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March 16, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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March 16, 2011

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VIEWPOINT Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- Getting Charlie off Page I ... Charlie Sheen has commanded more than his share of publicity late- ly. It's a shame it took a historic event like a 9.0 earth quake and a tsu- nami to bump his sorry soul from the top of the page, so to speak, and that is all l am going to say about him. According to Japanese officials the past week's events have been termed as the worst thing to happen in Japan since World War II. Watching film of the quake and tsunami was really chilling. The tsunami surge seemed to wash vehicles, and buildings in an effortless motion. The persons killed or missing are thought to be in the thousands. Also three nuclear power gen- erators have been seri- ously damaged, with danger from radiation looming. Japanese offi- cials claim they can con- trol the reactors, and are using sea water to cool them. I noticed a photo from Japan showing a govern- ment worker standing near several civilians. He or she was wearing a full hazmat suit and respira- tor, however the civilians were only wearing surgi- cal masks. I suppose this will no doubt energize the anti nuke crowd. Personally I am in favor of nuclear power. In this country our nuclear plants have a very good safety record, and I am not the least bit worried about the safety of them. Having said that, I don't feel it is very smart to build these plants on sites located on top of or near known earth quake fault lines. I do think our country needs to look at France for some of our technolo- gy. As nuclear waste is an issue in this country, France has figured out a way to re-use their spent fuel rods. There is no sense in reinventing the wheel. Back to the tsunami. After the quake there was warnings for the tsunami to hit Hawaii and the west coast of the United States. Later there were reports of people going down to the beaches to watch the waves coming in. Are these people brain dead or what? Later I heard that five people were washed out to sea trying to photograph the waves. Four of them were res- cued, but the fifth one has not been found. I guess if it were not for Mother Nature and stupid humans the media wouldn't have near as much to write about. Have a good week and do good! LETTER TO EDITOR National Agriculture Day Food and farmers are always taken for granted. March 15 is National Agriculture Day and all farmers should be complimented on their role in our economy. Food and farming is every day, and our farm- ers in Minnesota and the nation are valuable. Everyday recognition of Minnesota agriculture may be a reality this legislative session. Our Minnesota Legislature is consider- ing S.F. 340, authored by Senator Gary Kubly (DFL-Granite Falls), a special license plate bill which would direct the Minnesota Department of Transportation in consultation with organizations that represent farmers, to design a license plate recognizing Minnesota agriculture. Agriculture in Minnesota is 25 percent of our economy and brings in $16 billion of cash to our state coffers and supports 1.5 jobs in all economic sectors. Eighty percent of all agriculture-related jobs are off- farm. Farms in Minnesota supply food, fuel and fiber for all. Minnesota farming is the second largest economic sector and the sec- ond largest employer. A simple license plate can send a powerful message of support for Minnesota farmers. Call your state representative and state senator and ask then to support Minnesota's agriculture license plate bill. Warmest regards, Doug Peterson Minnesota Farmers Union President Madison, Minnesota AI Bart... "Stories from the BaH Cave" Getting rich I was deep in the heart of taxes. My wife was herding receipts when the phone rang. I was expecting a call from the fellow who sold me a retire- ment policy that allowed him to retire early, but the caller was a friend of a friend of a barber who drinks coffee each morning with the neighbor of my second cous- in. He talked as if we'd known each other forever. He had an investment opportunity that he wanted to share. He wanted me to invest in memorabilia from the old TV show Happy Days. It was a Fonzie scheme. He hit me with some financial waterboard- ing, hoping to hook me with his amazing get-rich-quick proposi- tion. I refused to be hornswoggled. I said, "If it's so good, why share it? Keep it all to yourself." There is always a fly in the ointment. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Such plots cause your money to bid you adieu (As Mrs. Chips said to Mr. Chips, "Goodbye.") or lead to you hav- ing lunch with Bernie Madoff. If you want to double your money, fold it. That works best with paper money. The caller decided that he wasn't going to be my best friend. Before he hung up, he asked if I wanted to be rich. I didn't have an answer. It'd be nice to be able to buy things without worrying about how I was going to pay for them, but then I'd have to worry about more possessions. Worry is a terrible thing. Worrying is like rocking in a chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. A neighbor buys stale bread so he doesn't have to worry about it going stale. Another neigh- bor didn't believe in spending money. He had no electricity. He advised that if I wanted to be rich like him, I needed to eliminate all my monthly bills. That made sense, but I like flipping a switch that illuminates my world. A fellow who shared my ZIP Code went to the butcher shop each week to get bones for his dogs. He didn't have any dogs. He wanted free soup bones. His was a meager existence. By appearance, he had nothing. No one thought he had two nickels to rub together. When he died, his church got a surprise. I'll bet you've guessed what hap- pened. He left the church all those bones. Riches defy definition. To some, having a large supply of black jellybeans is being rich. Mr. Spock from Star Trek advised us to live long and prosper. We learn that time is the true wealth, but money is important. We've been using a medium of exchange since that day Og hit Grak on the head with a rock. That was payment for the furry animal that tasted like trout that Og intended on swiping from Grak after he conked Grak's melon with the rock. That was when Og discovered that Grak had a pile of rocks. Once Og's head wounds healed, he wished that he, too, were rich in rocks. We begin early in our search for wealth. We dig in our moth- ers' purses and behind sofa cushions in the pursuit of loose change. We dream of striking it rich in goldfields or lotter- ies. Some individuals become wealthy--by hard work, skill, good luck, inheritance, or frugal- ity. The Bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Have you tried stuffing a camel through the eye of a needle? It's almost as difficult as stuffing a rich man through the eye of a camel. My neighbor Nora Lenderbee is wealthy. She has the Midas touch. Everything she touches turns to mufflers. She turned her muffler shop into piles of money. Back when the want ads didn't want her, the census said she didn't count, and she read recipes for lunch, Nora's first job was cleaning henhouses. She was paid little for a nasty job. One day, while shoveling fetid chicken droppings, Nora made a promise. She vowed that when she became a wealthy woman, she would pay for the college education of a young woman cleaning chicken houses. Nora meant to keep that prom- ise. Until she became rich. Work can be its own reward. Working hard to become rich is like trying to start a fire by rub- bing two sticks together. If you rub the sticks long enough, you'll be warm without a fire. AI Batt 2011 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 00odq Et: \\; L Sentinel Tribune (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Office & Production Jessica Noding Marketing Specialist Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties'. Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $38.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $42.00 per year. Out of the state $48.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. 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