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home : columns February 21, 2019

What can we learn from Wilson Wewa
We are, in our travels, occasionally blessed to spend time with incredible people who, against every conceivable cultural and political roadblock, still manage to make a difference. This happened for me last Wednesday morning when I was fortunate to share some time with Wilson Wewa.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Where have all the badger gone?
What is the status of the American badger in Oregon? No one really knows - and I doubt if many Oregonians care. From my experience roaming through the countryside east of the Cascades, I can accurately state that badgers are targets for shooters and for the most part hated by a great many horse people; as badgers dig in pursuit of food and shelter, they create holes in which horses break legs.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Spend Valentine's Day with your pet
Fancy restaurants are gearing up for a packed house, flower companies are preparing for the busiest day of the year, and folks everywhere are pulling out all the stops to plan the perfect night for their Valentine.

Valentine's Day is often filled with expectations of romance. It's a joyous day to celebrate the love between two people. But for others it's a day filled with mournful memories wishing for what they once had.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The State of the Union
Last week provided a sobering look in the American mirror. Much of that ugly reflection was concentrated in the State of Virginia, where Governor Ralph Northam first admitted, then denied, that he was one of the two utter dimwits who appeared in a photo from his medical school yearbook. One of the idiots was wearing blackface, and the other case of arrested development was done up in Klan regalia, including the stupid hood.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
A weenie for the win
The field of candidates for the 2020 Presidential Challenge Blowout is taking shape just in time for pitchers and catchers - they report for spring training in early February - and what makes this timing so marvelous, so utterly serendipitous, is that it also beginning to look a lot like a mid-season Sausage Race.
Monday, February 11, 2019
The negative space news
There is a concept in the art world known as "negative space." The basic idea is that instead of trying to draw the branches in a tree, one draws the space between the branches, and therefore, ultimately, the whole tree emerges.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
The Bunkhouse Chronicle - A very close shave
Now that the APA (American Psychological Association) has decided that the political opinions of psychologists are a legitimate factor in mental-health care, we've reached another crossroads on the sordid trail of modern American history.

Under the guise of concern for "the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men and their relationships with others" - the APA has helped to create, legitimize, and now openly supports, a burgeoning new mental illness known as "Toxic Masculinity."

Sunday, February 3, 2019
The immediacy of history
I've spent most all my days trying to touch the past. It's a compulsion, a hunger for a connection. I have been accused by some folk who lack understanding of "living in the past," but that misses the mark by a country mile. It's never been about that at all - it's always about making the past present.

Thursday, January 17, 2019
South Philly Barbacoa
One idea that surfaced from the recent VAT (Vision Action Team) meetings was to foster a vision of Sisters Country as the artisanal capital of Oregon.

That idea may be one of the better ones to have emerged from the project, if only because it is an organic outcome of broad-based community support. It is also something that is already happening, and largely independent from political or economic winds that blow beyond anyone's meaningful influence or control.

It is the essence of the "grass roots" meme.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Sisters Country birds
The short-eared owl [Asio flammeus] is a medium-sized owl with relatively long wings and tiny, often-concealed ear-tufts. In Latin, the word flammeus means fiery, flaming, or the color of fire.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
The Dance
I came across this short verse the other day, written by me several years ago, that certainly speaks to where my life is during these short days of winter.

The Dance

Surface thoughts of busyness clutter and clamor

as my soul seeks peace and stillness.

Calm and quiet beckon amid lists of to-dos and what-ifs.

The world competes and I resist,

drawn instead to watch, digest, relax, release.

Commitment versus contentment, the ever present dance.

Monday, December 31, 2018
Finishing the first draft
I finished the first draft of my book, via National Novel Writing Month's (NaNoWritMo) support and encouragement. It's an on-line community of writers who all try to write a novel in a month. The goal is a 50,000-word work - or 1,700 words per day. After typing my last word; first I just felt happy and proud that I actually did it.
Monday, December 31, 2018
Eagles, eagles everywhere - but who are they?
Eagles have been a love of my life from the time I arrived in Oregon on my Harley in 1951-where I discovered them being killed by 1080 poison put out by government trappers killing coyotes. However, eagles are still with us today, thanks to the supreme efforts of Frank Isaacs of the Oregon Eagle Foundation (OEF), with whom my wife, Sue, and I are helping to conduct a statewide survey of golden eagles in conjunction with other agencies.
Monday, December 31, 2018
Bull by Bull
• The other day I got pulled over in Bend for rolling through a four-way stop. Though I didn't literally feel threatened, having read about so many people's movements within their car being misinterpreted by officers of the law, without any conscious thought on my part, I made sure it was OK with the officer to reach for my license, registration, and insurance card. Until that moment, I had no idea what it meant to feel the need to protect my own life.
Monday, December 24, 2018
New year's resolutions for pet people
Almost half of Americans make New Year's resolutions. These resolutions range from losing weight, to quitting smoking, to spending more time with family. However, we often forget to include our furry friends in the resolutions. This New Year, aim to make a few resolutions that will improve the relationship between you and your pet.
Monday, December 24, 2018
Americans have become a fearful lot. And I really do mean scaredy-cats, a bunch of whimpering, simpering, cowardly lions afraid of everything from chocolate milk to clowns, from fake eyelashes (it's a thing) to 11-year-old playground bullies.

I'm not sure how this happened, but fear has become a pervasive element in our culture. It's virtually everywhere, replacing optimism and confidence in the same way that "feeling" has replaced "thinking."

Monday, December 24, 2018
Where have all the insects gone?
Early last summer, I noticed something that really bothered me: While driving between Riley and Sisters on a nice, warm, early summer day, upon reaching my destination I noticed that I didn't have as many smashed insects on the windshield of my trusty old, 366,000-mile Toyota 4-Runner as I did earlier that spring. The weather and road conditions were right, but the insects just were not there.

The first time I made that trip was in mid-September 1951, astraddle my beautiful old 1947 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I mounted a sport shield because beetles and larger insects really hurt when they hit my bare cheek when doing 70 mph, and back in those days there were more than enough insects to notice.

Monday, December 24, 2018
Good citizenship in the Age of Lying Liars
My detective brain tells me that President Donald Trump is lying, though it's unclear to me exactly what he's lying about. It also seems clear that fired FBI Director James Comey, too smug by a country mile, is lying also - either actively or by omission, and who knows which.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Woodshed butterfly
The temperature outside my nice warm, wood-heated old double-wide shaky-shanty was very cool the other night: 18 degrees to be exact. Inside the temperature was lingering around 60. Imagine my pleasure and delight when my wife, Sue, shouted above the classical music coming from my radio, "Hey, Jim, take a look at this butterfly on the inside of the kitchen window."
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The Fulfillment Machine
If you don't know, artificial intelligence, AI, is creeping inexorably into our lives. From facial recognition technology to autonomous vehicles, from drone swarms to Siri, from Tesla to Pandora's "Musical DNA," AI and machine learning are among the incredibly powerful - and largely invisible - forces driving our next cultural revolution.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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