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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: Is that all there is?

  • With ornaments stored away, fudge polished off, and Santa back in his toy shop, we can relax. Or, can we?
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  • With ornaments stored away, fudge polished off, and Santa back in his toy shop, we can relax. Or, can we? Statistics for people actually reaching their New Year goals aren't very encouraging and that, of course, includes Congress. Whether overwhelmed or under-motivated, they heard the clock strike twelve long before their feeble finish to the 'fiscal cliff' fiasco. The clock will continue ticking opposition for the GOP. They won't be sitting around a campfire harmonizing "Kumbayah" anytime soon. But, deep breaths everyone! There's always sports!
    Earl Warren said, "I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures." While that might be an arousing interpretation for many, I would simply categorize such a respondent into the mixed cluster of sports consumers. Sports, Sports, Sports! Is that all there is?
    Here in the south, sports seems to take precedence on the front burner and is simmered as the main staple for consumption. Of course, some might argue, only after "religion and guns." But, Arkansans do love their Hogs. The name of the University of Arkansas mascot came about after they were said to have played like a "bunch of Razorback hogs." Hence, Tusk, a Russian boar, became a living celebrity. The mascot weighs approximately 475 pounds. Now, that's a lot of bacon! Tusk III travels to home football games where he rides through the crowds in his spacious, red chariot that has potential to give even the Queen of England cause for envy. However, Tusk III's mere 8,000 square foot indoor facility which is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer doesn't compare to the Queen's 800,000 square feet of floorspace. Buckingham Palace sits on 50,000 acres of manicured lawn and gardens. But, Tusk has one-up on the Queen. He can slop to his delight in one of several mudholes within his 10,000 square foot fenced playground. After such merry play, he gets further spa treatment in a fruity smelling bubble bath.
    Okay, so I'm a spoil sport, but let's get realistic for one moment. How many people do you know to be reclining in easy chairs sitting in 8,000 square feet of floor space as they watch the Razorbacks on their tellys? With the average home in Arkansas 2,000 square feet, or less, the math is simple. So folks, how does it feel being bested by a Hog? But, it doesn't stop there. What about all those mud baths that big porker gets for free? Being a tradition since the time of the Mayacamas Indians, mud baths are made up of a combination of clay, peat and hot mineral waters. The treatment begins as you slowly slide into your tub of warm mud. It relaxes muscles and joints, detoxifies, and leaves skin soft and renewed. You may walk away feeling renewed, but your wallet won't .Yes, again folks, that big ole hog has one-up on us.
    Page 2 of 2 - In the arena of health, that big porker has maintained his weight better than the average Arkansan, but many lack knowledge or means of living "high on the hog." Other facts also get overlooked when it comes to football. Watching the action of our favorite team, we forget that football, like politics, involves wallowing in huge pools of money. Coaches are paid salaries that exceed the top-paying salary of a Neurosurgeon while colleges push for bigger and better athletic facilities. Study enhancements and tutors become an essential ingredient of segregating athletes from the remaining student body. It's that academic half that only stays afloat from tuition raises and public funds or appropriations from state legislature. College athletics has become the marketing and celebrity index for influence. Even influence of Russian boars! Even though Tusk IV took over the role of Mascot, Tusk III still reigns as the Boss. He probably listens occasionally to Rick Springsteen's music, but having his very own stereo system he mostly listens to Razorback band music around the clock. His favorite happy song that really gets him going is Hank Williams Jr.s' "Hog Wild." That might put a smile on your face but like George Bernard Shaw said, "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." And, that's my unvarnished opinion…
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