Opinions

Thu
08
Aug

Back-to-school checklist now includes medical checkup

An all too frequently heard question on the path around the Falls the past couple weeks has been “Where has the summer gone?” The almost automatic response from this observer has been, “It’s not gone, it’s still July, and we have a long way to go.”

Reality hit last week when the calendar page turned to August. The dose of cooler weather reinforced the message that the approach of fall was not that far off. The real reminders started coming over the weekend. Apparently, the first weekend in August is the season opener for the back-to-school merchant fliers. The flashy pictures in the ads and the well-designed displays in stores can get students in the mood for that first day of school.

Unfortunately, that first day of school is not about wearing the latest and greatest in school outfits or having the newest designer backpack. There are higher priorities, but still getting a couple of nice things for school can be fun.

Thu
08
Aug

Weed pulling unearths grisly origin of childhood rhyme

“Silver Bells and Cockle Shells”

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

I thought of that verse a while ago because I found a good crop of weeds near a little tree I’d transplanted in the yard. Several of them were plants that my dad used to call “cockles,” and he hated them almost as much as he hated wild mustard. When it appeared that my sister, Joyce, and I didn’t have enough to do to occupy our time, he’d say, “Go out there and pull some mustard and cockles, and don’t drop the seeds!” and he’d send us out in the field of alfalfa with a big bag to haul them in so he could burn them.

Wed
31
Jul

Batting around baseball facts, figures

The great Hall of Famer Ted Williams wrote a book in 1968 called “Science of Batting.” Actually, it was “written” by a guy named John Underwood, but supposedly it was Ted Williams telling the story. In it he says, “Hitting a baseball … is the single most difficult thing to do in sport.”

Ted Williams had a lifetime batting average of .291, even though he had one season in which he hit .400, the last person ever to do that. He was a superstar in his era and would have been a multi-millionaire if he were playing today.

Wed
31
Jul

Catalog pales in comparison to first-hand look

Top-notch teachers who travel the path around the Falls know one technique to get youngsters to read: provide them with high-interest reading materials. For girls, it may be one type of literature, and for boys, it may be something else.

Thinking back to our younger days, at some point we came across one of the best, high-interest reading materials for boys of all ages, the Herter’s Sporting Goods catalog. Anyone who has ever seen one would agree. George Herter started his mail-order business in 1937 from atop his father’s dry goods shop in Waseca, Minn. When we first saw it, the thick catalog was printed in black and white, but the descriptions of the products were as colorful as any of today’s flashy websites.

Many of the products carried the Herter’s name and bragged of being better than any competitor’s products. George Herter wrote much of the copy. No one would accuse him of being overly modest. He inspired a dedicated following.

Wed
24
Jul

'Seinfeld' has nothing on column 'about nothing'

When I tell people that I write a weekly column, they often ask “What is it about?” And I usually say, “It’s kind of like ‘Seinfeld’; it’s about nothing.”

So, it was interesting to me when a reader stopped me in church recently and said he liked my latest column. “But,” he said, “I feel compelled to tell you it was a lot like ‘Seinfeld’ — a whole lot about nothing!” I laughed because here was a guy who “got it”!

In one of the early episodes of the show, Jerry and his friend George go in to “pitch” a show to some TV executives. George explains the concept of the show saying, “Nothing happens on the show. You see, it’s just like life. You know, you eat, you go shopping, you read. You eat, you read, you go shopping.”

So the “show about nothing” was really a show that dealt with everyday life. Not much happens on most days of our lives, right? The real secret of the success of that show was not in its plots, but in its witty dialogue.

Wed
24
Jul

What Madison gives, supervisors take away

To the editor:

The recently completed state budget will actually provide some benefits to middle-class taxpayers. My guess is that the theory in Madison is that if they let us keep more of our money, we might spend it at local businesses and support job creation and retention.

The folks down in Oconto have other ideas.

Wed
24
Jul

This is what makes Oconto Falls great

To the editor:

How often I have thought how lucky we are to live in Oconto Falls, from the beautiful location to the fine schools. With dedicated city employees, from snow removal to the pleasant employees that check our utilities, we are truly blessed.

Another gem in Oconto Falls is David Polashek. His perceptive and human articles in the Times Herald are a joy to read and deserve an even larger audience.

Wed
24
Jul

Mentoring puts focus on big picture

Aspiring administrators occasionally use the path around the Falls to find their way to this observer’s office to complete an assignment for a graduate class. Such was the case last week when an aspiring administrator scheduled an interview.

The individual said there would only be three simple questions, and these were provided prior to the interview: 1. What are the primary focuses of the superintendent during each month of the year? 2. What ongoing tasks are essential for the superintendent to be successful? 3. What is your leadership style and how is that style outwardly expressed to others? (How do staff, community, etc. know what your style is?)

Wed
17
Jul

Tragic event brings return to active parenting

Whether one chooses to gracefully grow old somewhere along the path around the Falls or picks up stakes and moves to some other location after retirement, there are some anxieties about those years.

One of the greatest fears is that a person will revert to a childlike state of mind. Giving up independence can be a definite hit on one’s pride.

That particular reversion is still off in the distance, at least we hope. This past week a much different reversion was experienced. Rather than reverting to a childhood state, very unexpected circumstances caused a reversion to a parenthood state.

Wed
17
Jul

‘Midwife’ series gives birth to thoughts on tuberculosis

Marilyn and I are fans of the PBS series “Call the Midwife,” a BBC period drama based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and set in east London in the 1950s. And while the majority of the episodes involve some aspect of midwifery, there are also subordinate story lines that touch on a number of other health and societal issues of the ’50s: racism, poverty, romances, etc.

One such issue in the most recently completed season was about tuberculosis, a chronic bacterial disease that affects the respiratory system, but might also affect other areas of the body. It’s highly contagious and can be debilitating or fatal. In that particular episode of “Midwife,” one of the characters, a young nun, goes to a “sanitorium” to be treated, to rest and to recover.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Opinions