Typically, in the days leading up to the start of a new session of the Iowa Legislature, the attention is on lawmakers’ goals and priorities — and on the pledges they make to work together for the good of the people of Iowa.

Common misuses of words are often comical, and the result of someone attempting to impress their listeners by using what they perceive to be the “educated” usage. I found several of the following examples on “Antiques Roadshow” and attribute them partly to the likelihood that the speakers we…

It was a good many years ago that I officially became a licensed unicorn hunter. A professor at the University of Wisconsin wanted people to help save our language from sloppy and confusing misuse. I responded and paid a modest fee (one dollar, if memory serves) to get my Unicorn Hunter's li…

The coming year will be over almost quicker than you can say Happy New Year. Just look how fast 2021 sped by us all. Time rarely feels as if it's standing still unless we are waiting for something to happen. Time only drags when we need something to happen like a cure for a disease, a job to…

When I walked out the door at the Des Moines Register for the final time on Dec. 12, 2014, there was an unfinished piece of work tucked away in a box of assorted stuff I carried.

‘Visions of sugar plums’ don’t dance through my head come holiday season. No, instead I see flashes of spatchcock chicken, chicken patés, celeriac fries cooked in duck fat, beignets with cranberry dipping sauce, orange cheesecake, chicken alfredo pizza cooked on Lebanese crispy flatbreads an…

We had difficulties when we were growing up in Martin County, Ken., but overall, we thought we were doing okay. President Lyndon Johnson came to Inez, Ken., in 1964 to let us know we weren’t doing very well. He began his campaign in our community and we became the poster child for American p…

I guess it’s just human nature to attribute human qualities to nature. We like to think that our pets have the same sensitivities and emotions that we have, that they understand us, and even that they may evaluate and judge things as we do. The more we observe our animals and the more things…

It has been said, in many different ways, that fiction imitates nature, and that truth is stranger than fiction. I’m not surprised when fiction seems to copy reality; after all, writers have to get their ideas from somewhere. But I am more than amazed when today’s fact turns out to have been…

When you have orbited the sun as many times as I have, people sometimes want to tap into the insights you have gathered through the years. Young journalists and newsroom managers ask about the lessons I accumulated from a half-century in the newspaper business.

I really liked Joe Heller’s cartoon with all the little container ships and semi rigs spelling out the message BUY LOCAL and then the question that’s on everybody’s minds, “What are we to do?” It seems impossible to get a lot of things at our local stores while nearly everything is available…

Nobody I knew when I was a child ever put up their Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. Of course, the general public didn’t have artificial trees then except for some very disappointing miniature versions made of paper and intended as table-top decorations. Some of the big department st…

If you watch the news, you get the impression that America is not doing well under the Biden administration.

You have to marvel at the capacity of the human spirit — especially the ability of people who remain optimistic and upbeat in the face of challenges most of us can’t fathom.

One of my sisters stopped calling it Thanksgiving Day several years ago when she realized that it had become, not a day of gratitude, but one of gluttony. She’s called it Turkey Day for a long time now, and I thoroughly understand why.

I have been an operating room nurse for over 39 years. It is my passion, yet I realize it is the one area that is hidden from the public eye. Nov. 14-20 is OR Nurses Week. It is time to make the public aware of our importance and how every patient deserves a registered nurse for their surgery.

IF I’VE TOLD YOU ONCE . . . My child, when I begin telling the same old stories again and again, repeating myself, living in the past, please be tolerant, patient, and remember that someday, you too will be in your anecdotage.

I clearly remember my dad once saying that television was destroying the sense of wonder, but I didn’t fully understand what he meant. I hadn’t grown up with television as today’s kids have, and was well into my 20s before I had the time, inclination or opportunity to watch what it had to of…

The letter to the editor from Twila Morlan, saying how much, and for how long, she has been enjoying this column really gave me a boost in the ego. And it started me thinking just how long I’ve been writing for this paper. That led to fond memories of all the people I’ve met or had calls or …

The American Legion Color Guard led Solon’s homecoming parade.

The Solon American Legion Color Guard led the homecoming parade Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Tatum Holtkamp, Callie Levin, Gracie Federspiel, Peyton Pentico and Mia Stahle encourage Solon fans to “Fry the Falcons” on the sophomore homecoming float.

Drum majors Lauren Roskopf, Lauran Schwake and Kayla Young lead the Solon High School marching band.

Solon marching band color guard had a prominent place in the parade.

Solon High School’s football team and cheerleaders concluded the homecoming parade, which was Wednesday, Sept. 22, on W. Sovers Street.

The Solon High School Homecoming Court reacts after Tino Longo was announced as homecoming king.

Tino Longo (right) is crowned 2021 homecoming king by last year’s king Nash Altman.

Homecoming king Tino Longo is celebrated by his football teammates on the track Wednesday, Sept. 21.

For some time I wondered why all the female television personalities had suddenly decided to let their hair grow long and loose. I was pretty sure that most people’s hair didn’t grow so fast and luxuriant. It had to be, at least in part, artificial. If these gals were expecting us to believe…

At least once a month I get something in the mail that strongly suggests that I need a hearing aid. Sometimes it reminds me that I already have an appointment for a hearing test: at other times it implies that somebody has informed them that I have a hearing problem but am too shy or stubbor…

The news out of Afghanistan last week about the terrorist bombing at the airport in Kabul brought fresh heartache — and old memories — to Iowa.