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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
Fast driving, tall corn and food stamps (07/15/13)
A car transporting Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds was recently clocked at 84 miles an hour, an obvious violation. The trooper driving should have been ticketed on the spot but unless every back seat passenger is to be held responsible, these passengers shouldn't - except for the old "buck stops here" thing...
Cougars, Grit, and two Royal Families (07/08/13)
Grit, the magazine, recently ran an article on mountain lion (aka cougars, pumas, catamounts or panthers) sightings in the Midwest. A Des Moines TV news segment of a couple weeks ago showed a distant picture of alleged mountain lion kittens playing near Cumming, which is fairly close to our home...
Human Health Mysteries and the Lawn Mower (07/01/13)
Timely spring rains broke our drought and left our 300 by 200-foot front yard with a fine stand of brome grass, now about three feet tall and ready to re-seed. While most of our neighbors prefer a manicured lawn, we leave ours for wildlife, not mowing until mid-August...
Is Sam Clovis a K-Clone? (06/24/13)
Next June's Republican Senate primary could be a real humdinger, with as many as seven vying for the right to bump heads with Democrat Bruce Braley. A video of one of those candidates, Sam Clovis of Hinton, reminded me of the sometimes handsome Broderick Crawford, as he portrayed the original Slick Willie in the old movie, "All the King's Men." One shot of Clovis under the TV lights shows a Richard Nixon type of perspiration. ...
Sex in the Military, and that Cee-Ment Pond (06/10/13)
We shouldn't be surprised by the recent news of rampant sex, especially the unwanted version, in today's military. I don't mean to minimize the wrongness of what is happening, but those of us who opposed allowing coed operations predicted this. Had the opinions of former servicemen prevailed, a coed military would still be a liberal dream...
... Harassment in the Workplace (05/20/13)
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things and drink whatever comes out?" And, how about eggs? ............................ What we 'good-ol boys' considered good fun, and most women accepted it as such, is now a punishable offense. Comments, jokes, and bulletin board pictures can get a guy in quite a pickle. I'm sure many women now look back and wish they had spoken up, while even today other women wonder what the fuss is about...
Can You Tell a Drugstore Beetle? (05/13/13)
The first five days after the weekend always seem to be the hardest. ............................ Did April snows bring you May flowers? May can also bring pantry pests and fruit flies. Here are a few tips to help you nurture the healthiest pests and fruit flies in your neighborhood...
Worst Jobs, Best Jobs, and Free-Range Kids (05/06/13)
Nearly 13 million Americans are looking for work. CareerCast rates 200 professions each year, based on five factors: Physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. This year they say the worst job is that of a newspaper reporter ($36K salary per year average)...
A job opportunity and the Rule of Law (04/29/13)
Grab your Harry Potter 'Sword of Gryffindor' replica, and fine tune your resume. Opportunity knocks! The Saudi Arabia practice of beheading criminals is in trouble because of a shortage of swordsmen. An estimated several thousand people are on death row throughout that country. ...
Joe, Mary, FVH, Mayo and Ding Dong! (04/22/13)
Congratulations to the Staff and Board of FVH (Floyd Valley Hospital). In the category of 'keeping good company,' FVH receives technical support and administrative services from Avera McKennan Hospital of Sioux Falls. The May issue of Consumer Reports lists McKennan as the eighth highest-scoring teaching hospital in the country. The prestigious Mayo Clinic was only two spots better!...
Blame tax on Nebraska or Republicans? (04/15/13)
A good test of a man's honesty shows up in his income tax filing, or on the golf course. A woman's? Her bathroom scale and driver's license (DP) Blame it on Nebraska. The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allowed the federal income tax, was first proposed by Senator Norris Brown of Nebraska in 1909...
When Is a Good Time to Raise Taxes? (04/08/13)
As they are studying options for renewing the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST - how fitting, some taxpayers say!) initiative for the rural and unincorporated areas, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors would like to use those dollars for repair of infrastructure, mainly roads and bridges. Sounds like a prudent use, but it is a shame that is necessary...
Le Mars Fountain of Youth, and Indian Frustration (04/01/13)
"I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock." (Henny Youngman) Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who discovered gold in Puerto Rico, later sought more gold and the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Wrong place, wrong time for old Ponce, but he could have found both at the Primebank in Le Mars...
