On the job, coworkers hesitant to talk politics

2008 presidential election coverage for The Commercial Appeal.

November 3, 2008.

The office water cooler by all accounts should be boiling over. More than Tigers vs. Rebels, more than young Elvis vs. old Elvis, more, even, than Willie vs. City Council, this year’s presidential race has had the potential of pulling people together in conversation and ripping them apart in debate.

It’s one thing to be open online, where tempers and tones can remain hidden, couched in parenthetical asides and emoticons. On Web sites and blogs, the talk starts placidly enough, then begins to swell and bubble until the nameless medium of e-mail becomes vitriolic … (read more)


Actors at Nightshade Manor feed off visitors, drawing them into the action

Business news article for The Commercial Appeal.

October 31, 2008

As the hum of a distant idling train fills the cool night air, a line forms to enter Nightshade Manor in Midtown, a haunted house benefiting The Food Bank this Halloween season.

The house, designed by Kevin Gaiman, is decorated as the creepiest bed and breakfast ever, with each room having its own theme: graveyard, nursery, herpetarium and a kitchen used to make a sloppy batch of sausage … (read more)


Tolerating halloween tricky once kids in picture

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.

October 30, 2008

The scary truth is I don’t really care much for Halloween.

As a kid, I would get excited in the lead-up to the night, planning the tricks and dreaming of the treats, coming up with costumes, like a skeleton or a ghost or Walter Mondale. But when it came down to the night of the festivities, I could take it or leave it … (read more)


Attorneys sling syrup for cancer research

Business news article for The Commercial Appeal.

October 11, 2008

On the menu Friday morning at Calvary Episcopal Church Downtown: litigation, pancakes, copyright protection, sausage, malpractice suits, eggs, subpoenas, coffee and a side of jurisprudence.

It was the ninth annual Barrister’s Pancake Breakfast benefiting the Memphis branch of the Mid-South Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. The breakfast drew about 300 seated guests … (read more)


Drive-time lessons go in both directions

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.

October 2, 2008

My kids get an earful every morning.

After viewing breakfast-time family fare such as “Curious George” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” with their themes of kindness and unconditional love, they pile into the car for 35 minutes in Memphis traffic.

As a parent, it is my job to protect my children. Yet there I am, strapping them onto a chunk of metal and rubber and hurtling them down Poplar at 8 a.m. … (read more)


Teachers needed more than bureaucrats

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.

September 18, 2008.

In my house, the adults are in charge. I can say this because Kristy and I have put rules in place and those rules are respected.

I can say this confidently because, while discipline is meted out quickly and fairly, praise and gratitude are handed down just as swiftly. And I say this without fear of reprise, because The Quartet rarely reads the newspaper. When they do, it’s mainly for the Sudoku and Southland Park’s daily double numbers … (read more)


Tale of a lonely storyteller

Book review for Man in the Dark by Paul Auster for The Commercial Appeal blog, “The Shelf Life.” September 9, 2008.

The writer spends his life in a solitary landscape of desk, typewriter and window through which he gazes out at the world to recharge his creative battery.

At least he used to.

Now, it’s probably more Mac, Starbucks and iPod. Nevertheless, writing is a solo and, mostly, lonesome pursuit. Paul Auster pours this feeling of seclusion out onto paper and into novels populated by rich, though solitary, characters … (read more)


Little pirates plunder big plans

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal.
September 4, 2008.

My sister recently gave me the book “Seaworthy” by T.R. Pearson, the story of a man who built a raft and sailed it alone across a couple of oceans. As I sat staring at the photo on the cover of a leathery old man staring out at the horizon, I declared that I, too, would like to build a raft and sail it across the sea … (read more)