Jun 24, 2014 - By Steven R. PeckSummer
The first weekend of summer didn't arrive in a blast furnace, thank goodness, nor does its first full week threaten to overwhelm with heat. Whether it comes in May or October, September or April, a sunny day in the 70s is tough to beat. If Ma Nature wants to save the mid-90s for July, let's not argue.
World leaders wish they had equivalent mild, calm conditions to deal with in Iraq as the new crisis of security and government continues to boil there. American politics make blame games unavoidable, and familiar adversaries are lining up to try to damage each other through the re-emergence of violence in Iraq following the conclusion of a 10-year American opposition.
One focus of responsibility who appears to have earned the unanimous scorn of all onlookers is the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whose U.S.-trained police and military are proving no match for the fired-up ISIS militants, many of whom are, in turn, the resurrected henchmen of Saddam Hussein.
Look up "mess" in the dictionary, and definition No. 3 could well be "the government and security situation in Iraq as of June 2014."
Shooting the 'works
It's good to see that Riverton will have a couple of summertime fireworks displays in the weeks ahead, although they won't be on the date most people associate with fireworks.
It is an oddity that the county's largest municipality has no formal Fourth of July celebration, having cleared the slate many years ago for Lander Pioneer Days so as not to compete with those enjoyable festivities (although both Dubois and Pavillion have their own July 4 events).
Instead, Riverton will shoot the 'works this week to commemorate the end of the Little League baseball season and again the third Saturday in January for Riverton Rendezvous.
This year a concern was aired about the possibility of a public fireworks display disturbing combat veterans who have had enough of rockets' red glare to last a lifetime. It's an interesting discussion. The truth is, different people might not care for fireworks for any number of reasons. But public fireworks displays are intended, and generally welcomed, as festive entertainment for the masses.
With proper advance notification and preparation, the few who truly could be disturbed can get through it no worse for wear.
Let's look forward to the two big shows, June 26 and July 19.
With our 59th annual Ranger Mining and Energy Edition in the rearview mirror, a couple of omissions gnaw at the editor's mind. Two good stories by Ranger staff were not included as the final rush to press reached full speed last week. Our apologies to Uranium 1 and Westech, both of whom cooperated with our staff writers but did not see their stories in the final edition. We plan to use them in print editions soon and will post them online as well.
It has taken a generation, but soccer is now arriving as a sport of nationwide, mainstream fan enthusiasm in the United States. The World Cup being contested this month and next month in Brazil already was a worldwide extravaganza even before the United States started really getting into it four years ago. This time around, it has penetrated even further into the consciousness of American sports fans who think Major League Baseball is a way to kill time before football season starts.
World Cup soccer has a feel akin to the Olympics, but with a twist:R00;Smaller nations who can't field outstanding international Olympic teams across a wide spectrum of events can, and do, put together world class soccer teams. Hence the great celebration when the U.S. team held of Ghana. Yes, Ghana.
Now, Thursday's match against Germany will be the most-watched soccer game in American history -- as well it ought to be.
Summer, take two
Let the marvelous John Keats help welcome the new season:
"That thou, light-winged Dryad (nymph) of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease."
Here's to a good week.
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