[Masthead] Mostly Cloudy ~ 55°F  
High: 71°F ~ Low: 49°F
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
I know I'll often stop and think about them (07/12/12)
"There are places I'll remember All my life, though some have changed Some forever, not for better Some have gone and some remain All these place have their moments With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life, I've loved them all"...
He goes down swinging (07/05/12)
The little league baseball season is winding down, following a frenzy of games during the month of June. Hats off to the volunteer coaches, parents and players, all who put in a great deal of time and effort during this season. In Le Mars, we are fortunate to have a well organized and well supported little league program...
Salvation from Gamble's (06/28/12)
"Hot enough for ya?" Don't you just hate it when people make comments like that? I suppose we all need to find some common ground to relate with each other, and the weather is certainly something we all can relate to. It seems the mild winter became the warm spring and is starting off as a hot summer. ...
Burning off that summer energy (06/21/12)
It offically arrived today, but we have been at it since school dismissed and the Memorial Day weekend. I have long believed that we are busiest in summer before it gets too hot, so June and July are more structured and hectic. Right now, parents of children involved in little league are spending many evenings at the ball field. The same is true of our high school baseball and softball squads...
Wit and wisdom of my father (06/14/12)
Sunday is Father's Day, a time to acknowledge the pater familias (the male head of the household, as the Romans referred to him), pop, dad -- he has many names, many jobs and is truly never appreciated until he is gone. Even though I have been a father for over half of my life, when I consider Father's Day, my thoughts invariably go to my own father, Arved Stangl, otherwise known as "The Chief," who passed away in 2001...
Part of me knows what you're thinking (06/07/12)
We are planning to make a trip to Minneapolis this weekend to visit the children and granddaughter Sephie. I learned recently that Sephie and I share more than our DNA. Her father plays the song "Sirius," an instrumental track that is the first song on the 1982 Alan Parsons Project album "Eye in the Sky."...
I know you're in there, you're just out of sight (05/31/12)
"Well I'm not the kind to live in the past The years run too short and the days too fast The things you lean on, the things that don't last Well it's just know and then my line gets cast into these Time Passages I know you're in there, you're just out of sight"...
But I like it (05/24/12)
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, the "unofficial" start of summer. Families will gather, picnics will be held, people will attend ceremonies remembering our fallen soldiers and all that served to keep us free. There's a lot to pack in to a three-day weekend...
We probably should keep that (05/17/12)
It is once again graduation time. For months, parents have been making preparations to celebrate the milestones in their child's life. Homes have been remodeled, cleaned and cleaned again, landscaping has been done, scrapbooks and videos completed, food, drink and decorations ordered...
Driving Miss Skynet (05/10/12)
Ever since I was a young lad, I wondered if I would live long enough to drive (or at least ride in) a flying car. After World War II, there was optimism that the technological growth sparked by the war effort would translate into a peace dividend of advanced products for consumers...
Stretching the summer at the movies (05/03/12)
Summer begins tomorrow night. More specifically, the summer movie season. The Avengers, a Marvel Comics inspired, computer graphics fueled blockbuster, is the first out of the gate, opening tomorrow night. Marvel, which has been producing comic books since 1939, branched out to the big screen with several of their characters in the 1990s. Spiderman, I believe, was the first crime-fighter to get the silver screen treatment...
How long before the first Hunger Games? (04/26/12)
The hot button topic of bullying and what to do about it has bubbled to the top of minds of many following the suicide last week of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, who attended South O'Brien High School in neighboring O'Brien County. Weishuhn had recently chosen to become public about his sexual preference. He was a homosexual and had been bullied to the point where he chose to take his life...
What's wrong with prom and other random thoughts (04/19/12)
I realize I am starting off topic, but I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who turned out last Saturday night to hear the Air Force's Brass in Blue Ensemble. I can not recall a time when the National Weather Service had cautioned about the threat of severe storms and tornadoes a full 24 hours in advance for a specific area, as was the case last weekend, The weather last weekend was stormy, and fortunately we were able to avoid the damaging storms that struck south of us...
Titanic at 100: Why we are still fascinated (04/12/12)
Early Sunday morning, the centennial of one of the most enduring human tragedies, the sinking of the RMS Titanic, will occur. It will be 100 years since the so-called "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg just four days after leaving Southampton, England for New York City...
