Columnists
  • When The Beatles sang "I Saw Her Standing There" on the Ed Sullivan Show February 9, 1964, I just knew I was the 17-year-old girl in the song, and I was falling in love with four dish mop heads of hair.
  • When I try to think of something specific I learned in high school, usually it takes a long while and maybe I even forget what the question was before an answer rises to the surface. But when I picked up a book on the history of wood in our culture and found a discussion of “the world’s most expensive board foot,” I immediately recalled Mr. Roe Jackson’s course in Vocational Agriculture that I took way back in 1956. It combined book learning with the practical experience of building things in a carpentry shop.
  • Someone once noted that a Texan can get away with the most awful insult as long as it is prefaced with the words "Bless her heart" or "Bless his heart." As in, "Bless his heart, if they put his brain on the head of a pin, it'd roll around like a BB on a six-lane highway." Or, "Bless her heart, her penciled-in eyebrows look like a bad day on Wall Street."
  • The horrific Las Vegas shooting will undoubtedly be recorded in the history textbooks as one of the most tragic events in early 21st century history.
  • After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War One, Kurds were at the peace conferences in France and Switzerland where President Woodrow Wilson's promise of "self-determination" excited many new and old ethno-religious nationalisms in what we call the "Middle East."
  • The household I grew up in was not superstitious about "luck" as an explanation for outcomes. Consequently, I was deprived of a rich vein of popular culture, as I've learned by perusing a book entitled Luck: The Essential Guide, by Deborah Aaronson and Kevin Kwan. Take whistling, for example. My father was a skilled whistler and I learned the rudiments of it at a young age, but no one ever told me that it could bring me bad luck if practiced at the wrong time.
  • Normal humans consume three meals a day in some kind of pattern. Except nocturnal people and Frenchmen. For some reason, they put nine or ten hours between lunch and dinner. Just because animals dine fashionably late, I see no reason to stand around a party table eating bait off a Ritz cracker in anticipation of a meal that will be served at 10:30 at night. It's unnatural.
  • The late Molly Ivins responded to one of the many flag-burnings since Vietnam: "I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves in the flag."
  • As a species, we humans tend to be arrogant about claiming our superiority to other creatures. Until fairly recently, we thought that language and culture were uniquely human. But new studies show that a wide range of animals, from birds to bees to chimpanzees, can pass on information and behavior patterns to their descendants.
  • I have managed to stay alive all these years because (a) I never eat airline food, and (b) I never ride in the car with my grown kids driving it.
  • Climate scientists are suggesting that more lives would be saved if we took preventive measures more seriously, switching to non-fossil fuels such as wind, water and sun. Denmark is the most serious about this and will soon end dependence on oil and coal-based energy.
  • While vacationing in Canada recently I happened to notice a sign on an old building: Niagara Apothecary. It was intriguing enough to draw me inside, where I found an authentic museum restoration of an 1869 pharmacy. Among other things it houses an eye-catching collection of colorful bottles and jars that once contained various medicines.