keflex indications

The howling winds: Who will win?

The fields exhale as if it’s a contest, a mini-tornado like intense game of back and forth blows.

Their breaths chap the skin, making humans guard their faces and shield their bodies.

In the country, though, the howls meet in the middle: Interstate 29, where cars cruise the fastest and crash the hardest.

The winds push the cars to the left. They howl the vehicles to the right. How quick and how drastic the vehicles dart depends on the size of the ride and the control of the driver. But, no matter how big the vehicle, when the driver lifts his hands off the controls, the fields make their move – whistling the motors to the rumbling strips.

You’re aware now – of the strips and of the howls, how intense they feel and how much damage they could cause. You pledge to keep both hands on the controls, or at least just one, at all times.

Still, the fields persist, apparently upset over this prolonged winter that has brought temperatures in the 20s when they should be in the 40s.

Spring: Is it near? The fields do not know, nor do they care. Their corn has been stripped, their beans have been picked. And now they wait, for a time when the howling will stop, when the sun will shine and when the corn will rise again from their dirt and when the beans will crowd their soil.

People will saunter about the fields, and the fields will no longer shout and scream.

Spring: When the fields will rest.

Until then, drive carefully.

“Is he your son?”

“Is he your son?”

The elderly man asked the woman standing next to me in the lunch line.

The woman, to be clear, is probably old enough to be my mom. But I am 25, so that only means she is at least 40 or so.

She, standing next to me, a source for a future story, didn’t hear him through the setting of trays and the pinging of silverware.

“No,” I responded, turning to my left where he stood behind me in line. “No, I’m a reporter at the World-Herald.” (Apparently that means I don’t have a mother as well.)

I extended my hand to his, and we shook hands but didn’t exchange names.

It was just after noon on Monday, and the Omaha Public Schools cafeteria at the district’s administration building had few empty tables. Some 400 people work at the district’s Teacher and Administrative Center. About 100 of them must have choosing to eat on the cheap this day.

I turned to the appetizing lasagna teasing in front of me. What will you be having? the lunch lady asked.

“I’ll take the meat lasagna, please.”

It had been so long since I savored a fat piece of meat, cheese and cottage cheese all warmed together to form the gorgeous selection of food known as lasagna. We have our Italian brothers and sisters to thank for lasagna, which even makes for a beautiful word, too: lasagna. It moves up and down, taking we wannabe linguists on a trip just like the dish does to our taste buds.

Staring at my soon-to-be lunch reminded me of my mother’s lasagna, which was, of course, much better looking.

“I didn’t like you from behind,” the old man said to me, making some gesture to his bald head.

I turned around again and laughed. I have a white-man’s afro, a head full of curly brown hair that, at the moment, I have let stretch to nearly past my ears, almost hiding on my baby-faced chubby cheeks.

“I get that a lot,” I replied.

Bald men have said something resembling that to me the past two weeks. Just the other day at work, a bald co-worker said he had a photo of himself that looked just like me at his desk. He was serious, he told me when I innocently laughed.

Sliding my tray down the metal spokes, my eyes darted to what was next on this nostalgic return trip to a school cafeteria. My predecessor had spoken highly of this particular cafeteria, namely for its cheap prices, not delicious foods. But, when my source suggested we meet for lunch after the 11 a.m. meeting, I was eager to dine just like I had a teenager.

As in high school, I watched what the person in front of me did: she grabbed a bowl of fruit. I chose the orange cantaloupe, another reminder of an earlier stage of my life.

The old man slunk behind, nudging his tray along.

A few steps farther along, and I plucked a mug for coffee, slid my tray down the homestretch, turned the corner and placed my lasagna, fruit and coffee in front of the female cash register.

It was fairly quick process, although it all seemed so new that it feels like it too much longer. It was like experiencing school lunch once more.

“$3.35,” the woman at the register said.

I happily dug for my wallet and slid out my debit card.

“Oooohhh,” she said, spotting my plastic and not paper. “Only cash.”

Luckily, I had a couple $5 bills snuggling behind some $1 bills.

Paid with a $5 and got change for lunch, but a quarter slid through my fingers.

My source had already paid and walked back to our table near the back of the cafeteria.

“Where’d you get your Italian nose,” the elderly man, who might or might not have had an Italian nose, said.

I have an Italian nose?

“I don’t know,” I said, very perplexed. “I’m, my mom is 100 percent German so I’m 50 percent.”

I squatted to grab the quarter.

“It has the curves and everything,” he said, staring at my nostrils.

The woman working the register saw us talking and posed a question our way: “Is he your grandson?”

Djokovic: Clear No. 2

This time, he needed no heroics, no closing of his eyes to save two match points, no miraculous shots to extend the match.

This time, Novak Djokovic needed three sets of superb play to show the world he has surpassed Roger Federer as the No. 2 player in the world. And with Rafa reeling, maybe this is the year Novak climbs to No. 1.

What a funny start to this tennis season. Just when we all thought Federer was ready to challenge Rafa for No. 1, a new rivalry of 23-year-olds meets in the finals, one that could greet us for the next decade or so: Djokovic v. Andy Murray.

Here, we have the have done, the masterful under pressure, against the have not, the over-thinker in the big matches.

Djokovic against Murray: Two of the game’s best set to better their rivalry as we ring in the 2011 Slam Season.

Just like we predicted, right?

TLT: Sampras can still play

Tennis rules. This much you should know if you’re reading this site. It rules so much that a friend of mine and I have started a site devoted to tennis. Well, Richard created it. I just write stuff for it every now and then.

Like this: The Let Tennis: Sampras can still play

Best. Interview. Ever.

Caroline

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, yesterday I got the question by the media, they said that my press conferences were kind of boring. Yeah, that I always gave the same answers.