Shingles, Gas, Final Four and the Suwannee Ribber (03/25/13)
In England, gas is $10 a gallon. In fact, gas is so high in England that people have stopped eating horses and started riding them again. (Jay Leno) ........................... Men 59 or older should ask their doctor about a shingles shot. I didn't. I paid - with pain...
Illegal to Die, Lanolin and Fearless Fosdick (03/18/13)
Nanny cities or healthy cities? Last fall the city council in San Rafael, Calif., population 57,000, and 57% Democrat, voted to ban smoking in all duplexes, condominiums and other multi-family homes, new or existing, public or private. Another 33 California municipalities have similar ordinances...
Iowa's First Diagnosed case of HIV/AIDS (03/11/13)
If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old. (Will Rogers) Joel Rushakoff would be 64 years old had he not died in 1983. He was the first documented person with HIV/AIDS in Iowa, according to a former co-worker. Born in Illinois, he and his wife Sharon and daughter Sara lived in Le Mars at 210 6th ST NE...
Girl Talk, or Who Stole the Cork to My Lunch? (03/04/13)
Translation woes; Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea". Clairol introduced their curling iron, "Mist Stick," into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure in that country. Their "manure stick" wasn't popular...
Repubs, fasten your seat belts, part two (02/25/13)
Noticing that about everyone has suggestions for the Republican Party, I remembered a column I wrote more than two years ago. Following are quotes with my new comments in italics and [parenthesis.] "Don't be misled by the results of the November [2010] election. ...
Twenty Something With a Past -- and a Future (02/18/13)
Not many '20 something's have been entrusted with more major responsibilities by Governors of both parties than has Greta Johnson, daughter of Carl and Joann Johnson of Preston Township. She recently became Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds Senior Advisor, and says, "I am really enjoying it -- it's a great combination of many of my experiences so far." Those experiences include graduating from Iowa State in 2010 with a degree in Political Science, and then obtaining a master's degree in Youth & Human Services from UNI.. ...
Catfishing, Braley, and To Be Announced (02/11/13)
Senator Tom Harkin has decided to un-donate his papers to the Harkin Institute at Iowa State University. I know of a college which would be a more appropriate repository for the Senator's 40 years of history. Seward County Community College is located in Liberal, Kansas...
Kids Suspensions, Klaphake, and Obama's Jobs Council (02/04/13)
The Silly Season is back -- Senator Harkin is not running again and the pundits are running names up the flagpole. If Representatives Tom Latham and Bruce Braley announce, others need not apply, but many will be 'considering,' for egos need to be fed, and options preserved...
Will Plymouth County Merge with Sioux? (01/28/13)
It appears a done deal that women in the Army, Marines, and perhaps other forces will be allowed to go into combat if they qualify physically. I continue to have concerns, mainly because of the possibility of being captured. Remembering a few women I have known, though, that may not be a problem...
Racism, Damascus, and Honey Boo Boo (01/14/13)
It is not easy to write about racism unless you are criticizing it or endorsing it. I'm just reporting on it. The Des Moines School Board had a dream last year when preparing the school calendar. They designated the holidays of Martin Luther King (MLK) and President's day as snow make-up days...
Gehlen, the Legislature and Hammers or Rifles (01/07/13)
Proving again that a city of 10,000 can support two fine K-12 schools, the Gehlen Competition Marching Band bowled 'em over at the Holiday Bowl. Director Paul Niebuhr and the kids should be congratulated for marching their way to first place in Class A at the San Diego, Calif., event...
Ostriches, a Toad, Binge Drinking and El Rushbo (12/31/12)
Did you hear about the Asian Gold Toad that stowed away in a porcelain candlestick in China and flew to Cape Town, South Africa? In a case of too-much-money, they didn't just put him down; they are putting him up in style. Mango Airlines flew the warty little freeloader the 800 miles from Cape Town to Johannesburg escorted by an animal welfare inspector...
Pop culture violence equals trouble (12/24/12)
In 1774 British troops took control of powder magazines and cannons. In 1775 Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, moved gunpowder aboard ship, essentially disarming the colonists. 237 years is a short period in the history of mankind. The Newtown, Connecticut, massacre is one of dozens of similar mass murders in this USA over the last 50 years. ...
The Board of Education and Rolaids (12/17/12)
In winning the The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) Better Boardsmanship Award of Achievement for the 12th year in a row the Le Mars Community Schools Board of Education went into the record books. Please congratulate those unpaid board members...
