Being a crime and police reporter has its fair share of exciting days, and its more boring days. I never know what’s going to happen when I set foot in the newsroom or turn on my police scanner.
My idea of high technology, generally speaking, is a toaster. As everyone knows, it’s an inscrutably complex mechanism that requires pin-point adjustment and careful programming of that little dial on the bottom that determines how much you will burn the toast. Not to mention you also have to decide on and implement which is the correct side to use when you’re only toasting one slice.
Sitting in a fast-food restaurant eating chicken after using a back-to-school coupon, my son and I talked about Labor Day. There’s no school on Monday, I told him, because of the holiday. Labor Day is a holiday for people who work, I said. People who work hard deserve a holiday, I said.
Welcome back, students. We are thrilled that you have returned for the new semester.
Translation: Couldn’t you have just waited another couple of weeks so that the rest of us could continue to find a parking space downtown?
For some reason, my most vivid childhood memory of a back-to-school night is not my own school, but my sister’s. We were living in Augusta, Georgia, (the suburb of Martinez, to be specific) and she was starting junior high. It was the 1980s. I was still in elementary school. I can picture the evening. There were trailers, not just the main building. It was crowded. She got a souvenir light blue plastic mug. Maybe it was the mug. It was a cool mug. What has stayed with me is the feeling of newness – our family of four checking out a new school where my older sister would go. I don’t recall being upset she went to a different school. It was just different not being in the same school together anymore.
When asked, several years ago, if he had ever gone camping, my friend Frank responded, with a look of total bemused amazement on his face, “You mean, like on the ground?”
What does good leadership in times of crisis look like? We saw it late last week in Ferguson, Missouri, when Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol came into a contentious situation and the mood changed in no small way because of his leadership. What he did was walk with the people who were upset. He talked with them, not to them. He listened. He hugged. In short, he led.
Here’s a list of what to do before you go on vacation:
Make a list of what to do before you go on vacation.
I haven’t mentioned this to anyone before, so please keep it quiet because it’s embarrassing: I can’t park.
When I was a kid, we took dodge ball seriously. We played in public schools, and we hit each other hard with those dodge balls. No remorse. You dodged, or you got hit.
City officials are likely to add to the existing parking restrictions in neighborhoods around N.C. Central University, to the dismay of some residents and pleasure of others.
I turned on the television to get the weather. Sure, I could have looked out the window, I could have opened the door, but I wanted to have supporting evidence in case I was cross-examined.
As far as indoor entertainment venues go, the Durham Performing Arts Center is arguably the biggest draw in the Triangle, bringing both Broadway shows and big-name concerts to the stage since it opened in late 2007. Pollstar Magazine just rated it third on its list of national attendance at theaters. But that’s indoors.
Let’s see, here’s the current list: my right foot, my left hip, the middle of my central back, my left eye, my left wrist, my other wrist. Yes, those are the parts of my body that currently aren't quite working at optimal efficiency.
When I first began reporting, I noticed that one of the first questions interview subjects would ask me was, “Where are you from?” It’s just a way to make small talk, to look for common ground. Most of the time.