How Did I Miss That? Wise Words From Saginaw Grant; Wild Onion Season

Saginaw Grant continues to go strong at 80, while journalism remains strong for a high school in Kansas as the school paper calls out wannabe principal.

The Navajo Times scored an interview with Saginaw Grant, the 80-year-old Sac & Fox actor who is rocking an acting career that didn’t get seriously moving until he was over 50 years old. Three decades later, Grant has moved far beyond Westerns, although he is still usually cast as an Indian. As the Times put it, he is “both a real Indian and he plays one on TV.”

The Times caught up with Grant in Farmington, New Mexico, at an appearance for Southwest Jewelry in Animas Mall. Grant had advice for young people who want to act:

If this is your dream, stick with it. Don’t allow anyone to tell you not to. Do it anyway, regardless of how silly it looks or if people put you down…get out there and do it. Just hold your head high and go for it.


I tried to hide that issue of Navajo Times from my cousin Ray Sixkiller because he’s already blowing a lot of time practicing for the casting call the Chickasaws are having for their latest movie. But he saw it, and now he’s all offended that I expressed skepticism last week whether he could become Wes Studi in two weeks.


The Washington Post reported an amazing story that originated with a student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas. The credentials of Amy Robertson, the newly hired head principal, seemed to the journalism students highly questionable. They started with Corrllins University, where she claimed to have been awarded a master’s and a doctorate.

First, the Corrllins website did not work. Then the students discovered Corrllins was not accredited. The campus where she claimed to have studied in Stockton, California, did not exist. Then they checked Robertson’s claim of having earned a BFA degree from the University of Tulsa and discovered that the University of Tulsa does not offer the BFA.

The article published in the Booster Redux is a workmanlike recitation of the students’ research and the results of it. The article published on a Friday and on the next Tuesday, Robertson resigned.

Cousin Ray suggested that some of those kids ought to serve on the search committee for her replacement.


DuffelBlog reported a rumor that Russia is about to appoint Edward Snowden Ambassador to the U.S.

“Let’s hear it for diplomatic immunity,” chuckled Cousin Ray.


CNN reported that an unidentified woman from Sacramento fell backwards off Foresthill Bridge in Placer County. At 730 feet, Foresthill is the highest bridge in California. Her fall came because she was trying to take a selfie and she fell “only” 60 feet. She was airlifted unconscious to a hospital with numerous broken bones, but she is expected to survive.


In news related by stupidity, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that a 10-foot great white shark was beached but very much alive and thrashing around in the surf near Santa Cruz, California. The huge predator became such a selfie magnet that Sheriff’s deputies had to be dispatched to the scene to shoo away people getting too close. The Pelagic Research Shark Foundation was summoned and was attempting to get the animal back into deep water but the surf was not helping and they did not expect the shark to survive.


Fast Company reported on the snowballing sponsor boycott of Bill O’Reilly because of new allegations adding to his long history of alleged sexual harassment. Innocent parties settle lawsuits for nuisance value all the time---the sum it would cost in money and aggravation to go to trial. But it’s hard to see $13 million as mere nuisance value.

Northwestern University Professor Brayden King, “the guru of boycott studies,” told Fast Company that when the advertisers bailing out reach a critical mass where it harms a sponsor’s reputation not to bail out, Fox News will have to act. Given O’Reilly’s ratings, the action will more likely be a suspension than a dismissal.


The Mansfield, Ohio, News-Journal reported the demise of a fine old oak tree that played a role in The Shawshank Redemption as a landmark when Red (Morgan Freeman) was released from prison and went looking for money buried by Andy (Tim Robbins) before he took a permanent vacation from prison in Zihuatanejo.

The tree was a stop on the “Shawshank Trail,” a tourist attraction based on locations where the popular movie was filmed. A section of the oak was sheared off by high winds in 2011 and placed on display at the Ohio State Reformatory, another Shawshank location in Mansfield.

