Columnists
  • Ah, Daniel Boone, pioneer, woodsman, hunter, explorer, and TV star. Alas, no pictures of Daniel with a coonskin cap. Go figure. As this week's offering is a two-parter on survival in the wilderness gleaned from personal experience, it seemed that a picture of America's best known man of the forest would be appropriate.
  • Who was Saint Valentine? Was he a postal employee who worked on commission? Did he operate a chocolate factory? Actually, he was a martyred saint in ancient Rome. Legend has it that St. Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter while he was imprisoned. Before he was put to death, he sent her a letter and signed it, "From your Valentine."
  • Debates, heated arguments, and social tension defined the time period. People were scared of what they had thought was going to be a thing of the past, too much power in the hands of just a limited few.
  • One of the unforgettable images I have of my mother shows her preparing to do our laundry, sometime in the late 1940s. She is in the backyard, leaning over an old black washpot filled with water that has been brought to a boil over an open fire. She holds in her hand a large piece of homemade lye soap and is using a small kitchen knife to shave off thin pieces into the hot water.
  • To the left is Peter Arno, one of the most prolific cartoonists and cover artists for The New Yorker magazine from its inception through the 1960s. I figure Arno knew a little bit about color, and so he would appreciate the piece that follows.
  • My dad always said, "Use it up, wear it out; make it do or do without." If our sleeves were short, Mama put longer mittens on our hands. If the shoulders sloped, she inserted padding the size of throw pillows. Flour sacks even expanded the crotches of narrow-minded undershorts. A rip was followed immediately by a patch. Mama's patches spanned the color wheel, and no two were alike. When my brother Tim bent over, he looked like a stained-glass window. Mama cut up the oldest blankets to patch the older ones. The old blankets were not even used. They were considered too new to be put on the beds.
  • One of the reasons I am a big fan of movies by Joel and Ethan Coen is that they often depict individuals who are clearly stupid. The character of Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo (played by William H. Macy), for example, piles one moronic act on another until finally the whole absurd scheme collapses on itself, along the way generating belly laughs for the audience.
  • On the left is Preston Sturgess, who knew a thing or two about making movies. He started as a writer, and had considerable success, but he eventually became disenchanted with the way the directors were handling his scripts. He offered to write a screenplay free of charge if Paramount would let him direct it. The studio said yes, and Sturgess was off to a string of hits including The Great McGinty, Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve, and more.
  • We're looking at a generation that is working hard to find the perfect union. There are support groups for those who "can't commit," computer dating services for prospects who sell themselves via video, and, my personal favorite, the newspaper ads that employ a language known only to other hopefuls. For example, MSF (male seeking female) or FSM (female seeking male) has two lines and four days to sell themselves to a prospective date.
  • After attending a week-long Elderhostel course in Southwest Florida, I came home with new information and revised images of life in the Sunshine State. There were several outdated ideas about Florida I had to give up.
  • Still no picture; so this week it is James Thurber to the left. With his quirky humor, and even quirkier cartoons of dogs and giant rabbits and men vs women, Thurber was a luminance even when surrounded by the other great humorists of his era. If you haven't read Thurber's Fables, you are missing something indeed. Besides, not every writer gets his face on postage stamp.
  • My grandkids call me Mimi. I call them on their birthdays.