Opinions

Wed
02
Oct

Some common things, from aglet to zarf

How many times have you had to resort to calling something a whatjamacallit or a thingamajig because you didn’t know the name for some everyday item that we should know the word for, or were once told what it was but have since forgotten?

Well, today, I’m going to give you some real (albeit unusual) names for some common things and/or conditions.

I started thinking about this subject when I broke the little plastic thingamabob that holds the end of the shoelaces together. Well, believe it or not, that thingamajig has a name: it’s an aglet. Remember that because there’s going to be quiz afterward!

You know the dusty remnants at the bottom of cereal boxes? They’re called fines, and I think they’re particularly delicious in the more sugary brands, don’t you?

Wed
02
Oct

Great weather makes for good bye week

The last weekend in September on the path around the Falls was a winner, even if there were no Green Bay Packers to watch. Each year the NFL teams have a bye week to allow for some regrouping and family time. We are not sure about the need for family time, but many would agree that regrouping is a priority, but we will leave that conversation to the sports page editors.

It was dumb luck rather than visionary planning, but the dates picked for Falls Fun Fest coincided with the Packers bye weekend. Most of the Fun Fest activities took place with the rummage sales on Friday and other events on Saturday. However, the youth football tournament concluded on Sunday and with no Packers game conflict, things were a little more relaxed.

Wed
25
Sep

Cheering unified the '57 Panthers

Our granddaughter Melanie, a seventh-grader, is a member of a national championship cheering team! But cheering today is nothing like it was back in my high school days.

Back then, cheerleaders like Lorraine Kobs, Betty Magill and Sally Wusterbarth, members of the great Class of ’57, would actually lead cheers! They taught us, the fans, a number of cheers at pep rallies in the gym the day before a game, and then they’d lead us in those cheers at the game. By the end of a season, we’d know a bunch of cheers, and the cheerleaders could get us yelling in unison to cheer on our beloved Panthers.

They’d also lead us in the Alma Mater and the fight song. Come on, sing along: “Hail to thee, Oconto Falls. Hail the Orange and Black. We are with you one and all; spirit we’ll not lack. Ever upward, ever onward, honor ours will be. Hail to thee, Oconto Falls. Hail, oh hail to thee!” Or, “On you Panthers, on you Panthers” sung to the tune of “On Wisconsin.”

Wed
25
Sep

Sister school visit has far-reaching impact

People in Wisconsin pride themselves on extending a warm welcome to visitors, but that became a bit of a challenge on the path around the Falls earlier this week.

The sister school delegation from Tomiura Junior High School arrived late Friday. On Sunday and Monday morning, Mother Nature blessed many local spots with a heavy layer of frost, so the personal warmth that is generated with the visit had to be turned up a notch. That turned out not to be a problem.

The schedule for the weeklong visit includes a variety of activities, well beyond just spending time in classrooms. For the two adults and the eight students, this truly is an opportunity to learn about Wisconsin and the American way of life. The first full day is spent with host families for a little bonding and jet-lag recovery. There was a deeper connection with five of the Japanese students, since they had hosted our students when the Washington Middle School delegation traveled there last spring.

Wed
18
Sep

Exhaustive research leaves me plumb tuckered out

I guess I’m gradually turning into my dad. The other day, after an exhausting day working on my deck in the 85-degree weather, I said to Marilyn, “I’m plumb tuckered out!” Now, why in the world would I say that?

I haven’t heard that expression in probably 60 years. But my dad used to say it, and suddenly there it was coming out of my mouth.

Dad was a hard-working guy, and by evening he was usually bushed (Wow! There’s another one!). “Plumb tuckered out” was one of his favorite ways of expressing his fatigue. He had a number of other idioms to characterize his exhaustion: too pooped to pop, played out, drained, wiped out, dragged through a knot hole. If he’d spent a lot of time on his feet, he’d often say “My dogs are really barking!”

Wed
18
Sep

Economic downturn marks 5-year milestone

Even though the calendar indicates fall officially returns Sunday to the path around the Falls, frost was observed on a few roofs and cars on Monday morning’s commute to work.

Fall is a favorite time of year for many who make their homes in the area, but an early frost and the end to the growing season is not something people look forward to. This year that is particularly true for this observer, as a good portion of a great, green tomato crop is still on the vines.

The crop this year was late in ripening, but once the tomatoes started coming, they looked really good. There is more soup to make. This year’s production should easily surpass the hundred-quart mark. A normal schedule for the first killing frost could double that benchmark. We’ve heard from a few other gardeners that they also are seeing bumper tomato crops. This is a positive sign that things are looking up for the home-canning industry and that we will be able to survive a cold winter.

Thu
12
Sep

Sounding off on the golf course

I admit it: I talk to my golf ball. But I’m not the only one; lots of the guys I play with talk to their golf balls. Some of them even to talk to other players’ golf balls.

I’m a reasonably quiet golfer, but I sometimes yell at a drive or whisper to a chip shot. When Marilyn plays with me, she’ll say something like, “Who are you talking to? The ball can’t hear you.” (She says the same thing when I yell at the referees in the Packers games on TV.)

But I don’t think that’s right. Talking to your golf ball is one of the most important nuances of the game. You have to talk to the ball, because if you never do it, it will never listen to you. But if you always talk to it, it will occasionally listen.

Sometimes when you yell, “Come back!” at a ball which is slicing out of bounds, it’ll hit a tree and come back! Sometimes when you whisper “Get legs, get there,” to a putt, it’ll roll up and leak into the cup.

Thu
12
Sep

Yellow school bus is sure sign of fall

Last week’s flashes of yellow and red on the path around the Falls were early indicators of the approach of the autumn season. The yellow flashes were of school buses with their first of 180 daily journeys transporting students. These flashes are very predictable and usually coincide with the first day after the long Labor Day weekend.

Those flashes of red come on the sides of the road, rather than the road itself, and are much less predictable. We are talking about the sumac, which turns from green to red much like traffic lights, signaling summer to stop. The first of those brilliant red roadside flashes were seen last week, according to one report and confirmed by this observer over the weekend.

Wed
04
Sep

Clapping erasers: punishment or reward?

Throughout most of my life, I had some association with chalk, chalkboards (blackboards or greenboards) and chalkboard erasers. All the way through grade school, high school, college and 37 years of teaching, they were part of my life. Now, traditional chalkboards are sort of a dying breed in the age of interactive whiteboards and dry-erase whiteboards in the classroom, but they still exist, and as long as they do, felt chalkboard erasers will still accumulate a ton of chalk dust.

Remember chalkboard erasers? A chalkboard eraser is a supplement and tool used with chalkboards. A common chalkboard eraser is about 2 inches by 4 inches and is composed of felt strips that are held together with sticky paper or glue. It is used to wipe the old chalk markings off the chalkboards.

Wed
04
Sep

Hopes, dreams pinned to new school year

Many who spend their days on the path around the Falls and were around 50 years ago would agree there was an undeniable energy around the civil rights movement and the inspiration that came from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

He was a powerful orator and had the passion to go with his words. His life was cut short less than five years later, but the legacy lives on in so many aspects of modern society.

The march on Washington at which the speech was delivered marked the 100-year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which commonly is assumed to have been the official action to end slavery. In fact the document was intended to free the slaves who resided in the states that were still in rebellion to the Union. Thus the action had minimal effect. It wasn’t until the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865 that slavery was outlawed throughout the nation.

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