Shame on Supervisors and County Employees! (12/10/12)
So, they came to a bargaining agreement -- big whoopee deal! They brag about not employing legal counsel, thereby contributing to the massive problem of unemployed lawyers. Perhaps they are unaware that nearly 15 percent of people who got law degrees from ABA accredited schools last year were still unemployed seven months later. All in jest, of course. Both sides should be congratulated...
Soderberg, Klemme, Banks and the Kardashians (12/03/12)
Home education was legalized in Massachusetts by a court decision in 1893, and Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia were other states authorizing it long before Iowa. Iowa, where the legislature finally allowed the practice in 1991, was the second to last state to follow suit. The Michigan Supreme Court followed two years later. The National Education Association still opposes the practice...
Topless E-mails, Monica, Bill and Jesse Jackson Jr. (11/26/12)
Aren't we lucky - the election is over and those annoying political ads and debates are history. Now we can get back to the really important things in life, like Big Bang, Survivor, and those ads for Viagra and fertilizer. The Big Bang Theory is second only to Sunday Night Football in viewers this season. Person of Interest is third...
Not Linkletter, but kids do say the darndest things (11/19/12)
Representative Steve King didn't win as big as he has in the past but his margin of victory over Christie Vilsack was close to what it should be, considering registrations. He might run for Senator Tom Harkin's seat in 2014, if Harkin retires and that could set up another Vilsack-King race. ...
Prudent oversight or micro managing? (11/12/12)
"The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree...and think 25 to life would be appropriate." (Jay Leno) ............................ The article "Supervisors question efficiency of conservation trips" has generated a lot of conversation. Written by Amy Erickson (October 31, 2012, Le Mars Daily Sentinel), the news story concerned criticism by Supervisors Craig Anderson and Mark Loutsch, and questioning by Jim Henrich, of a Conservation Board program...
George McGovern's sister wouldn't vote for him! (11/05/12)
Vote as if your life depends on it. Three weeks before the recent death of former presidential candidate George McGovern, the Daily Republic ran an old quote from his sister, Mildred (McGovern) Brady. Brother George, a South Dakota Senator, ran against President Richard Nixon in 1972. Winning only Massachusetts, the very liberal Senator lost 49 of 50 states, even his home state of S.D...
Contraceptives and Taxation without Representation (10/29/12)
Buy batteries for when you turn your clocks back and change batteries in your smoke alarms Sunday, Nov. 4. ............................ With too much time on their hands, CNN called it, "an ill-timed slip of the tongue that fires folks' political passions," and news people everywhere got their collective knickers in a bunch when Governor Mitt Romney said, "I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks,' and they brought us whole binders full of women."...
You are known by the company you keep (10/22/12)
Wandering down the lack-of-discipline trail, I read that a student who transferred from Sioux City East to LCHS commented, "Teachers at East let us eat in class and listen to music while testing." Both practices are essential to learning, right? Maybe they should be adopted statewide but it would be expensive -- taxpayers will be required to furnish food and I-pods for the less fortunate...
Have you voted early? For a Child Molester? (10/15/12)
I am awarding the sometimes annual, seldom coveted, but rarely imitated, Dale Noble Piece Prize to The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While the number of those in need of medical attention is increasing, treatment delays are commonplace, and the VA continually begs Congress for more money, that Department has more than tripled its expenditures for conferences over six years...
Prevaricators and Conspiracy Theorists (10/08/12)
A tiny fortune-teller escaped from the state pen at Fort Madison last year. The small medium is still at large. .......................... Go figure. Fifty five percent (to 37%) of likely voters say the country is still headed in the wrong direction, yet on the same Rasmussen Reports polling day, President Obama lead Governor Romney by two points. Gee, ya 'spose with four more similarly great years we can rise to mediocrity?...
More Shocking - Stephen or Steven (King)? (10/01/12)
At 65, Stephen Edwin King (author) is only two years older than Steven Arnold King (congressman). Both are intelligent and articulate and Stephen was active in politics as a youth, Steve is now. Both have shocked the world, the author with books and the Congressman with controversial positions. ...
Martin is Coming! Martin is Coming! (09/24/12)
(The following is an e-mail I received a couple weeks ago) "I am a somewhat liberal Democrat who lives in Ames, who is appalled at the prospect of having Mr. King represent me in Congress. However, always willing to be open-minded (a hallmark of the true liberal you will agree), I visited Mr. ...
