"Automated answering sure route to nowhere" by: Mike Reddell

   All of these years later, I still get a big headache out of those automated phone answering machines.  
   And, no, I’m not talking about calling someone and hearing an electronic voice repeat the phone number and ask you to leave a message. I get those.  
   I’m talking about the sheer misery or, at best, inconvenience of calling a big company or government agency give you options – numbered 1,2,3…whatever – after telling you to listen up, “as our menu has changed.”  
   What? Does that mean there was something in place more impersonal and confusing than the new menu?  

"Quality time spent with mom, sister" by: Jessica Shepard

   Mother’s Day was rather uneventful last weekend.  
   My sister Ashlee came home and we spent a good portion of Saturday in Sugar Land.  
   We ran errands and had a little mother-daughter bonding time.  
   Mom, Ashlee and I all got pedicures.  
   It was an interesting experience, if only because it seems like a lot of other mothers had the same idea.  
   I don’t think it would have been so bad if I wasn’t the one having to sit apart from my family.  

"Look at value of European stocks" by: John Sample

   We ended last week with a promising jobs report that allowed the various indexes to rise enough for the markets to post a 1 percent gain for the week. 
   It was almost the Goldie Locks type of scenario where the number of new hires was not too much or too little.    
   The report it appears was just right. Many analysts believed that it supported the idea that the economy is improving, but not at a pace that will move inflation. Therefore, eliminating a near-term move in interest rates upward.  
   You couple that news with the fact that the Conservative Party in England won a stunning victory in parliamentary elections.   
   I point this out as an example of the importance of all the news that an investor has to take into account.   
   Mr. Cameron’s victory will diminish the call for England to abandon the EU.   
   It will also be a positive signal for the banking industry in the UK.

"We should not allow age, other hurdels, keep us from our goals" by: Rosario Resendez

   “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis. 
   How any times have we wanted to do something but thought we were too old to do it? 
   I have a friend that keeps saying she should have been a civil rights lawyer because she is really passionate about that line of work. 
   So each time she says it I ask her why she doesn’t pursue that dream and go to college to be a civil rights lawyer.  
   She always answers that she is too old to pursue that dream. Besides she has to work to pay her bills so she can’t go to school full time and therefore it would be too long for her to graduate. 
   I then ask her how bad she wants to be a civil rights lawyer because then time shouldn’t be a factor. 
   She and I are the same age so her claiming that she is too old for something would mean that I am too old too and I refuse to 

"The Lord is helping you as you lead others" by: Betsy Monico

   There is a lot going on around here on the close of Mother’s Day Sunday. 
   I will have to work to get my thoughts out. I hit my head two times when I was getting the eggs out of the chicken coop. 
   Our coop was designed for little kids to go in I guess and retrieve the goods, not average height adults.  
   My other mishap was when I was walking down the hallway and was nearly knocked down by a wet Jack Russell who was running like a bandit. 
   We crossed paths and I knocked a picture off of the wall when I lunged to protect myself from a fall. I stayed up, the picture came down, and my four legged friend never looked back. 

"Focus on future by voting" by: Mike Reddell

   Saturday’s general election should generate excitement across Matagorda County, so turnout should be impressive. Right?
   I hope so. Almost all candidates spend money, time and shoe leather and risk higher than usual blood pressure from the stress of engaging in lots of external and internal debates. 
   There are two open seats on both the Bay City and Van Vleck school boards and they’re all contested races. 
   While some issues are special to each community, there are lots of complicated education headaches common to all Texas school board members. Nothing simple like the timeless matters of funding, taxing, student discipline and personnel evaluations.
   The city council races in Bay City are no less stressful for the issues facing municipal government here.

"Interpreting Marvel's Universe" by: Jessica Shepard

   To pick up where I left off last week on my explosion of nerdiness – I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron last Saturday, May 2.
   I loved every minute of it!
   From the opening montage for the Marvel Studios credit card to the very end where I was disappointed in Joss Whedon.
   There was a moment for something great and he waved as it passed by.
   The only spoiler I’m about to give is this – there is no after-credits clip.
   So, once those white letters start scrolling upwards, feel free to leave your seat.

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"Social media stock slow making profit" by: John Sample

   I have spoken of late about my concerns over trendy stocks falling out of favor. 
   Last week Twitter, LinkedIn and Yelp were taken out to the wood shed and punished. 
   The apparent rush to any social media stock has lost its luster. 
   It is always the case that sooner than later these companies have to make money. 
   Monetizing a site that has drawn the attention of the millennials is not always easy. 
   Google bought You Tube years ago and it is still trying to make that vastly popular site pay for itself. 
   Users tend to find advertising a less than enjoyable experience. It is only in the last year that Facebook was able to convert its wildly popular site into a profit-making machine.
   I believe what is happening is that investors are focusing carefully on earnings reports and projections. 

"Resepct for mothers should extend beyond 1 special day" by: Rosario Resendez

    “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43
   Mother’s Day is right around the corner. 
   Sunday we will be taking our mothers out to eat, we will be showering her with flowers and gifts and trying to make her feel as special as we can.
   Sunday will also be a day that some will visit the cemetery with a heavy heart to lay flowers at their mother’s final resting place.
   On Mother’s Day, I also like to think of the mother of our savior Jesus Christ. 
   What a wonderful example of a gentle mother was Mary.
   I like to think how gentle she was to our Lord who, after all, was her Lord as well. 
   Jesus also was loving and obedient to His mother.
   John 2:3-5: “When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’  

"In times of trouble, stay on Lord's path" by: Betsey Monico

   I carefully composed my entire column on a notepad yesterday sitting in the sun at a ballpark in Temple.
   It was pretty good. It was finished.
   Everything was ready to type until I had a run-in with a big truck on I-35. 
   What happened totally made me changed my mental gears and change my plans for what I was writing this week.
   It went down like this. 
   I was driving. We were singing along and doing a bit of dancing as usual. 
   All of a sudden there was an aroma in the air that was not our half-eaten Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.
   It was stronger and way more funky than the two little softball players I had in the backseat. 
   It was a hefty odor and smelled like the Buffalo Sale Barn did when I was a little girl and frequented there.
   About that time something started to hit my windshield. 


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