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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024


Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…


Pseudo intellectualism offers no solutions

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FromEditorsDesk Tony CroppedBy Tony Farkas

The definition of the term pseudo intellectualism is an apt description of the state of affairs in this country, particularly regarding social issues.

Someone fitting this description wants to win arguments, or impress people with their knowledge or virtue, instead of attempting to arrive at the truth.

Pick an issue and you can see how that plays out.

The current transgender “discussion” is exactly that, with both sides saying something with equal conviction but nothing remotely making sense results.

Same thing with the gun debate. One side says no guns equals safety, the other side says all the guns equals safety, and nothing comes from that.

My current favorite thing is the marches and demonstrations and protests over the Hamas attack on Israel. Thousands of people are throwing virtue hissy fits over Israel being an aggressor, and I end up asking myself what the point of that is.

See, someone who’s approaching things in a pseudo-intellectual manner seems to think that they know it all and will loudly proclaim that to the world. Problem is it’s just smoke and mirrors, signifying nothing since there is nothing proposed to end the conflict, nor will there be.

I’m certainly not advocating running over to the Middle East to join the fight, but I am saying that screaming and hollering and gluing yourself to pavement in the middle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade accomplished, well, squat.

Aside from the notoriety gained, demonstrations are meaningless. Personally, I’ve always thought that the phrase “raising awareness” was a code for “I got nothin’ else.”

Naturally, those same PIs will seek some authority figure to right the wrongs, such as passing legislation to make misgendering people a hate crime or enacting draconian regulations to regulate carbon emissions to save the climate.

The arguments for that are pseudo intellectual as well; we’ll let an authority figure make our decisions for us, that way we can say we’ve done something while expending extremely little effort. One of my favorites always was people saying that since I pay taxes to the government, and the government is taking care of the little people, that it means I’m taking care of the little people.

Here’s the thing, we were admonished to do good works, not to allow good works to be done in our name.

It’s one thing to squall about injustices, it’s completely another to actually do something, and in case the message wasn’t clear, whining isn’t doing something. You want to help Israel and Palestine, go help them. Get up and get moving.

You want to end gun violence, get up and start educating people. Get up and help people in distress before problems escalate.

You want to help the environment, start campaigns for recycling or conservation. Create your own compost, grow your own crops, capture your rainwater.

If you allow others to solve problems, then you run the risk of losing rights and liberties. Aside from keeping control of your fate, the feeling of accomplishment will be more satisfying than any time spent protesting.

Tony Farkas is editor of the San Jacinto News-Times and the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A stylish way to improve men’s health and well-being

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By Tom Purcell

GrowYourBeardHopefully, the rugged beard I’ve been sporting will motivate at least one of my fellow men to take better care of his health this November.

Every November, you see, two charitable organizations, Movember and No-Shave November, raise funds by encouraging men to not cut or shave their facial hair.

Both organizations have made November an enjoyable month for we men to share photos of our thickening mustaches, beards and other long hair.

The idea is to get men thinking and talking about mental health, suicide prevention, prostate, testicular and colon cancer, and other illnesses affecting men.

According to a December 2022 report by the CDC men live, on average, about six years fewer than women.

There are a number of reasons why, explains HuffPost, and they don’t include any men jokes.

For starters, several studies show men are less likely to talk about their health and more likely to deny anything is wrong.

Avigail Lev, a licensed clinical psychologist in California, explained to HuffPost that because men are conditioned by society to deeply repress and suppress their emotions, they avoid seeking support for health issues when they need it.

Too often, we put off colonoscopies and prostate tests — limiting our doctors’ ability to detect and correct cancer in its earliest stages.

We ignore symptoms, pretending to ourselves nothing is wrong — giving whatever it is free reign to get worse until something really is wrong.

We think it isn’t masculine to engage a counselor when we are suffering a bout of depression — which is one reason why 60 men die from suicide around the world every hour of every day.

Too often, men self-medicate their medical problems or worries away through destructive social behaviors, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs — habits which are sure to destroy good health.

Add to this that men are much more likely to make poor dietary choices — for example, fast food that is loaded with artery-clogging fats — and it becomes clear why male health is so much worse than it needs to be.

But we can and must do better on the men’s health front — and every other front.

Men and boys are struggling in our country like never before.

It’s wonderful that so many of our girls are flourishing in school and the workforce, but our boys are falling behind at alarming rates.

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites the statistics:

“By high school, two-thirds of the students in the top 10 percent of the class, ranked by GPA, are girls, while roughly two-thirds of the students at the lowest decile are boys.”

Brooks notes that men are especially struggling in the workforce — if they’re working at all: One in three males with only a high school diploma — 10 million men — is now out of the labor force.

Men are increasingly isolated with far fewer friends than women, according to an American Perspectives Survey, leaving them with much less support to navigate the growing life and health challenges they face.

The great hope for all good people is for all of us to flourish regardless of our age or sex.

We all hope that our dads, uncles, brothers and sons become the healthiest, most productive people they can be.

