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Columns

  • Our space program has a new goal: Staying home

    As these characters meekly appear on a computer screen, three men and a woman are flying above us in the space shuttle Atlantis, the last planned human voyage into space for perhaps this generation.

    A program that has since President Kennedy’s manifest address in 1961 explored beyond the horizons, developed medical, technological and economic solutions that benefited mankind, that brought reality to the myths of our youth, could be left to dust.

  • What we need is some independence from excesisive fireworks

    It was around 11:30 on Monday night when I was roused from my most peaceful slumber by incoming fire that must have sounded like the cacophony that careens through the ears of foxhole dwellers. The booms were loud and persistent, the echoes long-lasting. Diving under the covers did no good.
    In fact, the blasts were so thunderous I wanted to record them and play them for my Marine son to ask him if this is what it was like during his recent tour in Afghanistan.
    I’ve never been to war, but it sounded like the music.

  • SOUDER: Don’t know much about history

    This weekend, most of you will no doubt be celebrating our nation’s independence. Perhaps you will go on a picnic, watch a parade, or take in a fireworks show. Unfortunately, according to the Department of Education’s “National Report Card” released last week, several of us will not know the reason for the all the festivities.

  • Beaufort: A place in the heart, a residence of the soul

    There are places that are emblazoned into our hearts and souls as if seared there before birth, a match for us and our time that we would learn only through life’s tumultuous passage.

    Home certainly is primary, the place where we planted our roots and grew among our nourishing family and friends, but there are others, unique plots on a map to which we are drawn and driven by strands of our DNA and the forces that propel us.

  • There finally seems to be a point to Todds Point

    Three events have aligned in the galaxy these past few months to accomplish something that I thought never would happen in my lifetime:

    Todds Point is now on the sphere of relevance.

    If that sounds sort of mean and flip, I don’t mean it to be.

    Todds Point has been an enigma to me for as long as I can recall: a name on a map, a reference point for a road, a hamlet of friends and acquaintances.

    But, to borrow from Gertrude Stein, there was never any “there, there.” And she was talking about Oakland, Calif.

  • A road more traveled can take us back to days of dads

    On a sunny Friday afternoon, the damnations of work behind you and the blessings of a weekend settling large on your horizon, you find yourself winding down a road that is as familiar as the scars in your own skin, one whose hills, dales and dusty side trails you can see perfectly with your eyes shut and nothing but motion to plot its passage.
    Each fencepost is a milestone of your journey, a dot on your mind’s map so large and bold that you can name generations of people – their nicknames, their offspring, their ancestors – who lived behind them.

  • SOUDER: The mother of all family feuds

    To some, the words “family feud” will bring to mind the old game show by that name, with Richard Dawson kissing all the female contestants.

    For the more literary astute, perhaps the Montagues and the Capulets from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (or the more recent movie, Gnomeo and Juliet) came to mind. Still other’s thoughts may have gone to your latest holiday get-together.

  • A touch of class: Note to 2011 graduates, check out this record

    For the first time in nearly four decades, Shelby County Public Schools graduated two classes of  seniors on Saturday.
    Though these teenagers traversed the threshold from child/student to adult in a simple march across a podium and in the gentle grasp of an administrator’s hand, the final understanding of how far they have come, how much they learned and can accomplish, won’t be on life’s diploma until, oh, a few decades from now.

  • Memo to smokers: Get your butts out of here

    An old colleague, basketball executive, author and many times Boston Marathoner Pat Williams, used to open speeches by saying:
    “I’m going to speak first to those of you who are smokers, in as much as you have less time to live than the rest of us.”

    And today I am addressing you smokers.

    But this isn’t a pray-for-you evangelism about the evils of inhaling the incineration of an unctuous weed whose fumes are so toxic that they do nothing but spread death through your body.

  • SOUDER: The end of the world as we know it

    I take today’s title from an R.E.M. song of similar name, a song my fourth-grade son spontaneously began singing at the breakfast table on Monday morning when he saw the headline about the tragic tornado in Joplin, Mo. Though he meant it to bring comic relief to an otherwise terribly unfunny event, his mother was not amused.