A riot of wildflowers reminds us of what we’ve been missing

After a long year of working for an employer that’s frequently in the news for all the wrong reasons (see, for instance, exhibits A and B), I am reminded of the toll it takes on a body when we don’t get outdoors enough.  Fortunately, the kids agreed to a quick spring-break trip to Big Bend National Park, which we visited to wrap up an all-too-quick trip to Texas in March.

I can’t remember if this was my fifth or sixth trip there, but the important thing was that it was the kids’ first.  Our 10 days on the road were a little grueling, taking us about 3,600 miles in all (including family & friend visits), and despite getting really worn out by the constant moving from one place to another, the kids loved our trip and say they’re ready to go back.

The photos aren’t of the best quality — my old Galaxy was on its deathbed, so we used Sam’s lower-quality phone for the photos — but the weather was great and the flowers glorious.

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Original “selfie stick” provides view of a bigger picture

This is my second weekly column for the Portage County Gazette, whose new web site is almost ready. — Steve

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loren & yami overlooking boquillas

The best pictures of nature show less of the people and more of the scenery, like these native grinding holes in a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande and Mexico (Big Bend National Park, 2000) .

Selfie sticks are getting whacked a lot lately.

For those still living in the world of talking to others, selfie sticks are the devices that allow one to avoid all human contact while holding a camera at more than arm’s length and blessing everyone with yet another shot of one’s beaming mug.

Banned from some Disney World rides because of the danger they can cause, they also are forbidden at many concerts and festivals because they block people’s views. Coachella’s web site called them “narsisstics.”

For obvious reasons, the secret service didn’t want them near the Pope on his U.S. visit. Reuters News Service  and Mashable recently told us that more people have died taking selfies in 2015 than have been killed in shark attacks.  Search “selfies” in the New York Times and you’ll get all sorts of cogent, thoughtful, and recriminating pieces about the meaning of selfies in our culture.

This is the story of my selfie stick.

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