In 1985, my friend Johnny suffered a tragic loss in a crime that went unsolved until this year. While reporters tell us that justice has finally brought closure, the story endures, and it raises an unsettling question: What compels us toward tales about violence, about murder?
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that all artful stories humanize us as surely as they humanize their characters. They allow us to transcend crime-scene voyeurism and courtroom media hype, to bear witness to those who survive, after the book is slid back onto the shelf.
In Las Vegas, Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate was arguably the hottest show on the Strip.
It was supposed to be a test for businessman Herman Cain, who has gone from nowheresville to competing for the title of front-runner. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose debates and poll numbers have been lackluckster, showed a combative side that had been missing up until now.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) hands over a formal letter for Palestine to be admitted as a state to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon during the 66th U.N. General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Sept. 23. Now, the Palestinians are pursuing full membership in other U.N. agencies.
Herman Cain became a vice president at Pillsbury, left that job and started over at Burger King, where he climbed the corporate ladder again. Eventually, he became CEO of Godfather's Pizza, which he is credited with turning.
As their numbers grow, Latinos are not only changing where and how they worship; they're also beginning to affect the larger Christian faith.
You can see evidence of that in the Assemblies of God, once a historically white, suburban Pentecostal denomination. When you walk into the denomination's largest church, it's sensory overload: The auditorium is jam-packed with hundreds of Latino worshipers singing in Spanish, swaying and dancing.
New York's political titans are clashing over the future of a controversial nuclear plant north of New York City.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to close the aging Indian Point nuclear plant because of safety concerns. But the plant, which wants to extend its original licenses for another 20 years, has some powerful allies of its own.
A breakthrough in oil cleanup technology allows crews to skim spilled oil off the water's surface at a much faster rate. The new device wasn't developed by Exxon, BP or any of the major oil companies — it's the work of Elastec/American Marine, based in Illinois. And the design won the company a rich award from the X Prize Foundation.
Oil is attracted to plastic. And water is not. That, in essence, is the basis of Elastec's new skimmer.
Sometimes in sports, like in the rest of life, stuff just hangs around because, well, it's always been there. Such is the best-of-seven game series to determine our champions of professional baseball, basketball and hockey.
A seven-game series is a wretched excess, and I'm going to tell you why, but nobody in charge is going to pay any attention to me because a best-of-seven series has just always been the way of the world.