• Social media is a phenomenon sweeping the country, and has done so for several years. In many ways, it has had a negative effect on people in this country, especially the young.
    Some teen-agers would rather text or tweet their friends, although they may be sitting about 10 feet away. The art of conversation has been lost by many.
    But a more dangerous aspect of social media is that many things on there are posted without verification. That can cause unsubstantiated rumors to take on an air of credibility, even when they are not true.

  • One of the songs in “My Fair Lady” goes, “Every duke and earl and peer is here; everyone who should be here is here.” During the just completed run of the Broadway show, with local talent, we hope that everyone who should have been there was there.
    My wife and I certainly were, our second trip to the Ocala Civic Theatre in a matter of a couple of months.

  • The Florida House of Representatives is like the little child who doesn’t get his way on the playground and decides to go home, walking off in a huff.
    The House adjourned with little warning on Tuesday, three days before the scheduled end of the regular March-April session. House leaders criticized the State Senate, saying that leaders there refused to negotiate when it came to the budget, the only thing the Legislature is required to do each year.
    The major stumbling block is the expansion of Medicaid.

  • Last weekend, I did something I don’t usually get the chance to do … take the entire weekend off. But trust me, I had a good reason.
    It was 50 years ago that I stood at the front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Tenafly, New Jersey, and watched as my bride Pat, looking great as always, walked up the long aisle in her beautiful white dress, beaming as she and her dad approached.
    And now here we were, asking, “Where have the years gone?”

  • Note: This column originally ran in 2012. It has been updated with information from last week.

  • For about 30 of my adult years, I have been a youth baseball coach, in various parts of Florida and the country. I have also been a league officials and district official in a couple of different programs. I coached a few all-star teams in that time.
    I gained an awful lot of experience and insight into 9-12-year-old baseball players during those years.

  • Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was working as a sports editor near Port St. Lucie, which at that time was about 200 homes and a golf course.
    There was a women’s golf tournament there, and one of the young ladies didn’t have a place to stay, so one of my writers, who was considerably older than I was, and his wife took her in for the weekend.
    The LPGA has come a long way.

  • Several years ago, the Marion County School Board met with veterans officials, and decided that having children in school on Veterans Day, but concentrating on the celebration instead of a regular curriculum, was more beneficial to the students.
    There was even a decision to bus a couple thousand students to Veterans Park for the annual celebration.
    Maybe it’s time to look at that decision as it concerns the Martin Luther King holiday.

  • Our veterans served their country with dedication and heroism, most of them leaving their families for a long period of time to be stationed in various places around the world, protecting our freedom.

    Now they are supposed to be served by the federal Veterans Administration. I got a glimpse into how things work, or don’t work, earlier this week, and it wasn’t pretty.

    With much hoopla, at least in some places, the VA held one of a series of town meetings in Ocala on Monday.

  • Quick now, who are Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Annette Taddeo? Don’t know? Doesn’t surprise me.
    They are candidates who are part of possibly the most contentious political race in the country, and yet a large percentage of people have never heard of them.
    Carlos Lopez-Cantera is the running mate for Gov. Rick Scott.
    Annette Taddeo is Charlie Crist’s running mate.
    Lopez-Cantera is already the lieutenant governor of Florida. He was appointed earlier this year by Scott.

  • My family is having a gas crisis, and it’s becoming a very serious matter in the household. No, not that kind of gas. It’s all about gasoline and what kind we’re going to put into our vehicles.
    For years, we have had a BP Visa card, the rewards type that gives you a break on future gasoline purchases. No matter what you use the card for, you get credit toward gas, which shows up at the pump where you get an option of whether you want to use it or let it accumulate.

  • This is a yearly column, updated with latest information.
    Next week is big for many young people in Marion County, as they leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.
    Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for local public high schools, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

  • By Jim Clark

  • When they read about places in the country that have battles over immigration status and behavior of foreigners, people tend to think, as they live in their quiet Marion County world, that it’s nice that it doesn’t happen here.

    When they go to meetings such as the County Commission zoning hearings last week, they realize that such conflicts are not far away.

  • Two weeks ago we talked about Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins and his apparent hazing of a rookie teammate, hazing that had racial overtones.
    There has been much debate over the past few months about those activities, but last week it was discovered that Incognito was being treated for mental issues at an undisclosed facility.
    If only it were that easy to get bullies out of the way.
    The Dolphins’ issue raised the bar in discussions of bullying as people everywhere discussed what could be done about it.

  • Has it really been 50 years? I guess so, at least that’s what my television told me on Sunday night.

    CBS televised a tribute to the Beatles, exactly 50 years to the minute that the Ed Sullivan show aired on Feb. 9, 1964.

    It was the early days of television, and younger people don’t realize the influence that Ed Sullivan had. If you were invited to appear on his show, you had it made. The only other TV personality who had that much influence on the entertainment industry was Dick Clark with his American Bandstand from Philadelphia.

  • For quite a while, I’ve been pretty much identified as a “no new taxes” person. I think that government bodies ought to operate within their means, just like many families in America have to do.
    But there’s a proposal for a property tax to help the schools floating around, one that would help fund things like art, music, etc., and I find myself leaning toward supporting it.

  • For Christmas this year, our household grew by one. No, not that way. This one has soft fur and four legs, and is gray and white.

    His name is Snuggles, the name given to him by the rescue personnel.

    When our cat of 13 years, Mitch, died a little over three years ago, we decided, actually I decided, that we shouldn’t try to break in a new kitten while both of us were away working so much.

    But now that I’m home a lot more, I said OK, and gave my wife the Christmas present of Snuggles.

  • When I was a young lad growing up in northern New Jersey, my dad took the train to work every day. He’d ride to Weehawken, then catch the ferry for the city.
    Using the reverse route every late afternoon, he always wanted something to do than just sit there on the return trip. Therefore, he bought a couple of newspapers.
    He would get home and plop the New York Daily News and New York Journal-American on the table. Also, by that time, the Bergen Evening Record out of Hackensack, N.J., would have arrived.

  • If you didn’t take advantage of the town hall meetings held recently at Fire Station 20 near U.S. 27 and this past Tuesday at the Freedom Public Library, then you missed a chance to see grassroots government in action.
    County commissioners gathered to give reports on government and to hear the concerns of the public, and took notes as people talked about perceived problems they have encountered.
    Except for one person’s rant against Hispanics, the meeting was civil and, at times, featured some humor.