Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

Locations of visitors to this page

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Fan Page on Facebook

EdTech Update





We need informed passion

 ...Libraries have always been about fostering understanding of the democratic process, but there is an intensified requirement raised this round to confront mis­information.

Our kids are watching and learning. So far, they have witnessed, largely due to Donald Trump’s candidacy, a low bar of rhetoric that, heightened by the gaze of a camera lens, has glamorized racism, sexism, and xenophobia at the expense of accuracy, insight into how policies affect daily life, and clear discussion of the issues at hand. The noise and show of self-aggrandizement and hostility as a leadership stance drowns out thoughtful approaches to complex problems. If we let this deplorable level of discourse stand as a new normal for the viability of hype, we fail our students, ourselves, and the foundation upon which our democracy is built.

As I sort through the vast flow of content and media coverage geared to sway instead of inform, I am more committed than ever to the mission of libraries to help foster an educated citizenry and develop all sorts of literacies—including information and digital literacy. This work has always mattered, and now it is more important than ever. Rebecca Miller, Choosing Leaders: What Are You Voting For?  School Library Journal, October 18, 2016.

Thank you, Ms Miller, for this fine editorial. It serves as a reminder to me - and I am sure many others - why librarianship is an avocation, a calling, not just a job.

In an age of truthiness* dominating the political process, it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust that people make truly informed decisions -that we are even rational human beings. Even those who use evidence to support their beliefs often are guilty of confirmation bias. And that includes me.

As librarians, we have a dual role. We help people find and understand reliable information. We teach about how others may represent facts in ways that may support a particular bias. We acquire information from multiple perspectives and allow others to decide for themselves their own interpretation of a situation.

Yet a second role is to inspire passions in our patrons as well. We encourage that what library users find then spurs curiosity, creativity, action, and empathy response. We want others to do something with the knowledge they acquire.

Our country cannot function with only those who are emotional or those who only engage in neutral fact-finding. Our country should be led be those who have informed passions. The kind that libraries engender.


*Truthiness is a quality characterizing a "truth" that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively "from the gut" or because it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Wikipedia


Is the thrill of getting a package in the mail gone?

O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
Oh please let it be for me!
O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
I wish, I wish I knew what it could be! Music Man - "The Wells Fargo Wagon" lyrics

I send my grandchildren a package of goodies on Halloween and Valentines Day. A little candy (trying to cut back), t-shirts, some spooky toys, and this year a box of pumpkin flavored oatmeal sends just a little reminder that Grandpa is thinking about them. And selfishly gives me a chance to try out all the Halloween decorations in the store.

Despite the fact that I could bring this stuff to the kids and hand them to them in person, I again boxed this year's goodies up and mailed it.

From my own childhood, I remember the thrill of getting a package in the mail. Whether a birthday gift, something stupid ordered from the back pages of Boy's Life, or book I could not get locally, finding a package in the mailbox at the end of the driveway was really, really exciting.

But is that the case for today's kids? I wondered about this as I picked up a package of the doorstep that I knew was a set of pants hangersI had ordered online to simply save me the effort of a run to Target. Big whoop.

Had Willson's Wells-Fargo wagon come around everyday, would anyone, even in River City, Iowa, have been excited enough to sing about it?

What else has become so common place that it gets a yawn instead of a song? And more importantly, what will today's kids remember as exciting?


Yes, I will unfriend you if you are a Trump supporter

The following graphic showed up on my Facebook feed a few days ago:

In a normal election, I could buy into this. An election based on ideas and values and different paths to a better future for our country.

But sadly, this is not a normal election.

I have always defined politics as values put into action. And I myself cannot be categorized as a Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, libertarian or whatever the opposite of liberaraian might be. Happily in the past I have felt I could vote for the major candidate of either party and feel like I was voting for a decent human being.

But with Mr. Trump, this is not the case. (Yes, Hillary has some issues, too). This is a man who I would not leave alone in a room with my children or anyone else's. This is the school-yard bully. This is the kid who when he sees he is not winning, tips over the game board. This is a man who makes me feel embarrassed to be male. Embarrassed to be an American. If you support Trump, you are opposing every value I hold dear.

If you support Trump I will unfriend you on Facebook. I will unfriend you period.

This is not about politics. This is about what it means to be a decent human being.