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In line with teenage girls to watch "Twilight"


I have risked, and possibly have suffered, complete emasculation.

I went to see the latest cinematic installment in the “Twilight” series.

But that wasn’t the real danger.

I didn’t trudge into the Eltrym looking glum, a reluctant prisoner shackled to my wife’s affinity for saccharine love stories.

I wanted to be there.

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UO president's mistake: Getting it done, but not getting along


I’m calling it the “Kitzhaber rule.”

And it goes this way: Giving public employees pay raises is a noble goal — so long as the governor is doling out the dollars.

Ignoring this edict is a perilous act.

One that can cost you your job, in fact.

Richard Lariviere, the soon-to-be-ex president of my alma mater, the University of Oregon — which makes him, I suppose, a lame duck Duck — can attest to the potential hazards if you defy the Kitzhaber rule.

The Oregon Board of Higher Education, after apparently taking a straw poll — thank goodness for the state’s strict public meetings law, right? — made its decision official Monday when it voted unanimously to terminate Lariviere’s contract. Lariviere, who was under contract until June 30, 2012, is out on Dec. 28.

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Having fun with predicting the future: The view from 1968

By Jayson Jacoby
Baker City Herald

Lampooning people for the predictions they proferred almost half a century ago isn’t exactly fair.
But it surely is fun.
 

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The Grinch shows up early, and I'm happy to welcome him


We were watching TV the other day — Nov. 13, to be specific — and a promo came on for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

The program (the original, and in my view vastly superior, cartoon version, not the decent Jim Carrey movie) was scheduled to air the very next day.

I glanced over at my son, Alexander, and my daughter, Rheann, who were sitting on the sofa.

Each of our faces showed a similar bemused expression.

“The Grinch already?” I said. “It’s still almost two weeks until Thanksgiving, for criminy sake.”

I probably sounded sort of disgusted — as though this premature pushing of the holiday season was an affront to my sense of tradition.

But later that day I got to thinking about this.

And I decided that rather than bemoan the trend I would celebrate it.

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AHP allows hunters to blunder about in new territory

BY JAYSON JACOBY

BAKER CITY HERALD

I’d like to publicly thank Oregon's Access & Habitat Program (AHP) for greatly expanding the geographic range in which I can embarrass myself as a hunter.

Used to be I had to flaunt my failures mainly on public land.

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Doppler radar and tea leaves: Having a sense for weather


I went out walking Sunday afternoon and although the day came off bright and balmy, I felt a trifle melancholy.

The reason, I told myself, is that I sensed this was likely the last such day to grace our valley for a long while.

Not till March — or perhaps May if next spring is as tardy as the previous one was — will I be able to stroll around in short sleeves, as comfortable as a cat curled on a patch of rug beside a furnace grate.

Yet after a few more minutes of ruminating it occurred to me that my initial thought on this matter was not merely misguided.

It was pure balderdash.

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Warmed by an act of kindness of a perfect autumn day


The man in the wheelchair had a problem.

He beckoned us as we walked west on the sidewalk. My wife, Lisa, and I were on the north side of Broadway, just across from the Middle School.

The man was also on the sidewalk, rolling east.

It was just past noon on a quintessential Indian summer October day. The sky was rich blue, the air calm, and the sunshine warmed exposed skin in that way peculiar to mid autumn — none of the unpleasant prickliness of summer heat, yet the warmth was somehow insubstantial, as things are which cannot last much longer.

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Yearning to hike border to border — but not alone


I have been afflicted just lately by the urge to take a long walk.

Actually this feels more like an obsession.

Anyway this compulsion, or whatever it is, to embark on a hike of epic rather than merely respectable length has barged into my subconscious and latched on with the adhesive stubbornness of a barnacle.

Or an ABBA song.

(Say what you will about that quartet of Swedes, but they knew how to craft a pop hook. I defy you to silence the chorus of “Dancing Queen” once it has command of your internal juke box. Or I should say your internal iPod; I need to update my metaphors.)

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Sharing the protesters' anger, but worrying about my 401(k)


I understand why people are congregating on Wall Street, hoisting signs and chanting slogans.

Well, I kind of understand.

The economy stinks.

And Wall Street is the symbolic, and malodorous, heart of the putrefying American financial system.

(Washington, D.C., serving, of course, as its calcified brain.)

Parading these decrepit organs, as it were, through downtown Des Moines wouldn’t make the point quite so explicitly.

(Although geographic proximity proved no deterrent to the sympathetic protesters who descended last week on several other cities, among them Portland, where the presence of sign-waving hordes is as predictable as autumn rain puddles.)

What’s not clear to me, though, is which actions we’re supposed to take against the omnipotent cabal that controls America — the so-called 1-percenters — that will confer any tangible benefit on everyone else.

And by “we” I mean the voters.

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I'd rather schools be gun-free, but people are the real threat


Guns, as a general rule, don’t belong in schools.

Trouble is, general rules, not to mention laws, sometimes get broken.

And occasionally the people doing the breaking have guns, which they take to school and use to murder students and teachers and anyone else who gets in the way.

When that happens, the presence of another gun-toter — ideally, one who’s not suffering from any sort of psychosis — could, quite literally, be a life-saver.

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