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Columns

  • SOUDER: Buying a new family vehicle? The Price is (not) Right

    Our family is a mostly normal, middle class American family – a mom, dad, two kids and a minivan named Daphne. (If you think naming your vehicles is not normal, this is one of the reasons I used the word “mostly” in the first sentence, and you’ll have to take it up with my wife.)

    Unfortunately, Daphne is at the age and life stage where it’s hard to know how much more service we can get from her. Repairs are coming a little more frequently, and we are always afraid that the next issue could be the big one.

  • Look, up in the sky over Shelby County -- not what is it but why is it there

    There was a mysterious presence in the air over Shelby County last week.
    It hovered over neighborhoods, flew low from one end of the county to the other, and landed in the field on the back of a farm, separated from homes only by groves of mature trees.
    It seemed to hang in the air like one of Tiger Woods’ tee-shots used to do, and then sort of drift along the horizon like some oversized dragon fly.
    It drew people from their homes and toward those trees and fields. It lit up the phone lines and fired up Facebook.

  • Some gaps of fear are just hard for us to bridge

    There was a woman with whom I once worked who had a phenomenal phobia about bridges, which, living in Florida as we did, was something not easily managed.

    She had a Golden Rule about bridges: Don’t go unto them, and they can’t do unto you. She would drive to great lengths to avoid a span of any size greater than, say, a 2-lane culvert-crosser.

  • SOUDER: Are you ready for some football?

    A couple of weeks ago you could have learned a lot about a person by asking them a simple question: “I was watching the news today and was wondering, do you think they’ll reach a deal?”

    Now some people who follow the political scene would’ve likely assumed you were talking about the debt-ceiling debate going on in Congress at the time, and answered accordingly.

  • Tragic accident brings perspective about our fragile lives

    How many times has it been you? Awaken early, pile into the car and head down the road on a family vacation, excited, weary from a long preparation time, plotting a shortest-possible course across perhaps foreign territory to arrive at your destination.
    Your anticipation is racing through your veins, adrenalin pushing it like a chemical locomotive, and you keep your eye on the ever-larger dot on the map as you dash toward its fullness, following that beacon to a place of joy and wonder and happiness.

  • An example of life imitating art – or at least the ‘Andy Griffith Show’

    Those black-and-white lessons we learned from our devotion to the scriptures of the Andy Griffith Show typically seem lost in the transcendent Technicolor of today.

    The tenets taught to us by Andy, Barney and the gang too often seem maudlin and misplaced in the constant churn of our lives, when we seldom slow down to inhale the sweet fragrance of love and life and spin like another damp load cycling down in a washing machine.

  • SOUDER: The debt-ceiling debate: Economics according to J. Wellington Wimpy

    As I was researching today’s column concerning the ongoing debt-ceiling “crisis” in our country, I came across an item that really got my attention. Late Monday evening, Congressional leaders from both parties got together and issued a rare joint statement, as quoted in a front page story in the New York Times: “We, as leaders of Congress, wish to calm the escalating fears regarding any potential default on our debt and assure our creditors that we will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

  • You have to keep your cool during hot fun in the summertime

    Last week, while most of you were basting like a Thanksgiving turkey waiting for the oven that was about to surround you at midweek, I decided to do something really snide and snarky and sneak north for a few days, to Minnesota.

    And you know what happened: I had to wipe that smile right off my face, as my mother often told me to do.

    My first tip came when I ran into Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden in a convenience store. He asked if I was handling the heat, and I told him I was headed to Viking country.

  • Are your athletes starting to specialize too much?

    I hear Jim Wiley has been around baseball since he helped Abner Doubleday lay out the field for a game among Gen. Sherman’s troops.

    That may not be true, but for certain he was playing fastpitch softball with the Shelby County Jets more than a couple of decades ago. I know, because my Granddaddy used to take me to see the Jets play.

  • SOUDER: Are we living in 2011or 1984?

    In 1950, when George Orwell penned his classic book Nineteen Eighty-Four, he envisioned a future where government officials communicated only through deliberately ambiguous or evasive language. Webster’s defines Orwell’s supposedly fictional future language, called “Newspeak,” as “propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution and the inversion of customary meanings.”

    I am afraid that Orwell was only a few years off with his timeline and that his scenario has arrived in 2011 America.