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Most wasted of all days: one without laughter

Most American political leaders would agree with the poet e.e. cummings, who wisely wrote: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” For example, then-presidential nominee George W. Bush garbled in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on Oct. 18, 2000, “Families is where our nation finds ...

Talk Hawk

Dear Annie: I don’t want to continue to let two of my friends steal my time. One friend is the worst when it comes to this. She calls me at least twice a week. I believe that her husband does everything in the house — cooking, shopping and all the driving — because she has plenty of time ...

Families, kids and a flawed law

This column is dedicated to issues of crime and justice. But this time of year, it seems out of place to talk about murders, wrongful convictions, child abuse, the scourge of drugs and all the other topics I usually opine about in this space. Because this is the pre-Christmas season, I’d ...

Solution for a lack of gratitude

Dear Annie: Over the years, my son, his wife and our granddaughter have been the recipients of many gifts from my wife and me. Unfortunately, other than the holidays when we are in the same room with them as they receive gifts, we never receive any recognition that they have received the items ...

A Woman’s Life, Illustrated

“Trump wants her to be speaker. It’s perfect for him.” — Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., of #FiveWhiteGuys fame, disparaging Nancy Pelosi in early November She looks so poised, so harmless, this 78-year-old grandmother with the soft voice, the easy smile. Such a smart strategy for the ...

Untrustworthy fiance

Dear Annie: I got engaged in June 2017. My fiance and I are planning the wedding for next year, in November 2019. But I’m having some doubts about my fiance. He does not trust me. He keeps accusing me of having another boyfriend. He does not want me to be friends with anyone, male or female. ...

Taking the ex to see the fam

Dear Annie: My boyfriend is still taking his ex-girlfriend to see his son and his son’s family, who reside in another state. He says that she is very active in his grandkids’ life and that they love her very much. He says he has no romantic feelings for her, but they still communicate ...

Few of us are even remotely prepared for elder care

It often starts off easy. For me it did. An elderly friend needed some help with food shopping and dealing with the cable company. He has no family to speak of, and his close friends have died. Pushing 90, his thinking had obviously slowed, but he could still shave, bathe and dress. So I ...

Grandma wants to help

Dear Annie: I have two grandchildren, ages 11 and 7, and I am worried about them. I am trying to persuade my daughter to clean up their bedrooms. As an aside, they need new bedroom sets. My grandson still has my girl’s bedroom set, and my granddaughter refuses to sleep in hers, saying it is ...

Law vs. morality in the Trump campaign-finance flap

Let’s imagine that President Trump gave a White House news conference in the nude. “As you can see,” he might say, paraphrasing the semi-apocryphal quip Winston Churchill made when FDR accidentally encountered him emerging from a hot bath in the White House, disrobed. “I have nothing to ...

Employed but wanting to travel

Dear Annie: I have a full-time job, and I love it. However, I’m never happier than when I’m traveling. How do I make peace with the fact that I probably can’t travel more than twice a year now that I work a 9-to-5? Is there some way I could travel more than that? My job is really ...

An ethics lesson for a publication’s ‘queer’ bullies

This week, I did something that USA Today’s executive leadership apparently hadn’t done lately: I read the newspaper’s “principles of ethical conduct for newsrooms.” It’s pretty highfalutin. The media manifesto of virtue, posted online, applies to all employees “working with any ...

Slighted by old friends

Dear Annie: My husband is friends with a couple from college with whom we have exchanged Christmas cards and graduation announcements over the past 25-plus years. They have three sons, all of whom we sent a card and money to when they graduated from high school. However, when our daughter ...

The lost and the entitled

When I popped open the old laptop, the Geek Squad guy said maybe I should dust it off. He slid a canister of Endust toward me. “Spray the cloth,” he said, “not the machine.” I started choking on my sense of humiliation. This poor baby was covered with dust. How could I be so ...

Therapist recommends unfamiliar treatment

Dear Annie: A therapist recommended that I try EMDR in order to process past traumas. It sounds intriguing and fancy, but I don’t really understand what it involves. Could you explain what EMDR is and how it works? I’m uninformed and skeptical. — Curious but Confused Dear Curious but ...

The first step in the fight for criminal justice reform

So, did you hear? Democrats and Republicans in Washington have promised to cooperate in finding solutions for the country’s lingering problems! After the midterm elections, they promised they would try really, really hard to work together. Color me skeptical. But there is one legislative area ...

Movie tells the ignored story of ‘America’s biggest serial killer’

WASHINGTON — A word can be worth a thousand pictures. In the movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” the mild word “snip” describes what the camera, demonstrating the eloquence of reticence, does not show in gory detail: Kermit Gosnell’s use of scissors to ...

Immature grandpa

Dear Annie: I love being a grandpa, but it seems all my fellow adults have a totally different impression of what a grandfather is supposed to be. My wife says I should be a role model and authority figure, which to me translates to being stern and official. Our daughter says essentially the ...

Thinking about what’s right in America

Amid this holiday season of reflection, I’m thinking about America’s future. A new poll from Gallup serves up some sobering data regarding how young Americans feel about their country. Gallup asked the question, “Do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the ...

No booze, please

Dear Annie: The adults in our family, all of whom are blessed with the necessities of life, have enjoyed a “shake the dice/give and take” holiday gift exchange for many years. Often gourmet food items and good wines and such are included. My daughter reminded me this year that we have ...