How many Hindus were in Plymouth County in 1940? (04/05/12)
History was made on Monday when the U.S. Census Bureau, in conjunction with the National Archives, released the 1940 census records online. The census information that you thought would be confidential forever is kept that way, but "forever" to the government has a statutory limit of 72 years...
Facts? We don't need no stinking facts! (03/29/12)
We live in interesting times. The definitions of "wonders" and "miracles" continue to evolve. In the not-so-distant past, if some told you that you would someday be able to carry a computer in your pocket that was more powerful than the machines inside the lunar landers of the Apollo program, you probably would have said that person was crazy...
Have a great time, Aunt Gladys (03/22/12)
Last week, my aunt, Gladys Schmitz of Ireton passed away. She will forever be remembered by me as a down-to-earth and wonderfully genuine person. Always glad to see you, genuinely interested and concerned about what was going on in your life, Aunt Gladys had the unique gift of being encouraging and understanding without being judgmental...
You can be my maaastter... (03/15/12)
What a wonderful week it has been! With the return of Daylight Savings Time early Sunday morning, it seems as if we have had a jump-start on Spring. The weather has cooperated nicely, and it seems as if the entire community is coming out in the evening to enjoy the extra daylight...
Spring break in Moldova? (03/08/12)
Even though the calendar says it is two weeks away, the weather certainly has us all thinking about spring. Blessed with a mild winter, the urge is strong to see sunshine, warmth and the return of lush green plants. In the coming weeks, college students that have the financial means to do so will be heading to warmer climates to enjoy spring break...
Making the passages of life a bit easier (03/01/12)
March has arrived, and the promise of spring is in sight. The weather recently has reflected the struggle between the seasons as spring begins its battle to break the grip of winter. But we know that, in the end, spring and its promise of rebirth and renewal will win out. The small setbacks of snowstorms are mere annoyances, and need to be treated that way...
And the Oscar goes to.... (02/23/12)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present their annual awards for achievement in motion picture arts and sciences this Sunday night, as the 84th Annual Academy Awards, or as they are more commonly known -- "Oscars," are presented...
Dig my fighting moves (02/16/12)
A week ago, I was out of state at a company meeting. Twice a year I gather with the other publishers to go over finances, upcoming initiatives and to see how we are doing. The two days of meetings turn into four days away from home, with a travel day before and a travel day after. While it is nice to see everyone, stay in a hotel and travel, it is always nice to come home...
That's no bigfoot -- it's a wookie! (02/09/12)
'Don't get cocky, kid' That line is one of my favorites from the original "Star Wars" movie, which I saw in the theater as a teenager. Shady space captain who turns hero -- Han Solo -- played to perfection by Harrison Ford, chides the young Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, not to get overconfident as they battle the enemy...
Whether it is or isn't, enjoy the weather (02/02/12)
It's Thursday, Feb. 2, and I would like to start by wishing my wife Diane a happy birthday. If you see her today, be sure to do the same. The warmer than normal weather has heightened spring fever at my house, and I still am waiting for the snow anvil to drop on my head. Perhaps I am worrying for nothing -- I certainly hope so...
No snow is good snow (01/26/12)
We are in the final days of January already. The warmer and drier than normal weather has certainly made the time pass quickly. A year ago, we were being buffeted by snow once or twice a week, and many of us were trying to find creative ways to get rid of the snow. Remember?...
Learning life skills and even having fun! (01/19/12)
Saturday is District Large Group Speech Contest. Many of the schools from Plymouth County will travel to Moville for contest. Saturday's performances before a judge will culminate weeks of rehearsals, the majority occurring before and after school. Speech is an extracurricular activity that is associated closely with drama. ...
Free speech or free publicity? (01/12/12)
Freedom of speech is one of the primary freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It's one of the freedoms that makes our democracy work, and it is also the most frequently invoked rule of law used by citizens to get their way on nearly anything and everything...
Last call for resolutions (01/05/12)
Christmas and New Years have passed and it is now officially time for the January doldrums. Thankfully, the warm and dry weather pattern has kept us relatively snow-free (remember last year?), so we haven't been fighting cabin fever, but the cold, stark reality of January is now here...
Not bringing to mind -- priceless (12/29/11)
I hope you had a good Christmas. It is truly a balm to the soul to get to take some time off and spend it with family, doing absolutely nothing but spending time together and staying home. Our youngest daughter, Madison, came home on Christmas Eve after getting off work at 5 p.m. She and one of her roommates spent Sunday and Monday with us before leaving late in the day on Monday...
