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Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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The Daily Reporter invites readers to submit "Letters to the Editor" with comments, criticisms, praise and/or questions about local and world issues of public interest. The editor reserves the right to edit or condense all letters. All letters are to be signed. Unsigned letters will not be considered for publication. Readers should also include their address and telephone number to verify the identity of the writer. Addresses and phone numbers are not printed.
Bloggers Wanted
The Daily Reporter is looking for bloggers who wish to share regularly on their particular interests. If you have a unique area of interest or particular topic you would like to weigh in on weekly, email us at news@spencerdailyreporter.com.
Gold medal winner in Olympic viewing (06/27/16)
I'm not sure about you folks, but for me, there's nothing more exciting than men's platform diving. Unless it's the women's 100-meter individual medley. Oh, but then there are those gymnasts doing all those gymnast things on all those odd apparatus...
Just enough (06/24/16)
These last few weeks, we've had some storms. We've had some heavy rains and we've had some high winds. For some of us, we've had to deal with trees that just couldn't take it anymore. Indeed, I was one such person. My wife actually noticed the broken limbs first. ...
Order In My Court (06/24/16)
I've worked retail jobs, as those are the easiest jobs to acquire when you're in the process of getting a college degree, and I've got to say that a lot of customers can be so rude and thoughtless when it comes to thinking how their actions may affect someone else...
Let's Talk About It (06/24/16)
It is safe to say that this particular election cycle, as it ramps up to its conclusion in four months, will go down as one of the most contentious in history. Mudslinging would be a welcome change from the behaviors and vitriol reported daily in any and all news outlets. ...
Come on, Rory ... Please? (06/24/16)
I'm not going to lie. Not talking about basketball today is pretty tough but a promise is a promise, and I said I wouldn't do it. (I gotta stop doing stuff like that.) When I was trying to figure out what direction to take today, the only thing that kept coming to my mind (other than basketball, of course) was Rory McIlroy's withdrawal from the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro...
CommStock Report (06/23/16)
The U.S. Department of Justice uses a formula called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) to gauge concentration in an industry. On the index, 10,000 is a total monopoly and less than 1,000 is a competitive market. A number above 1,800 begins to show serious concentration. ...
2 questions (06/23/16)
In the Bible we read of times when people are on the run, seeking shelter, seeking peace in the midst of chaos. We too can be literally or figuratively on the run, feeling caught up in things beyond ourselves that seem to take over us and seek to take our lives. ...
A sporting day of redemption (06/20/16)
I thought about redemption on Sunday night, after a day and evening spent watching two iconic sporting events - the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and the NBA Finals. I know, it's odd that in my house with two males, it's the female who has the passion for most sports, but it's our dynamic and it's worked for three decades. So it was that on Father's Day, it was mother who was on the couch, glued to the sports action on the tube...
Clover Corner (06/20/16)
Summer is here! The weather has been sunny and warm and we have been keeping busy at the Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Office in Clay County. Our Special Interest (SpIn) events continue throughout the summer. Today I am going to focus on a recent event titled -- Screen Test -- "Reel" 4-Hers...
Basketball and dragons (06/17/16)
It's not so much that I wanted to write a third straight column about the NBA Finals (And, like, fifth straight about the NBA or something like that. I'll mix it up when this is all over. I promise.), it's more of a situation where I have to write about the Steph/LeBron Thunderdome otherwise I won't be able to live with myself in the future...
Why we need prayer (06/17/16)
Often times when I talk about prayer, or needing to pray about something, I get this puzzled or bizarre look from folks. I generally pay it little mind as I don't feel the need to justify my Christian beliefs or practices to people who choose to rely on their own luck and chance when it comes to the decision making processes in their lives...
Take courage, parents and pastors (06/16/16)
A prophet that we read about in the Bible said, "And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:2-3). A New Testament writer said, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33)...
CommStock Report (06/16/16)
Donald Trump is in trouble now. ... He has got my wife mad at him. Our state senator, David Johnson, 18 years in the Legislature, announced that he would leave the GOP over Trump. He is reportedly the first elected official in the country to do so. David is a dairy farmer from Ocheyedan. ...
Robots in the home (06/15/16)
In the movie "Wall-E," the cute little robots ran everything, including, but not limited to, cleaning up the Earth, homes and feeding the humans. What were the humans in charge of? Nothing. We literally became hovering lazy blobs of people who just watched TV all day. They weren't aware of the world around them. This may seem a little random, me mentioning children's cartoons, but I do have a point to make with it...
