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Columns

  • 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.

  • IMPRESSIONS: Groan ... sometimes Teglas humor tough to bear

    I’m no big game hunter.

    Friends will tell you the most shooting I’ve ever done is with a camera.

    I can honestly lay claim to fame for getting a big deer.

    I got my one and only six-pointer on Memorial Day weekend in 2005.

    As not to embellish (and to keep myself out of a TWRA inquisition on why I was hunting out of season), I will come clean and remind you that the buck picked me out and chose to commit suicide on the front end of my old green Jeep Cherokee.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: A perfect weekend can last and last

    Summer, going into fall, is my favorite time of year. This year, the transition season seemed to reward me for my loyalty.

    For months, I’d had an outing planned — one that involved a river, the mountains and a tiny town tucked between them.

    I rallied a few friends to come along and then braced myself — knowing full well that when the designated weekend arrived, we would be rained out.

    Even when the forecasts called for perfect weather, I shrugged.

    I knew there would be a hitch.

  • A View From Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

    Gentle reader, as we enter the autumn season, most educational institutions begin a new academic year.

    Although President Obama has initiated efforts to reform our institutions of higher learning from the community colleges to the most prestigious universities, regrettably it is unlikely that the entering freshmen will find his lot substantially improved over that of his older fellows.

    Costs continue to escalate at a totally unreasonable rate, and the value of a degree continues to decline.

  • IMPRESSIONS: A little literacy and a big ol' Hokie gobble

    My colleagues are having way too much fun with me these days.

    One even spun and shared an exaggerated tale turned urban legend based on some sketchy information he received following a recent project I worked on in Annapolis, Md.

    For some strange reason, his version of the story suggested I single-handedly wrecked a major system at our big newspaper up there.

    Shoot, all I was trying to do was scope out some equipment we want to give a new home here.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Good things, indeed, can come from bad

    I’m a firm believer in acknowledging our problems. I believe ignoring things only allows them to fester or blow up.

    The good news is, serious concerns, when addressed, can turn into something really positive.

    Case in point: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Did you know that those soaring mountains we all hold dear were on the verge of ruin through logging and poor farm management?

    In the 1920s, people started reacting to the threat, and against the odds, the national park was born.

  • Employment figure impact depends on perspective

    Perceptive reader, you know that perspective is vitally important in matters of art.

    It was the discovery of perspective and the means of rendering it in two-dimensional art that made early Renaissance painting in Italy so outstanding.

    Well, perspective is also important in many other things than painting and photography; to demonstrate, consider how large our planet earth is to us who live upon it, but consider how relatively small it appears from the space station, and how smaller yet it appears from the surface of the moon.