News: Columnists

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. 29, 2014 @ 09:29 PM

Living it up Longleaf Pine style

There’s a new book out that Tar Heels will be talking about for awhile. “Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina” landed on our Books desk Friday. In true Southern fashion, I will soon go off on a tangent, telling stories on the side.

“Talkin’ Tar Heel” is published by UNC Press and written by Walt Wolfram, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English at UNC Chapel Hill, and Jeffrey Reaser, associate professor of English at N.C. State University. The book includes the findings of more than 20 years of research by the North Carolina Language and Life Project at N.C. State. Duke University wasn’t part of it because – insert Yankee joke here. But actually, Northern accents contribute as much to the sound of our voices here as Southern ones. As Wolfram and Reaser write in the first chapter: “The voices of North Carolinians reflect the diversity of its people.”


Mar. 23, 2014 @ 05:52 PM

Billion dollar bracket busted

There’s a very good chance now that I’m not going to win Warren Buffett’s $1 billion.

And I had such good plans for it — Twizzlers for everybody, lamb chops when they’re not buy-one, get-one free, change my oil every two months, not every three. Maybe buy hardbacks instead of paperbacks. Replace torn underwear, even if historically lucky, with new. Get the full bottle of wine, not the half, when we go out to dinner.


Mar. 22, 2014 @ 06:32 PM

VAUGHAN COLUMN: NCCU deserves the love

In the words of the awesome Pharrell Williams, music man extraordinaire: “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Let’s clap for N.C. Central University, or for those of us well familiar with Durham, just Central or NCCU.


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. 16, 2014 @ 07:16 PM

Neil Offen: Staying true to form

There is, of course, only one thing worse than actually filling out your tax forms. That’s finding all the stuff that will allow you to actually fill out all your tax forms.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 04:27 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Lessons of the playground

This past weekend, I played on a playground that had the kind of equipment popular today, with bright colors and arching monkey bars and plastic slides. It also had a lot of metal and chipped paint equipment, including swings that were actual seats with armrests, a see-saw and a merry-go-round. 

 

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. 09, 2014 @ 06:45 PM

The right way and the wrong way

I am part of a singularly discriminated against minority group. I have been left behind.

I am a lefty.


Mar. 08, 2014 @ 05:03 PM

‘Frozen’ best on screen, not here

Plan B. That’s what this winter became, a season of Plan Bs. Delayed. Postponed. Rescheduled. Cancelled.


Mar. 02, 2014 @ 06:11 PM

Neil Offen: Your daily business report

The stock market staged an impressive comeback yesterday, bouncing back from the impressive downturn it took the day before.

At the close of trading, the S&P 500 had added two letters, making it the S&A&P, and offering buy-one, get-one free deals on creamed canned corn. The index got a boost from reports that reports were on the upswing and that the Federal Reserve was predicting that the labor market would be open late tonight so you can stop there on your way home.


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. 22, 2014 @ 03:49 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Team sports, as a parent

March Madness is coming, and as the reigning bracket champ in the newsroom (I have the “NCAA Bracket Boss” trophy to prove it) I bring you a column about basketball that’s not what you’ll find in the Sports section.

I’ve joined a new team many of you already are on, past and present. I have been to the bleachers at kids’ basketball games, and I have survived. My son is in kindergarten. They don’t keep score. Well, the referee doesn’t keep score, and probably not the coach, but apparently parents do. I learned this when a parent told me so. I think I responded with something like, “Mm,” when I was thinking, “Say what now?”


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. 16, 2014 @ 05:17 PM

Neil Offen: Developing a new vocabulary, or DANV

OMG, BTW, ICYMI you can LOL at this POW.

Yeah, I don’t have any idea what any of that means either.
While I’m generally proficient with real words, words that have syllables and, you know, meaning, in a world where communications are limited to 140 characters or a thumb or two, I am out of it — or OOI.
And I know I’m not the only one — NTOO.