The gathering is what it's all about (12/22/11)
Merry Christmas! In just two days from now, families will gather to celebrate Christmas. News of triumphs, tragedies and landmarks will be shared, and changes in children will be noted. Food will be consumed -- diets will be wrecked, and then gifts will be opened...
Christmas time will soon be here (12/15/11)
Just 10 days until Christmas. It doesn't seem possible, but my calendar assures me this is true. Do you have your shopping done? Have you started? In the marathon of school, church, community and family activities that are going on this time of year, it is very easy to get harried and stressed. The Christmas season is so wonderful, it seems we need to experience 24/7...
Postal changes affecting delivery of your paper (12/08/11)
The times, as Bob Dylan sings in his nasally tenor voice, they are 'a changin. The Untied States Postal Service (USPS) has announced draconian, transformative changes in the manner and scope of their services. More post offices will be closed, as well as up to 250 mail processing center. Nearly 30,000 workers will lose their jobs, the price of a first-class stamp will increase to 45 cents Jan. 22, and the delivery standards for first-class mail will change for the first time in 40 years...
Lessons from Vietnam (12/01/11)
December 1. Only 23 days until Christmas, 30 until 2011 is literally history. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Get to spend some time with the family? How about Christmas shopping? Decorating? We've gotten some shopping and decorating done. Last weekend, my wife put up the Christmas tree. My part is hauling boxes up from the basement and staying out of the way. The system works well, and the tree is lovely...
Look Rocky, nothing up my sleeve... (11/17/11)
We truly live in an age of wonders and miracles. Technology has progressed at such a rapid pace in my lifetime, I truly wonder where it all will end. If the world doesn't end a year from now, the power grid stays viable, the zombie apocalypse is averted and the machines don't become self aware and rise up in rebellion, we will have a bright future, indeed...
Eat the candy at home, already (11/10/11)
I've said it before, I'll say it again -- if you want to get a snapshot of where we are as a society, simply turn to our public schools. The public schools are, by default, the last fine line of our society. If children and families are struggling with issues that truly have no bearing on education, eventually they will interfere with education and by default, the schools will need to address the issue, taking time away from classroom instruction...
Pacifier not included (11/03/11)
Halloween is over, the first mention of snow has appeared in the weather forecast, and this weekend marks the return to Standard Time (remember to set those clocks back on Saturday night). Yes, fall is slipping away before our very eyes. I imagine many people have fired up their furnaces and prepared for the coming dark and cold of winter...
Winter is coming... (10/27/11)
October is just a few days away from being over. The beautiful fall weather has once again lulled us into believing it will last forever, but we all know that change is coming, sooner or later. But what if it didn't? What if the seasons lasted for say years at a time? Spring, summer and fall would be great, but what about a decade of winter?...
So I won't need to rake those leaves? (10/20/11)
Yes, it is time. With a hard freeze this week, it is time to rake leaves, cut back plants, clean and put away outdoor furniture and in general, batten down the collective hatches in preparation for winter. The yard work of fall is a chore that some readily embrace while others hope for the right wind combination to make the leaves "someone else's" problem. You know who you are......
When the future doesn't arrive (10/13/11)
It's been a busy week here at the Sentinel. We have upgraded our technology in our pressroom to provide a crisper, cleaner newspaper to you, our readers as well as for the 29 other publications that are printed on our press. Instead of making film negatives of the pages and using a plate burner to make the images and words, we now have a device that burns the images directly on to the plate...
We can use the invisibility cloak to catch Yeti (10/06/11)
October has arrived, although by the weather forecast you would never know it. It is nice to have sunshine and pleasant weather for as long as possible. If you choose to complain about this weather, do so at your own risk. It won't be long before we will be trying to visualize the sunshine and the warmth...
Oh Mitt, Where Art Thou? (09/29/11)
Isn't it wonderful that fall has arrived? I think that if you would take a poll, fall would rank either first or second in popularity. Yes, I'm pretty sure winter would finish fourth. Even though it arrived a week ago, the weather has been wonderful, with sunny, warm days that flirt with being hot and wonderful cool evenings and mornings. It's the kind of weather I wish would stay around for about six months...
It seemed like a good idea at the time (09/22/11)
I believe that when I turned 50 earlier this year, a subprogram in my genetic code kicked in, accelerating my transformation into a hybrid version of my late father, Arved, who we used to call "The Chief." Sound far fetched? Let's consider the evidence...