Maybe seeing a face with a new mustache or beard this November will spark the robust discussion we need to help men improve their health and realize their full potential as flourishing human beings.

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Focusing on the right things is sometimes trying

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FromEditorsDesk Tony CroppedBy Tony Farkas

For most folks, this week is for reminding ourselves about the things in life that are important, for giving thanks to God and everyone for the many blessings we enjoy throughout the year and our lives.

Even me, who dodged a health issue recently, has plenty to be thankful for.

What keeps coming to the front of my mind, though, is the bizarre and frankly non-Thanksgiving topic of accountability.

Recently, newly minted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson released the tapes of the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” which have been scrutinized quite a bit. However you interpret that, it seems that what actually happened was in no way what was widely reported or even investigated by the execrable J6 committee.

Yet, has anyone involved from the media on up said word one about any of the mischaracterization?

It was also widely reported that Trump was colluding with Russians, had hookers and other suspect peoples in hotel rooms, all of which had been debunked. Has anyone, including the person responsible for the report, Hilary Clinton, backtracked at all?

The hallmark of proper discourse is admitting when you’re wrong. When such lies are perpetuated, even when proven false, speaks not to solving problems but to vile attacks and winning at all costs.

More than just “mischaracterizations” of events, there is a tendency in government to ignore problems that have occurred based on bad legislation, which in turn was based on bad or unfounded information. Numerous examples of this exist — the Affordable Care Act is one such — yet instead of scrapping the bad idea, the government tends to double down on its inability to solve problems by making more problems.

I saw a comparison online the other day that illustrated this perfectly.  In the 1960s, we were told the oil would be gone within a decade.

In 1970s, we were warned about a new ice age coming; in the 80s, it was acid rain destroying crops; in the 90s, it was the destruction of the ozone layer; in the 2000s, it was global warming, or climate change if you prefer, which will destroy the ice caps.

These were presented to us as matter-of-fact, Nostradamus-level predictions and that we, through the benevolent auspices of our kind and all-knowing government, would only need to pay more taxes and follow regulations that were more and more stringent, and we’ll reverse the trend.

Just like the necessary and oh-so-effective COVID protocols, which required shelter-in-place and masking mandates, forced vaccinations and the destruction of the education system to “flatten the curve,” all of which were found to be ineffective and unnecessary.

The taxes and regulations remain in place, and not a person responsible for any of it has come forward to take responsibility for the overreach, much less try to rectify the problems that cropped up through poorly thought-out remedies.

You could say that we should be thankful for a kind and benevolent government that tries to keep us safe from the evils in the world, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the intent. The intent is control, and we at least can be thankful with live in a country that will allow us to hold them accountable, since it won’t happen any other way.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard and the San Jacinto News-Times. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Cheers and Jeers: Giving good, vouchers bad

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Chris Editorial photoBy Chris Edwards

It’s baaaaaaaaaaack!

Although this particular cat didn’t return the very next day, this perusal through certain news topics called “Cheers and Jeers,” which looks to summarize news, in a method similar to what our esteemed colleague Gary Borders does in his Capital Highlights columns for Texas Press Assocation, albeit with a little judgment calling and some of that special sauce piled atop from your humble scrivener, is back for another round on this page.

A special note before we go further: Thursday is the day set aside to give thanks for all we have. Whether you’re a slave to tradition and are spending your turkey day catching up with an army of distant cousins and whatnot, or you’re having a meal by yourself, gratitude is something that is not limited to one designated holiday.

As for me, I’m doing as little as possible. Just resting up and catching up on some reading, but I’m thankful for all I have, and for some things I do not.

So, without further adieu...

• Cheers to the anonymous donor who gifted Woodville ISD with a new vehicle for the district’s transportation fleet to help out with the need in its “18 Plus” program.

The program is designed to keep differently abled students in school past graduation in order to better transition them into aspects of the workforce.

The 18 Plus program is a much-needed service offered by WISD, and to have someone from the community who believes in it step up and help out in such a big way is enormously commendable. Oftentimes some of us get so jaded that we forget there are good folks in the world.

• While we’re on the topic of public education, a big round of cheers goes out to the Texas House of Representatives for saying “no” to school vouchers once again. In a fourth special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott,  vouchers were part of a massive education funding bill. Vouchers, however they’re presented, are a scam that takes taxpayer funds from public schools and diverts money into private education. Not only is this fundamentally wrong, from a taxpayer’s standpoint, private schools lack the accountability of the public education system, and they can pick and choose pupils.

The measure to strip the vouchers (Abbott’s dogged legislative priority since the regular session gaveled in back in January) from the bill passed 84-63, with bi-partisan support. Most of the 21 House Republicans voting against vouchers represent rural areas, where public schools are cornerstones of the communities. If passed, however, vouchers would hurt all communities, regardless of population density.

• Jeers to the swift transition of time. It seems, for many, to be as much of an exchange of small talk to complain about the way the years fly by as it does talking about the weather, but, seriously. where did you go, 2023? Here it is Thanksgiving week already, and before we know it, it’ll be time for champagne and “Auld Lang Syne” again. Boo hiss!

