This holiday, it’s a family united

op footballWhen I was 12 years old, there were few things I liked better than the Dallas Cowboys. Definitely my Farrah Fawcett poster. Maybe Fudge Royale ice cream. But not much else.

When a part of you goes missing

op dogMike and I were not exactly a match made in heaven. In fact, I didn’t think we were much of a match at all. At the time we were “introduced,” I lived in a tiny rented house with an equally tiny yard, and I already had one dog, a skittish collie named Russ, who was skeptical of anything new, especially other dogs. I barely had room for Russ, and barely got the bills paid each month. The very last thing I needed or wanted was another dog.

Pisgah High Millennials ready to voice their opinions

op frSomewhere at this very moment, a political science major is writing a dissertation on why young people these days are so apathetic with regard to politics and the issues. In the 2014 election, for example, slightly less than 20 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 29 cast a ballot. According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, that is the “lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded in a federal election.”

America’s ‘culture of me’ has got to change

op frIf we are ever going to have any hope of stemming the bloody tide of mass shootings — which happens in our country with such depressing regularity that we might pause for a day to shake our heads before moving on with the awful knowledge that absolutely nothing will be done about it — then we must first agree with the all-powerful gun lobby that no single piece of gun legislation is going to make much of a difference in stopping the bloodshed. 

They are right — we do not need one piece of gun legislation. Or two. Or three. We need to change the entire gun culture, and not just the gun culture, but the “culture of me.”

Asheville baristas’ behavior a sad commentary

op dirtycoffeeI had never heard of “The Red Pill Theory” or the “manosphere” until I saw references to them in the story that broke over the weekend concerning the co-owners of Waking Life Espresso, a coffee shop in West Asheville. By Monday, the story was in the Asheville Citizen-Times and on WLOS.

Friday night lights still shining bright

op fr2“So, you’re a band parent, huh? Boy, is your life about to change.”

My wife and I heard that a lot a few months ago after our daughter, a rising freshman at Tuscola High School, made the Color Guard. I had only the vaguest notion of what the Color Guard was, and no recollection at all of whether there was such a thing when I pounded the bass drum in the marching band for Alleghany High back in the 1970s. I was a freshman myself once upon a time, adapting as fast and as well as I could to this intense new world around me. Now it is my daughter’s turn.

This is one ride I’m not gonna miss

op frSome of them arrive four or five days early, packed up and just sitting there on the Haywood County Fairgrounds like gigantic metal suitcases that won’t quite close all the way. The rest come later. The Scrambler, the Flying Bumblebees, the Pirate Boat, the rickety little coaster that somebody has to snap together like Legos. The booths that house impossible games, rows of cheaply sewn stuffed animals, the biggest the size of couch cushions. Overinflated basketballs and rims the size of pie tins that are never quite level. Five thousand plastic toys made in China, none of them bigger than a candy bar. Three throws, five bucks, everyone’s a winner.

GOP’s Trump problem won’t be easily resolved

op frI would wager that I despise politics just about as much as you do. Whatever your political affiliation, we would probably agree that the system is broken, that politicians on both sides of the aisle are too beholden to special interests, and that all too often, we end up voting against someone far more passionately than we ever vote for someone. Maybe that is just a different way of saying that we usually vote for the lesser of two evils.

Another thing that we might agree on is that politics is much too often the Theater of the Absurd, in which candidates — many of whom are extravagantly wealthy — are rebranded as “common folk” to appeal to the electorate. Without question, the vast majority of political ads we see these days are attack ads, ad hominem attacks on the character of the opponent, but on those occasions when we do get a glimpse of the candidate, the staging will be very studied and precise, calculated in such a way to convey the same message: he or she is just one of us.

It seemed like a great idea at the time ...

op coxIt looked so good on paper, the way terrible ideas always do. Instead of boarding our miniature dachshund as we usually do when we go to the beach each summer, we were going to take him with us this year.

Our Edisto story is still being written

op edistoEDISTO ISLAND, SC — Whether it is a time-honored family tradition or simply the very real possibility that, as a family, we share a stunning lack of imagination, the Cox family always spends a week on Edisto Island every summer.

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