There's a 93 percent probability this is wrong (09/15/11)
First frost possible this week, looks like the cicadas were pretty close to being accurate again. I've often wondered if anyone has done a scientific study of the times their song is first heard and when the frost arrives. Perhaps I should write a grant proposal.....
The 43 Steps (09/08/11)
An early Alfred Hitchcock movie, The 39 Steps, is an intriguing spy thriller that holds up surprising well for a film made in 1935. Robert Donat plays a man who helps a counterintelligence agent who is murdered. Donat is blamed for the murder and goes on the run to clear his name and keep top secret information from falling into the hands of spies...
The Celebration Pie Conundrum (09/01/11)
From the publisher's desk Labor Day weekend is just around the corner, time for one last big project or trip, The three-day weekend is wonderful, but getting work done early and coming back to catch up work sometimes makes me wonder if it is all worth the bother...
If you come in peace, what's that fork for? (08/25/11)
There's nothing quite like a story about aliens invading the planet to get people talking. Seth Baum, who works as a low-level researcher at NASA, got together with a few of his friends and discussed some scenarios about first contact with extra-terrestrials. The paper, titled "Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis," offers various scenarios about how enlightened aliens might deal with humanity...
Summer's last hurrah (08/18/11)
A week from today, every school district in the county will be in session. Teachers will be learning names, finding out who can be called on without embarrassment, as well as who needs to be given extra attention. In the coming weeks, the teachers will also learn who they need to keep their eyes on while they are writing on the board...
Pre-washing jeans is not a do-it-yourself process (08/11/11)
I heard the cicadas singing a while back. In the evening, out in my back yard I can hear them chirping away, telling me that fall is coming. The signs are all around, and if you look close enough you can see them. Many of the flowers are past their prime blooming times and are beginning to decay, the insects are enjoying their last hurrah, the National Football League has settled their labor dispute and back-to-school sales have been underway for weeks...
The Amazing George - caught at last (08/04/11)
Recently, I read a statistic that Americans spend more money on their pets than their children. No longer having children living at home, I found the report a bit disconcerting, but after giving it some thought, I decided that it is probably right. We Americans love our pets. Cats, dogs, birds, fish -- even guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, snakes, bunnies and turtles. You name it, if it can be domesticated (and sometimes even when they shouldn't), we will keep it as a pet...
So that flux capacitor is worthless? (07/28/11)
I am constantly on the lookout for topics to write about. I appreciate the confidence you have in me to deliver a thoughtful or entertaining column each Thursday. Some weeks, the topics come easily and the columns seem to literally write themselves, words appearing as fast as my fingers can peck them out on the keyboard. Other weeks, I scour the pages of our paper and numerous others, looking for something that will fit the bill...
Hey, you, get out of my bubble! (07/21/11)
If the weatherman is to be believed, by the time you are reading this, the current heat wave will have relented. Won't it be strange to think that 88 is cool? Not a lot we can do but make the best of it. Great weather for swimming or seeing movies in air-conditioned comfort...
Early morning adventures and too much grape Tang (07/14/11)
If you believe the weather forecast, it looks like we will be in for another scorcher this weekend. Temperatures are slated to climb into the mid to upper 90s, with high humidity. It seems as if the old weather norms are gone, as the jet stream becomes increasingly more fickle...
Do you remember the time he ate potato salad? (07/07/11)
Did you have a good Independence Day weekend? It is a pleasant and rare occurrence when the 4th falls on a weekend, or a Monday or Friday, creating a three day weekend, which is much better suited for travelling or extended visits. The weather was pleasant (as pleasant as early July can be) and the rains stayed away, so it was all good, in my opinion...
Release the hounds! (06/30/11)
It's been about five months since we adopted George and Gracie, two Yorkie-Maltese-Terrier mix puppies. Beyond the apricot color of their fur, they don't look much like siblings, but that is indeed what they are. During this time, my wife and I have been vividly reminded why we didn't have more children or new puppies. Both require a great deal of care, love, patience, sleep depravation and a comfort level with waste...
Good summer film escapes (06/23/11)
Happy Summer to everyone! Now that it is officially here, it is time for many to enjoy themselves (or stress less, that works also). I hope the dads out there had a good Father's Day. It's ironic to me that within a generation we went from a very paternalistic, male-driven society to having to force some men to acknowledge their responsibilities for their children...
