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Articles written by William H. Benson

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 By William H. Benson    Opinion    March 24, 2016

March Madness

The NCAA basketball games are upon us, and March Madness has arrived. The team to watch in recent years has been the University of Connecticut, where basketball is king. The men won their last national championship, their fourth, in 2014, but the...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    March 10, 2016

Thoughts on Campaign 2016

The United States has had two father-son presidencies. The first was John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, and the second was George Bush and his son, George W. Bush. Because Jeb Bush withdrew from the current race three weeks ago, we will not...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    February 26, 2016

Feelings in history

Scientists want to quantify. First, they observe a phenomenon, record their observations, arrive at a set of numbers, and then build a hypothesis. This procedure — the scientific method — works well in the sciences, such as in chemistry, biology...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    February 11, 2016

Presidents Day

In September of 1796, President George Washington published a remarkable document, his farewell address “to the People of the United States on his declining of the Presidency.” After two terms as president, he was exhausted, tired of public...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    January 28, 2016

"We Are the World" and Benghazi

Late in 1984, the calypso singer Harry Belafonte decided to raise funds for the famine-starved Ethiopians in Africa. First, he approached Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and asked them to write a song. Then, he asked several dozen of the biggest...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    December 31, 2015

Story and myth

An article appeared in the New York Times two weeks ago, “Jane Austen’s Guide to Alzheimer’s.” In it, Carol J. Adams described her difficult days caring for her mother, who had lost the battle to Alzheimer’s. For solace, Carol listened to...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    December 17, 2015

Love Story

“What can you say about a 25 old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.” So begins Oliver Barrett IV in Erich Segal’s novel, Love Story. Oliver is a rich, white, Anglo-Saxo...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    December 3, 2015

Lebanon's Civil War

In the book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, the book’s author Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes the people in Lebanon, his native country. It was, he writes, “an example of coexistence,” “a mosaic of cultures and...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    November 19, 2015

Patricia Hearst

The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped 19-year-old Patty Hearst, a sophomore at the University of California, Berkley, on Feb. 4, 1974. For the next 57 days, this small-time urban guerrilla organization detained Patty in a studio apartment’s...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    November 5, 2015

China's one-child policy

The Chinese people felt an immediate sense of relief last Thursday when their government stated that it will permit married couples now to have two children. The government’s one-child policy has created “a demographic nightmare,” and its...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    October 22, 2015

Bobby Fischer and Steve Jobs

Hollywood just released two biographical movies. The first was on Bobby Fischer entitled Pawn Sacrifice, and the other was on Steve Jobs, entitled Steve Jobs. Fischer’s passion was chess, but Jobs’ was computers and marketing. Chess experts now...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    October 8, 2015

Mel Blanc: Comedy and tragedy

Mel Blanc was known as “the man with a thousand voices” because he created voices for numerous cartoon characters. For Warner Brothers, Mel was the voice of Wile Coyote, Speedy Gonzales, Pepe LePew, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester the...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    September 24, 2015

A fork in the road

Yogi Berra played catcher for the New York Yankees for 19 years, from 1946 until 1965. Noted for his funny expressions, such as, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over,” and “I didn’t say everything I said,” his most quoted malapropism is...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    September 10, 2015

Brandywine versus Sept. 11

Two historic events occurred on Sept. 11. The first was at Brandywine Creek, west of Philadelphia, in 1777, and the second was Sept. 11, 2001. In the first, General George Washington’s ragtag army tried to stop General William Howe’s superior...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    August 28, 2015

Riff and parade

“Life is a lot like jazz,” said George Gershwin. “It is best when you improvise.” During the 2004 political debates, the radio host Don Imus described the two vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and John Edwards as “Dr. Doom and the...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    August 13, 2015

1st day of school: Linda Cliatt-Wayman

“Miss! Miss! Why do you keep calling this a school?” asked Ashley. “This is not a school!” It was an awkward moment, at an assembly, in November 2002. Because a fight had broken out that morning, the school’s new principal, an angry Linda...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    July 30, 2015

Hamilton, the musical

On Saturday afternoon, July 18, President Barack Obama and his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, were pleased to attend the new musical based upon Alexander Hamilton’s life, Hamilton. The popular play moved to Broadway, to the Richard Rodgers...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    July 16, 2015

Lord Chamberlain's Men

In the spring of 1594, 26 London actors joined together to create an acting company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. These actors included London’s leading dramatic actor at the time, Richard Burbage; plus Will Kempe, London’s leading comic actor;...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    July 2, 2015

Jay Walker and the Library of Human Imagination

In 2002, multi-millionaire Jay Walker designed and built his Library of Human Imagination. Located in Ridgefield, Conn., Walker’s 3,600-square-foot home stores and displays his collection of books – more than 50,000 volumes – plus his myriad...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    June 4, 2015

Futurology

Fred and Wilma Flintstone lived in the past, George and Jane Jetson will live in the future and Ralph and Alice Kramden live in the present. Although “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons” were animated, the three fictional sitcoms, including...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    May 21, 2015

Pedro Noguera and 'The Trouble with Black Boys'

Pedro A. Noguera teaches education and sociology at New York University. The son of Caribbean immigrants, he has a Spanish name, but he is black. In 2008, he published his book, The Trouble with Black Boys, and within its pages, he lists the...

 
 By William H. Benson    Community    May 20, 2015

'Step-by-step' approach can ease estate-planning process

Like many people, you may enjoy investing. After all, it can be invigorating to put away money for your future, follow the performance of your investments and track the progress you’re making toward your long-term goals, such as a comfortable...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    May 7, 2015

Lyrics and graduation

Fifty years ago, on the night of May 7, 1965, in a Florida hotel room, Keith Richards strummed his guitar while a cassette recorder taped a phrase that he had dreamed, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” The next day he asked Mick Jagger to listen,...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    April 23, 2015

Viruses are much worse than war

At a TED conference on March 18, in Vancouver, Bill Gates said, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next decades, it is most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than war; not missiles, but microbes. We are not ready for the...

 
 By William H. Benson    Opinion    April 9, 2015

Civil War ends

Abraham Lincoln recited the President’s oath of office on the Capitol’s steps at his second inauguration on Saturday, March 4, 1865. After four years of a ghastly series of bloody battles, the deaths of 620,000 men, and the dismemberment of...

 

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