On MLK, Jr. Day, the Fergus Falls Marching Band, Super Bowl Hype and free local entertainment...

Don't forget why you have day off
If you go to school, work for a school district, or university, or call some other facet of the public sector like the city or county your employer, there's a good chance you're not working today, on the holiday known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If you had grand plans to do something fun, hopefully the frigid, even dangerously cold weather isn't putting a damper on your enjoyment. UMC and UND are teaming up for a MLK, Jr. celebration in Grand Forks, which sounds like a pretty cool deal. It's your day off, thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr., so spend it how you wish. But after sleeping in, try to take a moment to think about why you're not working or why you're not in school. Oh, and take a moment to think about those of us in the private sector, too, most of whom are working today.

Congrats, Fergus Falls!
The Inauguration Parade for President Obama is being held today, and some of you probably know that there will be somewhat of a local angle in participation. For the second time in four years, the Fergus Falls Marching Band has been selected as one of the acts for the parade. Think of it what you will, but it really is an achievement. Even though some of these students may not be Democrat, they must feel some kind of national pride to be able take part in this kind of thing. We should all feel the same way. Many states are being represented but Fergus Falls is the only one from Minnesota. And let's be honest, West Central Minnesota can often be thought of as "fly-over" country. So no matter what our political party standing is, we should all root for these kids for doing something worthwhile and truly a once in a lifetime experience. – Amanda Wagner, Times intern

Resist endless Super Bowl hype for a few days
The official "Media Day" for the Super Bowl is more than a week away, but this is the NFL's Super Bowl we're talking about, after all, so the hype machine kicked into high gear about a nanosecond after the Ravens upset the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass. Sunday evening. For the first time ever, it's brother vs. brother, with Ravens Coach John Harbaugh going against 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh. Truth be told, that's pretty big. Then there's Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, a surefire first-ballot hall of famer who's announced he's retiring after the season. Great storylines for sure, but can we take this week off from being bombarded with them? Can we not see slow motion footage of the Harbaugh brothers screaming obscenities on the sidelines? And can we not see close-ups of Lewis doing his silly dance, or leading a pre-game huddle where everyone barks like dogs? Or of him crying? Can we take the camera off him for one second…you know, so we can get psyched for this weekend's riveting, edge-of-your-seat NFL Pro Bowl?

Take advantage of free entertainment
People in the Crookston area will get the chance to take in some free entertainment this week, courtesy of high school thespians, when Crookston High School performs its entry in the one-act play contest on Tuesday evening and hosts the sub-section tournament Thursday, all in the school's auditorium. The contest features drama students from several area schools doing their interpretation of short plays. These might be poignant, scary, hilarious, parabolic or a mix of genres, but they're always a treat to see. Where else could someone enjoy several hours watching various live dramatic productions, free of charge? It's worth trekking out in the cold. If you can't make it through the full array of plays, no worries; you can check out one or two, and there's always the Tuesday night Pirate performance.