The best 25 columns of all time

A WHILE BACK, Ed Russo, a Register-Guard colleague, suggested we read a book called Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns and each choose our favorites. Great fun. Great inspiration. And a great sense that old-school columnists may have done it better than us contemporary folks. Six of my top 20 were written in 1953 or earlier. Only two were written since 2005. I was interested to note how my bias was toward columns about...

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The great leaf war

Note: I’m snowed so until the end of the year I’m running some stories from long ago. This column ran 10 years ago, Nov. 3, 2000, in The Register-Guard. NOVEMBER ARRIVES and I find myself musing over Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind,” particularly the lines: O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing...

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A pirate’s life for me: burying skeletons from the past

It was going to be the highlight of the summer of 2010: an elaborate beachside treasure hunt for my 5-year-old grandson Cade, whose trip through Disneyland’s “pirates of carrots and beans” — as he calls it — had enthralled him with all things skull-and-crossbones. “Remember to wrap the plastic around the candy before you bury the treasure,” my first mate suggested as, shovel in hand, I prepared to head into the thick shore pine...

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Test your Oregon, Lane County history

En route to Yachats Friday, I was reminded that Florence-to-Yachats on Highway 101 is my favorite 20-mile stretch of highway in the state of Oregon. But did you know that back in the 1970s, it was almost ruined by the building of a nuclear plant? Huh? You didn’t? Well, then, you need to take my Lane County historical trivia test to challenge yourself and learn. (Answers at the end and, no, they’re not upside down.) 1. Name the Eugene...

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Tribute, tears for a father from a father

Tonight, on salon.com I came across the only other story about family members building a coffin for their father that I’ve ever read. I found it interesting — not necessarily wrong, just interesting — how the children of writer William Manchester approached the task so much more light-heartedly than a Eugene man I once wrote about, Mike Furgason. I reprint the following Register-Guard column (March 4, 2007) in honor of Mr. Furgason and...

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