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Match point: With simple supplies and respect for her past, Bessie Johnson passes on a lost art

Posted 7/25/2009 in Columns

Bessie Johnson has come to appreciate the humor in it. But when check-out clerks first suspected her of being up to no good after repeat store visits to buy armloads of wooden matches and bottles of glue, the moment wasn’t quite as amusing.

 

Adele Elliott: Haunted by past lives

Posted 7/18/2009 in Columns

“It’s no good trying to keep up old friendships. It’s painful for both sides.” W. Somerset Maugham   July and August are tedious months. The weeks between holidays seem endless. It will be even longer before the air cools and thins. These days, breathing can feel like drowning.

 

 

Roger Truesdale: Finding true love in the fantasy suite

Posted 7/18/2009 in Columns

How I got hooked on “The Bachelorette,” I’ll never know.  I’m so ashamed. For those of you who make better use of your time, it’s a reality series/contest produced by ABC.  

 

 

Rob Hardy: Author gives a look at magic books, their origin and their influence

Posted 7/14/2009 in Columns

If you thought you were outside the realm of magic, think again. There has been “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on television, for instance, with magic books central to some of the plots. When the program was popular, Owen Davies used to get e-mails from teenage girls asking about specifics of casting spells. “They had seen my personal website,” writes Davies, “presenting my historical studies on witchcraft and magic and assumed I was a practitioner.”

 

 

Betty Stone: Small town kudos

Posted 7/11/2009 in Columns

Several times lately we have mentioned small town living versus city style. Maybe that means we should think about it a little more.

 

 

Adele Elliott: Love thy neighbor

Posted 7/11/2009 in Columns

Our backyard garden is thriving, in spite of the triple-digit heat index. The bounty of plump cucumbers is just beginning to dwindle. The last few appeared curled into fanciful flourishes, fat feather-ish shapes, looking like something that would adorn the hat of a woodland gnome.

 

 

Rob Hardy: The power of puzzles

Posted 7/7/2009 in Columns

If you are old enough, you remember the sensation that the Rubik’s Cube caused all the world over in 1980. No one is still alive that remembers the 1880 fad for the analogous two-dimensional “Fifteen Puzzle,” which had 15 numbered blocks within a four by four container and you were supposed to arrange them numerically. Mechanical puzzles can make storms like these, maybe because you can solve them over and over again, but it isn’t often that word puzzles produce such fads.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Ensuring interest by condemnation

Posted 7/7/2009 in Columns

Nowadays you can get just about any sort of pornography you want with a few clicks of the mouse, and much of it is free. Before that, New York City, especially Times Square, was known as the headquarters for porn movies, and when porn was available only in print media, New York’s Nassau Street in lower Manhattan (close to City Hall) was its hub.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Human wonders and specimens

Posted 7/7/2009 in Columns

On the cover of the new book by historian Merry Wiesner-Hanks is the portrait of a young girl dressed in Renaissance finery, an elaborate and lacy dress. She smiles slightly and looks directly at the viewer with big brown eyes. She has flowers in her hair. But she has hair not only at the top of her head, but all over her forehead, cheeks and chin.

 

 

Adele Elliott: Masks

Posted 7/5/2009 in Columns

It is said that by age 50 we have the face we deserve. For most of us that is a reflection of life and experience. At middle age, we can polish that face with a smile or, for women, a bit of lipstick and blush. However, except for extreme plastic surgery (and excluding the picture of Dorian Gray), we are pretty much forced to wear the results of the life we lived. Events and emotions of our past are etched around our eyes and impossible to hide with anything offered at a cosmetic counter.

 

 

Adele Elliot: Team colors

Posted 6/27/2009 in Columns

Chris is fascinated with the College Baseball World Series. He leans forward in his “papa bear” chair yelling at the TV. Our two dog-daughters look confused at the barrage of noise gushing from their usually calm daddy. Of course, they cannot understand that the Tigers are at bat and doing very well. The LSU players look quite sharp in the deep purples and sunny yellow of their uniforms.

 

 

Betty Stone: Read any good books lately?

Posted 6/27/2009 in Columns

From time to time I hear a teacher or professor lament, “Students just don’t read anymore.” What a pity! I know that the printed page has to vie for popularity with all sorts of high tech entertainment, but I grieve for anyone who misses the pleasure of reading a book.

 

 

Volunteers needed for Fireworks on the Water

Posted 6/24/2009 in Columns

The mouthwatering smell of the slow-smoking grill, the familiar feel of the Tombigbee River and fireworks dancing in the sky will help us celebrate our nation’s birthday this Fourth of July, and organizers are asking for the community’s help.

 

 

Follow the money?

Posted 6/24/2009 in Columns

I have been reading the comments regarding the Burns Bottom “sportsplex” with interest, some amusement, and much aggravation. I am reminded of a tale I heard/read many years ago regarding an influential and wealthy State Senator from Columbus. I hope my memory serves me well here.

 

 

Adele Elliott: Who’s your daddy?

Posted 6/21/2009 in Columns

Extreme fatherhood seems to be in style these days. The ideal family of 2.5 children is as passé as 33 RPM records and platform shoes on men. If you are to believe reality television, families of eight to 18 children are the only ones of any interest.

 

 

Kady Truesdale: The man behind the column

Posted 6/21/2009 in Columns

“Let me tell you a secret, about a father’s love A secret that my daddy said was just between us. He said daddies don’t just love their children every now and then. Its a love without end, amen, its a love without end, amen. “A Father’s Love” by George Strait These lyrics ring so true in the Truesdale household. Throughout the duration of this column you have heard many a story about the man behind the column’s three children — also known as Number One Son, Number Two Son, and Third Favorite. “Strummin’” this week will take on a different perspective, to tell you about Number One Dad from the perspective of Third Favorite, his only daughter, Kady.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Origins of the obelisk

Posted 6/16/2009 in Columns

The ancient Egyptians hardly knew how influential they would be when they put up obelisks. Pyramids are, of course, more impressive, but if you build a pyramid, it is going to stay where you put it no matter what. Obelisks may weigh hundreds of tons, but they are still to some extent portable, and they have been exported, to various world capitals for various reasons.

 

 

Rob Hardy: The wonder of the exotic, inexplicably lovable elephant

Posted 6/16/2009 in Columns

Elephants are among the first exotic animals of which kids have some knowledge. Every Noah’s Ark set has a pair, and children are able to draw elephants almost as soon as they can draw any recognizable animal. We love Babar and we love Horton. But most westerners see real elephants only in zoos and circuses, where they are among the favorite attractions.

 

 

Roger Truesdale: Hoping Detroit gets on the right bus — this time

Posted 6/13/2009 in Columns

I began taking an interest in hot cars when my bicycle lost its appeal with the girls in my class, somewhere around the age of 12.

 

 

Adele Elliott: A Columbus almanac

Posted 6/13/2009 in Columns

Summer has arrived with a vengeance. The air hangs heavily. Chris goes into the backyard to gather beans and cucumbers, and returns exhausted, breathless. A voluminous humidity clings to our skin like a fog, seeping deeply into each pore. And, like a cranky house guest, she stays much too long. We know it will be many months before this visitor packs her bags and moves on.

 

 

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