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Doris writes a weekly column for LaGaceta, the nation's only trilingual newspaper, which has pages in English, Spanish, and Italian.  Begun in 1922 for Tampa's immigrant community, it continues to thrive more than a century later.  Her column is titled "In Context," as it aims to put contemporary issues in the context of the past.

Morality Plays, Past and Present

We somehow missed the annual rerun of Charlie Brown’s Christmas show, but we have watched it so often that we know almost every word about his sad little tree and his frustrating attempt to direct a Christmas pageant. We did see the Grinch again trying to steal holiday joy from Who Ville and then repenting of his meanness, and it made me think about literature’s roots as morality plays. Long before the Grinch tried to ruin life for Little Cindy Lou Who – indeed, dating all the way back to pre-Christian days -- the great Greek playwrights used the medium of drama to raise questions of right and wrong.  Read More 
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Between the Holidays: Life Goes On

This column comes out between Christmas and New Year’s, and because our daughter is home and I’m enjoying relaxed holidays with her, this will be mostly a re-run from past holiday writing. Our daughter, by the way, works for the Department of Justice and is unconcerned about the shutdown. It seems that DOJ has a separate pile of money from fines that criminals pay, so the work goes on. She telecommuted a bit while here and plans to be back in the office by Monday, even though it is New Year’s Eve. It’s possible that the Grinch will parole the people he considered to be his personal indentured servants on New Years’ Eve, but her plane reservations are set. Practical matters like that don’t occur to the guys at the top.  Read More 
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Quick Points to Ponder

• Have you been watching the new “Murphy Brown?” It’s excellent, even better than it was back in the 1980s. The point I want to ponder, though, is that last week’s version included the fact that our war in Afghanistan has gone on for seventeen years. That’s far, far longer than any war in American history. We still risk soldiers’ lives there despite having achieved our ostensible objective of capturing Osama bin Laden. That happened under President Obama, however, so it doesn’t count.  Read More 
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A Not-So-Brief-Rant on Transportation

I know I promised last week to return to the Civil War memoirs that some readers have enjoyed, but first some timely talk on transportation. I got all gussied up for the Authors Guild holiday party in South St. Pete, and because it was from 6-8 PM, I carefully considered what route to take. I never drive at rush hour if that can be avoided, and I didn’t really grasp how bad it is out there. But I did decide that from my East Hillsborough home, it would make more sense to sneak up on the Pinellas peninsula from the south, rather than taking I-275 through downtown Tampa, the Howard Frankenstein, and almost all of Pinellas. I left at 5:00, thinking an hour would be enough time, and maybe the Sunshine Skyway would be pretty at sunset.  Read More 
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California Dreamin’

I’ve been thinking about California, and not just because of the wildfires. I did have extended family long ago in Paradise, the ironically named town that literally was wiped out of existence as residents died horrifying deaths. I’ve come up with a suggestion for people who live with the danger of wildfire: build storm cellars. In the tornado ally of the Midwest, people who don’t have basements install underground storm cellars – a small concrete space below the land where they can hide while tornadoes rage above. Millions of people can testify that a storm cellar saved their lives, and they aren’t terribly expensive. California could encourage that: people would just stay in their bunkers while the fire quickly burns over them.  Read More 
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