California and the crown

April 27, 2009 I guess Perez Hilton, who’s gained fame for gossiping about celebrities though his online blog, was expecting to get a politically correct answer as a judge during last week’s Miss USA pageant.Boy, was he mistaken when Miss California, 21-year-old Carrie Prejean, opened her mouth.During the pageant’s question and answer segment, Prejean was asked her opinion about same-sex marriage. Now, others think it’s what cost her the crown that Miss North Carolina ultimately won.

GOP politics divided

April 27, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas Republicans say a contested primary for the U.S. Senate would give their party a chance to reinvigorate itself, but it may end up becoming another showcase for the factions that have long divided the state GOP.More than a year before the 2010 primary, the names of candidates and potential candidates can already be neatly placed into the categories that have divided the state’s GOP politics: northwest Arkansas versus central Arkansas. Fiscal conservative versus social conservative. Hutchinson versus Huckabee.

How to combat small biting critters

April 24, 2009 Ahhhhh, spring! The sun shines longer and warmer, and Pandora’s box of critters that try to make life miserable, begin to flourish.We’re talking mainly about ticks, chiggers and fleas, here.The blood sucking critters can pretty well be controlled around the home with either granules or sprays especially formulated to kill them.

Finding one’s calling

April 24, 2009 This is an open letter to next month’s graduating seniors.Dear Seniors,If you want to succeed in life but aren’t quite certain how to, that’s because life offers you different options. In fact, life’s a lot like “Let’s Make a Deal.” You’re about to have to choose Door 1, Door 2, or Door 3.

Wait’ll next year, part 2

April 24, 2009  So here we go again. It’s 2009 and the Chicago Cubs look like they might very well be the best team in the National League.Good hitting has long been a Cubs’ hallmark. Alfonzo Soriano homered in the eighth inning last Friday to beat the traditional rival Cardinals. Aramis Ramirez one-upped him Saturday, hitting his two-run homer in the 11th for the walk-off win. The Cubs have plenty of hitting.

Politically correct terms

April 23, 2009 Political correctness is a term everybody loves to hate. Where in the world did it come from, and can we ever return to just plain old common speech?The answer to the first part of the question is inconclusive at best. One source traced the term back to Mao’s “Little Red Book.” Some trace it even further to roots of Marxism. Regardless of the etymology, politicians, pundits and posers of all stripes have used the term for decades.

Seeing the elephant

April 23, 2009 When I came out of the eye doctor’s office in McMinnville, Ore., with a black patch over my right eye, the first thing I saw was a baby elephant coming through an alley onto the street.Or maybe it was a pre-teen elephant. I turned to my wife. “Is that a real elephant, or am I just seeing things?”“It’s a real elephant,” she said.This was the summer of 1971, when we were migrant workers in California and Oregon.

Find time for friends

April 22, 2009 As my friend’s almost 2-year-old son repeatedly cried, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” at his father, who had gone outside to grill dinner for the group of us, I took some solace in the fact that it was not my child crying at that moment. Of course, 80 or so miles away, my 5-year-old son was likely laughing maniacally at my wife while using rude language and refusing to get ready for bed.

Facebook fatigue

April 22, 2009 I’m turning into my father.My father was born in 1933. He was a paperboy in the days when paperboys stood on city corners and shouted “Extra!”In my father’s home, the newspaper still is king. He has two delivered daily. He reads every inch of both. He does the crossword puzzles in both, too — with a pencil.(Note to people under 25: A pencil is a small, yellow stick that leaves a mark when its tip is pressed against paper.)

Assault weapons ban

April 21, 2009 Escalating violence in Mexico and border towns in the U.S. from the growing drug trade has increased a call to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban against some semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The 1994 ban passed by Congress was allowed to expire under the last administration but after investigations proved that many of the guns being used in the recent drug wars originated from sales in the U.S. more groups began calling for Obama to make good on a campaign promise.