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Political ads on TV … They lyin’

The onslaught is coming. Grab your kids and take cover. And whatever you do, make sure your DVR is working properly.

After Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and then South Carolina, we’re next. My inbox at the office is already bursting at the seams with political junk mail from all of the Republican nominee hopefuls. Save one.

Mr. Reasonable himself, Jon Huntsman.

This poor guy doesn’t have a chance in the presidential primary. He’s too pragmatic, logical and calm to get the base’s blood pumping. And he’s not dogmatic enough to win over any of the large conservative constituencies: evangelicals, libertarians or free marketers.

He might have been able to corral the war hawks, but now they’re all Democrats who get giddy when they hear that President Obama’s killed more terrorists than any president before him, thanks to Predator drone strikes and more surgical attacks by US special forces.

Maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.

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Things he doesn’t want to see in 2012

It is around 6 am on January 2, 2012 as I write this column. Why in the world am I up so early on a day that is supposed to be a holiday where all I do is sit and watch football and eat junk?


My good luck 2012 meal didn’t agree with me.

My wife is convinced that eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Years Day will bring me good fortune. The only way I can explain this superstition is that from that moment on, the year can only get better.

Other good luck foods include grapes (at least 12 for each month of the year), long lo mein noodles, lentils and pomegranates.

Like everyone else, I am hoping that the new year is better than the last and that the Mayans were mistaken.

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Closing in on the ‘pill doc’

For my money, the News Story of the Year in 2011 was the closing down of Dr. Charles Scarborough’s Macclenny office in October.

Mind you, none of the allegations that this amiable physician grossly abused his obligations under Florida law have been proven. Those allegations include that he allowed untrained and unqualified office clerks to write prescriptions for narcotics, that he signed blank prescription orders and he failed to examine patients before allowing them to leave with addictive drugs, among others.

There’s still a process here. The Department of Health made the allegations as cause for temporary suspension of his license to practice. Dr. Scarborough has requested a hearing, presumably to give his side.

We’ll see, but between you and me, he’s in trouble.

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Layers of Yule spirit

“You are a cheater and you cheat,” said son Dylan.

“I am not a cheater,” said cousin Ashton.

“We did not cheat,” said Ashton’s friend  Crystal. “You said there weren’t any rules.”

“Once the competition started,” squawked Dylan. “You built half of your house … barn … whatever it is before you got here.”

It’s the Annual Gingerbread House Building Contest and the competitors are at each other’s throats hurling insults and gumdrops.

Somehow this helps promote Christmas cheer, or so they tell me before they take a swipe at each other’s house.

“Are you sure that is even gingerbread?” said Dylan.

“Looks like plywood to me,” chimes in his sister Sara Beth, who is making a miniature gingerbread village with her partner Ana Tomas.

“It is not plywood,” said Ashton. “It is a gingerbread farm. Since Crystal and I are agriculture teachers it seemed appropriate.”

“You’re still a cheater.”

“Am not.”

“Are to.”

Christmas cheer is filling the air.

“I quit,” said Caitlyn Dugger as all four of her walls collapse the moment she tries to put on the roof.

“You can’t quit,” said her mama Cathy Crews. “I’ll help you and Gary.”

The spirit of Christmas cooperation.

“What? You can’t help her. I need you here. We’re making peanut brittle shingles,” said her partner Cheryl Hart.

The spirit of Christmas cooperation quashed.

“You bit the head off my snowman,” said Dylan.

“No I didn’t. That was a spare marshmallow,” said his partner Sarah Davis.

“Sarah, we’re trying to win this thing and you’re eating my snowman.”

“Is that an outhouse?” said Ashton.

“That is not an outhouse,” said Sara Beth, offended. “I’ll have you know that is the cathedral for our gingerbread village.”

“Looks like an outhouse to me.”

“And what is that in your farm?”

“That’s a wagon made out of sugar wafers.”

“What’s in it?” asked Sara Beth.

“Hay,” said Crystal.

“Looks like chicken manure.”


“Stop eating my snowmen.”

“I think we’re pushing the rules this year after last year’s candle fiasco,” said Sara Beth.

“You have to admit that was pretty darned awesome,” said Cheryl.

“Until your house caught on fire and had to be doused with water.”

In last year’s competition, Cheryl cut out the windows, covered them with paper and put a lit candle inside the house for added affect. It was very impressive until we had to call out the gingerbread fire brigade.

I just want you to understand that I have no stake in this contest. I am merely a chronicler like Mark Twain or Alexander Pope.

My bunch is incredibly competitive. They get it from their Mama who has been known to mope around all day after losing a game of Scrabble. Her progeny have been known to sweep all the tiles off a Scrabble board if they lose. So I choose not to compete. I’m a neutral observer, like Switzerland.

“I think our farm looks pretty good,” said Crystal.

“For manufactured housing,” quips Dylan.

“Doesn’t it look good Uncle Bob?” asked Ashton.

“I’m Switzerland.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

There’s a lot of laughter going on in our dining room. A lot of good natured ribbing and plenty of creativity. It’s a fun time.

It’s become something of a Christmas tradition in our house and though I’m not Bob the Builder and prefer to sit back and watch the competitors at work, I still enjoy it a lot.

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