A Curfew for Men

I was reading about a proposal for a curfew for men in London.  It seems that the women of London would feel safer, more secure, if there were a curfew that kept men off the streets.

I have some slight experience with this sort of thing.  We have to go back 40 years and more, and south to Bozeman to set the stage.  I was either taking classes in ag engineering, or working at the state office, when I learned that I needed to get my wisdom teeth pulled.  Being about 30, and figuring that the best call was to get it all done at once, on a Friday afternoon, go through the pain and recovery on the weekend . . . the decision made sense at the time.

Knowing that I might not be in the best condition to drive, I planned to walk home.  The dentist prescribed painkillers early, so they were sitting at home, ready for the weekend.  With all 4 wisdom teeth gone, and the empty sockets filled with gauze, I walked 4 blocks to mainstreet, where I could push a button to walk across, and leaned against the wall of the saloon as I waited for the light.

A well-dressed, obviously professional woman crossed the street ahead of me, and I shuffled from the wall across the street, only a little slower than she.  I was on the home stretch – 3 ½ blocks to go to my apartment.  On a cul-de-sac.  A dead end.  It would have been 7 blocks by any other route.  It’s just past 5, getting dark, and I’m walking south behind a nervous woman.  After the second block, she’s out in the middle of the street, high heels clicking like castanets, blowing this bloody whistle like it’s judgement day and Gabriel needing accompaniment. 

Jaws clenching the gauze in place, I couldn’t even speak to reassure the panicked woman.  All I could do was keep walking behind her, listen to the whistle, and hope that nobody would come to her rescue before I turned right onto my dead-end street.

At least she passed my right turn and kept clicking down the street blowing her bloody whistle as I made my turn to get to the apartment.  So I understand why men shouldn’t want to share dark streets with a frightened woman.  I don’t know if she ever got back on the sidewalk and put her whistle away.  Hopefully she made it home safely.  I know I really thought about how much simpler my life would have been if I had just waited for the next light.

A Science for Everyone

Race and Physical Anthropology

I start from the sociological perspective – race is a social construct.  Years ago, in one class or another, I learned that “There is more difference within a race than between races.”  As I recollect, about 250 years ago, a grad student, working on his dissertation, examined and classified 60 skulls and moved the concept of race from ethnicity to physical anthropology, and folks have been looking in the wrong direction ever since.  Never have had much respect for Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s research methodology, and I figure his conclusions kind of suck – but I wasn’t on his committee.  Can you believe looking at 60 skulls and coming up with 5 races? 

Ibn Khaldun pretty much  wiped out the idea of basing race on skin color about 7 centuries back.  He was pretty much the world’s first sociologist, but it took a while to get his work translated into French, and later English.  His arguments weren’t perfect, but were a whole lot better than Blumenbach’s.

Another nail in the coffin of racial definition is genetic diversity.  If I remember my own lectures correctly, and I bloody well do, there is more genetic diversity in chimpanzees separated by one river than in the entire human race (Donelly, at Oxford, was the principal author of the study).

Darwin kind of summed it all up in Descent of Man: “Man has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory St. Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-three, according to Burke. This diversity of judgment does not prove that the races ought not to be ranked as species, but it shows that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them.”

If you want the paper on when Europeans unconsciously made the decision to be more white, this article provides the modern explanation from the physical anthropologists.  Please note, the discussion is on white skin, not race.


Trego School-More About the Building

Since the state was kind enough to go through every K12 school in the state (back in 2008) and evaluate the condition of the buildings, there’s a fair bit of information to play with.

The general facts- as taken from the Facilities Condition Inventory.

BuildingYear Constructed (according to the state’s report)Deficiency RatioRenewal Cost (estimate as of 2008)
Trego School (the school building proper, including the portable classrooms on the East end)196730.1%$594,743
Bus Equipment Shed19601.8%$104
Fuel Storage Unit19601.8%$104
While it might seem a bit odd that the last two are exactly the same- since the complaint (paint peeling) was identical, the identical deficiency ratios and renewal costs make some sense.

Evidently, then, the problem was (and given the comparatively low costs of the other repairs, surely still is) the school itself, with a deficiency ratio of 30.1%. With the report estimating the total cost of repairs of the school building at $594,743, the school board will have to prioritize the necessary repairs (surely some of them have been addressed since 2008).

Many of the complaints in the report were reasonably straight forward; Windows should be double paned rather than single and window frames should have thermal breaks. Simple, though the renewal cost is quite spendy ($86,107 in total for windows). Another big ticket item is the two “portable” classrooms on the east side of the school. The report observed “Floor sagging or showing other similar such failure”, and estimated $88,058 to renew.

