Thu05052016

The intervention: Haugh About That?

By the stern look in her chocolate-colored eyes, I found myself on the defensive. It was the same look she and her three siblings gave whenever I royally messed up.

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Charlie Hustler: The Villaj Idiut

I don’t understand why Pete Rose so badly wants to be in the Hall of Fame.

Oh, I get the concept of why he wants to be in the Hall of Fame. But I don’t understand the reality of it.

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For this I pray: Haugh About That?

Staring at the Sears, Roebuck catalog, I flipped through the pages until my eyes became fixated on the bright display of Mattel toys. There, right in the center, sat Barbie, complete with blond ponytail, black zebra bathing suit and hoop earrings. Immediately, I folded my hands and prayed, “Dear God, please tell Santa to bring me her. I promise to be a good girl forever.”

Falling into a deep trance as my request absorbed my thoughts, I felt a willowy presence by my side. Sure it was an angel about to grant my wish, I peeked, only to find my mom staring at me.

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History of a plague: A Piece of My Mind

A quarter of a century ago, our world was threatened with a plague. We reacted as humans do – first with ignorance (that’s an African thing), then denial (it’s just a few cases, and they’re all homosexuals, so I’m safe), blaming the victims (that gay lifestyle, what do you expect? If they would just straighten out … ) and calls for social quarantine (gay men should be required to wear a badge!). Mainstream America wanted to feel safe, because AIDS was fatal. In 1990, if you contracted AIDS, there was no treatment, no cure.

At least three of my classmates died of AIDS. Homosexuality was still mostly kept secret. The obituaries tiptoed around the cause of death: “Complications of pneumonia.” “A long battle against disease.” If there were no wife at the bedside, if a “longtime companion” were mentioned, one could guess.

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Juvenile invention: The Villaj Idiut

I run a Farmers Insurance agency here in town, and I have to say, it always shocks me when clients call up and ask, “Why is it so expensive to insure my teenager?”

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The perfect gift: No Shoes, Please

Reflecting on my highlight reel for the year, I think of my two trips overseas: Japan in April, Europe in October/November. I am especially grateful that my husband and I spent our days in Paris a few weeks prior to the terrorist attacks, and it makes me sad to have to say that. It is heartbreaking to think of this unique, historic and breathtaking city as the target of such cold-hearted violence.

But at the time, I was blissfully unaware of any impending catastrophe, therefore had a ball. We also ventured to Switzerland and Spain, the latter being a highlight because my husband has relatives there, and many wonderful meals and memories were shared during that leg of the trip. If Spanish cuisine in general was exceptional, cochinillo (roast suckling pig) in particular was sublime. Even today, my husband recollects and loves that dish so much, it could have been one of his relatives – but for the fact it was slaughtered and cooked to perfection.

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'Tis the season: Here's the reason to give gift of life: A Piece of My Mind

My brother is not allowed to donate blood. He contracted hepatitis while serving in Vietnam.

My brother-in-law is not allowed to donate blood. He was exposed to malaria during his Peace Corps tour in Cameroon.

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