Junior moments by Gabe Licht http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/ en-us Real-world Monopoly values http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/48590 Apparently the folks at Movoto.com, a real-estate site, have a little too much time on their hands. And boy am I thankful! That's because they used at least some of their time to figure out how much the properties in Monopoly -- based in Atlantic City -- would cost now, in real life. As a big-time fan, I have one response: How cool is that? The link is http://realestate.yahoo.com/news/monopoly-in-the-real-world--property-values-for-boardwalk--park-place-and-more.html It's cool to see that... Thu, 12 Jul 2012 11:03:56 -0500 Pass the sunscreen (and the common sense) http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/48320 I may not be a parent, but {http://tacoma.komonews.com/news/health/759670-tacoma-mom-upset-after-kids-severely-sunburned-school/ this} story still bothers me. Apparently a law in Washington state bans teachers from applying sunscreen to students. It doesn't ban students from self-applying, but they must have a doctor's note. The law is well-intentioned, of course, due to allergies to various sunscreen additives. Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma strictly enforces their rule that lines up... Fri, 22 Jun 2012 16:43:15 -0500 School bans rosary gang bling http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/48093 A 15-year-old boy in the Minneapolis suburb of Coon Rapids has been told he cannot wear black and silver rosary beads to school because they could be a sign of gang membership. (See the story {http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/07/minnesota-student-banned-from-wearing-rosary-beads-to-school/?test=latestnews here}.) That may sound crazy to northwest Iowa folks like us, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Apparently, police warned the district in May that members of Latin Kings and Surenos... Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:39:05 -0500 Update: Lottery winner charged with welfare fraud http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/47322 It is being reported that Amanda Clayton, whom I wrote a column about last month, is being arraigned for welfare fraud. Clayton, you may remember, won a $1 million lottery prize, but continued using Michigan's food stamp program. She's facing up to four years in prison, though I doubt she'll serve time. The state Department of Human Services dropped Clayton from the program and said it was her responsibility to report her windfall within 10 days. "It's simply common sense that million... Tue, 17 Apr 2012 15:04:16 -0500 Products for real men? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/47010 All sorts of companies market their products to "real men," but they seem to have differing opinions over who fits that description. Dr. Pepper TEN has the action movie actor seen {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iuG1OpnHP8/ here}. Not everyone loved this campaign, but it's not nearly as distasteful as the {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hf4zdKGpMI/ figure} a Turkish shampoo company is using. For whatever reason, they thought it would be acceptable to use Adolph Hitler in an ad campaign.... Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:52:34 -0500 Dollars for detentions? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/46436 Can you imagine if you were fined every time you received a detention in high school? Even more so, imagine that having an untied shoe or missing button could contribute to such fines. For students of Noble Street College Prep in Chicago, it's not a figment of their imagination. Click {http://news.yahoo.com/chicago-school-draws-scrutiny-over-student-fines-202924231.html here} for the story. I went to a private school through eighth grade and I definitely got into plenty of trouble, especially... Tue, 21 Feb 2012 12:56:06 -0600 Ten Twilight takeaways http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/44749 Last year, a couple friends talked me into giving "Twilight" a try. This year, I talked myself into giving it another try for some odd reason. Here's 10 things I took away from the latest episode in the saga. (In no real order): 10. Whoever had 7 seconds in the "How soon will we see Jacob (Taylor Lautner) with his shirt off?" pool won. 9. Bella (Kristen Stewart) doesn't like to wear pants any more than Jacob likes to wear shirts. 8. I have to admit, the wedding scene was "throw up in your... Fri, 18 Nov 2011 22:48:45 -0600 Fellow Iowan gets T'd on http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/44679 My blog has been quiet for far too long. I'm not assuming you care, but if you do, I apologize. To break the silence, I thought I'd share something fun. With the Iowa Caucuses only seven weeks away, I could easily put something political here. But, maybe, I'll save that for my column. Or maybe, I'll forgo politics overall. But today, I thought I'd share the accomplishment of a fellow Iowan. While 11-11-11 meant different things to different people, he decided to use the once in a lifetime... Tue, 15 Nov 2011 21:15:59 -0600 Who's the scapegoat? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/43780 Steve Bartman. Does that name ring any bells? It does if you're a Chicago Cubs fan. He's the guy blamed for continuing the "curse" on the Cubs during sixth game of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Cubs and Florida Marlins. But Bartman wasn't wearing a Cubs uniform or a Marlins uniform. He was wearing a Cubs hat, headphones and a green turtleneck under a Renegades sweatshirt, which represented the little league team he coached. The Cubs were winning 3-0 when Bartman... Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:01:59 -0500 Bonus movie review: 30 Minutes or Less http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/43192 Last night, I met with a friend who is moving to North Carolina Monday. She was stressed about the move and I was hoping to cheer her up, so we headed to a movie theater for a comedy. Thankfully, there were two options: "30 Minutes or Less" and "Our Idiot Brother." I ultimately want to see both, but had a hunch that the latter choice may be sappier, or maybe even sad at times (I don't know yet if my hunch is right), so we headed to "30 Minutes or Less." It wasn't quite the funniest movie I've... Fri, 26 Aug 2011 16:08:20 -0500 Date location no-nos? