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The Observer paper 02/12/16

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I used to think ... Still do, occasionally

I used to think if I drove a loud car sporting flames and engine parts sticking out of the hood that I would attract a woman who would love my car — and maybe even me. Now I think such a car would be a nuisance to society.

How times change.

Adventures in moving

Staycations are overrated. If you’re not careful, when you stay close to home for “vacation,” you’ll be put to useful, virtuous, north of Boston-type work.

Relaxation will go out the window like heat in a cheap rental.

Hero rides off a cliff

In the course of riding 2,000 miles in the 2006 Tour de France, bicycle racer Floyd Landis turned himself into a national hero.

In the course of writing 306 pages about the race, Landis turned himself from a mighty oak into a tiny acorn.

“Positively False” is just as the title proclaims. Apparently it’s a book of lies.

Sound the alarm

Getting up in the morning is inconvenient. Still, it beats the alternative.

The other day I was set to get up at 4:30 a.m. The alarm clock had other ideas.


Enough is enough

I should have known the bicycle trip was ill-fated when I encountered the skunk.

It was 5 in the morning. The full moon spread a thin layer of butter light, enough so I could see the skunk’s business end.

I clapped my hands. The skunk took its cologne and skittered away down Mill Creek, and I mounted the bicycle and got under way in the dark.

Time to clock out

Who would have guessed that wearing a wristwatch would make me look like a dinosaur?

That e-mail is a slow way to communicate?

Petunia power

I returned home from a hot, dry weekend to find the petunias looking dead.

The red, white and blue flowers had faded to brown.

The plant, purchased for the Fourth of July, seemed a goner. It was in a full body pout, its foliage barely distinguishable from the dirt.


The new Oregon Trail

The old Oregon Trail ruts used to suck in oxen, button-nose children and small wolverines.

But the old ruts have nothing on the new Oregon Trail ruts.

Just drive west on Interstate 84. When you start to go up the Blue Mountains, hold on tight.

Mamarazzo strikes again

Bob Dylan. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. George Clooney. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Clint Eastwood. Cher. Sean Connery.

They all have it easy compared to my family members.

Sure, they have to deal with the Paparazzi. My family has to deal with Mamarazzo.

Forky and the Bandit

Sure, we country folk spend much of our time studying belly-button lint and enjoying grinding boredom.

Occasionally, something exciting happens. Shadows elongate. Echoes ricochet off canyon walls. Regis Philbin runs into Dr. Oz on our satellite TV.

Bless your heart anyway

“Anger is a wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.”

— Robert Green Ingersoll

Some people seem to have no problem being pillars of the community.

And because there’s nothing else to do in Northeast Oregon, their children turn into junior shining stars doing service activities to make the town blossom.

I am not one of those model citizens. Years ago, my mom, a wordsmith in her own right, said I had fussability.

Look out down below

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

— jim rohn

Some people respond to mid-life crises by donning a leather jacket and aviator glasses and bungee-jumping.

Summer snow

It snowed in Cove on the first day of summer — cottonwood snow, admittedly, but a real flurry nonetheless.

Watching it snow, I noticed sandbags along Mill Creek. They are protecting my neighbor Betty’s house. She died early this spring in her late 80s, and life has gone on without her, although it seems Mother Nature has been crying a lot all spring long, grieving her loss.

Making peace with plastic

I won’t be a millionaire anytime soon, or even be as rich as George Soros’ dog.

I just got a credit card.

Back in the glory days of American materialism, there were 3 billion credit card solicitations in the U.S. per year. Malls were full of manic capitalistic energy, and the mail was full of credit card offers.

Nobody’s perfect

My grandpa, Oswald Christian Andersen Johnsen Swensen Petersen, was a huge baseball fan.

No, he did not weigh 400 pounds.

But he did love to sit in his Danish “modern” chair — this was before EZ Boys corrupted America — and call balls and strikes in the discomfort of his very own 1960s home.

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