Lessons learned from 'The Chief' (06/16/11)
Sunday is Father's Day, a time to remember and honor the paterfamilias, father, the head of the household, pop, dad -- whatever his moniker at your house, Sunday is the day to pause and appreciate his contributions to who you are as a person. I have said numerous times, and will continue to say it, the 'nuclear' family: mother, father and children is the bedrock foundation of our civilization. ...
The decline and fall of the Chinese empire? (06/09/11)
I enjoy studying history, and I have had the feeling for several years that our nation is headed down the same road as the British and Roman Empires. Moral and political decay, fighting wars on foreign soil to protect natural resources, one could make a case that the United States is repeating some of the same mistakes...
Yes, I am going there (06/02/11)
Hope you had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend. You have to love Iowa weather. We received every variation of classic Memorial Day weekend weather: cold, rain, blistering heat and a storm to boot. Like many of you, I receive many email forwards. Someone, somewhere collects a joke, or grouping of jokes or funny photos and the first persons to receive them enjoy them, then start spreading them like a pandemic around the globe. ...
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (05/26/11)
We are just a day away from the start of the Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer. Families will gather together, graves of loved ones will be visited and decorated and services that remember those who gave their lives in service to their country will be held with the proper respect and pageantry...
The end of the world and other random thoughts (05/19/11)
It's time once again for high school graduation. Akron-Westfield and Kingsley-Pierson held commencement exercises last weekend. Gehlen and Le Mars Community, Hinton, Remsen St. Mary's and Remsen-Union will have their ceremonies this weekend. I imagine there has been a frenzy of cleaning, landscaping and home remodeling done in the past month as households of the graduates prepare for open houses and visiting friends and relatives...
The sprint that is called May (05/12/11)
Ah, springtime. Time to get back outdoors, work in the yard and the garden and enjoy the transformation of the seasons. As winter grudgingly gives way to the greening of spring, we all can share in the renewal and rebirth that is the power of springtime...
A comeback worthy of Rocky Balboa? (05/05/11)
Springtime is here, with summer soon to follow. It is time to put away the winter coat (I hope), clean up the yard, plant the garden and generally shake off the dark sleepiness that is winter. Part of this ritual usually involves travel. Travel for Easter, travel for Mother's Day, travel for graduations, travel for Memorial Day. That's just this month...
I'd even mow the lawn, I think... (04/28/11)
Ah, springtime in Iowa. If we aren't getting rain, we might be getting snow. If we are extremely lucky, as we were on Easter Sunday, we get to see the sun. Weather lore says that if it rains on Easter, there will be rain for the next seven Sundays. I don't believe we received rain on Easter, so perhaps things will straighten out...
When can we hunt for the spring spheres? (04/21/11)
Today is Holy Thursday a time to commemorate the Last Supper, when Christ gave his disciples a meal that would become the basis of Holy Communion. Tomorrow is Good Friday when we recall the crucifixion, one of the watershed events for Christians. On Sunday we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Christ...
The next secret weapon in Afghanistan -- Elmo? (04/14/11)
War has always been a messy, nasty business. People die, buildings and roads are destroyed and the goal is to break the will of your opponent and make them surrender. Then, in the old days, you took over their territory, plundered natural resources, and sold your opponents into slavery...
How will we communicate in 30 years? (04/07/11)
It's an odd question, but one that came up this weekend in an unconventional way. After receiving our income tax refund, my wife and I did our patriotic duty and went out and bought some things. Small items that we had agreed would be nice, but not essential to our everyday life...
'The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated' (03/31/11)
"James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness, the report of my death was an exaggeration." -- Mark Twain Samuel Clemens, more commonly known by his pen name, Mark Twain, wrote that note in May, 1897. The confusion over who was sick led to some believing Twain had died...
Flying saucers and other great Iranian achievements in flight (03/24/11)
I'm a sucker for a good science fiction story. Have been ever since I could read. Enjoyed all the variations of Star Trek (even the less than stellar Voyager and Enterprise) as well as the Star Wars movies. Great escapist fun. But behind the fiction, there was always science. Perhaps outrageous science, but science none the less...
Everyone's Irish today (03/17/11)
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today is the day when everyone is a little bit Irish. Named after the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is officially a day set aside to pray for the work of missionaries world wide. Even though it is a religious holiday, it is more often associated with Irish heritage and folklore. ...
Would you want to know? (03/10/11)
A staple of nearly every media presentation: newspaper, magazine, radio or television is reports on health. What's the latest trend, the newest discovery, the food that will cure what ails you -- we have a seemingly unending need to know. At our very core is a need to survive. Technological advances in medicine, safety and food production have consistently expanded the average life span of humanity...
