top of page


Well, I’ve had it, I can’t take it any longer…I have to share some thoughts.

I have been an independent ever since I could discern the segregation generated at any cost by “party”…even within the family creating open hostilities that lasted until the next elections. Unfortunately, not based on who would best represent the region, its economic stability and/or even what the person reflected, stood for and/or projected within their own communities.

I have now been afforded the privilege of voting in every major election since 1958 and while the candidate I chose did not always prevail I supported each winner and often offered my opinion, if not advice, to those who took an office in our behalf.

I was hired as the director of Arkansas Museum Services in 1979, a newly formed governmental agency as part of Governor Bill Clinton’s initiatives to bring the State of Arkansas into the 20th century. That was after the disastrous red line item veto of seven state supported museums by Texas Governor Bill Clements in July of 1979 that eliminated the total budgets of those museums by September 1st of that year.

After my “exile” to Arkansas I got to know, or at least become acquainted with, “Little Billy Clinton” (that’s what a lot of the senior personages called him) and established the Arkansas Oil Heritage Center, wrote legislation for the Arkansas Woodlands Heritage Museum and the Arkansas Mobile Conservation Lab and served as director of three museums including the Mid-America Center Exploratorium in Hot Springs. During my stay I also created a state-wide Grants-in-Aid program that initiated support for collections management, educational programming, design and development for upgrading museum facilities and general operating support for those entities just trying to survive.

It was a very successful endeavor and Cindy Sherrill, then director of the Division of Museum Services in Texas, used it as an example to help increase her budget. I had two significant contacts with Bill, one was official, when we opened a changing exhibit that I had developed in the State Capital building bringing in some of the most important historical items from museums around the State that presented the material culture and political archives from the past that would reflect the State’s various heritages.

The second encounter was very personal and just after his only political loss that was to Frank White who had just beaten him in the gubernatorial election. I was in the attic of a very historic home in Hot Springs that had been willed to the State and I was going through the personal papers of the builder, owner and donor of the structure. The new governor had turned down the offer of this exceptional interpretive site. The individual had been a surgeon and mustered out of the Confederacy in Memphis at the end of the war and walked barefoot to Hot Springs to begin his private practice. He built the house in the late 1860’s and left it to his daughter who lived in it until her 90’s when she passed.

The only opportunity to salvage some of the items was for me to go through everything and mark what we should bid on during the upcoming auction and in comes Bill. He pulled up an apple crate and we discussed why I thought he lost to Frank. He did this all over the State and even though I had little to offer (over confidence and taking the voters for granted) he obviously listened to all of those who had an opinion. He lamented the loss of the structure and its history to the State and wished me luck on saving all I could and that was the last time I saw him in person.

I only wrote him once while he was President, that was to object to the 39 hour work week allowing employers not to have to cover benefits for their employees. I tried to point out that would be the end of the loyalty for and between both. The opposite of what I had experienced growing up where the company took care of the worker and the worker gave back much more than was expected for the benefit of each one’s future. I didn’t get a response.

All of that is to say, politics has been a major part, if not a controlling element in my career. Whether it be personal, institutional, professional or at a much higher level, interaction with those who are appointed or elected to represent us individually often causes conflict with others and even internally with one’s self.

That is where I am in the current continuously contentious campaigns for public offices. We seek to find all the fault we can in the opponent and become jaded in our judgement by all of the attacks by each of the candidates running for each of the positions. Therefore, we become defensive of something we may not believe in and vote against someone rather than for someone. Maybe that is the way it has always been but I remember voting for JFK, “even though he was a Catholic” and Reagan, “even though he had switched parties” (my Dad was a yellow dog Democrat and to my knowledge never voted for, “one of those other guys”;).

It is unmanageable that we would cast a ballot for any of the nominees IF there were someone/anyone else in the races. All are despicable, unfit for public office, unqualified and unelectable if you listen to the rhetoric spewing from the respective party “lines”. We, or at least I, find myself weighing which one reveals their better humanity, character, morality and integrity that will/can best serve, in all respects, the region, the state and the nation. It is not now and maybe never has been clear cut and/or easy but it seems to have worked out pretty well in the long run over the last 240 years. May God continue to bless the United States of America!

I was recently most pleased and privledged to be asked to return to Waco to be the keynote speaker at the 60th annual Central Texas Regional Science and Engineering Fair where I had been its director during my tenure at Baylor University. Attached is my presentation for that event.

