by R.L. Furse
So many security codes & numbers, so little memory PDF E-mail

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t question myself by asking, “Am I losing my mind?”

It seems as I’ve grown older that self question comes up more frequently than just once a day. But a comment recently really got me thinking more deeply about this lost mind business and after a few more minutes of shallow pondering, I’ve come up with what I believe is the contribution to my mind loss.

The way I got it figured, figures are at the root of why I’m questioning myself. Now, when I mention figures, I’m not talking about those pleasant 36-24-36 figures. Instead, I’m concerned about the numbers, codes and passwords I’m required to retain in my mind just to be able to function in the lifestyle of today. Simply put, the old noggin is operating at over capacity.

Back in days of yore our security revolved around keys and padlocks that required very little memory, except where you might have mislaid the key. Businesses had heavy safes that held money, documents and other important records. Those safes generally had a simple combination the owner could remember and if he couldn’t, a slip of paper taped on the bottom of his office desk drawer would reveal that combination.

Our obsession with security began to grow, and soon padlocks with combinations followed and were used for securing bikes, school lockers and shed doors. Remembering more numbers became commonplace and has continued to grow generation after generation as more technology became a part of our lives.

Today, our mind is jumbled. We are expected to hold in our minds our Social Security number, pin numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, house numbers, zip plus four numbers, door and garage door opener numbers as well as a host of password numbers or codes. No one cares how to spell your name, “Just give me your number,” is the common request today.

I understand there might be relief in sight for a guy like me. I’ve been told there are services available where you can file your passwords for a fee and the information is available only to you or those you designate. Another suggestion is to put your password for important personal data in your will that is held at your attorney’s office.

Of course the next question then becomes . . . will I be stable enough when the time comes to remember the name of the service or attorney that is the holder of such information?

I guess that will be the heirs’ and the government’s problem, not mine.

Here’s a simpler solution yet – live life to its fullest and leave nothing important enough or valuable enough to require the need for numbers or passwords.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Political stalemate nothing new in D.C. PDF E-mail

I’m hesitant to get into political discussion, but the turmoil back in Washington hopefully could soften by the time this column is published.

However, during the political standoff I have heard a few comments that I feel “hit the nail on the head.”

One individual commented that it’s time for our Senate and Congress to begin representing the wishes of people and what’s best for our nation instead of what’s best for the Republican and Democrat party. Prior to the government shutdown and government debt ceiling, another political writer stated, “Congress and Senate will again push the ‘reset button’ on debt ceiling and move on for a few more months and push ‘reset’ still again”

If you think this current political battle is something new, I happened to come across a campaign publication prior to the 1952 election of Eisenhower vs. Stevenson. In fact, the pre-election political issues apparently haven’t changed much in the past 61 years.

Excerpts from the 1952 publication warn of economic storms ahead: “Many economists say our so-called prosperity is based on the quicksands of war, preparation for greater wars, government handouts, grants, loans, subsidies and wasteful spending. Government debt has to be paid sometime. Unemployment in February 1950 was 4,684,000 – the highest since August, 1941 and unemployment in 1952 creates more hardships than unemployment in 1932.”

And finally the last comment: “We owe the change back there on Capitol Hill to our children and our grandchildren, who in the final analysis will be the sufferers through the loss of the kind of America our grandfathers and fathers handed down to us.”
That’s enough of politics.

The 87th annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book and its fantasy gifts were unveiled this past week in Dallas. There are 500 suggested gifts in the 175-page catalog and 40 percent of the items are priced under $250. Of course that leaves 60 percent of the items above $250  . . .  and some of those are WELL ABOVE!

I’ve never ordered any gifts from the catalog and hopefully the betterhalf never sees one of those catalogs. I don’t want to disappoint her this Christmas, but I must warn her she will not receive one of the 10 specially made Aston Martin autos selling for $344,250 each. The betterhalf will also not find a $1.85 million 25-carat diamond along with the trip for a private viewing of the Crown Jewels and dinner in the Tower of London.

But, please don’t feel too sorry for my betterhalf. She still has a chance for the catalog’s monogrammed mug that costs $12. But, I wonder if that includes shipping?

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Priorities change when you become a collector PDF E-mail

Collectors, hobbyists and sportsmen draw lots of criticism for the amount of money they spend fulfilling their passions. Whether that passion is for classic automobiles, coins, sports equipment or antique furniture, critics marvel at the high dollars an enthusiast is willing to spend.

The car action that drew more than 10,000 spectators to Pierce, Neb., was a fine example of those deep-pocket buyers. A 1958 Chevrolet pickup with 1.3 original miles sold for $140,000 and even had the New Hampshire buyer wondering why he spent that much money. If he’s wondering can you imagine what his wife might say? I would guess he could soften her criticism if he would point out a Mercedes-Benz pedigree race car sold at auction a year earlier for $29.6 million.

Around the conservative Midwest here, few local car enthusiasts go above the five-figure mark when buying a collector car. That dollar limit saves a lot of explaining to their better halves and keeps the homefronts fairly peaceful.

