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A week or two ago the Powerball jackpot got up to $348 million and it seemed like hardly anybody noticed. Some news people tried to get us loser poor people excited, but after it hit $1.5 billion earlier this year, I guess $348 million doesn’t rev the motor like it once did.

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What was your world like 10 years ago? Ten years might seem like a long time, but 10 years ago was just 2006. To those of us over a certain age, 2006 still seems like a year from science fiction. What an odd number to call a year.

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It’s been a rough year for celebrities, though there are still fewer of them dying than the rest of us. It’s especially been a rough year for musical celebrities, as those of who came of age in the 1980s suddenly start seeing reminders of our mortality every time we turn on the TV.

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Once upon a time the story of government waste was illustrated by the cost of a $500 hammer. Or a $1,000 screw driver. Maybe a $500 toilet seat. You never really knew just how true these stories were (it was before the Internet), but you figured they had to have some basis in reality.

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If it’s April it must be time for Parade magazine to release its annual “What People Make” issue. That also means it’s time for me to take a little breather and gripe about those who make more than me, also known as everybody.

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Have you heard about the Panama Papers? They come from one of those “leaks” you hear about occasionally and while most leaks concern some type of government activity, these involve our favorite people: the super rich.

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One of the first things you learn about working as a small town reporter is to never go into the Courthouse on arraignment/plea day. This is the day people indicted by a grand jury are told what they are charged with and people who just want to get it over with can enter a guilty plea.

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The question was a little tentative. Did I know that a Sweetwater drug store was giving away daily vitamins to people over 50? Surely, I thought, they were asking so I could tell my mother. I mean, nobody looks at me and thinks “over 50.” Right?

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In 1986, when I was the ripe old age of 19, a pretty auburn haired girl suddenly appeared behind the desk at the Sweetwater Library. She wasn’t there long (maybe it was a summer job) and I couldn’t tell you what her name was to save my life. But one day she actually talked to me beyond askin…

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If you’re like me, around this time of year you begin watching the mailbox (or checking your bank account) for a sign that your tax refund has arrived. And most of us will get a refund of some kind. It’s estimated that 66 percent of us will get a check delivered someway by April 15.

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For most of us it has become a third hand, something we see as a tool we can’t do without. It, of course, is a cell phone (smart phone if you want to be truly exact) and for a lot of us it is an iPhone, a thing we couldn’t have even imagined just 10 years ago.

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With all the ruminLike most football fans I was front and center in front of the TV Sunday, watching the Super Bowl, wondering if Peyton Manning would shore up his postseason legacy a little by winning that elusive second championship.

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With all the ruminating over celebrity deaths the past month or so, it’s only fair that we step back and look at our own mortality. After all, as the old saying goes, nobody gets out of here alive.

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Out of all the celebrity deaths in recent times, one that probably slipped by your radar was a man named Archie Gouldie. You probably don’t know that name, but if you’re of a certain age and depending on how you spent Saturday mornings in the late 1970s, you might know the name Mongolian Stomper.

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The latest thing to catch the mind of the American public, or at least part of it, is the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.” If you’re one of the few who have no idea what it is, here’s a brief primer: In 1985, a Manitowoc, Wisconsin, man named Steven Avery was arrested and charged wit…

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By the time you read this, someone will have either won the Powerball lottery or against all sane thinking it will be over $2 billion. And if perhaps your favorite small town reporter was the one to win it, rest assured this is the last you will ever hear of me.

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I’m sure everybody’s heard about the “affluenza” afflicted Texas teen who took off for Mexico, mommy in tow, when it looked like he might have violated his probation and be looking at jail time. If not, I kind of envy you.

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Depending on when you read this, we’re two or three days into the New Year and I assume you’ve already broken every resolution you made. Well, maybe not. This year actually starts on a three-day weekend and no one wants to waste one of those on things you don’t want to do.

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A couple of press releases were recently dropped into my email, oddly enough by the same person, even though they really don’t have anything to do with each other, but I guess when you write press releases for a living, you take whatever work you can get.

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I was 10 years old in 1977 and in a small town like Sweetwater we didn’t get everything right as it came out. Still, I heard stories of a movie called “Star Wars” and the stories were enough to make me think seeing the movie would be a life changing event.

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If you’ll allow me a little bit of navel gazing, I came across a website that details how much newspaper reporters are paid, on average, across the country. I don’t know whether to be happy or depressed that I’m only a little below the average.

