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Monday, Jan. 26, 2015
Letters Welcome
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Doing the right thing (01/23/15)
Do the right thing. What a simple philosophy. Don't treat other people wrongly. Don't take things that don't belong to you. Don't cheat. Be courteous. Put others before yourself. Don't break the law. When you make a mistake, be certain to offer an apology and learn from it...
Ask a Trooper (01/23/15)
The January thaw may be upon us, but I wouldn't break out the khaki shorts just yet. There is sure to be plenty of winter yet ahead of us. Our question this week is referring to the recent series of winter storms that tracked across the state in conjunction with lower than normal temperatures and high winds. ...
Hidden treasure (01/23/15)
A television show I've watched for several years is "Parenthood." It's in its final season, and I'm a little sad about that. There are few shows out there that manage to get it right, and I think this is one of them. In watching the episode last week -- I watch all of my TV shows on the weekend in one or two long, satisfying binge-fests -- I realized that one reason I love the show so much is because of its perspectives. ...
More important: Deflation or 'the Grab' (01/23/15)
Is it just me or does this seem like the year of controversy and apologies in the NFL -- I mean more so than normal. It seems like every week, especially in the latter part of the regular and then the post season, we've spent more time debating calls and rules than any time in history. Maybe it's just me, but it sure feels like it's been a year of Monday morning quarterbacking that has involved the officials and discipline more than the games themselves...
CommStock Report (01/22/15)
Back when Alan Greenspan was Fed chairman, when he would give his outlook, it was written in "Greenspan-speak" and he quipped that if you thought that you really understood it that you were mistaken. He was purposefully vague and aloof. The Fed had a good deal of latitude for monetary policy without being pinned down. The Greenspan-Fed missed the sub-prime mortgage bubble, in fact, enabled it...
#SOTU15 (01/21/15)
In the age of cable and satellite TV, and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, I am curious as to how many people watched Tuesday night's State of the Union address. At one time, when the president was on TV, it was the only thing a person could watch. Growing up in the '90s, my family didn't have cable so it was very much the same then...
Patchwork Quilt (01/19/15)
The body we had at 55 is certainly not the body we have at 75. There are many issues both genetic and environmental that affect how we age. However, due to medications and surgical technology, people are living longer. According to the article found at AgingCare.com, under the headline of "The Most Common issues of Aging," the most common ailment affecting people 65 and older is coronary heart disease, followed by stroke, cancer, pneumonia, and the flu. ...
Looking for those community superstars (01/19/15)
Every year, as the calendar pages turn from one year to the next, we at the Daily Reporter ask you, the residents of our community, to recognize those who go above and beyond to help others in our community. Last week we put out a call for nominations for the Daily Reporter's annual Citizen of the Year. ...
Focus on serving the mentally ill (01/16/15)
As I watched the concluding moments of "American Sniper" Thursday evening I was once again reminded of our nation's failure to care for those suffering from mental illness. For those of you unfamiliar with Chris Kyle, the subject of the film based on his memoirs, he was a U.S. ...
The catch that wasn't -- Ground Zero (01/16/15)
A record-setting 79,704 people attended last Sunday's divisional playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Myself, along with my brother Tim (lifelong Dallas fan), his friend Waylon (Washington fan) and my father Pat (Pats fan...for the most part) were four of those people in Lambeau that day...
A day at the beach (01/16/15)
While at my grandparents' house in Missouri this past Christmas, my mom looked through old photos my grandma had converted digitally. My grandfather was a big photographer when my mom was growing up (they had a darkroom in every house they lived in) and there had been reel after reel of old slides taking up space in the storage room...
CommStock Report (01/15/15)
There was no reason that the EPA should not have implemented the corn feedstock RFS as stated in the law. But when they gave the petroleum industry the impression that they would modify the volumetric targets lower, the things the petroleum industry would have to do to expand the retail infrastructure to comply with the RFS never happened. ...
Rules are rules, unfortunately (01/14/15)
Rules are a necessary component of our everyday lives. Without rules there would be anarchy in the world. Sports also need rules in order for there to be a clear winner and loser and to prevent cheating. Without rules, football would consist of a bunch of players just running around tackling each other as a ball is tossed around. It would be difficult to understand just what the heck is going on if there weren't rules...
Are we all Charlie? (01/12/15)
The world watched in horror last week as terrorists, armed with high powered weapons and blind, rabid faith, savagely gunned down a dozen people in a Paris magazine office. The horror continued as another member of the terror cell killed a police officer, then held hostages in a kosher grocery store, murdering four more innocents. Latest reports say the shooting of a random jogger in Paris may well be linked to the criminals...
