Patrick White Summer blockbuster a B-movie at best


“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is B-movie filmmaking on a massive budget. The story is complete nonsense, the direction is muddled, and the editing has no consistency.

To be fair, it’s also a film based on a toy line so if you’re expecting anything more than outrageous absurdity with a barrage of explosions then you don’t understand this franchise. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is not high art and it won’t change your life, but it certainly is entertaining.
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Robin Stroot Random thoughts on crafting


I don’t understand the popular idea of yarn bombing. I mean I understand the idea of art-in-the-park display but what happens after the yarn bombing event is over?

Yarn bombing is taking a knit or crocheted item and covering something in the public area, e.g. a telephone pole, public bench or covering the bars of a bike rack with said knit/crochet item. You might find a scarf wrapped around a pole or a metal post partially wrapped with a yarn item. Maybe, I’m just too practical. I see the yarn and think of the different things I could make using that yarn. Don’t get me wrong…I love the creativity of yarn bombing. But, it isn’t always a good idea to subject the yarns to the outside elements. I just wonder what happens to the knit/crochet items after the yarn bombing event is over. Any ideas?
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Joyce OreEyeglasses look the part


Eyeglasses have been considered a body part since I was 3 years old. I have spent more time with eyeglasses than with tooth fillings, pierced ears or push-up bras.

For the first 18 years of my life, picking out the frames was no big deal. The eyeglass specialist held up a pair, mother checked the price tag and if she liked what she saw, I had a new pair of glasses — in five minutes or less.

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Tamera Schlueter Giving family a break by unveiling ‘The Gang’


You may have noticed that I often write about my family. My family notices, too. Hunka Burnin’ Hubby will pause while doing something interesting and say, “I won’t read about this in your column, right?” Sometimes Hunka is a party pooper.
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Jim Headley Admire nephew for finishing 100-mile run

One of my rules is to never write about my family in my column, but today I am going to break that rule. I am so impressed by my nephew, Shad Mika of Boulder, Colo., that I just have to share his story with you.

On June 21-22, Shad completed his quest of running the Big Horn 100 in northern Wyoming.

The Big Horn 100 isn’t your average run; it’s a 100-mile course laid out across mountainous terrain.
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Patrick White Director Anderson gets better with age


Some directors peak at a young age and never return to the critical success they found with their first films. Names that come to mind include Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and the Wachowskis. Wes Anderson, the director of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” defies expectations of aging directors and continues to create some of the finest films American cinema has to offer.
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Robin Stroot Basic tips for your memory pages


Scrapbooks commemorate a special event or family and friend get-together party. Here are some beginner basic tips to start putting together your memory pages.

I remember making scrapbook-style collages as a kid. We would paste different pictures onto a piece of poster board or special scrapbook pages. The design was flat. Today’s scrapbook pages are more three-dimensional and there are a lot of supplies that contribute to making your scrapbook page a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
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Joyce OreLife changes; so does kitchen


It is the kitchen that is the true indicator of the passage of time.

Wedding gifts were still in their boxes when I cooked that fabulous first meal some 50 years ago that would set the tone of our marriage: mashed potatoes and gravy, and … well, I can’t remember the rest. Fine dining came to an abrupt halt when I realized I didn’t have a potato masher or a bowl for the potatoes or knew exactly how gravy came to be.

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Russ Batenhorst A champion crowned; half a summer down


I just finished watching the end of the College World Series before starting this writing session. Each year I wonder as I watch games from the CWS just how much I would watch if it were played in Peoria or Skippers Corner, N.C.

But since it’s just down the road in Omaha, that’s a big part of why I tune in. It could be, too, that it’s a time of year without a lot of great programming on at the end of the day. So, a little college baseball, with the added emotion the Major Leagues lacks this time of year, is a nice diversion.

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Tamera Schlueter The world looks different in a flying LeMans


Hastings lost a great man with the recent passing of Willard “Chip” Essex. I didn’t know him well, but several years ago he took the time to respond to my column that ran in the Feb. 3, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. It turns out he had a story about a ’67 LeMans, too:

“Vonda and I own a mostly restored ’67 LeMans that we purchased in the Army at Ft. Jackson, SC in July ’67,” he wrote. “We had been married just over a year and really could not afford the $88.76 monthly payment. The sticker price on that LeMans reached a grand total of $3508.30. We still have the original window sticker.”
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Patrick White ‘22 Jump Street’ as original as ‘21


Phil Lord and Chris Miller must have made a deal with the devil. The comedy director duo have created yet another film that transcends the limits of mainstream comedy and is every bit as self-referential and hilarious as their previous directorial masterpiece, “The Lego Movie.”

“22 Jump Street” marks the return of Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill), two undercover cops who have been tasked with infiltrating an illegal drug operation. Sound familiar? It should because it’s the exact same plot from the original, movie remake of the 1980s television show that made Johnny Depp a star.
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Robin Stroot Summer’s goal set:  Finish craft projects


Happy first official day of summer! My summer goal is to get craft projects completely done and put into use or given as gifts.

My problem is, I like to do several different types of crafts. I was thinking about this because I am now behind on making several toddler-sized afghans for my grandchildren. I make the afghans in birth order of the grandchildren.
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Joyce OreChecking my calendar: Feast, famine and May 2015


A friend I haven’t seen for years is passing through town and has time for a brief visit. “Of course,” I answered excited by the possibility of catching up even for a few brief moments.

“When?” I asked

My enthusiasm went out like a flickering candle in a Nebraska breeze blowing 75 mph. I had a commitment made several months ago that couldn’t be postponed.

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Russ Batenhorst Nebraska’s most exciting places in one list


Have you seen the latest ratings? No, not the Nebraska football ratings. It’s still just a little bit too early for that, although I’m sure there are some out there already.

In fact, a person does need to be a little more specific when asking about ratings. It seems like there’s a top 10 or a best of or worst of list for just about anything.

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Tamera Schlueter A toss in the pool leads to walk down aisle


I, Tam, promise to the best of my ability, to be a great mom-in-law. The end.

If only life — and columns — could be that easy. But life is a big bag of surprises. Columnists struggle mightily to make sense of the experience.
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Patrick White Cruise picks a winner in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’


Tom Cruise is the last Hollywood movie star. Stars had power over the box office, but their costumed counterparts are what force individuals to flock to the cinema, not the human actor behind the mask. Tom Cruise never needed a mask to intrigue audiences with a film, but those days are coming to an end. His star went out of control years ago during his infamous, poorly remembered couch leaping on “Oprah.”
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Robin Stroot Happy ending to serger sewing machine’s fall


About two years ago, I was sewing late one night on my serger sewing machine. In my hurry to get done, I stood up from my craft chair, turned and caught the serger machine cord with my left foot, literally yanking my sewing machine off the sewing table. That mishap sent the serger crashing to the concrete floor.
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Joyce OreMy relationship with dad is a different story


It is easy to talk about my mother. She had such an influence on my life, from the way I should walk and dress to what I ate and how I should respond to the world around me. She is still with me, looking over my shoulder, diligently following my action in every phase of my life. I can still feel her nudge when I’m not in compliance.

