One Reporter's Ramblings: Happy Banned Books Week!

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Happy Banned Books Week, everybody!

Has everybody been celebrating by reading some incendiary prose?

The narrative for “Banned Books” is one that has become more important as time moves along, although I sort of understand the need for banning some books from school districts.

I personally can’t think of any life lessons for high schoolers to pull from “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” or the work of the Marquis De Sade. Nothing positive anyway.

Once censorship is allowed, though, the problem becomes how to determine which other books should be removed from a school library.

People can make all sorts of cases for taking other books off shelves and that can and has led to the removal of works like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The banning of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is particularly ridiculous  because the book is thematically against racism and only includes offensive words to realistically convey its story.


The Publisher's Desk: First words - What exactly is she saying?

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Those are the words Audrey uttered for the first time a couple of weeks ago. 

Her first words. 

Now she says them all the time. 

She says them with a smile. 

She says them through tears, even though I’m pretty sure she actually wants her mama.

She says them most often with the word “ha” in front, — “ha da, ha da, ha da” — which makes it sound like she’s just saying “Hi Dad” all day long. 

It’s hard not to say hi back over and over again.

Darci said “mama” first, so I feel good about Audrey taking the more conventional route and saying the easier name. 

People say Audrey looks more like me and has more my temperament — I’m not sure if I should feel bad for Audrey or take that to mean I look like a six-month old baby with a baby temperament. 

All kidding aside, Audrey might look like me and say my name, but she is a mama’s girl through and through. 

She loves her mama. 


Mrs. Dykowski... dresses a dragon

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Around this time of year we always start planning Darci’s Halloween costume so we have time to make it. 

When we first started discussing ideas, Darci was determined to be either Anna or Elsa from “Frozen.”

I think I saw 250 little Elsa’s last year, but if that’s what she wanted, I was happy to let her join the herd.
Then we all got sick and spent several days watching movies. Desperate for something we hadn’t watched a thousand times, I put on “How to Train Your Dragon.” 

Darci loved it!

Suddenly Elsa and Anna costumes were faint memories. 

“I want to be Toothless!” Darci announced. 

I’ve never considered making a dragon costume, but I found a great DIY option online that starts with a hoodie. 

I’m so excited to get started putting it together. 

We decided early on (Darci kind of insisted actually) that the girls would do a group costume. 

Who doesn’t love a baby viking?


The Publisher's Desk: A goodbye to a childhood pet--and a childhood

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Sarah and I always tease that we don’t want to get our girls a dog because we’ll have to keep caring for it after they grow up and move out.

Taking care of one grumpy cat seems like enough. 

But the truth is, I think there’s a lot of comfort and joy that can be had for your children’s childhood pet even after they are grown.
Recently, one of my childhood dogs died. 

Sonic, a black lab, has been a part of my family since I was in middle school. 

My dad bought her when she was a puppy — for the first several months, my sister and I didn’t even know what she looked like. She instantly was enrolled in duck hunting training school, so she was a fairly large puppy who was very good at chasing things down and bringing them right back to you. 

I remember her straight back and pointed nose as she’d stand at attention, waiting for my dad to throw the bumper. 

She was fast, too. And good at catching. 

But she was also good at playing. 


One Reporter's Ramblings: See the person, not the politics

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My reaction to the loss of John McCain this past week was unique.

I haven’t read his book, but hearing quotes and how he based the book and a lot of his own personal philosophy from Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was touching.

During his presidential bids, I took issue with several of his stances.

All the same, I knew he deserved my respect if for no other reason than his military service.

To be taken as a prisoner of war must be a frightening hardship. Even when he was offered a trip home due to his family’s prominence, he opted to stay with his fellow soldiers, saying he wouldn’t return home while those who were taken before him were still stuck in P.O.W. camps.

We all like to think we’d do the same, but I wonder how many of us really would.

This disregard for status and politics is also something I really admire, and the late senator gave me one more moment to admire in the wake of his death.


Mrs. Dykowski... fights germs

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Once I get out from under the load of work I neglected while I took most of last week off to wipe noses, I am going to massively disinfect our house. 