CTRS&EF @ 60

In 1961, as a result of taking a science fair project to the NM State Science Fair in 1960, I received the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. That was not the only reason I got that recognition as I had a deep interest in and an insatiable appetite for comprehending, pursuing the scientific method in just about everything I encountered. I applied it to a million and one or two questions I had about the environment, archaeology, paleontology, biology, physics and even building things. However, I must admit I had some real challenges with chemistry. The project, “A New Method of Projectile Point Classification and Site Survey”, that I took to that long ago State Science Fair was deemed to be the most “interesting” and “promising” at that year’s competition but there were no judges who felt qualified to evaluate archaeological research so the best they could do was offer me a scholarship. I say all of that to tell each of you not only how important that experience was to my future career in the sciences but also to encourage you, even if you don’t get the top prize at this fair or for that matter anything you attempt in life, don’t give up. I had 50 GREAT years in a profession that I enjoyed so much that I am still contributing to the various fields of scientific endeavor that have come across the thresholds of the museums I have had the privilege to be a part of during my lifetime.

2 BILLION Humans will be added to the planet by the year 2050…how does that relate to me, and you? Well, the Central Texas Regional Science and Engineering Fair will have just celebrated its 75th anniversary and since I don’t think I will make it to the age of 110, I can only say how I proud I am to have been a part of it way back in the 1900’s. You, however, will still be around and will be facing a much different world. Ever since humans formed tribes and started cooperative ventures we have been progressing and increasing as a species, creating multiple stages of civilization. Unknown voyagers began to colonize new worlds some 40,000 years ago by sea faring vessels that penetrated the oceans to reach distant lands. Ships continue to deliver almost all of the international trade goods for today’s markets following in the wake of the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe by Magellan and his sailors who completed their epic journey in 1522. The first step in what we refer to as a permanent society, the seed of civilization, was the establishment of villages like Jericho some 11,000 years ago and cities resembling the Spanish contact and conquest of Mexico City with a population of over 200,000 by the 1500’s. However, it took a major leap in the evolutionary process to sustain this convergence of humanity. From hunting and gathering to horticulture to agriculture beginning in the Fertile Crescent some 12,000 years ago, to maize in Mesoamerica by 9,000 years ago, to rice in China 7,000 years ago and wheat in Europe 5,000 years ago allowing us to utilize division of labor to advance the species. But it wasn’t until 250 years ago that we saw the purposeful migration of the rural residents into urban concentrations and the development of cities as we know them today. With the advent of the steam engine came the industrial revolution and horse power changed from animals to machines. Factories began to produce a single engine that could do the job of 500 horses with the resulting trains requiring hundreds of thousands of rail lines and tonnages of steel that boggle the mind.

Today we have over 500 cities with a million or more people and in 2006 for the first time in human history there were more individuals in urban environments than in rural areas. One of the biggest reasons occurred in 1879 when Tom Edison capitalized on perfecting the light bulb with a bamboo and carbon filament affording him the opportunity to create the first electrical grid supplying about 50 homes with a current that some residents thought might spill out of the lines and electrocute them. Another major event that changed the world was the first successful oil well drilled by old Ed Drake in 1859 into a shallow petroleum producing layer. His discovery replaced the whale oil being used for lamps that was most fortuitous because of the dwindling whale population. The other primary use of oil at the time was for grease for wagon and train wheels, but after a gusher named for Anthony F. Lucas, on a small hill south of Beaumont, TX known as Spindletop in 1901 birthing the liquid fuel age by spewing over 100,000 barrels of oil a day it appeared there was a limitless supply of black gold. This event allowed Henry Ford to plan for and achieve his goal of an assembly line to mass produce an automobile that not only ran on cheap liquid fuel but was affordable to the masses. As a result there were 15 million Ford Model T’s manufactured from 1908 to 1927. Roads were far behind the number of vehicles being produced and it took quite a few years for the highways to catch up to the demand, in fact never have. Today there are over 8 million miles of paved roads in the U. S. with over 35 million globally and we are still increasing the arteries linking neighborhoods and nations. From 5 million barrels of oil being produced each day at the turn of the last century, it will, at the existing rate of usage, require 1 trillion barrels a day or 4 million per hour by 2050. Currently, there are over 125 million vehicles on U.S. highways at any one time and that is expected to grow to 1 billion worldwide by the middle of this century.

