Columnists
  • There is something intrinsically satisfying about toast. About the worse that can happen is to end up with burnt toast, and a few scraps with the back of a knife can usually ameliorate if not completely solve that problem. So here is a toast to toast, that more sophisticated off spring of our daily bread.
  • Most of the decline happened because rich, thick seams in the Central Appalachian Basin -- largely southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky -- gradually became exhausted. Only thinner, difficult-to-mine coal remains. The slump worsened when horizontal drilling and hydraulic “fracking” loosed a flood of cheaper natural gas that grabbed coal markets.
  • Like most of you, no doubt, I grew up assuming that the calendar we lived by was universal and had always been the same. If questioned about its origin, I might have speculated that it was ordained by God and enshrined in the Bible. So nowadays, if an occasion arises that illustrates how different calendars used to be, I want to know more.
  • I don't know what they taught my kids when they were in school (about the time the earth cooled), but I thought they should have taught common sense. They could have started with a simple lesson like: "We do not put peanut butter in the refrigerator because this makes peanut butter hard and impossible to spread and that makes Mother impossible to live with."
  • When Texas becomes Irish for a day on St. Patrick's Day, many people think of parades, beer, dancing, beer, fighting, beer, or leprechauns. But literature, prose and poetry are the greatest exports from the Emerald Isle. And Irish-American storytellers abound as well.
  • You should know the three fellows to the left. If you don't, well, that's your loss. I grew up as radio was sliding into the endless repetition of bubblegum rock & roll, and television was just starting to make an impact on most of America. It was a pretty good time, and one that strikes a plethora of memories.
  • Upon researching the writings of my ancestor Dr. Gideon Lincecum, I learned that he was a beekeeper who recognized the importance of bees not only as producers of honey but also to pollinate flowering crops. Experimenting with bees to see how they could work for him in different ways, Gid kept as many hives as he could manage. He trained his bees to become friendly with him and some even chose to cling to his beard.
  • Spell Check and conscientious proofreaders rob us of hearty, healthy laughter. When reading a letter in the Customer Relations Department of the airlines from which I retired, I found mild humor in the complaint that the flight arrived late and caused the couple to miss the bride and groom repeating their "vowels." But, I burst into guffaws with another letter that said, "The flight was canceled and left our entire family strangled in Chicago."
  • Ok, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but Hollywood gave the credit to Don Ameche. Anytime the Fox scriptwriters needed and personable boy inventor, they enlisted Ameche. So we will too. Actually the picture probably is from Alexander's Ragtime Band. Tyrone Power and Alice Faye joined Ameche in that one, but Power played Alexander and Ameche was relegated to his more usual role as the hero's best friend.
  • As I prepared to lead an upcoming discussion of the movie Animal Crackers for the Classic Film group in Sherman, I was bowled over to discover the Marx Brothers performed in Denison a century ago. Moreover, the changes they made in their vaudeville performances at the Opera House previewed a new direction they would pursue both on-stage and in film.
  • When I received a bad test score in school, I had until my mother got home from work to devise a plan to tap into her sympathetic heart. This always softened the blow. Today, teacher-to-parent emails ruin valuable scheming time for school kids. Mama knows the test score before a child has a chance to pick a scab ‘til it bleeds.
  • I celebrated my 75th birthday last week, while traveling to MO-Ranch, the 500-acre Presbyterian retreat center on the Guadalupe River at Hunt, TX, west of San Antonio. Dr. Redshaw and I were going there to lead a weekend workshop on "Telling Your Life Story." Now that we are back home in Sherman, the best description of our experience I can think of is "rejuvenating."