The Dick Cheney doctrine

May 21, 2009 I’m sick of torture. And the fact that we’re one of the countries way up there on the J.D. Powers annual “torture reliability” list makes me unwell as well. As does talking AROUND torture. What this country needs is an up-front national referendum on whether we should or shouldn’t be torturing people. Oh wait. That’s right, we did have one. Last November 4.

Mysterious stone towers

May 21, 2009 Writer Joseph A. Altsheler must have spent some time in the Southwest. Otherwise, how would he have known so much about it?In my favorite Altsheler book, “Apache Gold,” the author wrote about many unique places and things in the Southwest. Of course, the books were novels, but while reading them you had the sense that most times, Altsheler was describing locations that were real.

Unhappiness is what we need

May 20, 2009 The experts have it backward.I speak of the spate of articles, books and boob-tube psychologists who are advising us on how to be happy during the recession. An article in U.S. News & World Report offers 10 happiness tips.Tip No. 1: Spend 20 bucks on an experience instead of a material thing. Research shows that people feel better when they do things rather than purchase things. This is because, says one expert, “experiences remind us of the thrill of being alive.”

Tiptoeing through the tulips

May 20, 2009 I’ve been tiptoeing through the tulips in my front yard and I’m thinking that flowering tree has to go.It’s really pretty with its green and coral flowers, but it’s getting on my nerves because all that stuff won’t stay attached up in the air where it’s supposed to be.And, it’s huge.I’m not what one would necessarily call a tree-hugger, and I had no qualms about having a rather large, ugly cedar tree cut down, but for the most part I hate to chop down trees. Especially a pretty one.

Three stray tomcats

May 19, 2009 Since the day my mother placed the “feline curse” on me when I was 5, I’ve almost continuously had cats in my home, and life. For reasons only known to the Creator, they’ve been almost exclusively females, or queens. In fact, the only males have been strays that insisted on living with me.When I was in high school, we were actually between cats for a while. By my junior year I had a car and a job. I was Al Bundy long before “Married With Children” came on the air. Yes, I sold shoes, at J.C. Penney.

Holocaust survivor

May 19, 2009 If you were living in a Nazi internment camp in some of the most miserable conditions on the planet, would you be able thank God for even the lowly fleas that ate at your flesh day in and day out?I wouldn’t. But Elizabeth ten Boom was, and I thank God for her and her sister, Cornelia, who endured such prison life, in which every breath was torture and every torture was a blessing. Corrie ten Boom is the author of “The Hiding Place.”

Middle-aged and annoyed

May 18, 2009 I turned 47 a few weeks ago. Boy, am I getting cranky.Now in middle age, I’m less able to suffer fools gladly (including this fool). Many things annoy me:A girl in her early 20s goes into a beer store. She buys a case of beer and lugs it back to the car.Inside the car sit two young men, bigger and stronger than she. It never occurs to either louse to get off his duff and carry the case for her.It never occurs to younger men to open the car door when they take a girl on a date or to be gentlemanly or chivalrous in any way.

Cheap, old movies

May 18, 2009 The buttery popcorn, the secluded darkness, the anticipation of not knowing if the next 2 1/2 hours will be money well spent, or wasted.In these times going to the movies can be expensive. In these times, it’s also an activity in which people can forget their troubles for a few hours. This summer, many towns across Arkansas are hosting events known as free or cheap “movies in the park.” I think it’s one idea that would be great at Riverside Park at Batesville.

Unsung heroes at work

May 14, 2009 He or she is such a control freak! It’s a common criticism, and it’s usually directed at the crazy person running around barking orders. You know, the one who’s about to bite your head off because you didn’t do things exactly the way they wanted you to. Nobody likes a micromanager, but did you ever notice that the people always complaining about control freaks are usually the ones sitting on the sidelines? It’s easy for them to get annoyed at the order barkers, because they’re not the ones who have to be in charge.