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Opinions

Say cheese, please

Food For Thought

I never knew my paternal grandfather. He died young, of tuberculosis, before my parents married. He was a photographer by profession, in the small town of Mellen, Wisconsin, and he and my grandmother operated a grocery store there. Above the store was office space they rented to a dentist and, I presume, my grandfather’s photography studio. He had immigrated from Norway as a young man and built violins as a sideline and hobby.

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Meetings I’ve known

Walkin'

The worst meetings it was ever my misfortune to attend were run by a “light” colonel. As editor of the post’s newspaper I was expected to be in the room but was never sure why. I was in good company as there were another dozen in the same boat: we were ordered to attend. What I was sure of was that the colonel ran a meeting that was as long as it was worthless. Any topic could be picked apart including sports and soap operas. Nothing was ever decided even if it took all morning to get there.

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Panthers and other cool cats

I received a number of Christmas cards from my high school classmates and was reminded the mascot for our athletic teams was a panther. For a long time, I was unaware a panther was really just a black leopard, not a separate species of cat. I’ve been told you can actually see the spots, black on black, on a leopard pelt, but as I’ve never had the opportunity to examine one in person, you may want to check that out for yourself. I assume the spots show up because of a variation in the texture of the hair, or perhaps the coloration of the skin beneath it.

Entering camp

The final 60 miles into the Standing Rock Reservation and the protester’s camp were nothing to fool around with.

The package looks the same, but...

Way in the back of the bathroom cupboard, I found a roll of toilet paper that had been there for probably as long as 12 or 15 years. I set it on the counter next to one, of the same brand, I had just brought home from the store. What a contrast! Both claimed to be double rolls. One was, not only fatter than the other, but wider, and the newer one had a larger cardboard tube in the center.

God help us all...under the heading “reality is stranger than fiction”

In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and/or political operatives.
James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong Pizza, a restaurant in Washington, D.C. He’s also a big Democratic Party supporter and raised money for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Alefantis, who’s never met Clinton, appeared in the Podesta emails in connection with the fundraisers.
And from these thin threads, an enormous trove of conspiracy fiction was spun.

A special Christmas gift

Food For Thought

For years, I tried to convince my family and friends I was done with the commercial rat-race that had taken over the Christmas season. Everything from Christmas cards and tree decorations, through the piles of purchased and gaily wrapped gifts, right down to the peanuts and oranges that went into the toes of the stockings was due for a drastic makeover. For too many years, I tried really hard to make sure those presents met my expectations and made at least some of the wishes come true.

Potpourri

Walkin'

Pearl, our 9-year-old Labradoodle, got stair privileges recently and is very much the happy camper as she can once again sleep at the foot of our bed. She’s recovering from knee surgery, and the last liberty– running off leash– is still a month away.
The chickens survived another week of the great scaly leg mite infestation. Officials from S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra Terrestrial Life) read about Sabra’s extraordinary measures to contain and eradicate the microscopic critters. If aliens ever land here, she’s now on the short list of cleaners to call.

Oxymoron gone wrong

Food For Thought

I don’t quite understand the logic that causes people to “do their part” for conservation by using recycled paper in their correspondence, and then wasting paper to advertise that fact. A recent letter I received pointed this out in a ridiculous and bewildering manner. It reminds me of the charities that waste the money I send them by spending some of it on letters begging me to send more. If I’d been able to send more and had chosen to, I’d have done it in the first place, don’t you think?

Chicken wishing

Walkin'

A couple of surprises came out of the old hen house recently.
The coop isn’t old at all, but it’s been a few seasons since the girls were spring chickens. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be over the hill, egg-laying wise. Typically, a hen produces from five to seven years. We have six chickens, average age three-and-a-half, so we should still be making omelets and deviled eggs to our heart’s content.
Wrong.
Creation tapered off this spring and then stopped all together with the beginning of summer. It was a bit of a mystery since production typically goes up in the summer months.

Nature’s way

It’s been a few weeks since I witnessed the episode I’m about to describe, but I’ve been more or less haunted by it ever since. The window over my desk, where I spend a lot of time writing and daydreaming, looks out at a row of walnut trees along our lane. There are two constants in the scene, for the most part. One is there are birds visiting the lane to peck at the gravel for the grit that is necessary for their gizzards to function.

A day in the life of a small town

Walkin'

Ran into Bob Jedlicka in Solon the other day.
Bob served as the city superintendent during the 1980s and ‘90s while I lived there, ran the newspaper and sat on the city council. “
A barrel-chested man, his knees began giving out on him years ago. As a result, he doesn’t so much walk as rock like a washing machine with an uneven load. His large chest also serves as an echo chamber. A man of few words, the ones he does speak echo long and deep before erupting from his mouth.