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Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
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CommStock Report (02/11/16)
SAVE THE DATE! CommStock's Winter Ag Outlook meetings are now scheduled. Do the markets have you wondering what you should be doing to survive? Our 2016 seminars, titled, "Running the Gauntlet, The Ag Sector's Epic Hunger Games" will feature David Kruse and Iowa State University's Extension Climatologist Dr. ...
Pastor's Column (02/11/16)
A new commandment I give unto you, "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another," John 13:34 KJV. I wonder if I am the only husband that gets a nervous cold sweat when reminded of Valentine's Day. There was a day when I really thought that I was suave and I said and did the right things for Valentine's Day. ...
40 days of heart (02/10/16)
So I'm sitting here with a fresh smudge of ashes newly applied on my forehead after returning home from Mass on Ash Wednesday, The Catholic tradition serves as a reminder, kicking off the build up to the Easter celebration, that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. And quite honestly, as I sat there in church, for a number of reasons, I wasn't feeling the spirit as I should have been...
Focusing on the field (02/08/16)
Like a lot of you, I've been enjoying a great deal of great sports action on television the past couple of weeks. NCAA basketball conference action is heating up, the Super Bowl broadcast (all 27 hours of it) was Sunday, and we're anxiously anticipating March Madness...
The four legacies (02/08/16)
One of my favorite podcasts is the Build a Bigger Life podcast, hosted by Adam Carroll. Adam talks a lot about becoming the "architect of your life," as he refers to it, and choosing "life over lifestyle." Those are both big phrases in the podcast, and they're mentioned over and over again through the episodes. ...
A Senior Moment (02/08/16)
Every couple in a "committed" relationship is working out, has worked out or will work out the level of responsibility afforded each other for various things in life. A husband may be responsible for making or providing dinners for the family each evening while the wife may shovel the walks and mow the grass. ...
Patchwork Quilt (02/08/16)
The total outstanding education loans held by people 65 and older, including debt that financed their own schooling and their children's, grew to $18.2 billion in 2013, the most recent year available from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), from $2.8 billion in 2005. ...
Obligatory Super Bowl Column (02/05/16)
This marks the third annual running of the Obligatory Super Bowl Column, and once again, the adjective feels accurate. The story line for Sunday's game feels somewhat...uninteresting. Cam is young. Peyton is old. Denver has a great defense. Carolina has a really good everything...
$15 an hour? Keep on walking (02/05/16)
I don't know if any local workers were involved as I didn't notice any large walking groups on Grand Avenue, but on the day of the final GOP debate prior to the Iowa caucus, fast food workers in Des Moines participated in a walk-out, striking to increase their wages. And on that day, waist lines around the state Capitol rejoiced...
Legislative Update (02/05/16)
We live in a time of instant and constant communication. Often that is good. Other times it is not. Recently, we had one of those "not so good times." A colleague introduced a bill, HF 2014, to regulate rafting. The focus of this bill is when folks tie up boats -- particularly in bays (the quintessential example is Miller's Bay). ...
CommStock Report (02/04/16)
I don't think that I am any more concerned today over the prospects of Ted Cruz winning the GOP nomination or becoming president than I was before the caucuses. They identified 28 percent of evangelical conservative Iowans and effectively got them to the caucuses to win a plurality and that will have been the easy part for the Cruz campaign going forward. ...
Pastor's Column (02/04/16)
Many of us have heard the quote "Don't worry about anything, pray about everything." In the day in which we live, that is often easier said than done. Many nations of the world, including America, are experiencing chaos through terrorism, economic upheaval, weather extremes and a multitude of life issues...
All eyes on Iowa (02/03/16)
Every four years the Hawkeye state takes center stage on both the national and world stages as the Iowa caucus turns the political focus to the simple perspectives that Iowans typically call common sense. And this year Iowans outdid themselves, with extremely strong numbers -- record-setting as a matter of fact on the Republican side -- with extreme views and avid debate on behalf of all candidates on both sides of the political race...
Patchwork Quilt (02/01/16)
This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and "Million Hearts" -- a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017 -- are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it's high, to make control their goal...
A Senior Moment (02/01/16)
Everyday we are served by others. Even a trip to the grocery store involves a myriad of involvement by others. From the time you leave your home, think about all the work done by others to build and maintain the street. The gas you use in the car had to come from a well, be refined, be delivered to a gas station, and finally sold to you as a product. ...
