Not that you asked, but . . . - Vilas County News-Review
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Not That You Asked, But...
  • Lorelai Gilmore: Mom, what is going on here?
    Emily Gilmore: I’m decluttering my life. I was starting to feel claustrophobic. I’d wake up in the night feeling like the house is closing in on me. One of the ladies in my garden club bought this book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” She
  • “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

    It’s been said that volunteerism is one of the most selfless acts that people can get involved in. 
    Indeed, nonprofit organizations like
  • Out of my gourd
    “Pumpkin spice lattes are eggnog for morning people.” —John Oliver

    The coming and going of National Pumpkin Spice Latte Day on Aug. 24, coupled with shortening days and lengthening nights, crisp mornings, colorful North Woods “Colorama” season celebrations and last week’s advent of
  • Brew October
    “The one constant through all the years . . . has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past . . . It reminds of us of all that once was good and
  • Band of brothers
    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."—John 15:12-13

    And so it was on a bright, sunny day in New York City 20 years ago that
  • Seasons of change
    “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” —Henry David Thoreau “Walden: Or, Life in the Woods”

    Even after having moved out of the hustle and bustle of Concord to
  • “There’s no earthly way of knowing. Which direction we are going. There’s no knowing where we’re rowing. Or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a blowing? Not a speck of light is showing. So the danger must be growing. Are the fires of hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? Yes! The danger must be growing. For the rowers keep on rowing. And they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing!”
    — Willy Wonka, “Willy Wonka
     and the Chocolate Factory,” 1971

    When it comes to medical care, sometimes the cure is worse than the illness. In my case, the cure was definitely worse than the illness that had found me seeking medical care.
    I had been dispatched on my way 
  • “The avoidance of idiocy should be the primary and constant concern of every intelligent person.” —Nero Wolfe

    A “just because” present from my wife appeared on the dining room table at dinner the other evening.
    From the size and feel of the package, I deduced the contents to be
  • Information two-laner
    “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.” —Yogi Berra

    If the internet is the I-39 information superhighway, the musty hard-bound encyclopedias of yore are the retro-nostalgic two-laner U.S. Highway 51 of my childhood as it lazily wound its way Up North past Windmill Ice Cream Shoppe on the scenic shores of
  • “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” —Doug Larson

    In the words of legendary late American radio news commentator Paul Harvey, there’s “the rest of the story.” And 
  • Muskie tails - er, tales
    “Dear Lord, give me the serenity to accept the size of fish I catch, the courage not to lie about it and the wisdom to know that none of my fishing buddies would believe me anyway!”—Fisherman’s Serenity Prayer

    They say the notoriously difficult-to-catch muskellunge, a fickle biter, is “the fish of 10,000 casts.” Not surprisingly, it’s
  • “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” —George Bailey, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1946

    George Bailey may still want to woo Mary Hatch with the moon, but
  • “Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” — George R.R. Martin

    With sunny skies, gentle breezes and temperatures in the mid-70s, the weather last Thursday was a central casting picture-perfect summer day. 
    A veritable feast for the senses, the
  • The stories live on
    “I began to reflect on the wonders of these ordinary people whose lives were laced with the markings of greatness.” —Tom Brokaw, “The Greatest Generation”

    Duty, honor, country, those principles were among the common values of the 
  • Beauty for a day
    “A lily of a day is fairer far in May, although it fall and die that night, it was the plant and flower of light. In small proportions we just beauties see, and in short measures life may perfect be.” —“The Nobel Nature” by
  • “If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.” —Mike Ditka

    On the front end of summer, the solemn observation of Memorial Day provides a chance for reflection at war memorials and cemeteries for those who
  • There’s always next year

    Will this be the year I finally quaff from my dusty Brewers glass?

    “All I do is write their names on the lineup card and let them play. It’s not a tough job. I

    “I swear to God, if my kids, when they’re 18, if they come to me and say, ‘Dad, I love pumping gas. I...
  • Adventures with Finn. Or, what’s in a name?
    Mater: My name is Mater.
    Lightning McQueen: Mater?
    Mater: Yeah, like “Tuh-Mater,” but

    Even in retirement, unsinkable ‘Skip’ Wagner still sets sail for fun

    Johnny Carson: “Who’s the funniest person you’ve ever heard?”

    Bill Murray: 
    “Well, it’s

  • Back in the drive-in days
    “When I was a kid, the only way I saw movies was from the back seat of my family’s car at the drive-in.”—Forest Whitaker, American actor

    Having logged 14 years in the North Woods, I’ve made my share of round-trip runs between Boulder Junction and Rhinelander as a Shopko devotee.
    Driving along Highway 17 during a visit to Rhine­lander for an interview and photo shoot last week, I
  • “If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover Spam.” —Johnny Carson

    Marking the one-year anniversary of “two weeks to flatten the curve” of the roller-coaster COVID-19 global pandemic, the world is looking a little different these days, and
  • “I’m Mr. White Christmas, I’m Mr. Cool. I’m Mr. Icicle, I’m Mr. 10 Below.” —Snow Miser “The Year Without Santa Claus,” 1974

    With my thermometer in Boulder Junction reaching an eye-popping minus 33 last week, stepping outdoors brought to my mind the 1980 film, “The
  • Little things, big memories
    “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” —Winnie the Pooh

    I was recently reminded of that sage observation by British author A.A. Milne’s “silly old bear” at, of all places, the Minocqua Walmart, as I spied a small glass forcing vase in the floral cooler sporting the poster child Charlie Brown tree of spring harbingers: an
  • Growing branches on the family tree
    “Family history is a perishable commodity. It disappears with time, as memories fade, and as loved ones pass on.” —Guy Black

    It’s said that genealogy is like a mirror. You start looking into it and interesting faces begin to appear. 
    One of the faces — or at least names — to appear out of the foggy mists of time as I’ve explored my own family history over the years is
  • “Chase your dreams but always know the road that will lead you home again.” —Ziad K. Abdelnour

    I chased my dreams and ultimately U.S. Highway 51 led me back home again to the North Woods, now wordsmithing at the Vilas County News-Review after a

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