Columns/Opinions

Thu
18
Jun

"Sticking to strengths less painful than not" by: Jessica Shepard

   Sooo, I had my first experience hanging drywall over the weekend – on a ceiling.
   And I have come to the realization that my upper body strength counts for nothing on a ladder when my fear of heights kicks in.
   Plus, an uneven floor and rickety ladder are all just a recipe for disaster anyway.
   But, this was another one of mom’s brilliant brainchild moments for the ridiculously unprepared.
   Not to mention that my brother was less than helpful by not screwing the board in fast enough.
   The good news is that the ceiling is up; the bad news is that there are still three more walls to cover and I’m just not seeing this working out without him.
   Plus, he didn’t measure things exactly right before making eyeballed cuts and adjustments.
   The whole task was very anxiety-inducing and makes me want to just find some professionals to finish it up.

Thu
18
Jun

"Improved Dow shows world is far from ending Chicken Little" by: John Sample

   What a difference a week makes. 
   Last week the Dow dropped almost 1900 points in one day. The various equity indexes had their worst weekly performance in three months.
   There was unrest in the streets last week, while this week it’s announced that retail sales in May jumped double digits, far exceeding expectations.
   Next, you learn a steroid improves recovery from Covid-19, because it’s not focusing on the lungs but on swelling.
   This type of news in one day sent the indexes north though they have work to overcome last week’s losses. 
   I would point out the desperate need to proclaim that the economy in recession before we had ended two quarters with negative GDP may have to revised.
   While I do believe that the overall economy is returning much faster and stronger than expected, the price to small business will be significant.
   Some use the phrase of thinning the herd to label the medical impact of Covid-19.

Thu
18
Jun

Can you invest for retirement and education?

   There haven’t been any college graduation ceremonies lately, but they’ll be back.
   And if you have young children, you may want to help them save for that day.
   Can you do so and still put away money for your retirement?
   It is possible.
   Of course, you’ll have to budget your resources, and you may have to make some tradeoffs, such as retiring later or contributing less to your child’s education.
   However, in terms of logistics, you can make saving and investing easier.
   For starters, you may already have money taken from your paycheck and placed in your 401(k). And you can direct your bank to move money each month into your IRA.
   To save for college, you might want to consider a tax-advantaged 529 plan.
   Again, you can have money moved to this investment automatically from your checking or savings account.
   You can even have your friends and relatives contribute to your plan.

Thu
18
Jun

"With the help of Jesus, move some mountains" by: Betsy Monico

   It finally feels like summer.
   The temperature has risen in true Texas fashion, online school is complete, and the graduation festivities are behind us.
   We attended our final Class of 2020 party last night to celebrate my son’s best friend.
   Over the years, his parents and we have co-parented to the best of our abilities. 
   Our goal has often been to simply keep them out of trouble.
   They have summer jobs and will head to TSTC in the fall. To be continued…
   My youngest two had a group over Friday night for a bonfire. 
   When it was bedtime, my mom skills were tested.
   I pulled every blanket we had out of the hallway closet and added sleeping arrangements for eight extra kids. 
   After the beds were claimed, I followed Mammaw’s rules and made a double pallet in the girl’s room, a single one in the boys’ room, and transformed couches into beds. 

Thu
18
Jun

"Reel Reviews: ‘Call of the Wild’ uses too much CGI for heartfelt story" by: Jessica Shepard

   I vaguely remember “Call of the Wild” in its literature form from some long-forgotten segment in school.
   Maybe even just a small excerpt for a test or grammar exercise.
   But, I had some hope watching the newest film adaptation – right up until I saw how truly horrible the computer-generated image (CGI) of Buck really is.
   It’s like the artists used all their skills to make his face wonderfully expressive but slacked off on the body of the “dog.”
   The plot also has a different ending in the new film, but, I’m fine with that.
   The Call of the Wild is an adventure film based on the Jack London 1903 novel of the same name and on Twentieth Century Pictures’ 1935 film adaptation.
   Directed by Chris Sanders, in his live-action directorial debut, and his first film without a co-director, the film was written by Michael Green and stars Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Cara Gee, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Woodell.

