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Opinion
Ode to the Great Reno Balloon Race
We have just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Great Reno Balloon Race. It’s hard to believe it has been 30 years since the inauguration of this great event for the Reno area. It’s been 30 years of smiles and oohs and aahs. It’s been 30 years of watching the awe in the eyes of the old, the middle-aged, the young and the very young. In short, it’s been a fabulous run for the event. If ever there was a way to show our unity of purpose in th...
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10 Years Gone
I have a confession: I’m tired of telling my 9/11 story — where I was, what I was doing and how I felt when I heard that two passenger planes had slammed into the World Trade Towers at the intention of Islamic terrorists, killing thousands of people. I know the fiery torment of that morning is a seminal moment in American history, and perhaps the seminal moment of my generation (I was 19 years old on 9/11), just as the assassination of JFK was...
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Chasing A New Kind of Dream in Nevada
Nevada has chased many a dream in the past — pioneer dreams, silver dreams, entrepreneurial dreams, builder dreams, and even, it seems, the dream of a brothel on every street corner (our own dusty, old west version of Starbucks). But the dream that keeps most locals and visitors awake all night is one of dumb luck and mathematical improbability. The dreams we’ve been chasing up until now are of the gaming variety and have largely left behind a...
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Piss up a Rope: Vote
Here’s a cold shower for a warm weekend: We deserve what we get. How could one sick bastard get an assault rifle to gun down all those people in Carson City? Because we want it that way. How could Wall Street charlatans game the system to crash the world economy and put so many Americans out on the street? Because we want it that way. How could the national government be so unresponsive to the needs of a hurting country? Because we want it tha...
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What next?
Ten years out from the event itself and images are fading slowly for most Americans. Only New Yorkers and others closely associated with the attack at the Pentagon seem dedicated to ceremonial services, prayer circles and the symbolic flowers and teddy bears that seem to have become the token tribute of our times. The media are, as usual, indulging themselves with special programming and interviews with survivors, but, come next week we will a...
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Labor Day now a disaster
Labor Day 2011 has deteriorated into just another day off. It certainly was no cause for celebration. Columnist Robert Reich tells why: “American companies continue to cut wages and benefits. The median wage, adjusted for inflation, is dropping. High unemployment has given employers bargaining leverage to wring out wage concessions. “Yet corporations are making more money and creating more jobs outside the United States than in it. Most of the...
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Spencer Remembers Balloons, Camels and Football
For those that bemoan that there is not much to do in this area today, this should come as an abrupt shock considering the variety of events on tap. To start the day off, there is a spectacular visual of the balloon races at San Rafael park. Then, in nearby Virginia City, the second day of camel and ostrich races starts with a parade down main street, with the races beginning at 1 p.m. For those who wear the silver and blue, the Nevada footbal...
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Cognitive dissonance leaning right
Jobs, jobs, jobs. With 14 million Americans unemployed, it appears the 2012 presidential election will hinge on getting people back to work. President Barack Obama and Republican challengers like Mitt Romney will be unveiling plans to create jobs and cut into the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate this month. But the truth is there is little a president, a political party or the whole of Congress can do to create jobs. And even less when i...
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Irene saves Obama’s presidency
They say there’s a woman behind every successful politician, the prime example being Nancy Reagan. She advised Ronnie how to run California and planned his whirlwind campaign to sleep in the White House.  Hurricane Irene has created a whirlwind from Florida to Vermont and she might have created the political storm that will keep President Barack Obama in the same bedroom until 2016. The cost of Irene’s assault on the right side of the United S...
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Labor Day before the ribs
Labor Day in Sparks used to be a big deal all over town. There was no Burning Man or Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off to draw huge crowds, but there always was a huge picnic in Deer Park hosted by a big labor union and it was attended by what seemed like every working stiff in the country. Deer Park in those days was a lot bigger than it is today. Prater Way was widened to four lanes and Rock Boulevard (which used to be just 17th Street) w...
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September 11
It’s been a long 10 years since that horrifying morning when Al Qaeda attacked the American homeland with suicide teams hijacking airliners to crash them into carefully chosen targets in our government and economic system. The intervening decade saw panic overreaction at every level, from civil defense and law enforcement officialdom to the ludicrous posting of guards at bridges and rail tunnels to guard against imaginary fifth columnists in o...
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Princess Cassandra’s neverending labor
I now know how Princess Cassandra felt when no one would listen to her warnings against bringing that big wooden horse inside the gates of Troy. Most people see only what they want to see until reality bites them in the ass or more sensitive southerly spots. Hereinbelow, you will find excerpts from the Barbwire of 29 May 2005. I’ve had it linked ever since to the front page of BarbanoMedia.com, with the following preface: “The elements are now...
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Professors can affect eternity
“Golden lads and girls all must / As chimney sweepers come to dust.” — Shakespeare’s Cymbeline Fortunately nearly all the 36 indivduals in the “emeritus class” of 2011 at the University of Nevada, Reno have not yet come to dust. They have many years to savor the gratitude of former students. A list of names can be boring. But these professors and service personnel deserve to be named for their long and devoted service. They are: Henry Amato, b...
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My decisions are locally grown
In this week’s Business Friday article, I wrote about the concept of “buy local.” The idea came to me two weeks ago when I was invited to GDiesel to interview a few of the Sparks-based fuel processor’s employees for a Labor Day article. What I took from talking to the three employees — an Army veteran fuel tanker driver, a young mother/wife and a journeyman pipe fitter — was that this local business’ success and its customers’ willingness to b...
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Dear America: My Mom is no Terrorist
My mom does not surf the web or even watch television for more than a few hours per week. She bakes tasty treats for church bake sales, volunteers at community events and, for the past couple of years, the proud Daughter of the American Revolution has been very active at Tea Party events. As she describes them, Tea Party events are no different than your average Fourth of July picnic; hot dogs and hamburgers are grilled, everyone dons their re...
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One Hump or Two?
Spencer Remembers
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Eviction compromises political conviction
Sitting in the shade of a sycamore tree on a hot, breezy summer afternoon with a good book is one of my pleasures of summer. As I settled in for a quiet conversation and debate with Confucius, I was interrupted by my friend Max. With a cold beer in hand and frustration, anxiety and anger in his eyes, he sat on the lawn. With a deep sigh and a loud grunt he said, “I’m two months behind on my rent and I was just evicted from my house.” I’ve know...
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In Defense of the Nerds
“One man’s ‘magic’ is another man’s engineering. ‘Supernatural’ is a null word.” – Robert A. Heinlein Their “progress reports” are vivid artist renderings of scantily clad, anatomically “perfect” women, mythical creatures and dinosaurs. Their attendees arrive in often elaborate costumes, often including face and body paint. Their latest dance crazes are of the Renaissance Fair nature. They are science fiction nerds and damn proud of it. More t...
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Where have all the school years gone?
As school bells around our area harken the start of the new traditional public school year, so also the University of Nevada, Reno, is starting its new school year with many new freshmen who are at once happy, scared, excited and optimistic about their futures. I felt much the same way when I started my freshman year at the university in the fall of 1964. That was a mere 47 years ago, but it seems somehow like it was only yesterday. I guess ti...
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A friendly reminder
Washoe County School District students and teachers return to the classroom tomorrow, which means I have spent the last week focusing on issues related to education.
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