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The Great Human Experiment

Posted on June 3, 2020 at 12:35 AM


We are all part of the human race, Homo sapiens and those of us fortunate enough to live in the U.S.A. are all “Americans”, citizens of the greatest human experiment in the history of the species.


A democracy (demos “people and kratos “rule”) is based on the principles set forth by the Athenian Greeks in the 5th century BCE. It was a government in which the people have the authority to choose their type of governing legislation with the privilege shared among them laid out in constitutional rights including freedom of assembly, speech, inclusiveness, equality, voting for their representatives and unanimous consent in the decisions made in their behalf.


We have come to a crossroads where the power of the citizens to direct the course of their future has become a human dilemma of great consequence where politics and partisanship have divided the existing population into fragments. Each faction is guarding their reality, defending their veracity and protecting their view of what they perceive as the truth even if they question the accuracy of their sources and cohorts. They feel that they have declared their allegiance to their alliances and must support their associates no matter what divisions result.


Certainly, all “sides” are under duress with an all-encompassing fear, anxiety and even panic over the multitude of stresses imploding on today’s society. Individuals within the populace are personally challenged trying to make the right decisions for themselves, their families, colleagues and friends. Thus, the blame for the situation we find ourselves facing is directed toward anyone that does not share our viewpoint, perspective or stance and it appears to be pointless to try to reason or even listen to others who we think have turned on America and have become the enemy.


The only thing that has become clear now, at this point in our 244 year history and what has become so disturbing, is to see the pursuit of power, seeking to gain momentum and leverage over every opponent that differs with another person’s thinking and/or position. No matter what the consequences are to the nation, the destruction to the original concepts that created the Republic and sustained it through numerous challenges, it seems there are no limits or boundaries to the defamation of what made us the democracy that, up until now, people around the world wanted to emulate.


The Founding Fathers were in the same boat after they decided to declare their Independence and they struggled mightily over what the Constitution would or would not include. They sequestered themselves and through all of the debate, considerations, communications, compromises, cooperation, collaboration and final agreements, they produced the most significant document civilization has experienced in governing a people for the benefit of all of its citizens. Was it perfect? No, it had to be amended and adjusted through the high courts due to the necessary changes recognized by the populace that made it better, more equitable and unbiased, but the framework was there, and is still there, with the structure to allow it to survive and prosper.


The only infringement or misapplication of and to the document we strive to protect and project has been thwarted in the past and we must now take this opportunity to look closely at what we, each of us, can do to bring back the civility and respect for one another that it took to create the articles of the confederation. We must now look to each other as fellow Americans to enhance the meaning, purpose and significance of what is right and appropriate to provide an example for those that follow. Resolve to mediate, reconcile and reunite in a singular goal to make this moment in our heritage a positive one that brings us out of the deadlock and into a momentous transformation for a more perfect union.


We are at a crossroads, coming down separate trails but we have a responsibility to end up on the same path, even though we may be carrying divergent wisdoms, that will lead us into new perspectives and with a vision that encourages the next generations to look at their differences as we did in this one.


Posted on August 20, 2019 at 1:50 PM

Well it is official…we have sold our Hogan at Red Creek Ranch, moved to Trinidad (Colorado not Tobago) and purchased 35 acres on River Ridge Road just west of Walsenburg, CO. We are renting a small house 3 blocks from the Trinidad State Junior College where I am now working full time.

While it is a drastic change/direction in our lives, it was timely as we no longer needed 3200 sq. ft. (although 1200 currently seems extremely small!), 40 acres (I never did get that mule!) or stairs which were becoming a challenge as much as they were being used. We are planning on building soon, a single story ICF adobe with a peeled aspen ceiling ~ 2300 sq. ft. that looks out at the Spanish Peaks, the Sangre de Christos, Silver and Sheep mountains and the south side of Greenhorn Peak (we could see the north side of it from 1747 Newton Rd.)

Legacy Museum Consulting was recommended as the right fit for the College’s Long Range Master Plan for the new facilities which will house an expansion of the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum and the National Gunsmithing and Hunting Heritage Museum Complex quite possibly the only museum in the U. S. with a firing range in the basement!

In order to get me involved with the cultural and natural heritages of Southeastern Colorado, Trinidad and the College they put me on part time about a year ago as the archives assistant in the Library where I found a great resource with many facets including one of the most comprehensive/historical firearms libraries anywhere (this is the premier gunsmithing school in the nation and respected internationally) as well as impressive art, genealogy, photography, and vinyl record collections. However, some of the books were shelved by color!

Although I had an office and was able to do a lot of research, I was driving 103 miles each way 3 days a week with my position almost paying for my expenses. In the fall the Director of the Library retired and they pointed at me and said, “You’re it”. However, I couldn’t consult and get a full time salary so I have been finishing the LRMP after hours, kinda’ like I’ve done my whole career.

It has been rewarding learning about Trinidad, the Santa Fe Trail, Fisher’s Peak, the mining industry in the region, particularly the Ludlow Massacre, the K-T (or K-Pg) boundary, etc. but, especially teaching Intro to Archaeology again. There is also the possibility of excavating a rock shelter on a tributary that runs into the Purgatoire River next summer and also teaching Cultures of the SW in the fall. An intern from Baylor, Katie Mackenzie, worked on PastPerfect in the museum and designed and installed an exhibit on the Gilded Age in the Library.

