Columns/Opinions

Thu
04
Jun

"Reel Reviews: ‘The Way Back’ is an inspirational journey too long" by: Jessica Shepard

   I’ve seen my fair share of “inspirational” sports movies that show triumph over adversity. 
   And all of them get to the point relatively quickly and end on a high note. 
   Sadly, “The Way Back” really doesn’t do either of those things and seems to stretch onward forever. 
   The Way Back is an American sports drama film directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by Brad Ingelsby. 
   It stars Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, John Aylward, and Janina Gavankar. 
   Jack Cunningham (Affleck) is an alcoholic construction worker who is separated from his wife, Angela (Gavankar). 
   While at Thanksgiving dinner with his family, his sister Beth (Watkins) reveals that friends, including Angela, have expressed concern about his drinking and isolation from friends and family. 

Thu
04
Jun

"Remaining vigilant, prepared" Aaron Sumrall, PhD Matagorda County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources Texas A&M AgriLife

   It is hard to believe that it is already June 1 and halfway through 2020. 
   I am well aware that it is taboo to mention storm season in Matagorda County, but it is something that we need to remain aware of and prepared for in the event that a storm takes aim on the central Texas coast. 
   The outlook for the 2020 season is indicating a 60% increase in likelihood for an active season with a prediction of 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 of those reaching major hurricane strength of Cat 3 or higher. 
   This prediction is the 5th consecutive above-normal season. 
   Hurricanes are not the only concern that we need to remain prepared for should something happen, but we are not exempt from other concerns of flooding, fire, tornadoes, chemical spills, and others. 
   June 1 is a good time to reassess your preparedness should something happen requiring your response. 

Thu
28
May

"Applying sunscreen makes summertime safer, less painful" by: Jessica Shepard

   Recently, I got my first actual sunburn of the season that made me peel.
   Luckily, it was only on my face and shoulders!
   And it wasn’t too painful either.
   Though, I chalk that up to me not being in the pool for too long either.
   But, it was still enough of a problem that I had to re-evaluate my sunscreen stock.
   I’d found that using mom’s bottle from last year was not up to code, so, I bought my own.
   After years of smelling like artificial and chemical coconuts, I found a sunscreen with a high enough sun protection factor (SPF) that didn’t make me gag.
   SPF is a measure of the protection provided by the individual type of sunscreen.
   The SPF number indicates the amount of sun exposure needed to cause sunburn on skin protected with sunscreen compared with skin that is not protected with sunscreen.

Thu
28
May

"People emerged en masse for start of summer despite pandemic " by: John Sample

   Another holiday shortened trading week during these very difficult and unusual times.
   I have always looked fondly toward the Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer and it happens that my daughter’s birthday was on the 28th.
   I hope that it is not the onset stages of senility, as the holiday seemed to come a week too early. 
   No matter my mistake, the summer is upon us and the pandemic be damned, people came out of the woodwork to celebrate.
   I am not sure what that is a sign of but it probably was cabin fever. While we moved into a different metric, it may not be the end of the world.
   Last week, Southwest announced that, for the first time, reservations exceeded cancellations.
   Restaurants served more than takeout. Bars and other businesses that accommodate social gatherings reopened.
   The outcome of all these self-isolating people reunited will be the next important metric. 

Thu
28
May

Sticking to budget can boost your emergency fund

   During the coronavirus pandemic, health concerns may have been at the top of your mind.
   But finances were an issue, too.
   And one aspect of your financial picture has become quite clear – the importance of an emergency fund.
   Even in normal times, it’s a good idea to keep three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a liquid, low-risk account.
   Having an emergency fund available can help you cope with large, unexpected costs, such as a major car repair, without dipping into your IRA or 401(k).
   Of course, you already have bills to pay. But if you create a budget and stick to it, you may find ways to reduce your spending.
   For example, if you budget a certain amount for food each month, you’ll be less likely to make repeated trips to the grocery store each week.
   This could free up money for your emergency fund and, possibly, for other, longer-term investments.  

