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A peak glimpse; and Baker voters mix on pot

Grand mountains crowd Baker City, and I can scarcely imagine the place without these looming masses of stone that quicken the sunset and stay the sunrise by more than half an hour depending on the season.

But sometimes the peaks, rather than dominating the scene, insert themselves with rather more subtlety.

This approach sacrifices grandeur for surprise — a fair enough trade as anyone knows who has had a loved one’s face appear in an unexpected place.

Of the two ranges that dominate the view from Baker Valley, the Elkhorns, by virtue of proximity, are more imposing than the Wallowas, which are taller but more than twice as distant.

But there is a particular place in town, a spot I walk past a couple times each week, that always delights me even though it affords a brief glimpse of just a smidgen of the Wallowas.

New book shatters myth of campus tolerance

I recently finished a book that I think was intended to make me mad but instead left me, in the main, feeling sad.

The book is “The Silencing: How The Left Is Killing Free Speech.” The author is Kirsten Powers, a registered Democrat and self-proclaimed liberal.

Wireless world: except for a certain umbilical cord

We live in a wireless world.

Until the rechargeable batteries that power our app-laden appendages spit out their last electron.

At that unpleasant moment we’re as dependent on a wire as a 1940s family huddled around their console Philco radio and listening to “Hopalong Cassidy."

Bakerís beer, past and present; and rock history

Brewing beer is easy.

Brewing beer that a reasonable person would drink — without being threatened, or paid a significant sum to risk his liver — is more complicated.

Nonaffiliated voters stayed away from Measure 1-63

Two groups of Baker County voters who might have benefited from making the three county commissioner positions nonpartisan didn’t take advantage of their opportunity.

At least not many of them did.

A robinís construction zone, outside my window

A major construction project is happening three feet from my bedroom window, but the only sound so far has been an occasional tweet.

And I don’t mean Twitter.

The builder is a female American robin.

At least I think it’s a female.

It’s definitely a robin — any 4-year-old can distinguish one of those from other songbirds — but my grasp of avian anatomy is too weak to confirm gender.

Jihadists pose no threat to our freedom of speech

I would have thought, with 9/11 more than a dozen years gone, and the word “beheading” enjoying a renaissance that would please Robespierre, that everyone recognizes the reality regarding certain radical Muslims.

They don’t have much of a sense of humor, for one thing.

Specifically, they tend to get their hackles up when Muhammad gets the caricature treatment from a cartoonist.

What a gas: Eastern Oregon gaining ground in Salem?

We Eastern Oregonians understand that when it comes to flexing our electoral muscles in statewide contests, even the 98-pound weaklings tweak our noses (and biceps) with impunity.

It’s not so much that we tilt at windmills.

It’s that voters in the Willamette Valley, should the matter ever make it to the ballot, will decide where to build the things.

A killer goes unpunished; and snow recedes

The sentence “The body was found in a shallow grave” bothers me in a way few others strings of words do.

I’ve read it, or something similar, dozens of times.

Ditches and dams: Putting our water to work

Like a lot of people I’d enjoy living where I can hear the soothing music of running water.

Sadly there is no stream near my home.

I have to settle for a toilet with a flapper valve chain that’s prone to getting bound up.

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