The Chapel Hill Herald: Columnists

Mar. 01, 2014 @ 05:11 PM

Threat of horrible pain can make you skinny

Those of you who have wandered with me over the years through every diet plan, opinion, advice, success, failure, misery and raison d’etre (that’s right, I am waxing lyrical, mostly because I’m hungry) will be thrilled (or skeptical, or possibly bored) to know that I have finally found my answer. No, it will not be the answer for all of you -- not the vegetarians or vegans or fruitarians, and especially not those who don’t need to lose weight because they “have the metabolism of a hummingbird and can eat just anything I want and it NEVER affects me (giggle)!” And, to that last group, I would say firmly: Turn the page, close the computer, go out into the world and spread your joy -- we will never be friends.

 

Mar. 01, 2014 @ 12:42 PM

Taking a journey through Ann Patchett's life

I have been an Ann Patchett fan for years.  I have enjoyed the range and invention of her novels and even suspended disbelief as, in “State of Wonder,” she led me on an unlikely literary journey in the jungles of the Amazon .
I never knew her skill at nonfiction until I came upon her recent collection of 22 essays published from 1997- 2012, gathered in “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” (book from Harper; audios from HarperAudio, 11 hours, 35 minutes). I listened to all of the essays, some of them a second time and then bought the book so I re-read the many passages that spoke to me. Listening and reading, I found myself in evocative landscapes layered with meanings that lingered and phrases that stopped me with elegance, honesty, or playfulness.


Feb. 22, 2014 @ 09:46 AM

State wants regulatory reform but must protect the public

In a legal alert covering North Carolina's 2013 Regulatory Reform Act, law firm McGuireWoods said its potential for "regulatory chaos is high."

Just what we want to hear after the coal ash spill into the Dan River.


Feb. 20, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

Yes, my friends, sometimes you just snow

I went to the mountains with friends last weekend, since we had three days off, and got there just in time to see their snow! Ten frickin’ inches of it, slammin’ down like angry BBs, defying the fairly warm ground not to let it accumulate. HAH, said the snow, absorb THIS! 
And, with the wind blowing as well, it was like walking through a sandstorm -- snow in every nook and cranny you own, I mean nooks and crannies you didn’t even KNOW you owned. And, I absolutely loved it. 


Feb. 15, 2014 @ 10:34 PM

Tonight is cold, snowy and Carolina blue

Tonight is one of the holiest ones of the basketball season: UNC is playing Duke. If you didn’t know that, or don’t care about it, just put the paper down now. You wouldn’t understand how UNC Royaholics feel today, or often this season. You just wouldn’t “get” our agonizing over the bewildering losses, the repeated miscalculations -- and the frickin’ inability to make a frickin’ foul shot - that have overwhelmed our hero … oh, and the boys, too … this season.

 

Feb. 15, 2014 @ 07:25 AM

The ruination of a home

f you stand at the northernmost end of Merritt Mill Road at its juncture with West Franklin Street, you will see a street that goes in a southwest direction.  This is Brewer Lane -- which leads to Hargrave and Eugene streets.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 10:06 PM

OWASA seeks citizens’ comments on strategic plan

The OWASA Board of Directors cordially invites citizens to comment Thursday on our Draft Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014 - 2017.

The board has spent nearly a year developing this plan to guide the Board and OWASA staff as we seek to improve our services to all our customers. We strongly believe that public involvement is a crucial part of OWASA’s strategic planning, and we need your participation to make our planning process successful.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 11:38 AM

A writer young adults can count on

Adult readers may wait out slow starts or overlook overwriting; not younger readers. They demand strong characters, quick-moving plots, authentic dialogue and stories that stay with you after you close the covers. Reluctant readers are even harsher critics. 
Matt de la Peña is a writer that young adults can count on.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 08:46 AM

Don’t pack in the resolutions yet, just revise

Somewhere between the frigid days that blasted our bone marrow with arctic air in January, and then a tantalizing glimpse of sunshine drowned by gray rain, 2014 has lost its luster.


Feb. 06, 2014 @ 10:47 AM

A table for two at The Pookie Hut

Five more days till Valentine’s Day, and gentlemen, I’m sure you’re as ready as the ladies are. Even ready-er. Super Ready! You’ve planned, researched and organized every little thing to make this V-day a perfect, soupy, sappy, nauseating, romantic bender, am I right? No, don’t look at your feet, look at me -- am I right? 

 

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 08:47 PM

Haaa! HooHaaa! YaaYaaYaa!.Just bringing in the wood

It snowed last night! At my house in country, it was about 1 to 2 inches. Naturally, traffic came to a stop, businesses were shut down, schools were closed, and there was panic in the streets.

Personally, I do the dance of joy when we have a snow day, not just because I’m a teacher.


Feb. 01, 2014 @ 04:43 PM

Plant and animal protection: Time to wake up

A man in Alamance County discovered an unusual animal in his backyard.  It was about the size of a large cat, had an elongated snout, small ears and a long, ringed tail.  It ate a tomato from his garden and disappeared. He did not know what it was. 


Jan. 30, 2014 @ 06:29 AM

’A writer’s truest reward is simply to continue’

If you were Hillsborough’s Allan Gurganus, you would probably want to kick back and rest a little bit after touring around the country visiting book stores and book groups to talk about the new book, “Local Souls.”
The three novellas in the book have gained glowing critical attention across the country.
Reviewer Jamie Quatro wrote in The New York Times, “It’s been 12 years since Gurganus last published a full-length work -- but if there remains any doubt of his literary greatness, his fifth book, ‘Local Souls,’ should put it to rest forever." 


Jan. 26, 2014 @ 01:10 PM

Finding a new approach

“How can a year that ends in ’13 possibly go well?” said a colleague after I’d crabbed about various and sundry muck-ups and a painful shoulder that was threatening to freeze up. In addition, I suffered from the negative effect of having eaten and drunk with abandon over the holidays and was rapidly reaching that itchy feeling inside that makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Thankfully, as if one of the Fates heard my misery, I fell into a string of happy coincidences. 


Jan. 25, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

Survival guide for the electrically challenged

So, it’s 10 o’clock at night, and, unusually late for me, I’m getting ready for bed. (Mostly, I’m asleep by 10, not because I’m old and exhausted from teaching children all day, but because ... well ... fine, I’m old and exhausted from teaching children all day. But last Friday night I tried desperately to pretend I’m young and have the energy of, say, a 50-year-old, so I stayed up all the way to 10 o’clock!)