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If the oft heard cry “If I could just lose a few pounds, I’d be happy,” is correct, then it’s true we’re all fat and miserable. And we know what causes both of these things to happen to us: expensive healthy food and Facebook.

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I became familiar with the surgeon’s table in 2010. Before that I’d somehow managed to spend 43 years without really ever seeing a doctor, at least on a regular basis. If I suddenly went down without warning, I’d make a visit to the emergency room, but even that was rare. I guess I was lucky.

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Sometimes it seems like I’ve been in debt forever. A house that won’t be paid off until I’m in my 60’s, a car that’ll be a burden for another five years, medical bills out the wazoo.

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When I was a kid, way back in the soon to be forgotten 1970s, I had to be fitted with big, thick Coke bottle glasses that immediately made me even more popular with the girls in the sixth grade.

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It was a different world on Nov. 2, 1990, when I first reported for duty at what was then The Monroe County Advocate. I had gotten a job in the mailroom after convincing them I could drive despite not having a car.

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You may or may not have heard Madisonville is getting a new library. Most people greet this news with a “Well, that’s nice. I might have to go check it out when they get done.”

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Whether you actually ever get around to it or not, we all agree on the benefits of exercise. You know, it makes you feel better, gives you more energy and if you’re lucky, takes off a few pounds.

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Forbes Magazine recently released their annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans and once again neither you nor I are on it. Unless you are on the list and actually reading this, in which case, please give me a call. I’ll write your press releases for a very reasonable fee.

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A while back a small furor was raised when actress Maggie Gyllenhall was told, at the age of 39, she was too old to play a love interest for a 55-year-old actor. All the old adages about men being pigs were trotted out and the less nice among us said the real problem was Gyllenhall’s lack of…

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I was perusing the Internet the other day and saw Gary Richrath had died. That name may or may not mean anything to you, but if you liked pop/rock back in the 1980s, you definitely knew his work.

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Since my mother had her “cardiac event” a couple of months ago, I pay more attention to any study about the heart. Being a good son I worry whether stuff like that is hereditary.

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This week, or last week as you read this, marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. While we got some storms off that hurricane, it didn’t really affect Tennessee, but I bet you still remember it.

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Participation trophies have gotten the world in a little bit of a tizzy lately. In case you missed it, and you probably did, Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison recently made his two sons give back trophies they received for participating in sports.

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If you dig deep enough online you can find evidence how every single thing on earth can kill you. In fact, if you really dig deep enough, you’ll find stories of how at least one person has been killed by anything you can think of.

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I’ve never been what you would call a suntan worshiper. Like most, I think people do look better in the summer with a little bit of sun on them, but it makes no difference to me whether you’re chestnut brown or white as a sheet.

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Working for a small town newspaper means you spend a great deal of time listening to a police scanner. Not all the time. That would put you on the path to insanity. Even cops don’t listen to them 24 hours around the clock.

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The envelope had my name on it, but it was typed and that usually meant it was from some type of business. A satellite company telling me how much I could save by switching to them for my TV viewing needs or a phone company begging me to come back, that landlines are important and now I coul…

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I’ve never been one to stand in front of a mirror and think, “Lord, how can the women keep their hands off me?” But recently something has become a thing, as the kids say, and I might have to take a second look.

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Last week a new law was put into place that sent shockwaves throughout the state, and especially in Monroe County. Voices were raised in defiance, it was called government overreach and people called the County Clerk’s office, saying if they had to put up with such nonsense when they came in…

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I was perusing the Internet the other day and came across a clip from John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight.” For those of you who don’t know, and I’d guess that’s most of you, Oliver was one of the “reporters” on “The Daily Show” where he did such a good job filling in for Jon Stewart o…

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When you take a week off things can sometimes fall by the wayside. For the record, I no longer think of a week off as a vacation as we can no longer afford to go anywhere and it seems kind of wrong to call a week of doing long put off chores around the house as a vacation.

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Doesn’t it seem like some women spend their lives as “granny?” Sure, they had lives as a young woman, they were even “mom” for a while, but at a certain point grandkids come along and it will seem like they’ve always been granny.

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As Memorial Day rolled around yet again, I was struck by something as my mother and myself drove to the Courthouse for the yearly ceremony.

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It’s always fun to make a list and now Sweetwater can proudly say it has been ranked as one of the best towns in Tennessee.

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No overall theme this week, just looking at some news stories that have caught my eye recently.

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