Have fun with advent calendars

Advent calendars allow you and your family, and even your pets, to enjoy the countdown to Christmas, which, for those counting, is already next week (!). The calendars can come in a variety of styles, the most popular being a chocolate calendar. The concept is pretty easy. Each day you open a new window or small box, and there’s a surprise inside. Advent calendars have expanded their reach in recent years to appease wine lovers, LEGO lovers, makeup lovers, or you can buy or even make your own to fill with small toys, dog/cat treats, notes of inspiration, or even clues to find a special gift at the end. Stores also carry pre-made calendars for kids like the Disney book calendar for those who have just started to read. If you don’t already have your advent calendar, you’ll have a whole year to prepare for next year. 

It’s just a satire, but, still, Netflix should pull film

Netflix needs to take down their comedy movie that depicts Jesus Christ as a homosexual. “The First Temptation of Christ” came out on December 3, just as many Christians around the world were preparing to celebrate the Christmas season. For Christians, Christmas is a time were people celebrate Jesus’s life, and all he has done for them. Obviously the movie is satire, but it definitely crosses the line. Making this kind of joke about something so important to many people is wrong. Netflix has already received a lot of backlash about the movie, and hopefully it is enough for them to remove it.    – Cooper Brown, student writer

Please, NFL teams, end the defensive team selfie endzone celebrations

Talk about refreshing: The Vikings defense in their Sunday romp over the San Diego Chargers returned a fumble for a touchdown, and the endzone celebration did not involve the entire Vikings defense and other players joining from the sideline mugging for group selfies shot by all of the photographers on the field and fans in the stands with their phones. Oh, man, this is getting old. During Sunday Night Football, announcer Al Michaels couldn't hide his feelings about the insistence to pose in the endzone when the Bills defense recovered a Steelers fumble at the 10 yard line. "And now they get to run 90 yards down the field to pose," Michaels said, with his tone making it clear how he felt. And the Bills didn't even score. It was just a turnover. But that's enough for entire defenses to run all the way down the field and pose in every unimaginable, tired way possible. Time for something new guys. Or, maybe just hand the ball to the nearest referee.

Twins’ brass back up their big talk

First, let's give some credit, but some credit is due: The Minnesota Twins organization has gone in the span of a couple years from one of the most old-school, antiquated operations in Major League Baseball to one of the most advanced, cutting-edge operations in the sport. So they've earned a certain level of fan trust. But, that said, don't tell the fan base, after a 101-win season that ended quickly in the postseason because of a lack of quality starting pitching, that you're going to be very aggressive when it comes to pursuing top-end starting pitching in the offseason, and then do nothing on that front. All of these top starters are signing free agent contracts with other teams, and then we hear afterward that the Twins offered money, too, just not enough. Madison Bumgarner was the latest, signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $85 million, with $15 million deferred. Yes, the Twins could still get impact starting pitching via trade, but in going that route you're going to give up a lot of talent. The Pohlad family that owns the team has all the money in the world to spend, but they won't, no matter what the team's brass says publicly to try to appease the fans. Being cheap, that's the one thing about the Twins organization that hasn't changed.

Congrats to our neighbors east on Highway 2

Let's send a little love around 35 or 40 miles east of Crookston down U.S. Highway 2, to McIntosh, where one woman, Andrea Stordahl, has spearheaded a downtown business revival, with women running the businesses. Her efforts are getting a lot of deserved attention, with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Sunday following in the Grand Forks Herald’s footsteps by writing a big feature story over the weekend. Stordahl and her husband moved "home" to McIntosh to help her dad, Jim Stordahl, on the farm. But then he died of cancer, and, coupled with the cancer death of her brother-in-law, Bryan, Andrea and husband, Bryce, re-evaluated everything, including what's important to them in life. Fast forward to now, and Andrea, buoyed by the City of McIntosh, which sold her a block of buildings for $1, and her friends are operating niche businesses downtown, and downtown has come alive as a result. Sure, long-term, it still might be a struggle to succeed; but for right now, it's cause for celebration. A positive attitude, combined with grit, determination, some daring, and a lot of collaboration, can result in great things.