Columnists
  • 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.
  • Everything my mother bought was stamped "one hundred percent sugar," "made with pure cream," and "real butter." Gravy poured from our tap in the kitchen. Today, I'm going half nuts reading the contents of everything I eat...in metric no less. (I thought a gram was a cracker.)
  • When one reviews his/her life story, often it becomes apparent that a small decision or action sets off a chain of events resulting in HUGE results. The same is true of the classic film entitled Planet of the Apes (1968).
  • My exercise of choice is swimming, and I have been battling my post-hip-replacement period for over four years to start my favorite regimen again. Since my bathtub offers limited opportunity for scissor kicks and backstrokes, I researched and found a year-round swimming facility in a nearby town. Voila! Chlorine molests Clarabelle.
  • The Persian prophet, Zoroaster, is considered the initiator of monotheism dating back to around 2000 BCE. The one deity was Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), and those following Zoroastrianism today confirm that one of the oldest tenets was to forbid idolatry. No statues are permitted since He is spirit and is everywhere and in all things from the smallest atom to the largest planet.
  • As one who has encouraged and also taught scores of individuals to write their life stories, I welcome The Gathered Words of Mulberry, Texas as the life story of a place, lovingly but also critically brought together by one of its citizens. The compiler/editor of this remarkable book, John Gregory Hall was born in this deep bend of the Red River more than eighty years ago, but his record of its history both extends back to earlier times and looks ahead to the future.
  • There is not a human being who can match the survival of the cockroach. Occasionally, you will read of men or women who top a hundred years or so, but death finally claims them. There are, however, three foods our species leave behind that refuse to die. They will occupy this earth as long as the cockroach.
  • Anyone who grew up in the country, as I did, is likely to remember some colloquial expressions that were often used in everyday conversation despite their being what English teachers call "slang." What kept these "non-standard" terms in use was the fact that they were usually made up of colorful, exaggerated metaphors or words and phrases that had taken on fresh meanings.
  • The report on TV today was that half of the people who have tattoos are getting them removed. Sadly, the man who decides to marry Betty has to figure out how to get Doris off his chest. According to the TV program that featured tattoo removal, the cost depends on the size of the tattoo and the intensity of the colors. It could cost as little as $300 and as much as $1,000. With more and more people getting their tats removed, I’d like to cash in on the business. What would I use? A cheese grater, of course.
  • I have been reading an interesting book on the history of salt, one of those essential compounds that we rarely think about despite the fact we can't live without it. In addition to giving me a lot of new information, Salt: A World History has awakened salty memories that had been sleeping in my subconscious.
  • The Boston Police acted correctly in separating opposing sides in the August 18-20 marches. When antagonist face each other, two outcomes are assured: First, there will be some violence; second, each side will claim they were “retaliating” to the other’s first strike. One positive outcome of recent events is a group called “Life after Hate,” formed specifically as a support group for former members of the radicalized right in the USA, and as a group committed to convince others that hate is not the answer.
  • In 1965, my sister enrolled in a Foods and Nutrition college class, where she learned trendy techniques, along with old school tips. Her instructor continued to reuse tin foil from the World War II era. Might have been a generational thing---my dad had the philosophy of "use it up; wear it out; make it do; or do without."