Thu
28
May

"Others can pray for us, but we must spend time alone with God" by: Betsy Monico

  Our family increased by three the week after Spring Break when the lambs for the county fair moved in. 
   The kids named them Butch, Festus, and Winchester. I showed lambs and heifers when I was a kid too. 
   I remember well the walking, feeding, and one fight in particular I had with my brother over who was going to carry the bucket of water out to the pen. 
   We both got spankings.
The county fair and camping out at the Emmons camp was the highlight of my year. 
   One of the reasons we loved it was the animal judging. 
   The real reason we loved the fair though was the meeting and mingling that took place over the five days and five nights. 
   You see, boys and girls from all over the county came together dolled up and cleaned up in their best western attire. 
   Everyone tended to collide right in front of the Ferris wheel or over by the show pen, and it was fun!

Thu
28
May

"Reel Reviews: ‘Arkansas’ drug-dealing park rangers fail to live up to the hype" by: Jessica Shepard

   For me, movies featuring John Malkovich have always been hit or miss.
   It’s not always on point, but, sometimes he gets something done right.
   Sadly, his stint in “Arkansas” is much too brief for me to enjoy, but, maybe you’ll get a kick out of it.
   Arkansas is a combination crime, drama, thriller film, directed by Clark Duke in his directorial debut, from a screenplay by Duke and Andrew Boonkrong.
   It stars Liam Hemsworth, Duke, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Eden Brolin, Chandler Duke, John Malkovich, Chris Mullinax, and Vince Vaughn.
   The movie is based on the novel Arkansas by John Brandon.
   The film clocks in at 117 minutes and is rated R for violence, language throughout, drug material and brief nudity.
   It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 5 by Lionsgate rather than being released theatrically due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thu
21
May

"Judge mixes positive in EOC reports; Mayor notes gun violence" by: Mike Reddell

   Monday’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) update was largely built on Gov. Gregg Abbott’s press conference earlier that day.
   I posted the Texas Tribune’s solid coverage of Abbott’s Monday, May 18, remarks on Page 6 in this week’s edition. It has the full details of Abbott’s latest reopening measures.
   Given that COVID-19 continues to infect thousands, there’s a major cautionary note to follow established guidelines for personal health protection attached to Abbott’s ambitious reopening of Texas.
   Fortunately, Abbott and local officials continue to stress the need for hygiene and social distancing.
   County Judge Nate McDonald always tries to mix the positive with the pandemic reports of cases, recoveries and deaths.
   As of presstime Tuesday morning, Matagorda County had 66 positive COVID-19, 37 full recoveries and five deaths. There are 10 pending cases.

Thu
21
May

"Hooray for rain, jury is out on squash gardens" by: Jessica Shepard

   Almost every time it rains, I get excited.
   And, even then, that only depends on what type of rain we’re getting.
   If it’s ferocious thunderstorms and borderline hail types of storms, I’m not a fan.
   But, slow or moderate thunderstorms are awesome and I find them also to be very relaxing.
   The only downside to that is when they happen during work hours and I can’t sneak off for a little nap.
   Or, I suppose if the power goes out or something.
   But, those sorts of things rarely happen.
   Rain also means that mom’s COVID-19 victory garden is sprouting up everywhere and there’s dozens of flowers and immature squash growing on the vine.
   Mom planted a variety of squash this year including zucchini, yellow squash, and those white UFO-looking kind.
   I actually had to Google those to find their proper name – Patty Pan squash.
   Apparently, there’s also pickling cucumbers out there as well.

Thu
21
May

Know risk tolerance at different stages of life

    As an investor, you’ll always need to deal with risk of some kind.
   But how can you manage the risk that’s shown up in the recent volatility of the financial markets?
   The answer may depend on where you are in life.
   For example, when you’re first starting out in your career, with decades to go until you retire, you could take on a higher risk level as you invest primarily for growth.
   When you’re in the middle stages, you might be saving for retirement and for your children’s college education, so you still need to invest for growth – but you’ll also want to balance your investment mix.
   Then, when you’re closing in on retirement, you may lower your risk level by relying on the cash and cash equivalents in your portfolio to meet your daily expenses for the next few years.
   Finally, when you’re retired, you can help control risk by carefully monitoring how much you withdraw each year from your retirement accounts.

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