by R.L. Furse
Cold Nebraska weather not a national event PDF E-mail

Following the subzero weather across the United States the past few weeks, I wonder if anyone found the climatologist who had been warning us of “global warming.” In all likelihood he’s tucked in the back of his warm office refusing to venture too far away from his space heater.
The old Nebraska slogan, “If you don’t like the weather now, stick around, it’ll change,” hit the months of December and the early part of January pretty much on the head. Warm days of 60 degrees-plus followed a few days later by near zero or below temps, have become commonplace. In fact, weather changes haven’t only been limited to Nebraska. At one point Huskerland had a warmer temp than Jacksonville, Fla., while in Mississippi it was reported this past week a dog managed to survive after being found frozen to the ground.
Isn’t it interesting when a cold or heat wave hits the populace Eastern United States how that situation is interpreted by the government and the news media as a national catastrophe? Power outages, businesses close, highways are shut down and everything comes to standstill. However, when adverse weather happens here in the Heartland little is said. Residents continue to “make do” facing the situation with little national notoriety. In all honesty, I think the majority of us like the lack of national fanfare. Just maybe we here in Nebraska and surrounding states might still have our forefathers’ pioneering spirit and willpower to overcome.
One of the pluses of being retired is having the time to sit down and read a good book.  I must admit I’m still one of those old-fashioned guys and not like my betterhalf. She has resorted to her Kindle to read, or listens to an audio book. As for me, I like the feel of paper and turning those book pages at my leisure. This Christmas a good book happened to come my way in the form of a Christmas gift -- a best seller titled, “George Washington’s Secret Six.”
The extensively researched book is about a spy ring set up by George Washington that saved the American Revolution. Author Brian Kilmeade stated the Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country, but because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions. As one respected retired Army general said, the book reminds us that freedom is not free, never has been, and never will be. In a nutshell, the book brought home to me the many sacrifices warriors as well as the many common citizens have made since the founding of our country.
Singing a few songs is a tradition at most Rotary Clubs throughout the world. A few songs are sung after eating and just before the formal program begins when a guest speaker takes the platform. Even though Rotarians are noted for their singing, it doesn’t necessarily mean all Rotarians are great singers. I for one can attest to that fact. I am a club member, but also manage to have the experience in my young days of basically being asked not to participate in my home church choir.
Some Rotarians must also share my lack of talent in singing. I noticed the Rotarian song book carried the page title, “Singable Songs.”  Gee, I thought all songs were supposed to be “singable.”

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Why no discounts for aging men with less hair? PDF E-mail

This recent snap of cold weather and a strong north wind brought home the reality that the head hair has thinned and a good old stocking cap can feel pretty good.

The cold head also brought up some questions that I have no answers. For example:

Why does a guy lose hair on the top of his head and still need to go the barbershop regularly because the hair on the sides of his head needs cutting?

Why do eyebrows need trimming when the top of the head remains smooth as a baby’s bottom?

And why does hair sometimes grow from an earlobe when it becomes impossible to grow a good crop of hair on the old dome?

I guess the only logical answer to these questions is a man grows a head of hair to keep the economy growing, too. You see, if all men had a good head of hair, there would be no need for stocking caps and other head warmers. There would be no need for barbershops and barbers or salons and hair stylists to serve those with a chrome dome.

The men with a thin head of hair still continue to make their regular stops for the side trims, brow and ear clips, thus making their financial contribution to the local economy.

Now that brings up the next question: Why no haircut discounts for men who have no hair on top?

I could answer that question saying it is probably the same reason there is no discount for a copy of the newspaper if you don’t plan to read all of it.
While on the subject of men’s grooming, I am told it is now becoming popular to have nail shops for men. I can’t visualize myself heading into a shop asking for a manicure, especially when in my childhood days I chewed my fingernails.
Currently on the West Coast men are patronizing nail shops, aka as “man caves,” featuring a pour of scotch, football games on flat screen TVs, dim lights and soft, deep, leather chairs. And — oh, my gosh — the manicurist will even put polish on the nails!

There has been plenty of thought going into these new establishments. But I think one owner could have chosen a more “comforting name” for his establishment. He tagged his “Hammer and Nails.” It would be hard to loosen up in that establishment when you were anticipating when the “Hammer” was going to drop.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Definition of ‘adjusted retired couples’ debated PDF E-mail

While I was scanning a daily newspaper the other morning, an article written by a family counselor caught my eye. The subject matter of the article covered the lifestyles of “adjusted” retired couples. I may have read between the lines a little bit, but it seemed most of the counselor’s comments were directed to the male household family member.

I wanted to make sure I was an “adjusted” member of those adjusted retired couples the author was talking about, so I continued reading. It became even more evident that if the goal of an adjusted retired couple was met, most of the “adjustments” had been made by the male spouse. Thus, my analysis indicated I had a lot of work to do and I better get going if I wanted to be a “well-adjusted” member of our household.

The article stressed when you retire and the wife is busy, both should share household duties at least a couple times a week. Now, the counselor-author wasn’t just talking about taking out the garbage. She was talking about those big chore duties such as cooking meals, cleaning windows and grocery shopping. Putting the newspaper aside, I decided I should test the betterhalf’s response to a couple of my ideas regarding chore duties.

I called to the betterhalf, who was in the other room and asked, “What do you think about me helping you in the kitchen prepare a few meals?”

