December 2008

Notice:

Prairie Fire Newspaper went on hiatus after the publication of the September 2015 issue. It may return one of these days but until then we will continue to host all of our archived content for your reading pleasure. Many of the articles have held up well over the years. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts, or an interest in helping return Prairie Fire to production. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all our readers, contributors, and supporters - the quality of Prairie Fire was a reflection of how many people it touched (touches).

My father remembered

By Robert Rickover

Today Admiral Hyman G. Rickover is best remembered for developing the atomic-powered submarine. With the launching of the first of these submarines, the Nautilus, in 1954, he was dubbed “The Father of the Atomic Submarine.” As Admiral Rickover’s only child, that made me The Atomic Submarine, and you can imagine what I now had to live up to. And just when I had become used to it, several atomic-powered surface ships were built and my father became “The Father of the Nuclear Navy”—and I acquired an even more bizarre identity!

Alfredisms

“Polking Around”
March 2, 1972

Man has evolved from crawling to standing to sitting. This is the peak. To be able to live sitting down. Nearly everyone exits this life in a prone position, or hopes to (we have never heard of a head-first or feet-first burial) and as long as they can stay awake, they fight stretching out on their back for fear someone will put a lily in their hand and read an obituary.

Fertilized by ethanol: the prairie blooms cash

“Corn with the Wind,” painting by HessDesignWorks.com. (Mark Hess)

By Peter Carrels

It’s called corn on corn. That expression describes a crop-rotation strategy pursued by some Midwest farmers capitalizing on high corn prices because of ethanol. In other words, one year they plant corn. And the next year they do the same.

Whatever happened to letting the land lay fallow, you ask? Isn’t growing corn harder on topsoil than growing any other crop? Have you checked crop prices lately?

The Long-Term Care Savings Plan: Allowing Nebraskans to take control

By Shane Osborn

Long-term care is a topic that is growing in popularity these days and for good reason—it accounts for the single largest cost to the medical field today. Considering a majority of Nebraskans may only have a partial understanding of the subject, it’s more important than ever that you know the facts and be informed.

Book Review: "A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599" by James Shapiro

Review by Gene Bedient

“A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599”
Author: James S. Shapiro
New York: Harper Collins

This was a fascinating read for me in the field of “not my job.” A friend mentioned the book and, being a life-long Shakespeare devotee, I asked if I could borrow it.

'The Nutcracker' as it was intended

By Barbara Schmit

One doesn’t have to walk very far in the mall or channel surf for very long during the month of December before hearing a familiar excerpt from one of the most famous holiday pieces in the world: “The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Commissioned in 1891 by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, director of the Imperial Theatres, “The Nutcracker” ballet was first performed at the Imperial Maiinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in December of 1892.

Appreciating the passion

By Tiffany Elaine Davis

When I was three years old, I embarked upon an activity that unknowingly would become my greatest passion. Passion is a relevant term that has a different meaning for everyone. To me, passion is when you love and appreciate something beyond reasonable doubt, so that it becomes a part of who you are. My goal is not to make my passion your passion but rather to educate you on the aspects you need to know to understand and appreciate what it is that I so unconditionally love.

Why doesn't he do something about that gully?

By Steve Chick

It has nagged me for what seems like most of the 16 years that I have lived in Lincoln, Neb. I regularly make the trip to a reservoir near Hickman to either exercise my dog or unsuccessfully cast a line, but every trip that eroding gully catches my attention. It has always bothered me as to why a farmer would leave such an eyesore along a well-traveled road, but the trip this week really caught my attention. The gully is about four to six feet deep and extends several hundred feet into the field perpendicular to the road. On this particular day, the farmer had just finished combining, and it was obvious that every time he came to the ravine, he turned on end rows parallel to the gully. If the shame of such a poor farming practice has not been enough to cause him to fix the gully, then I would think the additional time and fuel used for the extra turns and the inconvenience of farming around the gully would motivate a change.

The Hawk Highway

September through December, raptor enthusiasts gather 20 minutes north of Omaha, Neb., at Hitchcock Nature Center to observe and count thousands of hawks, eagles and vultures migrating south. The broad expanse of the adjacent Missouri River Valley and the updrafts created by the prevailing westerly winds striking the Loess Hills create a “hawk highway,” which attracts migrating birds of prey. Hitchcock Nature Center has been recognized as one of the top five hawkwatches in the world for viewing migrating bald eagles. November is an especially good time to view these majestic avians on their journey south, but the watch continues through December.

Parting words: Fond memories on the lower Platte

By Frank Albrecht

One of my fondest memories of being on the lower Platte River takes me to my favorite hobby, bowhunting whitetail deer. The hunt was near North Bend. I was in the treestand well before light, and it was a cold, crisp early November morning. My stand was only about 10 yards from the river, and as I waited for a hint of daylight, I could hear some coons working the shoreline and some waterfowl out on a sandbar. For a bowhunter, that predawn light is a magic time to be in the stand as you try to make out the dark forms in the distance that look like deer, most of them becoming a stump or clump of vegetation as more light eventually rats them out.

Sonny's Corner - Early voting in Nebraska: Modest proposals

By John Berge

During the late summer and fall of 2008, I had the honor of serving as the state director for the Obama for America campaign in Nebraska. From several different standpoints, the campaign in Nebraska was a historic one. History was made just by virtue of the ballots—it was an election that included a black American at the top of the ticket as my party’s nominee, and had a woman vice presidential nominee on the other side.

Immigration in Nebraska

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