‘Toy Story’ — Back to the basics

December 15, 2011 Boy, do we need to get back to the basics in America — even with our toys.Consider: In the basement of any kid’s home you’ll find once-trendy, dust-collecting gadgets that are no longer played with.So I was delighted to stumble across a Wired magazine article by Jonathan Liu that ranked “The 5 Best Toys of All Time.”First up: the stick, a simple branch or hunk of wood you can find in your own backyard.Though doing so is no longer acceptable today, when I was a kid I made several slingshots out of sticks that could fire a small rock a long way.

Good riddance

December 15, 2011 To listen to the “elite” media you’d think that a renowned statesman was regrettably planning to leave the political scene.As Jason Mattera of Human Events has noted, “After his announcement that he won’t seek re-election, the Washington Post heralded the disheveled congressman Barney Frank as leaving a ‘legacy that crosses from legislative cornerstones to political confrontations to a historic place as the nation’s most prominent gay lawmaker.’”

Fossilized human footprints abound

December 15, 2011 Geologists and others, well, to coin a word let’s call them Earth-ologists, used to say — and many if not most still do — that humans came along very late in the formation of the Earth. For instance, in my college geology class, the professor told us that if the formation of the Earth was made into a 24-hour movie, humans would be in only the last three minutes of the show.Well, I beg to differ. And so does my Bible (King James Version). And so does the evidence.

3 churches come together for Care to Share

December 14, 2011 SIDNEY ­— It was all free.Those waiting for the doors to open at First Baptist Church of Sidney on Saturday morning would soon find new toys, clothing and household items along with boxes of groceries to be given away for the second annual Care to Share program.Holly Ayers, who is one of the organizers, explained how three churches had teamed up for the Care to Share event. In addition to First Baptist Church of Sidney, members of the First Baptist Church of Evening Shade and Grace Country Church were also involved.

A bad rap for Christmas fruitcake

December 14, 2011 Many reasons exist why a person should love and embrace the Christmas season. I hear of those who attack the Christmas season and I take no notice to them at all. The thing that keeps buffoons energized his attention paid to them. If they were really serious about their so-called beliefs, they would leave the country during the Christmas season and go somewhere where it is not celebrated.My recommendation is the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.Ignoring the holiday buffoons, I snuggle down and enjoy the Christmas festivities. So much about the season to savor and enjoy.

Confessions of a child janitor

December 14, 2011 My first job was cleaning the group home I lived in. True story. I participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program part of the Job Training Partnership Act passed during Reagan’s first term. It was a War on Poverty federal program considered to be an economic stimulus and a way to keep teenagers off the streets. I was in foster care and had just barely turned 14; I went to a few seminars on job skills and was given a job “super cleaning” for minimum wage ($4.25). I pulled in about $75 a week ... before taxes.I learned two things at that job:

Forcing students into debt

December 14, 2011 When I graduated from Oberlin College in 1970, I remember holding my diploma and telling my parents that this is what $16,000 paid for, approximately $4,000 each year for four years of tuition, room and board, books, fees and personal expenses. When I attended Harvard Law School from 1972 to 1975, tuition was about $2,500 per year. When I started teaching at Temple University in 1977 costs there were about the same or less.

Bragging on SES honor choir

December 13, 2011 Dear editor:If you have an opportunity to hear the third and fourth grade honor choir from Southside School, I urge you to take advantage of it. They have entertained local groups — and in the State House in Little Rock.It is amazing what their instructor, Mrs. (Dawn) Harris, has accomplished with about 95 of her students, actually in a relatively small amount of hours.Thank you Mrs. Harris and your group of talented musicians for coming to the Senior Center to entertain us and to spread a bit of Christmas cheer. They do indeed make beautiful music.Jean Fick

In the hot seat

December 13, 2011 I was afraid I was going to be late for work on that cold, winter day, because the traffic had come to a standstill. Up ahead there were red, blue, and yellow flashing lights. Just beyond a fire engine, thick, black smoke billowed into the sky.A policeman eventually came down the row of cars and asked us to turn down a side street. I drove to a different parking lot than I had planned to park in, and hiked my way across campus, making it to class with only minutes to spare.