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Cry, baby, cry…you’re old enough to know better

March 8, 2017
Cry, baby, cry…you’re old enough to know better

 

Maybe it’s my fire department training.
Maybe it’s some misplaced, deep-seated machismo.
Or maybe I’m just heartless.
Whichever, I don’t cry too often – with rare exceptions.
I have done CPR on a six-week-old infant and a 90-year-old woman. Even a dog.
Never wept.
I’ve seen everything a family owned burned away.
Didn’t cry.
I’ve seen people mangled in cars, screaming as we tried to cut them out.
No tears.
I did not cry when my little brother died.
Or my dad.
Or mom.
Or big brother.
It’s not that I wasn’t sad. I mainly was so glad their suffering was over that it was a relief.… Read the rest

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Just don’t read the comments!

March 8, 2017
Just don’t read the comments!

As a blogger/columnist, I read a lot more than I write. It’s important that I hear more voices than my own. It’s also important, perhaps even more so, that I hear voices that come from a different viewpoint.
As much as I like my own opinions and am convinced about my own values, I’ve never really learned much from reading my own stuff. (Some others might say they have never learned much from reading my stuff either. That would be really mean of them to say, but they might say it nonetheless.)
There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when reading was not interactive.… Read the rest

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Western author mastered many kinds of writing

March 8, 2017
Western author mastered many kinds of writing

This column first appeared May 4, 1995.

Sometimes one is in the presence of greatness and perhaps does not appreciate it at the time.
Back in the early 1970s, I attended several workshops at Utah State University called “The West: Its literature and history.” Planners of the workshop invited novelists and literary people who had written about the American West as well as historians of the West. One of the guest authors was Wallace Stenger.
Because some friends and I had attended the workshop two or three times before in previous years, the director and his wife invited a couple of us to ride down to Salt Lake City from Logan, Utah to take Wallace Stenger to the airport after his presentation.… Read the rest

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Traveling troubles

March 8, 2017
Traveling troubles

Two weekends ago I took a road trip to Austin with my brother to meet our middle sister for a celebration of her 21st birthday on Sixth Street.
(By the way, if you want to feel ancient, go hang out with a bunch of partying 20 and 21-year-olds when you’re pushing 30 – you’ll feel like a grandma.)
That trip got me to thinking about the last journey we took, just the three of us.
Last July my sister and her boyfriend were in town from Lubbock visiting their families before their planned move to Colorado.
They were under the impression that they had until mid-August to empty out their current apartment which, as we found out, was incorrect.… Read the rest

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House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system

March 8, 2017
House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system

 

Both houses of the Texas Legislature last week passed bills to improve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for emergency action to improve child protection programs.
Tasked with protecting children, elders and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation, the DFPS, part of the Texas Health and Human Commission, has attracted attention in recent years for inadequate funding and staffing to meet obligations.
Senate Bill 11, whose primary author is Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, was approved by the Senate on March 1. The bill would shift to private contractors the DFPS’s foster care management mission, but the state would remain the ultimate guardian over foster children, Schwertner said.… Read the rest

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To cuss or not to cuss: That’s the $&@# question

March 1, 2017
To cuss or not to cuss: That’s the $&@# question

The Millennial

Cursing: some people love it, others can’t stand it.
I fall in the first camp. Well, I wouldn’t say that I love it, but I can have a “colorful” vocabulary at times (most of the time).
My editor, however, is a longtime resident of the second camp, as he has made known to me on a number of occasions.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, after all, we are several generations apart – he’s a boomer, and I’m a millennial.
And he is certainly not the first person to tell me how much they hate swearing. My grandmother to this day tells me that “ladies don’t swear.”
I take that as more proof that it’s a generational thing – and even more proof that I’ll never be a “lady.”
In the office, we have had many a conversation on this topic that ends with us agreeing to disagree.… Read the rest

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Hunting buffalos akin to a plains gold rush

March 1, 2017
Hunting buffalos akin to a plains gold rush

This column first appeared October, 10, 2000.

Buffalo hunters in Kansas and the Texas Panhandle practically wiped out the herd on the Southern plains in the 1870s.
Only barely did a few survive to become the nucleus of a growing herd that saved the large animals from extinction. I recently found the story of a man who pursued the job – or the adventure – of buffalo hunting for nearly a decade before marrying and settling down. His name was Frank Mayer.
Born in 1850, he was too young for the Civil War but was just the right age for buffalo hunting when its heyday came.… Read the rest

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Please pity my busyness

March 1, 2017
Please pity my busyness

How’s it going? Crazy busy!
Yep, I’ve said it. You probably have, too. It’s the first thing that pops out of our mouths, even when it is not true.
What do you mean it’s not true, column boy! Maybe you are not crazy busy, but I sure am!
I have a theory. It’s not research-based; it is observational. If we are all as busy as we claim to be, we would be dropping like flies. The problem is that we truly are so busy much of the time that we let busyness define us all of the time. As a result, we ignore and minimize the opportunities we have for renewal and recharging.… Read the rest

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Judge sides with plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood case

March 1, 2017
Judge sides with plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood case

Texans who rely on Planned Parenthood as a medical care provider won’t have to seek those services elsewhere, pending an upcoming trial.
In the lawsuit titled Planned Parenthood et al. v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin on Feb. 21 granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in the state’s 2017-18 budget.
“There is no legitimate public interest in allowing Texas to complete its planned terminations (of funding) based on the current facts,” wrote Sparks. “Instead, the public interest favors enforcing the individual plaintiffs’ rights and avoiding disrupting the health care of some of Texas’s most vulnerable individuals.”
Sparks found that an injunction would ensure that Medicaid recipients in Texas “will continue to have access to medical care at their chosen providers” and the Texas Department of Health and Human Service’s termination of Planned Parenthood’s provider agreements likely violates federal law.… Read the rest

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If you want to work, there’s a job out there

February 22, 2017
If you want to work, there’s a job out there

Not everyone wants to work.
And those that do – or must – often find themselves in mundane positions not too long after vowing as teenagers that they’d never become their dad/mom and toil for The Man, man.
Well, it’s still possible to find a job that’s out of the ordinary, one where you don’t don the same attire day after day and trudge away from home at dawn, returning at dusk, defeated.
Here are a few you might consider:
Professional shover.
In Japan, people get paid for forcibly shoving more humans into a train that is already bulging at the seams.… Read the rest

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