April 17, 2019


If "Unplanned" was an ordinary movie, its creators would be busy right now studying second-week box office numbers while starting negotiations with the digital giants that stream products to the masses.

But this has never been an ordinary movie, which is why it's an important test case for…

Terry Mattingly

April 14, 2019

One of the challenges of middle age is a memory that fizzles in and out like a radio station with a weak signal.

Some days are frustratingly full of unanswered questions. Where did I park my car? Why did I walk into the living room? Who was I supposed to call after lunch? What happened to the pen I…


April 14, 2019

Who is the best North Carolina-based political columnist?

Lots of people would say, “Hal Crowther, if only he were still writing.” Crowther’s razor-sharp wit and biting commentary drew blood regularly in the “The Independent Weekly,” “The Spectator,” and…


April 13, 2019

Since we moved back to Tennessee three years ago, I have engaged heavily in my father’s favorite summertime activity: grass mowing. It’s a passion he did not pass on to his older son.

The five acres he did pass down to me was a hayfield before I came home to claim it. Now it’s my…

Mark Rutledge 2.jpg

April 10, 2019


If there are problems in the pews these days, most pastors will learn about them the way they learn about almost everything else: Their smartphones will blow up.

It may be a text messages, a blitz of tweets or an online post that ignites a long comments thread with the faithful trading…

Terry Mattingly

April 07, 2019

During my 26-year stay in Burlington, there was a period when I did pig pickings fairly regularly but didn’t actually own a pig cooker of my own.

I occasionally used to rent rusty, oil tank-type cookers from the elderly manager (not the owner) of a run-down little car wash near my house. The…

Bob Garner

April 07, 2019

Somewhere today, there will be breaking news that a well-known and/or powerful person has been accused of abusing an employee, co-worker or romantic partner. So, here's the question: Did their bad behavior only start after they became well-known or powerful?

It seems much more likely to me that…


April 07, 2019

Carol Folt’s swift departure from the chancellorship of UNC-Chapel Hill a few weeks ago and her just as swift hiring as the president of the University of Southern California got me thinking. Apparently, her courage in finally facing up to a tough challenge in UNC-CH’s Silent Sam-…


April 06, 2019

Building a house is a dirty job that requires a lot of digging. One must dig through house plans, design features and multiple subcontractors. The busiest digger on our jobsite is Doug — which might be the best name ever for an excavation contractor.

From the footers and septic system to the…

Mark Rutledge 2.jpg

March 31, 2019

I’ve never been much of a fashion plate, but as I’ve grown older and gradually let my little dogs take over my life, my wardrobe has officially shifted from “dowdy but acceptable” to “A little worse for the wear.”

That used to depress me, but recently I…

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