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Columns

  • A useful end-of year list for those in need of a breather

    It’s the time of year when columnists enjoy making lists of things: the best movies, books or music of the year; the best or worst Christmas songs; dangerous toys to avoid giving your kids or the weirdest things to do the day after Christmas.

    Even though it’s a little too early to be doing a best/worst of the year column, and regular readers know all too well how I feel about holiday air pollution like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” I still feel that yearly need to start listing things.

  • Confessions of an undercover Santa Claus

    The history of Saint Nicholas originates from the year 346 A.D. and is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a saint and bishop of Myra in what is now modern-day Turkey.

    He had a reputation for secret gift-giving and became a model for today’s legendary Santa Claus, a living example of many worthwhile virtues such as the love and care of children and generosity toward all.

    Beneath the costume of anyone playing Santa Claus is a real individual volunteering to briefly assume the identity of an ancient saint.

  • Saying goodbye to my best friend Bob

    With apologies to my wife, my best friend Bob passed away last Saturday night. His end came quickly and quite unexpectedly. I wish we could have spent more time together, but I appreciate the time, albeit short, we had.

    I first met Bob shortly after my wife and I moved to the Brunswick County area in 2001. He was barely old enough to feed himself and had been wandering in the woods around our house when we noticed him one day. It took a couple months of encouragement, but he finally decided to “adopt” us and two other families.

  • Texting while driving is not only dangerous, now it's also illegal

    Hey?

    Hey.

    Wut r u doin?

    Drivn.

    O rly?

    Ya rly. Y?

    illgl 2 txt n drive.

    Oops.

    As of Tuesday, text conversations like this one could land you in trouble with the law and with a fine.

    Effective Dec. 1, the state adopted a ban on text messages for drivers in moving vehicles. If you’re caught texting and driving, you could face a $100 fine plus court costs.

  • Remembering our favorite Christmas specials and reviving a nostalgic trend

    Every year at this time, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of those bizarre pieces of holiday nostalgia, the stop-motion animation Christmas specials like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

    Each features strange puppets that move in bizarre patterns but somehow seem to come alive thanks to the colorful sets, enthusiastic voice performances and imaginative storytelling.

  • Rockslide makes for more interesting travel adventures

    If you’re venturing west anytime during the holidays—especially toward Tennessee via western North Carolina—don’t forget not to take Interstate 40.

    For anyone who’s been stuck under a boulder and hasn’t heard, a massive rockslide fell down and went kaboom there Oct. 25, near the line of demarcation between the Volunteer and Tar Heel states.

    Travelers have been living in interesting times ever since.

  • From Cyber Monday to Tragic Tuesday: Sale extension may spur slow economy

    Franklin D. Roosevelt may have been on to something when he moved Thanksgiving up a week in 1939.

    Annually celebrated on the last Thursday of November since Abraham Lincoln’s presidency in 1863, FDR chose to move the holiday a week earlier in ’39 at the requests of retailers and businesses.

    See, there were five Thursdays that November, and Thanksgiving fell on the 30th. Leaving only 25 days for shoppers to secure holiday goodies and only 25 days for businesses to cash in on the holiday rush, FDR chose to move the holiday that year and the next two.

  • Miss Out of this World beauty pageant to feature men in their finest--dresses that is

    A Shallotte police officer, a contractor, a truck driver and a taxi driver walk into a room.

    One of them is wearing a dress. One of them has on high heels, the other a wig.

    Oh, wait. They’re all dressed that way.

    What’s the punch line for this?

    There isn’t one. They’re doing it for a few good laughs and most importantly for a good cause.

    On Saturday, Dec. 5, Brunswick County men will put on sparkling dresses, high heels, wigs and more to compete in the “Miss Out of this World” Beauty Pageant.

  • Eggo shortage makes national news headlines. Really? ‘Leggo!’

    A few weeks ago, I was barreling down the aisles at the Food Lion, throwing items into my cart, when I stopped in my tracks.

    There was a sign that said “Attention customers! Eggo products may be unavailable for several weeks, due to a problem at the processing facility. We hope to have this resolved by mid-November. Thank you.”

    Well, that’s not good, I thought to myself. My son and I love Eggo waffles. They are a staple item in our freezer.

    I knew I had to act quickly, so I grabbed four of the remaining boxes to get through the next few weeks.

  • Dj vu all over again? Ain’t that the truth

    Ask any New Yorker who famously professed, “It’s déjà vu all over again,” they’ll have the right answer for you.

    The real-life New Yorker attributed with the quote, of course, was New York Yankee legend Yogi Berra, who recently returned to the field at Yankee Stadium, which is now more like Yankee Stadium 2.0.

    I’m sure his iconic phrase danced through his head as First Lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden escorted Berra onto the field of the new Yankee Stadium during the first game of this year’s World Series.