Columnist: Wes Platt

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 04:33 PM

Platt: Not a lumberjack, and I’m OK

Well, what a relief.

This year, the job of newspaper reporter doesn’t rank all the way at the bottom of’s list of the top 200 jobs.
Instead, it’s apparently just almost the worst job, squeaking in ahead of lumberjack based on work environment, stress and hiring outlook.

Apr. 11, 2014 @ 02:48 PM

Separating fiction from reality

It’s probably for the best that I never plan to run for public office.
After all, I’ve pretended to be an affable talking bull with a penchant for smashing things on World of Warcraft.
I’ve portrayed a maniacal general, bent on declaring martial law on someone else’s sovereign planet.

Apr. 04, 2014 @ 05:13 PM

No more leaving things lying around

Back in the 1980s, I didn’t think twice about stashing my blue Jansport book bag under a bench outside the public library while I wandered around downtown Orlando.

Today, though, it’s a different world.

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 05:38 PM

The chance to live a history lesson

Even today, nearly 70 years since he joined the first wave of soldiers through the surf onto the German-fortified shores of Normandy, Charles Chappell remembers.

Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

Too accustomed to staying connected

I’ve been plugged in, one way or another, ever since I was a kid – certainly as long as I remember.

Sitting in front of the TV, I watched “Sesame Street” and the Watergate hearings with equal interest, if not always equal comprehension.

Mar. 17, 2014 @ 10:07 PM

Durham deputy sheds pounds to serve

Deputy David Earp hungered for carbs, snacks, sweets and sodas.

But the 25-year-old Durham native felt pangs of another hunger: a call to serve his state and country in the National Guard.

Mar. 07, 2014 @ 02:16 PM

Platt: Time to feed some hungry brains

Don’t spoil the end of “A Dance with Dragons” for me.

Three years ago, I bought the latest George R.R. Martin novel. I’ve taken my sweet time reading it in brief bursts. I’m about three-quarters of the way through it.

I didn’t want to rush the read, and that proved prudent because Martin still hasn’t finished the next book in the series that inspired HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” “The Winds of Winter” might be out next year.

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 06:48 PM

Platt: Remembering ‘we’ and not just ‘he’

I felt pretty good about my accomplishment Sunday morning as I walked in to find Catherine cradling the baby in her arms.

“Hey,” I said, holding up my smartphone. “I condensed all my iPhone apps onto one screen.”
She gave me her signature from-beneath-the-brow stare and replied: “I woke up tired.”

Feb. 21, 2014 @ 05:24 PM

Living in another world, not far away

I live less than three miles up the Durham Freeway from where police say a man accidentally shot a baby with a gun stashed in the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt on Wednesday morning.

The only thing that’s liable to go off in one of my pockets is my phone, pinging as yet another Words with Friends challenge arrives.
That usually doesn’t hurt anything but my ego.

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 03:34 PM

Platt: Turning up the heat

Jousting a boulder, it turns out, isn’t such a great idea.
The boulder in question was a hard-packed orb of snow left behind during a pass by the city’s plow truck as it rolled past our house in Watts-Hillandale on Thursday, shortly before the second wave of Winter Storm Pax snow blew through.
On Friday morning, this hazard sat smack dab in the middle of the entrance to our driveway. No way I’d be able to drive around it.

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 02:28 PM

A baby with ambition

He sits on the runner rug in the dog trot.

He’s taking a breather next to the windowed door that leads to the back stoop of our house in Watts-Hillandale.
It’s been a long trip of about 30 feet from the crib in the bedroom into the hall that leads to the kitchen.
John Michael – now 8 months old – is crawling.

Feb. 03, 2014 @ 04:42 PM

Saying so long to Bubba

The ram on the lam is out of the slam.

But the future, although brighter for Bubba now that he’s no longer attacking his own reflection in shiny Durham neighborhood cars or chewing shrubs, remains uncertain.

On Friday morning, bidders gathered on Dave Artigues’ farm in Rougemont to get a look at the celebrity sheep.

Jan. 24, 2014 @ 04:47 PM

Breathing easier thanks to doctors

It’s not that I hate doctors. Most of them seem like perfectly fine people.
But I’m almost certain you’d never hear me utter anything like what my wife told the dental receptionist over the phone the other day:
“Wes would love to see you at 11.”
“Love” isn’t a word I splurge on teeth cleanings.

Jan. 17, 2014 @ 03:30 PM

Worrying about the storms we can’t track

I was almost finished building the new toy box for John Michael last Saturday when our smartphones buzzed about a tornado warning in Durham.

Soon, we found out that – although it’s not a comfortable fit for all involved – it’s possible to cram two adults, a baby and a nervous Great Pyrenees into our downstairs guest bathroom.

Jan. 10, 2014 @ 05:46 PM

Welcome to the nerd club

Fifteen years ago, I told my editor at The St. Petersburg Times that I was working on a new side project -- an online role-playing game.

He smiled, laughed and said, “Wow, you really are a geek.”