You know, I find it quite, you know, funny because I always get the same questions. So I’m just going to start. I know what you’re going to ask me already. So I’m just going to start with the answer.

I felt great out there today on the court. You know, I think I played a pretty good match. I am happy I got the revenge since I lost to her in Sydney last week. It was not an easy match. She went out there, she was really on fire.

You know, I’m happy to be through to the next round. I don’t know who I’m playing, so maybe you can ask me that afterwards. But I’m really looking forward to playing my fourth round. It’s the second time in a row that that’s happened.

I mean, what I do need to do to win this tournament, if I feel like I played too defensively today. I actually feel like I had to do that. I had to run a lot of balls down today because, I mean, she was playing really aggressively, trying to hit from the first point.

But I felt like, you know, when I had the chance, I was really focused and tried to step it up, especially with my serve a bit. When she put the second serve in, I tried to take the advantage straightaway.

Uhm, if I deserve to be No. 1. If this was maybe another proof that I belong there. Again, I don’t feel any pressure to be No. 1. I really enjoy myself. I think I’ve had a great year and a great tournament so far. So I’m just happy to be in the next round, and hopefully I can pull a win through.

My racquet feels really good (laughter). I feel like the racquet is really helping me out. I feel like there is no problems. I really, uhm, enjoy playing with it. So I feel like, uhm yeah, I’m just happy to be here. Hopefully this was a little bit different than usual, and now you can maybe, yeah, give me some questions that are a little bit more interesting, a little bit different than what I usually get.

OWH: Millard board remembers fallen

They bowed their heads, closed their eyes and stood in silence.

After a few moments, the Millard school board did its best to resume regular business Monday night, the board’s first meeting since the Jan. 5 shooting at Millard South High School.

OWH: Millard board remembers fallen

Another Slam first round, another disappointment for Querrey

Perhaps it’s the new American plague.

Forget about the birds falling from the sky and the predictions of a biblical-esque plague that will soon end our days, I’m talking tennis here; something that has a real impact on our lives.

And in America, for gifted, tall men’s tennis players, times are bleak, plague-like bleak.

Day One of the Australian Open: America’s next great hope: 23-year-old Sam Querrey.

Australian Open photo

This is the American who’s supposed to rip the “top-ranked American” label from No. 8 Andy Roddick later this year. Don’t get me wrong, Querrey still can and might. But usually a good first step is winning the first round of majors, something Querrey has done just eight of the 18 times he has played in Grand Slam.

Eight for 18 in first-round matches. That stat alone is somewhat mind-boggling, but also consider this: As Querrey has risen in the rankings, from No. 174 in 2006 to No. 18 in 2011, his Slam performances have stayed relatively the same: In five of his last nine Major appearances, Querrey has failed to get past the entry bout.

Which brings us to this year’s Down Under Major: Querrey against Lukasz Kubot, the 28-year-old from Poland ranked No. 72 in the world. Although Kubot advanced to the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open courtesy a third-round withdraw from Mikhail Youzhny, he was hardly a formidable foe for Querrey.

Yet he was. That, and so much more, beating Querrey in five sets.

It is not so much that Querrey lost in the first round – upsets happen. But rather, how Querrey lost that is so regretful.

It was much like his fourth-round match of the 2010 U.S. Open, when Querrey had a chance to finish the match, ride the blustery winds of momentum and sail into his first-ever quarterfinals.

Instead, he lost.

Day One, Australian Open: Querrey battling Kubot. He seizes the momentum, snatches a 2-1 set advantage. The wind, however, is again a factor. And Querrey has not learned enough from this last win-aided defeat.

Rather predictably, Querrey lets Kubot back in the match and Kubot obliges, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6.

Querrey’s U.S. Open quarterfinal loss to Stanislas Wawrinka: 6-7(9), 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4, 4-6.

The momentum was his. The match was there. But not that day. Not with the wind gusting and the pressure on.

And until Querrey can win those matches, those five-setters, those ones he usually doesn’t, we can forget about the top 10 talk. Heck, we can even forget about him passing Roddick, which would make for one lackluster 2011 for the top two American men.

Storytelling with compassion

A fantastic interview with Jacqui Banaszynski.

WUWM. Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Calls for Compassion in Reporting

OWH: School left with its own wounds

Omaha World-Herald: The gunfire at Millard South made a long-time coach there shake his head — his school was now the one on television, the one everyone was reading about and the school that would have to recover from its own shooting.

“It hurts a lot,” said Larry Ribble, 67, who retired after coaching boys track and basketball at the school for 30 years. “With time, some wounds will be healed, but it’s just really a setback.”

(Far, far better reads about the Millard South High School shooting on Omaha.com.)

Covering the Fred Phelps gang

Westboro

A little more than a month ago, the Westboro group came to Columbia, Mo, on a weekend I was working.

That’s where I stopped writing this blog post in November 2009. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to keep writing about the “Westboro group stops here again,” Columbia Daily Tribune.

But I’ve kept coming back to my website and kept seeing this unfinished draft, so, to avoid this post smelling worse than it does, I’ll briefly finish what I started.

We all know the Phelps crew. And we probably all dislike the Phelps crew. They stomp on our flags. They say ludicrous things at sensitive times. And they do not care what we say or think about them.

We all know that. What struck me about the Phelps gang is how well they understand the game, how well they know what they doing. To the news reporters covering them, the Phelps crew was as kind as can be.

To the people shouting at them, the ones arguing and cussing to no end, the Phelps crew shouted back, unwilling to take such insults without a comeback.

We bother them because they bother us; their actions appall the good in all of us. But when we shout and pay attention to them instead of blocking their access or getting in their way like the successful anti-protesters, we play their game, the one they’ve been playing for years and the one they know better than us: the game of insults.

And we lose every time.