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Columns

  • MARTIN: A swift return to reality

    I have an annual guy’s camping weekend each August, and this year it just so happened to be this past weekend.

    It’s a lot of fun. We build a campfire and cook over open flames, we stay up late telling stories and then we hit the water on Saturday in a couple of rented pontoon boats and mostly act like we’re still in our 20s.

  • Chugging into the night

    With apologies to Clement Moore:

    Twas midnight on Christmas, and all through the land.

    The party was roaring, there was plenty of bourbon on hand.

    The children were restless, Christmas dancing in their heads.

    There was so much noise, they barely could stay in their beds.

    And I in my best Eddie Bauer and Mom in her new rabbit wrap

    Were just sitting in our corner, asking our server for a nightcap.

    When outside by the parking lot, we heard a big ol’ noise.

  • A losing battle versus nature

    It turns out I hate oak trees.

    Sure they grow big and full, provide tons of shade and are a very hearty hardwood that makes for great furniture, floors and even firewood.

    But they are also the bane of my existence come late fall and into winter.

    I have two giant oak trees in my front yard and for three, or maybe two-and-a-half, seasons they are wonderful.

  • A big, heavy, start to the holidays

    Saturday was a big day – and not just because of the instant classic that the universities of Kentucky and Louisville turned in on the football field – it was the day the Martin clan decided to go out and get the season’s Christmas tree.

    I love Christmas – the tree, decorating, the lights, everything and especially with young children.

  • Remembering the meaning in Christmas

     I find myself in a bit of Christmas quandary this week.

    See, the plan in our house this year was to try to instill the Christmas spirit in our 7-year-old son.

    And I don’t mean a big tree – we’ve covered that – more lights and few extra trips to see Santa.

    No, we have that part covered.

    Our kids love Christmas, and they could not be more excited for it to get here. If I’ve heard “I wish today was Christmas morning!” once, I’ve heard it 50 times.

  • MARTIN: Finding time for a healthier taco night

    Iused to think that New Year’s resolutions were silly, a weak-minded way to make myself change.

    If I wanted to change during the year, I’d just do it.

    And in my younger years, I would. It was easy, I’d just implement whatever change I needed to make.

    More exercise – no problem. I’ll start running today and hit the gym tomorrow.

    Read more – check. I’ll just set aside an hour each day to devote to my newest book.

  • MY WORD: A good guy is out of the lineup

    On a typical afternoon in 2013, I was sitting in my office as editor of The Sentinel-News when I was paged to the lobby, where I had “a visitor.” I arose and headed up front, expecting to be handed a photo of a large vegetable or prodigal grandchild or hear a scold from a would-be felon’s offspring.

    What I found was a face from my youth and a surge of warmth in my heart.

  • The farce of a flag in South Carolina

    The tragic shootings in Charleston, S.C., last week have left many reeling in the wake of the racist/terroristic events.

    I certainly am one of those.

    It was an event that hit a little too close to home for me.

    Some of you may know that my wife and I attended school in South Carolina. Not in Charleston, unfortunately, but in Columbia at the University of South Carolina. However, we both spent a good deal of time in the Holy City.

    It’s a unique place. We always described it as so much more.

  • Adjust your retirement funds with age

    First, here are two corrections for the column that appeared in the Nov. 26th edition of this paper. In paragraph two of the review of Kate Balchelder’s Wall Street Journal editorial I wrote total spending in 2009 was $3.5 million. That should read $3.5 TRILLION. The second misquote is in the third paragraph. Instead of $30 Billion it should have said $30 MILLLION.

    Sorry about that.

    Let’s talk about pensions: yours and mine and how we differ from the various levels of governments.

  • Poor pollination can hold back corn crop

    Small stalks, small ears, poor kernel development… does this describe your corn crop this year? Or maybe the raccoons absconded with the crop!

    If this sounds like you there may be several factors at work. Drought at the wrong time can stunt your corn crop and cold damage can stunt corn. If you put your crop out early you could see a little stunting from a late spring cold snap. And poor drainage and poor soil fertility, especially nitrogen, can stunt the crop as well.