Inspiration juice (01/09/15)
When I first moved to town, almost three years ago already, Randy brought Gabe (who used to write for the paper as well) and I to a Hy-Noon Kiwanis meeting to introduce us to the other Kiwanians and to tell them a little bit about what we do here at the paper...
Hobbled but not out (01/09/15)
I haven't stepped foot into my office at work since 2014. I literally walked out the door, with a bit of a limp, around noon on New Year's Eve. And I haven't been back since. After taking our son to the Omaha, Nebraska, airport so he could begin the next chapter in his life as a U.S. ...
The Hall falls short (01/09/15)
With all the fun we've been having around here with blizzards, full on whiteouts and temperatures believed only to exist north of The Wall (That's a "Game of Thrones" joke ... it means it's cold.), it's nice to remember that other seasons actually exist, most notably, summer...
CommStock Report (01/08/15)
From its conception, the ethanol industry has been fighting for its birthright to live and prosper. It is the invading entity into the petroleum industry's market and therefore has been resisted with brute force by that industry's defenders. Each time that the ethanol industry successfully takes a hill it has been confronted with another. ...
Back into the swing of things (01/07/15)
All is calm and quiet now as the holiday season comes to a close. The whirlwind of holiday fun with Christmas and New Year's the past two weeks has definitely died down. Now it is time to return to the normal ebb and flow of our routines. Due to both Christmas and New Years falling on Thursdays this year, I have had a two-week reprieve from writing a weekly column. So much has happened in that time...
January's coming in like a lion (01/05/15)
Mother Nature is giving 2015 the cold shoulder. Frigid temperatures, piles of snow, and gusty winds remind us all why we dream of beaches and sunshine in January in Iowa. The week's forecast offers little in terms of good news or a break from the ice box in which we live...
The cowardly lion (01/02/15)
The NFL playoffs are finally here. It's taken 17 weeks of fantasy football heart attacks (congratulations to all the league champions out there), but we've made it to win-or-go home time. Even if your team didn't make it into the field of 12, there's no denying the entertainment value of playoff football unless Florida State is involved. ...
Respect the badge (01/02/15)
I saw a recent repost on Facebook originally created as a public service announcement by a police association which read: PARENTS Please stop telling your children that we will haul them off to jail if they are bad. We want them to run to us if they are scared .....
All lives matter (01/02/15)
Things are starting to quiet down around the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the two policemen in New York City, but I think this column is appropriate for the new year. When all the protests for Brown and Garner were happening around the country, there were a lot of #BlackLivesMatter posts going around social media. The perception was that, at least in the case of these two individuals, their darker-colored skin played a role in the outcome of the situation...
CommStock Report (01/01/15)
Cuba is not a democracy yet we have normal diplomatic relations with a number of non-democratic countries and some of them such as Egypt are far more oppressive in terms of killing protestors and detaining opposition than Cuba. Cuban dictators, the Castros, are aging and there are signs that things are changing in Cuba. Workers can now be employed in the private sector and are now allowed to own some property...
Ready for a great 2015 (12/29/14)
A new year is upon us and, while every year is a blessing, 2014 came with its challenges for my family and I. Serious illness and accidents; heartaches and headaches; and the inevitable rolling on of the years made it a year to remember -- and not always in the best ways...
Randy's Review: 'American Sniper' (01/22/15)
Clint Eastwood's direction and Bradley Cooper's action capture the true horrors of the ongoing battle against terrorism as it spills from the battlefields of Iraq to the home front for the American soldier. Cooper portrays Chris Kyle, who earned the title of "Legend" for his sniper services as a U.S. ...
Randy's Review: 'Taken 3' (01/15/15)
Don't bad guys watch movies. If we've learned one thing in recent years it's this -- don't mess with Bryan Mills, his family or Liam Neeson in general. Neeson is back for his third shot as the former U.S. operative who now works privately and once again some fool thinks they will be the one to get one over on him...
Randy's Review: 'Unbroken' (01/15/15)
This movie depicting the life of former Olympic distance runner turned Japanese POW Louis "Louie" Zamperini offers a brutal look at the child of Italian immigrants who overcomes a life of juvenile delinquency to become a world-class athlete and model of survival to his fellow POW camp mates...
