Opinions

Wed
14
Dec

Memories are made of this

Stored in our basement are two pieces of original artwork. One is a pastel painting of my grandmother, Christine VanHaren, done many years ago by my cousin Larry VanHaren, a professional artist who lived in Dallas until he was struck and killed by a car.

I never met my grandmother because she died shortly before I was born, but I feel I know her when I look at that picture.

The other original is a crude oil painting of an old log cabin, its torn tarpaper siding nearly stripped away by the winds of many northern Wisconsin winters and the vandal woodpeckers whose search for wood-boring insects led them to its gables. My mother painted the picture in an art class at the Senior Citizens Center in Oconto Falls, and my dad framed it using rough-sawn barn boards salvaged when our old barn was torn down many years ago.

Wed
07
Dec

Spiders spin webs of intrigue

Do you ever get distracted during the homily in church? I try very hard to pay attention because I know that the priest is trying to dispense a message for my welfare, but we recently had a visiting priest whose message was somewhat less than compelling and I happened to notice that way up in the ornamental hanging lights in church there were some very intricate spider webs.

I decided right then that I would make it a point not to sit under those lights - who knows when one of those little buggers might decide to “eliminate.” And you know how hard those little spider spots are to get off!

Wed
30
Nov

What’s in a name? Did Juliet have it right?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet says that in Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.” She’s trying to rationalize her newfound infatuation with Romeo, a member of the Montague family, her family’s fiercest enemies.

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?/ ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;/ Thou art thyself though, not a Montague./ What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,/ Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part/ Belonging to a man. What’s in a name?/ That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet./ So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,/ Retain that dear perfection which he owes/ Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;/ And for that name, which is no part of thee, Take all myself.”

So, she’s saying if Romeo had another name, he’d still be the hunk she’s fallen for, but he wouldn’t be an enemy. What’s in a name?

Wed
23
Nov

Advice for a Costco Casanova

You know about Costco, right? Big wholesale membership store with everything from gourmet food to TVs and tires.

I wonder if it’s ever occurred to anyone that a trip to Costco might make a great date adventure. If a guy had the guts to ask his girl for a date to Costco, just think how inexpensive (maybe “cheap” is the right word) that would be.

Instead of dinner and a movie, be creative, take her to Costco. It could be fun and inexpensive! Borrow your parents’ membership card and head out for a new dating experience.

Wed
16
Nov

Musings about cellphones

Does it surprise you when the news on TV these days has so many videos and photos of things that have just happened? It seems that nothing today goes undocumented or unphotographed because a large percentage of the population has smartphones, and unlike me, they know how to use them!

I read an article on the internet that said that 68 percent of adults in America now have smartphones. In 2011, the figure was 35 percent. And unlike me, many of the users walk around with their phones in their hands all the time. When something happens, they’re ready to photograph it or video it. More often than not, I forget to take my phone when I leave home, so I’m not likely to take video of some major disaster and sell it to NBC.

Wed
02
Nov

Republicans share area’s traditional values

To the editor:

Recently there has been a barrage of letters by those who hope to push our great country far to the left. Personally I believe that our country and state of Wisconsin need leaders who support our traditional values.

For the U.S. Congress, Mike Gallagher will do the best job of representing Wisconsin. Mike served seven years on active duty (deployed twice to Iraq) and earned the rank of Marine captain. He will be a voice for veterans and believes in reforming the VA.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson deserves to return to Washington as well. We can’t let Congress fall to the free-spending Democrats.

Wed
02
Nov

Dems have the public’s best interest at heart

To the editor:

Conservatives say they uphold our values. Those may be their values, but they’re not ours. Life is probably great for rich conservatives, but for those of us who scrape by in Walker World, not so much.

Mike Gallagher: A pretty face who hasn’t lived in Wisconsin for years. Gallagher was recruited by the Republican Party to vote exactly as Paul Ryan instructs. Mike loves Donald Trump and supports massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Ron Johnson: our invisible senator who also loves the Donald. Johnson has done nothing in six years, including his most important job: voting on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Wed
02
Nov

Baldwin, Ribble support forest health

To the editor:

One of the greatest virtues of an elected official is a willingness to listen to all their constituents, not just those who make major financial contributions. Two such officials are Congressman Reid Ribble and Senator Tammy Baldwin.

I wish to acknowledge their leadership on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest management and thank them for actions that are helping restore the health of our state’s 1.5 million-acre national forest, and by extension, the health of the economic cluster established in its proximity.

When Congressman Ribble invited me to speak before a U.S. House subcommittee several years ago regarding the economic impact of CNNF mismanagement, it was but one step of many toward both raising awareness and correcting the problem. That same day Senator Baldwin stepped out of a budget mark-up meeting at the U.S. Capitol to meet me and accept my invitation to see the problem firsthand.

Wed
02
Nov

WMS student earns trip to Japan

To the editor:

Sometimes there are stories that need to be told. I think this is one of them. With so much negativity in the world today, a positive story has to be told.

A seventh-grade student came home from Washington Middle School and told his family he wanted to go on the Japanese student exchange trip. His mom told him that he would have to earn the money on his own because of financial circumstances in their family. She told him he should write a resume and start calling people.

He called us and told us he had written a resume. We, relatives, asked to read his resume, and we wanted to do an interview. When we arrived to do the interview (at his home), he was dressed neatly, had his hair combed neatly and met us with a firm handshake. The interview went well, and we hired him to help us with outside work during the summer.

Wed
02
Nov

Knots spoil a Thursday night, or do they?

“Oh, what a tangled mess …”

About 25 years ago, I attended a writing conference for teachers in Petoskey, Michigan. It was a great conference, and Petoskey turned out to be a wonderful vacation spot. During the conference, we were each expected to suggest the name of a “young adult” novel that could be used as a discussion piece and provide subjects for writing for our students.

One of the books that was recommended by two of the participating teachers was a wonderful short novel by Jerry Spinelli entitled “Maniac Magee.” It was published in 1990 and has since become popular in elementary school curricula. It has also been used in scholarly studies about how kids relate to racial identity and homelessness.

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