Opinions

Wed
08
Jan

Do Tweedledee and Tweedledum tweet or twerk?

Have you noticed a recent proliferation of tw- words in the language?

Miley Cyrus’s twerking exhibition on an awards show set off a storm of criticism among the people-watchers of the world. I, for one, had never heard about twerking before that episode, but I confess to be somewhat oblivious to the latest lingo, one of the more obvious ramifications of retiring from a profession that kept me in close contact with kids and their proclivities for slang.

I am also a little out of the social media loop; I don’t tweet. I don’t have a Twitter account, I don’t “follow” anyone, and I don’t do “hash-tags,” whatever they are. But tweeting seems to have become an important part of our times. Even the pope tweets. So do diplomats and politicians, football stars and Prince Harry. And I see hash-tag symbols everywhere. Maybe it’s time for me to become more aware.

Wed
01
Jan

New Year time to set goals for coming months

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions goes back long before there was a path around the Falls. As far back as the Babylonians, it was recorded that people thought about goal setting as they began the new calendar year.

Perhaps the catalyst in modern times is a bump in the needle of the bathroom scale after enjoying all the holiday goodies. Maybe it is that health risk assessment and the recommendation for additional physical activity.

Maybe it was the Chicago Bears’ loss on Sunday and the renewed breath of life that came as Packers fans realized, in spite of what seemed to be against all odds, a third consecutive NFC North championship was not out of reach. As this was written, the game was yet to be played, and everything was on the line.

Wed
01
Jan

The Good Samaritan still lives

Despite all the negative stuff we see on TV and in the papers, I am still convinced of the inherent goodness of people. I see too many examples of the willingness of people to help others to not believe in good Samaritans.

We use the term “good Samaritan” colloquially to mean someone who helps a person in need. The term derives from the parable, in Luke’s gospel, of a traveller (who may or may not be Jewish) who is beaten, robbed and left half dead along the road. In the story, a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by. Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man.

I recently had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. No big deal, right? Lots of people have had this procedure. But it was a big deal because of what happened as a result of my being “laid up” for a few days.

So here’s a good Samaritan story for you.

Wed
25
Dec

Spirit of giving breeds hope in community

The spirit of giving has been drifting briskly through the air over the path around the Falls. In some situations that spirit relates to family members who may be coming together for an annual gathering. These are special and create treasured memories, especially if circumstances prevented those gatherings from happening for a while.

With a number of families, those gatherings will be special because of a new member joining for the first time, either because of a birth, marriage or a budding relationship. In each case, a new giving tradition is started.

For some families, the tradition includes the baking of Christmas cookies and the sharing of those cookies with friends and neighbors. That process, especially if children are involved, can be especially meaningful, since it plants the idea that this holiday season is not just about receiving gifts. The warmth does not just come from the oven as those creations are brought to the kitchen table.

Wed
25
Dec

Traditions treasured at Christmas time

Every Christmas Eve, Marilyn sings a song she taught to elementary school kids back in the early 1960s when we first came to Beaver Dam. The song begins, “Tomorrow will be Christmas, and we will carols sing, and early in the morning, the sweet church bells will ring, ring-a-ling.”

And if our kids are not going to be with us on Christmas Eve, as sometimes happens, she’ll call and sing to them or to their answering machines. It’s sort of a joke, but not really; it’s gotten to be a tradition with our family. And this season is all about traditions, isn’t it?

Most families have their own traditions, their special ways of observing this wonderful, joyous time of year. I grew up poor—in financial terms only. We lived in a log cabin without electricity or running water. Our central heating was a big old cast iron cookstove fueled by logs cut from our own woods.

Wed
25
Dec

Teenagers’ reputation undeserved

To the editor:

I recently rang bells for the Salvation Army at Witt’s. I was very impressed with the teenagers who donated money.

We often hear negative things about our young people, but the good things they do are not noted.

I have two teenage boys who live across the road. I can count on them when I need a hand.

Verna Peterson,

Morgan

Wed
18
Dec

Bishop’s duplicity is lesson in compassion

The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday to some), I was listening to “All Things Considered” on public radio, and I heard what I thought was an amazing interview with Mormon Bishop David Musselman from Taylorsville, Utah.

The bishop said that on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, he attended his weekly church service in Taylorsville, not as a preacher, but as a member of the congregation. He said he’d been concerned and surprised at his own inability to have compassion and wanted to challenge those who were critical of others. So he contacted a professional makeup artist, who transformed him into a ragged old man who gave the appearance of being homeless.

Musselman said he wanted to see how people would react to him if were dressed as an entirely different person. So the makeup artist outfitted him with large, white, mutton-chop sideburns, a grey wig, oversize glasses, a fake scar across his chin and lower lip, and a dirty grey watch cap and ragged, dirty clothes.

Wed
18
Dec

Impact of birth order considered on road trip

While the literature is a bit mixed on the significance of birth order, some theories were brought into play on a recent road trip returning to the path around the Falls.

Popular psychology suggests that order has an impact, but so many other variables also come into play. Isolating the influence of birth order can be difficult, but numerous researchers have given it a shot.

Psychologists identify the big five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism as important elements of personality that can be measured. It has been suggested that birth order frequently influences these traits.

Author Frank Sulloway suggests that firstborns are more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable and less open to new ideas compared to later-borns. There is some evidence that birth order affects intelligence. Birth order can be a factor with other individual traits.

Wed
11
Dec

Morning chores were the life of the farm

It’s 5:15 on a cold morning in January, and Dad and I are heading for the barn, working through the foot of new snow that has fallen overnight and drifted in deep banks against the front door of the barn. The snow is something we’ll have to deal with after we do the morning chores. Nothing comes before the morning chores!

“Chores!” The word had a special definition to farm kids like me. The dictionary definitions usually say something like “a small or odd job; a routine task.” For us, “chores” meant all the stuff we had to do with the animals and the barn. “Chores” were what we did from 5:15 to 7:30 every morning and from 5:30 to 7:45 every night. It was the feeding and milking of the cows and handling the milk and the milking machines to be sure we could pass the inspections.

Wed
11
Dec

Iowa experience reveals all things are relative

Perhaps not all things are relative, but the theory of relativity or a version of it was a cause for some speculation as this observer took leave of the path around the Falls this past weekend. Some 38 years ago, this observer accepted the offer of a fellow teacher to head to the remote reaches of rural northwestern Iowa for a first taste of a whitetail hunt.

Except for once or maybe twice in that time, the trip has been a key component of a self-prescribed personal wellness program. This year marked the first year that a third-generation descendant of that original group, and the first female, joined the party. She has a great success story to tell, but we will leave that for another time and place.

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