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Random thoughts from a mind that’s tired from solving all the city’s, state’s and world’s problems in 500 words or less when it can’t even decide what to have for lunch today:

Spring is here now that I’ve found the first tick crawling on me.

A neighbor’s dog asks you to pet it, and she shows you affection when you do. She doesn’t get excited and decide to shred your right hand. That is the difference between a dog and a cat.

I learned a new word this week: spheksophobia — fear of wasps. I don’t fear wasps, but I do respect them. I had too many encounters with them in my pre-teen years not to.

An internet search of “spheksophobia” returns about 9,000 results. The 1,574-page dictionary in my desk at work doesn’t contain the word. Neither does it have “blennophobia” (fear of slime), but it does have “triskaidekaphobia” (fear of the number 13).

While searching for that last one, I came across a drawing of the cuts of meat you can get from a hog. That reminded me of my high school years when I tried out for the meat judging team (yes, we had one), but I didn’t make the final cut. Seriously.

Every now and then I think of the meat judging team when I’m in a grocery store. I probably look at cuts of meat differently than most other customers do.

I can’t remember the last time I wore a tie. I think it was in 2017. I don’t miss them.

Sometimes I feel sorry for young people today who don’t get to open the newspaper every morning and see what’s new in The Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes. You know the Nobel Prize for Literature is a fraud because neither Gary Larson nor Bill Watterson has received one.

I just noticed there’s a small 2019 calendar tacked to my office wall. I can probably take it down now, but I won’t.

Back in the 1980s a smug, self-righteous little twit said he wished he had the money I spent on film and developing. Maybe, but my boxes and boxes of photos reveal a lot about how people lived then — their cars, their clothes, their hair, their homes, where they spent their money. Every now and then I dig them out to remind myself of how some things change and some don’t.

Complaint of the week: Those loud, obnoxious video screens on gas pumps that make filling up so painful.

If you’ve ever been to Hannan High School in Mason County, you notice that across the road are a barn and a hay field. What better view could kids want when they look out the window?

May 6 will be a great day in the Ohio Valley. That’s when the ferry between Sistersville, West Virginia, and Fly, Ohio, opens for the season. It’s a long drive from Huntington — almost three hours — but there’s some nice countryside along the way and the ferry ride itself is pleasant. It’s better riding back and forth as a pedestrian. If you have any interest in the river, it’s a good day trip.

Jim Ross is development and opinion editor of The Herald-Dispatch. His email address is

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