This one sneaked by me (06/15/16)
Oh, it pains me even to write that title. I feel like a crotchety old man when I say stuff like this, but fewer and fewer people -- not less and less mind you -- are up to snuff on their grammar. I remember lectures in grade school about what spell-check was going to do to the future of literature and society. ...
Love is love is love ... (06/13/16)
Terror came to the "Happiest Place on Earth," Orlando, Florida, in the early morning hours on Sunday. A lone gunman, armed with a heart filled with hate, and an AK-15 with extra clips of ammo, sprayed the dance floor of Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, with bullets. When he was done, 49 people were dead...
A generational Slice (06/11/16)
We haven't even hit the halfway point of 2016, but in terms of people losing their heroes, 2016 has hit "Game of Thrones" levels. (Obligatory explanation of my pop culture references: GoT kills off your favorite characters at a very high rate. It's like watching "Friends," but instead of all those whiners drinking coffee out of really big cups, they all get stabbed in the chest.)...
Hangin' with 'The Greatest' (06/10/16)
Those closest to him participated in private services Thursday morning in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands more who loved and adored the former heavyweight champion mourned his loss Friday in more public ceremonies -- including a procession down a street named in his honor...
The importance of hope in our lives (06/09/16)
It has been said that man can live 40 days without food, three days without water, nine minutes without oxygen and only one minute without hope. It has also been said, if you could convince a man that there is no hope, he would curse the day he was born. So, hope seems to be an important part of everyone's life...
CommStock Report (06/09/16)
Many Republicans, including some who only recently endorsed their party's presumptive nominee because he is their party's presumptive nominee, were having buyer's remorse this week. They have too much character and ethics themselves to support their party's presumptive nominee who continues to show he lacks these attributes. He is a loathsome, reprehensible individual without any redeeming characteristic to justify letting him anywhere near the White House in any capacity...
Political atheist (06/08/16)
Oh my stars and garters. I said I don't like to talk politics and yet, I'm doing it again. I've tried writing three different columns already and I'm just not inspired to talk about Paris Green, the Olympic refugee team, or the overuse of questions in written media. You can probably look for those in the coming weeks, though. Apparently, when it comes to politics, I just can't help myself. So here we go...
Order In My Court (06/08/16)
Movie sequels can either make or break a film franchise and throughout movie history it seems that Hollywood has yet to figure it out. One good example is "Pitch Perfect," which had a sequel with a subpar storyline. The profit they made off the movie was amazing but producers need to see that the quality of the storyline shouldn't be compromised for their wallets. ...
Clover Corner (06/06/16)
School is out and summer is in full swing! I recently moved out to an acreage and I am trying to get used to all the creatures we have on our property. We have many snakes that have made their home right by our house. Today, I have guest writer Adam Janke, with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, who is going to provide tips for making a house unattractive to snakes...
Spencer's great community get-together (06/06/16)
Pack your sunscreen and plenty of water -- it's looking to be a hot Flagfest weekend in Spencer! While the mercury is aiming for the 90-degree mark, it's also the wide array of events which will heat up our community this weekend. For over three decades, Flagfest has been a time to gather together, relax, enjoy fellowship with our neighbors and friends, and celebrate the flag. ...
The rematch (06/03/16)
You're welcome, Golden State fans (and gleeful bandwagoners), for providing the necessary bulletin board material last week for the Warriors to get their act together and win the Western Conference Finals. For the record, I pick most games with my heart instead of my head, and no, that strategy has not gone exceptionally well...
Randy's Review: 'Central Intelligence' (06/23/16)
When the high school bullies catch obese classmate Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) dancing naked and lip-syncing in the shower, they decide a great senior prank would be to toss him out onto the gym floor during an assembly honoring the school's "Mr. Everything" Calvin "The Golden Jet" Joyner (Kevin Hart)...
Randy's Review: 'Now You See Me 2' (06/16/16)
The Four Horsemen are back -- minus one. J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) have been in hiding since the exploits of the first film where the team outed a corrupt financial mogul and outwitted law enforcement using their particular set of magic skills to get the better of their pursuers and the legal system. ...
