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LET’S REMINISCE: Christmas memories

In more than two decades of listening to elderwriters sharing reminiscences, I have noticed that the Christmas season has often been the setting for unforgettable childhood memories. They are as precious as gold nuggets or polished gems.

What makes a Christmas classic?

With Christmas only a week away, I’ve started to notice the beginning of the annual marathon of Christmas movies that will go on until the 25th. Over the past few days, as I watched personal favorites like “A Christmas Story” for the 300th time, I have started to ask myself what makes for a classic Christmas movie.

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Jeb Bush’s email dump points to a different kind of presidential run

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush announced last weekend that he is releasing 250,000 emails from his two terms as Florida’s governor. North Korean hackers may be dismayed that he beat them to it, but Bush 2016 boosters are happy. This move, along with a planned e-book incorporating the emails, was taken as the surest sign yet that he is planning a presidential run in 2016. Sure enough, two days later, Bush announced on his Facebook page that he will actively explore a presidential candidacy.

Relationships: Learning how to reestablish self respect

To participate in the world and fulfill your dreams, you need to respect yourself. Without self-respect, you will always feel less than others. Self-respect is a combination of honoring yourself, not accepting negativity from other people, and knowing that you are good enough. If you find that your self-respect is low or missing altogether, you need to do some inner healing. Once your self-respect returns, life can be wonderful again.

Roads, bridges, tunnels should matter to Americans

It’s almost a cliche at this point — the United States needs to spend more on infrastructure. Other countries are running circles around us in the infrastructure department. It’s fashionable to blame this on the Republicans’ scorched-earth tactics against President Barack Obama, and on conservative distrust of government spending in general. And those are certainly factors. Problems with state and local government finances are another issue.

Cartoons for girls

What is it about the Christmas season that makes one so nostalgic? Seems like all I can do these days is sit around and think about the old days. Sometimes, those thoughts bring back joy and sometimes, well, not so much. But one such thought left me pondering the state of cartoons.

Goodbye, ‘Stephen Colbert’?

Come Thursday, we’ll have to say goodbye to our favorite blowhard political character, “Stephen Colbert.” That’s the day the real Colbert will retire “Colbert” the character as he signs off from his Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report,” in preparation to take over for David Letterman in 2015.

On anniversary of Sandy Hook tragedy, Congress should act on gun laws

Two years ago this week, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 children and six adults were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation’s history. I will never forget the horror of how those children died — shot at close range with a high-powered rifle, with each child hit as many as 11 times, as a shooter fired more than 150 rounds of ammunition within five minutes. The tragedy was magnified by the realization of what could have happened if the killer had more time — given the time and capacity, he would have killed hundreds of children.

Planning for a new year

I am making a list and checking it twice and no, it has nothing to do with Christmas presents. I have finished with my Christmas shopping. Now I am on to planning my New Year’s Eve feast. Yes, I said feast. I am ready to let 2014 go.