Overly blunt tone rubs people the wrong way

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always valued honesty and transparency in my interactions with others. I strive to provide a realistic perspective and offer straightforward feedback or advice. However, it seems that this approach is not always appreciated or well-received. Rather than being seen as someone who is genuine and reliable, I find that my straightforwardness is often interpreted as insensitivity or even harshness. It can be disheartening to witness the negative reactions and anger that arise from my attempts to be honest and realistic.

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The first month of the legislative session has been eventful with committee work, passing a grocery tax cut, and working on the state budget.

Phobias related to childhood trauma cause distress

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently struggling with a phobia related to gunshots and police sirens due to childhood traumas. When I was a child, I experienced instances where my father would bring conflict into our home, and it has left a lasting impact on me. As a result, I have developed an intense fear and anxiety around the sound of gunshots and police sirens.

COPD can develop due to environmental hazards

Dear Doctors: I work in a big shop where we make custom furniture. My wife thinks it puts me at risk of COPD and insists I should use a mask. Is she right? I thought COPD was something that happens to smokers. Plus, wearing a mask isn't very comfortable.

Difference in steady vs. chaotic

When Jon Stewart returned to Comedy Central after an eight-year absence, New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik wrote a review under this headline: “You Might Not Like What Jon Stewart Has to Tell You.”

A borrowed plate has its own significance

My husband, Peter, and I were surprised that two plates were missing. We stay in our little apartment in Mexico and, while we’re gone, all our dishes and glasses remain in the cupboards. We pack away most of our spices, but we leave the vegetable steamer and the pressure cooker and all the art on the walls. We leave it all in the apartment which, we assume, is rented out to other people while we are gone, although it is hard to know for sure because everything is always right where we left it. But this time, two plates were missing. And I knew where they were.

Husband’s behavior causes spouse pain

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband’s actions are hurting me, but I am torn because I don’t want to have a broken family, so I find myself constantly fighting back. His behavior toward me is causing emotional pain and distress. Despite this, I am hesitant to consider separation or divorce because I worry about the impact it would have on our family and our child. Therefore, I find myself engaging in arguments and trying to defend myself, hoping that things will improve.

ATLANTA (AP) — When she was behind bars in Georgia, Nia Thomas would use toothpaste to stick handwritten flyers to the wall and spread the word about community bail funds that could pay inmates' bonds, no strings attached.

Most Catholics have stopped worrying about saving souls

As a rule, evangelists from Texas don't go shopping for bourbon before a speech. But that's what Marcel Le-Jeune and some friends did when the Catholic Missionary Disciples leader spoke at a Franciscan University conference last summer in Steubenville, Ohio. Things turned serious while chatting with a saleswoman when he asked how she was doing, and she bluntly replied, 'I wish I wasn't on this earth.'