More From Columns

December 30, 2018

If it's the Christmas season, it's time for the Fred and Beverly Santa photo. Our two basset hounds have passed, but the Santa photo lives on — a family classic. I defy anybody to look at it without smiling: Beverly lolling happily in St. Nick's lap, with Fred indignant and under restraint:…

Gene Lyons

December 30, 2018

 One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the arrival of “The World Almanac and Book of Facts.”

Its thousand pages of fine print are a valuable resource. But there is a problem. When I gave a copy the other day to a friend, he took a look, shook his head, and said,…


December 29, 2018

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet. Mainly I look up whatever is ailing me and self-diagnose. If I could prescribe medications I might save a lot of money.

It pains me to write this — especially the words that use “s,” “w,” and “x.”…

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December 25, 2018

Christmas came quite unexpectedly this year. It happened in an empty lot across from the JOY Soup Kitchen in Greenville. I joined Pastor Rodney Coles and Jim Hooker in an initiative called The Community Feeding Our Children program. Cars and vans belonging to Pitt County School social workers were…


December 23, 2018

What is a good book I can give a friend?

Every year I get this question from folks who know that I try to keep up with North Carolina-related books.

First of all, I have to warn people that giving books is not without risks. In fact, an effective way to lose friends is giving a book that is not…


December 23, 2018

After a string of cash-register robberies, the Crown and Anchor, a pub in south London, decided to stop taking cash altogether. The burglaries have stopped, but now the only way to pay for a pint and a pasty at the Crown is on credit.

Since most of their customers used credit cards anyway, it…


December 23, 2018

If almond meal were sand, then the San Rafael Reef would be the marzipan of the desert.

The San Rafael Reef of Utah is a 50-mile line of pale triangular rocks made of tan sandstone, and it marks the edge of an enormous tilt of underland that rises out of the desert like a giant picket fence…

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December 22, 2018

Sisters and Christmas go together like bicycles and BB guns.

That sentence makes no sense, except that it sets up two stories that involve all of the above. The stories illustrate how presents under the tree can effectively turn off the “you better be good” button, especially in little…

December 16, 2018

Every Christmas, my social media accounts are bombarded with photos and videos of adorable animals being given as gifts.

While it is heartwarming to see people’s reactions to receiving a puppy or kitten, the reality is considerably less cute: in the months after the holiday season ends a lot…

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December 16, 2018

“The real mystery after half a century,” Wyndham Robertson says, “is why life at the top of large American corporations still seems so overwhelmingly male.”

Writing in The New York Times on Nov. 29, the Salisbury native and Chapel Hill resident remembered when, 50 years ago,…

64 stories in Columns. Viewing 11 through 20.
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