My dad — well, that is a different story.

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Russ Batenhorst Thinking about food? Get ready to exercise


TMI … Wait a minute, first of all, am I allowed to say that? It’s not just for the younger crowd, or valley girls, or people who talk as if they’re writing a text message or tweet and trying to get as much information as possible into 140 characters, is it?

TMI is most commonly recognized as “too much information.” You know, like when a friend tells about an irritating rash or your parents tell you about their high school dating days. TMI. Too much information.

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Tamera Schlueter In praise of involved and committed dads


Father’s Day always reminds me of Grandpa Roland, so here’s the column that ran in the June 16, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. Committed dads make the world go round.

Grandpa Roland was fond of a barroom jingle that went like this: “There once was a dog named Jack. He pooped on the railroad track. The train came by. The poop flew high, and hit the conductor right in the eye!”
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Laura Beahm Sunny memories make up lifeguarding past


Every time I squirt a glob of sunscreen into my hands memories of a time not so long ago come rushing back to me. Six years worth of memories to be exact.

Sunscreen and chlorine used to be my summer scent. I worked for six summers as a lifeguard at the Hastings Aquacourt. The job wasn’t really what I expected it to be. In fact, it was so much more.
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Patrick White Disney’s latest falls flat


Audiences do not need to know a villain’s origin story to be engaged by one. The Joker prefers his past to be multiple choice and Darth Vader is darkly ominous when we don’t know that he was a scruffy little slave on Tatooine.

So why did Disney decide that one of its least known and respected villains needed a 2014 storytelling facelift? I think it may have something to do with a wickedly popular reinvention of the Wicked Witch of the West.
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Robin Stroot 2 socks harder to knit than one


Here are the results of my knitting two socks using one set of double-point knitting needles. My attempt was based on an article I found last week in a 35-plus year magazine. If I could put it into one word, it would be “dang it.” Okay, two words.

I was pretty excited to attempt this version of my newly found sock pattern. I had started several pairs of socks using my pattern that makes a seamless toe and is worked from the toe to the cuff. I made all the toe sections of the socks and put them onto stitch holders. My plan is to pick up the stitches later and used the required sized knitting needles to complete each pair of socks.
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Joyce OreAn exercise in honesty


And do you exercise? It seems to be the question always asked during an annual physical. I always answer “yes.” It is the truth. I walk nearly every day. One doesn’t have a dog she cares about and not walk on a daily basis. The real question is do I walk as quickly or as far as I did several years ago? Unfortunately, that answer is no!

Not only are the walks shorter and slower, the limbs and the lungs protest more quickly, and the body seems fluffier every time I stand in front of a full-length mirror. Maybe it is time to admit the truth: I walk nearly every day, but I need to add a little more physical activity to my life.

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Russ Batenhorst Hot dust, cold ice converge in same week


Just some random thoughts as I contemplate just how far my trash containers would have gotten in this week’s little “wind burst” if my neighbor’s house hadn’t stopped them.

A dirty tale

It’s hard to imagine just how bad the “Dirty ’30s” were after getting just a micro-glimpse of it this week. The expression refers to the 1930s in much of the middle of the country. It was a dry, windy time and with irrigation not yet a big thing and land management a little different, dust storms were the rule. Winds would blow dirt around like snow in a January blizzard. You’ve probably seen pictures or been told of the blinding windstorms.

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Tamera Schlueter Storms don’t surprise Sig the Weather Dog


Column-writing night found me with one eye on the sky and the other on Sig the Weather Dog. He’s the super skittish half of Schlueterville’s pair of high-energy Llewellin setters.

Sig loathes storms the way I dislike dress shopping. When Mama Nature gets crabby, weather experts and complicated technology can’t match the prediction capabilities of my 45-pound dog.
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Laura Bernero Dreaming big in Hastings just takes right tools


It would begin with a plot of land. A blank canvas, of sorts. That blank canvas of land would first have to be zoned as residential property, with the correct stamp of approval from the city planner or county assessor.

And then I’d have to make sure I have utility hook-ups — sewer, water and electricity — and surrounding curbs and gutters that won’t cause drainage issues.
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Patrick White ‘X-Men’ return to past


‘X-Men’ return to past The X-Men franchise consistently has put story over substance. The first film tackles the reveal of mutants to mankind, the second features the hunt for them, and the third is a war between mutant and mutant with mankind in the middle. Martin Campbell, director and screenwriter of “X-Men: First Class,” took a step back and examined the mutant conspiracy established by Bryan Singer in the first two films from a historical context by pairing the arrival of mutants with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Campbell’s film reinvented the franchise for a new generation and engaged the old with his integration of humor, joy and a plot that forced superhero audiences to think.

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Robin Stroot No correct method of knitting


I am finally going through my craft magazines that I had boxed up just before starting my sewing room renovation. My collection has several magazines including many of my late mother-in-law’s magazines. We’re talking about decades of crafting.

When I first packed things up for my craft room renovation, I thinned some of my magazine and pattern collection. I did great on individual craft patterns because they all fit very nicely into my two-drawer file cabinet from the original large four-drawer file cabinet. I’m just now unpacking the magazine collection.
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Joyce OreSummertime, and the driving is aggravating


Classes are over, the grass is green, the breeze balmy, temperatures are rising, summer is on its way and the living is easy. Classes are over, but for the rest … the grass is green but needs mowing; breezes tend to be nearer hurricane conditions rather than balmy; and if temperatures, or is that tempers, are rising, it usually has to do with waiting in a hot car in a long line at a road construction site.

It is summer, and many of the sidewalks along my morning walking path are under construction. With the dew point coinciding with my body temperature, I need galoshes to trudge through the wet grass and squishy mud in an attempt to avoid the nasty pitfalls.

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Russ Batenhorst Parting is such sweet, smoky, saucy sorrow


So maybe I didn’t really need to be there. It could have simply been time to let go of the past and move on. It was mostly just a college-era fling anyway, with a just a few chance encounters since. She even moved on me once. And when I tried to stop by the night before, I was turned away at the door. But I couldn’t resist. I had heard she wasn’t going to be around much longer. I happened to be in Omaha, anyway. I had to stop by for one more visit.
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Tamera Schlueter Living with Houdini poses some challenges


My daughters have earned many nicknames in their few months of life: Chunky Monkey, Squirmy Worm, Anna Banana.

Within the last month, Cora has added a name to that list: Harriet “Harry” Houdini.

