by R.L. Furse
Headlines of the future a cause for concern PDF E-mail

Scanning a week’s worth of newspaper headlines and related news stories can cause a lot of thoughts in a guy’s mind. Those thoughts made me question just what is going on in this world of ours and what the future holds. I am sure most of us can recall our parents and grandparents asking the same question decades ago.

After reading a story that predicted in a few years cars will be computerized to motor down the road without having a driver behind the wheel, it conveyed the image of a person traveling along holding up his hands and shouting, “Look ma – no hands!” At first I figured I would never live to see a string of vehicles heading down I-80 driverless, or at least someone with no hands on the wheel.

Then I realized we have already reached that point judging by the number of people talking or texting on smartphones will driving.

For those of you who might think the most expensive natural resource in the world is gold or oil, you may want to think a little deeper after a recent news story of a plan calling for the City of Lincoln proposing to draw future water needs from the Missouri River. For over 80 years the city has been getting its water from wells along the Platte River, which is 25 miles away. To meet future needs Lincoln will need to diversify its water sources and is calling for a well field 50 miles away near the Missouri River by the year 2070.

Lincoln’s proposal may not seem important to Hamilton County at the present time, but a battle for water rights between urban and rural interests across the nation someday will need to be resolved. In addition to Nebraska metro areas and ag focusing interest on water needs, we must also realize out-of-state interests have been studying ways to tap the Ogallala Aquifer.

Today, oil and the Keystone Pipeline are grabbing the majority of the headlines. In too near a future water will certainly be more valuable to Nebraska’s overall economic picture than oil.

Caps and a new student loan policy have been aired by the president. I sympathize with any student who has a loan and particularly one with a loan at the 7 percent interest level. Some form of a refinancing program might be appropriate in some cases. However, when you adjust a loan rate for one, what do you tell that student who worked his way through college without taking a loan, or one who has already paid off his 7 percent loan?

As cold as it sounds there’s another basic lesson to be learned that should be carried by everyone, young or old. That is, don’t borrow the money unless you know you can pay it back.

Our final headline grabber tells the reader bars and restaurants are in a movement toward original and quirky cocktails. We recall the era when a bartender needed to be able to mix less than a dozen drinks and simply keep the beer cold. It now appears that era is gone and the average bartender might need a degree in chemical engineering, agronomy, culinary, or geography. Cocktails with titles such as King of Carrot Flowers, Autumn ‘n June, Death in Bushwick, Lehua and a Gene Park Swizzle trigger the imagination. And if you think that gets a guy thinking, how about a drink that contains “gunpowder tea?”

 
Memorial Day tribute truly memorable this year PDF E-mail

Members of the Aurora American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War Posts are to be congratulated for an excellent Memorial Day program. I was fortunate to attend that program at the Aurora Cemetery and must say it was one of best.

The impact of the sacrifices our local servicemen have made was clearly evident to those in the audience. That impact was highlighted near the conclusion of the program as the names of deceased veterans who had served in the Civil War, First World War, Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War were read by several Legion members. While the names were called out you couldn’t help but notice the American flags fluttering against the breeze with a background of deep blue sky and floating clouds.

As for me, it brought home just how lucky I am to live in this country and able to enjoy its freedom, thanks to our all veterans . . . those that died in battle on foreign soil and those who returned home to become pillars in their communities.

We may have political problems; cringe at the violence; curse the taxes; and question the direction this country is moving. However, we should all realize we have more freedoms than any other place in this world.
Simply stated, “It’s great to be an American. Thank you, servicemen and women!”
***

“What we know and what we think we know” has been the favorite introductory line, particularly for sportswriters giving views (or questions) about Husker football. These writers are not alone.
For most of us private citizens we all have our own personal list of “what we know and what we think we know” and that list isn’t always targeted to just football.

My own personal list of “what we know” is much shorter than the list of “what we think we know”  and that’s what gets me in trouble, particularly with the betterhalf.
***

Many of us can recall when official holidays were changed so they fell on Mondays of Fridays, thus giving way to those long holiday weekends. Some people were upset because they felt the holidays should fall on the actual date and not a Friday or Monday.

I glanced at my desk calendar this week just before turning the page to month of June and discovered a proponent of letting the holiday fall on the actual date had his revenge. There on the May 30th date in tiny print was the words “Memorial Day (True).”

