GUEST COLUMN: John B. Mann
The beautiful baby that captures your heart as he or she sleeps in a crib could be traded in for a brand new shiny Ferrari, to paraphrase Sam Hananel of the Huffington Post. Are you willing to make the deal? Probably not.
The government reported in 2012 that, for children born in that year, it will cost a middle-income family $235,000 to raise a child to the age of seventeen. In other words, according to this report, a person can choose to raise a child, or buy one of the most expensive cars made. … Read the rest
Mark K. Campbell
Thirty-nine years ago, we slip into the dark water.
When you are mere weeks from graduating high school like we are, the final stretch – so long in coming – is a blur.
We are ready to flee our stupid boring town, this tiny Central Texas burg where nothing ever, ever goes on. All we do is sit at the bank parking lot or make the drag from the railroad tracks to the highway – back and forth, back and forth – listening to Steve Miller or Gordon Lightfoot or we stick Grand Funk into the car 8-track player if we want to rock.… Read the rest
It’s National Humor Month so let’s talk about funny. (There’s going to be some off-color stuff here, just so you know.)
I still remember a joke I heard when I was 12; I thought it was the funniest thing ever. The fact that I’ve never forgotten it means I’m probably as juvenile as the bride says I am.
Did you hear about the Aggie that had diarrhea? … Read the rest
That’s what she said. “God sent you here.” I didn’t know her. We had made eye contact and smiled pleasantly as we passed on the canned vegetables aisle moments earlier. Now I was passing by breakfast cereal headed toward coffee when she smiled broadly, pointed at me, and said, “God sent you here.”
Since Life Matters expanded my writing ministry into the newspaper column world, I have the privilege of “talking to” people I might never have otherwise. It is not uncommon, as I travel to the different churches that are part of my primary ministry responsibility, to have people mention that they enjoy my column.… Read the rest
Readers may wonder how I get ideas for columns. I read non-fiction books on Western history; I attend history conventions and take notes. Also, I buy books and take notes when I travel on vacation. Conversations with folks also lead to ideas.
This week's column just fell into my attention like a row of tumbling dominos. Last week I was chatting with a bank employee while we were waiting for a clerk to copy something. How our conversation progressed to the young man telling me that the game of "42" played with dominos started in Mingus, Texas in the 19th century, I'm not sure.… Read the rest
House Bill 5, legislation proposing to change public school testing requirements, and House Bill 4, proposing to fund water infrastructure, drew spotlights at the state Capitol last week.
On March 27, the 150-member Texas House debated and approved the bills, which now move on to the Senate for consideration. Conference committees will be called on to work out any differences that emerge in House and Senate versions of the bills.… Read the rest
Author's Note: A couple of weeks ago when I did a follow up column on wild horses, I forgot to mention a February 2, 2013 news article stating that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is ordering better treatment for wild horses and burros, citing a public outcry as the reason for their new policy. Let's hope. … Read the rest
March 18 was day 70, midpoint of the 140-day regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature.
On March 22, the Senate approved its version of the state budget, a plan to spend $95 billion in general state revenue in 2014 and 2015. The Senate version would spend $7 billion in general revenue more than the current 2012-2013 budget. The full budget is close to $195 billion, counting dedicated funds and federal dollars. … Read the rest
David Bowie, well-known extra-terrestrial, once sang about “The Man Who Sold the World.” But Dennis Hope has achieved fame by selling the moon – and you can buy a chunk of it.
He says lots of people are taking him up on his space oddity.
In the 1980’s, Hope took advantage of a loophole in the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty that said no country could own the moon – but it said nothing about individuals, so Hope laid claim to the moon. … Read the rest
Thirty years ago, Walt Disney Pictures released Something Wicked This Way Comes based on story by sci-fi author, Ray Bradbury. I never saw the movie, but I watched the trailer online this morning and might want to see if I can track it down for fun. For some reason, I have a knack for remembering movie titles whether I have seen the movie or not and the title popped into my consciousness this morning as I was preparing to write this week’s column. … Read the rest