• Jeers to the coming onslaught of excessive consumerism known as Black Friday.

In a few days we can look forward to national headlines chronicling violent acts committed over televisions and teddy bears, right after a day designed to express gratitude.  Again, boo hiss!

• Cheers to the Dallas Cowboys organization, and particularly Jerry Jones, for doing the right thing and enshrining legendary coach (and proud Southeast Texas boy) Jimmy Johnson in the team’s Ring of Honor. Jones made the announcement on Sunday, before the Cowboys played the Carolina Panthers. The halftime induction ceremony will take place at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 30 when Dem Boys play the Detroit Lions.

Johnson has been a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2020, and upon his induction there, Jones said the Cowboys would honor him. Johnson steered the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in ‘92 and ‘93.

• A toast to Rosalynn Carter. The late former first lady, who died on Sunday, is solid proof to the old saw about “behind every good man...”.

Rosalynn and former president Jimmy Carter were a team in all they did, and their 77-years of marriage lasted longer than most folks’ entire lifespans.

Say what you want about the largely unremarkable Carter presidency, but in Jimmy Carter, America undoubtedly had one of the smartest men to ever sit in the Oval Office, and the two of them were just some of the most genuinely good human beings to ever walk the White House halls.

Mrs. Carter’s commitment to mental health advocacy demonstrated a true-blue heart of service, after Jimmy’s term, and the two of them, together, represent some of the best that rural America can be.

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Kentucky’s opportunity to lead in the fight against opioid addiction

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By Morgan Luttrell,Marcus Luttrell, Rick Perry and Dakota Meyer

As the opioid epidemic continues to grip our nation, claiming lives, destroying families and burdening communities, it is imperative that we explore every viable solution.

Among these potential solutions is a powerful, natural, non-addictive substance known as ibogaine. As voices that have served in political and military capacities, we unite in our appeal to the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission: Allocate $42 million for ibogaine research.

Kentucky has a unique chance to pioneer a revolutionary approach to combat opioid addiction and pave the way for the entire country.

From our collective experiences, whether among our fellow veterans, among our friends, or among our constituents, we’ve seen the devastating impacts of addiction. And in our pursuit of solutions, all from our different perspectives, the promise of ibogaine has emerged as a beacon of hope.

Ibogaine, for those unfamiliar, is a psychoactive substance derived from the African iboga plant. Preliminary research and numerous personal accounts have shown its profound efficacy in treating opioid addiction.

Unlike opioids and many of the medications used to treat opioid dependence, ibogaine is non-addictive. Its unique ability to “reset” the brain’s neural pathways provides those struggling with addiction an opportunity to break free from their chains. Ibogaine is not without its risks, but doctors and researchers agree that those risks can be mitigated with the right medical oversight.

While skeptics may question why such a promising treatment remains obscure, the answer lies in politics, not science. Regrettably, ibogaine, like many psychoactive substances, was placed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act due to political motivations, sidelining its therapeutic potential. This decision, made without sound scientific backing, has been a grievous error from both a medical and public health perspective.

But where mistakes are made, rectifications can occur. The non-profit Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions is a testament to this. VETS, an organization close to our hearts, has provided grants to veterans seeking ibogaine treatment, recognizing its transformative potential. These brave men and women, having served their country, deserve every tool available to reclaim their lives from addiction. Their stories and the emerging body of research support what we’ve personally witnessed: Ibogaine holds immense promise.

Kentucky, with its allocation of $42 million, can play a pivotal role in this reclamation. By matching these funds for a comprehensive clinical trial, Kentucky won’t just be investing in research; it’ll be investing in hope, healing, and the very future of its people. Such a move would not only place the state at the forefront of innovative opioid addiction treatments but also send a powerful message to the nation: We prioritize the health and well-being of our citizens over politics.

Furthermore, this investment can have cascading benefits. By leading the charge, Kentucky can provide a jump start to the FDA clinical trials that would be needed to decide whether the benefits of ibogaine could be unlocked for millions more.

This isn’t just about Kentucky; it’s about setting a precedent for the entire nation.

From a military perspective, we’re taught to adapt, overcome, and seek out the best strategies for success. In the fight against opioid addiction, we must adopt the same mindset. If there’s a tool that offers promise, such as ibogaine, we owe it to our fellow Americans to explore it fully. It’s about making decisions based on the well-being of our constituents, even if that requires challenging established prejudgments.

We understand that diving into uncharted waters, especially in matters of public health, requires courage. The opioid epidemic is a multifaceted issue that demands a multifaceted response.

In conclusion, we appeal to the wisdom and foresight of the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. Invest in ibogaine research. Let Kentucky be the beacon that guides the nation towards a more effective, compassionate approach to tackling opioid addiction. This is not a matter of politics or partisanship; it’s a matter of public health, of lives saved, and futures reclaimed.

May this bold step serve as a testament to Kentucky’s commitment to its people and a brighter, addiction-free future.

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