- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 21:03
- Published on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 05:00
- Hits: 596
President Harry Truman said that in Washington if you want a friend, get a dog. He knew what he was talking about. Dogs are always in a good mood, think everything you do is great, won’t fire you, and won’t abandon you. Their faithfulness is almost a universal constant.
Stories about canine loyalty cover the globe. At Tokyo’s Shibuya train station there is a statue to Hachiko, considered by the Japanese “their country’s most faithful dog.” Born in 1924, he was an Akita. This is a native Japanese breed is an attractive mid-sized dog with lots of fur. He belonged to a professor at the Imperial College in Tokyo and each day Hachiko saw his master off at the Shibuya train station and then waited for him to return. The Professor and Hachiko were a familiar pair and conductors, fellow commuters and vendors knew them well.
Unfortunately the professor became ill one day and died while teaching a class. Hachiko didn’t understand and until his own death waited at the train station for the professor’s return. The professor’s friends and family tried to find the dog a new home. But Hachiko would have none of it. Until he died he was a fixture at the train station.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 05:00
- Hits: 846
From all accounts, it’s fair to say that our early Virginia ancestors had it in for large animals. Sometimes they had good reasons, and other times they didn’t. But it doesn’t matter, because for the most part they were successful in their efforts to get rid of them. At one time Virginia, and especially the Northern Neck, was home to a surprisingly large number of large wilderness animals.
When the first settlers arrived in 1609 there were wolves, mountain lions, bear, elk, and farther south in Virginia, even a species of buffalo. But many of these animals didn’t stand much of a chance against the growing population of settlers. The last wolf was killed in 1815 (starting in 1633 Virginia paid a bounty on wolves) and the last mountain lion in 1882. Other large creatures hung on, but many of the large North American quadrupeds, which President Thomas Jefferson routinely bragged about, were all but wiped out in his native Virginia.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 05:00
- Hits: 595
Most heirlooms sit tucked away in a drawer, perhaps carefully packed, or maybe on display. “That was Grandma’s china,” or perhaps, “this set of glasses came over with my family from England.” Things like that, and often, in terms of a family history, that connection that bonds one generation to the next, is priceless.
I have several items just like that, but my favorite isn’t on display or carefully tucked away with the family china. It’s on my wrist. With care, I wear it every day. Of course, sometimes, if I am doing heavy work, or perhaps going out of the country, I put it aside. I don’t want to risk damaging it or losing it. But, it’s a working heirloom, and I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t keep on using it. Besides, at the risk of sounding superstitious, I think it brings me good luck.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 05:00
- Hits: 693
The Northern Neck is home to some of the most pristine waterways in Virginia. There are few bodies of water that are as unobstructed and natural in character. Of course, on some summer days, it gets a bit noisy, but come sun down, it’s just the occasional bass splashing as he tries to get something to the eat, the sound of frogs, and of course, the symphony of the peepers. However, even in what seems an unspoiled area there are signs that mankind and his trash are never far away.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 05:00
- Hits: 528
The Democrats in Virginia took a drubbing last fall. In one of the worst routs the party has faced in more than 10 years, they lost all of the top jobs in Richmond, and suffered a devastating setback in the House of Delegates. However, last week, the Democrats managed to find a consolation prize. To the casual observer it might not seem like a big deal, but for the party it was important win.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:00
- Hits: 553
There are a lot of Democrats who aren’t happy about the president’s decision to commit additional forces to Afghanistan. They are convinced this is an un-winnable war and can’t help but make that all too easy leap to saying that this will be just another Vietnam. Respectfully, I think they’re wrong on both counts. President Obama didn’t make this decision casually.
First of all, Afghanistan is not Iraq. Iraq is a war that, for all its terrible costs, was fought because of a determined and single-minded desire on the part of one administration. Afghanistan is different. There is a history to our involvement in the region that many of us don’t recall, or, I suspect, choose not to. Or, maybe we have simply forgotten. But it’s this history that makes a sound moral case for why we just can’t pack up and go home.