Clover Corner (02/01/16)
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Clay County has officially released the SpIn (Special Interest) Book. We are so excited for the wide variety of activities and learning opportunities we have to offer this year. There truly is something for every youth to enjoy. ...
A life filled with grace (02/01/16)
"The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances." -- Aristotle I've been thinking a lot about grace these past few days. Grace, in the secular sense, defined in part as " kind, polite and fair" and "a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency." As a Christian, I think of grace as God's unmerited favor toward man. His love and mercy which comes, not because we've done anything special, but given freely...
Land of the free to respect everyone (02/01/16)
As I'm writing this, we're about 3 hours away from the caucus. Over the weekend, a lot of media sites have published news (or editorials) about why certain candidates would or would not be suitable for the Oval Office. Their aim is to sway those who haven't yet made their mind up into one corner or another, or away from a particular corner altogether...
Legislative Update (01/29/16)
This week, we debated Supplemental State Aid, education funding. The House, like last session, made the first effort by passing a funding proposal off the House floor. I should note, the Senate has made no attempts at committee action at this point. As the Legislature moves forward, it's worth summarizing where all the pieces lie at the moment...
Planned Parenthood scandal arrest ... say what? (01/29/16)
So after the horrific revelations, caught on tape, were revealed linking Planned Parenthood representatives to the marketing of aborted baby parts, I expected there would be legal ramifications to follow. C'mon folks. Selling aborted baby limbs and pieces for financial gain. Sounds like something out of a horror movie that even by today's standards would be too sick to be made...
I got nothing (01/29/16)
I hate this weekend. Every year we hit the dead Sunday before NFL Sunday. I look around at a barren sports landscape, begging for something to interest me enough for a column. Folks, I'm not going to lie to you. This year, I got nothing. I can drop a couple hundred words about how lame the Pro Bowl is, but I'm pretty sure everyone already knows it's terrible. ...
CommStock Report (01/28/16)
Given the political fever to close our borders without legal immigration reform, the farm labor shortage is likely to get much worse. There is a farm labor shortage even with immigrants working in the agriculture sector. When they deport them en masse, a plan that is growing in popularity, a farm labor crisis will envelope the sector. ...
Patchwork Quilt (01/25/16)
A new study by Boston College Sociology Assistant Professor Sara Moorman and doctoral candidate in sociology Jeffrey Stokes shows that a close, emotional relationship between grandparents and adult grandchildren can have a measurable effect on the psychological well-being of both grandparents and grandchildren, this according to an article in the Boston College Chronicle...
The life-changing magic of intention (01/25/16)
I wrote a post on my blog (Blondie Marie) a few weeks ago that talked about New Year's resolutions ... kind of. I've talked about resolutions here, too, but I approached the idea of a resolution a different way this year. This year instead of focusing on a task list of things I want to accomplish by Dec. 31, I'm focusing on one word. This year, I've decided, I will "curate."...
How far is too far in presidential politics? (01/25/16)
I don't generally write about politics in my column. We at the Daily Reporter don't endorse candidates, we aren't affiliated with any single candidate. Aside from telling folks if they don't participate they don't have a right to complain, I back away from public political pronouncements...
Randy's Review: 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' (02/11/16)
Although I can't say with any certainty, because she's long since dead, but I'm guessing when Jane Austen used an ink-dipped quill to pen the novel "Pride and Prejudice" in 1813 -- that's more than 200 years ago for those of you without a calculator at your disposal -- that someday she would share authorship credits with Seth Grahame-Smith on a horror parody of her classic piece of literature...
Randy's Review: 'The Finest Hours' (02/04/16)
Without the bloody violence associated with the "13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" rescue efforts, a different branch of our U.S. military demonstrates that they've got what it takes as well in "The Finest Hours." In 1952, a winter storm ravages a pair of ships off the coast of the southeast U.S. The only hope for a freighter split in half on the rugged, raging sea is a Coast Guard station on Cape Cod in Massachusetts...
Randy's Review: '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi' (01/28/16)
A director associated with Hollywood action films, Michael Bay, brings the story of Benghazi to the big screen, using source material from Mitchell Zuckoff's book "13 Hours" which shares the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on a compound that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher) and a member of his team, as well as CIA agents and contract soldiers from a separate nearby facility...
