Groucho Mark

Don’t forget your glasses

After attending a recent university business meeting, one member of the group—a graduate student—came over and said I perked up the meeting.

She meant it in a nice way.

Your face lights up and I can see the gleam in your eye, she said.

It’s because I’m a trickster.

Now the secret is out. Continue reading

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Is there a horn in your purse?

bag lady

Is this your bag, lady?

I was searching through my purse for a strip of paper to wrap around my chewed gum and found my bicycle horn buried at the bottom.

Who else carries around a bike horn?

When I park my bike I pull off the horn because some folks like to help themselves to items that aren’t locked down.

Guess that says something about me. Continue reading

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Critters that watch over us

William Wadsen Jr. artwork

William Wadsen Jr. artwork

Bee Keeper

You can take the ski lift to the top of Mount Washington in the summer-time on Vancouver Island.

A quick trip aboard a jump-seat places you at 5200 feet (1590 meters) and presto: you can see 360-degrees in all directions.

Views of the archipelago carved out centuries ago by shifts in the granite and mud make you feel big and small at the same time.

You can see islands and forests and beaches and boats and small towns dotting the landscape.

On a warm and sunny summer afternoon we hiked down about a thousand feet—some parts carefully, others at a jaunt—picking fat mountain blueberries along the way.

My two companions pointed out a silhouette on a rock, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a teddy bear in profile, frozen while we tiptoed past. Continue reading

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Forget science: return the bones

Science, Blood & Bones

One of my many Lakota uncles, John, casually referred to himself as mixed-blood.

John grew up around Pine Ridge and Mission, South Dakota, and went to school with the Deloria clan.

“I gave Vine a bloody nose when we were kids,” John said.

The last time we drove to Sundance, John pointed out Russell Means’ house.

John’s father was Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) and his mum, my relation, was French, Sioux and Osage.

And culturally speaking, John occupied a place in the Sioux culture and the mainstream white society.

We talked a lot about identity and authenticity, as John was raised in an era where blood was quantified.

Folks in my family carry a CDIB card—a certification of the degree of blood quantum–issued by the US Federal Government. Continue reading

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When the rivers already had names



I’m leaving British Columbia hungry.

Hungry for more information about the indigenous people who have occupied the region longer than anyone recorded on paper.

This week, we heard one creation story illustrated through wood carvings at the museum at Campbell River, on Vancouver Island.

The first people–tribal people in the stories–emerged from the creatures in the skies above, including the sun and the thunderbird. Continue reading

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Reduced to Zero

Pic Binary code
Sucked into a digital vortex

Does it matter we’re all being sucked into a digital vortex?

Do we lack nuance when we witness our world in a digital context?

Think about a digital black and white photograph.

Magnify the photo and you’ll see tiny squares of black, white and gray.

Look deeply into the gray and you’ll see granules of black and white, comprising the gray. Continue reading

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Can a walk change your brain?

nsf image

When reporters write garbage science

How do we learn about health? Science? Medicine? Risk?

Most of us still learn from our schooling or from the news.

Even though traditional journalism has transformed ink to pixels, newspapers and television news get loads of readers and viewers. Continue reading

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