Interview with Punxsutawney Phil

February 3, 2010 Every Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, is pulled from a tree stump. If he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring is just ahead. As I spoke with Phil about a recent controversy involving People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), he wore dark sunglasses, smoked an unfiltered Camel cigarette and sipped bourbon.

Past comes back to haunt

February 3, 2010 I’ve always heard that one’s past can come back to haunt them.Mine has.And it’s a woman.She’s blonde and blue-eyed and apparently can recall certain things from the late ’60s and early ’70s with clarity and, for her, a lot of humor.The fun started for her after I accepted her as a friend on Facebook. After we caught each other up on jobs, relationships, kids and grandchildren we got around to other topics.Enter my Tammy Wynette days.“Remember when you stood on Grandma Rand’s front porch and would sing ‘Stand By Your Man?’” she wrote.

Drinking problem

February 2, 2010 I think I have a drinking problem.Well, a drinking glass problem, anyway. It all started one daywhen my pal Mary Jo Shivey came into the Guard and spotted a Tervis Tumbler on my desk. “Wow! How neat! They’ve been around for years,” she said. “It’s an expensive glass.”Ooooh-Kaaaaaay, I thought. What’s the big whoop?She ranted and raved over it enough that it piqued my interest. I had to Google it.

Election fights for 2010

February 2, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Want a preview of Arkansas’ top election year fights in 2010? Step into the state Capitol.The House speaker is running for a congressional seat that’s being eyed by at least three other lawmakers. The Senate president has been flirting with a run for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s seat. Several northwest Arkansas Republicans are considering running for a seat now held by Rep. John Boozman, who also will enter the U.S. Senate race. A handful of east Arkansas lawmakers are considering runs for Rep. Marion Berry’s post.

Looking at education factors

February 1, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The number of college students who need remedial classes rose significantly this year, from 51.3 percent to 54.6 percent.One factor in the increase has been a sharp rise in the number of non-traditional students over the age of 25 who are going to college. In the current slow economy, many adults are trying to improve their job skills and marketability by getting a college degree. However, they’re finding that they are not prepared for college level course work so they must first take remedial classes in math, reading and English.

And the award goes to …

February 1, 2010 The award season is upon us. A few weeks ago it started with the People’s Choice Awards and on Sunday the 52nd Annual Grammys aired on CBS while the Oscars take the stage in March. I’ve always been a fan of award shows, the celebrities and the clothes. In fact, the clothes are just as fun to watch as the acceptance speeches and it’s just as fun to imagine what it would be like to be a part of it.

When the Bible goes to school

January 29, 2010 Fights over the Good Book in public schools have a long and ignoble history in the United States – from 19th century Bible Wars (when riots broke out over whose version of the Bible would be read in the morning) to current conflicts over Bible electives.Now three-in-one-month legal developments in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee add fuel to the fiery rhetoric from all sides about when the Bible should come through the schoolhouse door.