Randy's Review: 'Into the Woods' (01/01/15)
Fantastically cast and beautifully scored, the Disney adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's popular musical "Into the Woods" is a lot of fun but is by no means a children's fairy tale. Blending familiar characters from classic tales such as "Cinderella," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Jack and the Beanstalk" into one world, "Into the Woods" centers around a baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) who long for a child but discover their childlessness is due to a curse placed on them by a witch (Meryl Streep) as the result of the baker's father. ...
Randy's Review: 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' (12/25/14)
The final chapter in the original "Hobbit" trilogy, "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" serves as a high action finale to the story that introduces you the world of Middle Earth, chalk full of dwarves, elves, orcs, ogres, wizards and of course, hairy-footed hobbits...
Book Review: 'The book of love' (01/22/15)
"The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing," by Roger Rosenblatt. Ecco, 192 pp. $22.99 In the 17th century, keeping a commonplace book was a regular practice. These books were collections of writing, quotes, and poetry that a person gathered over a period of time. Roger Rosenblatt's latest book, "The Book of Love," is a type of commonplace book, a collection of essays, vignettes and quotes, all revolving around the theme of love...
Book Review: 'In Some Other World, Maybe' (01/15/15)
Shari Goldhagen's sophomore novel, "In Some Other World, Maybe" takes four characters and shuffles them up like a deck of cards for the next 20 years. And the result is breathtaking. In Florida, Adam takes a girl he likes to a showing of the movie "Eons & Empires." At the same time, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sharon ditches school so she can go to see the movie without her slightly vapid group of friends. In Chicago, Ollie and Phoebe go to the movie on their first date...
Book Review: 'Before I Go' (01/08/15)
Picture this: You're dying. You have only a few months left to live, and you're trying to get everything in order to make it "easy" for your spouse when you go. This includes finding a suitable companion to take your place. Daisy Richmond is 27-years old and has learned that her cancer has returned, and this time it's not going away. She has six months to live, and she has a myriad of tasks on her to-do list, including fixing up the house and finding a topic for her Master's thesis...
Book Review: 'Another Night, Another Day' (01/01/15)
Sarah Rayner's "Another Night, Another Day" offers a heartwarming voice in the sensitive discussion surrounding mental illness. Through three different perspectives, she explores the role mental and emotional issues play in everyday life. Karen has just lost her father, and faces the possibility that she may have to start caring for her mother; Abby feels like a single parent in her failing marriage, raising her son Callum, who is high on the autism spectrum; Michael is faced with the bankruptcy of his flower shop.. ...
Book Review: The top 5 books of 2014 (12/19/14)
Typically, I'm a little wary of thrillers, but Janie Jenkins' sarcastic wit was hard to resist. In addition, I liked how Little incorporated social media and Internet sources into her story; it made it more believable, to the extent that it's more difficult to see this as a work of fiction...
Music Review:'American Beauty/American Psycho' (01/22/15)
In listening to this album, Fall Out Boy's sixth studio album and the second since returning from its four-year hiatus, I thought back to the band's first album, "From Under the Cork Tree" and its first single, "Sugar, We're Going Down." I liked their music back then, but I can confidently say that their sound, and my own musical tastes, have matured over the years...
Music Review: 'Chapter One' (01/15/15)
While she's got a great voice, what separates "Chapter One" from other debut albums -- especially other debut albums from reality-show contestants -- is the songwriting. Henderson appeared onstage for her audition at the UK's "X Factor" and sang an original song for the judges ("Missed," the final track on the album). ...
Music Review: 'Sucker' (01/01/15)
I wasn't expecting to be impressed by Charli XCX's latest album, "Sucker." There aren't a whole lot of new releases this time of year, and she's a name I'd at least heard of before. But I was pleasantly surprised with the range and maturity Charli brings to her music. There's no question she falls in the pop and dance genres. But she brings just enough edge to the music (and her image) to keep her out of the "bubblegum zone." (Like the "friend zone" but with pop music)...
Music Review: Top 5 albums of 2014 (12/25/14)
Ed Sheeran. "X" Sheeran is an artist whose music I look forward to. He broke out in 2012 with his single "The A-Team" and his debut album, "+," and his sophomore album is another example of his genius as a musician. But in addition to brilliant songwriting, Sheeran is perhaps my favorite rapper (interesting to find in a ginger-haired Brit)...
Music Review: 'Hozier' (12/11/14)
Hozier -- or Andrew Hozier-Byrne -- is responsible for what may be the best and most powerful song of the year, if not the decade. "Take Me To Church," the first track off his debut, self-titled album, is the most well-written, well-composed and well-produced song I've heard in years. When you hear someone say "they don't make music like they used to," you can point to this song as proof the potential still exists...