Thu
11
Jun

"Threat of COVID-19 should remain front and center" by: Mike Reddell

   Monday’s announcement of six new COVID-19 positive cases from the Emergency Operation Center was shocking to me.
   Hopefully, it was equally surprising to others.
   Now that we’re mostly head-long into reopening Texas government and businesses, the coronavirus scare seemingly has lost its grip of threat – for no apparent reason.
   In late May, several publications dwelled on the fact that we had reached the 100,000-death milestone of this pandemic.
   At roughly 1,000 deaths a day in the U.S., we’ve now passed the 110,000-death mark a few days ago.
   There’s been far less attention given to the new COVID death toll, even though the new level should be as concerning, as it shows few signs of abatement.
   With the pandemic and the economic troubles it has created, the social unrest and a new hurricane season, we’ve all acquired fatigue after being whiplashed over the different crisis we’re enduring.

Thu
11
Jun

"New tricks for covering graduation amid COVID-19 restrictions" by: Jessica Shepard

   When I was at Tidehaven High School’s Cclass of 2020 graduation, I was glad to see families practicing social distancing techniques.
   It got even better when I noticed some wore masks and didn’t get bent out of shape when they were screened for their temperature before entering the stadium.
   And I have to say with the heat climbing daily and heat index warnings well until 7 p.m. – that was a sight of wonderful cooperation.
   I only noticed a few folks had to hang back in the shade to cool off before taking their temperatures.
   That’s the one downside of outdoor graduation ceremonies – there just isn’t enough shade for those wide-open stadiums!
   With Bay City’s graduation time moved back to 9 p.m., I’m foreseeing less of a sunlight problem and more of a staying awake one.
   Luckily, since I’m down on the field, I’m allowed to move around more than folks in the stands.

Thu
11
Jun

"It is nice to be here but it would be better to understand why we are here" by: John Sample

   Three months gone and the market is back from the abyss.
   We clawed back to the February highs in the S&P 500 stock-index.
I am happy - my account balance is back to a level that doesn’t give me pain.
   Now we have to wonder where we go from here.
   Many are concerned about a reemergence of the pandemic as states such as Texas reopen.
   There is real cause for concern. My worry is we have little information that I trust these days.
   Information of late is getting harder to trust.
Look at last week’s unemployment numbers that were much better than expected. The markets moved higher.
   Later it was discovered that a miscalculation made the numbers better than expected, but not as good as reported.
   Over time it becomes hard to know what the real truth is.
   Remember how opinions have changed over whether eggs or good or bad for you, not to mention coffee, wine, aspirin, meat and milk.

Thu
11
Jun

Nearing retirement? What questions should you ask?

   The recent market volatility has affected just about everybody’s financial and investment situations – so, if you were planning to retire soon, will it still be possible?
   Of course, with so many people’s jobs being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, your retirement plans may have been thrown into confusion.
   But assuming your employment is stable, you’ll need to review your retirement goals and the progress you’ve made toward achieving them, so you can determine what moves, if any, you need to make.
   Then, ask yourself some questions.
   For starters, are you flexible enough to make some changes to your retirement lifestyle?
   If you can find ways to make it less costly, you may not need to change your current investment strategy significantly.
   Also, if necessary, are you willing to work longer than you had originally projected, so you can put more money into your IRA and 401(k)?

Thu
11
Jun

"A week to celebrate, to be considerate of others" by: Betsy Monico

   Mother’s Day has obviously passed and Father’s Day is now upon us.
   It is funny how time flies. 
   If you have ever tried to catch a helium balloon once it takes flights – you know what I mean.
   I watched my daughter’s friend last week try to catch one of her birthday balloons after she accidently let go.
   It was nearly impossible. Luckily, the big, gold 15 got trapped under the carport and she jumped to nab it.
   If it had been released one step closer to our backyard, it would have been a goner. 
   Well, time truly does seems like a goner sometimes.
   The Bible tells us that life is but a mere breath and that time is fleeting.
   Watching my son, my 2nd born, graduate last week concreted the concept of time once again in my mind and heart.

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