While the school board did pass a permissive levy which will amount to around $25,500, that’s not going to be sufficient for some of the costlier repairs the school is going to need. With the budget tight (enrollment has gone up, but the funding received from the state is based on a three year average), the school board is going to have to prioritize spending very carefully.

Patches' Pieces

Backroads of Montana films at Tobacco Valley Historical Village

The filming was for a 15 minute segment of Backroads of Montana that is expected to air in mid-May.  Watch the Historical Village Facebook page for exact information when the PBS segment will air.  A special thanks to Rita Collins for serving as the Village’s media liaison and secretary.

Filming the Hand Quilting

Friday March 12, Ray Ekness of PBS Montana filmed the hand quilters in the old schoolhouse at the Tobacco Valley Historical Village in Eureka.   Ekness is the director of the Broadcast Media Center at the University of Montana.  Ekness spent the day filming, interviewing, and observing the hand quilters.


Area quilters rejoice! In other quilting news, Scraps and Threads quilt guild will host their annual quilt show during Rendezvous, April 23-25. The quilt show is at the fairgrounds in Eureka. Other area quilt groups have been invited to participate in the quilt show. Expect to see lots of new and colorful quilts.

The Eureka Outdoor Quilt show is August 7.

The Flathead Quilters’ Guild has announced their annual Quilt Show is a go. The dates are September 18 & 19 at the Flathead Valley Fairgrounds.



Right Wing, Left Wing, Whole Bird

This last election showed something around 155 million ballots cast for one candidate or the other.  I don’t know how many voters each candidate had – but the number of ballots seems like a solid chunk of data.  And there was a lot of name calling about extremists – whether it was proud boys, antifa, or whatever.  In my lifetime, I’ve met a few extremists from both the right wing and the left wing, and I figure we can grade on the bell curve – where 68% fits within a standard deviation of the mean (average).  I don’t believe I’m stretching reality if I arbitrarily claim you need to be two standard deviations from the mean to qualify as an extremist. 

So, if we look at things from my bell curve perspective, 95 percent of the voters do not qualify as extremist.  68 percent are in the middle of the road, there are another 13 ½ percent to either side that qualify as, let’s call it, solidly partisan.  So if I’m at the hypothetical middle, I need to look over two standard deviations left or right to spot an extremist.  They aren’t that easy to see from the middle.  But if I’m standing at the edge of that 13 ½ percent I defined as solidly partisan, there are 2 standard deviations between me and that hypothetical average. 

The problem is, we generally consider ourselves normal, but there’s a lot of difference under the bell curve:

(images taken from  it’s a great explanation and worth reading the whole thing)

Back to the election – most Trump voters, and most Biden voters fall into that central 68 percent – but our perception of extremists is dependent on where we sit on the bell – the number of standard deviations away from the norm.  If you’re still making facebook posts about the evils of Trump 6 weeks after he left office, you’re likely a standard deviation or two to the left of the norm.  If you’re still flying a Trump banner, you’re probably a standard deviation or two to the right.  It’s OK – the problem is when you forget where you are and start seeing normal folks as extremists.  As the man said, both wings are attached to the same bird.

Community, Wildlife

My Goose Neighbors Are Back

First, Gander came by to check.  He and Goose are beginning their 7th year nesting on the island in the pond.  It’s a good spot for a goose nest because the water surrounding the island protects it from the coyotes and egg-raiders while the tall grass of the island makes great aerial camouflage for the nest.  He wasn’t happy, because there is still ice in the pond, and it seems that you really do have to be the first nesting goose to validate your claim.  He brought Goose along the second day – over the past seven years she has became a bit frail – so it is good to see them back again.

Living in the flyway, I became accustomed to huge flocks of migrating geese – probably an appropriate way for a demographer to view a species.  Here, I watch a pair of geese, and their offspring, through the season.  Frankly, there are some lessons in morality and responsibility to be learned from my goose neighbors.

Gander does the first recon alone anymore.  When they were young adults – call it the newlywed stage – they were inseparable, and hard to tell apart.  Gander has continued to grow, and is now an average size lesser-Canadian, Goose shows her frailty, and he works at minimizing her risks and exposure.