The nickname goes back to something we discovered when I was only 19 weeks pregnant. The discovery was that Cora had club feet.
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Patrick White Monster movie misses its mark


“Godzilla” suffers from a tonal shift in filmmaking as a result of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The tone Nolan established with Batman worked, but that doesn’t mean that every property a studio owns has to follow the same formula. The “Godzilla” reboot directed by Gareth Edwards is joyless, takes itself far too seriously and focuses on uninteresting characters rather than giant fighting monsters.

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Robin Stroot Cutting words


It’s important to choose the right cutting tools to cut fabric. If I reached for my late mother’s sewing scissors, she would often tell me, “You better not be cutting paper with those scissors.” The pinking shears that cut zig-zag lines on fabric were also off limits for paper cutting.

That was one of my earliest lessons in the craft of sewing. My mother also had an old pair of scissors located in the kitchen drawer. Short of using school scissors, the kitchen drawer scissors were the paper scissors.
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Joyce OreCan’t help feeling of guilt over leftovers


What to do, what to do with all the food that is left on your plate when eating out? As I get older, servings at restaurants seem to be getting bigger while my ability to clean my plate is getting smaller.

Having been raised by parents who lived through the Depression and knew what it was like to seeing empty space on the pantry shelf, I can’t leave the table, any table be it at home or a friends or in a restaurant, with food on my plate.

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Russ Batenhorst Spoiler alert: Thumbs up to Life Wide Open


In honor of the new slogan/motto/ image/theme for the city of Hastings and its many parts, this will be a column wide open.

A positive image

So, have you seen the slogan (we’ll stick with that although any of the above words would work also) for Hastings? It’s Life Wide Open in case you missed it, and it’s an attitude and an image carried through a number of community entities. It was unveiled earlier this week. The visuals help carry the story, so if you haven’t seen much of the campaign yet, check out the website (www.lifewideopenHastings.com) for more.

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Tamera Schlueter Wishes bestowed via ATV race, exploding cake


I love the unexpected, those sparks of surprise that leave you wondering if what you just witnessed was real or a mirage. Blessings live in unusual places.

Last weekend was a big chunk of wondrous surprise. It kicked off Saturday at a wedding shower to honor my son, Magnet, and his fiancée, Fireball. The setting was a beautiful farm place tucked in the rolling hills of Lawrence, Neb. It was hosted by Fireball’s maternal family, which is as kindhearted — and hilariously competitive — as it gets.
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John Huthmacher Oh, what a tangled web a tornado weaves


Hailing from sunny southern California, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when that first tornado siren sang its cautionary tune to me here in Hastings some 12 years ago. No stranger to nature’s wrath, I’ve braved my fair share of earthquakes. You get used to them after a while. Except perhaps the one that rolled through my second-story apartment in Alhambra one morning. The sound of glass breaking in neighboring apartments and my bed shaking me awake with its violent swaying and bucking is a memory I’d just as soon forget.
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Patrick White ‘Neighbors’ anything but good


“Neighbors” is one of the biggest comedy disappointments since Sasha Baron Cohen’s disaster “Bruno.” All the pieces for a great comedy film are there, but plotting, character development and logic are dismissed. There are some great comedy films that break proper storytelling conventions, but “Neighbors” is not one of them.

In “Neighbors,” Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are an unlikely couple who are about to get some new neighbors. Unfortunately for these wannabe cool parents, their adjacent acquaintances are a group of fraternity brothers who apparently never go to class and practice nightly debauchery. The couple meets the wrath of two bros (Zac Efron and Dave Franco) when they call the cops on the excessive partying and are ratted out by the cops. Ratted out by the cops? I don’t think that is a thing. The movie persists with a back and forth objective by each duo to make the opposition’s life a living hell.

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Robin Stroot Crafting a lifelong interest


Crafting has been a part of my life since I was a very young child. Many people choose a particular genre of crafting but I enjoy many types of crafting. I can’t explain why I enjoy working in different crafts, I just do.

When I was a young child, I was prone to really bad nosebleeds. That meant that any physical activity like riding my bike, flying back and forth on a swing or (the worst one) hanging upside down on a set of monkey bars would instigate a nosebleed. I’d go play, then get a nosebleed and have to sit quietly for a while until the nosebleed would stop.
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Joyce OreDoorknob should be elevated to star status


Contractors don’t realize the importance of the lowly doorknob. They tend to see the function simply as a way to open or close a door. Boy, are they wrong. A doorknob is one of the most useful items in a household, at least my household.

Doorknobs placed in strategic places could eliminate the need for a closet. Who is every happy with her closet?

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Russ Batenhorst Looking for a sign — and not a political one


Things are getting back to normal. Dandelions are once again the dominate feature of lawns and vacant lots everywhere, taking their throne back from the plethora of signs with people’s names on them. The primary election is over, and the general election is right around six months away. That means we should have a reprieve of about a week or so from campaigning.

Roadside signs are such a big part of each election, if for nothing else than their sheer numbers. They do, indeed, appear to be everywhere. I wonder if anyone has ever cast a vote for someone based solely on their campaign sign.

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Tamera Schlueter MOG shopping prompts big OMG response


Success came to Schlueterville this week; a big, hairy victory of enormous proportions. As with any achievement, a balance was struck and a price was paid. In this case the cost was my dignity.

I found a mother-of-the-groom dress.
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Tamera Schlueter Seven years of struggle, two bundles of joy


Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of the day when I could celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother myself. I never could have imagined that my husband and I would face years of struggles before welcoming our beautiful daughters into the world this spring.

When my husband and I were married in February 2006, there was no doubt that we would soon start a family.
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Patrick White Comic book nerd: ‘Spider-Man 2’ is amazing


Ignore the critics, except for this one. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is one of the best comic book blockbusters ever produced and feeds the franchise flame in all the right ways.

The problem with national critics is that a lot of them have not read mainstream, somewhat juvenile comic books. They might admit they perused “Watchmen” or brushed through “The Dark Knight Returns,” but I doubt many of them have picked up an issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ “Ultimate Spider-Man” or Dan Slott’s “Amazing” and “Superior Spider-Man” series. For that reason they fail as critics of this film.
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Robin Stroot Knitting project isn’t finished until you bind off


Knitting bind off is the technique of removing stitches from the knitting needles and securing them so that they don’t unravel. It is the finished edge of your knitting project. One note: The terms bind off and cast off are used interchangeably in knitting techniques.

Determine the type of edge needed for your project. Do you need a firm edge or a more elastic style of bind that will complement your knitting project?
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Joyce OreTime to give moms extra attention


Most ads are even more fictional than the productions they sponsor. Are cars that economical, do diet aids streamline hips, can Mother’s Day be that perfect?

