Columnist: Wes Platt

Jan. 03, 2014 @ 06:33 PM

Sometimes luck trumps preparation

Nearly a year ago, Rachel Raney showed me the perils facing pedestrians around Trinity Park, Duke University’s East Campus and Durham School of the Arts.
She worried about motorists speeding through crosswalk zones, endangering adults and children alike trying to make safe crossings.

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 05:20 PM

Would you like The Force with that?

Several management types sat at tables in the McDonald’s dining room, holding a breakfast meeting while I munched on a burrito.

The senior manager leading the meeting made a comment: “You’ll find that in your R2D2 report.”

No one around the table giggled.


Dec. 20, 2013 @ 05:31 PM

Overthinking baby’s first Christmas

Just five years ago, I’d have laughed in the face of anyone who told me that I’d someday find myself standing in the back aisle of a Durham Toys R Us, weighing the benefits of Baby’s First Blocks, the Soothe & Glow Seahorse and the Rhyme & Discover Book.

Dec. 13, 2013 @ 03:34 PM

Violence highlights need for change

In the past two weeks, DeWarren K. Langley has faced the prospect of attending two funerals for murder victims he’s known.

The first was for Patrick Danial Holmes, a 24-year-old man who Langley saw at a recent prison summit at a local church, where Holmes had talked about the struggle of a convicted felon trying to find honest work after incarceration.

Dec. 06, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

Thanks to Walt for inspiring imagination

Thursday was Walt Disney’s birthday. If defrosted today, he would be 112 years old.
I owe him a lot, despite the fact that he left this world just a few months after my birth in 1966.
Without him, I never would’ve come up with my irreverent impersonation of “Backstage Mickey,” which proved popular at office parties after a few beers and a hummus plate.

Nov. 29, 2013 @ 12:48 PM

Crankiness in a week of thanks

I blame it on the Metamucil ad in my Facebook feed.

The fiber supplement showed up the other day, right before Thanksgiving, and I got to thinking about how the advertisements that appear in the feed are most likely inspired by links and the content of status updates shared by users.

Nov. 22, 2013 @ 06:48 PM

A long wait for justice

Jesse McBane and Patricia Mann saw a future together.

In 1971, he was an N.C. State student and she attended nursing school at Watts Hospital – now part of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics campus within blocks of my home. He was 19; she was 20. They planned to marry.

Nov. 15, 2013 @ 11:37 AM

Waiting for the real work to start

My friend Colin – another adoptive parent - asked over lunch last week whether I felt like a dad now.

“Has it really sunk in?”

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 07:42 PM

Taking this health thing seriously

I’m trying to lose at least a turkey by Thanksgiving.

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 02:10 PM

Time to strap on that climbing keyboard

For a while, I thought good sense might prevail.

I’ve got too much on my plate, I thought. I’m busy with the new baby, expanded job responsibilities and catching up (at last!) on the final season of “Breaking Bad.”

How could I possibly have time to churn out 50,000 words of a novel in November?

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 03:06 PM

His middle name is “Go”

Colleen Kilsheimer once thought her son Stephen, born with Down Syndrome, never would know how to spell his own last name or slide his arms into the sleeves of a coat to bundle himself up against the St. Louis winter.

But he surprised her.

Oct. 18, 2013 @ 02:38 PM

Scaling back the media buffet


This week, we turned off most of our cable service. We’ve pared back to the basic broadcast network package and internet.

Part of it is simply a family cost-cutting measure – it should save our household about $1,000 during the next year to go without the full-fledged package that included the digital DVR and a few premium channels like HBO and Showtime.

But mostly it’s the result of recognizing that we simply don’t need hundreds of channels that we rarely watch.

Oct. 11, 2013 @ 08:20 PM

Durham author gets worldwide recognition

Mur Lafferty is a mom, a UNC grad, podcaster and inventor of “Sansaball.”

Last month, the Durham denizen also earned recognition at Worldcon, a major speculative fiction convention, where she received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 06:53 PM

Mom gets last laugh this time

The day after Mom became a cyborg, she apparently gained an obscure superpower.

“I smell heat,” she said groggily as she reclined on her bed. Doctor’s orders: a full week of bed rest following surgery to install a defibrillator in her chest. “Is something burning?”

I eyed the white-capped orange bottle of Percocet on the bedside shelf and immediately assumed it was the drugs talking. So I laughed, shook my head and proceeded to joke about it in a Facebook status update.

Sep. 27, 2013 @ 10:28 PM

Chasing the destination, missing the journey

The economy really must be improving, because my weekend walks at The Streets at Southpoint mall have lost their intensity.
I can't speed along at a decent pace, what with having to slow down or stop for other people or, when possible, to swerve around them.