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If foreign governments meddling in our 2016 general election is news to you, then I’m not sure how much fruit could be borne by reading further. It is a well settled fact, acknowledged by every political faction worth mentioning, that Russia (and Israel, Iran, Ukraine, North Korea…) interfered in our most recent presidential election. Some say “meddled,” others, “intervened.”

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Field of Dreams, Gold Rush, Snake Oil and Wild, Wild West, are all the terms currently being used to describe the out of control cannabis situation going on in our country and hemp production in our state.

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(Columnist’s Note: I sincerely wish this reprint from 2015 weren’t still timely and relevant today, but, alas, now that the east side Kroger has 12 different entrances into its parking lot, I fear this is an even more necessary holiday message.)

Happy Thanksgiving! As you’ve read and heard all too often this week, and as you know well even without the constant mantra, it is a time to give thanks. I am so very grateful for many people, countless experiences, whatever skills and abilities I have, and constant opportunities. It’s really too much to take in without giving short shrift to the lion’s share of life. Yet I ponder on it and try to understand.

Gather around all of my culinarily-challenged friends, I have a treat for you. As we prepare ourselves for a day full of family, turkey, and football let us also take time to remember the real reason for the holiday: thankfulness that our family members can cook, because we sure can’t.

“I want to thank you / For your generosity / The love and the honesty / That you gave me / I want to thank you”—“Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant

It never fails. Each year around Thanksgiving I tend to get a little sad. I'm reminded of a time when my family would load up the car, including my tiny Pappaw and head up I-75 to Louisville to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt Jenny and uncle Shelby.

I don’t do a whole lot of cooking throughout the year other than to bake some chicken for my work lunches or pour a bowl of cereal for breakfast. But around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I enjoy getting in the kitchen to try out new recipes.

This week I lost my friend and mentor, a gentleman and a beloved community advocate, Bob Terrell, or “old Bob” as he would write to me.

November is National Novel Writing Month and features an internet writing project, aimed at producing a manuscript before month’s end. If you haven’t been keeping warm at your desk by feverishly turning out pages, then it’s probably too late to start the project now. There’s still time, though, to snuggle into an easy chair and read a novel or two during these last few days of November.

Last week's foray into America's newest impeachment imbroglio was, objectively speaking, fascinating to those who truly care about our country. It really makes no difference what side of the political aisle you find yourself on. The fact is that this political process rarely raises its head and I believe that we can learn from it, and eventually leave it behind us having introduced some positive impact on our nation. It's ugly. There's a level of gamesmanship that is hopefully unfamiliar to you. And, when it distills down to he-said-she-said playground shenanigans, we just know that there's something untoward going on amongst those elected politicians that should reflect the cream of the American crop. Despite the negatives though I still think it can create good effects.

Impeachment, abortion, Colin Kaepernick and Jeffrey Epstein — these topics and people are the most important issues facing our nation, right?

(Columnist’s note: I’ve had some heartfelt holiday columns I’m still very fond of, but I think this reprint from 2015 remains my favorite of all the funny ones. I’ve updated it just a little to reflect current dates and events, but it remains mostly unchanged.)

There are a lot of different numeric combinations that in total will produce 39, but my personal favorites are 26 and 13. And I’ll get to why momentarily.

At the beginning of the day Monday, I found out all teachers and students were having an assembly during 2nd block. Now that is not to say I wasn’t notified before then; it is to say that is when I found out. Regardless, I was aghast, because I had devout plans for my 2nd period class - plans that could not be changed, or in the very least, should not be changed. My robot brain refuses to compromise in times like these.

Artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that promotes the creation and utilization of intelligent machines toward their working order being as effective as a human’s intelligence. There are scores of self-described authorities on AI’s definition, but this description is as useful as any for us today. The premise that such computer scientists work from is that, eventually, they will be able to create machines that can in fact mimic the human thought process. I’m not 100% sold since we don’t fully comprehend, or know, how the human thought process plays out. There’s much that we do know, but a great deal of that is still theoretical. Find me a peer-reviewed scholar who can cogently explain love, or memory loss, or how humor affects thought, and I might be able to buy into the fact that other smarties can make computers do the same.

“A pod has appeared at the top of the screen / They're the hardest to get, if you know what I mean / A miss, then a hit, now he's fading away / I've done all I can, at least for today”— Buckner & Garcia “The Defender”

It is 5:35 in the morning. It is too early to be at school, so I’m sitting at my desk at home. As I type away on my keyboard, I notice my Han Solo action figure standing stolid beside the screen. He is similar to the Batman bobble head that keeps vigil at work. I always liked Han Solo, the rebel with a cool car -in his case, the Millennium Falcon.

A few months ago I started looking online for a gratitude journal to purchase. Surprisingly to me, there’s an overwhelming large selection of them. There are gratitude journals to fit everyone’s needs from age, sex, occupation, humor and even how much time you wish to spend writing in them.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s undeclared war against public education in Kentucky took another ugly turn last week as a stacked state school board pressured the state education commissioner into resigning.

I heard an interesting interview recently. Terry Meiners interviewed Former Governor Steve Beshear regarding his recent book release. Probably the most startling revelation dealt with his belief in Magic. As he told Terry, he has a horse named Magic. The Former Governor also appears to believe that magic can be used to resolve the thorniest problem our Commonwealth has ever confronted, our pension debt.

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