Thanksgiving Telephone

Today I am thankful for our telecommunications network. Growing up, it would take 3 or 4 tries to get a circuit off the island for a call to loved ones who expected a call on ...

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, ...

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 ...

The First Easter

As Christians, we tend to celebrate Easter like it was Palm Sunday. We gather and say “he has risen” with the same enthusiasm the Palm Sunday crowds cheered “hosanna, ” not knowing what was to ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Coffee Forthright!

What happens when you are having blood-work done in the morning which requires fasting?  Well, if you are me you apparently dismember Sondheim. To the tune of Comedy Tonight… Bring Coffee Forthright! Something inviting, something ...

First they came…

Well.  You know the poem. I learned this poem at St. Olaf, a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Harold Ditmanson, a professor held in such regard that the college named a wing of the ...

But who will pay the piper?

The patron who pays the piper picks the tune.  For as long as I can remember, in Alaska the patron has been the oil industry.  With more than 85% of the State’s general fund revenue ...

Nature comes to you.

As far as urban areas go, you won’t find many cities as integrated into nature as this one.  We have a fantastic trail system, we have moose and wolves that live within our city boundaries, ...

Holidays.

There are three holidays of note this week.  The one that I got off from work is the least significant. On the 14th, we had the holiday of Saint Valentine of Rome.  According to legend ...

Darkness into Light.

Much is said and written about the Yin/Yang of Solstice, the world in balance between darkness and light.  Such a balance does not exist. Every year, as the sun dips below the horizon in  Utqiaġvik ...

The hand of Franklin.

HMS Terror has been found well preserved in 11 meters of water.  It appears her crew had taken time while abandoning her, so perhaps she was caught in the ice, and the crew then removed ...

The Greatness of the Past

There are several emails circulating that remember how much better things were.  They shows kids playing outdoors without cell phones.  They show dads and sons fishing, or teenagers dancing in a soda-shop, all clean, neat and ...

Coda to Radio

I recently commented that the “oldies” radio station was playing music from my college years. Driving into work, I heard the Goo Goo Dolls, followed by an announcer who said “I know, get over it.  ...

Radio

My cohort has reached a new milestone in life.  As I was driving home yesterday I realized that every song I heard was on the radio when I was in college.  This would not be ...

Quiet urgency.

There is a certain vibe to public buildings that are mostly empty with those still left still having work to do.  I am sitting in a university library over spring break.  Desks are empty and ...