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SPORTS GUY: Getting ready to rumble

An old rivalry will be rekindled this Saturday when yours truly takes part in the annual community hike at Heart Mountain. It has been two years since I last scaled to the top of this iconic Big Horn Basin landform.

As far as rivalries go, that makes it time for a rematch. Especially since in the time since our last encounter, yours truly has slammed through the invisible brick wall barrier of his 40th birthday. Time inevitably marches onward. Hopefully, Saturday will demonstrate that I can still keep pace.

MY LOUSY WORLD: Pop was a pip

My dad was a pip. That’s what Archie Bunker called his wife with eye-rolling affection when she’d say something off the wall. “You’re a pip, Eedit.” Likewise, Pop was a pip.

With Father’s Day looming, it’s the memory of my dad’s perfect-timing, effortless humor that visits. Ol’ Alfred P. Blough wasn’t the greatest dad in the world by any of society or psychology standards, but he was definitely a character. Everyone who ever met Dad would say, “Ol’ Alf sure is a character.” And really, isn’t it a much better accolade to be known as a true character than a textbook, great dad? Emphatically I say, “You betcha!”

SPORTS GUY: Questions left unasked

In the wake of Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel resigning last week, the issue of paying college athletes to play has once again been thrust into the national spotlight. Tressel’s undoing ultimately began when five Buckeyes players were discovered to have exchanged various personal awards and memorabilia for reduced rates at a local tattoo parlor.

AMEND CORNER: Ready to read

A few months ago, I was recruited, or maybe I should say drafted, to help with a project.

The recruiting officer in this case was Clark school teacher Cathy Ringler. She and her students were launching a campaign to have members of the Clark community read 5,000 books by the end of the school year. My coverage of the school program apparently made me a candidate for the draft — uh, recruitment — and I was happy to jump in and help, especially since I learned to read in a setting somewhat like Clark school down in Hyattville, where I spent my first two years in school.

SPORTS GUY: A simple soccer solution

You don’t want to get on the bad side of soccer fans. We are, after all, talking about a sport whose followers get so stirred by their passion that the pastime has triggered countless stadium riots and at least one war between nations.

Put simply, if you’re compiling suggestions for a happy and stress-free life, keeping soccer fans happy should be somewhere on your list.

With gradaution season here, I’d be remiss not to reminisce and offer my SENIOR YEAR OF ’72 GREATEST HITS.

The last week of my junior year wasn’t a good start, as my best friend Donnie Eash handed me a firecracker in the hall one morning. No words were necessary; he lit it, I tossed it, and we beat a hasty retreat. Squealers were rampant at Conemaugh Township High, and soon Eash and I were being grilled in the principal’s office.

By the time you read this, I may already be raptured. And you have been left behind, so: In your face!

Forgive me; one should never gloat once ascended into heaven; it just isn’t Christian. Actually, if you are reading this on the week of May 23, then most likely Harold Camping and his red-faced followers won’t be seen leaving their houses in the daytime for a while. But if you’re not reading this, it might very well mean Camping’s rapture guarantee did indeed happen.

I received a call last week complaining about a political cartoon we published recently.

Well, I’m not the guy that decides what cartoon goes on the opinion page. In fact, I’m not even the guy that decides whether this column goes on the opinion page. I just write it and leave that decision to somebody else.

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes did an episode about Monastic life atop Mount Athos in Greece, where Orthodox Christianity has been purely practiced for 1,000 years. It was only the second time TV cameras or reporters were ever allowed on the premises.  

The 20 architecturally-miraculous monasteries sit within 130 breathtaking square miles. The singular, unwavering goal is to practice a devoted Christianity of self-denial every second of every day. They literally “pray unceasingly” as the Bible instructs; some even claim (and who am I to insinuate these guys might be fibbers?) to pray while sleeping.

BACON BITS: Mr. Goose goes branding

A western adventure with Bacon and the Hogg Family

Canada geese are no new sight for the eyes on Wyoming’s landscapes. They trumpet their presence, soar the usually blue skies and paddle through our waters. They have also been known to attack ornery fishermen.

Yet, at a cattle branding?

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