30 January 2007


Do you see that dark blue dot to the south and west of Syracuse? That's where we live. Our farm is located in one of the driest places in New York, if not the driest. The average annual precipitation is about 30 inches, give or take a couple of inches. Today's snowfall forecast from intellicast.com is a great example of how me miss out on lake effect snow. If you go north, south, east, or west, you're likely to find more than what's here.

29 January 2007

The Human Highlight Film

As a child, my earliest sports memories are of the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks and Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves. On these teams, two men were my sports idols. Dominique Wilkins was, in my opinion, the greatest basketball player "in the world." Likewise, Dale Murphy was my favorite baseball player. Many years later, these men still hold a place in my imagination. They have been joined by five others: the University of Georgia's Herschel Walker (American football), the San Antonio Spurs' George "the Iceman" Gervin, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird, and, of course, Michael Jordan.

Of all these players, Dominique Wilkins stands above the rest. As long as I live, he will be remembered as my original "hometown hero."

To download multimedia of Dominique, visit tribute2nique.net.

Put into words.

For quite some time, I have tried to put certain thoughts into words. Today, during a chance visit to Laurence Hunt's Blog, I came across these quotes:

"A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury." (Alexander Tyler)

"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." (Alexis de Tocqueville)

These quotes highlight the greatest flaw in democracy. I worry that the situation described in the second quote has already happened.

26 January 2007


This is the discussion referred to in the "For America to Live..." post.

My grandmother was a Lumbee*, and her ethnicity was very important to her. She instilled that same pride in my mother, and, consequently, my mother raised me to think of myself as an Indian. Aside from darker skin, I don't look like an Indian. In fact, I look more like my German-American father than anything. In addition, I acted like a white kid. We didn't live near our Indian family (though we often visited), and we fit the stereotype of the typical American family. Nonetheless, I always thought of myself as Indian on some level.

As I grew older, my beliefs and views became more important to me. Many of my beliefs could be referred to as "Indian" beliefs. I did not form them because of my ancestry, but my ancestry seemed to explain them.

As I have gotten older, I have become more interested in my genealogy. Research into my Lumbee origins has been eye-opening. Analyses of Lumbee DNA has shown that the group is most likely a "tri-racial isolate." That is, they are a mixture of Whites, American Indians, and Blacks. At first this information shocked me, and to be honest, it still does. However, it makes perfect sense if you work backward. The Lumbee have only recently (the past 75 years or so) been espousing a single, American Indian origin. Prior to that, they didn't consistently identify with any group. In fact, the only references to them as Indians come after the Civil War. In a social system where being Black put you at the bottom, and being 1/8 Black made you Black, it is logical that they would espouse an alternate identity. Before the Civil War, the Lumbee were referred to as "mixed lots" and "free persons of color" (distinct from both free Blacks and Indians). This information, combined with DNA analyses, tends to support the hypothesis that the Lumbee originated when marginalized whites settled with remnant Indian communities. In turn, these mixtures accepted escaped black slaves and/or mulattos into their society.

But how does this affect me? I don't know. Some would argue that you are who you want to be. However, I am a firm believer that our past influences us significantly. This is probably less true in today's world, but it still plays a role. What's especially interesting is my identity as an Indian. Is my family's identity one that was wholly fabricated, or is there legitimacy to it? It's a tough question to answer, and I doubt that I will ever have a concrete one.

Through all of my research, most of my beliefs have not changed. However, I have become less antagonistic toward European culture. In fact, I have learned to embrace my German and (perceived) Scottish heritages as well. For this reason, I am often torn between "White ways" and "Indian ways." This is another interesting topic, but one that will be for another day. However, I would be interested to hear from anyone that feels the same way. Perhaps they could provide insight to a difficult question.

*Note: The Lumbee are a tribe of American Indians found in North Carolina. Most of my family prefers the term "American Indian" to Native American, feeling that the latter is revisionist and problematic. It is also interesting to note that my grandmother's favorite sports teams were the Atlanta Braves and Washington Redskins, for obvious reasons.

Weather Update

Season Totals as of 26 January A.D. 2007

Days with snow cover: 28
Days with complete snow cover: 12
Total snowfall: 10 inches

21 January 2007

More Schnee

Three more days, three more days with complete snow cover, two more inches of snow...

