You’ll get pie in the sky when you die


The first song WC learned to play on the harmonica was “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,” the labor organizing anthem popularized by Joan Baez. It’s an easy, simple tune, as a labor anthem should be. But there was nothing simple or easy about the death of Joe Hill. There’s an excellent new…

Photography Challenges: Fairbanks


Most of Fairbanks is ugly. Part of the problem is the absence of effective zoning. Another part of the problem is the tendency of some locals to leave the exterior of their house wrapped in Tyvek for a few decades. Another part is the seeming sovereign right of Borough residents to have a junk yard. So…

Bachman Channels Robertson


WC was unsurprised to discover Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R, MN) is channeling racist homophobe Pat Robertson. Bachmann said yesterday in Florida, I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me…

Celebrating Sandhill Cranes


The Sandhill Crane Festival was August 26-28 here in Fairbanks. For the after-party, WC thought he’d re-post an essay he originally wrote for another forum a couple of years ago, with some new photos for variety. The Magic of Sandhill Cranes Each fall, several thousand Lesser Sandhill Cranes stage at Creamer’s Field Migratory Wildlife Refuge as a part of…

WC’s Epic Fails: The Riley Creek Solo


In his mis-spent youth. WC did a lot of backpacking, including all of the Oregon Skyline Trail (now part of the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail) and a chunk of the Appalachian Trail. Backpacking is a wonderful way to clear your head. Mostly. Riley Creek lies in Denali National Park (nee Mt. McKinley National Park), running…

A Crowd of True Believers?


Everyone who really wants to understand the mind set of a true believer needs to read the late Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. Written in 1951, the analysis he brings to the issue of mass movements might have been written about the Tea Party today. For instance: At August 11′s GOP presidential wannabe debate in…

Why Rick Perry’s Science Matters


Lysenkoism – the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives. Kevin Williamson, writing in the National Review, has decided that a presidential candidate’s thinking on science doesn’t matter. Gov. Rick Perry’s disbelief in evolution…

A Few Words on Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs has announced his resignation as Apple, Inc.’s CEO. Jobs is the Henry Ford of the Information Age. He took the technology that existed and repeatedly found ways to transform it into elegant, sophisticated tools everyone can use. Computers, music, movies, games, photography; the list goes on and on. He’s also an arrogant, fierce…

A Bad Week for Great Songwriters


WC can’t speak for his fellow Baby Boomers, but for WC there were certain songwriters who seemingly wrote the soundtrack for WC’s life. Those songwriters would include Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford. Jerry Leiber was the lyricist half of the terrific songwriting duo, Leiber-Stoller. Beginning in 1950, they collaborated on dozens of Top 40 songs,…

Photography in Bad Light


WC is used to photography in bad light; after all, for months during the winter the light is feeble, at best. WC is not used to photography in August in low light, but this has been a grey, gloomy month, and if WC wants to photograph birds before they leave, he has to make do…

Miracles, Myths and Empirical Facts: Perry Exposed


Texas Governor Rick Perry seems to be confused about the differences between miracles, myths and empirical facts. In an effort to be helpful to a self-admitted Texan, WC offers the following analysis to aid Governor Perry in understanding the distinctions: A “miracle” is something that can occur only through supernatural means; it’s something that happens…

Michelle Bachmann’s Enemies


Presidential wannabe Michelle Bachman explained to a crowd in South Carolina last night why she had worked for the IRS: I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is ‘know your enemy,’ So a President Bachmann (shudder) would regard a critical part of the government as “the enemy”? She is…

Tales from Wasilla: Steve Menard


The Wasilla newspaper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, reports that city council member Steve Menard, while attending a meeting of the Alaska Municipal League in Sitka, thoroughly trashed his hotel room. According to a bill sent to the city from the Westmark, damage to Menard’s room included two mattresses and a chair had been urinated on,…

P.T. Barnum Award, August 2011


The P.T. Barnum Award goes monthly to the most outrageous email WC receives proving Barnum was right, that a sucker is born every minute. This email requires repeal of the laws of thermodynamics and the utter suspension of credulity. And spelling, And grammar. Surely not too great a task for some. [Note: you follow the…

What You Do When No One Is Looking


Gryphen at Immoral Minority picked up this 2008 blog post. It’s a sweet story, and worth a look. WC’s Norwegian isn’t good enough to confirm the tale, but it appears to be authentic. WC is waiting for a report that Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or Mitt Romney did something similar 20 years ago, when no…

The Craziest Person in the Room


WC has posted an intermittent series of blog entries on the Republican presidential wannabes. After posts on Mitt “Multiple Choice” Romney and Rick “Just Lynch ‘Em” Perry, it’s time to visit with the person who sometimes styles herself “Dr. Michelle Bachmann. Not many lawyers call themselves “Dr.” Rep. Bachmann does. But instead of providing others’…

Fracking and Tainted Water


“Fracking” is slang for “hydraulic fracturing,” a process by which natural gas is extracted from rock. It involves injecting massive quantities of water, sand and a secret brew of chemicals into rock formation as extremely high pressure. It’s providing a lot of natural gas from areas that otherwise would be unproductive or marginally productive. But…