Sunday, September 30, 2007

My World is Shaken

And yours will be too after I relate this sad tale. When I was young, I always had a few undeniable truths. Things I could count on and trust to be there, no matter what was going on around me. As examples, I've always known that Joe Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak will never be broken, I always knew my parents loved me, no matter what I did, and, until today, I always thought Dear Abby dished out sage and well meaning advise to those unfortunate ones who felt like they needed to ask a lady they don't even know, how to handle life's curve balls. And she always seemed to give the right amount of hope and motherly discipline to the writer. Until this morning that is, when I opened up the paper and read this headline, "Classmates hear sour note when schoolgirl toots her horn". Now I will admit the headline hooked me into reading the column, because I thought it was probably some young band student having peer problems at school. Boy was I wrong. Here's the question from the young lady which I will paraphrase to save space. She explained that as she was sitting in class one day, feeling a bit "gassy" and afraid she might emit an unwanted odor at any moment, the teacher said something so funny that the entire classroom erupted in laughter. Well as you can probably guess, more than laughter erupted, and the noise from this uncomfortable social faux paus zeroed the other students in to more laughter and some expected crude remarks. The girl is way past embarrassment and asks Abby how she should have handled such a delicate situation. By the way, she signed off as "fragrant flower" from Kansas. Here is Abby's answer to the red faced Kansan,--- Dear Fragrant Flower, What happened to you has happened to everyone at one time or another. The way it's usually handled is by trying to ignore it, or by pointing to someone else and asking, "Did YOU expel gas?" However, since you were caught dead to rights and there was no escaping it, my advice is to just let the episode blow over.--- Well there you have it, Abby makes a funny by telling the flatulent teen to let it blow over. Now you know why my world has been turned upside down; you can't even trust Dear Abby anymore. Her advice is that when you cut one in class, the thing to do is point at somebody else and act like they did it. That's more like the advice I would have gotten from my 8th grade football coach. Where is Ann Landers when you need her? What's next? Is Heloise gonna tell us what to eat for more effective SBD's (Silent But Deadly's). You never know, but we better get these advice columnists in check or there'll be chaos in our classrooms.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Power Plant News

As mentioned in an earlier post, I drove to Northwest Arkansas on Monday and toured the Flint Power Plant, which is a coal fired facility. Flint was built in 1978 and 30 years later it is still providing electricity with no signs of environmental damage. In fact, a panoramic view of the surrounding area shows a breathtaking snapshot of lakes and woodlands anyone could appreciate. I also toured the wild bird conservatory adjoining the plant site and noticed birds and plants in abundance with no discernable distress. The most encouraging thing I saw was the outstanding school facilities for this small town of less than 4000 people. No signs of smog, coal dust or anything remotely close to what the intervenors have been trying to convey to the PSC. The environment has continued to thrive and co-exist with the SWEPCO plant in Gentry, and I didn't see anything to indicate that the Turk plant will not be as good and assuredly better.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fair Week

Like most of you who grew up in Arkansas, I have wonderful childhood memories of the fair coming to town. Well it's that time again and the district fair begins on Tuesday in Hope, with the parade kicking things off that evening at 6:00. I am honored to be the grand marshal of this years parade, and look forward to dusting off the ol' cowboy hat and boots. Kids love a parade and so do I. The midway as usual will be at fair park, with the rodeo commencing on Thursday night. Go have some fun.

Beginning of Houston's End

The Kentucky loss last night will probably be the legacy of Houston Nutt's decade as the razorback boss. Bad luck and an inability to put teams away when they have them down, has unfortunately put the hogs in a tough spot, and will likely end the 10 year reign of the home-grown Nutt. I believe the only scenario to save his job is an unlikely run of the table, and that seems remote, with the receivers and defense both looking less than SEC caliber. Possibly 9-3, with a loss to LSU would salvage things, but I think the powers that be are already making calls. But it is college football and crazier things have happened. I hope things can be turned around, but it's a longshot. We'll see.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Razorback Thoughts

The disappointment from the Alabama game will linger for awhile, or until they can beat a good team. We will see on Saturday because Kentucky has a very good team. This is not your Grandma's Kentucky team of old, that usually had one or two good players and gave you a pretty good game, only to lose in the end. They probably have the best QB in the country, along with receivers and running backs to boot. Arkansas will be all out to win this game. In my opinion, this is a make or break game for Houston and the razorbacks. If they win, I think it's very possible for them to go into the LSU game at 10-1. That is if injuries don't kill them. If they lose, it's going to be a rough year. It's all on the line Saturday night. Arkansas 48, Kentucky 35.

Flint Power Plant

On Monday I will travel to Northwest Arkansas and tour the coal fired power plant in Gentry. PSC Chairman Suskie, along with Commissioners Bassett and Newbern, toured this facility last Tuesday. They reportedly came away impressed with the positive public input from locals and the unabashed beauty of the surroundings. The fact that the Flint plant uses much older technology than the proposed plant in Hempstead county will put on line, should speak volumes to those predicting environmental collapse if the Turk plant is built. I am going to take a look myself, and hopefully will come away convinced even more that SWEPCO should be allowed to proceed

Power Plant Tour

I went along with the PSC commissioners and others yesterday as they toured the proposed Turk power plant site. Representatives Randy Stewart and Steve Harrelson accompanied me. We did not go along on the afternoon tour of the adjacent hunting club land, even though I would have loved to have seen the property. By all accounts it is a beautiful place. Unfortunately, 99.9% of Arkansans will never be able to see the supposed untouched hand of Mother Nature here in Hempstead county. Nor will any of us experience the breathtaking views or notice the unlimited wildlife patrolling those woods and streams. In other words, the overwhelming majority of our citizens will never experience anything remotely close to what these wealthy landowners see on a regular basis. To the victors go the spoils, and they obviously have the means to control their little corner of the world. I have no problem with their station in life and what they can afford. My problem, along with most everyone around here, is their self-serving opposition to a project that will, without question, positively impact the lives of thousands of everyday people in Southwest Arkansas. Why is it not possible to have both? Are they so steeped in science and knowledge that they know this plant will decimate the landscape or leave any noticeable imprint on our environment? The answer is they don't know. They think it might. What they think and what they know, are in my opinion, miles apart. In fact, the PSC staff and the ADEQ have both used scientific and federal guidelines to recommend this project proceed on its merit; and that AEP/SWEPCO be held to the standards set forth. Hopefully the commissioners will see fit and grant them license to do so, and everyone, on both sides, will benefit from the results.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Game Day

I believe every football fan in Arkansas is happy that the season opener is just a little more than two hours away. Maybe the action on the field will replace the off season turmoil for just a moment. I'm looking forward to tonight, but I doubt this will be a gimme game that the 24 point spread indicates. First of all, Troy is much better than people want to belive. Secondly, with all the talent at the running backs position, (and it has never been this deep and talented), I don't see any other area on this team that doesn't have unanswered questions. Will Casey Dick take a step forward from last season? Can the virtually untested wide receivers take up Monk's slack? Do the three new starters in the O-line have what it takes to bust those great runners? Defensively, we have just as many worries, with two new defensive ends, Ryan Powers starting for the first time at LB, Freddie Fairchild and Michael Grant coming off major knee surgery, and Jerrell Norton being a go to guy in the secondary. Special teams, never a strong suit with James Shibest at the helm, will have to break in a new punter and a fresman kicker. There is no doubt most of these questions will have to be answered with good results if Arkansas is to be successful this year. I think they will, just not the first game. Arkansas 30, Troy 24.