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Today's Features

  • The Christmas season is over, finally. The only aide memoire is the Christmas tree mutely standing in the corner of our living room. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were sitting in the living room drinking our morning cup of coffee and silently staring at the ghost of Christmas recently passed.

    Silence tiptoed down the hall. Almost out of nowhere, I heard a deep sigh from the only other occupant of the room. Then she said, “I’m glad Christmas is over.”

  • My Chanukah memory happened more than 50 years ago. It was a gentler time and much less technologically advanced. There were no cell phones, personal computers, fax machines or microwaves, and if you wanted a toy to do something, well, you had to do it yourself.

  • Some die-hard fans of Michael Connelly have said that he frequently robs them of a full night’s sleep – particularly when they start one of his novels after 10 p.m. Surely, that must be the case for his latest, The Brass Verdict, in which he brings together two main characters from different series, a trend many mystery writers like Robert Parker are eagerly following.

  • Sitting here and seeing the wind move the now almost leafless trees brings back memories of past Christmas seasons and things that happened or were done to add a bit more spice to the holiday period. One such memory was our quest to gain or at best earn more liquid assets so that we might better enjoy the season’s offerings.

  • Only a few days ago the outside decorations were finished, the tree put up with all its trimmings, and presents all wrapped. It all made me feel dead tired, so I settled in for some Christmas Eve television viewing. The news program started with, “Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package, triggering a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.”

  • Every family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash offered) that are adequately defined by April 1.

    Christmas Eve clearly defines me. It means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true, I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. Some people spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Personally, I focus all that stress of shopping into one 24-hour period.

  • If you participate in a 401(k), ESOP, or other qualified retirement plan that lets you invest in your employer’s stock, you need to know about net unrealized appreciation – a simple tax deferral opportunity with an unfortunately complicated name. When you receive a distribution from your employer’s retirement plan, the distribution is generally taxable to you at ordinary income tax rates.

  • They were a ragtag group of Jewish farmers led by an aged priest and religious leader. They had no training in warfare and their religion promoted peace.

    In the beginning of their struggle they refused to fight on the Sabbath, incurring many casualties as a result. They dared to take on the mightiest army of their day and for three years waged guerilla warfare against their foes, culminating in victory.

  • With Christmas less than a week away, shopping should be completed, decorations should be strung and blinking, and plans for the holiday finalized. However, there are always a few who wait for the last moment to buy those special gifts.

    Wander through our Punny Mall for some practical gift-giving advice.

    String Her Along

    A movie producer was telling a friend about giving his girl friend a string of pearls for Christmas.

    “Why,” said the friend, “don’t you give her something practical, like an automobile?”

  • While many are absorbed with the trifling news of the weakening economy, bailing out the all but defunct auto industry, and the emergence of a new Britney Spears, news that is more important is not being heard. Believe it or not, there are some things more important than these. At least to some people.

     The most troubling news of the day comes from the North Pole. In a few weeks, the jolly man from the North will make his visit. However, some difficulties may prevent his usual prompt appearance this year.