• A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Gentle reader, not for the first time, we call your attention to the French expression “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”
    This is usually translated as “The more things change, the more they are the same.”
    This truism was brought to mind once again as we have been reading a book detailing the life of Henry Temple, Second Viscount Palmerston, 1739-1802.
    He was the father of the Third Viscount Palmerston, 1784-1865, who was Queen Victoria’s Foreign Secretary for 15 years and twice her Prime Minister.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: And now you know

    I’m celebrating an important one-year anniversary on Oct. 26. And in a way, many of you regular readers have been a part of it.
    I’ve lost more than 140 pounds since my highest post-thyroid cancer weight, when steroids and other complications left me swollen, stiff-jointed and moon-faced.
    I told you of my cancer then, almost three years ago, because it felt important for me to do so. Cancer is so often whispered about, but by openly talking about it, I felt I was confronting an enemy head on.

  • IMPRESSIONS: Do you feel a sudden urge to scratch?

    I recall a little rhyme my sister and I would exchange after our parents banished us from the living room at bedtime.
    She taught it to me when we were Air Force brats sharing twin beds in the same room at various bases across the globe.
    When we finally settled into a house Daddy built in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, we continued the nightly passage before saying our prayers from separate rooms.

  • A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Two of the Nobel prizes awarded over the past few days struck us as noteworthy in respect to the USA.
    The first is that awarded last Monday to three economists, including Professor Peter Diamond, of MIT.
    What makes his winning particularly interesting is the fact that President Obama nominated him some months ago to a vacancy on the Federal Reserve Board.
    However, one of the Republicans’ leading intellectual pygmies in the Senate, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, put a hold on his nomination so that it could not even be considered for confirmation.

  • IMPRESSIONS: Life is good – even after the IRS leaves note

    Did you notice your calendar Sunday? That’s what it said —10/10/10.
    If you add an extra “n” at the end of the third TEN (or delete the “e”) you get an abbreviation for our great state.
    How about that?

  • A View from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Gentle reader, as we promised at the end of last week’s column, we will devote this column to a further discussion of Social Security.
    Some readers may have missed last week’s column, so, to bring them up to speed, let us repeat the gist of what we said then in response to the position statement of Republican Congressional candidate, Dr. Scott DesJarlais, who is running against incumbent Representative Lincoln Davis for the Fourth District seat in Congress.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Tim Russert and I thank you ...

    This summer, for the first time in about 20 years, I had a kitten in the house again.

    It was an unplanned acquisition — the little guy was rescued with his siblings after someone dumped them.

    The one I took was physically the most unusual of the bunch. He is polydactyl — with seven toes on each front foot. I confess that it was this strange trait that convinced me to take him, because I was not in the market for an additional pet.

  • Phew! There’s so much to do around here

    Time was my son would breeze through his weekend high school homework and then complain.
    You know the drill … “There’s nothing to do around here. I’m bored!”
    We assured him life would change when he headed off to the Big University.
    And so it has.
    Nowadays, he doesn’t exactly breeze through the weekend assignments.
    Rather, he schedules and hosts study groups around his responsibilities with the football team.

  • A View From Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    In just a few days early voting will commence (13 Oct. to 28 Oct.) and you, gentle reader will be confronted by a choice of whom you will vote for to be governor of our beloved state for the next four years, and who will represent you the next two years in both the state House of Representatives and the national House of Representatives.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Life has disappointments, even in good times

    It was my father’s big day, his retirement from a long, successful career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the whole family was there for it.

    The whole family except for me.

    I was working for The Associated Press in Chicago at the time, and Dad’s retirement gala happened to coincide with a critical election in the Windy City. The AP news staff was told that under no circumstances were we to request time off that day, and so I dared not.