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Ahhh, the Chinese. We've been unable to enjoy a week's news cycle during past months without getting a [usually non-]update about our relationship with China. We two political, military, and commercial powerhouses are at odds in many ways. The Chinese are very much distinct from us in at least those many different ways. The mere notion of a government's control over the number of children families may have is foreign, to say the least. Incidentally, for 35 years or so, since the 1980s, Chinese families were prohibited from having more than one child without penalty (some penalties much more lasting than money fines, for instance). Now, after big changes in President's Jinping's administration, they're allowed two.

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(Columnist’s Note: I have not updated a single thing in this reprint from 2015 — which means the oldest Gen Xers are, alas, no longer under 50. I’m in my late 40s now myself. But every other word of it holds true, a fact that scares me more than I would like to admit.)

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I found myself standing in "Bucks Hardware" in downtown Jellico on Wednesday. Having lived just up the road in Williamsburg for the majority of my life, I had never been inside the quaint and rustic store. My friend Lori who was visiting from out of town insisted we take the time to go inside so while out "sightseeing" that's exactly what we did.

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Recently, my sophomore English class finished reading the tragedy "Antigone," a Greek play involving a strong-willed protagonist who stands up to society and tyranny despite her age and station. Personally, I love the play, and every year enjoy reading it in class. While the words to the script are always the same, the individuals in my classes subsequently change from year to year.

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There’s a popular Mandarin (or is it Cantonese?) flavor profile that came to mind while I was drafting notes about this week’s piece. It is truly both sweet and sour to report about one point of social order that enjoys nearly universal favor when it comes to voters’ expectations in the upcoming primary elections: cybercrime. That’s sweet, at least to me, because of its universal appeal as a topic of policy for these potential, future leaders of Kentucky and America.

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I'm currently taken by a song by Christian artists King & Country. It's actually my favorite go to song for my morning commute to work.

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Homecoming is always a great time of year for Eastern Kentucky University. I've spent most of my adult life on university campuses, and homecoming is special to me for this reason: it's a chance to remember and visit the places and people that transformed and shaped our lives and the lives of others.

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If a person admits to an immoral act after being caught, should that person gain any veneration? Should integrity be publicized when there is no choice but to submit to guilt?

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Sometimes our children and her students may have thought my wife had eyes in the back of her head. The doctors, though, only found those two on her face. They also found cataracts.

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To his wife Hilda, Horace was a boozer who drank like a fish, but not the same thing. To his more understanding and humane friends, however, he was only a social drinker although, perhaps, more social than others. In any event, when he ambled into his favorite liquor store, one day, he fell back aghast at seeing his picture hanging on the wall, with an official state notice labeling him as an "Excessive Drinker" barring further sales of gifts of liquor to him.

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On July 25 there was a presumably important phone call between the president of the United States and his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky. As you likely know there have been many moments of political or security interest since then with the same nation-state. Ukraine issues, maybe more so than during any other news cycles, has been bandied about the past couple weeks in the District. The July call, however, is particularly intriguing.

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Many of us were told when we were young that children are to be seen and not heard.

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Abortion. It is a nasty word. One definition in Webster's states, “Something regarded as horrifically or disgustingly bad.” A word rife with hatred and even violence. A taboo subject.

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For many of my family and friends, Friday’s autumn evenings are devoted to high school football. Some are involved on the fields; some watch the game from the stands; some follow live play-by-play accounts on radio or TV.

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The best thing Arthur could say about George was that George never attempted to borrow any money from him. In fact, Arthur disliked George so much that every time they happened to pass each other on the street, Arthur would make a funny face at him, or stick his tongue out at him, or maybe just go up to him and laugh at him face to face. But, when he started to dog George's footsteps -- and tailgate him -- George just couldn't take it anymore. He hustled down to the nearest courthouse and sued Arthur for a bundle of money pointing to Arthur's conduct as justification for the lawsuit.

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Conflict with Iran, climate change and an economy that's showing signs of decline — our country certainly has plenty to deal with domestically and abroad.

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“You can get just so much from a good thing / You can linger too long in your dreams / Say goodbye to the oldies but goodies / Cause the good ole days weren't always good / And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems” —“Keeping the Faith” by Billy Joel

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I'm blessed to be a community contributor out here in western Kentucky, submitting to a local online newspaper, The Ohio County Monitor. This story was first published online last November. As fall approaches, I'm reminded of one of my favorite friends, and I felt the urge to share this story again with our Times-Tribune readers.

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Recently, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education named Berea College the No. 1 "best value" college in the nation. Since Berea students do not pay tuition, the ranking might seem obvious, but the true value of "free" might not be so obvious.

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