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Bolivar Herald-Free Press more
Happy New Year to you and yours! As we plunge into a brand new year, I hope you are able to claim victory over any obstacles placed in front of you and put lessons learned in your past to work towards achieving your new goals. more
2023 has not been good for the DC Extended Universe. The year will end without “The Flash” as one of the top 20 highest money-earners at the domestic box office. “Blue Beetle” will finish out of the top 30, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” out of the top 40. Newest offering “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” will probably fare a little better since it’s been positioned as the big Christmas weekend release, but it can finish out of the top 50 for all I care because this movie is terrible. more
Make the most of the coast more
Crows have been equally revered and reviled by humans throughout history. more
Lord willing, I’ll be 76 years old as of Saturday, Dec. 30 — exactly 60 years from the day I became old enough to legally drive on Missouri highways. more
New York has it all: bright city lights, famous people, glamour, and iconic events. Every year, millions of tourists descend on the Big Apple, with an estimated 63 million expected this year alone. The holidays are a popular time to visit with the New Year's Eve party in Times Square being world-famous. Yet, every year from mid-November to early January, approximately 2 million people flock to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes. Their renowned Christmas performances can cost up to $500/person, and many would say it is worth every penny. What many do not realize is that those iconic dancing ladies got their start here in humble Missouri. more
A bit of autobiography here at the start: I grew up a stone’s throw from Hershey, Pennsylvania and my current full-time employment comes from Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square. Chocolate, its production, and its sales are all a major part of my identity. So I view media related to Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” through a different lens than most. For example, the first time I saw 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at the age of six, I wondered why the whole world would lose its mind over a contest where the prize was a visit to a chocolate factory. I lived a mere ten minutes from a chocolate factory, and even at that young age, the tour had gotten boring for me. Eventually I learned that the factory of the movie was a gorgeous and twisted place, and then I was able to enjoy the ride (with the possible exception of the nightmarish actual “ride”), but it took about half the movie for my disbelief to be suspended. more
Family wrapper makes the rules more
Whether you choose a real one or opt for the everlasting fake one, there is no doubt that the tree is the centerpiece of any yuletide decor. I remember my mom’s trees were always showpieces; our Victorian-styled house had a coinciding tanenbaum bejeweled in beautiful white lights and delicate ornaments that took her days to arrange just right. She then got ambitious and decided our lodge-style den needed an equally elaborate tree with bears and moose adorning every branch. One was the fun tree, the other was the fancy tree, but both were always the focal points of our home. more
The Christmas tree is a quintessential part of holiday decor. I remember my mom’s trees were always showpieces; our Victorian-styled house had a coinciding evergreen bejeweled in beautiful white lights and delicate ornaments that took her days to arrange just right. She then got ambitious and decided our lodge-style den needed an equally elaborate tree with bears and moose adorning every branch. One was the fun tree, the other was the fancy tree, but both were always the focal points of our home. more
I’ve almost always believed in Santa Claus, but I never thought he was real. more
NOTE: This Japanese film is available in both “Subbed” and “Dubbed” versions. This review will focuson the “Dubbed” version with the English-language voice cast. more
One of the things my dad taught me about the working world is that it’s always good to have “multiple revenue streams.” That way, if one stream dries up or slows to a trickle, you’ll have another one to keep you going. more
Christmas movies come in all styles, forms, and qualities. People like to feel a certain way during the holidays. They want joy. They want fun. They want to escape the quagmire that is the everyday world, even if just for a few moments. Christmas movies, in all their cheesy wholesomeness, provide that siesta from life’s doldrums. Luckily for all the holiday movies junkies, there are enough to keep you binge-watching into the yuletide. I have the ones close to my heart. The newest version of The Grinch, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch always gets me smiling. I love any Christmas Carol movie. My guilty pleasure is the Muppet version that combines the ridiculousness of the Muppets with the dead-pan seriousness of Michale Caine’s Scrooge. more
One of the most common sparrows in North America has a history that’s far more interesting than many people realize. more
We’ll be going into winter soon, Dec. 21 — maybe sooner if Mother Nature gets impatient. more
I have never liked parades - there I said it. I know they are a staple of small town, Midwest America and it is one of the aspects that make me a bit of an outsider around here; this town loves a good parade. I admit, I have avoided them, forgotten about them, gone out of town when they occurred, locked myself in my house, and done just about anything to stay away from the crowded streets filled with gaudy decorated vehicles and people walking by waving at strangers. I guess it is one of the Grinch-like, bah-humbug aspects of my personality, all the cheer and inconvenience of blocked roads just were not my thing! In all fairness, I blame my equally bah-humbug mother. She thought parades were boring so I never went to them and in turn inherited her disdain for watching people walk in straight lines in front of me. So naturally, I decided to participate in one. more
The Warming Center is a ministry associated with Polk County Cares (PCC), a nonprofit faith-based organization whose main focus is connecting people and empowering them to transform their lives through caring relationships. more
Dad was a coon hunter and I was the boy who tagged along behind him. more
Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” did rather well for itself over Thanksgiving weekend, opening in the #2 position at the domestic box office behind the second weekend of the new “Hunger Games.” A debut at #2 behind a not-particularly-beloved returning champion may not sound impressive, but my prediction was that it wouldn’t even finish in the top three. more
More than 20 years ago, Tom gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage as an anniversary gift. I’d never had a professional massage before. (Women don’t count the one-handed massages men sometimes give while holding the remote with their other hand.) more
The term “Black Friday” has a sordid past with a bit of a dark connotation. Though many believe it is the day for stores to turn their red ledgers to black, the first use of the term was in 1869 to describe the gold market crash of September. Jump ahead about 90 years and Black Friday was a term dubbed by the Philidelphia police to describe the absolute chaos in the streets on the day after Thanksgiving. As many people went to the annual Navy-Army football game, others made it their day for shopping excursions to kick off the holiday season. It was not a term to describe fun, savings, or festivities. It was a term to describe misery and frustration. As a child of the 80s and 90s, when Black Friday shopping was at its peak, the moniker may have still held its original meaning. more
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