Most of Shawshank was filmed in Ohio, but Destination Mansfield, the tourist office for the city, just added a 15th stop on the Shawshank Trail on the beach at Sandy Point, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Sandy Point played Zihuatanejo in the movie.


The New York Times reported on Canada’s celebrations of the centennial of its victory at the Battle of Vilmy Ridge, a savage encounter in a particularly barbaric war, World War I, the so-called war to end all wars.

At Vilmy Ridge, Canadian heroics broke a German line that had defeated both the British and the French, at a cost of 3,600 KIA and 7,000 wounded. There is not much public questioning of why a North American country would involve itself in WWI. Canada had more reason than the U.S. because of its relationship with Great Britain, but the enterprise still seems questionable from this side of the Atlantic.

WWI did not end all wars, but it introduced trench warfare, and the shotgun as a weapon of war the soldiers called a “trench broom.” It gave us the elitism and undeniable romance of the LaFayette Escadrille (“LaFayette, we are here!”) and the real Red Baron, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen. With 80 kills, the Red Baron remains one of the greatest fighter pilots of all time and probably the best known.

WWI taught the horrors of poison gas and led to the ban that continues today, recently violated in Syria. One of the gas victims was a lance corporal named Adolf Hitler. His promotion from private to corporal came after the First Battle of Ypres, which Hitler’s unit entered with 3,600 men and left with 611.

An imprudent peace treaty and the failure of the League of Nations ensured the new style of war would continue and Corporal Hitler would become the patron saint of white supremacy.

Leaving aside the technical detail that nobody has offered a coherent reason for WWI, Canada proved at the Battle of Vilmy that it could bleed just like more experienced nations.


Rachel Maddow reported on MSNBC that U.S. government sources have announced that the Tomahawk missile strike on Syria destroyed 20 Syrian aircraft, or 20 percent of the aircraft at the base attacked, or 20 percent of one Syrian Air Force Wing, or 20 percent of the entire Syrian Air Force.

“Well,” Cousin Ray observed, “it was twenty-something.” That’s as close as my nominally Republican cousin has come to defending the Trump administration.


In the latest measure of the growing gulf between the Trump government and science, The Washington Post reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ended a program to raise forensic science standards in federal crime labs.

At the same time, Sessions called a halt to review of testimony by experts across several disciplines after finding that nearly all FBI experts for years overstated and gave scientifically misleading testimony about two techniques the FBI Laboratory long championed: the tracing of crime-scene hairs based on microscopic examinations and of bullets based on chemical composition.

Cousin Ray speculated on what President Trump would say: “My administration is for winners, and the cases they’ve been reviewing are wins. A win is a win. Most of them are guilty anyway.”


CNN reported that President Trump, who was highly critical of the sums President Obama spent on travel, is on track to equal Obama’s expenditure for all eight years of his presidency in his first year in office. Obama spent $97 million in eight years, while Trump has spent $20 million in 80 days.

Cousin Ray wanted to know if Trump got a discount at his own hotels. He did not when his campaign kitty was picking up the tab, but I’m not informed what the arrangement is now that the taxpayers are taking the hit.


It’s wild onion season in the Cherokee Nation, and the Cherokee parts of social media have been full of mouth-watering pictures and descriptions. The Cherokee Phoenix went onion gathering with the Standingwater family of Snake Creek, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma.

The trick to gathering wild onions for traditional recipes is the size. If cleaning them requires a knife, they are too big. I’ve never been great at catching them young enough and now that I’m not mobile enough to get down in the dirt, I would have to hustle an invitation to share somebody else’s wild onion tradition.

Cousin Ray is older than me, but he still has knees, so I’m thinking we should drive up to the Nation and check out his wild onion radar.

Those readers who can’t imagine a meal planned around onions should try it before they knock it. Very young wild onions cook up like hot peppers with the capsaicin removed, more sweet than pungent.