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/42915 I'll admit up front I'm no dating expert. Every now and again, I read up on "dating" advice, partly because I could probably use some and partly because such "advice" can be quite comical at times. After talking to some female coworkers, I think {http://yahoo.match.com/y/article.aspx?articleid=9457&TrackingID=526103&BannerID=678804 this} is an example. The article is a list of places women "are never interested in visiting." Its stereotypes are laughable. The No. 1 nondestination is any kind... Tue, 09 Aug 2011 12:30:51 -0500 Is Matt Damon right about teacher tenure? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/42806 You may have read this headline and thought, "Why in the world is an actor talking about teacher tenure?" Well, the answer is quite simple, really: His mother asked him to. More specifically, she asked him to speak at the "Save Our Schools March." I'll include a link to that speech and a portion of it below, but first I want to address an {http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/actor-matt-damon-defends-teacher-tenure-testy-exchange-211042801.html interview} at the event that is making... Wed, 03 Aug 2011 11:07:51 -0500 Presidential candidate doppelgangers: Any ideas? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/42575 As I met presidential candidate, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Michigan) last night, I couldn't help but think he looked like a certain celebrity. The only role I could remember the celebrity for was one of the executives, Frank Bascombe, in the 2007 version of Fun with Dick and Jane. With the help of Internet movie database, I found out the actor is Richard Jenkins, who actually has 95 titles on his resume. A coworker is convinced that a better doppelganger for McCotter is John Waters , who wrote... Tue, 19 Jul 2011 15:05:04 -0500 Does anyone care about politics right now? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/42452 The Iowa Straw Poll is less than a month away. The first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses are less than six months away. Presidential candidates have been surfacing in our state for a while now, and some are even venturing to our area. With all of these factors considered, I think it makes sense to write political columns and blogs. However, I start to wonder when they don't garner many responses, especially when I think it concerns a controversial issue that could anger a whole group of... Tue, 12 Jul 2011 12:44:26 -0500 Kings and queens of northwest Iowa http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/42088 This morning I had the opportunity to judge the O'Brien County Fair King and Queen Contest. With no real expectations going into the event, I had little risk of disappointment. When I met the contestants and the people in charge, I knew disappointment would not enter the equation. Only five upcoming seniors from northwest Iowa competed, but they were definitely five of the best. Robyn Larsen, a former Clay County Extension employee and current city of Spencer employee, has done this before... Tue, 21 Jun 2011 17:13:58 -0500 Lighting a fire under summer http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/41758 Well look at that. I write one blog about spring and then summer decides to show up and make me look like a fool. Go figure, right? Actually, I'm blaming my cousin Bryan for this. His way of celebrating Memorial Day included the 11th largest fire I've ever seen. (Keep in mind, I grew up helping burn swaths of switch grass and we've also been known to have brush pile burnings on our acreage. What I'm saying is this fire was impressive, as you can see from the photo.) I won't say what was being... Tue, 31 May 2011 21:36:15 -0500 Spring's here. Now what? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/41507 After plenty of teasers, it looks like spring may actually be here. Hopefully, we've seen our last snow until at least October. I'll take May rain over April snow any day, unless it floods out the disc golf course at West Leach Park. Disc golf is probably my favorite outdoor activity. I've donned swim trunks and played when the course was flooded. I've also bundled up and trudged through snow to play. Nevertheless, spring is the best time to play. It's not too hot or too cold, so if the... Tue, 17 May 2011 14:13:46 -0500 What happened to Phantom? http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/41199 Over the past few months, Phantom the dog has come up in conversations. For those who may be unfamiliar with Phantom, she was a German shepherd who lived on her own south of Spencer for about a year. She was rescued from that situation, adopted and became a type of icon for adopted pets. I am sad to say Phantom is no longer with us. Four different people have shared this with me. Lee Youde, Phantom's owner, and I had an interview scheduled to talk about Phantom, but it fell through. I... Thu, 28 Apr 2011 19:19:28 -0500 More legislators need to pledge to 'Never Gonna Give You Up' http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/40849 "We're no strangers to love. You know the rules and so do I. A full commitment's what I'm thinking of. You wouldn't get this from any other guy. I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling. Gotta make you understand ..." Chance are you know the next line is, "Never gonna give you up." It's a classic one-hit wonder (Is that allowed?) and one legislator took it upon himself to get the lyrics worked onto the floor of the Oregon House. Jefferson Smith wanted to lighten the mood as a freshman... Sat, 09 Apr 2011 11:52:50 -0500 Windy City weekend http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blogs/1528/entry/40773 From 2 a.m. Saturday morning until 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, I was enjoying some time in Chicago. Yes, it was only 38 hours and, yes, about 14 of those hours were spent sleeping and driving around the city. Nonetheless, it was glorious and refreshing. Four buddies and myself jumped into my 97 Buick LeSabre Nadine Jr. Friday after work and started our trek. A mere eight hours and three stops later -- including a visit to the "World's Largest Truck Stop" and a chat with an Illinois State Trooper... Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:07:53 -0500