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From outside-the-box tips on sustainable living by Sarah Reelwomin, to an innovative and inexpensive gift guide from Keith Jeep, to a heartbreaking piece of journalism from Jean Collins, this week’s edition of the PIC Newspaper will make you feel as much as it makes you think.

Collins Calls the Country: American Vignettes

Chip Wendell, The Little League Coach That Could

By Jean Collins

Baseballs in vintage light


Hello. Jean Collins back with some lessons from a chat with a new friend. I dialed 1-326-FLAG and found Chip Wendell, an inspiring Little League Coach from Frisco, Texas.

Jean: I’m here with the PIC Newspaper and we’re here to listen to your story, Chip. What is it you do? What talents are you waiting for people to notice?

Chip: I coach a Little League team down here in Frisco.

Jean: So you work with some of our youngest citizens.

Chip: That’s exactly right. My wife Melanie says it’s a waste of time, but I’m certainly more of your persuasion!

Jean: A waste of time… is there something going on, Chip? Trouble in paradise?

Chip: Hahaha no, no, nothing like that, Jean. She just thinks sports are a bit silly, but she makes sure to come to our end-of-season banquet every year.

Jean: So tell me, Chip. Why did you start coaching Little League? Was it an interest of one of your children? Or was it just the allure of America’s pastime?

Chip: Well, it really started because I was looking for a good hobby. Melanie has her yoga in the evenings, and while she was doing that, I figured I should be doing something too!

Jean: Melanie has… and is there a yoga instructor?

Chip: Yeah it’s like a big group class.

Jean: Oh, Chip. Oh, sweet, sweet Chip. What is this instructor’s name?

Chip: Uhh… Beth?

Jean: And while your wife is at her yoga class, you’re helping these kids. Steadfast in the face of a challenge like this one.

Chip: A challenge?

Jean: Ever the optimist, Chip. A quality I’m sure has been valuable for your players. How does it feel to lead a team?

Chip: Oh, it’s so hard not to fall in love with kids.

Jean: Because there is no one else you can love? Because Melanie is so busy all the time at “yoga?” So you need a home outside of your home?

Chip: Umm…

Jean: Chip, the word “hero” is one that I try not to use lightly. But when I think of you out on the diamond with these young Americans, with all the things you’re going through, teaching them everything but baseball, through baseball, it’s hard for me not to think of a superhero.

Chip: Well thanks, I guess.

Jean: Your understanding of yourself as a homemaker—as both a guardian and a mentor—is moving, Chip. And it makes me reconsider what we mean when we think of a “coach.”

Chip: Right.

Jean: Chip, we don’t have too much time left here. I have one more question, and I’d love a straight answer—do you think you can answer it for me?

Chip: Sure.

Jean: When did you know for certain that you had lost Melanie.

Chip? Chip, are you there?

Chip, I think the connection’s gone bad.

What a fascinating interview. I’ve never seen such an impressive display of forgiveness—it’s clear that Chip still loves Melanie, in spite of what she’s done.

I’ll see you folks next week with words from another dedicated American. Until then, try to make your community feel more like home.


Keith Jeep's Summer Gift Guide

By Keith Jeep

Howdy there, Jeepers! It’s me! Keith! From the last column I wrote? Father’s Day was Sunday, and I know my daughter was definitely at a little bit of a loss for what to get me. I ended up receiving a “see dee” that once belonged to someone called “David Matthews,” which I’m not exactly sure what to do with. Maybe hang it up in the garden to attract hummingbirds?

But then I was struck with a brilliant idea. A gift guide! Here are a few presents that any regular-degular, run-of-the-mill man (or woman!) is sure to love.

All-natural, easy-grip, all-purpose hand tool

Perfect for home repairs, cooking, cleaning, even hanging out with friends. My wife got me one of these bad boys a couple years back, and I use it every single day. The best part is that if it falls apart, a tree will graciously, kindly, and gently supply you with a new one.

