Detasseling Corn

          Senator Ben Sasse has written about detasseling corn, calling the job a rite of passage in his small hometown in Nebraska; perhaps it was that as well for us teens and pre-teens in my small hometown in Illinois, but mostly it was just a job, and after forty years of jobs, not one of which I’ve particularly liked, I can say without hesitation that detasseling corn still stands out, by far, as the worst ...

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Clue Connections

Scrabble is to board games what The Beatles are to rock groups, that is, so superior to all of its peers that it’s simply not fair to include it in the discussion. But once we remove Scrabble from the fray, out of all that remains, what is the best? Is it Life, with its plastic car game piece and plastic sticks that represent children and its cool board that includes ...

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Convenience King

America turns everything into a competition, absolutely everything, and nothing is off-limits, even the sacred, like marriage. Given the rising cost of funerals, it is not hard to imagine in the near future a Home Makeover Death version in which producers come turn your Uncle Al’s humdrum funeral into something spectacular with a shiny new casket and a reception complete with open bar and buffet. It’s also simply a matter ...

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A Lynching Near You

In yet another stroke of genius in the fields of reconciliation and redemption, Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, recently opened a national memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, which, among other things, pays homage to the history of lynching in America. Stephenson and his colleagues have cataloged nearly 4,400 lynchings across the country, and while some historians estimate the total number could be a couple of thousand higher, ...

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Communities and Candlepins

If you’re old enough to remember the 1960’s and 1970’s and think there was more social interaction back in those days—more dinners with friends, more community activities, more clubs, all of them better attended—you’re not wrong. And that increased level of interaction made for a healthier society. How I came to learn this is the result of my peculiar trip last month to Imperial Bowling Center, a candlepin bowling alley ...

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Cigar Story #1: Coincidence in San Diego

Like most tales of coincidence, this one will seem nearly impossible to believe. But if you believe in coincidence . . . On my travels I almost always seek out local cigar shops for a couple of reasons. First, I love smoking a good cigar, and doing so has the ability to cast aside the world’s troubles, at least for the duration of that smoke. I side with Twain who claimed ...

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