Large Daphoenine skull, a "bear dog" skull, about 18 mya

Really a Fossil


WC has written a couple of times recently about the John Day Fossil Beds but, as a reader pointed out, hasn’t shown his readers any fossils. Partly that’s because the unwashed masses like WC aren’t permitted to see very many fossils in the wild. Partly that’s because paleontology isn’t really one of WC’s interest areas.…

Stephen Crane, about March 1896

Maybe We Should Do Something More?


Sometimes, when WC sees everyone on social media wringing their hands and eating their hearts out, it feels like WC has fallen into a Stephen Crane poem:1 In the Desert by Stephen Crane In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial, Who, squatting upon the ground, Held his heart in his hands, And ate…

Painted Hills, Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument

Geology 101: Northeastern Oregon


To paraphrase the great John McPhee in Assembling California, most of Oregon, like most Oregonians, originally came from somewhere else. Specifically, the Wallowa, Baker, Izee and Olds Ferry Terranes originated out in the Pacific Ocean and over the course of millions of years and the inexorable forces of plate tectonics they collided with the North American…

Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh gives his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Notes on Kavanaugh: Would You Hire This Man?


A lot of folks don’t seem to understand the purpose of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. It’s not a trial. It’s nonsense to talk about “innocent until proven guilty” and “evidence.” Those are terms for a court or administrative law performance. They have little if anything to do with…

Thomas Condon, undated photo believed to be from the 1870s

Thomas Condon and Oregon Geology


WC’s fascination with geology began with classes at the University of Oregon. Most of those classes – all of them, except for Introduction to Geology (“Rocks for Jocks”) – were held in Condon Hall. WC honestly never gave a moment’s thought to the building’s name. There were sophomoric jokes about it, but there were jokes…