Days with any snow cover: 23
Days with complete snow cover: 7
Snow to date: 7 inches

18 January 2007

Weather Update

There's nothing better than cold winter weather, and, this week, we finally received some. Last Sunday we received a days worth of freezing rain. By Monday morning, everything was covered in a quarter to half inch thick layer of ice. Mid Monday we had a brief period above freezing, but temperatures dropped down by late afternoon. After a couple more hours of freezing rain, a light snow developed. By morning we had about an inch.

The new season totals (including today) are as follows:

Days with any snow cover: 20
Days with complete snow cover: 4
Snowfall to date: 5 inches

10 January 2007

For America to Live, Europe Must Die!

"For America to Live, Europe Must Die!"

This is the title of a speech given by Russell Means, noted American Indian activist. You might know him from the movie Last of the Mohicans. He played Chingachgook, the elder Mahican. A true "Renaissance Man," Means has strong opinions about American Indians and how they fit into American society.

Being part Indian (Allegedly. See my next post for details.), I am very interested in people's perspective on "the Indian issue." If you are at all interested in it, I reccomend that you read "For America to Live..." It raises some very interesting questions about culture and the modern world.

Old Man Winter isn't dead yet

Finally, we received some more snow the other day. On Monday night we got about an inch. Most of it melted during the day Tuesday, but we got another light dusting last night. Today, there was still snow in the shade.

The new statistics are as follows:

Total snowfall for the season: 4 inches
Days with complete snow cover: 1
Total days with any snow cover: 15 including tomorrow (we may get to 16 if tomorrow's high is in the 30s)

09 January 2007

What a sunrise!

Last Thursday, I awoke to the most beautiful sunrise that I have ever seen. I didn't have a good camera, so I admired the view and got ready for work. End of story, right? Wrong. I was just looking through some photographs on the server at my office, and one of my co-workers took pictures!

08 January 2007

L'Anse aux Meadows

As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to live on an island. I would love to own my own island. It wouldn't have to be large, just a few hundred acres. Still, living on a large island sounds good as well. I like the idea of being separated, if only by land, from the rest of the world... I know, the whole thing sounds ridiculous, but I bet there are people out there who know just what I'm talking about.

Note: That's not my picture! I stole it to experiment with posting!

Picea abies

As the title of this post suggests, Norway Spruces are on my mind. I ordered 250 from the Saratoga Tree Nursery, and look forward to beginning my reforestation project in the Spring. ...Well, the time of year that Spring used to come...

Spring is already here in Central New York. ALL of the bulbs have emerged and the snowdrops are already blooming. The old-timers that I have talked to can not remember a winter this warm.

Just another day at the office...

Dateline: 8 January A.D. 2007, 17:38, Finger Lakes Region, New York.

I'm sitting in my cubicle, taking a break from working like a dog. This is not what I'd like to be doing on a Monday night. Come to think of it, this is not what I'd like to be doing on any night of the week. I have a meeting at 19:30 tonight, and, rather than driving home and back, I decided to stay here.

The working at night doesn't bother me...as long as it's only once in a while. The problem is that it's been happening more and more often. As I become further entangled in my job, my boss heaps more work on me. To top it off, the organization I work for tried to take away a bunch of my fringe benefits last week. It just amazes me...

>"We're sorry for the inconvenience, but we can't afford to give you as many vacation days as last year."
>"You can't afford to pay me for those vacation days?"
>"No, we just don't have the money."
>"...then how can you afford to pay me FOR working. If you think about it, it costs the same..."
>"Hmm...let me get back to you on that one."

...the end result is that I threatened to quit. Fearful of having to train another employee, the organization agreed that my benefits would remain the same. While everything turned out all right, I never should've had to go through the situation in the first place...

I work for an organization that prides itself on being "progressive." Ironically, the leaders of this organization are elitist politicians. While they consider themselves "liberal," they treat the people who work for them like factory workers during the Industrial Revolution...

06 January 2007

Feliz Año Nuevo

The weather is still warm. We've had a total of three inches of snow this autumn/winter. Rochester, New York was close to breaking a record last month. (They might have broken one; I heard differing reports) They received as little snow in December 2006 as they have ever received in a December.

In other news, I have a favorite band. (I haven't had one in a long time) After hearing a Great Big Sea song on
CelticRadio.net, I decided to buy one of their compact discs. I purchased "Great Big DVD and CD" and it was worth every penny.

Interestingly, I noticed that the band members pronounce Newfoundland "new-fun-LAND." I've always referred to it as "new-fun-lund."