Randy's Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" (06/09/16)
In the relaunch of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in 2014, the filmmakers took the incredible unrealistic idea of a bunch of mutated turtles who grow into human-like teens under the instruction of an equally enhanced sensei rat as seriously as possible. The rat and his team of training ninja turtles took on a bad guy named Shredder and his ninja gang group called "The Foot."...
Randy's Review: 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (06/02/16)
It's no "Captain America: Civil War," but as far as the X-Men series is concerned, the new Marvel release, "X-Men: Apocalypse" isn't too bad. It brings the action, offers some humor in its writing and delivery, and the main characters continue to deliver -- but the nearly 2 -hour film is too long and it challenges the continuity when compared to some of the other X-Men-related films...
Randy's Review: 'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising' (05/26/16)
It was pretty hard for Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Bryne) Radner to drive off the fraternity that tormented their lives the first time around, but the couple -- now with one child and a second on the way -- discover girls can be even tougher when a party-mad sorority opens up next door as they attempt to survive 30 days of escrow in "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising."...
(A few of) my favorite books (05/19/16)
A little secret: I had a book read for review this week. But I thought it would be more appropriate to cover some of my favorite books that I've read and reviewed over the last four and a half years. I'm going with five, in part because that's all of the space I anticipate I'll have. I imagine I've reviewed almost 200 books for the Daily Reporter, however, so my full list is likely a lot longer...
Book Review: 'Nowhere Girl' (05/13/16)
In a vein similar to "The Lovely Bones," Susan Strecker's latest novel examines the relationship between twins, when one twin was murdered 16 years ago and the other one is trying to find out who murdered her. Cady Bernard is visited by her sister, Savannah, in her dreams at night. ...
Book Review: 'Gone Again' (05/05/16)
Jack Swyteck is back at it, and it's life or death. A man named Dylan Reeves is on death row for raping and murdering a young girl named Sashi seven years earlier. So it's a little surprising when Sashi's mother, Debra, approaches Jack and asks him to help exonerate Dylan of Sashi's murder. According to Debra, Sashi is still alive...
Book Review: 'Rogue Mission: A Jordan Sandor Thriller' (04/28/16)
Having never read any of Jeffrey Stephens' Jordan Sandor tales before, I really had no idea what I was in for when I picked up "Rouge Mission," the newest installment in the series, but after having put it down, I can clearly say I'm a Sandor fan and look forward to picking up the next book in the series should Stephens choose to continue with the character -- and I can really see no reason why he wouldn't...
Book Review: 'Carry Me' (04/21/16)
Peter Behrens' latest, "Carry Me," is much bigger of a book than I can describe. I'm still trying to wrap my own head around it, so please bear with me. It's a love story. Billy has been in love with Karin for a long time. In a sense, they grew up together, as friends and also as lovers. ...
(A few of) my favorite albums (05/19/16)
One thing I've really appreciated about this part of my job is the ability to find music I might not have otherwise listened to. Some weeks it's hard to find a new album from a band I recognize, so I have to branch out a little. Here are some of my favorite albums from the last four years, both from bands I've known for a while and bands I've discovered along the way...
Music Review: 'At Night, Alone' (05/13/16)
To be completely honest, I didn't entirely expect what "At Night, Alone" was. Mike Posner, based on my knowledge of his music from Top 40 radio, was a producer with an electronic-dance style of music. He had a pretty popular song a few years ago called "Cooler Than Me," that reminded me of the classic "You're So Vain." Other than that, I really didn't know much...
Music Review: 'Cleopatra' (05/05/16)
I've listened to this album several times over the last few weeks, but I'm listening to it again while writing this column. And, going into this listen and this column, I was completely prepared to wax on about "Ophelia," one of the tracks off this album, and how that song was the flagship of the entire deal for me...
A tribute to music royalty: Prince (04/21/16)
It would hardly be a music column if I didn't recognize one of the great creative icons that passed away yesterday: Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as "Prince." So, in honor of the legend, here are a handful of his memorable lyrics: "'Cause they say two thousand zero zero party over / Oops, out of time / So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999." -- from "1999"...
Music Review: 'Lukas Graham' (04/14/16)
For some reason, the first time I heard "7 Years," the first song off Lukas Graham's most recent album, I got much more of an "island vibe" than I believe was intended. This song's been all over the radio lately, it's borderline overwhelming. Later, after learning this band is from Denmark, I realized my mistake. Maybe it was the beat...