• 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.

  • We're still here -- we hope -- if the Rapture didn't occur

    Were you like me around dinnertime on Saturday evening? Did you look at the clock and wonder?
    Surely I wasn’t left behind, was I?
    After all, radio evangelist Harold Camping had been saying that the Rapture would begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, that a series of Heavenly orchestrated earthquakes would crash across the country and that we all would be headed Home.
    Well, some of us.
    Certainly, if that had happened, I was hoping to be included.

  • Promenade season is full of pomp and circumstance

    It’s prom season, as the parent of any high school student – or at least that parent’s wallet – likely knows quite well.

    Shelby County’s prom was Friday in the select and sensational Seelbach Hotel. Collins will celebrate this week at the magnifique and munificent Muhammad Ali Center.

    And we extend poverty-line pity for the family who has to pay the tab for a teenager who has a paramour attending the other school, because that’s a deep double-dip in the pocket.

  • SOUDER: Saved by the (wedding) bell

    Unless you have been hiding under a rock or totally avoiding all media for the last couple of weeks (and who could blame you?), you are aware that Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in an elaborate ceremony at Westminster Abby in London last Friday.

  • This year's Kentucky Derby was a bit different in Shelby County

    A sunny Run for the Roses is always a great day to be a Kentuckian, but that glare on our old Shelby County homes Saturday was even a bit brighter than usual.

    That’s because for the first time in decades we had someone local to root home, a personal chunk of us, a force to steal inside us and transform all those generic impulses of pride and emotion into true partisanship.

  • Bin Laden's demise: Numbing news, moving moment

    This is how much one man’s perspective of the world has changed in nine years.

    On Sunday night, as my wife and I sat on our sofa awaiting President Obama to go live  with a stunning, sleep-stalling, late-Sunday-night announcement, we speculated on what awful message we would hear, saying silent prayers for our world, our country and our family.

    And we never, not for one second, not even in an idle thought, speculated that the news we would hear would be that this awful murderer of thousands, Osama bin Laden, had been brought to the ultimate justice.

  • When it comes to our weather, it’s hard to get the picture

    Wednesday. 12:30 a.m. The tornado sirens are blaring through the wind and rain outside and windows closed against them. My wife’s voice is equally rousing, and I spring from my bed to see what is the matter.

    We grabbed up the kids and scurried to the basement, opened the door slightly and turned on the TV to track whatever mayhem was causing those sirens to blare.

    I’m sure many of you did the same, alerted, awakened and ambulated into early morning emergency response mode.

  • A taxing process that really should be laid to rest

    So you think the weather was nasty and no one showed up for your big event? This is how my weekend went:

    An emotional funeral for a beloved family member on Friday, then at my desk at home on Saturday and Sunday, bleeding on the tax altar.

    Please don’t tell me you’re sorry for my loss, but that the tax stuff was my problem for procrastinating. I’ve heard that. I understand. I didn’t mean for the process to be that way, but it just spiraled down that drain.

  • SOUDER: The unfortunate combination of 2 sure things: Death and taxes

    In the 2008 election cycle, there was a phrase one candidate used that was then repeated over and over. The phrase was “putting lipstick on a pig” – meaning, of course, to try to make something that is ugly sound (or look) better.

    Nowhere is that phrase more appropriate than in the discussion over the government shutdown that was averted, literally at the 11th hour last Friday evening.