Guest Columns

Aging in Place in the Garden

When I was younger, my enthusiasm for my garden knew no limits. I happily filled in empty spaces, experimented with many different plants…



Good Fences Make Good Gardens

On a daily basis I bless my fence. When I first moved to Chapel Hill over one-quarter of a century ago, deer were not a problem in my neighborhood, one that borders downtown. I happily nourished…


Exercising Your Demons

It can be difficult to get started on an exercise regimen, particularly if you prefer sitting on the couch and reading obituaries and noticing with alarm how many obituary subjects…




One for the Ages

Yes, it’s real. With the safe return Saturday night of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and flight crew of four civilians, I feel good about releasing this extraordinary image,….


Manners Matter

We were taught to say “please” and “thank you.” For years, we rode the #77 yellow school bus for a half-hour from the end of the lane to elementary school in Calvert…



Favorite Things – Part 2

After I compiled my list of “favorite things,” I realized that I had omitted several plants that I could not live without. All this is occurring during my annual garden appraisal. These plants demand little from me, an aspect I increasingly appreciate as I age. Long ago, in the midst…


Ripples in the Supply Chain of Money

Like many, I’ve been biking more during the pandemic, and early this year I decided to treat myself to a new mountain bike, since my current one is about 35 years old…



The Problem with Shade

As gardens age, shady conditions take over. Where once you were gardening in full sun, you find now you are coping with shade….


A Surprise at the Pond

A combination of abundant vegetation and some kind of water — a creek, river, wetland, pond or lake — is one of my favorite types of natural area to visit for wildlife watching…


Out of Line

After many years of faithful service, I recently got rid of my landline, which — as you may remember — we used to just call a line because it was the only line we had and so didn’t require a first name….


Carolina Football 2021

Mack Brown enters his 33rd season as a head coach in 2021, the third year of a second stop with the Tar Heels. North Carolina brings a top-ranking, a first-round quarterback and the expectation to challenge…


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog…

Now that we are safely and happily back at home in Chapel Hill and “Greater Carrboro,” we’ve been reflecting on the travel events of August, coined “Mr. Bogey’s and George’s Most Excellent Wild West Road Trip,”…


Favorite Things

Periodic reassessment of the garden is a necessary gardening task. Gardens change over time – and so do gardeners. Our tastes become more varied, plants fizzle out….



The Wonders of Crapemyrtle

July is the month when my attention turns to crapemyrtles. These sun-loving trees manage to put forth a stream of long-lasting blooms, no matter how hot and humid the weather is. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the crapemyrtle…


Everybody Say Eye

I have worn glasses for most of my life. That is, ever since they found out in elementary school that I had been cheating on the eye test. It was a victimless crime…


A New Celebrity Bird

When an unusual avian visitor turns up locally, birders tend to get excited. Many birders keep “life lists,” records of all the different bird species that they have seen worldwide…



The Music Man and the Town that Let Him Down

In October 2018, the Carrboro Arts Center screened a classic 1926 silent film, The General, starring comic actor Buster Keaton. Local musician Tim Carless accompanied it with his own live score…




The Mother Road

I had read the explanation in enough different places by enough different writers to believe that it must be true. Bobby Troup, whom we last saw in the movie “M.A.S.H.,” was driving west — in a ’41 Buick…


The Index Card and Its Commentary

Back in 2013, Harold Pollack, a University of Chicago professor of Social Work, told an audience that the best personal finance advice could fit on an index card.



Dear Mr. Tech Expert

I’m frustrated. My children don’t answer the phone when I call them. They don’t respond to emails. Now they have unfriended me on Facebook, blocked me on Instagram and don’t even reply when I text them. How can you communicate with younger…