An old man’s fancy turns to ….

January 20, 2011 In mid-winter, an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of gardening and fishing, not necessarily in that order.But with icy pellets falling outside or snow trying to melt off the countryside, those of us who were kids in the 1950s start remembering the pungent smell of newly broken garden dirt and the fast-biting action of panfish that were just warming up and ready to eat after a long winter just hanging out in the cold water.

Always be the judge

January 19, 2011 He’s still the judge.Even though retirement has afforded him time for his love of golf, quality time with family and the luxury of not having to spend countless nights lying awake worrying about making the right decision, those of us who know him will always refer to him as judge.Eight years ago this month Circuit Judge Tom Hilburn hung up his robe and decided to spend less time worrying about child custody cases, who gets what in divorce settlements, and the usual drama that would find its way into his courtroom.

School has sweet deal

January 19, 2011 Dear editor:Our new superintendent (Dr. Randy Willison) has started something brand new with school owned vehicles. The supervisors of each department now have unrestricted use of their school owned vehicles. All they have to do is pay taxes on it. For example, if the vehicle value is $7,500.00 they look it up in the Kelley’s Blue Book and just pay taxes on the $7,500.00 each month, which I think is around $55.00 to $60.00. They can take them on vacations with their families; take them to anywhere they desire, no limitations at all.

The new reality?

January 19, 2011 Imagine a handsome young family complete with kids living in a stylish two-story home in a quiet neighborhood. The parents work quiet middle-class jobs. Dad is a city bus driver. Mom is a secretary. Their house is brimming with consumer goods: a couple of mammoth-sized televisions, a drum set for the kids and high-end furniture. Mom’s closet is bursting with her ample wardrobe. Dad has a motorcycle. Combined they make just under $90,000 a year.

Change the standards

January 18, 2011 There’s something remarkably similar to the dual American problems of obesity and political trash-talking. Short term solutions made situations worse and in both instances most of us didn’t seem to notice till the problem was way out of hand.We have become a nation that’s more overweight than not, willing to watch people who call themselves politicians or policy makers trash talk others.

Hens scrap at party

January 18, 2011 Any other time of year, Gary has two favorite shows, “Two and a Half Men” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”Doesn’t matter if he’s seen them a hundred times. When I come home from work, if the TV is on it is turned to one of those two shows. This time of year, he’s watching more football but I still don’t know a Seahawk from a Raven. Instead, I’ll retreat to my scrapbook room or find a quiet nook and read.

Home item in question

January 18, 2011 When I arrived at Buster’s house, the first thing I noticed was the weathervane on the roof. It was the most realistic one I had ever seen. It stood up there as if it were guardian of the wind, staring down like a rooster sentinel watching all who came.I hadn’t seen Buster in a long time. We grew up only a few miles apart, and spent a lot of time together. Now, though we only live about 20 miles apart, our lives keep us busy and we don’t get together too often.

Leave well enough alone

January 17, 2011 Dear editor:Why do some people not just leave well enough alone? We need to leave the metro police and sheriff’s department the same.They are doing just fine in my eyes. If they change the department, we will have to have a new metro chief at taxpayers’ expense, another building at taxpayers’ expense, more metro officers at taxpayers’ expense. The sheriff’s department will lose reserve officers. Right now they have one reserve officer for every officer in the sheriff’s office. Some do it for free; some get paid.

Elvis this ’n’ that

January 17, 2011 Last week I wrote about country singer Johnny Cash after a visit to his boyhood home, but I can’t remember the last time I wrote about Elvis Presley, so I figure I’m about due. (A few readers have said I write too much about the entertainer, however, those columns are ones in which I’ve received more nice comments.)Elvis would have turned 76 on Jan. 8 and like most years Luke and I traveled to Memphis to partake in some of the events scheduled around the big day.

Legislative disputes

January 17, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  It didn’t take long for the first dispute of the 88th General Assembly to surface.Freshmen legislators took their oaths of office on Monday. On Thursday the House of Representatives sent the General Appropriation bill back to committee, rather than approve it and send it to the Senate. It was a signal that this legislative session will not be “business as usual.”