WC Answers Your Questions: Snowbound Edition


WC is snowbound, or nearly so. There’s been a record snowfall in southwestern Idaho, and a seriously inadequate snowplow fleet. Even WC’s SUV struggles with the neighborhood streets. Rather than stay in bed reading – a sensible alternative – WC will take the opportunity to answer accumulated reader questions.

Are you an atheist?
That’s kind of a personal question, don’t you think? WC will answer with a story about the late Sir Terry Pratchett. In Pratchett’s final months, it was rumoured, mostly in London’s Daily Mail, that Pratchett had found God. When asked, Pratchett said he thought this unlikely, since he could not even find his keys, for the existence of which he had empirical evidence.

What about Trump?
WC expects that before too long the emotionally insecure, defensive, profoundly ignorant and bullying president-elect will be a serious and embarrassing millstone around the neck of the Republican Party. While, as Garry Trudeau has noted, he is easily manipulated, fairly early on the Republicans are going to have no choice but to disown His Petulancy. After which he will be impeached. Mike Pence won’t be much of an improvement, but successors are usually not especially effectual.

How bad is the Alaska economy going to get?
WC has read that State Senator Pete Kelly (R, Petulance), sees the coming legislative session as the likely clash of ideologies in Juneau — which he reportedly described as a “fight between capitalism and socialism.” He said it would not be a bad thing. In an economy that’s not in recession, maybe. In an economy that is sick and getting sicker, in an economy that is about to exhaust the last of the Constitutional Budget Reserve? Deadly. WC is unsure what state Senator Kelly is living in, but it’s not Alaska. He seems to be determined to continue to violate the First Law of Holes. Unless Senator Kelly is struck by that metamorphic lightning on the road to Damascus Juneau, very, very bad indeed.

Why don’t you write about Anchorage’s homicide rate?
WC, of course, is from Fairbanks. There’s a certain amount of . . . resentment . . . when Fairbanksans involve themselves in Anchorage civic affairs. But the murders in Anchorage – and the recent mass murders in Fort Lauderdale by a man from Anchorage – suggest the NRA’s ideas were as stupid as WC has asserted. To some extent, the Anchorage numbers are the result of a serial killer who has since been terminated. But there’s still a big problem. At a minimum, it should be illegal to have a blood alcohol level above 0.08% and possess a firearm. Firearms are far more dangerous then autos, and we don’t let people drive autos with BATs above 0.08%. And Alaska’s mental health laws must also be amended to address the problem of mentally ill persons with firearms.

What’s the coolest bird you’ve seen?
Beyond question, the Resplendent Quetzal, a species native to Central America. WC has been lucky enough to see – and photograph – many very cool birds, but the Resplendent Quetzal is the most spectacular.

Resplendent Quetzal Male, Southern Ecuador

Resplendent Quetzal Male, Southern Ecuador

What camera do you use?
Since April 2013, WC’s primary camera has been a Canon 1D-X. Most bird photos are taken with a 500mm f4 lens, usually with a 1.4 teleconverter, for an effective 700mm of focal length. Most of the time it is mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right Stuff ballhead. The backup camera is a Canon 5D Mark III. Before moving to Canon, WC had been an Olympus loyalist for many years.

Why do you still use a pseudonym?
Name recognition. Besides, James Wickersham gets too little recognition.

That’s enough. Besides, WC has to go shovel the sidewalks. Again.

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