Fort Madison's Grand Old Pen (09/10/12)
I offered my opponents a deal: "if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them". (Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952) ............................ Betty Winterringer of the Northwest Iowa Genealogy Society reports that from 1883 through 1893 the Le Mars Sentinel reported on 15 murders and 12 suicides...
Nike's $315 Le Mars Connection (09/04/12)
AP -- "Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement admit they're loud and occasionally rude, but they argue that when officials won't listen, activists must demand attention. The group has a history of confrontational tactics dating to the 1970s, but recent incidents gained more attention, especially when members heckled then-Iowa caucus candidate Mitt Romney at the 2011 state fair."...
The Royal Tush and Overpaid Officials (08/27/12)
The NFL and the officials union are at an impasse, and substitutes may ref this season. 85 to 90 percent of the regular officials work at 'full-time' jobs unrelated to football. They work 16 regular season and four pre-season games, and those chosen for playoff games are paid extra...
Is Fox News Really Necessary? (08/20/12)
The sign in a school cafeteria said, "Thank you for taking the utensils home to wash them. Please bring them back now." ............................ On average, eight out of ten people read headlines, but only two of them read the rest of the story...
Skeet, Trap, Women's Football and Pole Dancing (08/06/12)
Women's boxing, and women's football are new to the Olympics this year, while baseball and softball were dropped. No live pigeon shooting, either -- not since 1900 in Paris. Both Trap and Skeet shooting continue, though, for both sexes. Trapshooting has been around in England since late in the 18th century, then with live pigeons released from cages known as traps...
Fred Fick, Barry Goldwater and LBJ (07/23/12)
In April 1942, Jimmy Doolittle and his crew crash-landed in China after their Tokyo raid. After bailing out, they were rescued by sympathetic Chinese and smuggled into Zhejiang province. A young Baptist missionary from Georgia, John Morrison Birch, helped them to friendly territory...
Big Wheels get Big Bucks (also) (07/16/12)
The squeaking wheel doesn't always get the grease. Sometimes it gets replaced. (unknown) The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, HE was a genius. (Sid Caesar) .......................... With a three percent raise to $129,600, Le Mars City Administrator Scott Langel Scott will still make a little ($400!) less than the Governor of Iowa. ...
No Foie gras and no Bull (07/09/12)
"Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow." (Larry the Cable Guy)...
Books, Baseball, and Stingy Brim Fedoras (07/02/12)
Heather and I took the Megabus to Chicago last week and saw young phenom Anthony Rizzo make his debut at first base with the Cubs. We got him off to a good start. Some baseball fans say this year's Cubs are pathetic, but as a close observer, I emphatically reject that accusation. ...
Tom, Dick and ------ Jerry? (06/25/12)
If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all. ........................... I had a nightmare one recent night. In a committee meeting I was sandwiched between the three Kurth boys as we discussed, and cussed, hog confinement regulations. When allied, the three of them were formidable opponents but in my nightmare they were arguing among themselves and I was caught in a very uncomfortable middle. Fortunately it was just a dream, but a very memorable one...
Bicyclists, Mr. Whipple, and Guessing at the Census (06/18/12)
The Iowa DOT wants to sell naming rights for its rest areas. Maybe Charmin will be willing to spend big bucks if its logo can appear in every stall, but not Tidy Bowl. They wouldn't run the risk of a dirty one. Remember Mr. Whipple of the "Please don't squeeze the Charmin," commercials? From 1964 to 1985 he made $300,000 a year while working 12 days a year. He has been dead for more than five years but repeats occasionally pop up...
Leprechauns, Punchboards, and Governors (06/11/12)
Illinois and Wisconsin politics provide a sharp contrast to the gentlemanly (no women ran) manner Plymouth County Republican candidates conducted themselves in the primary. Although four finished second, there were no losers. Democrats have controlled the Illinois House for 15 consecutive years - the Governor's mansion, and the state Senate, for nine years. ...
Sears Roebuck or Facebook? (06/04/12)
In the 1860s a young Chicagoan, Aaron Montgomery Ward, began undercutting rural retailers by selling directly to farmers via mail-order. The Great Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed his inventory, but by 1874 his spring catalog, of "Good, Better, and Best" merchandise had 32 pages. Many years of ups and downs followed, with Sears Roebuck becoming the major mail order competitor...
