Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

October 19, 2011 The Occupy Wall Street protests make for great theater but in the end could turn out to be a distraction from the next big bubble, the public debt. Most of the news about our collective red ink has been taken up with chatter about just the national debt.But while our national bill stands at $14.8 trillion with a federal budget deficit of $1.3 trillion, the Feds still have other means of dealing with the financial crisis besides going directly to the populace and raising taxes.

Halloween (in)justice

October 19, 2011 As a faculty member at a local university I sometimes have students ask me where I live. I am leery of this, especially at Halloween time.Years ago, when I was a new faculty member, I had a colleague who enjoyed having students hit his house with toilet paper. He always felt it was a sign of their affection for him. Myself, I could do without cleaning up the mess.

Parents, please don’t ruin a compliment for your child

October 18, 2011 I’ve observed a horrible phenomenon: The inability to accept a compliment about your employee, spouse, or child.For example, last week my daughter had a friend spend the night.The young lady was polite, helpful, interesting and a true delight to be around.The next day when her dad picked her up, I told him how great she was. He said, jokingly, “Are you sure you’re talking about my daughter?”People refuting compliments about their kids is a pet peeve of mine, so I was prepared.“Yes,” I said looking him straight in the eye and smiling, “she’s truly wonderful.”

There is a fine art to casual loafing

October 18, 2011 Storm clouds were brewing like fresh morning coffee in the normally placid parsonage this past week. I will not say that things got out of hand, which is not to say they did not. I just will not say.I sensed a growing controversy between my wife and myself. Its genesis came about because of some silly mix-up, I assure you. Usually, mix-ups come about because of some misunderstanding and boy, do I sure miss my understanding. I have misplaced mine for so long I honestly cannot remember when I had it last.

Conversations with Mom

October 17, 2011 Over the past year, I’ve been having weekly conversations by phone with my mother, Tina Carr, who’s now 85 and living the good life in Florida. Before that we spoke about four or five times a year on birthdays and major holidays. That was it.My part of the tale is that I was waiting for my mother to call me more often and I took what I saw as her lack of effort as proof of something deeper. I had an entire backstory why it was OK that I wasn’t dialing the phone either.

Black ‘Steel Magnolias’

October 17, 2011 The 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias” is one probably every woman from the South has seen. Then again it’s probably one seen by every woman, Southern or not.  Like the film “Fried Green Tomatoes” I get the feeling that hundreds of men around the country cringe at the thought of the female in their lives watching this movie more than once. (It just seems more of a chick flick than a movie a man would willingly want to see. Then again I’ve been known to be wrong.)

Mammoth, Davidsonville, Powhatan parks celebrate history

October 14, 2011 Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series about museums in the Ozark Gateway Region.Many of the Arkansas State Parks include museums that chronicle and celebrate the rich and varied history of the region. Five of those museums are located in the Ozark Gateway Region at Mammoth Spring, Davidsonville, Powhatan Courthouse, Jacksonport, and the Ozark Folk Center state parks. Each captures the spirit of the region with exhibits, activities and entertainment for the entire family, and annual events and celebrations. Mammoth Spring State Park

How to moderate the power of lobbyists

October 14, 2011 There is a fundamental question raised by lobbying of the Congress. It is this: Can we temper its excesses without destroying its usefulness as a valued component of the system?

Prepare for Doomsday

October 14, 2011 I love the show “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” and when I found out they were in Mountain View last week and our reporter Larry Stroud had the opportunity to interview one of the cast members — I was so jealous.