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Opinion

  • The burly guy with a hammer on his belt told me he was going to whoop my you-know-what.
    It wasn’t the first time someone who recognizes me from my day job has given me the stink eye, and most certainly won’t be the last.
    I’ve been f-bombed clean out of stores — once while buying potato chips for my kid’s youth baseball picnic — by people whose family members were listed in crime reports or court dockets.

  • When I was a high school student in a one motel town with one bar and no stoplights, our tiny South Dakota weekly newspaper printed a popular feature second only to the police blotter.
    The coffee talk section.
    Following in the grand biblical tradition of genealogical listings, the coffee talk section was a litany of the week’s gossip and news: who had coffee with whom, who was out of town on vacation, and who hosted their black sheep relatives from who knows where.

  • You know you’re having a bad evening when you’ve just stepped in a nightmarish stew of someone else’s feces, urine, used toilet paper and God only knows what else.
    Remote in hand, I had just settled in for some Monday Night Football when my phone rang. It was a tip that someone had just illegally offloaded a septic tank trunk on Wildcat Road and the caller figured I’d want that story for this week’s paper.

  • Blood gushes from an open wound on a stranger’s head.
    She uses her newly purchased bathroom towels (a deal at two for $10) to clot the gore.
    An elderly gentleman plays discount sweater tug of war with a fellow shopper, using his teeth in an attempt to snag the marked-down sweater for himself.  
    In the days leading up to my first Black Friday excursion, I imagined myself a front-row witness to the above fabled retail battlefield.

  • It has taken a while, but I think I am finally getting over the results of Election 2012.
    That doesn’t take the sting away, though.
    Yes, I voted for Mitt Romney. Given the choices we had, I would do it again. And again.
    I strongly believe President Obama’s policies have added to what was already an exploding national debt (over $50,000 per person and counting, last time I checked) and are leading our great country more and more toward socialism, if we are not already there.

  • A generation’s childhood may be sold in bankruptcy court.
    Twinkies represent misplaced childhood simplicity, the familiar joy of knowing with absolute certainty that you’re about to bite into soft yellow cake with an ooey, gooey creamy core.
    Dependable. Safe. Comforting.
    A food that establishes security when none can be found.
    Staring over the edge toward the future— the so-called fiscal cliff, day-to-day economic woes and even endless Thanksgiving preparations — can be a scary prospect.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    I was off hunting deer last week and had no intention of climbing out of my tree stand to respond to a letter to the editor in last week’s paper from David Steedly.
    But that doesn’t mean I’m letting that letter go unanswered.
    Steedly, a member of the county’s environmental committee, thought it necessary to “provide some factual information” to clear up an editorial I wrote the previous week.

  • The word “gap” elicits two images when tied with measuring educational success.
    1. An impassable gulf.
    2. A sliver of space easily closed.
    Let’s talk about what “gap” really means.
    The Kentucky Department of Education recently released the test scores of its new assessment model, and Anderson County’s data indicated some seemingly contradictory results.

  • If you can’t remember your first election, I certainly can.  
    In 2008 I sat on my futon in my college dorm room and sealed the envelope on my Illinois absentee ballot with a mixture of dread and hope.
    A few years later, I drove myself to a local Nebraska precinct to vote in the state and municipal races.
    I was nervous, and probably babbled to the woman signing me in.
    Stepping up to the booth, I felt like I always do now when I vote, that the weight of American democracy depended on my shoulders.

  • As the elderly woman cried in her living room Monday morning, I visualized holding the oak club I keep in my truck and fetching the bad guy I hoped would show up a good lick right in the chops.
    Instead I held a camera and settled for the fact that if he did show, Det. Bryan Taylor would bust his chops the legal way and I could put the photo of him doing so on this week’s front page.
    As is generally the case with yellow-belly scum who prey on the elderly, the guy was a no-show.

  • In a few short months, it’ll be 1949.
    And it’s up to the House to keep us from time traveling.
    The 2008 Farm Bill — composed of a multitude of programs, assistance and funding for U.S. producers — needs to be extended in the short-term by the first of 2013, or the legislation on the books will be one that hasn’t been in place for 60 years.
    This poses several problems for Anderson County producers and even Anderson County consumers like myself.

  • Don’t ask me to make you look good.
    That question has fallen from the mouths of many well-meaning public officials and municipal employees I’ve interacted with since coming to work and report in Lawrenceburg.  
    Unfortunately for them, making public officials look good is not in my job description.
    Not that making them look bad is. But I suppose in certain circles, that’s debatable.
    I sit with a notebook in a public room as the representatives of our city and county speak. Simple as that.

  • Kids’ stomachs are grumbling, and so are critics of the new national nutritional standards for school lunch.
    Although the new guidelines for healthier meals have been officially in place through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 since the beginning of the school year, criticism flared anew last month about the new caloric limits for lunches.
    High school students from Kansas complained about their apparent hunger through a medium sure to spread their message virally — YouTube.

  • Editor’s note: Carson Tarter is a freshman at Anderson County High School in Melanie Valdivieso’s composition class. Her personal narrative assignment appears here with her permission.

    For the past three years my whole life has revolved around riding and taking care of my first pony, Luke.
    I never dreamed that I’d have to sell my best friend.

  • Trust is becoming as rare as floppy disks these days.
    Both are relics for a future museum. I envision the working title: “Things Americans Once Used and Threw Away.”
    Other exhibits will showcase print volumes of the dictionary, instructions for dinner etiquette and glass milk bottles.
    Trust in anything — churches, media, banks, government, school districts — is becoming harder for people to commit to.  

  • Right before checking into an insane asylum, I hit the open road.  
    Some people meditate. Contort themselves into yoga pretzels and sailors’ knots in an effort to relieve stress.
    I drive.
    Sanity, for me, is found in the silence behind the steering wheel.
    Both my hands grip the wheel at 10 and 2, freeing my mind to wander into the dark corners of things I don’t want to and need to think about.

  • My dogs are city slickers.
    There, as painful as it is to admit, I’ve said it.
    Me? Uh-uh. No way. I’m not a city slicker and, despite some recent unsettling realizations to the contrary, I can prove it.
    It became obvious that my dogs had succumbed to city life when I visited a local farm during my never-ending quest to find the perfect place to hunt deer. (Fact: City slickers don’t hunt, although some of the posers will occasionally wear camouflage.)

  • When it comes to young people these days (as I wave my metaphorical cane at the hooligans of tomorrow), we squash dreams in order to snuff out the potential for entitlement. Spare their feelings, spoil the child.  
    Want to be an astronaut? Talk to NASA about sending another shuttle into space.   
    Want to be a ballerina? The odds are definitely not in your favor.  
    Despite the odds, students who dream of doing bigger, better things have something in common — passion.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    Ever considered smoking some meth or snorting a little oxy?
    I haven’t, and aside from a desire to avoid being a junky there’s one major reason why: I’m petrified of ending up in jail.
    Until the past couple of years, I had the misguided, or perhaps naïve, notion that hard drugs like meth, coke or prescription pills would lead to a decade or two behind bars.  

  • This year Anderson County High School juniors took the ACT test. This is the third year that the scores have been consistently leveling out at 18.3, which is below the national average of 21.1, and the state composite scores of 18.8.
    Other counties have scored higher than Anderson. Some of those are Franklin at 19, Spencer at 18.7, and Shelby at 18.7.