It may not be true, but it’s what I saw…


I have an admission to make… I may not do as much research as I probably should for some of my columns. (In fact, that may be true for alot of my columns.)

The thing is, I honestly believe that there needs to be a certain amount of instinct and opinion brought into a conversation. Observational skills in action rather than just the black and white of numbers and research. I also believe that this little web site of mine is a constantly developing, at times learning and at others growing, place for expression. That sounds wonderfully poetic when it certainly shouldn’t be that classy. It just means that while I accept responsibility for my comments, I also know that I’m going to make some mistakes or just plain change my mind. What I want more than anything though is to start a conversation… play devil’s advocate… get some different thoughts and perspective involved when viewing the events taking place in the world.

In other words… Don’t take it as my gospel that I believe global warming is a fraudulent premise because I write articles or make comments about nature and the progression of things. I do understand there is something to the theory. Alot to it actually. And I firmly believe we should be treating each other, and the environment, better than we do.

The trouble is… numbers and facts and people lie. (And the people lie most of all.) They can say anything they want to. And I mean that for numbers… for facts… and for people. They can be manipulated and twisted to say anything… support anything… prove or disprove anything.

I’ve seen reports created using the same data to show increase and decreases in work-related injuries. And if you think that should be simple to figure out, then I challenge you to attend the meetings. Because after 15 minutes or so, most of us are claiming work injuries in attempts to get out of the room. As nice as you want numbers and facts to be… well… they aren’t always so friendly to work with.

I admit it… I don’t know much about the economy and what gets the overall wealth of America and American businesses into a happy place. I couldn’t tell you if it’s interest rate cuts… investment in bonds… foreign trade… buying American… funding of public works projects… a combination of all of this… or nothing at all. But I do watch the news and see the articles and see what is happening with my friends, neighbors and local community. And what I can tell you is that hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost, government plans talking about food stamp funding five years in the future, and businesses closing doors forever sure don’t seem like signs of improvement to me.

Which brings me to the Backpack.

Quite often I look at material inspiring my columns as a big question mark. And I begin my journey from there.

A few days ago I posted a comment about the remains of a gigantic snake. The point I wanted to check out was about a note inside the article, where researchers used their knowledge to estimate that the climate in Columbia would have been on average 10 degrees warmer in order to support the life of such a creature.

Ok… sure… sixty million years ago… that’s 60,000,000 years ago… a really, really, really long time.

Still… the evidence suggests that it was warmer in those days, and there was life on the planet at the time. And if nature is a constant, daily series of species becoming endangered or extinct while others are being discovered or created, perhaps… just maybe… it might be possible that all of this climate stuff is natural and that nature will survive, change and move on.

But I didn’t start this article to talk to you about the economy or Al Gore. I started it to talk about my columns and essays and opinions and questions.

Often times I will find something that interests me. It might be a book… a movie… a report on the internet… the snow on a branch in the back yard. Seriously… who knows? But for some reason I start thinking about it. And I may not have… may never be able to have… all of the details.

I’m still going to ask a question or two.

What I see may not be the reality… but it doesn’t change the fact that it is the piece I saw, and it is part of my understanding. And I do so love playing devil’s advocate… even when I actually agree with the side I’m questioning so aggressively.

It’s just my opinion. A thought expressed at a specific moment in time. And all of these professionals that seem to know so much more? Yeah… well… they were the same experts telling me that Alex Rodriguez was clean.

I have never found the source of this quote, but: “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark… professionals built the Titanic.”

So when you visit In My Backpack… and you find that you do or don’t agree… I’m looking to entertain and perhaps start a conversation. I do value your thoughts and feedback. When all the facts are in, maybe I won’t agree with what I originally said. But like that gut instinct… that drives you when there is no reason at all to listen to what it is telling you… more often than not there is a reason to at least consider what instinct is telling you and check it out.

Considering the information… answering the questions… resolving the issue… it all adds up to finishing the story and settling in for a good night of sleep. And I invite all of you to question me… e-mail me… tell what an idiot I am… or occasionally to even say you enjoyed an article or two. It’s all part of gathering those observations and adding perspective.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at