Optimism vs. Pessimism

November 18, 2009 The sunny-side-uppers claim that a positive attitude is the secret to success. If only all the Eeyores of the world would start thinking more positively, we could cure disease, create world peace and line our pockets with riches.Yet the self-proclaimed realists assert that they’re the only ones are willing to face the facts. Leave life to the Pollyannas, and they’ll skip us off the edge of a cliff, clutching a copy of “The Secret” to their chest, passionately chanting, “I believe I can fly, I believe I can fly.”But which side is right?

Organ music

November 17, 2009 We got it in the early ’70s: a Kimball organ that sat in our living room for 20 years or more.It had single buttons that played whole chords. Other buttons played cymbals, marimba and other rhythmic beats.I spent hours playing the thing. My father, too  —  his fingers are so big he had trouble playing just one key at a time — played it often.And at family gatherings, my mother and her siblings would stand around it for hours, singing holiday tunes and other well-known standards.

Missed opportunities

November 17, 2009 On more than one occasion in high school and college, I thought about taking a semester to study abroad. I never did, mostly because I was afraid to be that far from home for so long. When you’re a teenager, even a semester can feel like forever when it’s spent thousands of miles away. And once you marry, have a family and a career and all the responsibilities that go with those, spending three or four months in another country becomes much, much more difficult (until retirement, I suppose, but with my luck I’ll be too tired by then).

Facilities needed

November 16, 2009 By all accounts from everyone I’ve talked to, the recent downtown antiques fair/craft show event was a success (about 3,000 estimated in attendance) in spite of one day of inclement weather. In fact it was enough of a success that the dates have already been nailed down for next year, Oct. 22 and 23, according to Main Street Batesville Director Paula Grimes.

Christmas in November

November 16, 2009 Branson, Mo. at Christmas time is a wonderful experience even when it’s the first week of November, sunny and 70 degrees.For the second time in two years my fiancé Luke Stroud and I made the trip to the entertainment capital of the South just as the town kicks off the holiday season.I didn’t know what to think of such spirit so early last year, however, it must have had some effect on me because I couldn’t wait to go back this year around Nov. 6.

Cats are trainable Experts say it just takes patience, right rewards

November 13, 2009 People have low expectations of cats.Sam Connelly tells of the time that she and her cat Storm observed a Canine Good Citizen test while they were waiting for their feline agility class to start.“I’m watching the dogs and I commented to the evaluator, ‘My cat can do all that,’” said Connelly. “At the end she said, ‘Want to take a shot?’ like it was a big joke.”To the evaluator’s surprise, Storm passed the test, successfully performing commands like sit, stay, come, down, and walking on a leash.

Pleased with city

November 13, 2009 Dear editor:A few weeks ago my business brought me to Batesville, Arkansas. I was amazed at the view when I topped the hill looking down into your city. WOW!!Then the main street area was another WOW!! With an injured foot, walking was out of the question. However, I returned the next week and really enjoyed my time. The variety of shops seemed more alive with the historic background. The people were so friendly and actually wanted me to say “Hello” back to them.I am so happy to have taken the time to re-visit Main Street and plan to return with my friends.

Cook County vs. Students

November 13, 2009 A scene in the 1987 movie “The Untouchables” shows Sean Connery as a Chicago beat cop instructing federal agent Kevin Costner on how to play tough in the Windy City. Connery finishes his bare-knuckles-to-handguns lesson with this flourish: “… and that’s the Chicago Way!”