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Kids bored with summer? Not those at the Fair

The statement, along with its companion question, mark summer’s advent as reliably as the yellow jacket that shows up as soon as the burgers emerge from the barbecue.

“I’m bored. What can I do?”

Summer break spawns spontaneous celebrations for students — the opening sequence of the movie “Dazed and Confused” captures the essence nicely — but it generates rather less enthusiasm among their parents.

This is especially so for mothers who work from, or at, home. They are the advance troops, as it were, tasked with the hapless mission of trying to stave off incipient boredom among the ranks, many of whom aren’t happy until they’ve spilled a bottle of glue all over the dining room table or inflicted on a sibling a wound that requires stitches.

The very notion of summer as punishment is more than a trifle childish, of course.

The difference between hunters and lion-killers

I like to hunt.

But I wouldn’t shoot an African lion.

Unless the beast was bearing down on me and Marlin Perkins wasn’t there to save me and I didn’t think I could get back to my Land Rover before the lion plunged its teeth into my neck.

Then I might make an exception.

Thereís just no excuse for this lack of judgment

The scenario would induce panic in any parent.

And cause apoplexy in anybody who frets about the government flexing its legislative muscles with an immodesty that would cause Arnold Schwarzenegger to blush.

Here’s the situation:

In Oregon, 15-year-olds can undergo sex reassignment surgery not merely without their parents’ permission, but without even their parents’ knowledge.

And if that fact hasn’t quite set your blood to a figurative boil, surely this one will:

Lure of the little: Hunkering for huckleberries

We drove up past the drought-shrunken Wolf Creek Reservoir last Sunday, hunting for the forest’s smallest and sweetest quarry.


Which at least offset their diminutive nature by being far more numerous than, say, elk.

Slower, too.

And although the successful pursuit of either can leave you with slimy hands, the innards of berries are notably less unpleasant than the equivalent parts of an elk.

An autumn preview during the middle of July

I lay in my bed at dusk of a recent day, listening to the tranquil patter of a gentle rain tapping the kids’ plastic picnic table outside.

Nature, which boasts an infinite repertoire, to my ear conjures few sounds more pleasant or more soothing.

This liquid melody, alas, is one rarely heard at any season in our high but arid valley, where quite a lot of the moisture we do get falls silently, if beautifully, as snow.

Summerís real arrival; and the Popeís big coup

I don’t wish to quarrel with the calendar or with the weather, but for me summer arrived neither on the solstice nor on the first day when even the shade failed to soothe.

The season barged in Monday afternoon while I was driving west on Auburn toward my house.

Potís quiet debut; and flags dominate the news

Day 3 of Oregon’s great marijuana experiment has arrived and I have yet to detect a miasma of patchouli wafting over Baker City, or a cacophony of the Grateful Dead reverberating through the streets.

I’m not surprised that this legal milestone has thus far been marked by mellowness.

Pot tends to induce a certain placidity in most people, after all, unless there’s a platter of burritos nearby.

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."

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