Last Week, In Case You Missed It: December 29, 2013

tagxedo-123113The last week in 2013 was a busy one at Oak Ridge Now, as it probably was for you and yours. As such, may may not have caught everything we published. Here’s a quick recap of what went on.

Our Lady War Eagles blew out one of their nemeses, the Lady Cavaliers of College Park, 66-43 to score their first district win of the season. Big congratulations were in order for them.

In our Texas news, there was a lot that changed in public education in 2013. We brought your the complex and wrenching story of an Iraq veteran from Texas now on death row. We looked at how hunters in Texas are donating extra meat to food pantries around the state, which is especially good given the recent cuts in food stamp benefits. And our beloved Senator Ted Cruz has no regrets and is offering no apologies for his actions during his first year in Congress.

We published two studies from our friends at Pew Research this week: the first explores the public’s sentiments in the wake of December’s bi-partisan budget agreement in Congress. It seems most folks would prefer not to cut back on aid to the poor or entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. So that leaves…? The second study looks at how we think about Christmas now compared to how we thought about it in our childhood. Yes, this one probably belongs in the “things that are fascinating only to me” category, but I really think it is an interesting read.

My favorite piece of the week is where Robin O’Bryant confesses how really difficult it can be to keep smiling amidst bouts of depression during the holiday season:

I keep it breezy on Facebook and say things like,  “Have a great turkey day! May all your food dreams come true! Happy Holidays! Fa la la la laaaa!!!”

Because it’s easier than saying, “Hey, I realize today may be really hard for you because it’s not what you thought it was going to be 5 years ago, or 3 months ago or 2 minutes ago. But I hope it’s bearable. I hope it’s good. I hope you make it through this day with a smile. I hope you are kind to yourself today. I hope you breathe and notice something beautiful. Maybe it’s not what you thought it was going to be. But maybe you’ve been adopted into something that is lovely and beautiful and full of light.”

We published three movie reviews this week, for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Wolf of Wall Street, River Phoenix falling in love with a computerized voice in Her, and of course, Will Ferrell’s triumphant return in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Sweet Lincoln’s mullet!

Our other features included Peter Funt looking at the lives of a number of people we lost in 2013 that didn’t make the cover of US magazine or the Today Show. Dave Ramsey advised a couple to catch up on their student loans, and we profiled six soldiers who lost their lives when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

justine-saccoOur Opinions section included our take on the Duck Dynasty uproar and on President Obama’s overlooked income equality speech. Joe Gandelman then compares the Phil Robertson saga with the treatment Justine Sacco had when she tweeted the gem on the right.

Will Durst released his belated 2013 Christmas Gift Wish List and his frustration with password complexity.Bill O’Reilly rants on, guess what, The War on Christmas.  Jason Stanford believes it is high time Texas investigates the contract of it’s $462 million stanadardized testing vendor, and Tom Purcell believes the key to keeping New Year’s resolutions, is, you know, resolve. Agreed. Resolve is difficult, especially when you come home to the smell of chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven. Resolve tends to go out the window.

All that and our terrific editorial cartoons, last week on Oak Ridge Now.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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