- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 05:00
- Hits: 391
It’s a common complaint this time of year. Parents, and they’ve been doing this for at least the past 40 years, moan about the ever increasing complexity of our Christmas gifts. The toys get more gadgety, more electronic and more complicated with every passing year. Of course, I say that while delighting in every new feature I discover on my iPhone, and of course, I don’t know how I got along without my electronic razor with its 10 different settings, and, oh yes, a clock. I have no idea why it has a clock, but there it is. Then there is the Zu Zu. A friend of mine managed to find one of these for her daughter. They’re very hard to come by. I didn’t ask how she got it, but I suspect it probably involved an envelope changing hands at two in the morning somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike. Zu Zus are the automated hamsters that are the toy of 2009. My guess, watching these little critters go through their tricks, is that the Zu Zus have more computing power in their one or two chips than my PC had in its entire motherboard back in 1983.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 December 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 16 December 2009 05:00
- Hits: 407
This statistic will surprise some people. Some, like me, will find it disturbing. Others will simply shrug their shoulders and think very little about it. The alarming projection is that if current trends continue, the last newspaper in the United States will be printed in 2043. That’s based on statistical projections. However, even that estimate, given the state of the industry, may seem optimistic.
The great papers, whether it’s The New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Baltimore Sun (the paper H.L. Mencken called his literary home), are all fading. The businesses have been bleeding red ink for years. They’re laying off reporters by the dozens and trimming the size of their publications. The Baltimore Sun is just a shadow of its former self.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 December 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 09 December 2009 05:00
- Hits: 503
When asked, most people can easily name their favorite thing about Christmas time. For some, it’s the food. I can understand this. Pecan pie, eggnog, and yes, though I can’t understand the attraction, fruit cake. For others, it’s the music. Christmas carols, hymns, Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, and an addition I have come to enjoy, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, all say Christmas. But for me, the one thing that delights me most about the holiday season are the lights. Thomas Edison invented the electric light in 1879. In 1880, to celebrate the season, he strung the first Christmas lights outside of his Menlo Park laboratory. Since then they have been a part of the holiday season.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 December 2009 18:17
- Published on Wednesday, 02 December 2009 18:17
- Hits: 455
Economists are all saying the recession is over. They point to a growth in the gross domestic product and an increase, at least when compared to last month, in retail sales. Even automobile sales improved slightly. And then there is the modest uptick in home sales. All of this sounds encouraging, and it should be, but it still doesn’t feel like the recession is ending. If anything, it seems unusually persistent and sometimes like it’s actually getting worse.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 05:00
- Hits: 682
Ask several people what Thanksgiving means and you will get all sorts of different answers. To some it’s a feast. Turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes … and, well, I better stop there, because for someone on a diet, several days before Thanksgiving, all that food imagery can be unnerving.
To others, like my dad, Thanksgiving was about football on TV. The Thanksgiving meal, hopefully, occurred at half time. To others, it’s about family and spending some time together. However, for many, the original founders of the holiday, the Pilgrims, are an afterthought at best. Perhaps that’s because to most of us they seem remote, a bit odd, you know, the funny hats and all, and maybe not all that relevant. However, that’s probably selling the Pilgrims short. The Pilgrim story is more than just a story about a meal — it’s a saga — one that shows the persistence and character of some of our earliest American settlers.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 05:00
- Hits: 361
Virginia Republicans are still basking in the glow of one of the most sweeping statewide victories in the history of the commonwealth. In fact, it was the largest lopsided win for any party for governor since 1961. The GOP won the governor’s mansion — the first time they have done this since 1997 — and at the same time won both down ticket positions with easy wins for Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. They also won a net gain in the House of Delegates of six seats. This completely reverses the seat-by-seat gains the Democrats have made during the past six years and once again gives the Republicans a whopping majority in the House. Right now the Republicans can count on more than 60 votes.