Is bigfoot “expert” Ron Brown a “doctor?”

This Ron Brown, who claims to be a “Dr.”, is going to give a ‘bigfoot’ talk Wednesday, July 23, 7pm, at the Lake Oroville (CA) State Park Visitor Center, (530-538-2219) to the trusting taxpayers, men women and naive children, of California. He has apparently given similar talks many times over the years.

Apparently to establish credibility in the minds of his audience, Mr. Brown has made a number of claims of credentials to various people over the years. Here are the current claims

OROVILLE–A zoologist who has studied Bigfoot claims for decades will return to Oroville this week as the featured guest of the Summer Speaker series at the Lake Oroville Visitor Center.

Ron Brown, who has a doctorate in zoology, will present “Bigfoot: The Legend Analyzed” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Visitor Center theater.

The Summer Speaker series is hosted each week through August by California State Parks.

Brown wrote his first paper on Bigfoot in 1972 at UC Berkeley, according to a State Parks press release.

He earned his doctorate degree in Africa, where he has lived since the 1980s. Brown also operates a facility in South Africa where he breeds native African animals.

Besides the paper written in 1972, Brown authored a non-scientific critique on the 1967 Roger Patterson film about Bigfoot and has been a contributing author in books on the subject, according to the release.

Brown has also participated in numerous field studies and investigations.

For the presentation, he will include videotape footage, casting displays and other visual representations.

Mr. Brown may be a model citizen, but he is making some extensive claims, both about “bigfoot” and about himself, and the public has a right to know whether or not to rely on his claims. We at Over the Line, Smokey! notice that Mr. Brown has made a number of claims about his credentials over the years, and think that since he is claiming these credentials, and the California State Park system is endorsing at least some of them, that they should be validated, or alternatively, the public should be made aware that he isn’t what he has claimed to be. This is very simple in the usual, straightforward case: the speaker submits a curriculum vitae or “bio” which lists his degrees, the institution from which they were granted, and the years in which they were achieved. Any published papers or books should be listed by type, name, date, location and authors. These claims can then be verified by simple emails or phones, etc.

Here are (some of) the earlier claims:
In 2003:

Ron Brown a recent resident of Oroville, Rotarian and academic with a degree in medicine and a Ph.D. in Zoology, finds himself captivated by the possibility that such a thing as a Bigfoot may actually exist. “I’m not here to tell you to believe in Bigfoot. You will have to make that decision yourself,” Brown stated in one part of a program on the subject of the documented evidence that mounts in favor of the creature’s existence, which he gave Monday at the regular Rotary meeting.

In Jeff Meldrum’s 2007 book, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, Dr. Meldrum (who is an actual Ph.D) writes:

Dr. Ron Brown, exotic animal handler and health care administrator, had examined the plaster cast obtained from the mud wallow and agreed that it could not be “attributed to any commonly known Northwest animal and may present an unknown primate.”

But how do we know?

We would request that the State Park obtain validation of Mr. Brown’s educational accomplishments, his academic achievements, his Ph.D., and other claims he has made, and that whatever is found be disseminated to the trusting public. Recall, this man is making claims of a giant upright primate walking the forests and other areas across the country. The citizens of the state deserve to know whether or not to place credence in Mr. Brown’s statements.

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Protected: Charles Bartram Wyman 1887-1916, and The American Sunday School Union

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Restaurant review: Piperade, San Francisco

Piperade is a comfortable spot at 1015 Battery at Green, between Telegraph Hill and the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Supposedly Basque, but the cuisine is not  really dominated by that influence. The food is very good, price is not bad for the City, and the service is good. Thankfully, the noise level is generally low. Access is easy, good parking nearby, and there a number of interesting spots within easy walking distance.  From the south, follow 280 to King to the Embarcadero, turn left on Broadway and right on Front, to park.  Then walk two blocks. The restaurant is on the location of the American cannon battery of 1846, (hence the name Battery Street) placed there to defend the village of Yerba Buena against the Spanish in the period after California was “conquered” by the U.S.  The battery was given the name Fort Montgomery, though it was probably not much of a fort.

I had the fried manchego, duck comfit, and for dessert the orange blossom beignets…excellent.  Others at the table had the Piperade (sauteed peppers, onions and Serrano ham with poached egg).  This is definitely a place I’d go again.

