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World-Herald columnists

Kelly: For Anna, Leo the medical-alert dog is a diabetic’s best friend

Anna Di Ruocco, 21, is a brittle Type 1 diabetic, and having Leo at her side is a blessing. He's trained to notice when Anna’s blood sugars are running dangerously high or low.

CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

Shatel: Wins are gifts that ensure a happy year

This year’s Christmas Wish List, for the naughty, nice and occasionally both.

Breaking Brad: Merry Christmas! Hey, Gangwish, no reindeer selfies!

A quick message to Jack Gangwish: no reindeer selfies.

Breaking Brad: It's Christmas Eve. I guess I'll see you all at Nebraska Crossing.

It's Christmas Eve morning. If you hustle, you have almost enough time to find a parking spot at Nebraska Crossing before closing.

Grace: In annual act of patriotism, ‘church mice’ erect red, white and blue tree in VA chapel

The tree is an 8-foot wonder in red, white and blue. And every year, it somewhat magically appears in the entrance of the chapel inside the VA hospital in Omaha without much fanfare.

Breaking Brad: Here's your afternoon humor column. Thank you for asking.

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch answered nearly every question on Sunday in a postgame interview with "thank you for asking." You know what Shawn Eichorst calls a guy like that? "Too loquacious."

Breaking Brad: So much for that New Year's Eve party at Maria Sangria.

Some were hoping for a CHI Health-Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska agreement by the end of 2014. That now appears as likely as the Omaha City Council holding its New Year's party at Maria Sangria.

Hansen: On her Christmas cards,
 it's just her and her attitude ... and maybe some wine

Offering a counterpoint to the happy, growing families gracing her siblings’ holiday cards, a former Omahan's personal twist on her own Christmas cards makes her an Internet celebrity -- for being drunk and single.

OUTDOORS

Davis: A best friend ... through thick and thin

My best friend and roommate for the past 13-plus years is old and sick. And I plan to stay by his side until the end.

Kelly: She lost half her weight, gained national attention

Conner Rensch of Omaha used to be twice the woman she is now — but her new self is featured this week in People magazine. The 5-foot-10 hair stylist once weighed 271 pounds. Now she is a trim 141, and is pictured in the magazine’s annual Half Their Size Cover Girl issue.

Breaking Brad: You didn't read it here, but there's a NYE party at the queen’s garden

A magic mushroom with hallucinogenic properties was found growing in the queen’s garden. That Royal Family New Year’s Eve party just got a lot better.

Breaking Brad: Nebraska Corrections officials got another date confused

This is awful. Nebraska Corrections officials got the dates confused and celebrated Christmas on Saturday.

Grace: 'Don’t put spaghetti between your toes'; dad lights up Internet with book of toddler talk

Martin Bruckner, an Omaha graphic designer, was inspired to create a 28-page book documenting the absurdity and humor of life with a 2-year-old. It was intended as just a sweet gift for his wife, Michelle Cartwright-Bruckner, but it has caught fire on the Internet.

FROM THE NOTEBOOK

Kelly: 'Do you believe in destiny?' First love
 for woman, then love
 for city

» A retired Philadelphia lawyer and I enjoyed lunch this week at the Omaha Press Club, where I learned how he ended up moving to Omaha last year — and now loves it.

HUMOR

Dickson's Week in Review, Dec. 14-20

According to an audiotape obtained by The World-Herald, in his final meeting with players, Bo trashed A.D. Shawn Eichorst and used a lot of vulgar language. I think Carl left Florida Atlantic under better terms, and he was basically escorted off the field by the Coast Guard.

Kelly: In work Dr. Robert L. Perry catered to animals, in his life he catered to people

Bob Perry was so easygoing, quipped his wife, Ione, that if they had a disagreement, “I’d get worn out arguing both sides. He wouldn’t argue.”

HUMOR

Brad Dickson's college football bowl viewing guide

Welcome to my annual TV bowl guide, where I separate the must-views from the impossible-to-watch. With new bowl games sprouting like weeds, there is no shortage of the latter.

Breaking Brad: That Bo Pelini audiotape is all Dave Heineman's fault!

The Bo Pelini tape saga rolls on. Through force of habit, the Nebraska Legislature is blaming Gov. Dave Heineman for the whole mess.