Ah, Mother’s Day, the perfect time to give mom what she wants. Ads claim the best way to give mom what she wants is to buy the perfect present from their company. A young friend, mother of three, says the best thing she can get for Mother’s Day isn’t roses, jewelry or breakfast in bed but an empty house.

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Russ Batenhorst Coming soon: Respite from campaign ads


I was having a conversation this week and someone pointed out that the election is next Tuesday. What, seriously? Somebody should have said something, run some ads, anything. How could it sneak up this way?

OK, just kidding.

But Tuesday is indeed Election Day, and unless you’re one of the ever-growing group who votes early, just a gentle reminder to find your way to the ballot box on Tuesday.

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Tamera Schlueter Lincoln Marathon challenging and hilarious


The 2014 Lincoln Marathon/Half Marathon saw more than 12,000 runners cross the finish at the 50-yard line of Memorial Stadium last Sunday. The entire Schlueterville clan was there, wearing compression gear, sweat-salty faces, and bright green shirts emblazoned with “O’Schlueter’s Olde Irish Pub.” (We joke that a bar like that could celebrate both St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest.)
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Tony Herrman When life sneaks up, enjoy the surprise

Two weeks ago I was working with the folks at Hogan’s Sporting Goods on a plaque that would list the recipients of an award connected with the Hastings Berean Bible Church AWANA program, for which I am commander.

What the church purchased from Hogan’s is a board that will accompany a primary plaque with the photo of the former AWANA leader for whom the award is named, as well as names of winners from the first 12 years.
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Patrick White Film turns colorful world of Disney dark


This film shouldn’t exist. No, really, “Escape from Tomorrow” is an anomaly in filmmaking. The film directed by first-time filmmaker Randy Moore is shot in black and white, was filmed guerilla style, and it all takes place at Disneyland and Disney World.

Moore, his crew, and his unknown actors went out and did something unprecedented by shooting in the happiest place on Earth without the company knowing. That feat is impressive enough already, but what’s more impressive is that this film actually had a limited release in theaters and now is a home video release as well. Either Moore did his homework on copyright infringement or he’s an incredibly lucky, creative mind; regardless, “Escape from Tomorrow” exists for viewers to own and watch, but unfortunately that’s where most of my praise ends.
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Robin Stroot Some knitted edges start with a long tail


There are some cast-on techniques called long-tail cast on that require a starting point several inches from the starting end of the yarn. This type of cast on makes a nice, attractive and elastic cast-on edge.

Different methods are used to estimate where to place the first slip knot stitch but I’ve been known to underestimate the amount of the “tail” needed for the cast-on row and will have to rip out the stitches, move the placement of the slip knot and cast the stitches on again for my project. You really can’t add extra stitches if you run out of the long tail of casting on because the first row of the long-tail cast on is made much like the first row of knitting. Using the simpler knitted cast-on or simple cast-on method won’t work because they don’t have the thickness of the long-tail cast on and the stitches will be uneven along the cast-on edge of your project.
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Joyce OreJiggling’s not always best solution


Just kick it! That’s what Pa Kettle did when the old radio stopped working. When that old wringer washing machine stopped working, instead of getting stressed out, Pa simply wound up his leg and kicked.

He used the same method for the rattle trap he drove and any other high quality item he and Ma owned.

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Russ Batenhorst Small towns take cake for helping strangers


Storytelling time today.

I heard one of those “only in a small town” type stories the other day that seemed worth retelling here. Hopefully, it wasn’t just the time and place that made me laugh, so it doesn’t fall on its face here. 

It happened in a small Nebraska town, the type with a couple thousand for the population that dot the state. Two couples from another state were traveling to yet another very small town near this one. They spent the night at the first town and were at a local eatery for breakfast.

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Tamera Schlueter Lincoln half marathon prompts pre-race jitters


The Lincoln half marathon is Sunday, and I’m a twisted clot of angst. December foot surgery and a cryonics cold winter have left me less than fully prepared. This will be my third time toeing the line in Lincoln, and I fear it may be an underwhelming performance. Oh well.

The final days before a race are always torturous. I mourn the training runs that never happened, the ones that did but weren’t so great, and others that left me flat-out bawling with frustration. Funny ones surface, too, like the day a snarling punk dog rocketed from a yard and made a beeline for my ankles.


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Patrick White ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ doesn’t glorify greed


I did my homework before seeing this movie by reading Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, but I really wish I hadn’t because this story has to be seen then read. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that it’s Martin Scorsese’s latest motion picture. That’s right, Marty’s back and in a graphic, profane way. His time exploring his childlike sense of wonder in “Hugo” is over and Scorsese has returned to the roots of his best characters, the scumbag, sleazy, money-grubbing misogynist jerks.

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Robin Stroot Knitting starts with casting on


Well-made knit garments begin and end with the proper cast-on and bind-off techniques.

You’ve made the gauge needed for your project pattern and are ready to jump right into the project. Take a few more minutes and first consider the type of cast on that will perfectly suit your knitting project. There is more than one way to get those beginning stitches onto your knitting needle.
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Joyce OreDad’s old horse didn’t need a jump start


Most of us can remember our parents telling us about the tough times they had to endure when they were young.

The bad weather they experienced when walking to school; the chores they were required to do before they could listen to the radio; the long brown cotton stockings they had to wear in the winter; washing clothes on a washboard after heating up the water on a coal-burning stove.

Being a kid, their experiences landed on deaf ears. I was not impressed.

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Russ Batenhorst A soaking rain and a football time change


I’m a little scatterbrained as we ponder that yet another month is about over. Are we really a third of the way through the year already? The calendar indicates yes.

Thanks, we needed that

I’m writing this on Wednesday night of this week with an interesting medley playing in the background. I’m hearing raindrops falling on the window and the occasional roar of thunder, preceded by a strobe of light. Sure, we’ve heard it all before, but it has been a long while.

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Tamera Schlueter Wedding dress shopping may kill M.O.G.


Schlueterville’s youngest son, Magnet, is marrying his spunky fiancée, Fireball, in July. It will be a grand affair filled with laughter and bawling, dancing and carrying on. I’m looking forward to every blooming minute of the whole shebang, except for one unavoidable detail.

I have to buy a dress.
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Laura Bernero Treasures unearthed in ordinary places


A few weekends ago, my friend and I went to a massive garage sale in Lincoln. The fair-like atmosphere of the hosting warehouse was penetrated by the sounds of bargaining vendors and customers, the shuffling of books and boxes, and the smell of kettle corn enticing browsers from an indoor cart.


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Robin Stroot A notion for sewing notions


Whenever you get a notion to do a little sewing, be sure you look for the notions needed for your sewing project.

Sewing a garment means taking some type of pattern pieces (whether your own creation or commercially created pattern), other items and sections of fabric and items and making it a wearable garment.
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Joyce OreBewildering queries that may never be answered


Life is full of hundreds of nagging little questions. The most classic, of course, is “Why me?” But there are countless others. Granted many are rather inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, but still annoying.