Our new address is: 610 Willow St. Trinidad, CO 81082 but there is only 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom until we get the new one built so make sure to call before you head this way!


How do we stop gun violence? It's a matter of education

Posted on August 20, 2019 at 1:50 PM

8/3 & 4/2019

(After the El Paso & Dayton mass shootings and the flags are at half-mast…again)

I have already posted some thoughts about the atrocities that continue to be perpetuated on the innocent citizens of our country, so what has changed? Unfortunately, nothing…we are not listening and certainly not acting so there needs to be another approach to protect future losses of our brainpower and the suffering of so many families because of these senseless killings.

The museum profession has long known and put into practice the education of our children, based on the belief that if we miss a single generation of teaching future leaders within our democracy about our various heritages and national probity we will have lost the security necessary to advance society in a positive direction. The famous quote, attributed to many is, “If you don’t know where you have come from, you don’t know where you are going” and if, “the past is prologue” then children of our current world, which is fraught with admonitions and fearful forecasts, will be no better prepared to meet the same challenges they will face as adults.

We, today, must pass on what we have processed and are learning about the “shooters”, their mantra, their hatred, their instability and the influences that take over sensibilities to the point of slaughtering fellow human beings. Maybe it is because of their race, a language we do not understand, a religion that seems threatening to us, celebrations and/or customs that we cannot comprehend but mostly a combination of personal attributes that are offensive to our center of the universe.

We have tried to make the proverbial square peg fit the round hole and vice versa and create some/any system that might be acceptable to all stake holders, politicos, anti and pro-gun enthusiasts, lobbyists and those young people who have actually experienced the decimation up close and personal. MAYBE this last weekend is the last straw, but nothing yet has altered the status quo thus far and the numbness continues.

What if, we look at the museological model, we start with the children, not like we did in the 1950’s when nuclear annihilation was imminent and the programs taught us how to scurry under our desks to be safe. However, a long-range introspective approach that could be presented at the appropriate grade levels would begin to educate the students as to what the causes and consequences are of hating someone without walking in their moccasins. The fact that it does not help the killer’s “cause”, that the pain and suffering by all those involved is life changing, that the lineages of those lives taken are forever lost and affects civilization far into the future.

Identifying the shooters before they take action, background checks for all sales, red flag and other laws controlling bump-stocks and extra-large clips and even taking military armament off the market are vital as we go forward. However, at the moment, as a matter of record, we are still trying to close Pandora’s box. Criminals with intent will continue to have access to weapons of mass destruction, but if our children are taught/know/understand, the outcome of determined ignorance and hate and the effects of the resulting actions then there may be a glimmer of hope. As long as they are not being influenced by the rhetoric of mad men but by teachers, parents, social workers and organizations created to bring civility and enlightenment back to the table. Then, they may become cognizant, if not committed, to make sure these attitudes/motives do not continue or at the very least be more aware of those who intend harm to their families, friends, classmates and neighbors.

IF we start now through the educational systems/processes we will have the next generation that will comprehend how and why we can and must change and make a difference by taking on the responsibility of continuing to educate their children. While at the same time, not taking away their rights to personal protection, hunting, sporting clays and skeet, competition and recreational shooting, collecting firearms, etc.

Therefore, it has to be a multi-faceted approach, doing everything humanly possible to close the loopholes, deploy sensible parameters around mental health issues, sales and purchases of assault weaponry, potential overreach of the First Amendment to the point of threatening the stability of the country and eliminating the hate mongering and promotion of Neo-Nazism on social media. Yes, admittedly, it will take a generation to begin to turn the situation around, but what do we have to lose at this rate except many more blameless lives?



Posted on July 4, 2018 at 5:20 PM

July 4, 2018 

I feel we are enveloped in a second Civil War, certainly not a war of millions of projectiles being shot at one another and the resulting hundreds of thousands of casualties, but a new conflict of words of discretion and demonization being bulleted across social, racial, religious and maybe especially, political lines in the sand, all in various names of morality, justice, honor and truth.

These are silent weapons, casting doubt, fear and miscreancy without any regard to the history, background and/or the progress and contributions made by the entities or personages involved. Lifetimes of achievement and benefits to society are meaningless and without merit as the assailants ignore the qualities or qualifications and respect deserved. Participants pummel one another with memorable, catchy slogans and sound bites without compromising ears.

These battles encourage character assassinations and challenge one another's independence of thought and freedom as granted by the Constitution to interact peaceably with a fellow citizens regardless of ethnic or geographic origin. We cringe at the atrocities and depth of carnage recounted by the images and reality of the first Civil War. Ol' Abe Lincoln in all his wisdom in the two minutes it took to present the Gettysburg Address provided a stability that has endured for over 150 years that today is being compromised by a lack of knowledge and gratitude for all those who have sacrificed all to endow us with the privilege to continue to have the right to say what we will.

However, with all of the liberties inherited comes an immense responsibility to honor those who have preceded us and kept civil disobedience within the parameters of a democracy that can give the other side of the line the opportunity to be heard without retaliation and oppression...physical or mental. We must use all of our technological advances and historical consciousness for the betterment and benefit of the future generations.

