Sometimes research and writing takes you in unexpected directions, and that is the case today. As I started writing this column, I stumbled into one of those poignant stories of long ago that touches a present-day nerve.
In the 12 months we have to steel ourselves for the next State of the Union spectacle, let us count the ways that this spawn of democratic Caesarism -- presidency worship -- has become grotesque. It would be the most embarrassing ceremony in the nation's civic liturgy, were the nation still capable of being embarrassed by its puerile faith in presidential magic.
So it turns out Chris Christie is fat. If, somehow, that fact had escaped you before, surely it came slamming home recently after he appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman." There was the 50-year-old governor of New Jersey jokingly snacking on a doughnut as the talk-show host -- who has taken a jab or two at Christie's weight -- gently asked him about his girth. The bit was in keeping with how Christie usually deals with weight-related humor. He seems to feel the best defense is a good fat joke.
PASS CHRISTIAN -- Four different groups have ventured to our new holiday home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One found it. I've carefully typed out the same detailed instructions for all travelers, giving the benefit of my considerable experience finding the shortest route. All four carloads ignored my directions and relied on some kind of global positioning gadget in their computers, telephones or cars.
Before Ronald Reagan traveled the 16 blocks to the White House after his first inaugural address, the White House curator had, at the new president's instruction, hung in the Cabinet room a portrait of Calvin Coolidge. The Great Communicator knew that "Silent Cal" could use words powerfully -- 15 of them made him a national figure -- because he was economical in their use, as in all things.
"Obama says he's going to make middle-class jobs," the breakfast room troubadour bellowed at the Holiday Inn Express to those who wanted to listen -- and to those who didn't. "Did he make your job?" he went on, cornering a female employee. "Private companies make jobs." The commentary was not entirely wrong.
Writing about love is a tricky thing, especially since my wife might read this column. Fortunately, I heard New Hope Baptist Church minister Jerry Young speak at the Jackson Rotary Club today. His topic was love and marriage. I can't put it any better than he did.
It is unfortunate that Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday this year, rather than a Monday or Tuesday.
The following is a crashing generalization, but here goes: When it comes to how we dress, there are serious gender inequities -- in standards of comfort and in body exposure. Valentine's Day underscores a third that rankles just as much: inequality of effort. Go to any romantic restaurant on Valentine's Day, and observe. The girls are dressed for festivity, and the boys are dressed for walking the dog.
As meetings go, Monday's meeting of the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees was as eventful as you will likely see. In fact, there was so much ground to cover, the meeting lasted almost four hours.
So it finally happened. After years of making and buying King Cakes, I finally got the prized plastic baby. Now granted, my chances dramatically increased due to the fact that the only other person in the baby race was my wife.
Tonight, President Obama gives his state of the union address, but in Oktibbeha County the focus will be on the state of the schools.
There are no states more reliably and consistently friendly to gun owners and gun manufacturers than Mississippi. That's clear, well beyond any doubt.
Hopping over the worm on the asphalt took me back to my childhood when rains brought out red wigglers. I remember hopscotching across sidewalks trying to avoid stepping on icky worms.
Most people pay no attention to the green tubular stalk of a plant that grows along the banks of the Tombigbee River at Columbus' Riverwalk. The plant can also be found in clusters along nature trails at MUW's Plymouth Bluff Center. It is commonly called a horsetail and was here before the dinosaurs.
With his chronically gravelly voice and relentlessly liberal agenda, Sherrod Brown seems to have stepped out of "Les Miserables," hoarse from singing revolutionary anthems at the barricades. Today, Ohio's senior senator has a project worthy of Victor Hugo -- and of conservatives' support. He wants to break up the biggest banks.
We may never know exactly what happened in Benghazi, Libya, the night Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, but it's becoming increasingly clear that our response was short of optimal.
PASS CHRISTIAN -- The week I became 60, I was on the Gulf Coast, the weather was balmy and life definitely seemed worth living.
Earlier this week, the Columbus City Council approved a proposal from Selvain McQueen, the city's police chief for a gun buy-back program.
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3. Our View: State flag is bad for Mississippi's brand DISPATCH EDITORIALS
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5. Leonard Pitts: A speech for history NATIONAL COLUMNS