Departing Fairbanks, August 11, 2015

A Fifth Anniversary


Today is the fifth anniversary of WC’s and Mrs. WC’s move from Fairbanks, Alaska to Boise, Idaho. On August 18, 2015, WC pulled up at the house in Boise purchased two years earlier, and began moving in. WC will use the anniversary to reflect on the pluses and minuses of leaving Alaska and moving to…

WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

Following Up and Following Down: March 2020


WC is under lock down, like most Americans. The news is full of COVID-19 news, advice and alarm. So this month’s recap of stories missed, stories revisited and shiny baubles will be very nearly COVID-19 free. One of WC’s readers, with far too much time on their hands, read WC’s blog post from early 2015…

Bald Eagle in the Rain, Cordova, Alaska

Happy Birthday, America,


With any luck at all, the country will survive Donald Trump and again be something to be proud of. We can hope, at least. But this July 4 is one to let pass quietly, ignoring the president’s crypto-fascist conduct and working for better, Trump-free times. Happy 243rd Birthday, America. And many more.

Breakfast Smörgåsbord, Madison, Wisconsin

WC’s Smörgåsbord Edition


If you didn’t grow up in a household influenced by a Swedish grandmother, or haven’t been to Sweden, you may not know what a smörgåsbord is. Certainly none of the American efforts to establish smörgåsbord restaurants here appear to have survived contact with Americans. A smörgåsbord is “a celebratory meal and guests can help themselves…

WC Answers Your Questions


WC’s virtual mailbox is overflowing; there have been complaints from the email host. So WC will undertake to answer a few questions and delete lots and lots of emails. Questions are in italics; WC’s responses in plain text. Hey snowflake, how come you’re afraid of a real man as president? WC lived in Alaska for…

Yellow-billed Magpie, Pinnacles National Park, California

The Magpie Principle Explained


WC has apparently confused folks by describing his approach to this blog as the embodiment of the Magpie Principle. While we live in confusing times, WC doesn’t want to unnecessarily contribute to that confusion. So let’s see if WC can explain his reference. (WC has used the term – sometimes as “magpie sensibility” – to…

Potential yard birds, using another definition

Ambiguity and American English


WC doesn’t envy anyone who attempts English as a second language.  The language is riddled with euphemisms, words with multiple meanings and contextual defined term. As just one example, let’s use a term WC blogged about recently, “yard birds.” WC meant bird species seen in his yard. But “yard birds” has other meanings. There’s the…

Obsolescent form of the OED

WOTY


The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2018 is toxic. No, wait, that’s confusing. The word of the year is the adjective “toxic.” The Word of the Year isn’t itself toxic. “Toxic” joins “youthquake” (lame), “post-truth,” “vape” and “selfie,” all recent  Oxford Dictionary Words of the Year. Prior winners also include “refudiate,” a Palinism,…

WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

Following Up and Following Down: August 2018


It’s time for one of WC’s irregular nods to journalism and diligence. While the Magpie Principle usually rules around here, sometimes foggy memories of WC’s one journalism class emerge and you get a post like this. So here are some follow-ups, nods and quibbles on stuff WC has written about earlier. No less venerable an…

Bird Banding Barbie Turns 18


WC has been very, very serious lately. Extinct species. Sociopathic congressmen. Monomaniacal gun nuts. WC will lighten up a bit, and at the same time preserve for posterity a classic birthday practical joke. WC presents, in very nearly its original form, Bird Banding Barbie. In that long, dark time between Christmas Bird Count and Spring,…

Brian Kesinger, Otto Does Walkies

WC Cleans Out His Inbox


WC has fallen behind in his email again. It’s past time to sort through the contents. Reader A. Nonny Mouse notes that Texas is walking down the same path as Oklahoma, with the same results: if you dispose of oil well fluids by injecting them into the ground you trigger earthquakes. Even in country that…