Evidence of cosmic catastrophes

February 11, 2010 Last week’s column offered the theory put forth by the authors of “The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Fire, Flood and Famine in the History of Civilization” — a theory that gives a plausible explanation for the extinction of mammoths and other large beasts about 13,000 years ago. It even accounts for the ice that froze mammoths practically in their tracks. 

Sticky, but not sweet

February 9, 2010 We’ve all heard the saying “Slow as molasses,” but once upon a time, nearly 100 years ago, molasses wasn’t so slow.On Jan. 15, 1919, in Boston, Mass., a large molasses storage tank burst, and a giant wall of molasses rushed through the streets, killing 21 and injuring 150. The event later became known as the Great Molasses Flood. The Great War (World War I) had ended the previous year, electricity was coming into its own but still wasn’t in every house yet, Lillian Gish was heating up the silver (albeit silent) screen, and many streets still had horse-drawn carriages.

Not guaranteed front runner

February 8, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — John Boozman likes to joke that he’s the senior Republican member of Arkansas’ congressional delegation. He’s also the only Republican member.It’s a line that earns chuckles at public appearances, but whether it’ll win him any votes is another matter.In any other election year, an incumbent congressman would be considered a front-runner in a Republican Senate primary in Arkansas, where Democrats control all but one of the congressional seats.But this isn’t any election year.

Sister found

February 8, 2010 The cold mud caked beneath my fingernails, drying like plaster, as I dug my fingers into the wet ground.One thousand twenty-six had to be between 1,028 and 1,007 but the numbers engraved on the metal markers weren’t in consecutive order and after more than two decades many of the round pieces had settled beneath the ground while others somehow managed to remain above ground.“Help us find you,” Mom said in a whisper, hoping to find the small metal disk. “Show us where you are.”Almost immediately her plea was answered.

Canine conspiracy

February 5, 2010 One day, about 15 years ago, my son shows up with a cute German Shepherd-looking puppy that he says he and his friend Adam found inside a paper sack in the middle of the road. Being the kind and compassionate kids they were, they couldn’t just leave the poor thing there to get smashed by some road hog, so they brought him to my house and named him Corona.

Political dollars and sense

February 5, 2010 If our elected officials are in such dire straits for additional money, maybe they need to find another part-time job, although we doubt they will find one that pays them more than $200 an hour or $100 just for showing up at a special meeting.

Political dollars and sense

February 5, 2010 When Monday night rolls around, the Independence County Quorum Court will be taking up a discussion continued from last month about whether to give themselves — and all the other elected officials as well as the county’s employees — a bonus.In January, County Judge Bill Hicks proposed giving bonuses for all county employees, from road crews and courthouse employees to the elected officials. The bonus idea came about because a 3-percent cost-of-living wage increase would cost more than $132,000, but the bonuses would be roughly half of that.

Cycle of cosmic catastrophes

February 4, 2010 It always bothered me that no one had a feasible explanation for mammoths being found frozen, having been encased in ice for centuries or millennia, with freshly chewed grass in their stomachs — and, in some cases, I believe, even in their mouths. And that grass was of a lush, tropical style.