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Columns

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm sitting on the creaky, wooden, 1940s-era office chair in the home office of our old farmhouse. The small room holds two vintage wooden desks, one at each window; a battered old metal filing cabinet, painted a utilitarian brown, squats in the corner between them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A lot of old hit songs have glamorized suicide.

"Patches" by Dickie Lee was a tale of a rich boy and poor girl who wanted to get married, but the boy's parents wouldn't allow it. The girl killed herself. The boy said, "It may not be right, but I'll join you tonight."

In "Running Bear," both Running Bear and Little White Dove jumped into the "swirling stream" where "the raging river pulled them down."

In reality, suicide isn't glamourous. It's not the beautiful finale to a touching story, but a woeful end that leaves behind real broken hearts and shattered lives.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

One does not need to look far to know how messed up the priorities of our leaders are in this desperate, sluggish economy. I have to wonder where Gov. Ed Rendell's brain checked out this week. The man is the consummate politician I will give him that, but he is also the poster child for how disgustingly irresponsible many of our leaders can be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

While the sound of chirping birds may be pleasing to many people, it can often become a much more sinister song for farmers. Just by their sheer numbers, birds can turn into nuisances, perhaps not as menacing as Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 terror-filled movie classic, "The Birds," but certainly they can spell destruction to fruit and crop fields.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

We all live by laws and regulations. Most are written, and we either conform to them, or find ourselves in troupble.

But there are also universal laws, those which are not written but which emerge in our everyday lives.

Let me demonstrate:

1.Law of Mechanical Repair-After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to go to the bathroom.

2.Law of Gravity-Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The door opens and in walks a man with the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the head of Albert Einstein.

"Hello, Dr. Hassenpfeffer," I say.

"Good morning, Lindka. Vhat seems to be ze problem?" he asks.

"Vell, I mean well, I think I might have Alzheimer's. I seem to be awful forgetful."

"Hmmmmm. Vhy don't you lie down on dis nice comfortable couch and tell me vhen you started to notice dis forgetfulness."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I'm lucky.

Or maybe it's just my computer that's "lucky".

Last week, for instance, someone who writes with very bad English wanted to send me the million dollars that for some unexplained reason is sitting unclaimed in a foreign bank account with my name on it. All I have to do is send him money for his expenses.

Then, this week, I was notified that because of my "lucky" email, I have won $1,750,000 GBP from a Honda International promotion. I have no idea what GBP means and I'll never find out because I never respond to email like that.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

The summer of 1910 did not mean a recess in education-related matters.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writers strive to find the most accurate way to tell stories and describe things. That's our job.

We use words as our basic tools, just like mechanics use wrenches.

We build sentences to convey thoughts, just like chemists concoct formulas.

We come up with words and phrases and string them together in ways we hope will work.

It's both an art and a science and not always easy. The art can be abstract and the science not exact.

Add to that our own limitations and you can see why mistakes happen.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

By BOB URBAN

rurban@tnonline.com

I'm not sure who the school principal was who gave this speech. I'm not even sure if it was delivered to a student body at one of our high schools. I only know if it wasn't delivered, then it should have been.

It's a speech every American high school principal should deliver, and If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place. Thank you to the number of readers who sent me this. I think it's worth sharing.

It goes like this.