Afterwards, you can walk a block west on Green to see the place where television was invented, at 200 Green, also the the site of the infamous Gray Brothers rock quarrying operation, that brought down a substantial part of Telegraph Hill before the nefarious owner was shot and killed by a disgruntled worker, much to the delight of San Franciscans, who acquitted him of any crime.

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Book Review: The King’s Grave by Phillipa Langley and Michael Jones

NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

This is the story of the discovery and exhumation of the remains of Richard III in the floor of a medieval monastery in Leicester, England.  Certainly an interesting read, the book is flawed by the apparent intention of the author (P.L.)to make it about whether Richard was a good person or not. As a result, much of the book is consumed in attempting to read scraps of history or archeology, or indeed anatomy, in a way that would be exculpatory for Richard’s alleged misdeeds, including the killing the two boys in the Tower of London in the summer of 1483. .  Much history is provided, interspersed between episodes of the modern search and discovery.  Who knew there was a Richard III Society, the goal of which is seemingly to cast the Tudors (the family that followed Richard’s on the throne) and Shakespeare (author of Henry VI and Richard III as the bad guys, who invented nasty stories about Richard?  Well, there is, and Langley founded the Scottish Branch.

The high point of the book should have been the uncovering of Richard’s distorted bones, his “crookback’ (scoliosis) that, for all intents, proved the remains were his; instead of being thrilled, Langley writes how disappointed she was that Richard was actually “deformed.” Her thesis was that the idea of a deformity had been invented, Richard was portrayed as being deformed in order to make him seem more evil.  She then proceeds to put up a bit of a strawman of “hunchback”, saying that Richard’s deformity wasn’t actually that bad. Medically speaking, she was making the distinction between scoliosis (a lateral bending of the spine) and kyphoscoliosis (lateral and front-to-back bending).  The former is characterized mainly by a visible difference between the height of the two shoulders, while the latter is manifest by an apparent “hump” in the upper back.  This question is well-discussed here.

In studying the early descriptions of Richard’s disability, however, it is telling to notice the words which are not applied to him. To our knowledge, Richard is not described as “bunch-backed” in print until Shakespeare; the word “boss” (from the French bossu) does not seem to have been used either. Both refer to a swelling or hump. Shakespeare’s Richard is called “crookback” three times in Henry VI, Part 3, and is more specific himself about his appearance when he claims that nature made “an envious mountain on my back, / Where sits deformity to mock my body” (Act 3, scene ii), and later describes his shoulder as “thick” (5.vii). Rather than deliberately inventing the hunchbacked Richard, though, Shakespeare may have interpreted the word “crookback” as referring to this kind of spinal deformity. The OED’s first recorded use of “hunch-backed” is the second quarto of Richard III (1598), 4.iv, when Queen Elizabeth calls him “that foule hunch-backt toade” (“bunch-backt” in the first quarto; Q2’s variation is retained in later quartos). In one sense at least, it is plausible that Shakespeare (or perhaps one of his printers) is the inventor of the hunch-backed Richard, and that this term stems either from a typesetting error or from a misreading. If so, it is indicative of how influential Shakespeare’s version of Richard’s body has been.

So the high point of the search becomes, for the author, a disappointment, instead of a victory. Sort of deflates the whole book.

I recommend the book, though of course with a large grain of salt.  The historical discussions are interesting, but it is difficult to know whether the prominent bias of Langley might have introduced serious distortions. I look forward to a more balanced discussion by other researchers in in the future.

 

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If Our Founding Fathers Were All Christians, Why Did They Say This?

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“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”

- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”

- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)

and many more….

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Government Surveillance of MLK Used to Try to Destroy Him: Who’s Next?

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Does anyone believe that the Karl Roves, J. Edgar Hoovers, Dick Cheneys, Chris Christies of the world won’t use surveillance against political enemies? and potential enemies? and opposing political donors? and “anti war” groups? and “protesters” of all sorts? anti pollution groups? and racial groups? and his cronies’ enemies? and on and on, right on down to YOU?  that NSA employees won’t spy on celebrities, girl friends, boy friends, etc, right on down to YOU?

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Best French Fries in San Francisco: Chow @ Church and Market

chowGreat fries at this bar/cafe/joint, which also has great ambiance and service.  The fries are thin, just crisp enough, and of course also the correct golden brown color.  Coffee is also good.  That’s all I had, so I can’t say more.

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