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home : columns January 16, 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
Across the great divide
Have you ever signed up for something and immediately regretted it? Wondered if you could just not show up to whatever you just signed up for? This happened to me recently when I responded to what felt like a healthy challenge for some conservative citizens to turn up to a politically motivated training session.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
The 'wabbit' of Camp Sherman
No... I did not tamper with that desert cottontail's ears, or Photoshop them; that's the way the photo arrived from Richard Skupa.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
We can all do better
At long last, the cacophony of political ads is gone! The backbiting tone of many of those diatribes does more to turn me off of candidates than to consider supporting them.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Our beloved country
The other day, my dear old pal, retired veterinarian, patriot, and fellow church-member, Phillip Brittain, sent me an electronic message entitled, "Laus Deo." I read it through, because most of what Philip sends me is worth the time. This one, for some reason, hit me right where America dwells in my heart.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
An End To War, An End To Peace
Take some time this Sunday, November 11, to reflect upon a moment that occurred exactly 100 years ago. It made the world we live in.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
I saw a wolf, and I liked it
Last week I was elk hunting out east and saw, for the first time, a wolf in the wild. I've seen just about all of the other big predators in North America at one time or another: homo sapiens in various stages of sobriety, bears, lions, bobcats, and gators, but seeing a wolf - and very close - was a first.

For the record: I saw a wolf, and I liked it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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