Courting Geese- one of the goslings and a visitor

With the nest unavailable, the two are hanging out in the Salina Wild Rye – good cover, close to the nest site, and, as soon as the ice melts, Goose will be back on her nest, hatching out another group of goslings.  Her first year, she led the flock on a hike around the pond, straight through the grass into an eagle that was dining on a road-kill cat.  Since 2015, Gander has taken responsibility for leading all the land trips.  That first year, as two eagles flew over the nest, Gander took to the air to divert them, then flew over me low, and made a couple circles as the eagles flew on away from Goose.  The next Spring, he decided to use me as part of his threat to a larger pair of geese that wanted the nest site.

I’ve watched the Fall departure delayed and delayed for a gosling who could almost fly – working at getting four or five feet above the ground for 100 yard flights, but unable to soar like her siblings.  My floating dock is taken over early in the flight lessons to teach water landings before the goslings can fly.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I learn from geese this year.


An Obit that Brought Good Memories

I knew I would one day read Freddie’s obit.  Few are granted long-term cancer survival.  Each of us went on with our own lives after high school – but I remember Jay Penney dragging me to a restaurant in Kalispell.  Jay was one of those half-generation older friends and coworkers who help you grow into a capable adult.  That day, because he was the type of man who shared friends, he had decided that Freddie and I needed to meet.  She knew our introduction was coming, and briefly kept a straight face – finally explaining to him that we had known each other from grade school as she poured coffee.  I’ve known two tremendously competent women who earned their livings as waitresses – and Freddie’s obit brought back good memories of Flo as well.

I don’t know how she convinced me that it was a good idea to head up Deep Creek to observe a beaver dam baptism.  I do  know that when our surreptitious observation failed, she was in the center seat of the pickup, encouraging more speed as I drove away.  My junior year, I think.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We met at Trego grade school.  Christened Fredricka Louise Osler, she referred to her formal name as “Freddie and contraption.”  I’ve always felt that, had Bobby enlisted her help instead of grabbing the jump rope and running, we would have succeeded in capturing the bear cub and moving it into the kitchen.  Probably just as well we failed.

I recall that Freddie was walking along the highway with Alvin Rongholt when he was hit by a vehicle and died.  My memory of Alvin is of a kid who showed me his parody of “The Ballad of the Green Berets” that morning, who left only an out-of-focus photo in the school yearbook.  I guess he also left me an appreciation for parodies of Sergeant Sadler’s song, and a wish that people’s lives be remembered.

Obituaries that bring good memories are rare.  Thanks for the memories.

Community, Recipes

Pancakes with Onion

Another recipe from Jeeta’s  Hutterite Community Cookbook is for Potato Pancakes, which takes an unexpected twist.  Remember, these recipes are sized for a colony, not a household.

5 pounds grated potatoes                    5 pounds flour
¾ cup grated onions                            ½ tsp pepper
5 eggs slightly beaten                         salad oil for frying

Grate potatoes and onions.  Drain well.  Combine potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, heat oil ⅛ inch deep until hot but not smoking.  For each pancake drop 3 Tbsp of dough at a time into the hot fat.  Flatten with spatula.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Drain well on paper before serving.

Recipe from The Hutterite Community Cookbook, by Joanita Kant.  Published by Good Books, Intercourse, Pennsylvania.  It’s not out of line to call Jeeta “Doctor” since she did her Ph.D. in the civil engineering department.


Damage to the Civic Center

This newest hole isn’t the only damage to the entry- that post alongside the ramp is pretty twisted as well. It’s a common place to back vehicles up to when events are happening, and that puts the entrance at risk of damage.

Trego’s Civic Center is due some expensive repairs- with insurance premiums already high, filing a claim with the civic center’s insurance may cost more in the long run. Since the damage appears to be associated with backing up towards the hall (odd, since there were no events held at the hall near the time the damage occurred), the Civic Center is considering how to keep this type of damage from happening again.

The hole appears deceptively small!

How can we help? Buy Raffle Tickets. The Civic Center is still selling raffle tickets for the upcoming drawing. Win an American Flag Quilt or a Firearm (see picture).

Rent the Civic Center. The Civic Center is allowed to open for events once again. On a related note, Bingo should be resuming soon -keep checking the Civic Center’s Board.

If anyone has any extra sonotubes for pouring concrete, the Civic Center can use them!


Trego School Ice Fishing Trip

Last week, students and their families made their way to Murphy Lake for an Ice Fishing trip. It was a warm, pleasant day with chili dogs grilled beside the lake. A successful trip, since all but one student caught fish.

Where are the kids now? Spring break runs throughout the rest of this week. Classes will resume on the 15th and we can expect to see the buses back on their usual routes.

Adults planning similar trips should remember that Fishing Licenses expired February 28th- be sure to get a new one.

More information about school field trips can be found on the school calendar.

Photos by School Board Member Michelle Linden