Cow Psychology 101

May 10, 2011 It was springtime, and we were reaching the end of our winter’s hay supply. The pastures were not yet dry enough for the cows to graze, so we hoped that what we had would hold out until they were. Hay prices had nearly doubled during the winter, and if we had to buy more hay, our costs would exceed our income from the milk.At this critical time, we made a terrible discovery. The tarps that had been covering the last portion of the hay had frayed, and had leaked snow melt and spring rains through into it. My father assigned me to see if the cows would eat any of it.

Atheists and equal treatment

May 10, 2011 In case you missed it, on May 5 the president of the United States has called the nation to prayer — just as past presidents have done on the first Thursday of every May since 1952.Mandated by Congress, the National Day of Prayer was marked this year by events around the country, many of which are organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, an evangelical Christian group that maintains the self-described “official site” on the web for celebrating the day.

Say your prayers

May 10, 2011 It figures.The National Day of Prayer was this past Thursday — and I forgot to pray.I’m not very skilled at praying. Like a lot of folks, I don’t pray until things go sour or I face some daunting challenge.I pray on Monday mornings when I’m way behind on projects that are due — and I am behind EVERY Monday.I pray every April 15 — right after cursing.I pray when people I love are ill or worse.When I was younger, my best prayers followed long nights at the pub — what we call “praying to porcelain.”Plenty of folks struggle with prayer.

GWTW comes to Ark.

May 9, 2011 There it was in all its glory. The little gold man who many actors want and seldom get.Not only was this an Academy Award Oscar, for me, it was the most well deserved award ever presented to an actress who epitomized a character: Vivien Leigh who owned the role of Scarlett O’Hara in 1939’s “Gone with the Wind.” I have seen the footage of her receiving the Best Actress award many times, but here I was standing in front of it looking at it with my own two eyes in of all places, at the Arkansas Historic Museum in Little Rock.

Obama gets Osama

May 9, 2011 Pull the banner out of storage and string it back across the aircraft carrier. Because this time, Mission Really Accomplished. Barack bested bin Laden. Obama got Osama. Or as the right-wing talk shows probably reported it, “Alien President Murders Muslim Brother.” Though not a big fan of the whole killing thing, it would take a stupendously bloodless American to decline the pleasure of hammering a couple of nails into this particular coffin.

Ledge update

May 9, 2011 LITTLE ROCK — The federal government has given Arkansas approval to make dramatic changes in how Medicaid operates.If plans go according to schedule the changes will take effect in July of next year. Other states will be watching Arkansas closely to see how effective the changes work. Their purpose is to hold down costs. Other states would likely follow suit if the changes in the Arkansas Medicaid program prove effective.

Secession decision nearing

May 6, 2011 One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansawyers faced an imminence of having to choose sides in the ever-increasing conflict between the United States and the Confederate States governments. As noted in an April 1861 edition of an Arkansas newspaper, “This morning we reared a pole, towering 110 feet, and from its lofty summit stretches out our southern flag, the star of Arkansas in the distance, like the swift comet, seeking to form one of those brilliant seven that are shedding light upon the independent pathway of our Confederacy.”

Amid all the bad there is still good

May 6, 2011 April brought us many things to be thankful for but also, with all the death and destruction, the knowledge that life is so fragile. As people in our state and across the South try to regroup after an onslaught of tornados and flooding, we realize how things can change in an instance, which is just one more reason to be thankful.1. OK. So we had a little fun with April Fools’ Day. Thank goodness most people have such a wonderful sense of humor.

Round the world joke

May 5, 2011 If you didn’t have, say, a sense of smell, and 3,000 people all informed you Casablanca Lilies were pleasantly fragrant — you’d rely on that information and assume they were right. Now if you didn’t have, say, a sense of humor, and 3,000 people around you all guffawed uncontrollably at jokes about you —best you’d rely on that information and at least smile. This would cloak your defective funny bone and lack of self-irony. You’d appear affable instead of culturally tone deaf.

‘River Rat’ info was correct

May 5, 2011 Charles McKenzie’s information that resulted in my column last week about the upcoming blowing of the Birds Point Levee to ease flooding on the Mississippi River at Cairo (pronounced Kay-roh), Ill., was right on target.McKenzie, of Evening Shade, worked for 17 years for the Ingram Barge Co., where he was a riverboat chief engineer. He certainly proved his sources among the “River Rats” on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers know what they are talking about.McKenzie now owns McKenzie Monument Co. (formerly Stone Monuments) near Pfeiffer.