We need to look for ways not to annihilate one another, perpetuate our differences or encourage animosities. We should heed the lessons of the past and begin to listen AND hear AND seek common ground and understanding. We need to begin to rebuild our foundation granted us by the Founding Fathers. Each of our heritages are of lasting importance to the Nation we all occupy and we need to sit at the same table and look each other in the eye and hear the other's heartbeat. It is vital for all of us to prepare for the discourse in a much more open, less hostile, antagonistic, judgmental and condescending manner. 

It is time to hit the "Refresh" button for civility. 


Posted on February 19, 2018 at 10:55 PM




Let me be upfront from the beginning... I believe in and support the creation and intent of the 2nd Amendment as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I became a proud member of the NRA about 1955 because I was a hunter and their magazine at the time had numerous stories of successful ventures into the wilds of North America, encouraged gun safety and gave pertinent information about the capability of different firearms for hunting purposes. 

However, about a decade later, after becoming a police officer I did not renew my membership because I felt the organization had let us down by not supporting the proposed ban on AK - 47's, a weapon developed for war with its only purpose being to kill the enemy, thus allowing them to enter the public domain. Numerous peace keeping forces throughout the country opposed their reluctance to allow individuals to "out gun" us as we had nothing comparable to protect the citizens of our communities or ourselves.

The NRA was organized in 1871 with the primary goal of improving civilians' marksmanship in preparation for any future wars. It was not until 1927 that Congress passed its first modern legislation, the banning of mailing concealable weapons. In 1934, The National Firearms Act regulated the manufacture, sale and possession of fully automatic firearms and sawed-off shotguns. 1938 saw The Federal Firearms Act which imposed a federal license requirement on gun manufacturers, importers, and persons selling firearms. It also required licensees to maintain customer records and made it illegal to sell to convicted felons. It was not until 1968 after the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy that The Gun Control Act was passed which regulated mail order and interstate shipment of firearms or ammunition except among licensed manufactures, dealers and importers. It also prohibited the sale of firearms or ammunition to felons, drug users and people found to be mentally incompetent and defined "Prohibited Persons". President Kennedy was killed by a rifle purchased from a mail order ad in the American Rifleman, published by the NRA.

1984 saw the Armed Career Criminal Act passed that increased the penalties from 10 to 15 years imprisonment for felons who commit crimes with firearms if they are convicted of certain crimes three or more times. This Act provides for an implied maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

In January, 1989, Patrick Purdy returned to the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA, where he had attended as a child, with a legally purchased version of the AK-47 and shot 106 rounds in three minutes killing five students and wounding 34 others. In February of the same year former President Ronald Reagan, only a few weeks out of office stated, "I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting or for home defense, but I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for home defense".

The 1990 Crime Control Act banned the manufacturing and importing of semiautomatic assault weapons and created, "Gun free school zones", establishing specific penalties for violations of the Act.

In 1994 former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan wrote to members of the House of Representatives, "We urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons as a matter of public safety. Although they account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to a crime. In 1993 a Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of semi-automatic assault guns such as the AK-47. The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to a crime between 1989 and 1991. While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on further manufacture of these weapons".

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994 that prohibited the manufacture, transfer or possession, for civilian use, certain semi-automatic firearms defined as "assault weapons" and certain "large capacity" ammunition magazines or "clips". This bill expired on September 13, 2004 in accordance with its 10 year sunset provision.

Also in 1994 two bills were passed, The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed that imposed a 5 day waiting period on the purchase of a handgun and requires local law enforcement agencies conduct background checks on purchasers of handguns and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act prohibiting the sale, manufacture, importation or possession of specific assault type weapons for a 10 year period. Both bills expired on September 13, 2004 after Congress failed to reauthorize them.

However, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was launched by the FBI in 1998 which requires Federal Firearms Licensees to instantly determine whether a purchaser is eligible to buy firearms. More than 250 million checks have been made leading to 1.3 million denials through 2016.

In 1999 a bill is passed 51 - 50 with Vice President Al Gore casting the deciding vote requiring trigger locks on all newly manufactured handguns and extended the waiting period and background check requirements for sale of firearms at gun shows.

2004 sees Congress failing to continue funding for President George W. Bush's 2001 Project Safe Neighborhoods, to reduce gun and gang crime by networking with local programs promoting community outreach.

In 2008 The National Instant Criminal Background Check Improvement Act was signed by President Bush requiring background checks for legally declared mentally ill individuals who are ineligible to purchase firearms.

The rest is not history yet...many bills have been introduced but not passed or acted on which leaves a lot in limbo and at peril if we are to see supplemental legislation that can make a difference in the current morass we find ourselves experiencing on a regular basis and facing in the future. As is evident by this brief timeline of Congressional action related to firearms regulation there have been notable legislative accomplishments in the past but we appear to be mired in the swamp without a guide to get us out at this point. While the very important considerations of "bump stocks" and the "ghost guns" should be illegal by previously enacted laws they have not been brought before Congress for a vote. Many of the existing laws would cover a multitude of our concerns but there needs to be either a.) better coordination between the various agencies who can enforce the associated legalities and/or 2.) introduce new or in some cases reintroduce those Acts that can and have made a difference that were allowed to "sunset".

