In 2006 I came up against a holiday deadline crunch, so I turned my column over to Turpy, the beloved eight-year-old Golden Retriever/Chow mix who had turned up at our doorstep as a puppy.
When Charles Darwin penned his final draft of On the Origin of Species in 1876 he gave the world a game-changing worldview. Up until that time it was generally held that the only explanation for the reality of things was the intentional activity of a higher power, usually understood as supernatural and divine. Darwin's theory of evolutionary natural selection offered a way out. He declared that he could explain the reality of our world, and everything in it, without God.
Politics is not for the faint-of-heart or easily discouraged. It's a long game with many moving parts and players. It has all the intrigue of a mystery, all the sport of any game, and strategy that would rival most military coups.
If you have children or grandchildren in school in Santa Clarita, I hope you will join me for the Literacy & Arts Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7.
So let's get some things straight right off the bat: Yes, Obamacare's rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. And yes, some people have lost their insurance plans despite President Obama's assurances that if they were happy with what they had they could keep it.
It is becoming more evident everyday. Our society is fracturing into little cliques of discontent. We are becoming a factious people. Cynicism might be nominated as our national hobby, and the criticism it breeds has turned us into a passionate yet mediocre debating society.
We turn up our collective noses at the brutality of Ancient Rome's gladiatorial combat games. These bloody, brutal and deadly contests were decadent displays of an indulgent, yet morally primitive culture, we tell ourselves. Athletes were slaughtered for the entertainment of the Roman citizens-sacrificed for their amusement. Every gasp in disgust at what the ancient Romans did in the Colosseum suggests that we somehow think we are better than that.
I love buying a new car. Yes, I know. Buying a used car makes better financial sense since new cars lose about 30 percent of their value when you drive them off the lot.
It would appear that there is some confusion as to the purpose of the essays that appear under my name on the op-ed page of the Mighty Signal.
Much has been written over the past few months regarding the GOP establishment's attempts to quiet the Tea Party/Conservative wing of the party.
Santa Clarita's community gardens are feeding local families - and not just the families of gardeners. Just like America's "war gardens" and "victory gardens" during World War II, Santa Clarita's gardens are providing pesticide-free, healthy food for families.
When smoke clears on this unfortunate period of American political polarization and congressional debauchery, we will learn the man most responsible for our modern dysfunctional political intercourse is George W. Bush's infuriatingly effective propaganda master, Karl Rove.
Veterans Day. 11/11. A special day, a time to honor our country's heroes. Those who have served this great nation have done so in times of peace and in times of war. They protect and defend our country and allow us to live our lives with the freedoms we all expect, enjoy, and all too often take for granted. We can live the American Dream thanks to these brave men and women. These fine citizens serve and sacrifice, their families standing beside them while so often across the miles. They are America's veterans and military, more than ...
At the very core of Liberalism is the idea that good deeds can only be achieved by legislating them. Strong arguments can be made that these "do-gooder" policies achieve the opposite and actually serve to hurt those they intend to help.
Words have meaning.
Christmas' respite with feelings of joy, good spirit and warmth of home, hearth and family have passed, and now we face the reality of much uncertainty focused on our families' health care.
By the time you read this column, Christmas will have passed and we will be looking forward to celebrating the New Year.
The year 2013 was a roller coaster of contrasts with some surprises. Here's a best and worst list:
As the new year approaches, many of us in the dimly lit brotherhood of computer clumsoids (and our number is legion) feel the sharp prod of IT experts who blow themselves blue encouraging we Luddites to change passwords once a year like smoke alarm batteries or high school girlfriends or underwear on "Duck Dynasty."
Paul Ryan is now polling first in Iowa for the next presidential election. If Ryan is encouraged by this news, he is not much of a student of recent political history. Polling first in Iowa more than two years prior to the state's overhyped, first-in-the-nation caucuses is a bit like being told by the guy at the convenience store that the lottery ticket he just sold you is the winner. Take it with a huge grain of salt.
I find comfort and inspiration in music -- all kinds of music. So when I see how obsessed the media have become with the 2016 U.S. presidential election -- barely a year after the last one -- I'm reminded of the Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like an Eagle." The chorus goes, "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future."
In this season of fighting over the true meaning of the season, I offer my short (and admittedly incomplete) list of things which could make the world a better place all year round:
This just in from the North Pole: Santa says that his home is ice free!
One of the hardest things in life is being ignored, bypassed, or dismissed. We all appreciate being appreciated, and when we contribute we ought to be acknowledged as having been part of making something meaningful happen.
As we look back on 2013, it will likely be remembered as the year the rubber began hitting the road with regards to Obamacare. The failure of the website was epic, but it is minutia compared to the flaws in the law.
In 2013, Santa Clarita continued to rise above the challenges of the Great Recession, helping to build a strong community.
Most Americans have read or heard about the recent tragedy involving two young men in the fatal car crash in the Valencia industrial park here in the Santa Clarita Valley.
This time of year is especially noted for being filled with family gatherings, holiday shopping, gift giving and school vacations. A sense of joy and goodwill permeates our little valley as it does in many communities throughout the world.
At a recent seminar I listened as the presenter explained the social phenomenon now understood as "expanding adolescence." It's quite simple. While in the 1950's the life stage known as adolescence was defined as the 12-18 age period, it is now recognized that adolescence often expands up to 30 years of age. And if you just take a careful look around, you'll see this is no hair-brained idea.