Darci was the first victim of a virus that knocked the Dykowski gals off our feet for several days. 

I was close behind her. 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate staying home playing with little creatures and watching kid movies. 

It was like a little mother-daughter staycation with a lot of snot. 

We weren’t whiney vegetables the whole week — just most of it.

We also built a fort to play in with a flashlight. We planned their Halloween costumes and Darci’s birthday party, which are still months away. 

Those were the highlights for me. 

For Darci I’m pretty sure it was the virtually unlimited screen time. We’re usually kind of strict about that. 

A few days in, poor Audrey joined the ranks of the sickies. 


The Publisher's Desk: Fake news... what's the deal?

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I have the privilege of reading some interesting conversations as part of an editor and publisher listserv. 

This week, the editors, usually supportive, are biting at each other. 

Why? Fake news — does it affect only national outlets or does it affect small towns? — they can’t agree.

I’ve seen few people as loyal to each other as news professionals. They get each other. 

How have people like President Trump managed to tear even the free press apart?

That’s the danger — shouting fake news every time you don’t like something challenges the right to a free press and free speech. 

The free press is trying to create an environment where truth means something — Trump clearly does not value that.

But unlike my journalist colleagues, we don’t have to let it darken how we treat one another.


Mrs. Dykowski... sees high cotton

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When I was a kid, my dad was a dryland cotton farmer who used cotton trailers at harvest and human-powered herbicide every summer (that means we hand weeded the fields with a hoe). I still remember when he bought his first tractor with a cab.

When I was eight, we moved to the farm where my parents still live. Across the dirt road was a cotton field belonging to a farmer with a lot of land and equipment. It was an irrigated field with roundup-ready cotton. He pulled big, new equipment with cab tractors, made modules at harvest and sprayed herbicide with an airplane. 

His cotton was always bigger and greener than our naturally irrigated field across the road. 

The technology that made that farm bigger and more productive was still pretty new and  financially out of reach for a small farmer like my dad.  


Recover in a weekend

Recover furniture, DIY, how-to, Dublin Texas, Dublin Citizen

This couch has been recovered, a process that gives your furniture a brand new look in a short time with little expense.
Cindy Combs  |  Citizen staff photo

Recover furniture, DIY, how-to, Dublin Texas, Dublin Citizen

These chairs have been recovered, a process that gives your furniture a brand new look in a short time with little expense.
Cindy Combs  |  Citizen staff photo

Cindy Combs
Business Manager
No, I’m not talking about from a stressful work week or a late night outing. I’m talking about giving your tired couch or chairs a new look. All you need is fabric, possibly new foam or batting and a good sturdy staple gun.
I’ve recovered my couch twice in its 20 years, from a woodsy brown to a cream and lavender print and then to a dark green, navy blue and maroon plaid, padding it with extra foam this last time.
I didn’t know what I was doing initially, but I just turned the couch over and began removing all the staples. As each piece came off, I saved and carefully labeled them as to their placement to use as a pattern. I also gave them numbers in the order they came off.
You will need a 60-inch to 72-inch wide bolt of fabric to be able to cover your couch from one end to another without having to do any sewing. I bought my fabric and foam from Jo-Ann Fabrics when they were in Stephenville.


Awesome with a dash of awkward

Paul Gaudette, reporter, life, Dublin Citizen, Dublin Texas

“So how was your birthday? Was it awesome? Or kind of awkward and weird? Or terrible?”
This was the first question my friend, Joe, greeted me with on Sunday following my 35th birthday.
I started to answer and then paused.
“Say no more,” he said with a laugh. 
I told him that it definitely wasn’t terrible, but it was really awesome with a dash of awkward.
Those that follow this column will remember that my wife is currently suffering spinal issues that make even sitting at home difficult for too long. This is coupled with a strict diet.
I’m not saying all of this to complain. I would support her if our only option were to eat food out of toothpaste tubes while laying in a dark cave. (There’s something to add to my restaurant ideas list.)
I mention these conditions because I’m kind of ... really ... insufferably ... indecisive.


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