These questions spring up frequently. I’ll share a few of mine with you, and I’m sure you have many of your own.

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Russ Batenhorst Lawns, social media: 2 things that can wait


It must be spring.

A time when people’s minds start to wander.

And my mind doesn’t stick to one theme for an entire column.


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Tamera Schlueter Marathon training is challenging, terrifying


I’ve mentioned a time or a hundred that I’m back to running. Sharing the experience eases the pain and holds me accountable, so here we go again. Forgive me or sue me. It’s up to you.

The Lincoln half marathon is May 4, and I’m a ball of angst, worried that my training will come up short.

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Russ Batenhorst In appreciation: Robert L. Foote, 1931-2014


In June 1993, I was the Tribune’s new 22-year-old city government reporter and was covering plans for the Burlington Avenue widening and underpass improvement project in downtown Hastings — a huge and complicated initiative that would require the removal of a commercial building alongside the underpass then known as Burlington Court.

After writing a story that addressed the building’s expected demise, I received a telephone call in the newsroom from the owner, Robert L. Foote.


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Robin Stroot Time flies when you’re crafting


I love working in my renovated craft room. The only thing to finish is to get an area rug for the floor, put up the curtains and figure the final locations for my permanent lighting.

Gone are the days of trying to figure out what the orange stuff was on the floor of my old craft room (it was the carpet but I didn’t see it very often). Things are now so neatly organized that it’s a pleasure to be able to walk over to my library shelves, a cabinet or storage tote and find exactly what I need in a few minutes. I took me a long time to get to this point but the struggle and hard work were well worth the time.
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Joyce OrePotato peeling meant scary trip to cellar


As a child, peeling potatoes was a task I disliked.

Peeling potatoes kept me from doing the things I enjoyed — playing outdoors, searching for newborn kittens, riding my bike, tormenting my brother.

No matter how hard I tried, when I was done my scruffy potatoes never looked like something I wanted to eat. By the time I cut the peeling off and the eyes out, more potato was on the newspaper than in the pan.

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Patrick White ‘Noah’ whoa!


Darren Aronofsky is quickly becoming one of the most prodigious American directors of our time on par with Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet, and David Fincher. Aronofsky constructs incredibly detailed worlds around his characters and manages to communicate to an audience a new perspective with each new thrilling motion picture. Now the director takes on a biblical epic with his own interpretation, which is not only surprising, but controversial. Aronofsky thrives in these ethereal environments he builds, but what makes him a director who deserves audiences’ respect is his constant need to challenge the norms of modern cinema.

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Russ Batenhorst Nostalgic for ticket prices of days gone by


It looked like the type of Sports Illustrated article that I would enjoy reading, but that’s not what caught my eye. The headline read “The Game That Saved March Madness,” but that’s not what caught my eye.

What followed was a story about an NCAA basketball tournament game with lightly regarded Princeton taking on the Goliath of the day, Georgetown. Princeton just missed the huge upset and the “anything can happen” setup of the early rounds of the tournament was saved.


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Tamera Schlueter Facing a future without a man named Gus


Death has a funny way of snapping you back to life. It plays a shell game as it sneaks ever closer until it hits you — WHAM-O — right between the eyes. Or it shows up unexpectedly like a demented visitor bent on destroying your joy. WHAM-O.

Death visited Schlueterville this week, leaving us tossed and shaken like ducks in a jet stream. We lost the family patriarch — Hunka Burnin’ Hubby’s dad, my father-in-law, and our sons’ grandfather. His name was Gus. He was 89 and in failing health. His mobility was gone. He had worked hard all his life, and was ready to meet the Lord. The entire family knew death was looming, but it still hit us like a ton of bricks when we answered the late-night call.
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Robin Stroot Getting closure


Snaps, hook and eye/bar fasteners are options for closing garments and home décor items. You can also use buttons and zippers but there are times where those fastening options will not work for that particular garment or home décor item.

Snaps come in different sizes, in plastic, or silver or black metal, and are sewn into place where light closure is needed — for example, to close the front flap of a jacket over a zipper. A snap has one section that is flat and one that has a small stem protruding from the center of the snap section.

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Joyce OreSaving money by spending it no new concept


One of my favorite occupations is saving money. Give me a free day with a handful of coupons, and I can save more in an afternoon than I ever made during a 40-hour week.

My other half doesn’t get it.

I explained it to him. Remember back when cars were easily understood and he and his friends stood around ooing and awing over the shiny stuff under the hood of a new vehicle?

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Patrick White Muppets make cameo in their own movie


Before “The Muppets” premiered in 2011 Frank Oz, famous puppeteer of Fozzy Bear and Miss Piggy, said in an interview, “I wasn’t happy with the script. I don’t think they respected the characters.” Where was Frank Oz for the most disrespectful use of The Muppets in recent years when they cameo in “Muppets Most Wanted?”

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John Huthmacher Change good, and bad, but mostly good


It’s funny how one’s perception changes 180 degrees from childhood to adult. One example that readily comes to mind is how as a child, eating out was always preferred to eating a home-cooked meal.
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Russ Batenhorst Luckily, season is more than just a bracket


Well, that was fun. Sure, the end wasn’t very pretty, but I’m talking about the big picture here. I’m talking about the full four-month run, not just the last two hours.  

Regular readers here know that I’m a big fan of my alma mater’s basketball team, the Creighton Bluejays.


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Robin Stroot Kumihimo, part two


The Kumihimo weaving disk has four areas that have a large dot. Beginning strands of the cord material are placed on each side of the dots at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions on the wheel. So, my starting point was two cords of black at one dot, green at another, then white and gold placed at the other two. I realized that I could also change the color formation of the cord by placing one cord of each color at different starting positions of my Kumihimo loom.

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Joyce OreNothing to fear if you never …


Fear is something I handle well, but I do have my times. There was that one night when I was alone and saw a mouse in a place where he should not have been. I screamed in fear and ran from the room.

When I saw a second mouse where he should not have been, I picked up a metal coffee pot and helped this 2-inch monster meet its maker.

I admire bravery but did confronting that mouse make me brave?

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Patrick White Studios are taking family films seriously these days


The first few months have been seized by family films and thank goodness for that. Otherwise this would have been a terrible start to 2014 in filmmaking.

“Frozen” iced the competition in theaters with a rerelease that added to its overall take of $1 billion worldwide, “The Lego Movie” creatively controlled the box office, and now “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” has outwitted the tough guy films “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Need for Speed.” Puns are also huge this year because of kids films, because kids love nothing more than not understanding a joke.

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Russ Batenhorst Can’t lose with this many brackets, right?