Biker Crime and 30 Seconds to a Toilet (05/29/12)
I take holidays, you take holidays, but who takes the most time off these days? Common Sense. Over Reaction, though, is on the job, literally. Grand Rapids, Michigan High School Principal Katie Pennington threatened to prevent more than 60 seniors from graduating last week. Their 'crime?' They rode the last three-miles to school on an organized bike ride...
It's not your Father's Olds -- or Supervisors (05/21/12)
Registered voters in Plymouth County have the opportunity to participate in the most hotly contested primary election in many, many years. The primary is on June fifth, but you may request an absentee ballot from the auditor's office now. Iowa law allows counties to adopt one of three plans for Supervisor districts. ...
A good wife always knows her place (05/14/12)
The feds say you can't be older than 42 to join the military, but that should be changed.Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, take only old guys; married old guys on social security. Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds, but old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy...
Who will be Shire-reeve, Guardian of the Shire? (05/07/12)
In word association, does 'Famous Sheriff' make you think of Andy Taylor (Mayberry), Joe Arpaio (Maricopa Co. Arizona), or the Sheriff of Nottingham from the days of Robin Hood? Teddy Roosevelt? *Jim Hopkins? Jay King is challenging popular longtime Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo. ...
Where is a good Tsunami when you need it? (04/30/12)
Abe Lincoln created the Secret Service (SS) in 1865 to suppress counterfeit currency, and their duties were soon expanded to include, frauds against the government, investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, non-conforming distillers, smugglers, mail robbers, and land frauds...
Le Mars, Number 42 and Jackie Robinson (04/23/12)
President Obama is not stupid, and Senator Grassley knows that, even though he Tweeted; "Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law." As Grassley clarified, intelligent people do say stupid things, though, and Obama did that when he prematurely whined that a high court ruling striking down the health care law would be an "unprecedented" example of "judicial activism." That smacks of using his office to influence a decision of the Court.. ...
"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men..." (04/16/12)
Old age comes at a bad time. There is nothing left to learn the hard way, and speed limits are no longer a challenge. And, age is too high a price to pay for maturity. Just as I was getting my head together, my body fell apart. But, I sure don't need to do drugs - at my age I get the same effect just standing up fast...
What is in a School Nickname? Bullettes? (04/09/12)
The University of Iowa won't allow North Dakota U's track team to participate in a meet because of their Fighting Sioux mascot. U of I policy doesn't allow their teams to compete against schools using Native American mascots without approval by the NCAA...
Why Don't Cows Have Any Money? (04/02/12)
Did you hear that NASA recently launched a bunch of Holsteins into low Earth orbit? They called it the Herd Shot 'Round The World! And now, a really serious bovine shot has been heard around the world. Pink slime. You can add Finely Textured Lean Beef to that old list of things you don't want to watch being made. You know, hot dogs, sausage, Spam, and laws. With the possible exception of the last item, all are safe, taste good, and no one is making you digest them...
Intellectual Disability, Obamacare and Hyphenated Names (03/26/12)
When I was a kid the word "retard" meant the "Spark-Retard-Advance," (SRA) lever on a Model T Ford. It had to be adjusted manually. The spark lever was on one side of the steering wheel, and a throttle lever on the other side. Not having the settings right often meant being the person spinning the crank was "kicked," and many an arm was broken...
Presidents Propose, Congress Disposes (03/19/12)
President Obama shouldn't have to shoulder all of the blame for the abysmal national state of our Union, should he? Of course not, even though he has a Democrat Senate, the House has been Republican for a year and a quarter. Sure, he had all Democrats for his first two years, and they did some stuff...
Is March Madness Good for Your Health? (03/12/12)
This month's Saturday Evening Post quotes Daniel Wann, PH.D., of Murray State University saying, "Sports fandom is really a tribal thing." And, "Passionate fans tend to have lower rates of depression and higher self-esteem than the rest of us." Contrary to what many bosses think, Wann isn't sure that watching basketball's "Big Dance" at work is a bad thing. ...
Democrats Strike; Gehlen Girls Got Game! (03/05/12)
Those fussy Republicans shouldn't insist on a "perfect" presidential candidate - Democrats didn't! .......................... On paper the number two rated team, Bedford, appeared an odds on favorite, but the Gehlen Catholic girls almost got it done last Wednesday night. ...
