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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
The Story of a Girl from WWII Germany more
As I was driving toward Springfield last night, I realized I did not have my phone. That left me with quite a dilemma. It was alright to be shut off from the world for a while; no alerts for emails, no text message buzzes, and no phone calls interrupting my drive, were just fine with me. What I lamented was the lack of my beloved playlist blaring through my car stereo. There was no podcast or music designed just for my listening enjoyment. I had a choice to make: sit in silence (Heaven forbid) or go through the radio searching for a station that was actually playing music. I chose the latter and began my quest, hitting the ‘next’ button repeatedly. After hearing DJs waxing on for multiple stations, I finally stumbled upon some music. more
It’s late November and my mind begins to dwell on Thanksgiving dinner— not eating, but cooking. more
Fads are a way of life in society. Diet fads, exercise fads, clothing fads, linguistic fads, animal fads - all these fly-by-night things that come barging into our lives, inspired by some sense of “fear of missing out,” then just as quickly, they are gone again. I am not a person usually affected by the concept of FOMO, I am at an age where I dress to look nice AND be comfortable, I like what I like without a care if it is popular; this is just one of the perks of aging, I suppose. more
Sweet potatoes may be stars; cornbread dressing a contender. Dinner rolls are divine and green bean casserole a go-to. But Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without turkey. more
I’m not a Black Friday shopper. I’m a Black Friday sleeper. While the stores see black on the bottom line, the only black I see is the inside of my eyelids while I dream about which Thanksgiving leftovers to eat first. more
Bolivar Middle School recently released its first-quarter honor roll. According to a school news release, the following students earned spots on the list: more
Pleasant Hope Middle School recently released its first-quarter honor roll. According to a school news release, the following students earned spots on the list: more
The forty years after WWII were a time of upheaval in the United States Military. The world war had ended only five years earlier, and the veterans who saw combat were still adjusting to civilian life. The war’s former allies, the United States and the Soviet Union, were at each other's throats, often using other nations as a means of taking jabs at their nemesis. The spread of communism and the fear of it coming to the Western hemisphere prompted conflicts throughout the world for the next few decades. The Cold War was upon us. As proxy wars waged across the oceans the military at home had its own battles to fight. more
Most Americans hold the military in high esteem, and rightfully so; they bravely go places many of us avoid. Since the beginning of our nation, nay, before we were a nation, our fighters have led the United States to multiple victories, keeping us a free nation, at the detriment of their safety, mental well-being, and lives. Unlike Memorial Day, which pays homage to those service members no longer with us, Veterans Day respects those still able to feel the praise of a grateful populace. Every nation, be it Canada with Remembrance Day, France with Armistice Day, Britain with Remembrance Sunday, or America with Veterans Day, has a day established for demonstrating pride in their fighting forces. Interestingly, all of these countries chose on, or near, November 11 to have this holiday. What is it about the eleventh day of the eleventh month that makes it a prime choice for celebrating the military? more
On my desk, there are three essential things – my laptop, a computer mouse, and a no-frills, lined pad of paper. Without the computer and mouse, nothing could get done. But without that humble pad of paper where I scribble my to-do list, I wouldn’t remember what needed doing in the first place. more
For most of my life our nation’s commanders-in-chief were seasoned by military service, nine tempered in the fire of combat service. more
There should be a warning on this column because it’s graphic, and if your stomach is as weak as mine, perhaps you should turn back now and save yourself. more
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