That brought her into the room where I was sitting and I could tell by the puzzled look on her face she couldn’t believe what she just had heard coming from my lips. I also noticed the adjusted couple idea in a kitchen wasn’t going to be her cup of tea. She emphatically said, “I’m in charge in the kitchen and the only time I like to have you help in the kitchen is up at the Minnesota cabin where there is no automatic dishwasher.” Enough said.

I guess I’m back to my old duties of taking out the garbage on Thursday morning; cleaning the garage; running the snowblower; and doing minor home repairs.

And what about pursing that title of an “adjusted retired couple”? I would think being married for more than 54 years should qualify us as pretty “adjusted.”

Here are some excellent comments from a highly regarded teacher as she recently spoke before a large student audience. She said she reminded her students that in today’s world you can still be anything you want to be, but you have to prepare.

“You can achieve your dreams, but you must prepare for that achievement,” she added. She emphasized the road toward achievement can be challenging and cited, as an example, taking subjects such as chemistry in high school and college if you wanted to become a doctor. Her emphasis on preparation for achievement should not only be a message directed to students, but to serve us adults as well.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Retired, but still living by a clock and deadlines PDF E-mail

It’s been a tough couple of weeks here on the homefront ever since the Huskers pulled off the miracle catch and win over Northwestern.

It was quite a catch and I watched every bit of it on TV. The only problem . . . the betterhalf and I were at the game and I persuaded the betterhalf to leave the stadium with just more than a minute left on the game clock so we could beat the traffic.

Yep, it’s been quite a couple of weeks, thanks particularly to those who called my loyal Husker fan-spouse via cellphone right after the catch asking her how she liked the win. Thanks to those callers from Chicago, Phoenix, Minnesota and various Nebraska locations, I’ve heard her repeat my name in vain many times since then. Compounding my problem are the delayed e-mail messages that continue to flow into the home computer and serve as a daily reminder, stirring her ire.

At first I attempted to justify leaving the game early by pointing out she was able to see the Huskers hold their opponent to a field goal when we passed by a tailgater’s TV. Then I noted when we arrived at the car she was able to listen to the radio describe the last four seconds of action. “And besides,” I said, “you’ve got the game taped on two TV sets at home so you can replay it and actually see it better than you would have at the stadium.”

I prefer to make no comment on her reaction.

I must remark I’ve never seen traffic so low after a ballgame as when we drove down O Street. I guess one could say the traffic matched our conversation the rest of the evening.
The past few days I have tried to figure out why I needed to leave any place early in order to beat the traffic. A retired guy should feel he has all the time in the world. Just take it easy and watch everyone else try to be at the head of the pack should be a retiree’s motto.

Unfortunately, I find myself still living by a clock and newspaper deadlines. Certain timetables for performing daily tasks are still commonplace in my lifestyle — no matter how mundane the activity. I wonder why I need to get up at 5 a.m. Why do I feel dogs at the Adopt-A-Pet shelter need to be outside by 7 a.m.? Why do I try to read two daily newspapers before noon? Why do I feel I must drive to Austin, Texas, in no more than 14 hours to visit grandsons and family?

And finally, why do I feel I must be in Lincoln at least three hours before kickoff of a Cornhusker football game, especially when I’m content on leaving the game early?
We’ve been told a boy goes four years to college because it takes that long to develop an all-American football player.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

What is the best leaf tool, trailer, bags or chainsaw? PDF E-mail

I just finished an early quick rake of the yard in an effort to eliminate a one-time major leaf cleanup of those “colorful’ fall leaves.
While raking I took a look around and then wondered where are those arborists that tell us we must plant more trees. The promoter who gave me those 10 seedlings following my donation to the Arbor Day Foundation 15 years ago was nowhere to be found.
A year ago I delivered 28 bags of leaves to the city landfill before I quit counting. This year I vowed to simplify my leaf-gathering efforts. No more attempting to dump leaves in a plastic bag that supposedly was advertised as easy fill. No more “sturdy” plastic bags that a twig can poke through. No more picking up a plastic bag only to have it split down the side. And no more having to return home with the empty used plastic bags after unloading leaves at the dump.
This year I am using the old noggin and just simply raking and dumping the leaves in my trusty little trailer. While I am still in the early stages of my leaf raking, I estimate about four trailer loads of leaves will take care of both the front and back yards. Of course I’ve taken into consideration the fact some leaves have already been blown across the street by a north wind and in a neighborly fashion I shared some leaves via east and west wind gusts with those residences adjacent to our home. Because Nebraska weather seems to change quickly, I could suffer from a great additional leaf dumping if the wind comes from the south and the tree-infested lots across the street.
Time will tell if my leaf-disposal plan for 2013 was a success. If not 2014 could include buying a chainsaw.
Halloween is over and now the question is: “How many of you had to buy additional candy because you ate the treats in those days before those little spooks and goblins rang your door bell?”
The better half has solved that problem. She refuses to buy her favorite candies for treats and purchases instead candies she is not fond of. Thus, no Snickers candy bars are give out at our door.
A local husband returned home after being diagnosed by the doctor as having a cracked rib. He presented his wife with a prescription signed by the doctor that prescribed “no household chores for a year.” After she read the prescription she turned to him and said, “You apparently forgot I have an appointment next week with the same doctor. I am sure you will feel differently about your doctor’s orders after I return home.”
With the conclusion of the World Series, baseball season is now officially over. A Texas reporter, noting the Houston Astros’ dismal season, brought up an interesting stat after the club posted one of the worst records in the club’s history.  The report jokingly stated the Astros were so bad that the Nielson TV rating for televised games was 0.0.
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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