We need leaders that are representing a vast majority of Americans who are grieving over the 96 mass "shootings" since 1997 that have been indiscriminate as to race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religious preference. If those currently in office can not take action then those students like David Hogg will make the necessary changes in the near future in spite of the 600 pound gorilla in the corner of the room.

A final a gun owner and hunter I have no fear of, "lawful duty of disclosure", as I have nothing to hide (even at gun shows) and welcome any change that might, hopefully, prevent even one more child from reaching their potential for the sake of our country.


Posted on December 19, 2017 at 12:00 AM



With dwindling opportunities to write individual greetings for Christmas and the New Year I have, like so many of my relatives, friends and colleagues, succumbed to the lure of the annual newsy letter to be posted on my website.

It has been a long while since Sylvia and I have sent out special messages to everyone but it seems that the older we get the less time we have to pursue everything we would like to accomplish.

I can no longer remember the exact dates, and now even the exact year, as the days slip by so quickly that exactness seems less significant...only that certain events happen that impact our lives that give us reason for celebration and/or consternation.

Some of the more memorable do include the four "procedures" on my body parts that tended to slow me down...temporarily. A TURP, gall bladder and nose polyp removals and migrating kidney stones. However, having been near-sighted all my life I can now see at a distance like a 4 power scope, offset by having to have reading glasses for everything else. We are finding that compromises come daily and feeding habits are often dictated by what we need vs. what we desire, e.g. I can no longer partake of one of my favorite foods, chili, even in the "mild" form. Sylvia is one of the healthiest latter middle-age persons around sticking to all the best recommended "live longer" diets and keeping her weight just right. She has had an encounter with vertigo but has been to a rehab specialist and faithfully does her exercises and is much better.

We continue to put out bird seed and water and while it was a very good late spring and early summer we are very dry again). The deer are drinking all the water in the bird "bath" almost every night and eating any of the green grass exposed after my weeding around the house. We had several pair of Scaled Quail coming in during the summer and one pair had 24 (a full 2 dozen!) chicks but have not been back recently. Our resident Towhees who stay all winter and nest under the porch are still here as well as Juncos, Flickers and a collection of Jays: Shrub, Pinon and a single Steller's. The usual migrants have been through plus an ill-advised very late departure by a Gnatcatcher who should be soaking up some sun much further to the south. It (very difficult to distinguish sex) has been trying to find a companion in its reflection in the door and car windows. I have built a box under the deck just in case it decides to spend the winter. There are about 40 elk on the south end of the ranch and several herds of Pronghorn in the immediate area. This was a good year for the Mule Deer and we are seeing quite a few twin fawns.

Obviously, we are still enjoying living apart from town and having the solitude that affords all of the wildlife in our midst.

To be able to keep all of the amenities and the occupied property I have taken on a new profession. Although I am still in training as I complete my CDL licensing I will be a propane delivery, service, painter and salesperson for Rocky Mountain LP headquartered in Westcliff, CO. They also have offices in Wyoming and in Bolder, Walsenburg and as well as yards in Rye and La Veta, Colorado. It has already been a very good experience being out in the backcountry of the southeastern part of the State and seeing lots of wildlife (including the Bighorns on the way to work) plus learning the history and taking pictures of the incredible scenery and early settlements first-hand. One of the best perks is meeting some really interesting customers/characters. Recently, we were setting a tank and although we had an appointment the residents didn't appear to be home, but just in case they had not heard us approach I looked inside an outbuilding to see if someone was there and, WOW! What I saw were extraordinary watercolors of a variety of species from the refuge they had established on a pristine location at the southwestern base of Greenhorn Peak. It had a log cabin homestead, a creek running through it and a unique house that we later learned had been built by the artist and his wife, Roz. When we went back to hook up the tank for his studio I met Jim McCain who has been recognized many times in numerous venues for his work. He invited me back when I had some time to spend which gave me the chance to connect him and his wife with Jim Richerson, Director of the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center and Linda Crawford, a major sponsor of exhibits for the Pueblo institution. Sylvia and Jim's wife, Judy, joined in the excursion and got to see the fabulous art work, property and the house which had been constructed from salvaged wood from a warehouse in old Pueblo. Roz had made delicious apple pies from their orchard that was a perfect end to a great day.

Not long ago while trying to restore one of the company's propane hot water heaters, "Z" (for Zollie, who recommended me for the job with RMLP) and I met Amos Mace, a bright young man who is in charge of running his father's wood working shop near La Veta. As it turns out it is one of the largest specialty wood suppliers in the country with an 18K sq. ft. sales outlet in Denver. Amos invited us to visit the operations when Selena comes back home briefly in January. Dr. Selena is now Southern California Regional Manager for Reef Check California, a 20 year old firm helping to ensure the long-term sustainability and health of reefs and kelp forests. She coordinates the activities of volunteers and marine biologists doing research along the coastline from northern CA to Baja. Naturally, we are extremely proud of her and her accomplishments.

Bryce and Roxie are now sharing a home in Midland, Michigan with Demar and her husband, Michael and their two children, Vera and the new baby, Oliver. They are all doing well which makes us very happy.

