Jefferson Monthly

Jefferson Almanac
10:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Piecing It Together

As 2011 accelerated toward closing I looked back over the year and felt ragged. Like a picket fence in need of repair and new paint — rustic and unpolished. True, there were accomplishments. I had completed the coursework for my doctorate and via an intense diet was on my way back to fighting weight. But the constancy of doubt, instability and the world’s woes loomed large. It seemed that for every good and decent thing, there was more difficulty.

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Jefferson Almanac
1:17 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Meeting Scrooge

I was walking through town the other day, humming the tune from the Little Drummer Boy and ticking off in my head the exciting list of things I had to do for Christmas, when I ran into Tom, Dick, and Mary Scrooge. “This could be a sour note in a merry day,” I thought, but stopped to say hello anyway because, after all, it is Christmas.

“Hello,” I said, “and merry Christmas!”

“I hate Christmas,” they said, as I had expected.

“How too bad,” I sympathized. “I love Christmas.”

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Jefferson Almanac
2:10 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Survival Of The Worthless

I recently flew from southern Oregon to Denver, giving me the opportunity to reflect on the fate of western landscapes.  As we took off from the Medford airport, it was easy to see how the neat pear orchards and vineyards of my compact valley are increasingly hemmed in by subdivisions.  But we quickly left that view behind, as we passed over the large-scale patchwork of industrial forestry in the Cascades.  A few minutes more, and we were above the Klamath Basin, one of the most thoroughly engineered drainages in the west, the vast rectangular impoundments filled here with water, there with

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Jefferson Almanac
11:56 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Praying For Nature To Behave Better

This column is called “Jefferson Almanac” and in reality there is no state of Jefferson. After a bit of research, I’ve discovered that no one really knows where the word almanac came from. It was first used in England 800 years ago for a document foretelling weather, seasons, tides, moons, sunrises and sunsets, so as to help farmers, hunters and fishermen do their work.

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Recordings
3:30 pm
Sun September 25, 2011

Kids & Classical Music: The Absolutely Totally Completely Unscientific JPR Poll

The Genesis Of The Idea:

A while back I read about an informal poll conducted by Britain’s Classic FM that piqued my interest. They asked kids to let them know who their favorite classical composers were. I’ll share the top ten with you in a moment. I thought it might be fun to conduct our own completely unscientific research to see what kids in the JPR listening area prefer, compared to those across the Atlantic.

How We Conducted Our Unscientific Poll:

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Jefferson Almanac
10:57 am
Thu September 1, 2011

The Razor's Edge

Sandy was in her mid-eighties when she died last May. She was a soft radiance of light in the time I knew her. She was elegance, even in infirmity; not a trait many can pull off authentically. She favored bright colors over the fashion-safe palette of mauves and dusty rose pinks. And she was unfailingly kind and patient, even with those she disagreed with. She could—as so many say and so many cannot do—”disagree without being disagreeable.”  She was a world traveler who made a pleasant, cozy home in Etna, and filled it with art, music, books and many friends.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:48 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Decluttering

My friend Bill asked me to come to Klamath Falls to help him out. I asked twice what sort of help he needed. He wouldn’t tell me, except to say, “Bring gloves.”

He admitted when I arrived that he was afraid if he told me, I might change my mind and stay home in Eugene. But that would make sense only to a stubborn 82-year-old Midwesterner, a man determined to hold onto his pride even longer than his health.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:38 am
Fri July 1, 2011

An Arts Bar(d)

After a quick drive to town and a frenzied parking search a little before 8pm, I spent the next several minutes walking around to every place I could think of that had a TV I might be able to watch. The TV’s that I found were on and not all were being watched, but when I asked for a particular show, each person’s brows raised, and they shook their head. Not one was even remotely interested in accommodating my programming choice. What I had asked for was the most watched regular show on television — American Idol (AI).

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Jefferson Almanac
10:30 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Birds In The Cherry Tree

On one solitary, late-spring walk through a village in the south of France in 1964, I came upon a tall yellow brick wall around some private estate. Over the wall drooped the graceful arms of a cherry tree, well studded with doublets of dark red cherries dangling over my head like the original fruit of sin. I didn’t need a serpent to suggest I take eat. In a wink I had snatched a double handful out of the leafy green and azure sky and was walking again, popping forbidden fruit into my mouth. The cherries were darkly sweet, as rich as pudding, bursting with juice.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:20 am
Sun May 1, 2011

Birding, Fast And Slow

First, a confession. I am a serious birder. Far too serious, my wife will tell you. But for 364 days a year, I’m a good birding citizen. I lead field trips for beginners, I share my spotting scope, I am happy to explain the differences between, say, a song sparrow and a savannah sparrow to anyone who is interested (and, perhaps, to a few who are not).

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