Columnists
  • Last Monday (October 14), many North Americans celebrated Columbus Day, and some combined it with Indigenous People Day, even though Columbus may have never set foot in North America.
  • Since time Spindletop, the first significant oil discovery in Texas, and perhaps even before that, the term "black gold," has been about petroleum. But there was a time when another form of black gold was the most precious commodity on earth.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps volunteers planting trees. (photo by Russell Roegner)
  • A really good picture can happen by accident, or it can be the result of getting set up and waiting for that exact moment to get just the picture you want. A few years ago after waiting about two hours my friend Ira Harrison got the picture he was hoping for; that picture is now on display at the Perrin Field Museum. It shows the sun setting late one afternoon directly behind the F-86D Sabre Jet that is on display just past entering the area that was once Perrin Air Force Base. (photo by Ira Harrison)

  • If you travel to Tampa-St. Pete, Florida make sure to explore The Dalí Museum, home to the largest collection of the Surrealist artist's works outside of Europe.
  • My recent column on Burma Shave signs ended with the observation that one of their favorite targets for ridicule was "Grandpa's old-fashioned shaving brush." Since writing that, I have become aware of a resurgence in use of Grandpa's shaving apparatus, as discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
  • Putting Will Rogers into one category is pretty difficult as he was a cowboy, a humorist, a movie actor, a newspaper columnist, a radio broadcaster/social commentator, and a vaudeville performer. His humor often crossed political party lines but the seven presidents he knew didn't seem to mind; he was just being Will.
  • I bought a book off the discount rack at a local bookstore the other day titled Quintessence: The Quality of Having IT. On the jacket fly, the author explained the book’s purpose. "This is a book about the objects of this world that transcend their form and function, that offer more to us than we ask of them—that rise above themselves to assume iconic stature."
  • I have enjoyed watching the new PBS series of programs on the history of country music, and it has brought back some early memories of my father’s admiration for the original Carter family of musicians. Alvin Plesant Delaney Carter (known as A.P.) was born in Maces Springs, Virginia, in 1891.
  • Most students today think of tablets as electronic devices that can be used to search the internet, to many older adults we think of tablets in a completely different way. Tablets of still another type are mentioned in the Bible, but the tablet I'm referring to is the tablet that was invented by William Albrecht whose family had a stationery business in Quincy, Illinois in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1906 William opened the Western Tablet Company in St. Joseph, Missouri, it became the world's largest paper tablet producer.
  • Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the Impeachment Inquiry official this week, the most commonly used descriptive word by commentators is "unprecedented." If they are limiting that to presidential election/politics, they are probably correct. If they are referring to political chaos, violence and uncertainly, I would nominate the decade between 1963 and 1973...
  • Desperate for something to fill time these days, TV is loaded down with sports that aren't really sports and competitions that may have started off legit, but have long since passed into something else. For example...