Category: Columns

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

by Bob Garver By Bob Garver In this era of remakes and reboots and other words to describe digging up long-dormant franchises, the revival of “Planet of the Apes” has turned out to be one of the best surprises. It would have been so easy for things to go wrong with these movies: they could have been too silly, they could have taken themselves too seriously and become unintentionally silly, the special effects could have been unconvincing, the special effects could have been so convincing that they fell into the Uncanny Valley. And yet, the right balance has been found at every turn, first with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and then with “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014). Now comes “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and it deserves a place of honor alongside the other two as an emotionally-investing film that happens to have a CGI ape as its main character. The key to the movie is, as always, the motion-capture performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar, the leader of the apes. Early scenes have Caesar as you would expect to see him: angry and brutal, but also wise and merciful. It’s fine, Serkis clearly hasn’t lost his touch. But then Caesar goes through some hardships and Serkis has to give the character all these touches where he’s blinded by rage...

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Reflections from Red Oak Ranch

by Jan Fielden I was so proud of Sundance this past week. She has been running free most of the summer with only occasional times of being put up. But I figured on the 4th of July I should put her up so she wouldn’t get hurt because of fireworks going off and scaring her. I was afraid she might bolt through a fence or something. So, I went through her paddock to call her. She was running with the cows down on the front and I wasn’t quite sure where they were or if she was with them. I stepped out of the gate, called her and here she came on a run! She ran straight for the stable and waited. I, however, was down the way at the paddock gate. I called her to come down there and she immediately turned and trotted down to where I was. I told her what a good girl she was to come when I called and she gave me one of those looks that said, “isn’t that what I am suppose to do?” Now usually when we put her up in the paddock she runs full speed for a while just to let us know she doesn’t want to be locked up. But this time, she went on down to her stable and stayed there for a little while. I...

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June Rainfall & Temps Near Normal

June rainfall was slightly above normal at 4.16 inches. We had seven days with measurable rainfall with a greatest one-day total of 1.19 inches on June 9. Our Normal rainfall for June is 4.03 inches. Our total for the year not stands at 27.29 inches. Normal through June is 23.23 inches. June temperatures were fairly normal with highs mostly in the upper 80’s to mid-90’s and lows in the upper 60’s and low 70’s. Highs and low temperatures for the month were 99 degrees on June 23 and 66 degrees on June 8 respectively. A point of interest is that we did not have any triple-digit temperatures in June although we did come close at 99 degrees on June 23. Over the past 23 years we have had triple-digit temperatures only twice in June – in 1998 and 2011 which were two of our hottest years over that period. We had 44 triple –digit temperature days in 1998 and 66 in 2011. Let us hope that coming close was not close enough for another year like 1998 and 2011.   2017 RAINFALL BY MONTH Month               Rainfall (inches)        Normal              Departure January               5.75                                     3.62                      +2.13 February             3.25                                     3.36                      -0.11 March                 4.25                                     4.33                       -0.08 April                    5.06                                    3.30                       +1.76 May                     4.82                                    4.59                       +0.23 June                    4.16                                     4.03                      +0.13 July                      0                                          0                            0 August                0                                          0                            0 September         0                                          0                            0 October              0                                          0                            0 November          0                                          0                           0 Totals                  27.29                                  23.23                   +4.06   LOOKING...

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Reflections From Red Oak Ranch – July 5, 2017

by Jan Feilden I have lots of Hummingbirds and have enough feeders, but the one feeder they like best does not have an ant moat.  Normally it is not a problem.  The ants didn’t seem to care it was there.  Somehow this year, they did. I have been trying to figure out what to do with it as I am really getting tired of fighting the ants when I clean out the feeder.  The birds don’t seem to mind the ants being inside their feeder or even the ants crawling all over it and climbing in and out of the “flowers” they feed from.  BUT I mind. It is a “Battle Royale” as I am pouring water on the feeder; they are trying to get out of it and are drowning in the meantime.  Some manage to get out and crawl on my hands where they are squashed before they can bite. I have tried all kinds of things to get rid of them.  They are crawling on the ledge of the roof of the porch, then down the hook the feeder hangs on, then down the glass, through the flower port and in to the nice meal I have prepared for Hummingbirds only!! I don’t want to spray up there with anything because I am afraid it might affect the Hummingbirds.  I tried putting a pouch of liquid...

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It Seems To Me… Keeping Your Freedom

by Pastor Steve Ellison July 4th is a lot of fun and a timely reminder about the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. It also provides an opportunity to remind ourselves of a much more important freedom. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come “To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1 NASU) Jesus attributed it to himself in Luke 4. Furthermore, Jesus said in John 8:31-36, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’? Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (NASU) Paul expounded on the theme of freedom in Christ in Galatians 4 and 5. He pointed out that prior to our new birth, we were slaves to sin (our inability to keep the Law). Galatians 5:13 points out a significant danger in the Christian life, “It...

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