Nice kitty, good kitty (03/03/11)
We made it out of February relatively unscathed, and each and every day brings us closer to spring, glorious spring. I have even noticed some birds singing in the early morning daylight, so we must be getting close. In trawling around for a topic for a column this week, I came across a news item that intrigued me and gave me the creeps at the same time. ...
Want more children? Get a puppy to see for sure... (02/24/11)
Only four more days left in February. The month sure seemed to zoom on by, didn't it? I think it was aided a great deal by the fact that we didn't receive a great deal of snow. Sure, we got some, but nothing compared to the pile drivers of last winter...
Footlong? I said it, so sue me (02/17/11)
America is a wonderful land of opportunity. You can go from rags to riches with a good idea and a lot of hard work. With a good lawyer and some money, you can reduce someone from riches to rags. It happens all the time. Thomas Edison is remembered in history books as a tireless inventor and innovator, bringing electric light from concept to reality (and putting those gas light people out of business)...
It's all funny until the AARP card arrives (02/10/11)
Sunday marked my 50th birthday, a quiet affair at home, easing me into mostly likely the third trimester of my life. I share a birthday with my brother-in-law, Tom Brokaw and Ronald Reagan, who would have been 100 last Sunday. I truly have never given too much thought to my age. I have been blessed with good (knock wood, hit head here) health and pretty decent genetics, if you overlook the flat feet, bad teeth and male pattern baldness...
Scientific proof of NFL-induced heartbreak? (02/03/11)
Sunday is Super Bowl 45 (XLV to those of you still using the classy, yet confusing, Roman numeral system) with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers facing off in Texas. For Americans, the Super Bowl is arguably the largest single sporting event of the year. ...
That's going to leave a mark... (01/27/11)
It's been a long week, and I am just completing my first day on Wednesday. Perhaps I should explain. On Saturday, when the weather forecast was calling for two to four inches of snow, I decided that I should clear the sidewalks of the snow that had blown in during the week...
The Terror and other mid-winter musings (01/20/11)
In a little over a week, January will be history. That is a very pleasant thought, isn't it? The days are becoming longer, a few minutes at a time. It is very nice to go home in the daylight. I think we can all agree that we strongly dislike winter, but knock wood (I'm using my head to do so), this winter has been much better than last year...
Jesus is a Sagittarius?! (01/13/11)
I hope you are dug out from the snowstorm and are reading this someplace warm. We all knew we couldn't dodge snowstorms for the entire winter, but it was nice while it lasted. January has always seemed to me to be the "Monday" of the year. In addition to starting the year, January is a time when many make New Year's resolutions. Many of these promises involve losing weight, becoming more organized with finances, quitting smoking or some other vice -- all under the guise of a clean slate...
The politics of hair and junior high basketball (01/06/11)
"Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy Hair, flow it, show it Long as God can grow, my hair"...
A new Christmas tradition -- Skype (12/30/10)
So, how was your Christmas? Did you enjoy a long weekend? Catch up with friends and family? Get that special gadget you've had your eye on? I hope the answer to all of the above was "yes." I don't like to see blizzards anywhere, especially at Christmas when people are travelling. ...
Do we have to go see the lights -- again? (12/23/10)
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the start of a three-day weekend that will be filled with family, friends, faith and food. The happy alignment of the calendar has brought us this extra gift, and I hope many of you will be able to take advantage of the time...
What will the kids be driving? (12/16/10)
Well, it looks as if we will have a White Christmas. The Saturday snowstorm was a sight to behold, wasn't it? As long as you were indoors and had enough food on hand, it wasn't that big of a deal. If you had some place to go, well that was a different story.....
Gifts from my brother (12/09/10)
Memory is a funny thing. A sight, smell, touch or even an object can summon vivid details of events that occurred decades ago. It is a wonderful gift, an essential part of what makes us who we are. A few weeks ago, I had an event occur that brought back some of my earliest memories...
The tale of the Thanksgiving bed (11/18/10)
A week from today is Thanksgiving. Really? I guess the balmy fall that we had experienced up until last week had lulled me into thinking that it was still October. The harsh slap of reality came about a week ago, hammered home by the snow over the weekend...
A time to abide (11/11/10)
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy Today is the 92nd anniversary of the "war to end all wars," World War I. Depending on your age and upbringing, this is either Armistice Day or Veterans Day...
