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I dusted off my telescope to observe the great conjunction of 2020 for myself. My Orion-brand AstroView 90mm EQ is a refractor telescope essentially no different from the instrument Galileo looked … more
Over the Christmas holiday, my wife and I watched all 10 episodes of “Ted Lasso.” Actor Jason Sudeikis plays the title character — a mustache-wearing former coach of a small-college football … more
I was fortunate to be a part of Darrell Spain’s orbit for the last 40 years. We were close enough friends that the gravitational slingshot of our relationship propelled me to some of the liveliest … more
Around this time of year, many folks go to great lengths to make resolutions about things they will do or say — or not do or say — in the new year. For most of us, that change in behavior … more
The other day, I listened to a late 2019 podcast episode on preparing for the new year. I wanted to warn the podcasters about how irrelevant their advice would play out in 2020. Many of us spend … more
Beauty, the poet says, “is in the eye of the beholder.” I think that saying probably got started by a guy whose buddy was ragging him about his girlfriend’s looks. Real beauty, we all know, … more
Easy and affordable access to adequate broadband service was high on the wishlist for Chatham County, and many other rural areas of North Carolina, prior to COVID-19 and well before terms like … more
We bought our Christmas tree this week. Acquiring our Fraser fir made for a voyage long and strange. We are thrilled to have brought it home. My father would have laughed out loud if anyone in our … more
I’ve wanted to write about privilege for a while. Did you cringe while reading that word? It’s pretty common, since “privilege” itself is often depicted as an affront to the individual. … more
To the Editor: Give a smile to someone you pass by on the street or at work. Send a personal short note. Say a kind word. Call someone you haven’t talked to lately. Visit a … more
I still remember the first time I saw one of my neighbors at the beginning of the stay-at-home order. We caught sight of each other near our mailboxes and had a glance of shared understanding. It was … more
To the Editor: A recent letter to the editor claimed that, until we distribute a COVID-19 vaccine, wearing masks is absurd and not effective. He quotes a June New York Times article which … more
Dear Santa, How are you? I don’t know about the rate of COVID-19 infections in the North Pole, but they are steadily increasing here. You probably already knew that — you check your list … more
He was walking briskly as he talked — and agitated, and masked — so I had to lean in and listen hard, even though the volume on my cell phone was up about as high as it could go. “I’m so … more
Today’s society and its norms in general — as well as specifically some of the younger generation — signal to me that I am an antique. Outdated. A dinosaur. Not “with it.” That’s kind … more
My cousin Gail down in Wilmington is the family crier. Not that she endlessly sheds tears over our family, but rather she is like our town crier, as if she were wearing a tricorn hat, swinging a … more
When I announced North Carolina had its first known COVID-19 case on March 3, most of us didn’t expect to be living like this in December. Instead of preparing for beloved holiday traditions, … more
Despite the current spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths, there is good news on the not-so-distant horizon. Three effective vaccines are in the pipeline. Some North Carolinians — those battling … more
Unbelievable when you think about it, how North Carolina maintained its segregated and discriminatory racial system for such a long time. The remnants of what is commonly called “Jim Crow” are … more
Dear Rachel, Your 2020 self doesn’t really have her life together. Her phone still automatically plays the U2 album that she’s been too lazy to delete for six years. She still has acne that … more
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