There was another seminal endeavor that was to link humanity. On a cold dreary day in December, 1903 on a beach on the Atlantic coast called Kitty Hawk in the state of North Carolina two brothers named Orville and Wilber Wright flew the first powered air craft for 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet. From that meager, apparently insignificant accomplishment there are now, at this moment, half a million travelers in the air with over 40 million flights to 40,000 air terminals equating to 3 billion passengers a year flying around the globe. However, all these inventions are pale in comparison to punching a few buttons and have the accumulative knowledge of human history and even prehistory on a screen that can then be transformed to the written word. For those of us who are with you today who had to struggle with carbon copies for theses, dissertations and subsequent professional writings this technology is astonishingly awesome!

All of these advances required great amounts of infrastructure, in the form of power plants to produce the energy that the consumers desire. Every time, night or day, I travel the 100 miles from my home to Denver, I see train after train up to a mile in length carrying loads of WY coal south all the way to Houston 24/7/366 days this year for coal powered electrical plants. I assure you this resource IS finite generating 41% of our current energy usage, with 20% being created by natural gas and 10 % by nuclear power. From burning wood to heat water, then coal to make steam to propel engines, to incorporating petroleum into energy as well as 6,000 other uses including asphalt, plastics, rust protection, roofing materials, fertilizers, soaps, polymers, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, not the least of which are the vitamin and prescription capsules you probably took this morning, along with a whole host of other by-products. Of course we have now progressed to nuclear plants and now solar panels but we are still struggling with an answer to supplying heat for human consumption without over heating the planet to disastrous levels.

But that is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We, in today’s world have no real physical or mental concept of how cold, wet, dry or warm it has been in the past. 2/3 of all the land mammals died out at the end of the Pleistocene mammoths, mastodons, horses, camels, dire wolves, the giant bison, cats and bears. HOWEVER, the most recent results of the research being conducted in Greenland shows that we are warming at a faster rate than any time in the last 100,000 years….SO, whatever is happening is happening very rapidly and even for the doubters of climate change, human activity is beckoning a recompense for our actions. No matter how you interpret the changes, it will be far better for future generations to cease: 1.) adding exponentially to the population; 2.) continuing to degrade our fresh water supply; 3.) polluting our oceans and 4.) denying that humans are leaving a very heavy footprint on the earth. I was led to 2 of my degrees because I was experiencing a lack of respect AND knowledge of how wildlife was struggling just to break even. This was in the early ‘60’s, fortunately, for most game animals their situation has improved because of hunters and fishermen contributing to wildlife management and thus conservation and numerous nature oriented preservation organizations helping to educate a broader spectrum of the general public. The other degrees and purposeful concentration was devoted to anthropology and archaeology to understand past cultures and how they survived the extremes we are just now beginning to fully understand. Ultimately, my conclusion after 3/4 of a century is that it won’t hurt as bad if we adjust our addictions now rather than later when they are being consumed by insurmountable numbers.

From light bulbs to lasers, from the first 12 seconds of powered flight to supersonic planes, from 3 miles per hour for the first 98% of human existence to cars traveling upwards of 300 miles per hour and from the telegraph to the telephone to the internet we have, as a society, advanced the evolutionary process to being completely dependent on technology and interdependent on one another. In other words, we have progressed to the point of having the greatest social complexity our global civilization has ever known. What does that mean for you? In my mind it means that you not only have the opportunity AND ability to change the world BUT the challenge and obligation to confront and solve the problems Homo sapiens is facing. You need to redefine politics, resolve the new conflicts and conquests, address the degradation and dwindling of our natural resources…using your ingenuity and compassion to make sure your children and grandchildren survive in the best possible manner.

I appreciate the chance afforded me to return and address you, during this 60th edition of the Fair and hopefully encourage you to take the scientific method you have applied to your projects and make it relevant in your lives. My purpose was not to scare you with the evidence of what I and previous progenitors have placed on your shoulders but to inspire the genius that is in each of you to broaden your perspectives, objectives and humanitarianism for future generations. Be sure and thank the Board, the Director, the President, the Office Coordinator, the Judges, the sponsors, the hosts, the in-kind contributors, those providing the special awards and even, “anonymous”, whoever that may be, and lastly, two other individuals, Dr. Bob Baldridge, who came to this Fair as a student in 1963 and went on to get his Ph.D. in Biology and has even taught some of the judges here today becoming a major factor in challenging Fair contestants for decades and finally, David Lintz, this makes the 50th year of exceptional service to this Fair giving of his time and talents to make it successful, year in and year out and therein lies the example for each of you to return and contribute in whatever ways you can to ensure not only its existence but the quality that has been established. Maybe you will be invited back to address a future generation of young scientists someday, THANK YOU!

