Vietnam series revisits national heartache

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“The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick” has kept many of us mesmerized since the first installment aired on Sept. 17.  The PBS series, directed by two legendary documentarists, is well-researched, well edited and thought-provoking. I began watching with trepidation, unsure that I wanted to engage the Vietnam War again. Only a couple of weeks ago, …

History repeats itself with Harvey

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Most of us watching the Hurricane Harvey recovery are horrified by the destruction and misery. The few bright spots are seeing people and their pets brought to safety and Newton’s own Brock Long, the newly appointed FEMA administrator, in charge of recovery efforts. Meanw hile, breathless reporters claim this is a never-before-seen event. “Record-breaking,” “unprecedented,” “beyond anything experienced,” they say. …

Angel Food Cake Demands Strawberry Icing

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Angel food cake is light, fluffy and tricky to make. Recipes call for something like six egg whites, which leaves me in a quandary as to what to do with the rest of those eggs. That’s why I bought a $5 grocery store cake from Food Lion the other day. Naked and spongy, it sat there in its round plastic …

Type-in? No thanks

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Recently I read an article about a new trend for hipsters: the type-in. As the story goes, typewriter enthusiasts are holding gatherings in bars and restaurants to type to their heart’s content. In 2017, twenty years after most typewriters were swapped for word processors, old-school typewriting is making a comeback. This summer actor Tom Hanks and musician John Mayer are …

Watts’ debut novel wows this reader

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Stephanie Powell Watts is an author you need to know. She grew up in Caldwell County and has beaten the odds to land a major New York publishing deal. Her first novel, No One is Coming to Save Us, was released this spring, and last week I had the chance to read it. Wow! The book manuscript commanded six figures …

How I learned to eat cold fried chicken

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This post first appeared on WFAEats, a blog affiliated with Charlotte’s NPR station.   http://wfae.org/post/english-lesson-how-i-learned-eat-cold-fried-chicken All the recent news about the United Kingdom took me back to 1974, when I was a college student in Brighton. The oil embargo hit Britain hard that winter while the Troubles in Northern Ireland continued to boil over with occasional bomb threats and road …

Time traveling to Colonial America

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There’s nothing like breaking through a brick wall on the family tree. I had one of those spine-tingling discoveries recently, thanks to Ancestry.com. That on-line service touts millions of records on-line. Information is digitized and uploaded regularly, so it helps to check back often. A couple of weeks ago I logged on and proceeded to spent two days in 17th …

I love these washed-up bits of history

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I can’t tell you when I got the sea glass bug. Well no, maybe I can. The year was 2002, when I read the Anita Shreve’s novel, Sea Glass.  The historical romance focused on Honora Beecher, a young bride, and her husband starting out life amidst 1920s moral turmoil, of bad judgement and how their fragmented life is mirrored by …

Salute to the Ladies of the Panty Club

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The year was 1981 and I had just taken a job at Central Telephone Company in Hickory, NC. Female employees gathered to celebrate birthdays over lunch—and gift panties. The telephone company ladies were a practical lot. Granted, a Panty Club wasn’t for everyone, but few invitees turned us down.  After all, receiving an entire wardrobe of new panties every year …