Tom Purcell

Longing for the old, wooden stereo console

Editor Note: A prior version of this column was distributed by Cagle Cartoons in 2014. If you run this column, please mention that it is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s humorous book, “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood,” available at
It sat in my parents’ dining room for 30 years or more: an old oak stereo console with large speakers concealed by green fabric. It filled my childhood with a harmony and clarity we could use lots more of about now.

Tom Purcell

Mother’s Day reminder of humor’s value

“You’ve lost your sense of humor, and you need to get it back!”
Such was the admonishment my mother gave me many times over the years when one of life’s temporary failures gave me license to indulge in self-loathing.
“Life is full of difficulty,” she’d say, “and you can either find the humor in life or let its continuous challenges make you miserable and self-absorbed!”
In my mother’s world, nothing is worse than self-absorption — nothing is worse being trapped in the narrowness of your own point of view.

Tom Purcell

An apology to a recent college grad

Dear Goddaughter,
You nailed it!
You graduated from the University of Pittsburgh last week with an excellent academic record. You enjoyed experiences and friendships that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
But I must apologize for the world you’re going to inherit. The generations that preceded you have saddled you with unimaginable debt, both government and personal.
Our country is currently $21 trillion in the hole, the result of unfunded wars, reckless spending by both political parties and rapidly-growing entitlement programs.

Jim Brown

The dangers of medical marijuana

Is medical marijuana the next Louisiana boondoggle? The current Louisiana legislature seems bent on pushing through extended legislation that enlarges the number of medical conditions marijuana is supposed to treat. And even though the use of marijuana for any purpose, medical or recreational, is specifically prohibited under federal law, the legislature seems hell-bent on opening up the floodgates for any number of medical conditions.


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