Is it all about you? Really? (11/04/10)
I really hate to sound like a grumpy old man. But I think there is no other way to approach this but to be that guy, harnessing my inner grumpy old man, channel my father -- whatever you want to call it. The times, they are a changin' -- much faster and in ways that people never truly imagined...
It's supposed to be scary -- it's Halloween (10/28/10)
Our beautiful fall weather, which has continued much longer than we have seen for a while, will eventually come to an end. But it certainly has been wonderful, hasn't it? If you will recall, a year ago we had snow in early October, then a warm November, then the hammer came down in December and kept on coming through February...
Here's to you, Mrs. Cleaver and Mr. C (10/21/10)
As I grow older, I'm learning to appreciate the job my parents did, raising six children on one and a half incomes. They accomplished this goal by living frugally, saving for major purchases and having as little debt as possible. Spacing children three years apart from 1948 to 1967, with the exception of a six year gap between myself and my youngest brother, the final child, the three bedroom house was full -- sometimes very full...
May we all shine on (10/14/10)
Instant Karma's gonna get you, Gonna look you right in the face, Better get yourself together darlin', Join the human race, How in the world you gonna see, Laughin' at fools like me, Who on earth d'you think you are, A super star, Well, right you are." -- lyric, "Instant Karma," John Lennon...
Fleeting, constant and comforting (10/07/10)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;...
Put on your glasses now... (09/30/10)
When my oldest daughter Lindsay attended college, she was interested in animation and special effects. She chose to have a graphic design major, and now has a good job where she can utilize her creative skills. I mention this because I recall having a conversation with one of her instructors about the different majors and something he said struck me as odd at the time, but it makes perfect sense now...
I guess I need to make a list now (09/23/10)
Three years ago, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in "The Bucket List," a film about two terminally ill men escaping from a cancer ward and go about doing things on a wish list before they die. The concept of a "bucket list," things to do before you "kick the bucket" and die, helps many focus on what they want to do in life, and making efforts to live life to the fullest...
Busting a move -- the new science? (09/16/10)
It's homecoming this week for Le Mars Community. All week long, students and staff members have been participating in theme based days, designed to bolster school spirit. The week of events will culminate tomorrow with a parade downtown, the football game and the dance...
It was a beautiful fall day, I recall... (09/09/10)
It looks like autumn has arrived. For the nit-pickers in the audience (you know who you are), I realize that the first official day of fall is two weeks from today. If you really want to get picky, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory, autumn begins at 10:09 p.m. on Wednesday the 22nd...
Don't make me come up there... (09/02/10)
Well, it has been over a week since students returned to classes. Even the last of the college students will be back in classrooms next week. The school year has begun, Labor Day weekend is this weekend and the first day of fall is less than a month away...
In defense of cursive (08/26/10)
School began today for Gehlen Catholic and Le Mars Community. Other schools in the county began classes this week as well. The opening day of school always brings back a flood of memories for me, as I'm sure it does for you. Memories from your own childhood, as well as memories from your childrens' school days...
Common sense, paging common sense... (08/19/10)
I'm always on the lookout for topics for a column or editorial. Sometimes, the topics and the words come easily. Sometimes, not so much. It seems that I am constantly looking for what is the topic or controversy du jour. This past weekend, I read an Associated Press (AP) article that made me wonder about the state of our society, as well as wondering what ever became of our old friend, common sense...
Back to school, back to 1980? (08/12/10)
Take heart, parents, it won't be long now. Before you know it, your children will soon be back in school, and the definition of "normal" in your household will change -- again. It used to be that school would start after Labor Day, but you would be hard pressed to find a district that starts that "late" today. Opening day has been creeping earlier and earlier into August for years...
Random thoughts from the road (08/05/10)
Where did July disappear to? It seems like only a short time ago, we were enjoying fireworks on Independence Day, and now it is August. August. Seriously? I logged more miles last month than I have in years, travelling to St. Louis, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dyersville, Iowa; and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Some of the travel was for work, others for pleasure. All involved driving...
It's not the heat.... (07/29/10)
....it's the humidity. How many times have we heard this chestnut? How wealthy could we be if we received 5 every time we heard or said this complaint about summer weather in Iowa? Well, if we factored in the "at least it's good for the corn" and invested the royalties conservatively, we might be able to supplement our retirements...
By Tom Stangl
From the publisher's desk