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The Christmas switch

The decision by a radio station that seasonally plays Christmas music to “flip the switch” and begin spreading the Yuletide cheer must be a difficult one. Flip the switch too soon and you risk offending your listeners with a barrage of songs they do not yet want to hear. Flip it too late, all the Christmas-philes out there might already have gotten their fix somewhere else.

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.

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.

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.

What the dog saw

Twice in the past week, my two-year-old coonhound Skeeter has exploited a fissure in the fence I built him and taken a Christmas vacation of his own.

The Christmas movie

Finally, last night, I got to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the first time this season. After watching Christmas movies since the day after Halloween, I was really ready. I know every generation has to have their new holiday movies, and the world would get tired of watching the same old stuff over and over again, but some of the stuff that has flooded the television airways this past season has been a terrible imitation of the Frank Capra classsic.

Taking bacon too far

While I enjoy it just as much as the next person, sometimes I don’t understand the love affair some people have with bacon. For me it has always been something for special occasions; a treat for hard work. However some people just seem to take it too far.

Movies document technology shifts

Recently I read a piece in RedBook about how the movie “Love Actually” would be different if it were made in today’s world with today’s technology. For those who can’t remember, the movie was made in 2003. Yep, way back then.

Contests and Promotions

On the shoulders of geniuses

My coffee pot takes no fewer than seven steps to produce one pot of coffee. Se-ven. Starting my chainsaw requires five minutes of switch-flipping, pump-priming and expletive mumbling. Heck, even a simple task like starting a fire in my fireplace takes the patience of 10,000 men before the flames are roaring.

The best Christmas gift

When I was in fifth grade my teacher read “The Christmas Box” to the class as the winter break neared. If you’re not familiar with the novel by Richard Paul Evans, it tells the story of a young family that moves in with an elderly, wealthy woman to help care for her and her massive home.

A Christmas conundrum

As I was visiting my father for Thanksgiving last week, he asked the one question I dread having to answer around this time each year. It is the one part of Christmas I always dread.

Goodwill hunting

When I first moved into my tiny apartment, I didn’t have much to work with. The apartment was empty with walls that still smelled like paint and a floor plan that didn’t leave much to the imagination.

Frozen locks

As far as mornings go, Monday started off like most others. I rolled out of bed and put the dog out. He goes out front the first time because it is close to the kitchen and my morning soda pop. So I let him in and headed back to the other part of the house. A bit later, the dog wanted out again, and I went to let him out back. To do that, I had to unlock the back door. Walking down the hall, I didn’t think that would be a problem. I have lived in this house for years and have locked and unlocked the back door countless times.


A marriage is a funny thing. You can disagree on so much and still find a way to coexist — cohabitate, even — with another human being. My wife and I, for example, disagree on most everything, especially politics and the relative value of football and mopping.

Still time to turn in wish lists

Just a few more days till Thanksgiving; my where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was digging out my folder on the Herald Democrat Wish Lists and now it is almost time to start running them in the paper. A few nonprofits have already marked sending us their wish list off their holiday to-do lists. But many more still need to send along their list of wishes and needs so our readers can help them out.

The holiday cooking horrors we share

Just in time for the holiday season, I finally did it. I made gravy, from scratch. OK, all of you foodies can stop laughing. It was quite the accomplishment. I made sausage gravy to go with biscuits. The bread was frozen but baked at home. I see no need to try to do too much at one time when it comes to cooking.

Thanksgiving tidbits

It’s almost that time. Just one week and we will all be gorging ourselves on turkey, dressing (or stuffing depending on your particular choice here), cranberry sauce and an array other carb-filled dishes.