Randy's Review: 'Dirty Grandpa' (01/28/16)
I'm guessing the initial pitch meeting for "Dirty Grandpa" went something like this. Pitch man: "What if we do a spring break movie (we certainly haven't had enough of those) where we script a lot of completely over the top vulgar language and repulsive phrases and find one of American's most iconic actors to say it all?"...
Randy's Review: 'Ride Along 2' (01/21/16)
The "brothers-in-law" are back on the case ... much to Ice Cube's Vice Detective James' dismay. His partner, his soon-to-be brother-in-law Ben (Kevin Hart), an over-involved, under-qualified beat cop. The two find themselves unknowingly at adds with an international drug lord as they chase down a hacker in Miami who might help them bring down a small-time drug dealer in the their home town of Atlanta...
Book Review: 'Midnight in St. Petersburg' (02/11/16)
Full disclosure: I really like historical Russian fiction, and I have absolutely no idea why. It's what first drew me to Vanora Bennett's "Midnight in St. Petersburg." Inna Feldman arrives in St. Petersburg, in 1911, after fleeing the pogroms occurring in the south. She's Jewish, but she tries to present herself as Russian as possible so as not to draw any unnecessary negative attention to herself...
Book Review: 'The Things We Keep' (02/04/16)
I was reading this book last night and about one third of the way through I realized it was midnight and decided that I had to go to bed. Sally Hepworth's pull, especially in her writing and character development in "The Things We Keep," stayed with me all through my bedtime routine to the point I actually googled spoilers for the novel, just because I wanted to make sure the characters would be OK before I went to sleep...
Book Review: 'The Road to Little Dribbling' (01/28/16)
On the one hand, it can't be denied that Bill Bryson is a good writer. Many of his books are bestsellers, including "A Walk in the Woods," "Notes from a Small Island" "I'm a Stranger Here Myself," "In a Sunburned Country" "A Short History of Nearly Everything," "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," "At Home" and "One Summer." He earned the 2004 Aventis Prize for "A Short History of Nearly Everything."...
Book Review: 'A Taste for Nightshade' (01/21/16)
Martine Bailey experienced tremendous success and acclaim for her debut novel, "An Appetite for Violets," that I think a lot of people were expecting her sophomore release, "A Taste for Nightshade" to be just as good and engrossing. Unfortunately, this one didn't quite live up to the hype...
Book Review: 'The Bitter Season' (01/14/16)
New York Times-bestselling author Tami Hoag returns with the fifth novel in her series featuring Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska. Liska has transitioned into the cold case squad for the Minneapolis Police Department, and she's been assigned an unsolved murder for a former sex crimes detective for the Minneapolis PD. Her partner, still in the homicide department, is faced with a brutal double homicide. In a different plot thread, Evi Burke is haunted by danger from her past...
Music Review: 'Nine Track Mind' (02/11/16)
There's something catchy about Charlie Puth's music, and it's evident in all 12 tracks (yes, 12) of his debut album, "Nine Track Mind." Perhaps it was his first single, "Marvin Gaye," and the tribute that song played to an earlier era of music, but I came into this album assuming that Charlie Puth was a classy musician and artist, and he didn't disappoint...
Music Review: 'This Is Acting' (02/04/16)
Sia is a bit of a dark horse in the music industry. She goes largely unnoticed, even when her songs are on the Top 10 charts, and she has one of the most powerful voices in pop music. It's right up there with Adele, I promise. But I get the feeling she's OK with how things are. ...
Music Review: 'Wildfire' (01/28/16)
Rachel Platten has been getting a lot of air time lately. Her debut single "Fight Song," nearly broke the radio and became the anthem of anyone dealing with a personal struggle. Her second single, "Stand By You," seems a companion song, sung by caretakers of those singing "Fight Song." Platten's voice and positive lyrics will make just about anyone feel better, regardless of what they're going through...
Music Review: 'Death Of A Bachelor' (01/21/16)
If I'm being completely honest, a part of me traveled back to high school as I was preparing for this music review. Panic! At the Disco released their first studio album, "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" when I was a junior in high school, and I listened to that song and its first single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," all the time...
Music Review: 'Made in the A.M.' (01/07/16)
This week I was feeling pop. And, I couldn't find any good pop albums that came out this week, I had to go back a few weeks. "Made in the A.M." is One Direction's first album without Zayn Malik, the fifth member of the group. Instead of replacing Malik, they decided to continue as a foursome...