Columns/Opinions

Thu
13
Aug

"Reel Reviews: ‘You Should have Left’ house mimics haunted Overlook Hotel vibes" by: Jessica Shepard

   Continuing with the “summer of horrors/thrillers that never seem to end” theme, I came upon “You Should Have Left” as a Redbox rental last week and scooped it up after reviewing the trailer on YouTube.
   Needless to say, the trailer teemed with unsettling visuals of a drowned woman, unexplained shadows on walls, and a house that’s seemingly “bigger” on the inside.
   Now, the film is a psychological horror film written and directed by David Koepp, based on the 2017 book of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann.
   It has a total run time of 93 minutes and is rated R for some violence, disturbing images, sexual content, and language.
   The movie stars Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, and Avery Essex.
   Theo Conroy (Bacon) is an older man plagued by nightmares, who is married to Susanna (Seyfried), a young actress, with whom he has a young daughter named Ella (Essex).

Thu
06
Aug

"Covering today’s Blackcats, a statue honoring Olympian" by: Mike Reddell

   I went to the new Memorial Stadium Monday morning to photograph the Bay City Blackcats’ initial day of two-a-days practice. 
   It was my first look at the new stadium. 
   I was impressed by it all – the players, the color of the artificial turf field, the towering stands and the soaring press box. 
   For the players, this was more about football than the imposing setting, said new Head Coach Robert Jones. 
   After all the Blackcats have been out of school since March amid this pandemic with the rest of us. 
   While BCISD did hold a summer sports athletic camp that brought all the district’s athletes together, the start of two-a-days had to be a touch of normal. 
   Other touches of normal included the oppressive heat and humidity – at least that was my take on the conditions. 
   Oh, and the coaches occasional shouts of reprimand. How I remember those long-ago sounds of summer. 

Thu
06
Aug

"Halloween coming out in August throws me for a loop" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, you know how I’m an avid (almost rabid) fan of Halloween and all things related therein? 
   I’m actually not that into the holiday when it starts showing up in stores in August. 
   Granted, at the rate things are going with the COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t think we’ll have a normal Halloween celebration. 
   And usually I’m fine with that because I’ll milk the autumn holiday as long as I can and delay in folding into Thanksgiving then Christmas. 
   But, I’m already finding tons of new items released online and a sprinkling of a few in stores. 
   It’s a terrible form of teasing and I just want it to stop. 
   For example retailers like Target, Michael’s craft stores, AtHome, and Homegoods already have Halloween items available online and in stores – if you know where to look. 

Thu
06
Aug

" You can always count on change to make money, smart CEOs know what to do" by: John Sample

   Another week another record high close for the NASDAQ Index lead by Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Netflix and Microsoft. 
   I am only reminding you of this as many are focusing their attention on politics or the pandemic. 
   Last week while being dragged in front of Congress, several of these companies posted better than expected earnings during these difficult times. 
   My point is to keep paying attention as all is not bad in this world for these companies.
Apple for one posted much better than expected earnings and their forecast was not that conservative either. 
   This is a company that is dealing with China first hand while rolling out new editions of its successful product line. 
   Needless to say that Amazon reported well as did Google. 
   The purported revolt by advertisers on Facebook didn’t seem to impact that company’s earnings either.
   It was not, however, just high tech. 

Thu
06
Aug

Letter to the Editor: "2 sure-fire ways to make coronavirus go away"

Dear editor,
   I am not an epidemiologist! But I did enjoy a 34-year, science-related career with the Sea Grant College Programs of both the University of Florida and Texas A&M University.  
   My job responsibilities had me directly transferring key concepts about the natural world to school students and their teachers from throughout each state.  
   Heavy emphasis was placed on the biological sciences.  
   One topic, which I routinely introduced to these eager learners was “herd immunity” or, how an illness can rage through wild and/or domesticated animal populations and, then eventually, vanish from prominence.  
   The same principles governing a disease’s widespread transmission and, subsequent, disappearance in animals apply to human populations facing this novel coronavirus pandemic. 
   Basically, there are two ways for a viral disease, like Covid-19, can be extinguished. 

Thu
06
Aug

How can you help lower your longevity risk?

