"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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You've got mail


Fri, Dec 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Computers and internet communication are still a marvel to those of us who remember when a long distance phone call was a huge deal and reserved for announcing a death in the family. Long distance rates were lowest in the evenings and on Sundays, and there were no emergencies critical enough to have anyone calling during day rates. People would talk in a really, really loud voice on long distance, it seemed that amplification was needed to carry all the way to California.

Now, we have Skype so we can not only speak with, but actually see, friends and family on the other side of the world. It means combing one's hair and putting on mascara before settling in front of the web cam, but it is amazing, without a doubt.

Email and programs like Facebook allow conversation with folks we never even liked that much, but once the distribution list is in place, what the heck. Send 'em those jokes!

Here is the problem. With a keystroke we can send off things we would never bother to write on paper or spend money on a stamp for. So, we all get mail.

Here's how it goes- an old friend or a cousin that hasn't been seen since 1966 sends a note: "Hi! I'm so glad I found you! We really ought to stay in touch!" (Bold print, caps and lots of exclamation points are added to demonstrate great excitement about this cyber reunion.)

Then come the old jokes that have been recycled for years. Soon enough, chain letters follow that threaten to burn your house and eat your children if you don't forward to ten worthy friends. Prayer chains with lots of sparkly graphics and candles flickering are a daily event. Opportunities to buy gift wrap and bad candy for a school fundraiser from the kid of a cousin you hardly recall also appears. Promises come that Bill Gates is giving away free money just because he can. Then there's the dancing teddy bears that want a hug, and of course, the occasional scam, like the man from Nairobi or someplace who has billions but needs my bank account to deposit it.

The most offensive, however, are political rants and diatribes. I'm asked daily to support our troops with glittering flags waving over the message, eagles about to crash through my screen and reminders that freedom is not free. These are not invitations to a dialogue about war and peace and what being a patriotic American might mean to me. Would any of the folks on the long list of distribution that heads these things call me up on the phone to disc .....
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One moment, please... Yeah, that'll happen when pumpkins fly!

Fri, Dec 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

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Another one from Flaherty - The Dance

Tue, Dec 8th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

When I walked into the Owls, Archie called me over to the table and informed me that the Owls were going to have a dance - whether they wanted to or not.

"Well, if you don't want a dance, why are you having one?"

"We don't have anyth ..... 
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One moment, please... Tourism involves everyone

Fri, Dec 4th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the past several months, I've had the pleasure of sitting in on a number of meetings along with experiencing what I consider to be significant influences on the future of each individual community collectively recognized as the sum of our parts ..... 
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What it looks like when Congress does its job

Fri, Nov 27th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

If you've ever wondered what members of Congress do to earn their keep, the current health-care debate on Capitol Hill should give you a good idea. This complex legislation, placed on the congressional agenda by President Obama but shaped by the int ..... 
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Daily newspapers, once the backbone of the free press, on life support

Fri, Nov 20th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Are daily newspapers, including the New York Times and many others large and small around the county, going to survive in this digital age? I still prefer paging through and reading a newspaper that is physically in my hands. However, in this electr ..... 
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Whatever their tone, we need town hall meetings

Fri, Nov 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Years ago, when I was still in Congress, I pulled up one day to address a public meeting in a remote and very rural part of Indiana. The sheriff, a friend of mine, met me outside the small volunteer firehouse where I was to speak. "The Ku Klux Klan ..... 
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My biggest fan

Fri, Nov 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I seem to have one dedicated reader. He sends me anonymous letters that brighten my day. I would like to respond, but he has no return address or name attribution in his letters mailed from Rochester. He appears, from the state of the handwriting, t ..... 
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Great white birds and hope for a troubled world

Fri, Nov 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

To brighten an overcast, cold and windy November, try a short trip to the eastern edge of Houston County along the Mississippi River where you may join hundreds of people observing the spectacular tundra swan migration. The best places to watch the ..... 
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