Stick in yard

Keith Jeep's personal hand tool.

Portable hammer

Made of locally mined ore, this top of the line tool easily fits into the side pocket of your carpenter pants, and doubles as a stress ball. Available in an infinite array of sizes.

Stone in yard

Keith Jeep's portable hammer

Fishing Rod 

There’s nothing more relaxing than a day out on the water—but that’s not always true for the fish. So take a tip from Keith: grab this knick-knack, smear a little homemade jam on the end, and dangle it out into the water. Make sure to stay quiet! If a fish wants a little snack, he (or she!) will come up for a nibble. If there’s any extra jam on the end of the stick after the fish swims away, feel free to take a bite for yourself!

Stick in yard

Mr. Jeep's fishing rod.

The perfect snack for any on-the-go guy (or gal!)

I know I certainly need to get my protein in when I’m on the move, but I also know that I’d never, ever, harm one of nature’s beautiful creatures. This tasty vegan jerky is sure to satisfy.

Stick in yard

The most recent snack eaten by Mr. Jeep.


Now I’ll be honest. I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. I’ll admit that I’m a little—okay a lot—skeptical of big hardware and their propaganda. And this does seem like one of those tools you don’t really need if you actually know how to use your hands, like an electric saw, a car, or a toothbrush. But recently I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about these guys, and if you have a particularly fancy friend in your life you’d like to impress, this might be the high-tech, cutting edge gadget for them.

Two buckets hanging

Two buckets.

Sustainability in the Summer Months

By Sarah Reelwomin

Raccoon at night

Sarah Reelwomin, one of PIC Newspaper's normal, human columnists.

Hi! I’m Sarah Reelwomin, a human columnist for the PIC Newspaper who has no tail, no fur, and always stands upright. This summer I’ll be providing tips and tricks for homeownership and management, cooking, shopping, and all the other things real human women love to do during the daytime, which is when we are awake. Whether you live in a house, an apartment, a den in a hollow tree, or in a dumpster behind a Denny’s, I think we can all agree that we all want to live a little betterand I am positively foaming at the mouth with excitement at the prospect of helping YOU, fellow humans, to be the best people you can be.

Today’s topic? Sustainable living.

As human beings with no claws, tails, or masks around our eyes, we all know how important the environment is. After all, we only have, on average, 1.8 to 3.1 years on this Earth (if we aren’t hit by a car or murdered by a dog!). Change starts at home: you have a responsibility to your family, to your friends, and maybe even to the local wildlife that lives under your porch, to be responsible about waste management.

We all want to manage our homes in a way that reflects our values. But it’s hard to know what to do with leftovers. After “cooking” a meal for your mate and kits, as I often love to do with my tiny, hairy, human hands, it’s hard to know what to do with all the leftover tasty treats from your kitchen, like eggshells, watermelon rinds, and banana peels. Where should you put them? In the dumpster, which is very hard to get into and out of? Or in a composting bin, which is slightly easier to get into but still poses some difficulties for any hungry little someones who may want to bite and gnaw at your meat scraps?

What I’ve found, from reading books for people, is that neither option is the way to go. If you want to live sustainably, the best option is to let nature take her course. I’m talking about full, open exposure to the elements (and if some furry friends get in on the action, is that such a crime?). Have some leftover chicken scraps? Just put them on a plate, and leave it in your backyard. On the ground is fine. And if you wanted to go the extra step and preemptively prevent food waste, you could even put out some food that isn’t garbage. Maybe a whole rotisserie chicken, with some warm milk in a small bowl which someone with small hands and no thumbs could easily drink from.

Don’t worry about the odor or the appearance. I promise—no, I guarantee all your scraps will be gone shortly after nightfall, if I have anything to say about it.

Stay tuned for next week’s topic: Sewing little coats and leaving them outside.

Thanks for wading into the deep with us again at the PIC Newspaper. Our hearts and inbox are always open to you—replies welcome.