Opinions

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.

Wed
28
Aug

McNugget triggers vivid memory

I saw a YouTube piece on the “Today” show a while back that made me think about an incident in my kidhood; well, actually in my sister’s kidhood, I guess. I was only a spectator, not a participant in the event.

First of all, let me tell you about the YouTube, and then I’ll come back to my story. The film clip was about a rooster named McNugget in Issaquah, Wash. I did some research and found out that McNugget had escaped from the nearby Issaquah Grange Supply years ago as a chick and had adopted the parking lot of a Staples store as its new home. Employees of an espresso stand in the lot adopted the rooster, gave him his name and a crate for shelter.

About three years ago, a young woman who was a regular customer of the espresso stand provided a home upgrade to a doghouse and stopped by occasionally to feed McNugget. But she and a friend became very concerned when the temperatures dropped to overnight lows of 10 degrees.

Wed
28
Aug

Preseason drives school-year success

Thursday will be a memorable evening as fans along the path around the Falls will see several names for the very last time on the back of an official Green Bay Packers jersey. A number of aspiring NFL players will have their last shot at making the team before the next roster cut. Decisions were made after Friday’s game. A number of players were sent packing, and a few new faces were brought in to shore up some of the weak spots before things get serious with the regular season.

Tue
20
Aug

From pebble to boulder, nothing is set in stone

I’ve written a couple of times in the past about our treks with friends on the National Scenic Ice Age Trail. We’ve been doing short sections (7 to 9 miles) five or six times a summer over the last several years. Some of the trail is pretty rugged, some of it follows paved pathways through cities, some is on country roads, and some of it—like our last two hikes—is on portions of the Sugar River and Badger State bike trails.

The bike trails are on abandoned railroad beds, so they’re easy walking, with almost no grade and on crushed limestone, and therein lies the subject of today’s epistle. It’s easy to pick up a foreign object in your shoe on the crushed limestone paths, but what do you call that little morsel that somehow sneaks into your shoe and works its way down under your heel, making every step a misery? Is it a pebble, a stone or a rock? I’ve heard my compatriots on the trail use all three terms.

Tue
20
Aug

Rule No. 1: There will always be more rules

As with the start of any new season on the path around the Falls, a review of the rules, especially any changes, is a good idea. This advice applies most often when it comes to sports.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) sanctions all high school sports activities in Wisconsin. Its pattern is to have a rules meeting with coaches and officials well in advance of each season. Coaches then pass the word along to athletes and parents, and periodically discuss the rules during practice.

Similar processes are used for professional sports. Sometimes the rule changes are for spectators. Spectators entering Lambeau Field for Packers games this year will face a number of additional restrictions as to what they can bring into the stadium. One of the most noticeable will be the use of clear plastic bags for carry-in items.

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