Columnist: Bob Ashley

May. 10, 2014 @ 05:34 PM

Baby boomers will now bloat ranks of elderly

I know all of you who are younger than the baby boomers are beyond tired of listening to us talk about how politics, protest, movies, sex, drugs and rock and roll will never be what they were in the 1960s and ’70s.

Well, take heart. The inexorable march of time is at work.


May. 03, 2014 @ 06:48 PM

Building community, home by home, block by block

A couple of sentences in an article last Sunday by Blake Strayhorn, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, stuck with me.

Strayhorn wrote about a Habitat success, citing a story from a young man, Adriel “AJ” Holland, who described the apartment where he lived as a youngster.

“In 17-D, AJ learned to tell gunshots from fireworks,” Strayhorn wrote. “Before he was 10, AJ saw a man shot as he took out the trash.”


Apr. 26, 2014 @ 07:25 PM

WUNC, NPR – voices of civility in broadcast news

Public radio listeners – and there are lots of us in this area – are suffering through the price we pay for our passion last week and this. It is the fund drive, that much lampooned staple of listener-financed radio.


Apr. 19, 2014 @ 05:56 PM

A better world for movement Steinem, others led

At 80, Gloria Steinem is still a powerful voice for equal rights and opportunities for women, causes for which she has championed since being one of the founders of the feminism movement in the 1960s.


Apr. 12, 2014 @ 03:57 PM

Are we skimming through life on digital brains?

As the “Here and Now” transcript puts it, “With digital devices, we are constantly consuming information, from short tweets and text messages to online articles and blog posts. We jump around, skimming and scanning.”

These are not just quirks. Our brains may, neuroscientists are finding, be adopting new processes. The change may be making it more difficult for us to read closely and absorb lengthy or complex material closely.


Apr. 05, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

NCPedia becomes an even richer -- and tempting -- resource

If you wanted to know how Lizard Lick got that name – one of my favorites on the North Carolina map – you could, of course, Google it.

 

Mar. 29, 2014 @ 06:07 PM

Bull City’s news better than Queen City’s

Charlotte, where I spent a decade from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, has long been the envy of many cities as it has emerged as a booming financial center, the very epitome of the latest iteration of the New South.


Mar. 22, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

Time to enjoy our marvelous madness

You probably saw UNC sports beat reporter Harold Gutmann's wonderful front-page story Thursday on our area's representation in the NCAA's men's basketball tournament.

"College basketball is king on Tobacco Road, and the NCAA Tournament is the pinnacle of the sport," Gutmann wrote.  "This week, it comes together in unprecedented fashion.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:37 PM

How to keep them down on the farm

Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it. So Barack Obama will not temper his enthusiasm for increased equality with lucidity about the government's role in exacerbating inequality.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

Dynamic local business scene a Durham hallmark

The other day, waiting to pick up a lunch order at a quintessentially Durham establishment – a taqueria adorned with a large cow atop its roof, legacy of its days as dairy bar – it occurred to me how during my time in Durham the lure of buying local has grown year by year.


Mar. 08, 2014 @ 01:31 PM

Face it – it’s just daylight ‘shifting’ time

A polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, has asked folks in national telephone surveys if they agree or disagree with this statement about Daylight Saving Time: “Don’t think the time change is worth the hassle.”

Forty-seven percent agree with that statement. Only 40 percent disagreed.


Mar. 01, 2014 @ 10:19 PM

Crusading to honor, preserve ‘real barbecue’

John Shelton Reed knows a thing or two about barbecue. As the saying goes, he wrote the book on it.

“Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue,” written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed and published in 2008, is very much the bible of our state’s barbecue.  Reed, one of the most distinguished sociologists of his generation, retired in 2000 after many years as the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. Among many other legacies at UNC, he helped to found the Center for the Study of the American South.


Feb. 23, 2014 @ 02:19 PM

Celebrating 125 years with section, museum exhibit

Happy birthday to us!

As many of you know, I’ve been irrepressibly exuberant over this newspaper’s coming 125th birthday. Wednesday is that day – the very first, four-page issue of the Durham Sun hit the muddy streets of Durham Feb, 26, 1889.


Feb. 15, 2014 @ 11:16 PM

Cynical cultures and political self-destruction

The other day, an anchor on CNN asked a guest about the allegations New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have known more than he is admitting about the traffic tie-ups in Fort Lee, N.J., last September.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

Convenience, inconvenience coexist in digital world

As I start to write this column, we’re temporarily (I hope) disconnected from the computer server that manages our editing and production systems. 
A few days ago, we struggled for about four hours to mend the disruption a power blip had done to the systems that manage our email and connect us to the Internet.