• T.J. Burnham

    April Fool's Day - A 'Holiday' Sans Candy

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 1, 2014

    Sure, it isn't a nationally-declared holiday, sure it's origins are cloudy, and sure, few get excited about preparing for it. Yet, I love April Fool's Day because it is a holiday uncelebrated, yet widely acknowledged if only with a passing shrug of the shoulders. You have to love a special day that isn't the subject of parties, decorating the lawn, sending and getting gifts, and without the tacky trappings of most celebrations. For this reason I revel in April 1 as a…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Spring, Spring, Spring!!!

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 25, 2014

    Troughs of Easter candy line the aisle of Wal-Mart, and stories about the origin of colored eggs and Peter Cottontail are in the daily news. Must be --- can it be?  Yes! SPRING! Welcome back, daffodils. Where have you been, sun? Hey, time to turn the outside water back on and unwrap the spigots. Let's fire up the BBQ and try out that new smoker!! Yeah, I'm a spring person. I like the warmer, longer days when I can go outside and work without feeling the sting of cold on my…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Life Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 11, 2014

    Death. It comes and steals our loved ones from us. Just heard from a dear friend and former editor who sent a quick email that his son had passed suddenly, without warning, in the night in his bed. He was a grown man working for several years with lots of friends. Then, when he failed to show for an appointment, they checked his apartment and found him there. The note from his father, my good friend of many years, was short and poignant. I can imagine him sitting there writing it. My only…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Repetitive TV Commercials, Snowbells & Little Sounds

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 28, 2014

    I tried so danged hard to watch the Olympics to the awards ceremonies each night, but by 10:30 or so, the incessantly repeated commercials – doubled up as the end of the show approached – put me to sleep in my recliner. I would think advertisers might be embarrassed at the barrage of unchanging spots they produce each night. By the time I have watched one of them a half dozen times, I actually cringe when it comes back again. Is that good advertising, or do some people promise…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Olympic Games Bring Cheers, Tears

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 20, 2014

    Forget about the latest episode of “Hawaii 50,” I am no longer in control of my clicker! The family only wants to watch the Olympics. Sure, I love the games as much as anyone, but the commercials usually dull my brain and quell the excitement about 9:30 each night, and I am ready to go to bed. All those new Super Bowl ads are repeated with incessant punishment, and they take the fun out of watching the Olympic sports. We're cheering with each gold, silver and bronze, and even…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Real Winter Visits the North Pacific Coast

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 11, 2014

    I am looking at a foot of snow on the ground outside the window of the vast Western Farmer-Stockman campus. What's unusual about it is that we don't get snow here in the northern Pacific much. But it hit with a vengeance on Feb. 6. School administrators screamed "Snow Day," and thousands of students responded with "Yes!" Funny thing is that when I was growing up in Michigan, this kind of a day would be a mild event. People around here don't know ice storms and…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Super Bowl Fever Like a Holiday High

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 21, 2014

    I remember when I graduated from Michigan that I would only watch college football. I agreed with Dad, who felt once athletes were paid for what they did, it made the sport to commercial to stomach. So, defending the family concept, I put down the big NFL teams whenever they were mentioned. Then, one of my sons became an avid fan of the NFL and began watching Raiders and 49er games regularly on our TV. Not one to ignore the interests of my children, I sat and looked as well. Then, sometime…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Adieu 2013, auld lang syne, Guy Lombardo and Times Square

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 31, 2013

    Tomorrow: Michigan State vs. Stanford in the granddaddy of all them bowls, the Rose Parade from Pasadena, and lots of good snacks and candy thanks to Santa's bounty (and Wisconsin Cheese Company). Headlong we dive into a new one of those things called a "year." Ready or not, a new, clean page in the calendar to make promises to ourselves about change we know simply are too unrealistic to achieve. I am going to lose weight. I am. Really. I am. I even have a plan to start dieting…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    So This is Christmas

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 24, 2013

    Yes, Virginia, there was a John Lennon who wrote "So This is Christmas" as an inspiration to us all, and with a grim footnote to us all. The gun that took Lennon from us was one of the early shots that have so ravaged our society since, and if we were to take a minute to commemorate all of the gun deaths over the past 20 years, the world would indeed be silent tonight. Don't get me wrong. Owning guns is a right, but we must remember the responsibility that comes with this power…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Watching Bustling Crowds A Christmas Treat

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 18, 2013

    Here were are once again in the final week before Christmas, and those guys who have been watching football and relaxing in their Lazy Boys are  out in the mall looking lost and bewildered. It's time to grab those red boxes with the pretty ribbon, no matter what perfume they contain, and to decide a desktop marble game is just what she wants. I love to sit in Starbuck's at the shopping center at this time of the year and enjoy the crowds. Everyone is really filled with the…

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