Please don’t feel neglected. I knew all along that I was going to get to you. I wasn’t going to space off filling this space up with some general ramblings such as is done every week about this time. It’s just that I had a few other things to take care of first. Real high priority stuff.

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Tamera Schlueter A diet by any other name is still a diet


I’m on a diet, which makes me a little dangerous. I’m following a program called The 21 Day Fix by Beach Body, a company that produces famously torturous fitness packages like Insanity, P90X, Turbo Fire, and the mysterious Brazil Butt Lift. If you’ve never heard of Beach Body and its many offerings, anyone with a pair of gym shorts who uses the term “Dig Deeper!” can fill you in.
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Robin Stroot Japanese craft makes wide variety of items


Kumihimo — literally meaning braided cord — is a Japanese technique that has been around for centuries, possibly dating back as far as 6,500 B.C. The popularity soared during the Middle Ages.

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Joyce OreOld-fashioned ‘average’ family difficult to find


When  the next dictionary is printed, the word “average”  may not be included. Ordinary, common, typical and usual also may be deleted.

There was a time when we knew what these words meant. That’s no longer true. For example, what is an average family? A Normal Rockwell picture-perfect average family contained a mother, father, one boy and one girl. The world was made for them. A table came with four chairs, a car with four windows, bananas in a clump divisible by four
.
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Patrick White ‘Rise of an Empire’ epic fail next to ‘300’


Computer-generated images or CGI is used to tell stories without physically present actors such as Disney’s “Frozen” or it can be used to bring us into detailed environments that are difficult to recreate with practical effects. Other options with CGI include distracting action spectacles that become dull after a few minutes. Examples included are the “Star Wars” prequels. In 2006, newcomer Zach Snyder brought to life a new use of CGI to create a gorgeous art form that was adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel “300.”
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Russ Batenhorst Justin time to admit Juan little mistake


It’s really been a rough week. It’s not as if I’m looking around trying to assess blame on someone for it. This is self-inflicted. It’s my own fault. Looking people in the eye is getting harder as the week progresses. If I give them too much of a chance to glimpse into me, maybe they’ll notice. For now, it’s just my own dark, dirty secret.

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Robin Stroot A few more tips for creating a self-ruffling scarf


Here are a few more tips while creating your self-ruffling scarf.
First, I found it easier in my experience to use larger sized needles to knit the rows. Because there is no gauge, you are free to use whatever sized knitting needles you choose that will still fit through the openings of the self-ruffling yarn edge. I found it easier to hold on to a set of Size 8 (USA) knitting needles as opposed to a Size 5 or 4 (USA size) to make the scarf because the yarn is very slick and needles tend to slide out from your hand.
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Patrick White ‘American Hustle’ cinematic piece of art


David O. Russell has quickly become one of my favorite American directors in this modern age of cinema. His star continues to rise with each picture he makes. Russell’s original motion pictures carried a dark sense of humor and taboo subjects, but he’s refocused his sights on a near critique and exploration of American living and corruption in the form of drugs, mental illness, and swindling.

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Russ Batenhorst Exhausting pillow shopping calls for a nap


The March edition of Popular Science magazine landed in my mailbox a few weeks ago and boasted a pretty pretentious headline for its main story: Sleep. You’re doing it wrong. Science can help.

Obviously as a subscriber I’m a big proponent of scientific advances. But, for me, sleep comes down to one thing: comfort.
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Russ Batenhorst The good, bad, ugly of Lenten sacrifices


There’s a question that is asked quite a bit this time of year. For Christians worldwide the season of Lent began this week with the observation of Ash Wednesday.
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Tamera Schlueter Banana Man verses Derelict the Despicable


Writer’s note: I ran past three broken bottles on my writing-night run. It reminded me of a ridiculous column I wrote a few years back about the subject of derelicts and their love of flinging glass. So here’s the column that ran in the March 10, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. It still applies.Read More>>>
Robin StrootRuffled scarves good for beginners


Ruffled scarves are a popular fashion accessory that I’ve seen lots of women wearing. I decided it was time to venture into making my own ruffled scarf.

First thing to do is select the proper yarn; well, not really a yarn but a skein of continuous fiber that is made to look like a net or piece of filmstrip. For the sake of this column, I’m going to refer to it as yarn although the self-ruffling yarn is not really yarn as we think of it in the conventional sense. It is a skein that looks like a net (with a thicker woven section along one of the long edges) or a wide piece of material that has open sections along one entire long edge of the yarn.
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Joyce OreFashion vanilla my flavor


Spring is in the air and I’m inclined to browse, but the things I like or understand no longer are available. The world has moved ahead and left me feeling like the little kid holding a plain vanilla cone while his friends are at the yogurt bars choosing from a variety of creamy confections and topping them with dozens of toppings, many unfamiliar.Read More>>>
Russ BatenhorstThere is no movie like ‘Nebraska’


One last day of February is upon us. March is tomorrow and none too soon. It seems every year I’m more weary of winter and ready for spring. Even though it is supposed to be lousy this weekend, it will warm me up to flip the calendar.Read More>>>
Tamera SchlueterReturn to running is ugly, awful sight


Be careful what you wish for. I was thinking of that shortly before sitting down to write this column. I’d just finished running three pathetic miles in 16-degree temps. My eyelids were frozen open and my nostrils sealed shut. Being a bad arse is not always pretty.Read More>>>
John Huthmacher Winning baseball but a fantasy for some


As spring approaches, this young man’s thoughts turn to fantasy baseball. For those unfamiliar with the game, it basically involves attempting to select a roster of players whose statistics turn out to be better than every other team’s statistics over the course of the season. Points are awarded in each category, such as innings pitched, strikeouts, earned run average, home runs, RBI, and so on.

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Robin StrootLinings have many different purposes


Linings are pieces of smooth fabric that are attached to the inside of a garment or home décor item. Some of the purposes of lining fabric are to hide the raw edges of the outer fabric, provide warmth, ease in putting the garment on or taking the garment off and/or a comfortable finish to the garment.Read More>>>
Joyce OreMysteries of memory


Sandra White’s birthday is in a few weeks. That I remember the day is interesting because I haven’t seen or heard from Sandra since we graduated in the middle part of the last century.Read More>>>
Russ BatenhorstChanging write night would just be wrong


I almost wrote this a day early this week. I wonder if you would have been able to tell. Wednesday is my normal day for writing this little entry each week and getting it sent off to the Tribune office. It probably is better that way. If they had it for more than one day before it had to be set up on the Friday editorial page, that would give them more time to realize maybe they should find something else to take up the space.Read More>>>
Tamera SchlueterMoviegoers wring fun out of rare matinee


It was the first time we’d been to a movie since we watched Sandra Bullock defy gravity last October. I won’t tell you where we went, or what we saw, but it was in another community during a Saturday matinee. The movie was a big-deal new release billed as “the best of the year.” Aren’t they all?Read More>>>
Denise AndersonSpace for reflection


Up the road from me is a barn I want. It’s one of those big, red barns with a gambrel roof and a hay mow and all the barn things that one thinks of when thinking about a barn.