As usual, this turned out much longer than I had planned so will end by wishing everyone a very special holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!!


Climate and water

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 3:50 PM

NOTE: These are my comments related to a recent series of conversations re climate and water specifically.

In response to: Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data.

They are chasing a "ghost rabbit" down a bottomless hole....

Yes, there ARE fluctuations in the weather that do occur on a regular/cyclic basis and seasonal variations have and will continue to happen.....

BUT that is not the point that needs discussion and constant monitoring....the FACT that "science" and the results retrieved from careful evaluation of PAST climatic changes e.g. the altithermal, glaciation peaks, warming or cooling oceans, etc. has proven that the current alterations have never happened as quickly and consistently as they are right NOW.....

Now, why is that occurring? Every indication and scientific evidence is concluding it is because of the increased elements in the very complex atmosphere, e.g. CO2, which is at its highest level in 3 million years (and yes that is measurable) and could THAT affecting the conditions that we are experiencing....YES!!!

Let's step back and look at the big(er) picture.....what if....this is all a hoax and all these "scientists" are colluding for political reasons.....1.) What would be their point/agenda, what would they have to gain over the past several decades of warning that we were getting into, maybe headed for, an irreversible change? 2.) Even if we heed the warnings, what possible challenge is there to trying to clean up the environment, pollution is undeniable and affecting millions (look at every news cast from Beijing to India), 3.) Our reefs are dying at a faster rate than at ANYTIME in the past (and yes we know that), 4.) Edge habitat species are becoming extinct (the last time that occurred was over 7,000 years ago), 5.) What if, we clean up our air, rivers, lakes and even the oceans what harm will that have on the human population?

Our resources are finite e.g. the Ogallala aquifer, that underlies the Great Plains is, because of daily irrigation of millions of acres, dropping a foot a what? There is no recharge and in places it has already dropped below windmill level and is becoming below irrigation pump level and even if we drill deeper the largest underground water reservoir in North America will have been depleted by mid-century if usage is continued at the existing rate.

Finally, I find myself defending the scientific method a lot these days....reckon why that is....who, what, when, where, why and how does "fake news" become real?

It is now hard for the varying views to back down and each other.....and come to conclusions that benefit society as a whole...we need to, no "but's", no "and's, no "if's" or "maybe's"

The latter is factual....I held a "water conference" while I was at NMJC and that was the evidence based on hundreds of tests done from Nebraska to Texas...bottom line the aquifer is only about 100 ' deep in most places...deeper in extinct river channels but the depth below the surface varies from 400 ' in the Northern Plains to about 100 ' in the Southern Plains....this is "Paleo water" generated during the last Ice Age and recharge is only 0.024 inches / year in the southern part.

The first well was drilled in TX in 1911 near Lubbock which was 130 ' deep....In Hale County by 1930 there were 170 wells, by 1960, 4,300 and by 2008, 8, the surrounding 15 counties there are 88,000 wells with over 15,000 shut down, no longer able to pump water = dry.

The most recent info I was able to retrieve predicts at the current the depletion rate we could see all but a small percentage of wells going dry by 2028....the surviving resource will be in Nebraska (where the aquifer gets its name) and that will be in some 1,000 ' wells....So....I was being

It's always about education....we haven't done a very good job....actually a poor job of responding and relating to the general public....e.g. the water issue...states are now suing other states over "rights" and families are suing families that live on the other side of the road from the conservation initiatives...Selena (Calvin's PhD daughter specializing in ocean reefs) is seeing the degradation of reefs far beyond anything expected at this point...there have been several major "conferences" but that was academicians talking to the choir....It has to go beyond PBS.... It might have been possible to expand the Paris accords beyond politics but doubtful....there will always be debate but right now that is not getting either "side" to the table to discuss the challenges that start locally but affect globally....In TRYING to listen to both views I'm finding myself very frustrated by the lack of civility and the automatic refusal to listen and communicate with one another...which, I will add at the expense of offending a vast majority of the population, is reflective of the current "atmosphere" we find ourselves facing in our democracy. I guess by my nature I'm a mediator, and always, at least, seeking a solution...but that is certainly becoming more complicated.... cbs

Letter to President Trump

Posted on March 11, 2017 at 7:00 PM

February 3, 2017

 Honorable Donald J. Trump

 President of the United States

 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

 Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear Mr. President:

In the February 6, 2017, Time Magazine, on page 29 in an article entitled, "Trump can thank the arts for his wealth", by Karen Finley, it states in part, "As part of upcoming budget cuts [President] Donald Trump plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting." Ms. Finley goes on to defend the funding for these entities and has made some valid observations but has missed the larger, more significant far reaching point that the elimination of these entities would have on our society as a whole.

I have been blessed to be in the museum profession for half a century, having helped establish several cultural institutions and was founder, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University for 20 years. We had 150 graduates from our program during my tenure and had placed 90% of them in the profession before I retired in 2003. Therefore, my comments are from a different perspective than those of Ms. Finley's and bring a contrasting experience to the conversation.