Breaking Brad: Partnerships with Cuba and Oklahoma? Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Nebraska and Oklahoma are joining forces to sue Colorado for declaring marijuana to be legal. This is truly bizarre, and, when I write that, of course I'm referencing Nebraska teaming up with OKLAHOMA?

Breaking Brad: You know, I miss Bill Callahan. OK, I lied.

You know, I'd almost rather have Bill Callahan back. No, never mind.

Breaking Brad: So much for Pelini, Eichorst swapping Christmas cards

Well, I guess Shawn Eichorst can cross Bo Pelini off his Christmas card list.

FOOTBALL

Hansen: Bo Pelini talks of core values but lacks more than a few

Bo Pelini talked quite a bit about values in his hate-fueled half-hour speech to Nebraska’s football team after he was fired. Pelini has a shockingly incomplete, strangely stunted idea about what values really are, doesn’t he?

FOOTBALL

Shatel: One more round of drama for Bo Pelini, Husker football

College football should be fun. College football shouldn’t be hard. Bo Pelini, though, made it hard. That’s who he was, what he was about, literally to the bitter end.

Hansen: Grappling with life's big questions during a 9.5-hour 'Hobbit' marathon

At various points during my all-day “Hobbit” movie marathon, I hated the three “Hobbit” movies, and I loved them, and I loved to hate them, and I loved them all over again.

Breaking Brad: I guess I'm not going to see 'The Interview'...

If anyone's looking for me tonight, I'll be busy scratching "The Interview" off my holiday movie list.

Breaking Brad: Hey, Uber, no price-gouging Santa on Christmas Eve!

Santa is preparing to make his around-the-world journey. Instead of a sleigh, this year, he's taking Uber.

Kelly: Life coach rookie? He’s wise beyond his 23 years

Cameron J. Popp hands you his business card, and the tagline under his name stands out: “Your guide to a remarkable life.”

Hansen: Translator had American’s back in Afghanistan, and vice versa in Omaha

It was just another Omaha Thanksgiving, until you remembered that this guest list had been drawn up long ago by Osama bin Laden and two U.S. presidents. Just another Thanksgiving, until you recalled that the 10 people at this dining room table had been tossed together by Sept. 11, the longest war in American history and finally our government’s attempt to help our most loyal Afghan allies escape the sheer terror of their daily existence.

Breaking Brad: OMG! Mike Riley hired a guy NOT from Oregon State!

Mike Riley reportedly will keep current NU defensive backs coach Charlton Warren. I believe Riley took this action after learning Warren once flew over the Oregon State campus.

Breaking Brad: Yes, officer, that dude stole my weed.

In Westlake, Ohio, a man called police to report stolen marijuana in a Taco Bell parking lot. We now have proof that marijuana destroys brain cells.

FIRST DOWNS AND SECOND GUESSES

Shatel: Forecast is bright for UNO hockey but a little foggy for CU and NU basketball

The local weather gurus have their winter forecast. I have mine. The difference: My six-inches-of-snow/65-degrees line runs through the middle of the CenturyLink Center. My forecast.

Gospel of gratitude

Grace: Omaha officer and boy find common bond that links them

Alex was a good boy, but, like a lot of 7-year-olds, he was very curious. So a few weeks ago, when he saw a pair of shiny metal handcuffs lying there, practically screaming to be flicked open and clicked shut on his right wrist, well, what's a curious 7-year-old to do?

Breaking Brad: Johnny Manziel roughed up Sunday – and then he faced the Bengal D

A rough first NFL start for Johnny Manziel. During the game Sunday, Manziel was sacked twice. And that was just by Brian Hoyer.

Breaking Brad: Worst ... excuse ... ever – Russian hockey player says dog ate his passport

A Russian hockey player said his dog ate his passport. This would be the worst reason ever for your team losing an Olympic gold medal. “We would’ve won but one best player stayed home. Dog ate his passport.”

LIVE CHAT

Lunch with Tom: Replay

Hungry for some sports chat? Join the “Lunch with Tom” chat at 10 a.m. as World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel discusses the future of Husker football and more.

Hansen: Afghan interpreters risked all for U.S., struggle in Omaha

The Terps are bound by a single, fateful decision: At some point in the past 13 years, they signed contracts to become interpreters for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. That decision forced these men to flee their hometowns. It led them to live in fear. And it led them to a government program that in the past year has brought 45 endangered Afghan interpreters and family members to Omaha.

