Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States and Canada had a long tradition known as potlatch. Hosts would invite other tribal members and family to a grand celebration that marked milestones such as births and marriages. Typical activities included singing, dancing and eating, not unlike festive occasions we celebrate in our own lives.
She's single and lives in a small town where, she said, "Everybody knows everybody." She won't do the bar scene, and there aren't many other options for meeting single men where she lives. What she'd like is a serious long-term relationship and she doesn't rule out marriage. So what's a woman to do?
Whenever there's talk about improving accountability in government, the call goes out for increased transparency: Nothing should be hidden, all records should be easily accessible, the processes should be crystal clear, roles and responsibilities of government officials should be easy to define, any motives or personal agendas should be discernible and avoided, and the chain of command clearly visible.
Many if not most political observers these days fall into one of two camps: either cynics who by definition believe all people - meaning elected officials - are motivated by selfishness, or skeptics, those who by instinct doubt or question or disagree with generally accepted conclusions, per the American Heritage Dictionary. They distrust government at all levels, as polls regularly show. Voters' lack of trust in elected officials was cited as one reason last summer's transportation SPLOST failed in all but two specially created districts, including our own.
This year of 2013 has, for me, gotten off to a start worthy of a year that ends in 13. Not that I'm superstitious or anything. Here's how it began.
I really wish they'd have told me something I don't already know. That was my response this week to a new poll by the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire. In it, Congress gets a lower approval rating than root canals, cockroaches, head lice and colonoscopies. It could hardly get much worse than that. Those results follow on the heels of a December Gallup poll that found members of Congress beat out just one profession - car salesmen - in popularity. And just before New Year's, Rasmussen Reports polled 1,000 likely voters and found 69 percent rank Congress ...
Once merry-making New Year's bells stop ringing and Times Square clears out, people of Scottish descent make plans to celebrate the Jan. 25th birthday of their esteemed poet Robert Burns at formal dinners with a carefully prescribed format. The evening calls for good Scotch whiskey, poetry readings and a detailed menu to include something called haggis, among other things. By definition, haggis is "a mixture of the minced heart, lungs and liver of a sheep or a calf mixed in with suet, onions, oatmeal and seasonings, and boiled in the stomach of the animal." The description makes my vegetarian ...
It is a fledgling tradition, but traditions start somewhere. It is becoming a ritual for us to settle in on successive nights and work our way through a library of Christmas movies. There's "White Christmas" with mellifluous Bing Crosby, antic Danny Kay and sumptuous but stiff Rosemary Clooney who transform a failing New England inn and the fortunes of its owner, a retired general under whom characters played by Crosby and Kay served in World War II.
You either love it or hate it: Christmas music played every day around the clock starting sometime in October, it seems. The best time to go full-time holiday music, in my opinion, comes right after Thanksgiving, but all-the-time Christmas fare drives some people batty, and not just the Scrooges among us.
Christmas came early - this week, in fact - for the now former Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock. After a string of embarrassing missteps in a seemingly gilded political career, Rogers got to resign his senate post - only one month after winning re-election - and glide into a newly created executive-level job at Georgia Public Broadcasting. "I am honored by this incredible opportunity," he gushed. Disgraced politicians just never seem to go away. They have as many lives as cats are said to have, no offense to my own.
Really, how lucky can a guy get? Just when Rogers had ...
Washing windows isn't on anyone's list of favorite things to do, but imagine the job of washing the windows at CNN Center where soaring glass window walls enclose the towering structure. Well, Covington's Fred Franklin has done it, but that's only one of his high-rise, nail-biting accomplishments. When Atlanta hosted the 1988 Democratic Convention, it was Franklin who rigged and lifted to the roof the sound and lighting stages, hung the ceiling banners and raised thousands of balloons to the roof that would be dropped at the end of the convention.
With high-flying experience like that ...
It never fails that whenever I sit down to compose this weekly column - or almost anytime I find myself at the computer - our little gray girl cat comes around mewling plaintively. In the wink of an eye, she's on the desktop, prowling back and forth across the keyboard, putting herself between the computer screen and me.
Is there anything you don't know at this point about the alleged affair between four- star Gen. David Petraeus, married and the father of two, and his biographer, fellow West Point grad and fitness fanatic Paula Broadwell, the married mother of two? The news burst like a bombshell over Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of President Obama's re-election, and more and more salacious - and serious - details are emerging every day, now involving another general and civilian groupies. The story is at the top of every newscast.
This story can be told from two different perspectives, but in either case, it's about love and passion. It's a story about a woman whose passion is rescuing dogs and cats founded abandoned, neglected, abused or hurt, then giving them a safe and secure life. It's a story about how she turned the hunter she married into a passionate advocate for abused and neglected pets, as well. And it's a story about the unique gift he commissioned to commemorate the passion they share. "...Just because I love her," he said.
It happened quite suddenly. One morning recently, we heard the rip and roar of a chainsaw and the guttural grinding of a wood chipper. The noises went on for the better part of the day, and even when the dissonance ended, we weren't happy. One by one, the neighbor's trees that lined our back fence had come down. Gone was our semblance of privacy. We had an unimpeded view of the back windows that faced ours, their storage shed and a metal garage, and even beyond into the next yard. Their trees had shaded our back porch and ...