   As an investor, you’ll encounter different types of risks, but perhaps the greatest is longevity risk – the risk of outliving your money. 
   How can you reduce this risk? 
   For starters, build your financial resources as much as possible, because the greater your level of assets, the lower the risk of outliving them. 
   So, during your working years, keep contributing to your IRA and your 401(k) or similar plan. 
   Once you get close to retirement, compare your essential living expenses, such as your mortgage, food, and so on, with your guaranteed sources of income, such as Social Security and any pensions you may have. 
   If you’re coming up short, you may want to add other resources, such as an investment that can provide you with a regular income stream. 
   Also, you may want to build an emergency fund containing at least a year’s worth of living expenses, with the money held in cash and cash-equivalent investments. 

Thu
06
Aug

"Ask for Jesus’ help when task too great" by: Betsy Monico

   Flipping through the channels last week, I got caught up on the “Blind Side.” It is one of my all –time favorite movies. 
   It sucks me in and always makes me to ignore whatever I was doing at the moment because I have to watch it! “The Rookie” and “Sweet Home Alabama” have the same effect. 
   I laughed and cried as usual watching the true story of how the Touhy family brought in Michael Oher and raised him as their own. I really enjoyed it this time. Maybe I just needed a mental break. I invited every member of my family to sit down and watch it as they were passing through. After I wiped away my tears at the end, I said to myself – I forgot how good that movie really was! 
      We sometimes forget good movies, songs, and stories until we are reminded of them. Our brain pushes them to the back of it behind the bills, chores, and even daily worries about our families, jobs, and life in general. Another “oldie, but goodie” story popped up this week. 

Thu
06
Aug

"Reel Reviews: ‘Amulet’ looked better as a trailer" by: Jessica Shepard

   Well, it seems like the bulk of new movie releases this summer are from the horror/thriller genres and I’ can’t say that I’m disappointed. 
   I’ve always been a horror fan since I was a teen. 
   Granted, I know that those categories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but, I’m running with what I can get my hands on during these turbulent COVID-19 times. 
   Clocking in at 99 minutes, “Amulet” had a fairly awesome trailer with a rotting house, some sort of possession and a former military man with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) 
   With all of this in mind, the film is rated R for some strong violence, bloody images, a sexual assault, and brief language and nudity. 
   Definitely not a movie aimed at teens and quite a bit unsettling for adults. 
   Amulet is a 2020 British horror film written and directed by Romola Garai - in her directorial debut. 

Thu
30
Jul

"Weather reporting: How I learned about post office talks" by: Mike Reddell

   In my early reporting years at the Kerrville Daily Times, my 20-something contemporaries and I would wonder why the publisher’s column would often be on the weather.
   Other than the heavy storm-driven rain that sometimes would send the Guadalupe River out of its banks, I didn’t share his frequent choice of weather as a column subject.
   No matter, he still demanded extensive weather coverage knowing there were many more readers interested in weather reports than a bunch of young reporters.
   I agree with him now that the decades have past and my interest in meteorology is far greater.
   Weather stories were a great way for a newspaper writer to learn how to pack lots of information into each sentence.
   Maps can be helpful, I learned, when I reported for the San Antonio on the rain-swollen rivers emptying into the correct rivers downstream.
   A weekly newspaper doesn’t afford as many opportunities to keep up with the weather.

Thu
30
Jul

"Summertime slowness gives way to job reviews, leads to more writing" by: Jessica Shepard

   Every once in a while, out of sheer boredom, I start poking around for job listings online.
   Now, I’m tied to the Sentinel for the long haul and the rest of my natural-born life because my mom said so.
   But, when things are pretty slow during the summer, I’m sometimes considering a second job.
   This leads me to surfing the web with the help of Google for local businesses that are hiring.
   I only found one that could possibly work with my newspaper gig, but, it would require lots of compromises and I don’t have time for that!
   That thought is quickly squashed by the other prospects I see and I’m tuned back into journalism.
   I suppose the only second job I could take right now would be writing a novel or something of the sort.
   It also reminds me of the encouragement I’ve gotten over the years from teachers, friends, and coworkers.

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