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Columns

  • January can be first in more ways than one

    I’ve always dreaded January.

    In my book and new 2010 New Yorker desk diary, currently lying flat and blank like a cold deserted beach, January looks like a long month of Mondays.

    After a festive and fun weekend (i.e., this past Christmas), suddenly it’s back to work when January breezes, literally, over the calendar transom, flipping us into the unknown of a stark new year.

    Out with the holiday feasting, pumpkin pie and Norm’s hot buttered rum, in with the leftover celery, Slim-Fast and water.

  • See "Up!": one of the year's best movies

    The year 2009 was a great one for 3-D movies. Everything from “Coraline” to “A Christmas Carol” to “Avatar” gave viewers the option to see the movies in thrilling, just-like-you’re-there-vision, without the headaches of the old 1950s 3-D experiments.

    But instead of going for the thrill ride, I chose to see the beautiful animated film “Up!” in two dimensions.

  • All the merriness of a picture-perfect holiday greeting card

    A little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy standing with a border collie in front of the Christmas tree, both wearing reindeer antlers. He is smiling. She is wagging her tail.

    Hallmark probably has a Christmas card just like that on a shelf somewhere. It’s probably $3 or less. I could have gone got a few of those and been done with it.

    But I didn’t.

    Every year, I get Christmas cards from my friends with their pictures of their children, pets and families. They always look really nice, and I say, “Why can’t I do that?”

  • Christmas wishes for Congress: Read the Constitution (and the bills you pass)

    Ah, Christmastime. What a wonderful time of year. In our nation’s capital, a record snowfall has blanketed the city, creating a beautiful backdrop for a legislative disaster of epic proportions that is unfolding within the hallowed walls of the U.S. Capitol.

    In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d write a light-hearted tribute to the season, but then, around 1 a.m. Monday, the Senate secured its 60 votes needed to move forward with healthcare reform, derailing any hopes for jovial Christmas prose or sugarplum fairies to dance in my head.

  • New feature will highlight those who are changing people’s lives and the community

    Each year, The Brunswick Beacon highlights some of the community’s most interesting people in its annual 10 Most Interesting feature. Once a year, a single issue of the paper is devoted to telling the stories and featuring photos of those readers suggest are among the most interesting in Brunswick.

    This year, when we made a call for suggestions, we received more than we anticipated. With so many good suggestions, we wondered how we could do more than just feature 10 people this year.

  • Yogurt slurping, grave robbing and grotesque sweating: The year in bad commercials

    We all know TV commercials are easy targets for sarcastic comments and putdowns, especially today with all the direct marketing spots for “ShamWOW” and the like.

    For my first worst-of-the-year list, I’m going after commercials, but not the “But Wait! There’s More!” variety that are so bad they’re almost good.

  • There's still plenty of time to get involved with a local MADD chapter

    ’Tis the season for holiday festivities, parties and gift giving.

    It’s also the season for dangerous highways, as drivers who partake in libations bring the ho-ho-ho happiness of spirit consumption directly onto area roads.

    In Brunswick County, law enforcement officers stay busy year-round with traffic stops and DWI checkpoints. It only gets worse this time of year.

  • Count your holiday blessings: most of us aren't Tiger

    No doubt about it, things are difficult this holiday season, even for Tiger Woods. Or perhaps I should say especially for him.

    Just think about all the sponsorship revenue he’s suddenly not earning. As his New Zealand caddy said in his defense just this week, the media is all over him, all because of “one mistake.”

    One? Which one?

    As Gillette put it, “In the midst of a difficult and unfortunate situation…we will support [Tiger’s] desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing campaigns.”

  • Caroling is great, but not as sentimental as it sounds

    When most of us think of Christmas caroling, scenes of Dickensian street orphans singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” in cockney accents for tuppence from the upper class or of well-dressed, top-hatted men and bonneted women singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and good-naturedly begging for figgy pudding often come to mind. (OK, maybe just to my mind.)

    But in reality, my experiences with caroling have been a lot less picturesque.

  • Party crashers: Sheriff's, chief deputy's move trump Tareq, Michaele Sahali stunt

    Move over Sahalis—the jig and your 15 minutes of fame are up. You crashed a White House soiree, embarrassed the Secret Service and the administration and now face Congressional hearings. You’ve kept politicians and pundits entertained in Washington, D.C., and across the country. You even landed the coveted opening of “Saturday Night Live.”

    But here in Brunswick County we have two new party-crashing stars, Sheriff John Ingram and chief deputy Charlie Miller, at least it seems, according to the reaction to the news.