News: Columnists

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 04:19 PM

Photos needed of 11 Vietnam War dead

Three North Carolinians have mounted a campaign to bring photographs to the names of those men from our state who were killed in Vietnam. They’ve asked newspapers to help get word out about the photographs they’re seeking, and I’m much obliged.

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. 27, 2013 @ 04:10 PM

RX: Read the fine print

Medications like this may increase the risk of watching mindless reality television shows or excessive texting in children, teenagers, young adults, older adults, really old adults or insurance salesmen.

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 08:11 PM

A culinary fair tradition

Like my family, you probably went to the N.C. State Fair this past week, too, each person zeroing in on something. I wanted to go to the rabbit barn. My husband wanted to try the fried Oreos. My son wanted to go right to the Wiggle Wurm (that’s how the ride is spelled).

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. 20, 2013 @ 05:30 PM

Neil Offen: It’s back-to-work time

We fought the law and the law won. We fought the good fight, even if we didn’t know exactly what we were fighting for, how to fight, what round it was or whether we were actually playing bocce instead. 
So, yes, we have ended our column shutdown, and all the adverbs have slowly returned to their usual sentence positions.

Oct. 19, 2013 @ 05:15 PM

How to live to 100

In case you missed it, my story in the Faith section this week included Catherine Ferrell, a 101 year-old member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church over on Dowd Street. Anyone who makes it to 100 years old and beyond knows something about living. So I asked her if she had any advice about longevity. She told me about her mother.

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. 13, 2013 @ 11:22 AM

Running into trouble

The race is not always to the swiftest. Sometimes, I figured, it’s to the guy right behind the guy who’s wearing the armor and carrying the lance.

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. 06, 2013 @ 07:07 PM

We’ve come to an impasse

Let me be clear about this: We will not re-open this column until the newspaper agrees to our demands that it completely agrees to our demands.

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

Of ham sandwiches, canes and voters

As sure as Election Day comes around every fall, here’s my usual column reminding you why you should vote.

Don’t take it from me – the behavior of Congress this past week is reminder enough to vote, vote, vote.

I’m starting to think the most important quality in an elected official isn’t platform, or party or personality. I think it’s simply the ability to be reasonable. If you’re not reasonable, then you don’t belong in office. If you stomp your foot and act like a jerk, then you apologize and move on. You recognize that you’re being unreasonable, and you stop doing it.

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. 29, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

All systems are go(ing)

As you probably know by now, we have installed a new operating system for this column. This is our first new operating system in several years and we felt it was needed even though the old operating system worked perfectly well and people had actually learned how to operate it.    

Our new operating system — Operating For Friends Even Now, or OFFEN — offers an all-new design and all-new features, none of which you will be able to easily understand. Which is, after all, the whole point of a new operating system, isn’t it?

Sep. 28, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

The team spirit of college football

Twice this week on my morning commute I heard “Enter Sandman” on the radio, the Metallica song I would dislike if the intro wasn’t played at the start of Virginia Tech Hokies games to get the crowd jumping.