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Columns

Saturday, July 9, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

"The rowdy is always and ever with us, wherever we happen to live."

That was the sober assessment of a Tamaqua Courier a century ago after a series of ugly early-summer incidents stunned area residents. Among the roughhouse tactics the writer cited were "low remarks to women, and general display of more or less drunken savagery."

He said that in many places, it was practically impossible for decent people to travel in peace by train or trolley after 11 o'clock, due in large part to the passive nature of the rail personnel.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 4th may be my favorite holiday of the entire year, especially when it falls on a Monday and provides us with a long weekend.

There's something about a birthday party, and when our entire nation celebrates, it's truly special.

The 4th of July's long tradition of picnics and fireworks is looked forward to each year. July 4th also reminds us how far we have come as a country in the more than two centuries we have been a nation.

We have come a long way. How far?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The most powerful phrase in American history is probably this: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Those words in the Declaration of Independence were a collaboration by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson originally wrote: "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable." When he turned over his draft to Franklin for the sake of proofreading, Franklin removed the words "sacred and undeniable" and inserted "self-evident."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On Monday, our nation will celebrate the 235th anniversary of the day we declared our independence.

If it wasn't for those brave men, who like many of our soldiers today, believed that our freedom was worth standing up and fighting for, who knows where we would be now.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

When I was a kid, a nun told our class that after we died, we would be judged on how we spent our time on earth.

Well, while that little kid is all grown up now, she still believes in carefully monitoring how she spends her time. There's a simple reason for that and it has little to do with religious beliefs: time is the most precious thing we have. It represents life itself.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

While most of us will be celebrating Independence Day with picnics, fireworks and parties on July 4th as we have done most of the time for the last 235 years, we really need to stop and consider the health of this country today.

This country was an infant through its first 74 years or so and then finally fought a bitter puberty at its 84th year that lasted five long bloody years only concluding with a surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

The popularity of sports on Sunday has never been an issue in our lifetime, but a century ago it was a hot-button topic locally.

The controversy over playing ball on the Sabbath in this state can actually be traced as far back as 1794 when legislators in the Pennsylvania Assembly passed "an Act for the prevention of vice and immorality, and of unlawful gaming, and to restrain disorderly sports and dissipation" on the Lord's Day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No. A lexophile isn't a person with some kind of perversion, unless you consider extending your vocabulary as something perverted. A lexophile is a lover of words, someone who knows the dictionary and the meaning of the words included in it.

Word games can be fun, as evidenced by the following list supplied by a loyal reader. It's a clevor play on words that would make any lexophile proud.

1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

2. A will is a dead giveaway.

3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The older we get, the more we are thankful for every single thing – things we once never thought about but now are important.

Here is one small example. For most of my life, I have hated my legs. Even when I was so thin that I could pose as a starving waif, my legs were heavy.

But lately, I find myself feeling really grateful for those legs.

I felt it especially as I was carrying a kayak up a slight hill, having to step carefully over the rough terrain. While I was carrying the kayak, I said a short thank you for legs sturdy enough to do that job.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Driving leisurely down a beautiful country road that leads to my house, I was deep in thought about my daughter who is currently going through a difficult time.

If you are a parent, you'll know what I mean when I say ... when your child hurts, you hurt.

Add a lot of frustration on to that, because no matter what you do, you can't wave a magic wand and make it all better.