• To the left is Ring Lardner. A sportswriter turned short story master and humorist, no writer of his or any other era had a better ear for the rhythm of the American dialect--for the way real people spoke. I suppose Lardner went to the movies on occasion, so here are some things I have learned from the picture show.
  • While puberty was merely teasing me back in the mid-to-late 50s, it was slamming some of my girlfriends. It was like the waitress was carrying my over-easy fried eggs on the same platter with STACKED pancakes.
  • The underlying theme of this column is "What goes around . . . comes back." While visiting with family recently I learned that backyard chicken ranching is a thriving phenomenon in some of the more affluent sections of Dallas.
  • That question was a touchstone for The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the last year of his life. He preached on it. He delivered speeches on it. He wrote a book on it. The answers he put forward may be what got him killed.
  • Still not EMS; it's Sir Walter Scott, who was a fair to middling writer with such works as Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Lay of the Last Minstrel. He was also a legal administrator, so with all that he must have attended a lot of meetings.
  • "Everyone will have celebritydom for fifteen minutes," predicted Andy Warhol. Heading the list are lottery winners. Thereís the couple sitting around the house doing nothing when they hear their numbers announced on TV. Within minutes, their front yard is overflowing with photographers and cameramen and bloodsucking relatives from as far away as Hawaii. Helicopters circle. Just before hyperventilating, they say into the camera, "Oh my God!" Asked if all this money will change their lives, they say, "Absolutely not."
  • The grandfather I grew up with was a retired schoolteacher and a voracious reader. Almanacs were required reading at the beginning of each new year, ranging from the Texas Almanac (which claims to be the source for all things Texan since 1857) to the Old Farmer's version (in its 225th edition this year).
  • In an irrational world, reason is as the king declares.
  • I hope you notice my new picture. It's a pretty good likeness save for the fact that I don't have mustache. I had one once, but it got in the way of ice cream cones so I shaved it off. OK, it's still not really me, but I am working on a replacement. The column is about returning presents after Christmas, so at least it is timely.
  • Tiny Tears was one of the most popular baby dolls of the 50s and early 60s. She was manufactured by American Character Doll Company and was offered in a variety of sizes in the time that she was available. Tiny also went through a couple of style changes over the years, but always retained the one characteristic that made her famous--she cried real tears!
  • Ok, this isn't really me; it's Robert Benchley. I was out sick the day they were taking pictures, and looked a little peaked anyway, so I decided to use this picture until I get something else.
    I donít know about you, but as far as Iím concerned the only difference between 2016 and 2017 is one. That is why I wrote off New Yearís Eve as a time for celebratory activities long ago. As a kid, however, there was something mystical about the changing of the year.
  • Recently I talked with a longtime reader of this column who asked me if I remembered a lady from Windom who participated in my writing classes for senior citizens. Her name was Lucille Todd Hawks, and she had been one of his teachers.