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Features

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  • Yesterday, on New Year’s Day, many probably got up to a spouse saying, “Wake up and smell the roses; the Rose Bowl parade is on.” After a night of celebrating the coming of 2009, perhaps with Four Roses, viewing a parade with its profusion of all kinds of flowers could be the best way to recover from a hangover.

    Today we’ll parade a few puns down the Alley – and see if any of them float your boat.

    Blooming Idiot

  • The holidays are a time for fun, food, decorations and activities with friends and families. While you enjoy the season keep in mind that many of our winter habits and holiday traditions pose potential hazards to our pets.

    Here are some tips to keep in mind to insure your pets stay healthy and happy during the holidays.

    In this season of overeating you need to keep your pet on a normal diet. Even one meal of greasy, spicy or fatty foods can give your pet severe indigestion and/or diarrhea. So no leftovers for Rover, no matter how much he begs.

  • During its regular meeting Dec. 17, the Freedom Quilters donated to the library an impressive king-size quilt and a wall hanging in a chicken scratch design. These works of art were created by most of the group’s 32 members, says group leader Jeannine Sirkoch.

  • The Christmas season is over, finally. The only aide memoire is the Christmas tree mutely standing in the corner of our living room. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were sitting in the living room drinking our morning cup of coffee and silently staring at the ghost of Christmas recently passed.

    Silence tiptoed down the hall. Almost out of nowhere, I heard a deep sigh from the only other occupant of the room. Then she said, “I’m glad Christmas is over.”

  • My Chanukah memory happened more than 50 years ago. It was a gentler time and much less technologically advanced. There were no cell phones, personal computers, fax machines or microwaves, and if you wanted a toy to do something, well, you had to do it yourself.

  • Some die-hard fans of Michael Connelly have said that he frequently robs them of a full night’s sleep – particularly when they start one of his novels after 10 p.m. Surely, that must be the case for his latest, The Brass Verdict, in which he brings together two main characters from different series, a trend many mystery writers like Robert Parker are eagerly following.

  • Sitting here and seeing the wind move the now almost leafless trees brings back memories of past Christmas seasons and things that happened or were done to add a bit more spice to the holiday period. One such memory was our quest to gain or at best earn more liquid assets so that we might better enjoy the season’s offerings.

  • Only a few days ago the outside decorations were finished, the tree put up with all its trimmings, and presents all wrapped. It all made me feel dead tired, so I settled in for some Christmas Eve television viewing. The news program started with, “Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package, triggering a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.”

  • Every family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash offered) that are adequately defined by April 1.

    Christmas Eve clearly defines me. It means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true, I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. Some people spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Personally, I focus all that stress of shopping into one 24-hour period.

  • If you participate in a 401(k), ESOP, or other qualified retirement plan that lets you invest in your employer’s stock, you need to know about net unrealized appreciation – a simple tax deferral opportunity with an unfortunately complicated name. When you receive a distribution from your employer’s retirement plan, the distribution is generally taxable to you at ordinary income tax rates.

  • They were a ragtag group of Jewish farmers led by an aged priest and religious leader. They had no training in warfare and their religion promoted peace.

    In the beginning of their struggle they refused to fight on the Sabbath, incurring many casualties as a result. They dared to take on the mightiest army of their day and for three years waged guerilla warfare against their foes, culminating in victory.

  • With Christmas less than a week away, shopping should be completed, decorations should be strung and blinking, and plans for the holiday finalized. However, there are always a few who wait for the last moment to buy those special gifts.

    Wander through our Punny Mall for some practical gift-giving advice.

    String Her Along

    A movie producer was telling a friend about giving his girl friend a string of pearls for Christmas.

    “Why,” said the friend, “don’t you give her something practical, like an automobile?”

  • While many are absorbed with the trifling news of the weakening economy, bailing out the all but defunct auto industry, and the emergence of a new Britney Spears, news that is more important is not being heard. Believe it or not, there are some things more important than these. At least to some people.

     The most troubling news of the day comes from the North Pole. In a few weeks, the jolly man from the North will make his visit. However, some difficulties may prevent his usual prompt appearance this year.

  • In an effort to help our country’s economy I spent Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, at the mall. Bargains abounded but not for anything useful to me.

    I wound up sitting on a bench watching the shoppers and realizing that people are interesting. They all have different personalities, characteristics, habits, and shapes.

    Stories about people and their experiences take us into today’s Pun Alley.

    Celebration

  • Get ready to have your picture taken and hung on the library’s tree. Last week, the Friends of Freedom Public Library and several volunteers erected it, checked all the lights and finished the decoration. All it needs now are photos of smiling faces to make this truly a community tree. Stop in with the kids and grandkids and ask the Reference Librarian to bring out the camera.

    Chicken Scratch

    Quilt Donation

  • Officially winter is still more than a week away, but we have had our share of abnormal low temperatures for quite a while now with no letup in sight. Perhaps when winter does get here we will have some warmer weather. Then, as Floridians, we can talk about how cold it’s been.

    Many of us were originally from somewhere in the North and can remember a parent or grandparent talking about how cold it was in the old days. They would say it was so cold:

  • Oak Run resident John Zaner is a career Computer systems Engineer and worked on the cutting edge of computer technology for the Department of Defense for more than two decades.  This, and his experience as an FAA licensed pilot, inspired him to write his first novel, Circle of Hope, which chronicles a journey into outer space by modern Noahs building intergalactic arks to save survivors of a doomed earth.

  • He rises up from the mist, a man-like creature formed from the soft clay earth, his birth attended by three learned sages whispering incantations from an ancient text. The creature has a parchment in its mouth, on it is written the ineffable name of God.

    This creature, a humanoid without a soul or personality, is ready to do work at his master’s bidding. The huge monster of a man with an uneven stiff-legged gait stands posed and ready, eager to wield his brute force when prompted.

  • It wasn’t so long ago that many investors regarded dividends as roughly the financial equivalent of a record turntable at a gathering of MP3 users – a throwback to an earlier era, irrelevant to the real action. But fast forward a few years and things look different.