Articles By: Bob Woelk

Biggest loser could be biggest winner

I am intrigued by the large number of Hillsboro residents who have signed up to compete in our very own Biggest Loser contest. My understanding is more than 175 participants have weighed in.

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A new year spurs new observations

The dawn of a new year is a natural time to think about what has
been in 2007 and what might be in 2008. Here are a few examples that
come to mind.

I didn?t like the advertising theme that followed Christmas this
year, the ?Get what you really wanted? campaign. The idea was that the
things we received from friends and loved ones were not adequate. That
just goes to show that Madison Avenue will never figure out the true
meaning of Christmas.

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Our choices still have consequences

I haven?t heard much about Madeline Hunter lately. Her seven steps for preparing school lesson plans were all the rage when I started teaching back in the 1990s.

In fact, I attended a packed conference at the Hutchinson Sports Arena where the queen herself held court. Her message was that teachers make a series of decisions about how they will present each lesson. Those choices determine how well the instructor reaches all his or her students.

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If you fear it, there’s a word for it

If you have some time to kill and want to kill it in the most unproductive way possible, take a trip to There you will find a huge assortment of things to be afraid of.

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A reminder

It bears repeating, for your sake and ours, why we launched the Free Press in 1998. National Newspaper Week, Oct. 7-13, seems to be an appropriate time to do it.

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Have we come to expect public lies?

We expect Fidel Castro to lie to us. We assume Osama Bin Ladin is telling lies when he makes one of his infamous videotapes. But, are our fellow Americans feeding us fabrications on a regular basis?

Probably. Do we care? Probably not. And, that?s the sad part. We are beginning to expect a lack of truth in all segments of society, from sports to school, from the president to the preacher.

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Taking a chance on a trip to France

?The world is a great book. Those who do not travel far from home read only the first page.? This quote presented by Brother Ron Luksic set the stage for a whirlwind weekend workshop I attended over Labor Day in Paris.

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An odd fit between traditional labels

I was filling out an on-line survey a month or two ago, and one of the questions concerned where I would place myself on a political scale. The range spanned ?very conservative? to ?very liberal.? I recognized it to be a good question. I wasn?t sure exactly how to answer.

I realize many readers of the Free Press probably consider my views to be on the liberal side. I seldom agree with what so-called conservative Republicans are doing when it comes to the government.

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10 commandments just not enough

The Pope, God bless him, issued a set of ?Ten Command?ments? for drivers last month, telling motorists to be charitable to others on the highways, to refrain from drinking and driving and to take time to pray before they even buckle up, according to an Associated Press story on the unusual document from the Vatican?s office.

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Here?s your pop quiz for the summer

The first few weeks of summer have passed, I have a quiz and I don?t
have a group to give it to. So, you, gentle readers, shall be blessed
with my June test. The format is ?true/false,? and the answers appear
at the end of this column. Don?t cheat, now.

Section A: Insect oddities

1. In order to catch flies, it is best to approach them with a side-to-side motion, rather than straight down.

The reason bugs tend to fly into lights at night is because they are
passing through the area and are blinded, crashing into the bulb.

3. In order to create a pound of webbing, it would take more than 25,000 spiders, working their little fannies off.

4. Black is the most attractive color for mosquitoes.

5. A person is more likely to get stung by a bee on a windy day than a calm one.

6. A male gypsy moth can smell a female gypsy moth from two miles away.

Section B: Human nature


7. The Immigration and Naturalization Service recently approached
Dillon?s about using the chain?s Plus Cards to track illegal aliens,
since the company already has information on its card?s users.

8. Seat-belt use is lowest among men driving pickup trucks.

9. Gas expands when it?s hot, so buyers can save money by purchasing it in the cooler morning hours.

10. When the price of gas climbs to above $3.50 per gallon, it would be less expensive to fill your vehicle?s tank with milk.

11. In Derby, a suburb of Wichita, parents can now buy test strips
to check their teens for alcohol consumption at a cost of only $2 for
each test.

12. If a driver looks closely, the cowboy on the sign along
Interstate 135 appears to be brandishing his middle finger to cars
passing by.

Section C: Animal facts


13. Calling a puppy to punish it teaches the dog not to come when
it?s called. It?s best to reward your dog by bringing it to you, and to
punish it by sending it away.

14. The snail mates only once it its entire life.

15. A dog, perhaps in sympathy to its human owners, can develop both tonsillitis and appendicitis.

16. Kermit the frog is left-handed.

17. Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.

18. Animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by lightning.

19. The brain of an ostrich is only slightly larger than its eye.

20. Snails produce a sticky slime that forms a protective carpet
under them as they travel along. The slime is so effective, they can
crawl along the edge of a razor blade without hurting themselves.

[Click read more for the answers.]

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