Columns & Editorials

Did You Know?

Hunting enthusiasts anxiously look forward to the first day of hunting season, a date chosen after local gaming authorities carefully consider a host of factors. Conservation of both game and the hobby hunters love so much are two of the driving forces that determine when hunting seasons begin. Local gaming authorities want to protect wildlife from overhunting, and they also want to ensure hunters won’t have to confront dwindling animal populations that will affect their hunting. Estimates of local animal populations are one of the main factors gaming authorities consider when trying to figure out the best time to start a hunting season. If local authorities deem that the animal population is too large, thereby adversely affecting local residents, they will time hunting season in such a way as to give hunters an advantage. This can help control local wildlife populations and make communities safer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if population estimates are especially low, authorities will time hunting season so fewer animals are likely to be killed. These efforts at managing local animal populations can benefit hunters, animals and even local residents who don’t participate when hunting season begins.

It’s Time to Consider Options

It’s Time to Consider Options

Student misbehavior is a part of every classroom. However, there are times when student misbehavior is so volatile, violent students need to be separated from the rest of the class for their own sake and the sake of other learners. Students who are this volatile are often placed in classrooms for students who have difficulty managing their behavior or who may have one or more disabilities that manifest in anger or aggression. Within these classrooms there may be a much smaller room, perhaps the size of a large walk-in closet, designated as a “cool down” area for students who need a place to pull themselves together after an angry outburst.

Have You Any Dreams You’d Like to Sell?
Have You Any Dreams You’d Like to Sell?

Have You Any Dreams You’d Like to Sell?

Note: this column was authored before the events that took place last week at the US Capitol. In lieu of our topic, we have to take a tack from history. In the case of the Holocaust, or the day of 9/11, or the horrors of both our civil and international wars, to stop talking is to forget, to forget is to repeat. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that repeat performances of horrible things actually CAN happen, and often do. As you read this column, you might not even realize what Monday holds for you. For many with office jobs, you get a day off. It’s Martin Luther King Day, after all. Why, if it were summer, we’d all be donning our flag festooned swim trunks and bikinis and cooking out at some lake, indulging in adult beverages and playing horseshoes or corn hole with Kidd Rock in the background, rocking a bad word for a woman up and down the coast. After all, what are national holidays for, if not this? A national holiday is a country’s equivalent of a personal milestone celebration, like a birthday or an anniversary. Our forefathers thought it would be nice for us to take a day and remember our history and celebrate as a society. I’m not sure they meant for us to confuse Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, but that’s a column for another time. I’m not sure they meant for us to choose to show up at the post office only on these days, cursing under our breath because we really needed stamps. But, it’s just MLK Day, the national holiday that almost wasn’t. Do you remember all that controversy over the American people not needing yet another day off? Still, I happen to think it’s the most important one of all. But first, let’s hop into my hot tub time machine and head back to the 40’s when Michael King (who would legally change his name to honor Protestant leader Martin Luther) forged his path. I’m embarrassed at how little I knew about this civil rights icon. We shall learn together, yes?

What Most Kids Really Want

What Most Kids Really Want

The holiday season is that time where we spend hours upon hours stressing over family gatherings, finding the perfect gifts and making the holidays magical for our children. In all our efforts, we often overlook the most valuable gift we can give our children, our time. Our children, especially when they are young, typically want our time and attention more than toys, trinkets, or other goods that won’t make it to New Year’s Eve intact. Somehow, we seem to have bought into the folly that gifts must be trendy, spendy and wrapped in a box. Not so. The best gift we can give to our children is the gift of ourselves. Here are a few suggestions for spending quality time with potential for continued learning throughout and beyond the holidays.

Did you know?

Celebrating the new year on January 1 is a relatively recent phenomenon. The calendar as we know it today has evolved several times and months have gone by different names. On the early Roman calendar, March was the first month of the 10-month calendar. That is why the last four months of the year have prefixes that coordinate with the seventh (September), eighth (October), ninth (November), and tenth (December) numerals. King Numa Pompilius reformed the calendar around 700 BCE by adding the months of January and February to the original 10 months. But the calendar still required some additional tweaking to be more aligned with the seasons. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar introduced a solar-based calendar that was an improvement on the ancient Roman one, which was lunar-based. During this time, the month of Quintilis was renamed July in honor of Julius Caesar and Sextilis was renamed August in honor of Augustus. Shortly after the introduction of the solar calendar, the beginning of the year was moved from March 1 to January 1.

