Over the years I have paid particular attention to my family history. Not because my family is in any way unique from anyone else’s, only that from a very young age I have been imbued with an abiding appreciation for the experiences of my ancestors. I’ve wanted to know them, or at least about them, and so maybe learn something about myself as I’ve traveled through this life. And it is the Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri branches of my family — Norwegians, Germans, and Dutch — who all wound up farther west at one point or another, that I have learned the most about
This year has been a particularly good one for those of us who are interested in old Rome, as new discoveries of letters, and even boxing gloves, at Hadrian’s Wall – a strange wall, indeed, for a host of reasons – and in fresh diggings at Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Oplontis, all destroyed by Vesuvius back in ’79 – have given us valuable new information about Roman life, culture, and reach, and indeed have overturned some apple carts.
There are people among us who think they have all the answers. They don’t. Blowhards and know‐it‐alls, particularly those of the political stripe, are really just people overcome by fright who have morphed into frenzied tent‐revivalists, and who would love to baptize you in the church of their own nightmares.
This week, I had the pleasure of writing a story about a good deed. The construction manager of a major project here in Sisters, Oregon, rescued a family that had run off the road in the Cascades and ended up in their wrecked truck, upside down in the North Santiam River. You can read the full story here. The key […]
It’s the same old story Tell me where will it end I got the same old blues, same old blues again — J.J. Cale * I’m gonna lay down these Doomsayer Blues. The fourth National Climate Assessment under the U.S. Global Change Research program was released on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend — the traditional […]
I was having coffee with Jim the other day down in Sisters town, at a fine greasy spoon called The Gallery, which up until a few weeks ago had a fine collection of old rifles hung up on the walls, and where a regular collection of regular guys gather most mornings at the counter to stare down the pies and get their daily dose of good cheer from the gals working the counter. The Gallery serves a heap of great diner food for not a lot of money, if you are into that sort of thing, and they still have a wooden indian in the entryway which is a throwback to an era not long ago where not every statue was automatically a symbol of racist domination.
They came upon a circle of nomads Camped far from the lights of the town Blue men with scars and malarial eyes And teeth that were pointed… filed down He said: “These are the people I’ve been searching for, This is more than I ever could have hoped!” As they threw him down on a blanket And tied […]
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.
Sunday morning we killed the turkeys. This is an important fall ritual on the Figure 8 because it brings with it a level of intimacy with our own lives that we find sorely lacking in the Age of Robots and Artificial Intelligence. It’s the same impetus that drives our effort at growing vegetables, and hunting for protein when we can: because it moves us decidedly off of the crass and mindless consumer X and comes with a refreshing dose of participation and personal responsibility that remain life’s best teachers.
In a consumer society, where so much of what we require for daily life forces us into roles of utter dependence upon complex, fragile, and unaccountable systems, there are few remaining outlets that allow us at least the illusion of self‐sufficiency. Hunting is one of them.
The recent kerfuffle over politician Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test proving that she has Native American blood (a degree denoting a likely ancestor dating back from the early 19th Century) is a fine illustration of the continuity and persistence of the American fixation on race. I will leave it to others to parse the implications of the unseemly […]
“A tongue can accuse and carry bad news The seeds of distrust it will sow But unless you’ve made no mistakes in your life Be careful of stones that you throw… — Hank Williams, “Be Careful Of Stones That You Throw” * This is how this rolls: Somebody, somewhere, with an ax to grind digs […]