FROM THE NOTEBOOK

Kelly: Lace up — Omaha is No. 1 for active lifestyle

"Omaha doesn't jump to a lot of people's minds as the No. 1 spot for active lifestyle," said WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez, "but it excelled in a lot of categories."

HUMOR

Dickson's Week in Review, Dec. 7-13

Barney Cotton released a prepared statement that the Huskers were thrilled to be going to the Holiday Bowl. I think it was prepared in 2010.

FOOTBALL

Shatel: After two nights with college football's best, some clarity on Huskers' place

Some want to win the Heisman or the Masters. I’ve always wanted to be a bowl scout for a day.

Grace: Giraffe toys — dozens of them — helped girl through cancer; now zoo baby bears her nickname, ‘Lolo’

Lauren "Lolo" Hacker was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer two years ago. Her favorite animal is the giraffe, and during her cancer fight, friends and strangers sent her toy giraffes.

Breaking Brad: Sources say Mike Riley bringing Oregon State student chef to Lincoln

An out-of-control Mike Riley just hired the Oregon State ombudsman, librarian and student union chef to come to UNL.

Breaking Brad: Omaha forecast promises windbreaker-on-your-sheep type of weekend

High temperatures near 60 are predicted for Omaha on Saturday and Sunday. In December. It's the "pinch me, I must be dreaming" forecast.

Hansen: In massive hepatitis C outbreak in Fremont, the victims’ voices went unheard

Emil Mueller was one of 99 Fremont residents — most of them middle-aged or elderly cancer patients — that Dr. Tahir Ali Javed and his nurses infected with hepatitis C in their clinic during what became the worst outbreak of its kind in American medical history. Here's Emil's story.

Breaking Brad: Wait, what's an Incarnate Word?

Nebraska's men's basketball team lost to Division I newcomer Incarnate Word. Even the sheep in a sweater wandering Omaha's streets said, "Well, that's weird."

Breaking Brad: On a sweater-wearing sheep and Husker bitten by a raccoon

I had the worst experience the other night. I walked into a Christmas party in Omaha and saw a sheep that was better dressed.

Breaking Brad: And the Oregon State assistants keep coming ... and coming

Will the last Oregon State assistant coach to leave for Nebraska please turn out the lights?

Breaking Brad: As the great Harvey Perlman would tweet, YOLO!

Harvey Perlman tweeted what some are calling smack about "doubters" upset with Mike Riley's hiring and added "YOLO." Oh, no. Now Perlman can speed up his tuition increases by tweeting them.

Breaking Brad: How much Taylor Swift is too much Taylor Swift?

The finalists for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" include Tim Cook, the CEO of Alibaba, Roger Goodell, the Iraqi Kurdistan president and Taylor Swift. At the current rate, Taylor Swift will be elected president in 2032.

Breaking Brad: I'm so ready to bookmark Ernie Chambers's blog

The World-Herald has reported that Ernie Chambers may start a blog. I just hope this doesn't end up being at all controversial.

Kelly: Two Madonna organizations in Omaha aim  for peaceful coexistence

Madonna School, for children with disabilities, was founded in Omaha in 1960. Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, founded in Lincoln in 1958, is expanding to the Omaha area. Prepare for a battle royal. ... Ah, but wait.


Tomorrow's Events
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center
12:00 am
Got cabin fever?  Looking for something to do with the children while they are home from school for the holidays?  Come visit the Lewis and Cl…
 
Union Pacific Museum Continues Holiday Model Train Tradition
Union Pacific Railroad Museum
10:00 am
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum will have a temporary model train exhibit available for viewing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday through S…
 
Holiday Lights Festival / ConAgra Foods Ice Rink
ConAgra Foods Campus
1:00 pm
The ConAgra Foods Ice Rink, located on the ConAgra campus at 10th and Harney streets, will return for an eighth year to entertain families and…
 
Rec's Kids Club
Omaha area recreation centers
3:00 pm
This free program offers activities like crafts, sports and field trips for ages 6-12. Locations and times vary each week.
 
Brian Holland
Vega, 350 Canopy St., Suite 220, Lincoln
5:00 pm
Genre: Jazz. Cost: $7.

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