- Golfer Phil Mickelson scored a hole-in-one when he articulated what so many people are afraid to - talk frankly about how higher taxes are a millstone not only on the economy, but in everyone's pocket. Given we are immersed in politically correct group-think, Mickelson feels he must keep apologizing for speaking the truth, allowing his altruistic hole-in-one to plunge and sink in the pond of melancholy.

- Hasbro will add a new piece for the long-time board game favorite, Monopoly. The iron that was with the game from its humble beginnings is now history, replaced by a cat. Rumor had it Hasbro was going to replace the top hat with a figurine of Mitt Romney, but Chuck Stroup pointed out that would have caused the gamemakers to change the rules where the person with the most money at the end is the loser.

- Obama's infamous "Jobs Council" is now one for the ash heap of history since the council's charter wasn't renewed despite continued high unemployment. In retrospect, the Jobs Council did its job extremely well, saving the one job that counted - Obama's.

- It has been estimated that 12 million people are living in the U.S illegally. There are more than 23 million Americans unemployed. We have had illegals in this country well before Ellis Island was ever established. Granted, there weren't 12 million, which very well could be a low estimate, but the problem has been part of the American landscape for more than a century. Perhaps the only positive development in our shrinking economy is that illegal immigration has slowed greatly. Unemployed, however, is still high. Weren't jobs a top priority back in November? What about passing a budget, too? Instead, the first big legislative agenda this year is another amnesty bill.

- Have you noticed that every time the unemployment rate falls, it's because so many people have pulled themselves from the work force and are no longer counted as unemployed? Did you ever wonder where they wind up? Try welfare. What else would explain the huge upsurge in folks collecting food stamps and disability insurance?

- Obama puts a loose cannon like Joe Biden in charge of heading up a committee on gun control? Even Hollywood can't script such an implausible paradox.

- You couldn't get more of a contrast with the recent passing of the late great baseball Hall-of- Famer Stan Musial, and the recent trials and tribulations of the pharmaceutical Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o, he of the cybernetic non-existent girlfriend. This is really nothing new in contemporary sports, even back in 1968, when Simon and Garfunkel in their hit "Mrs. Robinson," were asking, "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?" Shortly after DiMaggio's death, Paul Simon said in a New York Times op-ed that the line was a sincere tribute to DiMaggio's unpretentious heroic stature, in a time when popular culture magnifies and distorts how we perceive our heroes. In short, it was about grieving not just DiMaggio's death, but the loss of such grace and dignity. Musial was the last link to such an era. Many of today's professional athletes could take many a lesson from the life of Stan Musial by reading George Vecsey's latest: "Stan Musial: An American Life."

- You can find such Musialian poise in Lewisburg on the Sojka Pavilion hardwood. Not only are three starters of Bucknell's senior class members of the 1,000-point club, but they have led their teammates to a top 10 rating of mid-majors throughout the season. Those seniors are Bryson Johnson, Joe Willman and All-American candidate Mike Muscala. Colin Klebon, of Shamokin, is the squad's fourth senior, who like his three teammates, are all on the university's dean's List. I don't know of any other Division I group of basketball seniors in the country that have accomplished the same.

- It was slightly more than 20 years ago that the first text message was sent. It read, "Merry Christmas." In 2012, more than 8 trillion texts were sent worldwide; that translates to 15 million a minute. Running parallel to such a daunting figure is the fact that reading scores have declined to a 40-year low. Is there a correlation between the enthusiasm of today's young adults for electronic communication gadgets and its abbreviated language-termed texting? How would they know about such things as syntax, punctuation, vocabulary and meaning when they are responding in a run-together series of acronyms like LOL and ISETMOT?

For those experts of the texting genre who are stumped by that last one: It is enough to make one twitter.

What do you expect from one who remains textless?

(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)