"Reel Reviews: ‘Shortcut’ proves some roads less traveled for reason" by: Jessica Shepard

   As we roll into the spookiest month of the year I’ve got high hopes for most horror or thriller movies slated to debut.
   It just makes more sense to put scary movies in October than it does the whole rest of the year.
   I mean, there’s very little room for success during the spring and summer months or the winter holiday season.
   Not to mention that COVID-19 has made things worse and harder to keep to a regular theatrical release schedule.
   I snagged an early afternoon spot to watch “Shortcut” and unfortunately, it’s a very low budget British film with a cheesy monster and no real resolution.
   In fact, if you’re looking for legit British scares, check out “An American Werewolf in London,” “The Woman in Black,” or “28 Days Later.
   Shortcut feels more like a mash up of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and the famed “Harry Potter” series with less magic and more whiny teenagers.

"Blue hair and other weird colors are anything but boring " by: Jessica Shepard

   The other day I was mistaken for a high school student. 
   Now, I know that I’m the youngest person at the Sentinel, but I’ll also be 33 at the end of this month. 
   I can confess to being pleasantly surprised and very amused during the little mishap and still have a smile on my face days later. 
   Though now I’m worried about that person’s eyesight. 
   I’ve got dark blue hair again – something I know that’s against most school dress codes, if not all of them in our area. 
   In fact, my hair is still a bit of contention among people I run into during the day-to-day office operations or covering an event. 
   I know my mom hates it, but, she’s pretty much given up on trying to coerce me into maintaining some semblance of normalcy when it comes to my hair. 
   And to be truthful, I’ve been doing weird hair colors since I graduated in 2006. 


"September will go down as worst month since March, but quarter rose over 50% " by: John Sample

   Another September will be in the books and it was painful again. 
   September will go down as the worst month for the equities markets since March. 
   The third quarter, however, rose over 50% above the lows set in March. 
   Though there has been some profit taking in the high tech stocks, they tend to find favor after pulling back.
   I don’t actually see value, but in this market of volatility one could look for short-term trades. 
   It goes without saying that where the FANG stocks go, the market will follow.
   The economy is hotly debated on almost a daily basis. 
   There are many that suggest that the Federal Government hasn’t provided enough stimulus. 
   There are fiscal hawks alarmed at the amount of debt piled up from previous measures. 
   You only have to look at the airline industry that will lay off workers this week. 
   There are cities entering their fiscal year having to cut and raise taxes. 


Letter to the Editor: Naked nose syndrome spreading like wildfire

Dear editor, 
   It appears that most citizens have courteously accepted the advice and/or mandates to wear a mask in public. 
   Yet, there are some who mysteriously feel compelled to cover only their mouth with these pieces of New Normal apparel. 
   I’m sure that by now everyone must be aware that the coronavirus is transferred from one person to another through the air as contaminated droplets from an infected party. 
   And, surely, they must also know that almost all humans routinely inhale and exhale through their nostrils. 
   Yet, this growing fashion trend suggests to me three possible reasons why so many leave their shiny noses buck naked: 
   They have chosen to cavalierly ignore the fact that ‘up the nose’ is where the virus (if present) is prone to concentrate and, therefore, this is where Covid-19 test samples are most often obtained? 


"Trust in the Lord forever, for God is an everlasting rock" by: Betsy Monico

   I randomly found an article from 3 years ago today and marveled at how much has changed since then.
   Our family of six is now four. I did the math and knew that was coming…but I never dreamed that 2020 would introduced us all to Covid and change the way we live.
   When I read my previous column and entertained my old worries and concerns, I realized how good life was back then. 
   I probably took the normalcy for granted. We all did! We crave “normal” now, but are also “stomaching” the fact that much of life beyond our control.
   Previously I shared…Routines here are a must. I allow flexibility, but with a large family…knowing what is needed for the day, preparing, and getting out of the door on time is a necessity.
   Friday mornings typically equal FCA at the junior high and then pep rallies at the high school. I make my rounds at both and end up so hyper and thankful for “my people” that the rest of the day flies by.


"The law closes our mouth because of sin, but righteousness of faith speaks" by: Caleb Gibson

   Your words are powerful. Begin to take time to evaluate the words that you speak. 
   Paul told the church in Rome, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 
   But the righteousness of faith speaks…” (Romans 10:5-6). What does righteousness do for us? It causes us to speak.
   Under the Law, we are condemned. We cannot keep the commandments. 
   We do our best, but our best is not enough. 
   The law is good because it brings us to the end of ourselves and causes us to be silent before God. The Scriptures tell us, 
   “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.” (Romans 3:19). 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Alone’ plays up harsh wilderness elements instead of decent storyline" by: Jessica Shepard

   Sadly, there’s still a holdup in Hollywood for releasing new movies and this is making it harder to choose interesting flicks to review. 
   Now, I chose “Alone” with a grain of salt and hopes that it would do more than give me a dose of anxiety. 
   Sadly, it fell terribly short of even that. 
   But, I did enjoy the scenery out in the Pacific Northwest’s wilderness and the shots and lighting are done quite well. 
   I mean, the premise of the film is overplayed and isn’t that new: a lone woman gets kidnapped by a creeper with intent to rape and/or just straight-up murder her. 
   It’s got all the makings of a “Criminal Minds” episode and initially, I spent more time inwardly chastising the woman for not being better and aware of her surroundings. 
   The movie has a small cast and even though it’s shot mostly on the road and outdoors; there’s still something insidiously intimate in the different camera angles. 


"Tropical Storm Beta brings drizzly rain, boredom" by: Jessica Shepard

   When I’m struggling to write a column for the week, I go back and re-read some of the ones from about the same time as last year and hope to find inspiration somewhere.
   Sadly, that’s not happening this year.
   On one hand, I’m blaming my terrible sleep schedule for my lack of muse and on the other I’m blaming the weather.
   When Beta was first announced as a Tropical Storm, we were informed to expect a hurricane.
   Now that we’ve weathered the storm so to speak, all it was an extended rainstorm with a bit of wind and minor flooding – both of which I’m easily used to handling.
   Granted, plenty of other people suffered in the wake of this storm with flooding in low-lying areas, but, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Hurricane Harvey as when it dumped over a foot of water on Matagorda County.
   Beta only made me want to curl up to watch horror movies and nap rather than work on writing or even pay attention to music.


"Many sit on cash: Could the markets get any more confusing?" by: John Sample

   Fundamental will win out but there is no ignoring demand exceeding supply.
   Last week started off with promise but ended down extending the losses to three straight weeks. 
   There is much to point to for an explanation. One could be that markets actually perform better when we have grid lock in DC. 
   There is a possibility that the Democratic Party could capture both the House and Senate and, of course, the Executive office. 
   I tend to think that at least the Senate may remain in the Republican control but that may be tenuous at best. 
   The ability for investors to to actually predict and benefit from the results has been low. 
   While elections capture the nation’s attention of the public, DC moves much more slowly than politicians would like you to believe.


Financial moves for widows and widowers

    If you’ve recently become a widow or widower, coping with your grief can seem like a full-time struggle.
   Unfortunately, the business of life must go on – and the financial moves you make at this time can have a big impact on your life.
   For starters, don’t rush into any rash decisions, such as selling your home.
  You’ll have time for these choices later.
   However, you will need to consult with your estate planning professional to implement arrangements such as a will or living trust.
   Also, contact your life insurance agent about dealing with death benefits from your spouse’s policy.
   And you’ll want to change the name on your joint financial accounts and address any outstanding bills in your spouse’s name.
   Finally, think about your own future.
   You may need to revise your estate plans and insurance policies.


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