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home : columns February 24, 2018

An unexpected gift
My artist residency at PLAYA is done. I drove home from Summer Lake, through 100 miles of volcanic vistas and tiny towns. The Oregon Outback is a special place; sparse and rich with beauty. It's still hard to believe what opened up in those two weeks. I stared down fears and visited long-forgotten memories. Now, the first section of my book is complete, and I'm working on a second draft.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The agony of defeat
And just like that, the collusion narrative imploded.

Which doesn't mean there is a political winner in the United States. Far from it.

What emerges from the indictment produced by Mueller et al, in addition to some truly laugh-out-loud funny capers pulled on dimwitted, blinded-by-rage Trump rally stooges, is the picture of a magnificently coordinated, extremely well-financed, and brilliantly conducted psy-op campaign whose principle aim was to discredit the results of an election, sow instability, and thus to destabilize the nation and weaken its ability to act cohesively.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
On with the show
When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to wake up on Saturday mornings. Mom and dad were usually still in bed, as was my little sister. But when it was time, I'd quietly get out of bed, head to the kitchen, make my toast and peanut butter, a cold glass of Nestle's Quik, and get ready for another hour of fun and frolic with my pals from Warner Bros. cartoons.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Celebrate Valentine's Day with your pet
It's the global day of love: Valentine's Day. Visions of Cupid with his arrow; heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers sent special-delivery. And folks everywhere are pulling out all the stops to plan the perfect day for their Valentine. It's a joyous day to celebrate the love between two people. For others, it is a sad or wistful day, spent wishing for what they once had or for what they have yet to find.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The Vanishing Middle
It's been another great week in the world of hyperbole.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
It's more than 'just music'
My wife and I were talking some time ago about technology and our reliance on it.

I remember several years ago, many websites closed down in protest of an impending bill in congress called the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA. I remember reading an article on the economic impact of such closures on commerce and basically how addicted we are to the technology we use. And there have been threats of many other closures and actual closures over the years since.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Cancer and me: It's a family affair
From the moment we received my diagnosis, this has been about more than just me and the impact it has had on my life. It's about the impact it has had on my family as well - in particular my courageous wife, Katie.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Deep into the Outback
Two weeks in a cabin alone. Just me for a roommate. Facing the past head-on. No cell service or Internet connection. Now that's a recipe for upheaval - or possibly epiphanies. That's where I'm headed and that's what terrifies me.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Fear and loathing in D.C.
The bludgeoning of our Republic continues.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Our "wild" turkeys are not so wild
One of those marvelous phone calls came in the other day about "wild turkeys" messing up a Sisters resident's porch - and I mean really messing it up. There was turkey poop at least an inch thick all over the back porch that fell from turkeys spending the night in pines towering over the home. Turkeys eat; turkeys poop. That's just the way it is.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Cat scratch chatter
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. That's why your feline friend doesn't understand why you get so bent out of shape when he claws that tempting couch arm or carpet. Cats do not scratch furniture with malicious contempt.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
I, Bancini
During my law-enforcement career I responded to a lot - and I really do mean a surprising number - of fights, stabbings, and at least one shooting, at quinceanera celebrations. You can imagine the scene: tables overturned, chairs flying, lots of shrieking and weeping and terrified children hiding behind the DJ table.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Home is best
There's nothing like a week away from home, especially in a large metropolitan area, to hone my appreciation for our little corner of the world.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Sisters Country birds
The nasal call coming from high in the pines as the flock moves though the forest are pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus).
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Notes on a greasy napkin
I like to write in diners. I like it because I always hear something marvelous about politics, or the weather, and also because there is something inspirational in the smell of bacon, the comfort of a worn-out booth beside a picture window, and the reliable goodness of hashed browns, two eggs over-medium, and a side of English muffins.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Cancer and me: I ain't dead yet
Just in case any of you were wondering, yes, I am still here. There have been many times since the last installment of this series that I wished that I wasn't still here, but here I am.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sinatra at ground zero
Our American obsession with celebrity is as interesting as it is potentially dangerous. It's also hard to dislodge, as war correspondent George Weller discovered when he defied Gen. Douglas MacArthur's ban on travel to Nagasaki after the Army Air Corps detonated Fat Man, a 21-kiloton nuclear weapon, over the city.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Saving and protecting trumpeter swans
One of the developments I did not foresee when I rolled into Bend on my Harley in 1951 was that in the year 2018 I'd find myself helping trumpeter swans.

Trumpeters were once found throughout North America, but by 1933 fewer than 70 wild trumpeters were known to exist. Extinction seemed imminent until aerial surveys discovered a Pacific population of several thousand trumpeters around Alaska's Cooper River.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sisters Country birds
Dead snags become large drums for the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). Whether proclaiming territory, communicating, or chipping out a nest, decaying trees are essential for a healthy population of the largest species of woodpecker in North America. With a body length of 15-19 inches and a 29-inch wingspan, they have a home territory of 320-600 acres.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Low snowfall attracts winter hikers to Black Butte
I wasn't planning for our first hike of 2018 to be in January, and I certainly didn't expect it to be at higher elevations. At least, that was the case until the new Sisters District Ranger, Ian Reid, told me about his family's New Year's Eve climb of Black Butte.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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