Halloween, 1993

There is a truism in research that you find what you look for. The bias inherent in the question will always influence the answer, making the question the most essential part of the equation. I ...

Hospice in the time of COVID

COVID has taken a second family elder.  Two otherwise unrelated cases spread across different states, but they have given me an understanding of how the virus has changed the meaning of hospice.  God willing, you’ll ...

Distancing Social Media

There was always that guy in class with whom you’d never agree. Each brought their experiences (and sources) to the class texts. Each came up with different interpretations as to what the texts meant. Then, ...

Thunderstruck, by Eric Larson

Eric Larson has a fantastic narrative style that teases the story out of history. He writes about events that shaped our world so that in the middle of the story, the reader can forget how ...

Self-evident

Traditionally I post the Declaration of Independence on The Fourth. This year, I decided that focusing word for word on the language of the 18th Century is a poor way to celebrate a document that ...

Jeff Davis street

While there is a national debate on monuments and statues, it’s worth talking about more than just the Confederates. Sitka has a street named for Jeff Davis (the Union one, not the Confederate President) Davis ...

Relearning Curiosity

It’s time for my semi-regular series, things I’m learning from my son: It’s fascinating watching a young one grow. Every day there is a new thing to see, to discover, to *KNOW.* With so many ...

Aunt Janice

I’m going to ask a favor of you. Imagine the best storyteller you know. The one who can sit and wait her turn, knowing full well that nothing is going to top what she is ...

Remembering Music

Today’s installment of things I have (re)learned from my son: I’ve been singing. A lot. I have gone through my most recent repertoire and had to keep going until I’ve found songs I have not ...

Relearning Patience

Another in the occasional series “things I learn from my son.” Nothing teaches how to be frustrated at a situation without being frustrated at a person quite like being home with a sick kiddo. He’s ...

Rembering How to Sing

The difference between a tourist and a traveler is in what they are willing to bring home. Tourists may buy souvenirs, but except to return to an unchanged home. Travelers return with stories that can ...

The Message of Colonialism

In one of the seminal works on media analysis, Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message.” The idea is that the medium has a symbiotic relationship with the message itself. TV gravitates to ...

Asking for Help

Things I’m learning from my son: Every animal learns the necessary survival skills first. A horse can run within hours of birth. An adder can bite. A human baby can ask for help. I think ...

Brian

One of my oldest friends died this weekend. I’d like to tell you how we met. Brian Kokke and I shared a few things in common: Bad backs, bad speech, and very good imaginations. A ...

There There

There There, by Tommy Orange, was the May book of the month for the radio show Native America Calling. It’s an incredible book. I obviously can’t speak to how well it represents urban Indian life; ...

How does it feel…

Many people have asked me in the last few weeks how it feels to be a papa. I generally hedge, I deflect the question saying it’s too soon to tell or that it’s not really ...

The Things we Build

To all of you who are a part of the Three Barons Fair: I think it’s sometimes easy for us to focus on just the part of the fair we participate in directly. We can ...

April Fools

The following is an old piece of writing long thought lost. April first is a time of jest, when people test their wits and compare their pranks to decide which comes out best. The competition ...

Another Shutdown

I’m reading a lot of discussion about who “won” and who “lost” the government shutdown. Spoiler alert, we all lost. The arguments for both sides are, of course, compelling. The reality is that the House ...

Pantopol

I was flipping through some of my pictures when this one surfaced. It’s the sculpture Pantopol, by Ted Jonsson, at SeaTac international airport. I’ve always liked this sculpture. It’s one that appears to change from ...

Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing leader. Facing down institutional violence, he was able to talk about the long arc of history bending towards justice. He could see further ahead than the rest ...

The Meaning of Everything

“The Meaning of Everything” is not my favorite Simon Winchester book, but that’s kind of like saying La Belle Heaulmiere is not my favorite piece by Rodin. Both artists have done much more approachable work. ...

Hoshino and Joseph

I love this pole. It is a master of one art form memorializing a master of another. The figure at the base of the pole is the wildlife photographer Michio Hoshino. Even if you don’t ...

Market genorosity

Today’s lesson in unintended consequences: King Mansa Musa of Mali was the wealthiest person the world has ever seen. Mali was a center of trade with abundant salt and gold, and being south of the ...

Fatima al-Fihri

Today, in “women I wish we knew more about,” Fatima al-Fihri. Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya was probably born around 810 AD in Kairouan, modern day Tunisia. Her father was a wealthy merchant who ended ...

The Politics of Waiting

Politicians and pundits really like Christmas, but then everyone likes a baby shower. You can show off your Christian bona fides in a nice safe manner, adoring the helpless baby before he has a chance ...

Death Penalty

This week, we have a stark example of one of the reasons I strongly oppose the death penalty. Ledell Lee’s trial was overseen by a judge who was having an affair with the assistant prosecutor. ...

Radicalization

This week, a man walked into a school where his estranged wife worked.  He shot her, and two of her students, in front of a room full of children.  I have yet to see anyone ...