Today's Paper Obits Weather Community Calendar
story.lead_photo.caption Richard Mason

Lindsey Vonn: I think she’s great! No, she didn’t win gold, but her courage in coming back from what was almost a career ending accident and showing such class when she didn’t win gold, makes me proud to be an American. Her bronze medal in the Ladies Downhill makes her the oldest female ever to medal in in the toughest of the ski events. This country has a lot of Lindsey Vonn’s and their courage and character are examples to our young people. Of course, it doesn’t hurt her image by being a drop-dead gorgeous blonde.

Over the top makeup and ultra-white teeth: I don’t like them: HD TV gives us a very up close look at politicians and TV personalities and it’s such an intense look that it can be a real turnoff. You know, teeth that are so ultra-white they almost glow in the dark, and when person gives you that big toothy smile, you feel like putting on sunglasses. That combined with an orange spray-tan or heavy makeup makes those folks look like cartoon characters. Adult healthy teeth are a soft shade of white with just a hint of color. Of course, I’m all for a little soft makeup on the gals, but guys, please forget the makeup.

11 p.m. football games: I can’t stand them: Well, I guess some folks will do virtually anything for money, and whoever agreed to let the TV people bribe them with sacks of money to move some of the university’s football games to the ungodly hour of 11 p.m., should be taken out and horse-whipped. And what makes it even worse, we have to sit there and suffer through around 60 minutes of commercials to see two losers play for the cellar. Football games should be at the God-pronounced starting time of 2 p.m., always on Saturday. Of course, I think all students should get tickets when they pay tuition and all parking around the stadium should be on a first come basis. Yes, all of that would screw up what is passed off as a football game, and that ain’t bad. Maybe then we would get back to what the original college football games were meant to be.

Going on and on about the Royals: I can’t stand the coverage: Of course, I mean the “Royals” of England. Well, they seem to be nice people, but in reality, they are just tourist attractions, and to dwell on every little tittle and twiddle the Royals make is just clogging up the media. The hoopla about the forthcoming marriage was the lead TV story several weeks back, and I think it should have been given about as much coverage as a new ride at Disney World. So back off media and quit acting as if these people are special.

Rainy Days in Arkansas: I like them: Well, I guess when the weather man says “We have a good weather weekend ahead.” He’s a fair weather man or woman, but I’m not. Arkansas needs the +50 inches of rain a year, and when we go through a long dry spell, it really has a negative impact on our State. So, I like a rainy day. Yes, I know too much of even a good thing can create problems, but Mother Nature sometimes needs to flush out the excess with a good four to six inch rain that recharges the ground water, fills out lakes, and gives us the forests that we take for granted.

Living with Wildlife: I like it: I’m a former country boy who lived on a farm and hunted and fished at least two or three times a week from the time I was 8 years old until I went off to college. Today, I’m settled into a nice, wooded piece property in the city limits of El Dorado with two small ponds, and plenty of wildlife. We have a big wooden deck off our kitchen, and under that deck lives a variety of animals; possums, coons, snakes, and spiders. And when we finish with our Thanksgiving Turkey, it’s just put out the scraps and they disappears by morning. Nothing is left. Our two ponds have plenty of ducks, fish, turtles, snakes, and an occasional beaver. A couple of years back we had a river otter check out our swimming pool. No fish; and it left after a display of swimming and diving. Our lower pond has a small island in the center and the large willow tree there has become an egret roost with some +20 egrets roosting there. Of course we have deer—-doesn’t everybody? A couple of years back a doe gave birth to twins—-in our courtyard. I think the coyotes I see occasionally made the deer come in close to our house to birth her fawns. I walk and sometimes run on the bypass just a few hundred yards from our house, and recently I spotted a substantial beaver dam on Mill Creek, which crosses the bypass just north from my house. And believe it or not, Vertis, my wife, spotted a black bear crossing our neighbor’s yard about 5:30 one morning. It must have been one of the Felsenthal bears out for a stroll.

I’m a Gal-hugging Southerner: And I really like that: But no, I am not sexually assaulting the ladies, I’m just doing what Southerners have been doing from the time there was a South, and I occasionally hug guys. Okay, I know the difference in sexually assaulting and a friendly Southern Hug, but yes, it does cross my mind when a close female friend comes to dinner, and I greet her with a hug and maybe a kiss on the cheek. However, if we quit hugging it would take away some of the positive relationships southern friends have developed. So I’m confessing, yes, I hug, and I’m not stopping.

Politicians Who Won’t Have Town Hall Meeting: I don’t like them: Of course we all know why they won’t have town hall meeting. They can’t handle the tough questions, and they don’t like folks questioning their motives for the way they vote. I’m personally inviting any one or all of our congressional delegation, especially Congressman Bruce Westerman, to come down to the Griffin Auditorium in El Dorado that holds 2,200 folks for an old-fashioned, Norman Rockwell town hall. Of course, we’ll ask Congressman Westerman to explain his comment about whether the hog farm will pollute the Buffalo. Westerman was in Hot Springs for a Coffee with your Congressman, and reportedly told the crowd in response to a question about the Buffalo River Hog Farm, that he believed swimmers put more nitrates in the river than the farm. I know it’s hard to believe he said that, but it sounds as if the fall election may be a referendum on the Buffalo National River.

Well, of course, that’s just a few of my likes and dislikes, but I’m probably going to still watch the Hogs on TV at 11 p.m., put up with politicians who won’t have a town hall meeting, and hug the gals with ultra-white teeth.

Richard H. Mason of El Dorado is a syndicated columnist and author and former president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation and the state Pollution Control & Ecology Commission. He may be reached by email at

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