PETA, Paraprosdokian and Mongooses (02/27/12)
Aloha! That word, meaning both hello and goodbye, is as overused as "actually," and "I'm good." Last week I visited with you about our recent trip to Hawaii, and I ended up mostly discussing the state of the homeless on Oahu, the third largest of the islands...
Our Largely Hidden Shame (02/20/12)
Before last week, my last visit to Hawaii was in 1956, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Wanting to return, I started dropping a quarter in a jar every time I made a mistake. You would think that in the intervening 56 years I'd have quite a bundle, right? Wrong, sewage-treatment-plant-breath! $3.75 didn't quite get us there (self deprecating humor is the best kind). The total price of the trip was about the same as a decent 8 year old Chevy...
Cattle Feeders and Camels (02/13/12)
Vermont is the "smartest" state (Iowa measures up as the 4th smartest), and Nevada has the dumbest residents, according to "The Street." Yes, Virginia, Senator Harry Reid is from Nevada. ............................... A story claiming it is illegal to hunt camels in Arizona is bogus, although there have been feral camels in the U. ...
IDOT Savings, Fuel Tax and Pericles (02/06/12)
With bypass surgeries, new knees, prostate cancer, and diabetes, he'd become half blind. That darn medication leaves him dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. He can't remember whether it is Tuesday or Friday but he says, "Thank God, I can still drive!"...
Jared Homan -- World Traveler, and the Cyclones (01/30/12)
When Baltimore Ravens place kicker Billy Cundiff pulled his last second field goal attempt to the left, it cost the Ravens a tie in their playoff game a week ago. And with that, a chance to go to the Super Bowl. So, the Harlan high school and Drake graduate became a scapegoat, although it was eleven other Ravens who had blown touchdown opportunities on the three previous plays. ...
Are You As Prejudiced As I AM? (01/23/12)
The Des Moines Occupiers have cost that city more than $75,000 and counting, plus perhaps another $20,000 by the state and county. This while the city has a budget shortfall of $7.2 million, and has proposed laying off firefighters, cutting Parks and Library services, and raising property taxes! After being denied a permit to camp on state grounds, Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie offered them a nice square block park just east of the Capitol. ...
Six Days Across Nebraska-or Siberia? (01/16/12)
How many times have you heard, "Great weather, but we're gonna pay for it," this winter? South of Des Moines we have had record January highs, into the 60's. That's good. Our maple trees have started to bud. That's bad. "Spring" came to a screeching halt last week, though, but regardless of what comes next it will be a short winter. Don't ya just love it when the snow-birds miss an easy winter?...
How Many Millionaires in Plymouth County? (01/09/12)
Please say Happy Birthday! Iowa's youngest, smartest Senator, Shalee Senator Foghorn D. Pauln turns 13 today, on the first day of the legislative session. Not sure about this but he might be the only one with an AKC registration. His age in human years is either 91 or 104, depending on which multiplier you use. ...
and into the home stretch it is SANTORUM! (01/03/12)
I resolve to lie, cheat and steal, eat and drink more, procrastinate, and as usual, ignore my resolutions. If Rick Santorum finishes in the top three in the Iowa caucuses, and it looks like he will, it will be because Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley have endorsed him. He had been running below the "Mendoza Line," for months until that endorsement...
Jim Morrissey, Badgerows and Cherry Pie (12/27/11)
I last visited Jim Morrissey in Guthrie Center, about 20 years ago. In the 1970's Jim was the popular manager of Harrison's Variety store, located at 21 Central Avenue NW. The last of the Harrison's stores will be closed by the end of this year. Founded in Hampton, Iowa, as Harrison's Variety, the last three are in Indianola, Des Moines and Ames, and are now known as Harrison Sports. ...
Spanks or Spanx? (12/19/11)
"There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries." Guys, stuck for a Christmas gift for your lady? Is she unhappy with how her body looks these days? Does she yearn to return to that 36-24-36 look of her twenties? Is her "little black dress" relegated to the back of the closet, or worse, Gone Goodwill?...
Mr. President and Ms. Secretary, pick your battles carefully (12/12/11)
The Associated Press reported last week that, "The Obama administration bluntly warned the world against gay and lesbian discrimination Tuesday, declaring that the U.S. will use foreign assistance and diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are equal to other basic human rights."...
