Unhappy New Year

December 31, 2009 Good riddance to the aughts, naughts or ohs. By whatever name, the first decade of the 21st century has been devastating for religious liberty in much of the world.The statistics are numbing. According to a study released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people now live in countries with high restrictions on religious beliefs and practices.

The Knight of Westford

December 31, 2009 The Knight of Westford is a 6-foot-tall carving pecked into a standing rock near Westford, Mass. It is clearly a depiction of a Scottish knight in full armor, wearing helmet, mail and surcoat, holding a broken sword and bearing the crest of the 14th century Sinclairs, rulers of the Orkney Islands — it was identified as such by the curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge University in England about 50 years ago.

Breakfast at the Kingpin Compound

December 30, 2009 Ok, so, as far as Christmas Miracles go, this story doesn’t rank up there with “Miracle on 34th Street” or Ralphie’s Red Rider Air Rifle, but it’s the only one I have, so, please bear with me.

Anything, everything found online

December 29, 2009 I guess there really are blogs devoted to anything and everything online. I mean, sure, the more serious topics have been around a while. From financial freedom to symptoms of countless diseases and disorders, we can research probably anything our hearts desire, all with a few key strokes and maybe a mouse click or two.

Something to yodel about

December 28, 2009 I am always amazed at how many people born and/or raised in Arkansas have gone on to be famous. Those most known are singer Johnny Cash, authors Maya Angelou and John Grisham, actor/director/musician Billy Bob Thornton, former president Bill Clinton, actress Mary Steenburgen, General Douglas MacArthur, just to name a few.However, I’m always surprised when learning about someone I didn’t know had ties to The Natural State. Such is the case with a performer named Helen Hagstrom, aka Carolina Cotton, who would go on to be known as the “yodeling blonde bombshell.”

Smiles of Christmas

December 24, 2009 One of my favorite Christmas memories is from 2002 from shopping in the Ash Flat Walmart. I wasn’t really in the holiday mood as I wandered down the food aisles getting my last items for Christmas dinner when I saw a man who looked as if he may have been an immigrant from Czechoslovakia or a similar country 70 years ago when he was probably 4 or 5 years old.The elderly man had a look of pure joy on his face. In his right hand, clutched end-to-end in the one hand, were two cans of — something.