Guns, golf clubs and fishing gear comprise the items that seem to suck that extra money out of Midwest pockets. Those easy-spend items are ones that draw little trouble at home, particularly if your better half also plays golf, hunts or fishes. That must be the reason why I made the effort to interest my better half in fishing.

The only drawback to our joint fishing effort is the fact if I purchase gear it’s ditto for her, too. It also doesn’t mean doubling the fishing expenses necessarily doubles the fun, or the catch. On the plus side, it was an easy sell several years ago to convince the better half we needed to trade the old fishing boat with bench seats for a newer boat with cushioned seats and a windshield. In later years it was easier to buy an electronic fish finder, an electric trolling motor and a newer boat lift. My easiest expenditure to explain to her was the need for an electric fillet knife guaranteeing I would clean all fish if she would cook ‘em.

I always had trouble understanding why a golfer needed a couple of sets of golf clubs and a golf cart if he was playing the sport for exercise. A golfer cleared up my puzzlement by asking the simple question: “Why do you need three or four fishing poles and a boat when you can use only one pole at a time and could fish from a river bank?”

Priorities change too when you become a collector, hobbyist or sportsman. I recall visiting with a Minnesota bait shop owner who had been in business for at least four decades. I had forgotten and gone to her shop without my money clip and had only a credit card and a check. She told me she would not accept credit cards but would take my check even though it was an out-of-state check. As I made out the check I was puzzled and asked: “Why would you accept my out-of-state check instead of the credit card?”

She said she had received only three bad checks in 40 years in business and found credit card company fees too expensive. Then she continued by saying, “You know people who fish will want to have good credit with me even though they might proceed to bounce a check when paying their rent or making a car payment.”

That statement tells us something of the power of a hobby.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Farmer’s daughter teaches about farm, life PDF E-mail

We read where that a couple of monkeys were kidnapped from Doniphan and since have been returned. That reminded me of a recent monkey tale (tail?)

There had been an atomic war and all human beings and animal life were dead, except one monkey in one cave.
He began searching for a companion. He traveled for days and finally he found a lady monkey who was very lonesome and glad to see him.

As a sign of her welcome she offered him an apple. But he said, “No, No. Let’s not start that all over again.”
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Remember when geographical regions were plainly described? The areas were simply East, West, North and South. First, we added Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, etc. Now when weather reports refer to Midwest, mountain states, plain states, coastal states, upper Midwest, panhandle, south central, etc., I have trouble deciding which area I live in. Gosh! A guy lives in simple Nebraska and still has to decipher where he lives after watching the weather report.
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I attended the Plainsman Museum “Day on the Farm” fundraiser this past Sunday. Now I must admit, even though I married a farmer’s daughter, I am not familiar with all the farm techniques and equipment. However, when touring the museum it’s not difficult to realize, even as a novice, I was getting older when I recalled much of the farm equipment displayed I actually had witnessed in use on farms many years ago. And in reference to those farmer’s daughters, the one I married taught me a lot about farm life and many other things, too.

Now don’t get alarmed. The farmer’s daughter I married maintains after 54 years of marriage what many farm wives do today. She serves at least one meal a day that must consist of plenty of meat, potatoes, veggies and dessert. That meal also must have enough on the table for one more serving because an unexpected guest might stop by.
*  *  *
The other day a youngster asked his mother this question: “If the Lord gives us our daily bread ... and Santa Claus brings us the Christmas presents ... and the stork brings the babies, then what’s the use of having dad around?”
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It’s been said men may take up the law, but women lay it down!

Being a grandparent never really gets old PDF E-mail

I’m a little late on this subject that should have been published prior to Grandparents Day, but all us grandpas keep our grandkids in mind every day,  no matter how old they are ... or how old we are.

Everyone, including grandmas too, also give grandkids strong priority. That’s why I enjoyed this comment from a grandpa whose grandson was visiting him.

The grandson asked, “Grandpa, do you know how you and God are alike?”

Grandpa mentally polished his halo and then asked the grandson, “No. How are we alike?” The grandson replied, “You’re both old.”

While on the grandparent subject, here are some other grandchildren thoughts we picked up:

What a bargain grandchildren are. I give them my loose change and they give me a million dollars worth of pleasure.

Grandchildren don’t stay young forever, which is good because grandpas have only so many horsey rides to give them.

Grandmas never run out of cookies or treats.

My grandsons believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. After two or three hours with them, I believe it too!

Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.

It’s amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one.

Grandmas hold those tiny hands for just a little while, but grandchildren remain in our hearts forever.”

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Husker faithful and I must admit the betterhalf kept her loyalty to Big Red. Her loyalty never waned even when I complained the Husker team and fans both were both wearing black for that @%# UCLA game. I told her all that black was a bad omen signifying we were dressing for a funeral. Little did we know the next few days a game loss was only just a part of the headline makin’s.

I found it interesting as soon as Dr. Tom Osborne strongly backed Coach Pelini and said he was aware a year ago of his controversial private comments, the controversy mellowed; the bulk of criticism fell; and Husker Nation still remained as one of the best in football. Ah, Dr. Tom, you are still an influential and respected figure!

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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