Will The Best Horses Be Left in the Barn? (12/05/11)
Ending months of talks, and a lockout, the National Basketball Association (NBA) will resume play on Christmas day. Talk about a lousy gift -- a lump of coal in the stocking looks good compared to watching ten millionaires with oversized egos (height, too) playing a game similar to one of yesteryear, where finesse and teamwork were important...
Is Fifteen Too Young to Herd Sheep? Catch a Hen? (11/28/11)
This could be called a "Big Brother -- Nanny State" column. Smoking is legal. I no longer do it and wish, for their health and mine, that others didn't, but it remains legal. Some governments and societies, without the kahones to make it illegal, seem inclined to cut smokers tobacco stained fingers off one little piece at a time. The latest? The British Medical Association has called a smoking ban in all cars...
Notre Dame and MSspeaking Candidates (11/21/11)
Michigan State's whipping of Iowa on the gridiron a week ago brought back memories of a 1953 game against then number one rated Notre Dame, at South Bend. Coached by the legendary Frank Leahy, undefeated Notre Dame was led by Heisman Trophy winner to be, Johnny Lattner, and were ranked second nationally in total offense, and fourth in both scoring and rushing. They had the only backfield in the history of college football to have all four starters drafted by the NFL in the first round...
The News; Cain Rising or Raising Cain? (11/14/11)
The John Deere Waterloo, Iowa, plant turned out more than 30,000, twenty horsepower, "GP" tractors from 1928 until 1935. We could use a GP (general purpose) president -- and, right now, a GP candidate in the GOP. A Rasmussen Reports Poll says Mitt Romney is viewed most favorably by all voters, while Rick Perry is the least liked. ...
Highway Signs and Lady Bird Johnson (11/07/11)
Do traveling families still play the alphabet game? If so I doubt it is as much fun, since that darn Lady Bird Johnson pretty much did away with billboards along the highways. A couple months ago Heather and I spotted an official looking highway sign west of Dubois, WY, saying, "Stuck in the Alphabet Game? Q X Y Z. You're Welcome"...
We curmudgeons should unite (10/31/11)
The American Civil Liberties Union is urined off. A month ago they asked a federal district court judge to temporarily halt a policy of Linn State Technical College in Jefferson City, Mo. The college was requiring all incoming students to submit to mandatory drug tests. The judge ordered officials at Linn State to stop analyzing urine specimens that have already been collected and to instruct the drug testing company not to release any results it may have already compiled...
ISU Prof - Is Anything Right About Us? (10/24/11)
I had thought our liberal public university was in Iowa City, but a guest commentary by Warren J. Blumenfeld, an associate professor at Iowa State University makes me wonder. His guest commentary in the Des Moines Register concerning the Wall Street protestors supplies more gas for their bonfires. There are enough radicals in SoHo, Berkley, San Francisco and Boulder to incite revolution -- Iowa doesn't need it...
Is There Something in the Skidmore Water? (10/17/11)
The 1991 movie In Broad Daylight, (a book of the same name, was a #2 New York Times bestseller) starring Brian Dennehy and Iowan Cloris Leachman covers the life of a notorious bully, Ken Rex McElroy. A resident of Nodaway County, Missouri, near the town of Skidmore, about 30 miles south of Clarinda, Iowa, his still unsolved murder in 1981 drew international attention. ...
With Friends Like These? (10/10/11)
How can we ever expect to relate to nations with customs and opinions so diametrically opposed to ours? The Saudis are one of our best friends in the Middle East but a Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving a car. This, just a few days after Saudi Arabia King Abdullah (finally) granted women the right to vote and run for municipal office!...
Takes an Old Fossil to Know One (10/03/11)
An old fossil from Le Mars suggested some stops and short cuts that made our recent trip to Portland, Santa Fe and Denver more enjoyable. He mentioned the Ash Fall Fossil bed site west of Creighton, Nebraska, and it is a very worthwhile destination...
Your Right to Pump Your Gas (09/26/11)
When I was a kid rural Iowans often pumped their own gas. If the station guy was busy it was OK to start filling your tank. He would come out to finish, check under the hood and wash the windows, only to often hear, "charge it!" I worked in a station for a few months for 75 cents an hour...