“What If…”

Due to the recent re-publishing of my website I have had several questions about the proposed, “Divine Mosaic: Crossroads of Faith” exhibition.

Did you know that Mohammed Yusuf, the founder and leader of Boko Haram from 2002 until he was executed by Nigerian police in 2009, whose followers kidnapped 276 girls in 2014 from a boarding school based his ideology on, Boko, meaning Western education and Haram, meaning forbidden in Arabic? The jihadists are now known as, “The People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, specifically targeting schools and children, and thus the ignorance continues.

I have struggled mightily with this concept…realizing and understanding the anxieties resulting from actions/atrocities of the radicals/extremists within the various Islamic sects, however, having met conservatives in each of the religions represented my original thinking and goals return to the purpose…if not now, when? If not us, who? Where does it start before it ends?

This was an idea stimulated by my wife, Sylvia, some 15 years ago when she said something along the lines of, “you are a big shot exhibits designer, why don’t you create a traveling exhibition on the three faiths spawned by Abraham…they all have the same God but we each have such a limited knowledge about one another’s beliefs”.

So…I began to think about the challenge and talk to colleagues about their interests in the subject and individuals who had a great deal of knowledge and experience in the history of religions and all were intrigued with the concept. These people were glad to offer their expertise to the exhibit, all the way from Harvard to Israel and Egypt. What was surprising then, and even more so now, was the moderate Muslims like those found in China for example and those that I have personally talked to were all, without hesitation, extremely critical of the radicals that they felt were or had become representative of their faith. They wanted to be identified and separated from the jihadists in whatever way they could. Members from the Christian, Jewish and Islam beliefs all thought this exhibition could bring about a greater understanding and awareness of the similarities, as well as the differences, of the doctrines and practices of each. Hopefully, ideally, this could/would lead to a platform for educational dialog and tolerance among all faiths.

During the planning stages of the proposal that resulted I began to keep notes on some of the things we might address and/or think about. Keep in mind I was raised in a Christian Church, literally, The First Christian Church, in Hobbs, NM and went on to become the first Youth Minister on Campus at Eastern New Mexico University for the First Christian Church in Portales, NM (very briefly).

Here are a dozen of my many notations:

What if… we didn’t judge others only/solely on what religion they were raised in or were identified with?

What if…we accepted how others worshiped the same God?

What if…we tried to better understand the origins, contributions and practices of each of the religions?

What if…we didn’t try to build the tallest steeple or the biggest edifice or argue over the color of the walls or carpet or whether there are stained glass windows or even be disparaging about what the worship center is called?

What if…we let a newcomer sit in “our” seat and even welcomed them into “our” service?

What if…we let our fellow worshipers pray in whatever manner they are accustomed?

What if…we didn’t condemn others by their appearance, language, customs or race but actually offered our understanding, empathy and compassion for all who seek their divinity or are in need of solace?

What if…we offered our praise of God without boundaries and included those of different backgrounds who have the same goals for peace and tolerance for the whole of humanity?

What if…we faced our fears induced by our ignorance and prejudices but tempered by knowledge and understanding of one another’s lives and customs?

What if…we all believed that the monotheistic deity we call God allowed all who believe in Him the opportunity to inherit His covenants?

What if…we educated our children to respect the ways and circumstances of other children and impressed on them the value of human life and their chance to make a difference in the world for the future?

What if…we sought the truth no matter what translation or tradition we are familiar with and attempted to be more perceptive of how many things are beyond one’s control especially in today’s social, economic and political environments?

These thoughts are, admittedly, very biased and Christian based as my connections to other denominations, religious systems and/or organized worship practices are very superficial even though I have studied the history of religion for many years. Thus, many of the “what if’s”, also, maybe especially, apply to the plethora of different beliefs and denominations within the Christian faith.

However, as I have learned not everyone is an extremist like the skinheads or jihadists that receive the most attention as there are good people of every faith who very much want to live every day as though it were their last day and try to do all they can for all they can, especially for the children who are commonly influenced by a plethora of personal and media encounters to be skeptical if not prejudiced of those who are different. Since there are millions more moderates in each faith than the radicals it is time to join together in making this a safer, more humane and civilized environment.

Therefore, the idea/goal/purpose is to leave a better place for our children, a legacy of meaningful discourse resulting in a more peaceful world but that can only occur with a major commitment from the moderate followers of each faith.

bottom of page