Harkening back many days ago to junior high (middle school depending upon where you grew up and what era) English class people were taught the best stories always have conflict.

Republicans, bias in midterm polls

Republicans always believe the polls are slanted against them. That belief has sometimes caused them to misread big political races. In 2012, for example, a significant number of Republicans convinced themselves that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was actually going to defeat incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.

GERD is more than just heartburn

Dear Doctors: I'm a 44-year-old man, and I'm a bit overweight. I've been having trouble with what I thought was heartburn, but my doctor says it's actually something called GERD. How is that different from heartburn? She prescribed medication, but I wonder what else I can do that might help.

Employee doesn’t want to speak at retirement dinner

DEAR HARRIETTE: A woman I worked with for many years is retiring, and our company plans to honor her with a farewell dinner. It is a company tradition — not a requirement — that each department head will give a speech about the retiree at the dinner. My boss asked that I say a few words, as I've spoken at many of our farewell dinners in the past. However, the truth is that I do not particularly like this woman, and I'm almost 100% sure that she doesn't like me. She was never kind to me. We are cordial for the most part, but there have been many occasions over the years when we were less than that. I do not think it would be a good idea to decline when I've spoken at almost every other farewell dinner, but I simply don't have anything nice to say. Should I decline, or should I fake it and do it anyway? — Nothing Nice To Say

Snowbirds, hurricanes keep coming to Florida

As I write, backbiting and finger-pointing have begun among Florida politicians about the timing of evacuation orders before Hurricane Ian. Having made a dreadfully ill-timed joke in this column about the kind of divine retribution often cited by religious cranks as the cause of natural disasters, I’m inclined to be forgiving. Mistakes were made because the storms are inherently unpredictable.


According to the National Wildlife Federation, fall is a good time to rake up leaves and let them become shelter for wildlife. Leave a section of your yard with raked-up leaves a few inches deep, and wet the pile down if it's a little too dry and might blow away. It'll eventually become the perfect shelter for small animals like salamanders, chipmunks, turtles and shrews, as well as beneficial insects like earthworms.

Boss asks to promote company on social media

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work a fulltime job for a startup company, but I do product promotion through social media on the side. As a freelancer, I get paid hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for my social media work. When my company learned I do pretty well with my independent work, they were impressed. My boss asked that I promote the startup on my personal pages. Since he made this request during a meeting, I felt like I was being put on the spot. I didn't agree to do it, but I didn't decline.

Truth, reconciliation slow to arrive in U.S.

Kanien’keha:ka raonatswa’tahtshera ne tewaa:raton. Tsi tiotahsawen ne tsi lohontsa:te tiotahsawen ne tewaa:raton ahontswa’te, ratina’tonhkhwa Shonkwaia’ti:son raotswa’tahtshera ...