Most importantly, it should be acknowledged that from the Egyptians, to the Greeks to the Native Americans their cultures are identified and remembered for their contributions to civilization by the artifacts, art and architecture that they created. The only way we have to procure, protect and promote our current National identity in perpetuity is by and through our museums. It should be noted that there are more visitors to museums annually (850 million) than to all sporting events combined (483 million) and received more than 500 million on-line visits a year when last verified several years ago.

As 501(c)3 educational public trusts museums receive only a small portion of their operating funding from governmental agencies (city, county or nationally) relying primarily on tax deductable contributions from citizens within the communities they serve. In turn, the museums continually invest more than $2 billion each year on educational programming and interpretive activities for K - 12 students. Museums also rank in the top 1% of the most trusted institutions in the world and they employ more than 400,000 Americans contributing over $21 billion to the economy annually. A similar amount is spent in businesses by visitors to the local cultural organizations with over 75% of travelers and tourists participating in their offerings.

Bottom line, for every $1.00 invested in museum oriented endeavors $7.00 is returned in tax revenues, therefore, museums are good for the economy and are not, and never have been, a drain on the Federal budget and what is allotted to the NEA and NEH are, and should be considered as incentive, start-up and infrastructure monies that create more jobs, producing more tax income and greater economic recovery the more that is invested in their operations, responsibilities and fulfillment of their missions.

Finally, in the commitment to preserve our various heritages for posterity, museums have been charged with conserving the over 2 billion objects held in U. S. collections and with over two thirds of our museums in economic stress and one state supported museum recently being closed temporary for lack of funds, there should be some consideration given to increasing grant monies through, for instance, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the necessary care and proper storage of this priceless patrimony.

Thank you for allowing me to voice another opinion on how devastating the eradication of these governmental agencies would be for the country, the economy and the future of the most dependable form of educational opportunities for children of all ages, as we all remain children in some aspects of the learning process.


Calvin B. Smith, President and CEO 

Legacy Museum Consulting

 1747 Newton Road, Pueblo, CO 81005

 Phone: 719/485-1747 Cell: 719/252-6714

 E-mail: [email protected]



Unintended Politics

Posted on August 6, 2016 at 5:55 PM



Well, I’ve had it, I can’t take it any longer…I have to share some thoughts.

I have been an independent ever since I could discern the segregation generated at any cost by “party”…even within the family creating open hostilities that lasted until the next elections. Unfortunately, not based on who would best represent the region, its economic stability and/or even what the person reflected, stood for and/or projected within their own communities.

I have now been afforded the privilege of voting in every major election since 1958 and while the candidate I chose did not always prevail I supported each winner and often offered my opinion, if not advice, to those who took an office in our behalf.

I was hired as the director of Arkansas Museum Services in 1979, a newly formed governmental agency as part of Governor Bill Clinton’s initiatives to bring the State of Arkansas into the 20th century. That was after the disastrous red line item veto of seven state supported museums by Texas Governor Bill Clements in July of 1979 that eliminated the total budgets of those museums by September 1st of that year.

After my “exile” to Arkansas I got to know, or at least become acquainted with, “Little Billy Clinton” (that’s what a lot of the senior personages called him) and established the Arkansas Oil Heritage Center, wrote legislation for the Arkansas Woodlands Heritage Museum and the Arkansas Mobile Conservation Lab and served as director of three museums including the Mid-America Center Exploratorium in Hot Springs. During my stay I also created a state-wide Grants-in-Aid program that initiated support for collections management, educational programming, design and development for upgrading museum facilities and general operating support for those entities just trying to survive.

It was a very successful endeavor and Cindy Sherrill, then director of the Division of Museum Services in Texas, used it as an example to help increase her budget. I had two significant contacts with Bill, one was official, when we opened a changing exhibit that I had developed in the State Capital building bringing in some of the most important historical items from museums around the State that presented the material culture and political archives from the past that would reflect the State’s various heritages.

The second encounter was very personal and just after his only political loss that was to Frank White who had just beaten him in the gubernatorial election. I was in the attic of a very historic home in Hot Springs that had been willed to the State and I was going through the personal papers of the builder, owner and donor of the structure. The new governor had turned down the offer of this exceptional interpretive site. The individual had been a surgeon and mustered out of the Confederacy in Memphis at the end of the war and walked barefoot to Hot Springs to begin his private practice. He built the house in the late 1860’s and left it to his daughter who lived in it until her 90’s when she passed.

The only opportunity to salvage some of the items was for me to go through everything and mark what we should bid on during the upcoming auction and in comes Bill. He pulled up an apple crate and we discussed why I thought he lost to Frank. He did this all over the State and even though I had little to offer (over confidence and taking the voters for granted) he obviously listened to all of those who had an opinion. He lamented the loss of the structure and its history to the State and wished me luck on saving all I could and that was the last time I saw him in person.

I only wrote him once while he was President, that was to object to the 39 hour work week allowing employers not to have to cover benefits for their employees. I tried to point out that would be the end of the loyalty for and between both. The opposite of what I had experienced growing up where the company took care of the worker and the worker gave back much more than was expected for the benefit of each one’s future. I didn’t get a response.

All of that is to say, politics has been a major part, if not a controlling element in my career. Whether it be personal, institutional, professional or at a much higher level, interaction with those who are appointed or elected to represent us individually often causes conflict with others and even internally with one’s self.