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

 
Loud radios stir sounds, memories of yesteryear PDF E-mail

In my younger years I recall you would know a car was heading your way by the roar of the engine. The car operated by the high schoolers generally was equipped with what we called straight pipes or dual Smitty mufflers. The engine noise emitted through the dual exhaust systems was capable of bringing a house window to a near shatter. My, how times have changed.
A smile came across my face this week when I walked down my neighborhood street and detected an auto approaching. But, it was evident this was not like my younger years. I heard no roar of an engine. Instead it was blaring of a customized sound system (aka radio) that had preceded the automobile’s approach. There are still some similarities to those good old days. The radio blast capably rattled windows just like the auto straight pipes of 60 years ago.
***
I recognize environmental concerns comprise many of the subjects being studied by scientists, students and even the common citizen. Research has become big business as more people want deeper info about trends such as global warming, weather conditions, diminishing animal species and other environmental changes that are taking place.
An organization in North Dakota caught my eye and made me wonder just how far this research thing could be carried out. A new chapter of a national organization has been formed in Fargo-Moorhead and emphasizes the unlimited subject matter for today’s environmentalists. The Fargo–Moorhead Frog/Watch Chapter is trying to find the reason for the diminishing population of frogs and toads in North Dakota.
Actually, after looking at some of the researchers’ comments, I learned the group had discovered there might be as many as 11 species of toads and frogs in North Dakota. That’s up from the once-thought nine species. I also learned that bull frogs are deemed an invasive species to the area.
I have no idea what a guy like me is going to do with these new facts and information. But, I think I’ll hop to immediate action saving the frogs by not baiting my fish hooks with the warty little creatures..
These frog facts reminded me of another study that was made years ago. It was reported a frog has more lives than a cat because a frog croaks every night.
***
It was reported recently a high school back east dropped its honors banquet which saluted high achieving students. The cancelation of the event was caused when some adults felt it was hurtful to the students who were not among the honorees.
In my opinion it’s a shame such a thing happened. Maybe we should do away with all competition whether it be in studies, sports, or business. Then everyone will  be alike in the role as under-achievers. That means having no initiative; sitting on our duffs; and whine.
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

 
New normal reflects changes in our modern world PDF E-mail

The popular phrase for 2014 apparently has been established.  It is the era of the “new normal” and we conservatives might as well get used to it.

“New normal” is being accepted by many, but for me the new normal seems to describe at best, turmoil. I have a tough time accepting that new normal. It has brought all of us from a normal atmosphere where we were content with a comfortable, predictable situation into what now seems to be a frustrating onslaught of constant challenges, bickering and uncertainty.

Just what is the “new normal” we’re facing? Here are a few examples:

The United States Senate and Congress battles center on political party loyalty instead of loyalty to the public’s wishes and what is best for our country.

Constitutional challenges and Supreme Court rulings seem to be eroding the basic principles of the intent of our Constitution.

Worse yet, the public seems to have a short memory when public office holders violate the law and are again re-elected back in a public office.
Now let us move off the political issues and take a look at a “new norm” that has hit close to home.

It appears Nebraska is going to face the challenge of a new slogan. According to Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald, the Nebraska Tourism Commission after nine months of research and $75K in funding has a new slogal called, “Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.”

Now I’ve always been pleased with the old standby, “Nebraska, The Good Life.” But, I wasn’t among of the 3,500 hundred citizens over the past nine months who were interviewed in the chase of a new slogan.

New norms continue throughout our country and those norms hit all aspects of our lives. Hardly a day goes by when an automobile or product recall doesn’t take place. As for me, I had two autos recalled in the same year, which I must admit could be just a tad above the new norm. Recalls protecting my safety are growing into a new norm revenue stream for those big city law firms.

In conclusion, a sad new norm that has been accomplished: “U.S. now stands for Unlimited Spending.”

I like the comment made the other day when an individual said it was going to get pretty tough when this country gets back to normal and the fellows who write those articles on economics have got to know what they’re talking about again.

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

 
Commencement speakers often leave critical lessons left unsaid PDF E-mail

I wonder just how many high school graduates remember the wisdom delivered by their commencement speakers. Or, for that matter, just how many graduates can even remember the name of that speaker.

I understand the class of 2014 will recall some of that wisdom and whose lips it came from, but at their 50-year reunion it will be a challenge for the majority of attendees to recall much of their commencement program unless someone unfortunately happened to fall off the stage.

A book titled “10-1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said” contained a collection of observations that the writer, Charles Wheelan, wishes someone had told him.

To the chagrin of parents he encouraged graduates to take time off after college. He also wrote your parents don’t want what’s best for you because that often involves a degree of risk. Your parents actually want what’s good for you.

Frank Bures, a magazine writer, wishes his graduation speaker had told him it’s the people in your life who make all the difference . . .  make friends and keep them.

J.K. Rowling issued some wise words about failure. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation  on which I rebuilt my life,” she said. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.

Other off-the-cuff observations that certainly will not be heard at commencement ceremonies could include:

“It has been said the chief objection to the school of experience is that you never finish your post-graduate courses and that’s because when you graduate from that school your diploma is a tombstone.”

One potential employer noted that a college education seldom hurts a man if he’s willing to learn a little something after he graduates.

Another senior citizen said if he was giving out advice he would caution the young man who worked so hard to graduate from college only to wonder later what the hurry was.

It’s been said all that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder.

One old-timer felt he hasn’t much practical advice to give to hopeful young graduates, except to marry the first girl he finds who has a steady job.  Another elder gent disagreed by saying, “No, you should marry someone smarter than you.”

As for me, I must agree with marrying the gal with a steady job and also a gal who is smarter. I married the full employed betterhalf my senior year in college and it was and still is pretty obvious who is the smartest one in our family.



RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

 
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