Highway Safety and Cameras in the Houston Sky (09/19/11)
Crossover accidents on four lane highways are often deadly and many states have installed barriers to prevent vehicles from veering into oncoming traffic. Nationwide costs are as high as $200,000 per mile for cable, and concrete is at least double that, but Iowa is averaging $45,000 and $315,000 per mile, respectively. Iowa will soon have 220 miles of cable installed, estimated to save nine lives per year...
Old Guys Can Still Do (awesome) Stuff (09/12/11)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, saying he doesn't want to be "coddled" by Congress, says that wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes, and that higher taxes do not dampen job growth. Mr. B is right; he and other billionaires of a like mind should just mail it in. Why wait to be asked?...
Let's Bury a Tradition, Not Another Child (09/06/11)
I was just ten on that chilly April day in 1944 when my brother John gave me an ill-advised bumpy "tour" of the cattle yard in the 30" bucket of the Caswell loader mounted on our "M." I was reminded of that day when I saw a picture (Daily Sentinel, 8-1-2011)) of a Farmall "H" with a similar loader at the fairgrounds...
A Column Built Around Guilt (08/29/11)
The Texas Rangers American League Baseball team is "honoring" a fan with a statue. One who died in war? A heroic policeman? No, a guy who died the seventh of July after falling from the stands at Rangers Ballpark. Shannon Stone, 39, and his son Cooper, 6, were sharing a father-son night when Stone fell over the railing in left field while trying to catch a ball thrown toward him from outfielder Josh Hamilton. ...
A New Community Celebration? (08/22/11)
What do Enid, Oklahoma, Polk County, Florida, or the St. Croix, US Virgin Islands have that Le Mars doesn't have? Other than Oil and Wheat (Enid); Citrus and Gene Matthiesen (Polk); Beaches and one of the world's largest oil refineries (St. Croix)? AGRI-FEST! They all have annual celebrations of that name, as Le Mars once did. Ours began in 1981 and pretty much ended in 1981, although we struggled through a couple more...
Romney-Bachmann? Tiny-Fatty? Perry-Huntsman? (08/15/11)
I like the Iowa State Fair, having attended more than 30 of them, plus some in California and Nebraska. We went on opening day this year. People watching is interesting, and the outlandish outfits worn by some are almost as interesting as the biggest boar. ...
The Phantom of The Shed (08/08/11)
Seventy six bucks, plus fees and taxes will get you the cheapest seat in the Majestic Theater in New York to see The Phantom of the Opera, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber . Set in a Paris opera house, with haunting music it depicts a story of seduction and despair. A beautiful soprano becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius. The show has won 88 Tony Awards...
Those Chicago Cubs are Just Too Good (08/01/11)
If you followed the Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida closely enough to have an opinion of her guilt you have way too much time on your hands. .................... Placing 35 of those six foot tall fiberglass ice cream cones around Le Mars seems patterned after a similar display in the "Windy City," which copied an 800 cow exhibit in Zurich, Switzerland. ...
Is This Progress or a Slippery Slope? (07/18/11)
Our society is gradually being de-sensitized (to make emotionally insensitive or callous) in many ways. As only one example, words that were considered inappropriate just a few years ago are now used regularly on prime time television. Another simplistic example is when a person becomes accustomed to being "just a bit" late. They gradually become later and later...
Relatively Speaking, They are not Related (07/11/11)
The Highway Three Love Connection from Cerro Gordo County to Plymouth County began in 1921 from a Thornton farm 14 miles south of Clear Lake. The current population is about 400 and I still have relatives nearby. My mother, Ruth James, had graduated from Upper Iowa University and her first teaching job was at Grand Meadow High School in Cherokee County. She would marry my dad, who was farming north east of Kingsley...
Lumberyards, Pot-Bellied Stoves and Mormons (07/05/11)
Rumor has it that Osama Bin Laden called the US Navy Seals strike himself. He had grown tired of five years of being stuck in a house with 3 nagging wives. .................... Le Mars now has only one lumberyard but fifty years ago we had one for approximately every 1200 residents. ...
My Six Pack Abs, Dumbbells and Democrats (06/27/11)
After receiving 7.35 inches of rain in May, the first 20 days of June have blessed us with another 15.50 inches, making gardening difficult again this year. Next year I might try rice and water lilies. You probably know that the Yellow Lily's roots are sometimes eaten, and can be used to treat sore mouths. American Indian women pounded the roots (will Heather?) between two rocks to make flour for pancakes out of dried roots...
By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That