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Musicians of the O’Malarkey Irish Band are, left to right, George Traugott, Gene Milligan, Virginia Davis, Sean McMains, Terrie Cooper and Greg Bumgardner. Providing lively musical entertainment for the upcoming San Marcos Celtic Fest, O'Malarkey is a local band that was formed in 2001. Bandmates describe themselves as a “ ... recipe for fun: Take one smidgen of traditional Irish tunes. Add a pinch of contemporary Celtic. Season to taste with humor and song. Blend well at high speed for 30 minutes or longer. Slam it down, chase with Scotch, and call it O’Malarkey!" See another photo representing Celtic Fest on Page 8B. (photo courtesy of Linda Kelsey-Jones)

Exploring Nature with Jerry Hall: 5 birds you must see

Let me suggest five birds for you to see before you die – cock-of-the-rock, resplendent quetzal, puffin, toucan and lilac-breasted roller.  
These are all avian masterpieces and quite unique. I’ve seen them all, and probably the cock-of-the-rock was the hardest to check off my list.  
I saw a dull-colored female, just briefly and not very well, on a trip to Peru.  
It took a journey to Panama before I finally saw the bright orange male, and then I saw several on a breeding lek, all very colorful and well worth the wait to see.

Life's Surprises with Gary Smith: January brings new lock to unlock

Last month a man asked me how often I write this column for the newspaper.
I told him it is a weekly column. He said, “Oh. That is not easy to come up with something to write every week.”
He has written some good pieces himself over the years, periodically.
I have not written much this month so far other than this weekly column.
It is January. Trying to get going in a new year. A writing respite.
In the book, "The Boys in the Boat," author Daniel James Brown quotes George Yeoman Pocock’s thoughts about the annular rings of the giants of the forest.


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