Weekly Columns!

All your favorite weekly columns and letters to the editor- online!

 Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt
Ron Bradrick, a longstanding friend now living in Omaha, suggests in a letter to the editor published in this issue of The Superior Express that one can learn lots of things by regularly reading Facebook posts. I agree one can learn things by reading Facebook, but what one learns is not always true.
For example, this week I learned we are to set our clocks forward one hour on Sunday, Oct. 4. Do that and you will arrive at your Sunday morning worship service an hour early on Oct. 4. Have them set that way on Nov. 1 and you will arrive two hours early. Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. At that time we are to turn our clocks back one hour.
Another Facebook identity scare this week has apparently sucked in a number of television news sources. When it comes to privacy and Facebook, if you don't want the world to see your photo and read your message, don't post them. Putting information on Facebook is like shouting from your roof top. Once you make the post, you have little control over where it goes and who will see it.
As far as I can determine, Facebook is not planning a privacy change and posting a privacy statement will not control how or where our posts are distributed. It's best to consider anything placed on Facebook to be in the public domain and free for the entire world to see and comment on.
A number of years ago a reader of this newspaper paid to have a notice published. The reader wasn't happy when it was found on Google searches.
Not all story ideas see print. In recent days readers have stopped in the office to report two possible stories. We can't be everywhere and appreciate the help of all readers in covering this area's news and feature stories.
At the reader's suggestion, I went out in the rain in search of a Model T pulling a covered wagon. Supposedly the strange combination of vehicles was parked at Casey's. By the time I reached the convenience store, the vehicles were gone.
Later a reader stopped to suggest we take a picture of a man riding an usual contraption in downtown Superior. Marty left quickly with his camera but he never found the rider. We understand he made several trips up and down main street and we have talked with people who saw him. But we haven't talked to the rider.
From the descriptions we received, he may have been riding either a HoverTrax or a I O Hawk. The two devices are similar and lawsuits claiming patent infringement surround the devices which were apparently were inspired by the larger and more costly Segway device. I would like to have a Segway but I have little interest in the newer design. However, I understand a Kansas State University coed is so impressed with the one she has been riding on the university campus that she has ordered a few hundred with plans to sell them not only in Manhattan but via the internet.
According to the advertisements, they weigh less than 30 pounds and are easily carried in a backpack. The rider stands on the center connecting platform. Wheels on the left and right are driven by individual electric motors. The motors are powered by lithium batteries. The rider controls the direction by shifting his weight. Rock forward on your toes and the boards move forward. Rock back on your heels and the boards move back. Pressure to the left causes the boards to turn left. Pressure on the right foot turns them to the right.
Supposedly the needed riding skills are quick to learn. Critics report the devices don't do well on steep grades.
The technology is similar to what is used in the Segway. However, a Segway has larger wheels and a control post for the rider to hang onto. Though I have never ridden either one, the Segway looks to me like it would be the more practical device and better suited to our terrain.
But looks can be deceiving. I've ridden various motorcycles, gasoline powered scooters and trail bikes. When my then nearly 80-year-old father told me he had purchased a Huffy electric scooter, I feared for his safety. However, after taking it for a spin, I changed my mind. I'm sorry the company quit making the scooters. His was easy and fun to ride. It was just what Dad needed when health problems reduced his ability to walk. It was small enough he rode it inside apartment and outside on the streets of Superior. It could easily be placed in his vehicle and taken with him for use in other communities.
If it was still in working order, I'd be tempted to take it to places like the state fair and Husker Harvest Days. It isn't and I plan to stick with my bicycle for trips around Superior.

A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan

Depending on who you ask, today (Tuesday) is either National Coffee Day or International Coffee Day. As much coffee as I ordinarily drink, I could easily celebrate them both simultaneously. I say "ordinarily" because our rather expensive Bunn coffee maker quit working. Today, of all days. Happy Coffee Day.
We've tried a variety of coffee makers throughout the years, but have stuck with Bunn most of the time. They make good coffee more quickly than cheaper brands can make bad coffee. After some years, we discovered our coffee remains good longer if we remove it from the warmer and pour it into an insulated carafe to stay hot.
Because the only problems we've had with Bunn coffee makers is breaking the glass carafes (our fault) and having the warmers quit working (not our fault), Kathy was excited when she found our current unit ­­ the one that recently quit working ­­ on the internet. Rather than plastic, it is made mostly of stainless steel. Instead of a warmer, it makes the coffee directly into an insulated, stainless steel carafe. No warmer to go bad and no glass carafe to break.
That is to say it used to make coffee directly into an insulated carafe. Now it makes some horrible concoction consisting of coffee grounds and cold water, because apparently the heating element for the water reservoir no longer works.
Kathy and I both enjoy coffee in all forms: regular cup of joe, espresso, latte, cappuccino, iced coffee, mocha, Boston, you name it. So it seems likely we'll replace the old Bunn with some variety of coffee-making apparatus. By all accounts, you should not buy a cheap espresso machine. In fact, one reviewer said if you don't plan to spend at least $900, don't bother with a home espresso machine. I assure you we don't plan to spend that much.
Kathy has been talking about buying a French press. I've been nodding in approval, but the fact is I had no idea what a French press is until I looked it up for the purpose of writing this column. Turns out a French press is a coffee pot containing a plunger made of fine mesh with which the grounds are pushed to the bottom when the coffee is ready to be poured. It is also an exercise designed to strengthen the triceps muscle, performed by lying face up and lifting and lowering a barbell by straightening and bending the arms. I assume she's talking about the first one. I like her triceps just the way they are.

Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

The growing season is at an end. Summer is but a memory and all my pretty flowers are fading away. The zinnias, though still in bloom, are losing their bright colors and the tall stems are beginning to bow to the wind. My roses are still in full bloom, but they will fade when the first freeze comes. All that remains of the once beautiful irises are long bending leaves that are turning brown and need to be chopped off. The hardy rose moss is even showing signs of giving up their blooms and the peony leaves are turning brown. All that remains in full bloom are the flowers of the fall, the beautiful mums.
The mums are making their solo show, and the bees and butterflies rally around the blooms. Brilliant yellows, lavender, orange, deep reds and purples cover the mum plants. All summer long, they have been waiting for their time to shine. Their time has arrived.
The vegetable garden is slowly giving up producing the once abundant cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes and green peppers. The potatoes are still covered within the ground ready to be dug out. The recipe for green tomato relish is brought out and soon it will be made.
Wildflowers are still in a dimming bloom, including the goldenrod, sunflowers and yarrow. Pasture grasses are losing their green luster. Soybeans that remain in the fields are all brown in color. The only colorful fields that remain are deep green alfalfa fields and golden brown milo fields. The fields of sunflowers have bowed their heads for the last time as they prepare to be harvested.
The large harvest moon that turned "blood red" added to the autumn pallete. Soon the leaves on the trees will begin their colorful show. How fast the summer months went by. It ended all too soon. The growing season is all but gone.