It is comforting to think of death as a passing rather than an end. In that vein, I prefer to think of Steve Jobs's final words as editorial commentary: "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."
Hey, have you heard about this thing called "the fiscal cliff"? Actually, the better question is: Have you heard about anything except the fiscal cliff? Nine months ago, the term had not even entered the media lexicon. And now it's suddenly everywhere.
In today's world of social media, where everyone's every little thing is on display, it is sometimes difficult to recall a time when exhibitionism wasn't ubiquitous and was, in fact, not admired. Such are the inevitable thoughts upon perusing Kitty Kelley's lovely new book -- yes, lovely -- about John F. Kennedy as seen through the eyes, or more accurately, the lens of her friend, photojournalist Stanley Tretick.
The people are sad. If holiday shopping is any measure of public mood, the joy vanished this year. The grade-school massacre depressed everyone, and now our rapid approach to the Fiscal Cliff has many scared and afraid to spend money.
While the rest of the country is shoveling and shivering, South Georgia is at its loveliest. The camellias are blooming, live oaks keep their leaves and trees loaded with bright-orange kumquats and satsumas are exotically common.
On the day after the recent massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., police in Newport Beach, Calif., took a man into custody for allegedly firing more than 50 rounds from a semi-automatic handgun in the parking lot of a shopping mall. He aimed into the air and no one was hit, though one person was hurt slightly while running away. Police say 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola was destitute and frustrated with his circumstances. Firing dozens of rounds at the sky was his way of venting.
They don't like the crowds, the traffic, the parking chaos. They dislike the sameness -- the same mall chain stores piping in the same holiday music and selling the same made-in-China sweaters, whether in Spokane, Indianapolis or Raleigh. They stress out when waiting for someone to take their payment. Small wonder that 45 percent of consumers are doing at least some holiday shopping this year via the Internet, according to the Deloitte consulting firm.
FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- In the quiet of this early morning, in a season dedicated to peace and good will to all men, it is hard to believe the sadness and ugliness that assaults America.
The holiday season is upon us -- a time to lovingly connect with family, to relax, recharge and emerge happy, content and revitalized. Just kidding.
It is a conundrum of wordsmiths that sometimes events are so horrible that words escape us. Bereft of the tools of our trade, we are left with what is perhaps the only appropriate response to something as heart-stopping as the massacre of children: Silence.
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, every politician who has me on their email list -- and there are many, on both sides of the aisle -- has been filling my inbox. All of the messages begin with the requisite expression of shock and horror, the business of sending out our hearts and prayers to those who mourn. Then the gun control advocates insist that now is the time for congressional action, and the opponents caution that no legislation is going to stop people (not guns) from killing.
The usual gun extremists largely went into hiding this weekend after the obscenity in Connecticut. The National Rifle Association offered only a flowery expression of sympathy for the victims. Real brave, aren't they?
One of my great hopes for a Barack Obama administration -- and thus one of my personal disappointments -- was that he would use his bully pulpit to emphasize the importance of a two-parent family, and especially of fathers, to children's well-being.
PASS CHRISTIAN -- It was a painting on black velvet. Half a dozen or more boats, one of them a huge Biloxi schooner, all bedecked with colored lights, moving slowly through the darkness.
OXFORD -- Why do we let politicians and the press get away with this? For years, we've been told with increasing fervor that rich people are America's problem and if only condemned for their miserly ways, we would have a better state and nation.
If you have worked hard for five decades, made pots of money and now want to squander it all in Las Vegas on wine, women and baccarat, go ahead.
Nothing like a debt-ceiling brawl to raise the public's anxiety levels.
Ah, the great American West, where man can generally breathe free and also inhale -- woman, too.
Christmas in my home city of Santa Monica is different this year. It used to be that there were elaborate displays depicting the birth of Jesus in the big public park by the ocean. I've always believed that Christmas is a major religious holiday, and the display reflected that. According to people who know more about such things than I do, the large dioramas told the story of Jesus' birth according to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.
A few words to ponder as we sail toward the fiscal cliff. Those words would be: "That was then, this is now."
1. Ask Rufus: Stand Fast Mississippians LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Birney Imes: On the road with Louie and Sprocket LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Kathleen Parker: The new SAT don't care 'bout no fancy words NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Charles Krauthammer: The wages of weakness NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Roses and thorns: 3/9/14 ROSES & THORNS