Laymen’s Corner

When we hear those words it is easy to say “I don’t have time, or I need to hurry.” Think about it, what a satisfaction it is to see a job well done. No matter what it is, it is a good feeling to see our work looking good. That means if we are driving our cars, mowing the lawn, making something in the shop, washing the dishes, sweeping the floors, or anything else, we should take a certain pride in whatever we do. We should also take pride in the things we do for GOD. GOD never does anything half way or haphazard. It seems over the years that some of our will to do good, has been diluted with hurry, hurry, hurry. I don’t know exactly what did that but our old values seem to have faded even in seniors. I remember a time when I could do my day’s work and sleep like a baby at night.

We’re All Mad Here
We’re All Mad Here

We’re All Mad Here

I write a lot, like a lot a lot. Little of it is legible. Most of it I cannot even decipher. My life is a series of cubbyholes stuffed with tidbits of paper. My car’s cup holder, my nightstand drawers, my makeup organizer, all sweater and coat pockets, my purse – both the one I am currently carrying and the 2 others tucked away in my closet, and every drawer in my kitchen, all suffer the same fate. They are filled to the brim with incoherent ramblings that, should I ever be able to epiphanize the meanings, could net me either a bestselling novel or the secret to life. Since we are all still in hunker down mode, I decided to launch a grand cleaning and organizing endeavor. I call it “the winter that I wish were spring already” cleaning event. My goal is to have a single junk drawer in my kitchen, rather than a single decent drawer and a litany of junk ones, a closet full of wearable clothes instead of ones I’m compelled to keep from a decade ago, or more, and a nightstand drawer suitable for finding the chapstick after I’m already tucked into bed. I did not capitalize chapstick because, Texas. We are the home of generic name brands. All tissues are kleenex. All soft drinks are cokes. All lip balm is chapstick. But, let’s get back to all that paper: receipts with blotted lipstick stains on the back, fast food napkins, corners from memo pads, spent grocery lists, and even the odd magazine subscription insert. These fragments contain my life’s work. There are ideas for columns, ideas for blog entries, ideas for novels, & snippets meant for poems. They are mixed medium works written in ink, yes, but also pencil and map color and crayon and even eyebrow pencil. Each idea made perfect sense when I was compelled, often times against my will, to write them. Now, though, I struggle to pick up that ethereal web-like line of thought that has faded to invisible. So I gathered them together in my kitchen, unsure of how to save them but unwilling to say a final goodbye. Then, just yesterday, I was doing a legit writing exercise in my handy dandy writer wannabe training manual. The exercise was imagining you had fallen down a rabbit hole designed just to your specifications. I was to describe everything I saw. I looked to my right, greeted by the mountain of paper fragments that resembled the volcano Richard Dreyfuss makes out of mashed potatoes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Lightbulb moment. Let’s build a rabbit hole based on the ramblings of a mad woman – but first, a poem.

Enter the Ox
Enter the Ox

Enter the Ox

Ah, NYE in 2020, what a conundrum. The memes are everywhere. Will 2021 be a double dumpster fire? Will it be a little kinder and a tidbit gentler on us? What about you guys? Any NYE plans? Are you from the stay at home every year camp, the stay at home this year camp, or the business as usual camp? We rarely venture out on New Year’s Eve. Neither my husband nor I are what you call people persons. We’d much rather doze off on the couch together watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square and spouting theories as to how those people could’ve gotten on that front row at 8 am and still be standing there without bathroom breaks. I’m sure the square will be empty this year, but I’ll start the black eyed peas and make the cornbread from scratch. Joanna Gaines has a recipe I saw that incorporates cheese and jalapenos. We’ll have adult beverages on hand and we’ll forget to imbibe. I’ll wax poetically about my grand 2021 plans and how I intend to change every single detail about myself. Wait. Scratch that. Let’s talk about how my 2021 is going to be different – like, really drastically different. After all, it’s the year of the Ox.

Did you know? Disaster Recovery

Did you know? Disaster Recovery

In the wake of a natural disaster, millions of people across the globe make an effort to do their part and help those whose lives were adversely affected. Such disasters inspire many to donate money, clothing and food. While relief organizations can always benefit from financial assistance, donors who want to pitch in after a natural disaster may want to think twice before donating clothing and bottled water. According to the USAID Center for International Disaster Information, cash contributions are the most effective way for donors to channel their good will and help those affected by disasters overseas. That’s because cash contributions do not require transportation costs, delays, customs fees, or related expenses. The CIDI also notes that cash contributions allow relief agencies to purchase exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. Food and clothing donations can actually divert relief workers from the task at hand as they attempt to sort, store and distribute materials that may not even be needed. Donors who read reports about tainted water in disaster-affected areas may be quick to send bottled water. However, in such instances, the CIDI encourages donors to instead donate cash for water purification filters. That’s because shipping 100,000 liters of bottled water can cost $350,000, whereas a locally purchased water purification filter can be purchased for right around $300. The resulting savings can help relief organizations make better use of the financial resources at their disposal.

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