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A story about hunters, private property rights, and one bull elk

I suspect that most every elk hunter who habitually pursues the wily animals (and it is a habit, much like smoking, and for some equally addictive) can tell you about the one shot they yearn to have a second chance at.

The arrow that nicked an unseen limb.

The bullet nudged off course by a sudden gust.

I’m referring, obviously, to shots that missed the target.

But there are other cases, albeit of extreme rarity, when the hunter’s aim was true but he wishes, given time to reflect, that he had not pulled the bowstring or the trigger.

A major mountain range that gets no respect from the mapmakers

Mountain ranges, it seems to me, ought to be depicted on maps as something more noteworthy than a handful of the highest summits.

The ranges tall enough to cast shadows across most of a valley should, at the least, have names.

Wolf policy changes needed

On Good Friday morning three generations of Jacobses got to experience firsthand the havoc two wolves could wreak. Just a two-minute jaunt from our sleeping households, four of the five documented wolf attacks occurred on what we call the “Home Ranch,” a 640-acre chunk of farm and pastureland, just a part of what we make a living on in this high desert country.

From that day in April until today, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and Animal Damage Control confirmed 29 lambs, a pet goat and one calf killed on two ranches. This act stirred and spread the hotbed of debate in our small ranching community of Keating Valley to the Legislature in Salem and beyond.

Can American culture survive the politicization of the Chia pet?

America has survived wars, floods, famine and high-fructose corn syrup, but those rank as minor distractions compared to the malevolence which today threatens our nation.

I’m referring, obviously, to the Chia pet.

This diminutive decoration has long hidden behind its facade of tackiness, but the evidence of Chia’s evil plot is so compelling that no jury would acquit.

Not even one with a majority of members who have been rescued, from the brink of a birthday or Christmas gift disaster, by a fine Chia product.

Despite America’s ability to defeat all manner of enemies, the damage the Chia pet is now inflicting on our reputation surpasses, I fear, even our power to repair.

Getting personal with rocks. . . and grass

When I’m careening down a slope of talus I like to know whether it’s granite or chert that’s excising the skin from my back in the manner of a cheese grater wielded by a sociopath.

“This stupid rock” seems to me a pathetically impersonal epithet.

We gained a new (old) name but didn’t lose any of what we love most

Baker City has gained quite a lot besides a new name in the past 20 years.

A McDonald’s, for instance.

Although the city’s new name is in fact its old name, resurrected after 79 years of oblivion.

Another viewpoint on Steve Brocato

A letter written by Gary Dielman and printed by the Baker City Herald was recently forwarded to me. Mr. Dielman raised a number of questions about Steve Brocato’s past job experience and his qualifications to hold the job of city manager.

I have direct knowledge of Steve’s capabilities, character and history and would like to provide some clarification.

A crazed player ends his career, but did he shoulder too much blame?

LeGarrette Blount will never gain another yard for the Oregon Ducks football team.

Nor, come to that, will he lose another yard.

That latter achievement, though it’s one running backs such as Blount strive to avoid, is perhaps his more fitting epitaph, given the statistics he amassed during his final game.

He carried the ball eight times and lost five more yards from scrimmage than he gained.

Numbers aside, I believe it is appropriate that Blount has taken his last handoff as a Duck.

Blount’s frenzy immediately following Oregon’s 19-8 loss to Boise State on Sept. 3 warranted Coach Chip Kelly’s decision to suspend Blount for the rest of the season.

Obsessed with the garbage truck

My 2-year-old can hear the refrigerator door opening from across the house, but it’s the distinctive squeal of a garbage truck’s brakes that makes her drop everything and race to the door.

Every morning when she wakes up, she asks “Garbage truck coming today?” in a hopeful little voice.

Six days of the week she’s disappointed. But when she goes to bed Thursday night, I get to say, “The garbage truck will be here tomorrow.”

Her eyes light up as she exclaims, “It’s Friday!”

(Repetition is everything in a toddler’s world.)

Looking backward to find the route toward a cooler future

Quite a lot of people insist that the cure for certain afflictions which plague our planet, chief among them its increasingly fevered brow, is technology.

I happen to agree.

Yet implicit in this attitude, it seems to me, is the belief that this technology will inevitably be of the “new” variety.

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