Columns/Opinions

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.

Thu
21
May

"Fed chairman Powell comments help fuel optimism among investors" by: John Sample

   At the end of last week the Dow was down over 600 points for May and we were only halfway through the month. 
   You get news this week that Moderna’s early-stage Covid-19 study showed its vaccine was creating antibodies much like those who had contracted the disease. 
   There were only eight cases and a more thorough study was needed. 
   That, along with Fed Chairman Powell interviewed on 60 Minutes with a fairly positive attitude, seemed to change investors’ mood.
   We’ll now see if our government will move from stay at home to restarting the economy. 
   It was also a bit of good news for the State of Texas that WTI crude moved back to a break-even price of $32. 
   It has only been a couple of weeks since WTI dropped to a negative level at the close of futures contracts for that month. 
   As quickly as wells were shut in, they can be reopened. 

Thu
21
May

"Hoping a saying the graduate likes now stays with him" by: Betsy Monico

   Flashback 7 years ago: 
   We were traveling down our usual route this week on 488 when my youngest child, Blaise, did something she is notorious for. 
   I have coined a new word in her honor. I now call her mixed up sayings a “Blaiseism.” 
   Her previous “Blaiseisms” include her exclaiming with her hands on her hips that something annoying to her was her “PET PEE.” 
   She also informed us all at the dinner table recently that her grandfather was going to get “Coca-Cola” cancer if he was not careful. She had heard us say colon cancer I guess and in her defense, “pet pee” is really close to pet peeve. 
   The crème de la crème of “Blaiseisms” was a remark she made about Mr. Casey’s pastureland on 488 a few days ago. 
   There were several cattle grazing in the pasture that she noticed as we drove by. 

Thu
21
May

"Jesus should be seen not just a good person, but as Lord " by: Caleb Gibson

   The Hebrew Word Adonai reminds us that God guides our life. 
   This Hebrew word closely connected to the identity of God is this word, Adonai, which in Hebrew means, “Lord.” 
   Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word Lord as, “a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due.” 
   This word occurs 300 times in the Old Testament. 
   It’s the plural for of the word, “Adon.” 
   In Genesis 15:2, Abram called out to the “Lord God,” in Hebrew he said, “Adonai Yahweh.”
The word Adonai isn’t technically a name for God. It is a title, and it is a beautiful title. 
   It can be used for someone who isn’t God. Sometimes we may think negatively about this idea of Lord because of how we may see evil people rule. 
   God is a good ruler. 
   To say Lord is to say that He is the alpha of the group. His words are not just good sayings, His word is truth. 

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