That is where I am in the current continuously contentious campaigns for public offices. We seek to find all the fault we can in the opponent and become jaded in our judgement by all of the attacks by each of the candidates running for each of the positions. Therefore, we become defensive of something we may not believe in and vote against someone rather than for someone. Maybe that is the way it has always been but I remember voting for JFK, “even though he was a Catholic” and Reagan, “even though he had switched parties” (my Dad was a yellow dog Democrat and to my knowledge never voted for, “one of those other guys”;).

It is unmanageable that we would cast a ballot for any of the nominees IF there were someone/anyone else in the races. All are despicable, unfit for public office, unqualified and unelectable if you listen to the rhetoric spewing from the respective party “lines”. We, or at least I, find myself weighing which one reveals their better humanity, character, morality and integrity that will/can best serve, in all respects, the region, the state and the nation. It is not now and maybe never has been clear cut and/or easy but it seems to have worked out pretty well in the long run over the last 240 years. May God continue to bless the United States of America!



Posted on March 28, 2016 at 1:35 PM

 I was recently most pleased and privledged to be asked to return to Waco to be the keynote speaker at the 60th annual Central Texas Regional Science and Engineering Fair where I had been its director during my tenure at Baylor University. Attached is my presentation for that event.

CTRS&EF @ 60


In 1961, as a result of taking a science fair project to the NM State Science Fair in 1960, I received the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. That was not the only reason I got that recognition as I had a deep interest in and an insatiable appetite for comprehending, pursuing the scientific method in just about everything I encountered. I applied it to a million and one or two questions I had about the environment, archaeology, paleontology, biology, physics and even building things. However, I must admit I had some real challenges with chemistry. The project, “A New Method of Projectile Point Classification and Site Survey”, that I took to that long ago State Science Fair was deemed to be the most “interesting” and “promising” at that year’s competition but there were no judges who felt qualified to evaluate archaeological research so the best they could do was offer me a scholarship. I say all of that to tell each of you not only how important that experience was to my future career in the sciences but also to encourage you, even if you don’t get the top prize at this fair or for that matter anything you attempt in life, don’t give up. I had 50 GREAT years in a profession that I enjoyed so much that I am still contributing to the various fields of scientific endeavor that have come across the thresholds of the museums I have had the privilege to be a part of during my lifetime.


2 BILLION Humans will be added to the planet by the year 2050…how does that relate to me, and you? Well, the Central Texas Regional Science and Engineering Fair will have just celebrated its 75th anniversary and since I don’t think I will make it to the age of 110, I can only say how I proud I am to have been a part of it way back in the 1900’s. You, however, will still be around and will be facing a much different world. Ever since humans formed tribes and started cooperative ventures we have been progressing and increasing as a species, creating multiple stages of civilization. Unknown voyagers began to colonize new worlds some 40,000 years ago by sea faring vessels that penetrated the oceans to reach distant lands. Ships continue to deliver almost all of the international trade goods for today’s markets following in the wake of the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe by Magellan and his sailors who completed their epic journey in 1522. The first step in what we refer to as a permanent society, the seed of civilization, was the establishment of villages like Jericho some 11,000 years ago and cities resembling the Spanish contact and conquest of Mexico City with a population of over 200,000 by the 1500’s. However, it took a major leap in the evolutionary process to sustain this convergence of humanity. From hunting and gathering to horticulture to agriculture beginning in the Fertile Crescent some 12,000 years ago, to maize in Mesoamerica by 9,000 years ago, to rice in China 7,000 years ago and wheat in Europe 5,000 years ago allowing us to utilize division of labor to advance the species. But it wasn’t until 250 years ago that we saw the purposeful migration of the rural residents into urban concentrations and the development of cities as we know them today. With the advent of the steam engine came the industrial revolution and horse power changed from animals to machines. Factories began to produce a single engine that could do the job of 500 horses with the resulting trains requiring hundreds of thousands of rail lines and tonnages of steel that boggle the mind.


Today we have over 500 cities with a million or more people and in 2006 for the first time in human history there were more individuals in urban environments than in rural areas. One of the biggest reasons occurred in 1879 when Tom Edison capitalized on perfecting the light bulb with a bamboo and carbon filament affording him the opportunity to create the first electrical grid supplying about 50 homes with a current that some residents thought might spill out of the lines and electrocute them. Another major event that changed the world was the first successful oil well drilled by old Ed Drake in 1859 into a shallow petroleum producing layer. His discovery replaced the whale oil being used for lamps that was most fortuitous because of the dwindling whale population. The other primary use of oil at the time was for grease for wagon and train wheels, but after a gusher named for Anthony F. Lucas, on a small hill south of Beaumont, TX known as Spindletop in 1901 birthing the liquid fuel age by spewing over 100,000 barrels of oil a day it appeared there was a limitless supply of black gold. This event allowed Henry Ford to plan for and achieve his goal of an assembly line to mass produce an automobile that not only ran on cheap liquid fuel but was affordable to the masses. As a result there were 15 million Ford Model T’s manufactured from 1908 to 1927. Roads were far behind the number of vehicles being produced and it took quite a few years for the highways to catch up to the demand, in fact never have. Today there are over 8 million miles of paved roads in the U. S. with over 35 million globally and we are still increasing the arteries linking neighborhoods and nations. From 5 million barrels of oil being produced each day at the turn of the last century, it will, at the existing rate of usage, require 1 trillion barrels a day or 4 million per hour by 2050. Currently, there are over 125 million vehicles on U.S. highways at any one time and that is expected to grow to 1 billion worldwide by the middle of this century.