“And what would you do with this barn?” my neighbor Alvin asked me when I mentioned it at the coffee shop the other day.
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Patrick White‘The Lego Movie’ builds excitement


After a few weeks of reviewing movies, I read one chapter from “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser about his approach to artistic criticism and column writing. In Zinsser’s book, he explains that critics should “like — or, better still, love — the medium they are reviewing.” I love film and I love writing reviews of the latest cinematic adventure, but I was starting to worry that my writing was growing stale over the years. I decided in order to reinvigorate my writing style I would see a movie along with the intended audience.Read More>>>
Robin Stroot3 crafts start small, end big


One thing in common with knit, crochet and quilt crafters is the ability to take small pieces of fiber and/or cloth and make something such as a garment or home décor item. No fiber or fabric is wasted. I would get flour in cloth sacks and after the flour was gone, I used the fabric bags as kitchen towels. I know many people whose mothers or grandmothers used the flour sacks as fabric for clothing and quilts.Read More>>>
Joyce OreEggs, liver, baby powder and doubt


OK, daughters. If you have lung problems, go ahead, blame me, your mother. I was just trying to keep the diaper rash at bay and be sure you smelled wonderful when family, friends, acquaintances and strangers on the street stopped to tell me what cute babies you were. Read More>>>
Russ BatenhorstIf you can’t say anything nice, chill out


I’ve been trying to think of what’s the worst thing I’ve ever called another person to their face. Or even from a few rows up in a crowded place. You’ve more than likely read about the Oklahoma State basketball player that shoved a Texas Tech fan near the end of a game between the two schools last Saturday. The player had dived off the court and into the seats attempting to get to a loose ball. The fan, known it seems for being a bit of a loud mouth, said something that the player didn’t take kindly to, and the quick shove ensued. Amid early speculation that it could have been racial in nature, the common consensus now is that the fan called the player “a piece of crap.”Read More>>>
Tamera SchlueterLove and marriage take time and humor


Column-writing night found me in the Valentine card aisle, sifting through sad puppy/fuzzy kitten options until I found one featuring a polar bear splayed out on a glacier with his tongue hanging out. Who knew it could be so hard to find just the right card? So here’s the column that ran in the Feb. 14, 2013, issue of the Hastings Tribune. Behave yourselves and have a great week. Read More>>>
Patrick White ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ deftly shows nature of humanity


“Dallas Buyers Club” had a 25-day shoot with a minimal lighting setup and managed to prove that minimalistic filmmaking, technically speaking, could be just as gorgeous and engaging as a technically complicated piece.

In “Dallas Buyers Club,” Matthew McConaughey portrays real-life Ron Woodroof, a chain-smoking, racist, homophobic electrician who gets cheap thrills riding bulls. After having unprotected sex, Woodroof discovers that he is HIV positive. Woodroof eventually reveals his disease to friends; they respond with hateful homophobic slurs and disown him. Woodroof is no pushover and refuses to go down without a fight; he embraces drugs that are not approved by the FDA. This leads to a profitable business model in which Woodroof smuggles in the unapproved drugs and sells them to HIVpositive individuals.
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Robin Stroot Crafting terms differ around world


Patterns for knit and crochet items are easily accessible on the Internet. However, if you live in the North American part of the world, some international terms may have you confused about what technique to do on your knit or crochet craft project. There are some terms that we use in American crafting that may be totally different in other parts of the world.

Let’s start with crochet: A yarn over is taking the yarn and wrapping once around the hook. This is the basis for all stitches. In European circles, the term is listed as YRH — meaning yarn round hook. To “skip” a stitch in North America means you need to “miss” the stitch.
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Joyce OreMy heaven has room for dogs


Every once in a while when life seems a little off kilter, I think about what I want my heaven to be like. I’m not talking about THE HEAVEN, for I have no control over that, but my own individually designed heaven. What’s in that heaven depends greatly on what mood I’m in.

Today my heaven would be filled with friendly dogs who like to be scratched behind their ears, patted on their heads and let it be known in a hundred different ways that they like me.
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Will Vraspir Home found seven years later worth wait


It may have taken us seven years, but our family has finally moved into our home. Better late than never, I always say. For some people, it may seem odd to wait so long after looking at a house to make a bid. That’s just the way it turned out for us.

Just more than seven years ago, my wife and I started to look for a house to buy. The already kids shared a room in our apartment and our youngest was about to be born. We needed someplace to put him. I offered to move my socks out of the dresser drawer, but my wife insisted we needed more bedrooms.
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Russ Batenhorst Saying goodbye to Jay and hello to games


It has been a while since I used random, quick hitting thoughts to fill a column. At least I was thinking that in the morning hours, knowing I’d likely be up late night to finish this task. So, here are a few random, quick-hitting thoughts that I jotted down on a sticky note through the course of one day:Read More>>>
Tamera Schlueter Queen Dufus’ Guide to Love Letters 101


I frequently write about my husband. The poor guy fields a lot of Hunka Burnin’ Hubby jokes, along with the occasional “you’re not what I expected” proclamation. He gets a big charge out of those, especially the woman who stared at him squinty-eyed and deadpanned, “I thought you’d be taller.”

I often think of switching to topics that have nothing to do with my family, like politics, food, running, cats, or fungus. I’m kidding of course. I could never write a weekly column about cats. But then I remember the guy who said, “I wish my wife would say nice things about me once in a while.”
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Patrick White ‘Abolitionists’ fascinating look at civil rights battle


I had the pleasure of seeing “The Abolitionists Part III,” a 60-minute documentary screened by the Hastings Public Library. This documentary feature is part of the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle film program beginning this week and continuing into the spring.

“The Abolitionists Part III” first screened on Monday and will screen again today in the Hasting Public Library auditorium at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Bob Amyot, Hastings College associate professor of political science and chair of the department, will lead a film discussion at 2 p.m. in the library auditorium.
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Robin Stroot Bracelets a snap to make


Over the past few months, I’ve seen kids and adults wearing colorful key chains, necklaces, lanyards and bracelets made from small rubber bands. If you know how to fold, you can make a simple version of a bracelet or wristband with the colorful rubber bands.

The rubber bands are about the size of a nickel and come in several different colors. Included in the rubber band packages are several small S-shaped plastic pieces and a small, crochet-hook style tool called a pick tool.
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Joyce OreNewfangled stuff has lost its appeal


There was a time when I was ready for anything new. I looked forward to the latest in spring fashion, home appliances, decorating ideas, television shows, lipstick and mascara that promised fuller lashes.

