I hate to admit it, but the City of Turlock has a well-deserved reputation as being, well, a bit boring.
It's a world-famous grass, and crucial to our bellies. It's called Zea mays by botanists; rock-heads like me call it corn. Compared to many plants, it's excellent at tolerating drought and heat - almost in a class by itself in that regard.
Turlock is not starting out 2010 in the way that I had hoped. In fact, after reading Journal reporter Sabra Stafford's article on the mini-crime spree that rang in the new year and reading the police call log for the past weekend, I'm thinking about moving.
We Scandinavians have several strange customs, including our hallmark fish dish, which is cod that's been processed for days in caustic lye. This truly imaginative creation is known as "lutefisk," which means lye-fish.
As another year ends, it's natural to look ahead and wonder what the next 12 months will bring. Lucky for you, the Journal editorial staff have all gazed into their crystal balls and made some predictions for the year 2010.
As the holiday season starts to wind down - except in Russia where they celebrate through Jan. 10 - I find myself feeling a little blue.
Congratulations on purchasing your Wonder Fun Doll Dream House with Stables, Orchard and Shooting Range! These are your assembly instructions, so if you're a man, you're not reading this.
The recent massive snowstorm that moved from California across to New England certainly got the nation's attention. While some Americans dealt with snowfall measured in feet rather than inches, my part of the Northwest simply endured temperatures near zero, night after night. (Where I live, we think of ourselves as human weather stripping, nobly protecting states to the south from Canada.) Either way, we all had a moment, I'm sure, to reflect on the fact that a major change in the weather in late fall will mean a major spike in our heating bills in January.
I have come to the conclusion that we, as a society, are pretty hypocritical. I know this is a somewhat harsh statement to make, but the evidence continues to mount for its authenticity.
Congress is at it again, battling unfairness wherever it pops up. This time, it's taking on college athletics, a world in which a conniving cartel spins backroom deals and then foists injustice on vulnerable football fans.
I wasn't quite sure I had heard correctly. My friend, a fellow geologist, and I were standing in the swimming lanes of a lap pool where we had stopped to give each other greetings of the season.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with JoLynn DiGrazia of Westside Ministries, Major Debi Shrum of the Salvation Army and Pastors Samuel Galdamez, Steve Carlson and Tim Hawkinson of Turlock Covenant Church.
I like Hanukkah. It's a very nice holiday, as Jewish holidays go; one of the few where the Jews actually won, as opposed to having the Temple destroyed, or fleeing the divided sea, or being spared from the evil Haman. Usually, it's enough if we survive. Often, we don't even do that.
If anyone still believes that nothing big ever happens in Turlock, then they haven't been to a city council meeting in a long, long time. Although Turlock can only be considered a small city or big town in population terms, it often has big city political issues.
As a record-keeper, I'm pathetic. I often can't keep track of where my checkbook is, let alone the balance in the account. The chief problem determining the balance isn't my arithmetic skills, it's that I don't enter all the checks that I write for merchants in the ledger. No wonder the amount I show I have becomes a tad different from what the bank feels I have in my account.
"People have a right to privacy."
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