I took physics in high school. Perhaps the best way to describe the results is disastrous. And it was predictable, given my earlier difficulties in chemistry. There’s a reason I chose a career that isn’t connected to high energy experiments.

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The midterms are over. I know many people are taking a sigh of relief that the political advertisements have stopped. While I’ve had the same thought cross my mind, the realist in me knows it’s only a matter of time before the presidential ads pick up for caucus season, especially here in Iowa.

I can’t remember the last time it snowed before my birthday.

I’ve talked here about sports in the past. If you’re a regular reader you already know I’m a Cardinals fan and keep close tabs on my hometown Cowboys. The Cards missed the playoffs with a late-season belly flop and the Cowboys don’t look like they’ll make it either.

Last weekend was a family gathering. While the circumstances were less than ideal — we were gathered for a funeral — it was nice to see extended family and reconnect with some I hadn’t seen in years.

A week ago we had the Ottumwa 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I was the committee chair this past year, and things went well. Far more credit for that belongs to our committee members than myself, and I want to take a few minutes here to say thank you.

Acts of violence against women — murder, in fact — have rocked the state of Iowa the last few months.

Acts of violence against women — murder, in fact — have rocked the state of Iowa the last few months.

Puns are a sort of currency in the Courier’s newsroom. Every now and then we’ll go off on a tangent and spend 10-15 minutes trying to top each other’s jokes.

The past several days have been filled with sadness in southeast Iowa.

When I was young, I was a voracious reader. Still am. A sizable percentage of the people I follow on Twitter are authors whose work I admire.

I’ve been trying to change my routine lately.

The Mueller investigation about Russian collusion has dominated the news for two years. Some have called the action by Russia an attack on America. The president has implemented economic sanctions but calls the investigation a “witch hunt”.

Last weekend’s news that Sen. John McCain had died wasn’t a surprise. The type of cancer he had is relentless, and his family had indicated the fight was nearing the end.

Fall is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. We’re not there yet, but this week suggests we’re definitely headed that way.

I’m so relieved the start of the new school year is here. I'm ready to get back into a routine, and although the kids might not want it, they're in need of it.

A while back we said we were looking for new members of our Community Advisory Board. That’s still true, but we’ve also run into some truculent technology.

I don’t remember a time I wasn’t at least a little bit interested in astronomy and space. That’s what happens, I suppose, when your first movie in a theater in “Star Wars” and your Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted for Space Shuttle landings.

The recent shootout and manhunt on Ottumwa’s south side brought excitement to our community, to say the least. Our local law enforcement, and those who came from other communities to assist, deserve more kudos than I could ever give for keeping our community safe and apprehending the shooters.

I knew there was a chance of storms last Thursday. But, realistically, with a summer like this I wasn’t counting on anything.

Newsrooms get plenty of press releases from fringe organizations. If there’s a group out there advocating for the rights of left-handed crawfish to wear plaid on Thursdays, we’ll eventually hear from them.

My animals are driving me crazy. They can’t decide if they want to be inside or outside.

Newspapers have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. The social media behemoth is too big and too important to ignore, even as it eats away at online revenues.

Growing up I played two sports. Almost all the boys in my neighborhood did. One was baseball. That took up the spring and early summer.

The annual Ottumwa Chamber of Commerce Membership Directory arrived this week. In a couple of weeks, Ottumwa Life is scheduled for distribution.

I’m not a big fan of air conditioning. I appreciate the technology and the service it provides, but I feel it’s often over-used.

My father recently hit a milestone birthday. I won’t say how old he — let’s just go with 56, the age he’s convinced his 5-year-old granddaughter he is.

I enjoy reading on my front steps in the evening. It’s usually pleasant and the fireflies make good company.

A bit more than a week ago I got a call from someone asking why our letters to the editor deadline for the primaries was so early.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was graduating from high school. In reality, it’s been many more years than it feels like.

Courier reporters have been scrambling the past couple weekends to cover the area schools as they celebrate the Class of 2018. Inevitably, that comes with a dose of nostalgia.

This time of year, I find myself at home to basically eat and sleep. I’m lucky if I can even get dinner on the table some nights. My poor dog is probably ready to file a missing persons report on me.

We hear the same refrain just about every week on our Facebook page. I’ll post a link to a story, and then someone will chirp up to complain about the fact they’re being asked to pay for access to the story on the Courier’s website.

If you turn to the inside of this week’s Viewpoints section, you’ll see quite a few letters to the editor. It’s a sure sign of campaign season.

This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is a time to celebrate those who have given life and endless love.

As all of you know, this week has been one with significant change for the Courier. It saw the departure of Wanda Moeller, the Courier’s editor since 2013 and publisher since 2016.

This year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we should give thanks for the people who worked tirelessly in disaster relief. This includes people in the Red Cross, first responders, firemen, police, hospital staff, FEMA personnel, military and other volunteers.

My old friend Cindy Toopes died a week ago. If she’d heard me put a little too much stress on the word “old,” she would have responded, “Hey, watch it buddy ...” But she would have been smiling. Probably laughing. Maybe even blushing a little. She had a lot of heart.

Our newest reporter showed up this week with a coffee mug. That wasn’t really a surprise. I have yet to meet anyone in a newsroom who is not fueled by caffeine to a greater or lesser degree.

I’m glad to see the state embracing the text-to-911 technology. It’s a smart move that will save lives.

I’ll admit that I don’t get pop culture’s current affection for zombies. A shambling horde without the ability to think, plan or otherwise reason sounds more like a congressional hearing than a horror movie to me.

Both of my grandfathers were deployed to Britain during World War II. One was a mechanic. He worked on B-24 Liberators and, as far as I know, never left British soil during the war. Family lore says he came back with a slight British accent. That had to stick out in Louisiana.

Those who know me recognize that I am an unabashed geek. It’s not really a surprise. When the first movie you see in a theater is Star Wars, you never really had a chance.

Like a lot of sports fans, I’m looking forward to this weekend. It’s the start of the NFL season.

Wednesday night I was reminded forcefully that fair, no matter how we may wish otherwise, is an aspiration rather than a requirement. Humans recognize the concept. Research shows several animal species do as well.