Opinions

Wed
13
Nov

‘Agony of defeat’ felt by Panther faithful

Before those living along the path around the Falls had access to a multitude of sports channels, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” clued viewers that ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” was about to start. The series featured a great variety of venues and the emotions that played out on each. During the past several days those same emotions were experienced by many who travel the path.

Friday’s appearance of the Lady Panthers at the state volleyball tournament brought an early start to the weekend. The early release allowed many students, staff and parents to show support for the team at the Resch Center. The contest was slated to begin at 4 in the afternoon, but fans could not enter the arena until it had been cleared after the earlier session. Once done, fans began working their way to the ticket scanners.

Wed
13
Nov

Encyclopedia sales belong to bygone era

One of my all-time favorite sit-com characters was a guy named Mr. Herd on the old “Bob Newhart Show.” Oliver Clark played Mr. Herd in just eight episodes of the show, but I always loved him. Do you remember him? He was the very shy, self-deprecating guy whose tie was always upside down.

In one episode he told of how he’d taken a job selling door-to-door. He said he’d gone up onto the porch and stood there all day hoping for someone to come out and buy his product.

I spent one day as a door-to-door salesman in the summer of 1958. I was 19 years old and pretty naive. I had just finished my freshman year in college, and I needed a summer job. The only jobs available in my hometown were canning factory labor, and I really didn’t want to do that. I saw an ad in the Oshkosh Northwestern looking for students to conduct a “survey.”

Wed
06
Nov

The greatest thing since sliced bread

I’m a big fan of Garrison Keillor’s “Writers Almanac” on public radio; I even subscribe to a daily email of the program.

I’m pretty sure that Keillor has researchers who dig up the information he spotlights on the show, but his delivery of the content and his daily poem are very entertaining.

On July 7, he started the program with this item: “Sliced bread was sold for the first time on this date in 1928. Up until that time, consumers baked their own bread or bought it in solid loaves.”

“The greatest thing since sliced bread.” How often have you heard that description of something new on the market?

Wed
06
Nov

State-title bid excites community

Monday morning’s return to the workplaces near the path around the Falls should have found people rested and ready to fire up for the work week. At least one might think so, given an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night due to the return to standard time.

However, for a good number of Panther fans who watched the Panthers take on the Warriors from Waupun, the adrenalin rush from watching Saturday’s volleyball game at Seymour may have kept that from happening. Cruising through the first two games and earning a comfortable lead in the third may have put the Panthers in a relaxed mode. The Warriors took advantage of that lull and came back strong to win the third game.

Wed
30
Oct

Searching for daylight in funding policy

That morning wake-up on the path around the Falls has been a little discouraging lately because of the later arrival of daylight. Given the fact that this past weekend was the last during daylight saving time, there will be a small reprieve starting Sunday when we return to standard time. Unfortunately, the morning reprieve will be offset by an earlier onset of darkness in the evening, which can be just as depressing.

Daylight does wonders for a person’s attitude. The concept of daylight and depression came into play for the last time in another situation Sunday night when the Vikings hosted the Packers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Viking fans were so depressed that many began leaving at the start of the fourth quarter. Once they exited the stadium, they were not greeted by daylight to brighten their attitude. Sometimes being a Vikings fan is a heavy load to carry.

Wed
30
Oct

Road sign’s clever verse made for amusing Sunday rides

You know how it is, right? You’re looking for something on the Internet, and suddenly something else appears and grabs your attention, right? A while back I was looking for some obscure verse that I was thinking of alluding to for a column idea, and when I typed in “verse,” one of the sources that came up was a book called “Verse by the Side of the Road” by Frank Rowsome. So I looked it up. Actually, the complete title is “Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles.”

Wed
23
Oct

Peshtigo fire eclipses Chicago’s

“Late one night, when we were all in bed, Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed. Her cow kicked it over, then winked her eye and said, ‘There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!’ ”

Those are lyrics of an old song referring to the famous Chicago fire of Oct. 8, 1871.

Interestingly, that was also the date of the Great Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. For people like me who grew up in northeast Wisconsin, the Peshtigo fire is a much bigger deal than the Chicago fire.

Did Mrs. O’Leary’s cow start the Great Chicago Fire? And what started the Peshtigo fire? There are probably no definitive answers to those questions.

Wed
23
Oct

Start date aside, school calendar set locally

One would not have to wander too far off the path around the Falls to understand that public schools in Wisconsin have many different features. Even so, the Wisconsin Constitution requires that “The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable…”

Even with requirements for uniformity, Wisconsin has always prided itself on local control. Depending on the issue, districts can have local control and at other times, hands are tied pretty tightly. The state Legislature sometimes flutters in the wind, and like the currents in Lambeau Field, the wind can come from many different directions.

Thu
17
Oct

Letter: Common Core is advantageous for students

To the editor:

The Wisconsin State Teachers of the Year Network has a classroom perspective on the debate regarding Common Core State Standards. For us, this is neither a political issue nor a union issue. Our view is based on students’ needs.

These higher standards prepare students to be college- and career-ready by demanding students be able to read and understand complex text. They have to understand problems and use skills to innovate solutions.

The Common Core is a nonpartisan, grassroots effort by a wide collection of state educators, state superintendents and governors. We see this as an attempt to strengthen public education, the foundation of our democracy, economy and security.

Thu
17
Oct

A few tidbits about Spam for you to chew on

About 10 years ago, I wrote a column about Internet spam, the nasty, annoying junk that clutters up our email in-boxes. The term comes from a Monty Python television show in which one particular episode made so many references to the canned meat product that the rest of the show was overshadowed by the Spam motif. So, no matter how good our spam filters are, we spend time reading through them, deleting them, or trying to unsubscribe to them. I hate email spam.

But I saw an item on The Writers Almanac on July 5 that said, in part: “It was on this day in 1937 that Spam came onto the market. The canned meat product from Hormel Foods Corporation was given its name by a contest winner; the prize for his ingenuity was $100.”

So Spam is a year-and-a-half older than I am, and we ate a lot of it when I was a kid. Mom used to fry it in the same pan with fried eggs and served it with big chunks of homemade bread for breakfast!

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