fact, analysts with the Consumer Electronics Association predict shoppers will spend 6 percent more on electronics this year compared to last – or about $250 per consumer.

    And for every new laptop, tablet, phone, TV, gaming system and scores of other gadgets, an outdated device likely will be replaced. For those old electronics, the question is, “Now what?”

    First off, do not throw replaced electronics in the trash.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Can Santa Claus help us through our trials?

    Dear Santa Claus:
    While you have not heard from your friend, the old curmudgeon, in many-a-year, he wishes to join in the requests for your generosity you receive each year from the children and simple folk the world over.

    Santa, if your sack can hold them, please bring to the people of America the following gifts:

    Bring them a Supreme Court that has the commonsense to know that the Founding Fathers did not have in mind the spending of money when they guaranteed the right of free speech.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Nerdy Laureate ponders on artifacts

    At the top of the stairs in my uncle’s house, a dusty bobcat once stood guard.
    It was stuffed — taxidermied — its lips drawn back in a frozen snarl, and its big feet braced for a fight it had already lost.
    In my growing-up years, this silent siren had the power to draw me and my cousins in fascination en masse up the staircase — and, when we were alone with it, to repel us in fear.
    Bobcats still exist in the wild, although I have never seen one.
    Some creatures simply are no more.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: ’Tis the season to be busy, fa-la-lal-la-la ....

    It seems we’re all busy people, but for me, this past week has been a full-tilt blur.
    Let me summarize — if I can remember it all:
    • Monday: Three newspaper meetings (a fourth was canceled), a quick run to the dermatologist in Knoxville for a look at a sun-damaged spot on my nose and then a CASA race committee meeting after work, followed by a post-sundown walk with the yahoos (my dogs).

  • WHEN IN ROANE: The judge wore WHAT?!? But wait till you hear what the mayor and council did

    Taking part in a scavenger hunt has always sounded like fun.

    Taking part in a scavenger hunt that breaks a world record and has the potential of winning world class trip sounds even better.

    Not only do the participants get a chance to help break the world record, which is cool in itself, but also winners will go to Rome, which for me would be my first visit outside the United States.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Skies clear, dogs and I get out of the house

    It’s the little things you take for granted — things like walking your dogs.
    After several days of soaking rain, my dogs were looking at me accusingly, as if I had intentionally flipped a switch that brought on the precipitation that kept us inside. They don’t realize I want and need the exercise as much as they do.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: To create jobs, cut retirement age temporarily

    You know, gentle reader, the longer we live the more we become convinced that the Founding Fathers should have made it one of the prerequisites of being President of these United States that all candidates there for must be foundlings.

    In our own time we have seen how John F. Kennedy’s presidency was shaped and moulded by the influence of his father, Ambassador Joe Kennedy.

  • Nuts & Bolts Terri Likens Editor: Photojournalist’s job is the cat’s meow

    Photojournalist Katie Hogin finally has succumbed to one of the hazards of her job — having a tender heart.

    After months of going to the county animal shelter to take pictures of adoptable dogs and cats, she finally gave in and took one home herself.

    Katie fell for an unusally marked kitten she has given the name of Oliver.

    The moniker suits the scrawny little fellow, although we’re sure Ollie will soon fill out and be the strong, happy feline that cats with good forever homes generally grow up to be.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Joe goes – to shores of mighty Mississippi

    My friend Joe was on the road for Thanksgiving.

    His mother died this spring, and his father died some years back, so he wasn’t spending the holiday with family.

    Instead, he headed to Memphis. Next month, he will be starting a new life as a fundraiser for a downtown hospital that sorely needs his skills.

    I have mixed feelings about this.