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Showing posts from August, 2008

Miller Island Expedition: Columbia River Ghost Cult

My brother Fred sent me a checklist of things he didn’t want to forget for our second attempt at a Miller Island Expedition.

Foil pans
Beer or whiskey/tequila
Bug spray
Ghost repellents

Scouting Miller Island from the Lewis and Clark Highway (Washington side of river)

“Ghost repellents?” I asked.

Well, it turns out that Fred had been doing some research and found an old article from American Anthropologist by Wm. Duncan Strong called The Occurrence and Wider Implications of a “Ghost Cult” on the Columbia River Suggested by Carvings in Wood, Bone and Stone. The article, written in 1945, revealed that bone carvings depicting figures with prominent rib cages, a symbol of death, were found in old cremation pits on Miller’s Island.

Excerpts from the article:

“It can be shown that among these peoples there was an old belief in the impending destruction and renewal of the world, when the dead would return…”

“One of the most striking features of Northwest Coast m…


In August, the Portland area Lutheran church softball season culminates in a two day tournament at Meldrum Bar Park. Church softball can be distinguished from other forms of softball by the ritual group prayer that opposing team members participate in together before they try to beat the hell out of each other.

The typical prayer format: General thanksgiving for nice weather
Vague promise to enjoy fellowship
Petition for injury free play

As with most prayer, the recognition of answers requires active and imaginative interpretation.
There’s really nothing like sliding in shorts (except maybe falling off a motorcycle) to set up the circumstances that will showcase the miracle of self-repairing skin.

Softball, with its rules and regulations, is rich with metaphors and analogies that can be applied to life in this universe.

In the following dialogue from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, commander Sisko explains our linear existence with a baseball metaphor.JAKE ALIEN "Baseball" - what is th…