Revisit the past

December 30, 2010 Ah, New Year’s Eve. What a great night to revisit the past year.Though I’d rather revisit 1999.The unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in 1999.Dot-com stocks were still creating lots of paper millionaires.The U.S. deficit for that year was $1 billion — that’s right, “billion” with a “b,” a far cry from the $1 trillion to $2 trillion it is nowadays.Things were going so well, we had to make up crises, such as Y2K, the Millennium Bug!

Hands off the Internet

December 30, 2010 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to get its grasping hands around the throat of the Internet, the international town hall where Americans have been free to express their opinions without Big Brother’s permission or interference.That makes the FCC unhappy. It seems that this taxpayer-supported, intrusive federal agency simply can’t bring itself to allow anything having to do with Americans communicating with each other in public without their lordly oversight or permission.

A Tennessee mosque, a good American Story

December 29, 2010 The No. 1 religion story of 2010 was the emotional, often ugly debate over plans for an Islamic center two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan, according to Religion Newswriters Association members — and just about everyone else making a list.Not far behind was the media-driven obsession with the Florida pastor who got more than his 15 minutes of fame by dangling the threat of Quran-burning before eager reporters camped outside his church.

Old photo holds clue

December 29, 2010 It’s official. I no longer need Dr. Phil.Who knew that pilfering though some old photos would hold the clue to my relationship (that’s plural) status?According to the good doctor, one only has to look at past actions to glimpse what we have in store for the future, because most of us keep our old habits, even though we may masquerade around in new clothing. (A leopard can’t change its spots, wolves in sheep’s clothing kind of thing.)So when I stumbled across an old black and white “Girls of the ’50s” photo, it hit me. I am somewhat of a control freak.

The gift of human connection

December 28, 2010 Have you ever noticed that when you give to others you feel better about yourself?There’s a reason for that.As human beings, we’re hard wired for connection.  There are two basic human needs, intimacy and ultimacy.   We have an innate desire to create meaningful connections while we’re on this planet and to make a contribution that outlasts our stay on it.The problem is that we get ourselves so mired in our busyness that we forget how great it feels to help others.

Lighten up, it’s Christmas!

December 28, 2010 The ancient Roman lawyer Marcus Tullius Cicero wouldn’t have very high regard for my family and me, I don’t think.He once said, “To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless.”For Christmas, I threw caution to the wind and made a fool of myself, but that’s OK. I was in good company.

More like Christmas

December 27, 2010 Lately I’ve noted a few happenings that have made the holidays seem more like Christmas this year. Let me enumerate them: Across the top of the sign at a local grocery market, I saw written “Jesus is the only gift you really need.”  I stopped in my tracks and read it again; then marched into the market and said “Thanks!” The sign at a local car sales lot wished Jesus a happy birthday again this year. Someone else gets the message.

Launch new boat

December 27, 2010 Dear editor:When I told a well known Arkansan from our area that I was moving to Batesville to teach at now Lyon College, he told me that Independence County had more millionaires per capita than any in Arkansas. Could that really be true?Not too many years later I, as chair of our church board, was cautioned not to be too quick to raise salaries. From time to time I still hear that holding down salaries is in Batesville’s best interest. Cogitate on that a bit.

Walkin’ tall

December 27, 2010 Dear editor:Maybe my math ain’t so hot, nor my grammar. But my heart is right on the mark. It says Batesville’s new hiking-biking trail along the Lyon College bluffs is “The Million Dollar Mile!”Huge thanks are due to those so brilliant as to conceive it and so diligent as to carve out this heavenly pathway.We lovers of rocks and hills and trees are richer now. We have more activity options, more dreams and inspiration and aspirations. Batesville seems even more now as a wonderful home.