Some time ago, burglars in England scrawled a message on the wall of a home they had looted: "RICH BASTARDS."
Blockbuster books like "Wild" and "Gone Girl" get so much attention that we forget other authors are out there busting their blocks trying to sell a few stories written without murders and mayhem. I received a couple of quietly wonderful books as gifts, and I have to share the news in case The Times neglects to review them. They deserve attention, too.
A writer seeking profound pronouncements for a year-end column is likely instead to find herself awash in punch lines. Life isn't a comedy. It's a joke.
It's one of the best-known lines of any English-language poet -- Robert Burns' reflection on the upper-class church lady who doesn't realize there's a louse crawling around on her bonnet. "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"
I wanted to do something for my country during the holidays, so I went to the movies.
One outcome of and proof for ideological polarization is the way it has made stalwarts appear like centrists.
Ever since Bill Cosby was accused by one, then two, then four, then almost uncountable women of everything from unwelcome kissing to flat-out rape, the one reaction I can't quite figure is TV Land pulling "The Cosby Show" reruns from its air.
A young dove of peace with dreams in her eyes almost got shot down. A schoolgirl named Malala has lessons for us all. She's just joined the rare company of female winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai, a champion for girls' education, was shot and almost slain for speaking out in her country, Pakistan.
Considering Marshall Fisher's credentials, Gov. Phil Bryant probably couldn't have made a better appointment to lead the scandal-ridden Mississippi Department of Corrections.
PASS CHRISTIAN -- This is Christmas week. And as Irving Berlin wrote: The orange and the palm trees sway. Cat Island looks so close across the sparkling Mississippi Sound, I could touch it with a feather duster. Live oaks remain green and disguise the season.
Smoke and fire, sirens blaring, horns honking, a sudden hail of bullets. This is what passes for the American dialogue on race and justice. It's hidden until it explodes.
The movie "The Imitation Game" has revived deserved interest in Alan Turing.
While most citizens were distracted by the holidays, the enlarged Republican majority in Congress was laying golden pavers for its magical kingdom.
They like her style. Many liberals adore Elizabeth Warren's populist passion for denouncing predatory conduct by Wall Street -- and her linking it to growing income inequality.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the Republican Party's point man on Cuba, seemed to be struggling to contain his fury as he responded to President Obama's move Wednesday to normalize relations with the Cold War foe. The Cuban-American legislator, addressing a roomful of reporters and photographers in the Capitol, chopped the air with his right hand, fired off terse answers to questions and, frequently raising his voice, spat insults at the Obama administration:
WASHINGTON -- In the category of stunning, heartening, woefully underreported good news: In 2000, an estimated 9.9 million children around the world died before age 5. In 2013, the figure was 6.3 million. That is 3.6 million fewer deaths, even as population increased by about 1 billion.
If you need proof that upward mobility in America is increasingly elusive, consider the prospect of a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential race. A second President Clinton or a third President Bush would send the depressing message that Barack Obama's classic American Dream ascent was a fluke.
The just-ending 113th Congress was not, by most measures, productive. But its endgame was at least instructive.
1. Dana Milbank: Jeb Bush, CPAC pinata NATIONAL COLUMNS
2. Voice of the people: Objects to Riverwalk extension LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
3. Partick Buchanan: GOP platform: war without end NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Roses and thorns: 3/1/15 ROSES & THORNS