We’re all afraid of the big C-word. People my age can remember when a diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence. In the 1950s, by the time you were diagnosed it had already progressed too far. Advances in medical research have made it survivable.
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I am no expert on Scotland. I can point to it on a map — which, troublingly, puts me among only one-third of Americans — but I’ve never been there; never even known someone who was born there. What I do know about Scotland has basically been gleaned from Mel Gibson and that one episode of “Parks and Recreation” where Ron Swanson visits the Lagavulin distillery.
I’ll have to say there were some rewards to living on a farm. But there also were some tasks that were anything but fun. I remember how it was being a general flunky for a lot of years. It was my job to do all the hauling of wheat and maize to the mill and all cotton to the gin. I hauled all the seed, fertilizer and tractor parts plus took care of the rent and our checkbook.
I recently flew back to Texas from a short trip and, since I’m not a frequent flier, I am still amazed at the whole idea of flying. I am especially awed by the view from above — being able to see the world from a totally different perspective. I prefer having a window seat and especially make sure that the window is up at takeoff and landing. I love to see the world grow smaller and smaller as we ascend and then to see the world return to normal size as the plane approaches the runway. The view is always impressive, but this trip I noticed that sometimes the view from above is not as spectacular as it is from ground level.
In his 1973 opus “The Gulag Archipelago,” Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn relayed a story from a Soviet party conference during the rule of Joseph Stalin, noted dictator and late-night cinema enthusiast . The Communist leader had just given a rousing speech — or at least I assume it was rousing, given what happened next:
This is my third consecutive column about the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
I was born too late to encounter the colorful swindlers called “roaders,” as roving livestock merchants were called in the early decades of the 20th century. After reading about their exploits as recorded by Western writers like Elmer Kelton, I believe I missed something interesting. The traders with their strings of horses and mules made their way over the dirt roads, closely followed by clouds of dust and flies. They carried guns and lived out of wagons, cooking over open fires.
Finally, there’s news that puts the firing of Ray Rice and the death of Joan Rivers on the back page. Princess Kate is going to have a baby! A tweet from the Royal tweeter says the baby will be born in April and will be a spare to the heir of the throne, which moves some royals down a peg in the lineup for the crown. If it’s a girl, maybe she’ll look like a twee Shirley Temple, since her older brother, precious Prince George, could pass for Spanky on Little Rascals.