There was another seminal endeavor that was to link humanity. On a cold dreary day in December, 1903 on a beach on the Atlantic coast called Kitty Hawk in the state of North Carolina two brothers named Orville and Wilber Wright flew the first powered air craft for 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet. From that meager, apparently insignificant accomplishment there are now, at this moment, half a million travelers in the air with over 40 million flights to 40,000 air terminals equating to 3 billion passengers a year flying around the globe. However, all these inventions are pale in comparison to punching a few buttons and have the accumulative knowledge of human history and even prehistory on a screen that can then be transformed to the written word. For those of us who are with you today who had to struggle with carbon copies for theses, dissertations and subsequent professional writings this technology is astonishingly awesome!


All of these advances required great amounts of infrastructure, in the form of power plants to produce the energy that the consumers desire. Every time, night or day, I travel the 100 miles from my home to Denver, I see train after train up to a mile in length carrying loads of WY coal south all the way to Houston 24/7/366 days this year for coal powered electrical plants. I assure you this resource IS finite generating 41% of our current energy usage, with 20% being created by natural gas and 10 % by nuclear power. From burning wood to heat water, then coal to make steam to propel engines, to incorporating petroleum into energy as well as 6,000 other uses including asphalt, plastics, rust protection, roofing materials, fertilizers, soaps, polymers, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, not the least of which are the vitamin and prescription capsules you probably took this morning, along with a whole host of other by-products. Of course we have now progressed to nuclear plants and now solar panels but we are still struggling with an answer to supplying heat for human consumption without over heating the planet to disastrous levels.


But that is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We, in today’s world have no real physical or mental concept of how cold, wet, dry or warm it has been in the past. 2/3 of all the land mammals died out at the end of the Pleistocene mammoths, mastodons, horses, camels, dire wolves, the giant bison, cats and bears. HOWEVER, the most recent results of the research being conducted in Greenland shows that we are warming at a faster rate than any time in the last 100,000 years….SO, whatever is happening is happening very rapidly and even for the doubters of climate change, human activity is beckoning a recompense for our actions. No matter how you interpret the changes, it will be far better for future generations to cease: 1.) adding exponentially to the population; 2.) continuing to degrade our fresh water supply; 3.) polluting our oceans and 4.) denying that humans are leaving a very heavy footprint on the earth. I was led to 2 of my degrees because I was experiencing a lack of respect AND knowledge of how wildlife was struggling just to break even. This was in the early ‘60’s, fortunately, for most game animals their situation has improved because of hunters and fishermen contributing to wildlife management and thus conservation and numerous nature oriented preservation organizations helping to educate a broader spectrum of the general public. The other degrees and purposeful concentration was devoted to anthropology and archaeology to understand past cultures and how they survived the extremes we are just now beginning to fully understand. Ultimately, my conclusion after 3/4 of a century is that it won’t hurt as bad if we adjust our addictions now rather than later when they are being consumed by insurmountable numbers.


From light bulbs to lasers, from the first 12 seconds of powered flight to supersonic planes, from 3 miles per hour for the first 98% of human existence to cars traveling upwards of 300 miles per hour and from the telegraph to the telephone to the internet we have, as a society, advanced the evolutionary process to being completely dependent on technology and interdependent on one another. In other words, we have progressed to the point of having the greatest social complexity our global civilization has ever known. What does that mean for you? In my mind it means that you not only have the opportunity AND ability to change the world BUT the challenge and obligation to confront and solve the problems Homo sapiens is facing. You need to redefine politics, resolve the new conflicts and conquests, address the degradation and dwindling of our natural resources…using your ingenuity and compassion to make sure your children and grandchildren survive in the best possible manner.


I appreciate the chance afforded me to return and address you, during this 60th edition of the Fair and hopefully encourage you to take the scientific method you have applied to your projects and make it relevant in your lives. My purpose was not to scare you with the evidence of what I and previous progenitors have placed on your shoulders but to inspire the genius that is in each of you to broaden your perspectives, objectives and humanitarianism for future generations. Be sure and thank the Board, the Director, the President, the Office Coordinator, the Judges, the sponsors, the hosts, the in-kind contributors, those providing the special awards and even, “anonymous”, whoever that may be, and lastly, two other individuals, Dr. Bob Baldridge, who came to this Fair as a student in 1963 and went on to get his Ph.D. in Biology and has even taught some of the judges here today becoming a major factor in challenging Fair contestants for decades and finally, David Lintz, this makes the 50th year of exceptional service to this Fair giving of his time and talents to make it successful, year in and year out and therein lies the example for each of you to return and contribute in whatever ways you can to ensure not only its existence but the quality that has been established. Maybe you will be invited back to address a future generation of young scientists someday, THANK YOU!