by R.L. Furse
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.”
*  *  *
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.
*  *  *
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?”
*  *  *
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

Fact or fiction! It can often be hard to tell PDF E-mail

It’s been quite common among law enforcement people to hear unbelievable excuses for speeding and other minor traffic violations. In fact, I’ve heard some excuses were so unbelievable that an officer said no one could make up such an excuse unless it was true, and then issued only a warning.

Prior to a recent Nebraska football game, we heard such type of a story not involving a traffic violation but, from a California hitchhiker who was talking with an attendant in the Nebraska Press parking lot.

The Californian had asked if there was any way to get a bottle of water. The attendant went into the office and brought him two -- compliments of house. The attendant then related the “rest of the story” to me.

That morning the man had arrived in Lincoln after hitchhiking all the way from California. He had left on the previous Wednesday and thumbed rides to Lincoln arriving the day of the game to watch his son play for the Cornhuskers. Unfortunately, he had exited his ride at the Ninth Street exit on I-80 and misunderstood the stadium was at the east edge of Lincoln. He walked nearly 30 blocks before realizing his mistake and eventually arrived back near the stadium via a patron who leases space in the parking lot.

We do not know if he visited his son prior to game time, but we do know the hiker came back to the parking lot near the end of the game and asked the attendant if he could use the office restroom and change his shirt that was in his knapsack. The Californian then continued by telling the attendant a Nebraska gentleman was buying him a bus ticket to Grand Island while another generous Nebraskan had arranged to get him an airline ticket from G.I. back to the West Coast.

Now the real question comes whether this is just a tall tale or has credence. I would hope the Californian was telling the truth. We do know there are many Nebraskan who would be willing to help a stranger in such a situation. However, it makes me have a guilty feeling when the question of “truth or tale” enters my mind. On the other hand, it would have taken a lot of imagination to make up a story such as this and maybe the Californian should be writing novels.

Thank goodness my children are grown and the tooth fairy has long abandoned them. I just read where the tooth fairy now is delivering under the pillows nearly $4 per trip. That’s a 23 percent jump in just a year and a 42 percent spike from 2011. Take heart, that near $4 is the national average. In the Midwest, kids average $3.30 per tooth.

It’s been a good year for growing tomatoes. One Auroran reported to a friend he grew a tomato with a diameter of 13-inches. The friend was not able to verify the tomato’s span because he didn’t see it. Tomato fans may want to keep an eye out for the grower at the next farmer’s market.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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