New Year begins

January 6, 2011 I don’t know how well 2011 is starting out for me, but at least I guess I’m doing better than a bunch of birds in Beebe.

$41,895 raised for Arkansas Children’s Hospital

January 6, 2011 Arkansas Children’s Hospital is benefiting big-time, thanks to the certified watermelon growers in the Cave City area along with the Cave City Watermelon Festival Association, purchasers of prize melons which are auctioned off during the city’s annual watermelon festival, and donors, most of whom remain anonymous.“The Cave City Watermelon Festival has raised $41,895 (for the hospital) since 2004,” Jill McIlroy, community liaison for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, said in an e-mail message Friday, adding, “Pretty impressive!”

Not a bad day

January 5, 2011   One of my colleagues at the university where I work, Dr. Garth Waddoups, is one of the most positive people I know. One day he shared the reason with the professors and the students.He started by asking if anyone had had a bad day. Many students said they had. He informed us that he had never had a bad day. He then went on to explain why.

111th Congress: ‘So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye’

January 5, 2011 Oh, the irony of poetic justice. Every once in a while it happens. In the Bible story of Esther, Jew hater Haman was hung on the same gallows he’d originally set up to hang Queen Esther’s Jewish uncle. In the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie, the Nazi double agent who claimed to “believe” in the grail, but secretly loved the swastika, fell to her death after greedily reaching for the grail.

Tax relief will top agenda

January 5, 2011 LITTLE ROCK — Most of the important news stories affecting state government in 2011 will occur at the beginning of the year.That’s because the regular session of the legislature takes place during the first three months of 2011.Tax relief will be a major issue during the session. The governor has proposed reducing the state sales tax on groceries by half a cent, which would lower taxes by about $20 million a year.

Best of 2010

January 4, 2011 Doesn’t it seem like everybody in the world is weighing in with their Official Best of the Year list?  Yeah, well, here’s mine. Here are my Top Picks, Can’t Miss ‘Em, Go Back and Find Them Books for 2010….Fiction:“One Good Dog” by Susan Wilson — I read about 320 books a year, and I’ve done that for the last decade or so. This book makes my Top Ten List EVER. “One Good Dog” is the story of a man who has everything and loses it, a dog who has nothing and loses it, and how these two souls come together. If you only read one book this winter, make it this one.

Bird explanations

January 4, 2011 Here’s the first meiosis (I had to look that word up) for 2011: “Last year ended up kinda weird.” Over here in west Arkansas, we had a New Year’s Eve tornado that claimed the lives of 3 people. Three more up in Missouri. Having lived in the Natural State for over half a century, I don’t recall another tornado, ever, into the winter like that.

Returning to life

January 4, 2011 It can be difficult to figure out how to honor a life, two lives in this story but that’s the task in front of me. What a strange passage to go from being told there’s just one year of life left only to find out there may be more time. That’s a lot to take in and everything ends up getting recalibrated to adjust for the new ideas. A little over a year ago, that was me when the doctors at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago diagnosed me with melanoma, stage two, Clark level IV.

Looking at 2011

January 3, 2011 Yes, we did. Survived 2010. 365 tumultuous days of what my good friend Elizabeth (Betty) Windsor, is wont to call an annus horribilis. And our reward for enduring that annoying annum is this clean slate of a new year where potentially anything can happen. A position we find ourselves now; looking flush-front blunt at an empty, unscrawled calendar embodying hope and optimism and aspiration and promise.

Mom suing McDonald’s

January 3, 2011 Telling her children “no” has apparently become too hard for one mother. Here I thought it was part of being a parent.Monet Parham, a Sacramento, Calif., mother of two small children has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s, claiming the fast-food giant uses toys to market young children. SHe says the restaurant makes it that much harder to say the N-word when all kids really want are the toys that come with the meals.