Not anymore. If it works and I understand it, I’m happy with what is. I’m no longer interested in “new and improved” or “the latest” innovation.
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Tamera Schlueter Never tempt a werewolf on a mission


If you doubt the existence of werewolves, wave a warm chocolate chip cookie under the nose of a woman who recently started a diet, specifically the one writing this column. Go ahead. I dare you.

If you’re feeling especially brave, wave that cookie on zero-based budget writing night. That’s worth a double-dog dare. Be prepared to pull back a bloody stub.
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Denise Anderson Chores in PJs a first for Alvin


“Alvin, are you getting up today?” Mabel asked her husband for the third time.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m getting up,” he replied, but he didn’t move.
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Patrick White Modern classic turns 25 in '14


January is a notoriously bad month for movies. This is the month that studios will often throw their garbage in and hope that a hit like “Paul Blart” comes out on the other end. The holiday movie season is over, Disney has released its 53rd animated motion picture and studios have presented their big Oscar contenders. In January I usually do my best to watch all the Academy Award nominees rather than going to see the “mainstream” movies available locally and this year is not an exception. I’m not all that interested in “Jack Ryan” or “Ride Along” and “The Nut Job” looks like a piece of wannabe Disney/Pixar nonsense that shouldn’t have been released.Read More>>>
Robin Stroot Different needs for each crafts


Embroidery needles come in several different sizes. Tapestry needles are used for most needlepoint and counted cross stitch projects. The needle’s eye is large enough to accommodate yarn and/or several strands of embroidery floss. The needle also has a dull point to allow the needle to go through embroidery fabric smoothly without splitting the threads of the embroidery fabric. They range in sizes from 13 to 26. The higher the number, the smaller the needle.Read More>>>
Joyce OreBuyer's remorse – upside down


If it isn’t used for two years, get rid of it. Good advice for those who want to keep their homes uncluttered? Eons ago, when I was young, spry, full of energy and full of glorious expectations, my mother gave me a small roasting pan made of black enamel and sprinkled with white dots.Read More>>>
Joyce OreAnnual family photos an exercise in folly


The month of December is one full of generally happy mail. Between Christmas gifts arriving on a daily basis and cards and photos from friends near and far, it’s almost possible to forget about the bills buried at the bottom of the pile. Thankfully this happiness extends into January with “Happy New Year” cards sent by those who got caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle or were waiting for the whole family to pose for a photo at Christmas.
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Russ BatenhorstReset button for workplace a novel idea


It’s warm, it’s cold. It’s calm, it’s windy. There’s rain and snow, sunshine and clouds. All in one day. How do you expect me to come up with just one topic? So, I didn’t. Read More>>>
Tamera SchlueterHard work brings full January moon to life


This week welcomes the first full moon of 2014. Native Americans call it a “Wolf Moon,” so named from hungry wolves howling in the biting cold by Indian villages. It’s a fitting name, as there is indeed something carnal about a cold, dark January, when spring is but a faraway dream.
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Denise Anderson What’s different about Germany? Everything


BANN, Germany — If you look up “different” in the dictionary, you will find the definition to be something along the lines of “not the same as.” Different is hardly adequate to describe the comparison between Germany and the United States. Everything is “different.” The food. The language. The towns and roads. Everything. Different is not always better or worse; it is just not the same.

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Patrick WhiteGolden Globes: Lots of excellent films released in 2013


The Golden Globes will be broadcast this Sunday, which means it’s time to take a look back at 2013 and all of the excellent films released. This was undoubtedly one of the best years in filmmaking so creating this list was nearly impossible. I give you the best films of 2013:Read More>>>
Robin StrootSorting through old files


It’s great to be sewing and knitting in my new craft room. More than anything, it’s great to be able to move about the room and find things.

There’s still some finer points to iron out but all in all it’s a fine working room that’s just right for me.
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Denise AndersonLayering for a trip to town


It was cold outside and I mean, really cold. It was the result of a Polar vortex, something I had never heard of in my life. It apparently existed but I never knew what it was, except that it meant bone-snapping cold.
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Joyce OreLift from getting organized may be short-lived


Now that we have gotten somewhat used to this new year, it is time to reorganize. The magazines and airwaves are full of tips of ways to make life easier, to ease stress, to look into a cupboard and immediately find the toothpicks; to check under the bed and find nothing, not even tiny fluffs of dog hair; to hear the doorbell and not hide behind the door because the house still resembles Christmas morning; to look into a child’s bedroom and actually see the floor because everything has its place.
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Tony Herrman For Red Cloud, saying bye to ‘Mom’ tough

Like just about everyone in Red Cloud, I was blown away when I heard the news Barb Sprague died Thursday. Anytime I was in Red Cloud to cover something, Barb was there. Read More>>>
Russ BatenhorstIt’s a long, long way to Memorial Day


Whew, is it really Friday? I think I’ve said this before, but I think we’re at the end of the longest workweek of the year. And I don’t mean “so far.” I know we’re only 10 days into the New Year, so of course this would be the longest. I’m thinking long term.Read More>>>
Tamera SchlueterNew Year already seems oddly familiar


The Schlueterville New Year began with a case of déjà vu, that crazy feeling of having experienced something before. Great things happened in 2013 — monumental, messy stuff that makes you land on your butt and ask, “Did that really happen?” Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I were a little sad to see it end.
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Patrick White‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ approachable for all audiences


Ben Stiller brings to the screen his fifth directorial feature “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” an adaptation that explores the awkwardness of life, how a person’s individuality can change with one simple leap, and the nature of our own human imagination. Stiller’s film is not a comedy, but rather a story told within our own reality. If humor accompanies this reality then so be it.Read More>>>
Robin StrootStretch your stitch repertoire


Abasic sewing machine offers many different stitching techniques to suit most any general sewing project. I can remember when sewing machines first came onto the market that had pre-set stitch patterns, including an option called the stretch stitch.Read More>>>
Denise AndersonFarming resolution nebulous


Occasionally, I do the resolution thing for the New Year. I used to resolve to lose weight, eat healthier and exercise more. One year I resolved not to deal with people who were not nice.
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Joyce OreResolutions short-lived since age 12


As I was reaching for my third helping of shrimp at a New Year’s Day bash, who should I run into but my old friend N.Y Resolution. He looked like he had a stomach ache.
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John Huthmacher Holy grail of Christmas gifts still a homerun


At the risk of sounding behind the season, I’ve submitted this column to coincide with “Little Christmas,” or Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the three wise men bearing gifts for the Baby Jesus.
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Russ BatenhorstA self-review to knock the boss' socks off


You might have to keep a watchful eye on me this week. It can be a problem at times when different writing assignments converge at one point in time. And, while it might not always be obvious, when it is this column, I’ll try to be creative at times — and maybe even factual. Read More>>>
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