Ph.D ENTOMOLOGY / TOXICOLOGY
I am a retired entomologist & toxicologist with 20 years in industry iand 20 more as Assoc Prof & Extension Specialist, responsible for teaching, rresearch and international development programs at a Land-Grant University where I also was the State Poison Specialist (Muggle equivalent of "Potions Master").
I have published 15 books, 11 in English, 4 in Spanish. All are sci-tech books about pests and the safe use and handling of commercial poisons, and also the diagnosis, first aid, antidotes and treatment of various types of poisoning. Here are some of my books:
Pest Management in Greenhouse, Nursery and Mushroom House Operations (1995),
Principios Avancados del Manejo Integrado de Plagas (2001),
Field Crops Pest Management, (2002),
Public Health Pest Management (2004),
Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Pest Management (2005) and
Research & Demonstration Pest Mangement (2006).
My first published book of which I am very proud is, Physim cian's Guide to Pesticide Poisoning (1993). It went out of print years ago, but is still available online as a plagiarized web copy.
SOLDIER & VETERAN
USAF Reserve (enlisted, 1962-1966)
I served with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), 92d Strategic Aerospace Wing, Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA. My time of service was from the the Cuban Missle Crisis until after the stand down from "Operation Power Pack", the U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic.
US Army active & Reserve (officer, 1968-1991)
I received a resrve commission in the US Army as a 2LT, Infantry platoon leader during the Vietnam War and was released from active duty shortly after the Year of the Rat (1972). I continued in the active reserve through Operation Urgent Fury, the Granada Intervention (1983), Exercise Reforger (Return of Forces to Europe (1984), Exercise Return to Korea (Korea, 1985), Operation Golden Pheasant (Honduras-Nicaragua, 1987), Operation Just Cause (Panama 1989) and Operation Desert Storm (1st Gulf War, 1991).
US Army Officer Education
I also graduated from the U.S. Army's infantry officer's advanced course (1985) and Chemical Officer Advanced Course (1985), forerunners of the present Maneuver Captain's Career Course and Chemical Captain's Career Course.
I directed international training programs for farmers, agricultural technicians and scientists in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. I also cooperated with scientists in the People's Republic of China and developed a mathemetical model to predict the attack of the yellow stem borer of rice (Scirpophaga incertulas), a key pest of rice in China, India and Southeast Asia.
Mexico - International Cotton Pest Work Group (1988-1993)
Peru - Fundacion Algodonero (Fundial) del Peru (1993)
Honduras & Nicaragua - Hurricane Mitch Recovery Program - Exportacion de Hortalizas (Director, 2000-2002)
El Salvador - Programa de Regulacion de Plaguicidas (2005)
Guatemala - Programa de Comida Para El Progreso (2006)
THE WITCHES' CITY OF CACHICHE, PERU
I have walked the streets of the "Witches' City" of Cachiche, Peru, a city on the desert plains of Nazca in Southern Peru that is entirely devoted to witchcraft. Here witches and wizards practice their magical arts in the open, not only unmolested but also encouraged and supported by the Peruvian government. There is not only a witches' market but also specialized shops offering everything witches and wizards might need in the course of their magical careers.
THE WITCHES' MARKET OF CHICLAYO, PERU
I have perused the goods in the "Witches Market" in Chiclayo, Peru. Here the curanderos (healers), brujas (witches), yatiris (wizards) and ayahuasqueros (Amazonian potion masters) buy their specialized goods. Here there were bezoars from llamas and alpacas, mummified llama fetuses, charms, potions, and other magical things, all sold in the open.
MESOAMERICAN NAGUALS AND NAGUALISMO
The indigenous magic of Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America south to Costa Rica) is called "Nagualismo" or Nagualism. Its practioners are called Naguals. A Nagual is the most powerful practioner of magic in the magical hierarchy of the indigenous people in countries where Nagualism is practiced. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the curanderos (healers), who for the most part are herbalists. Above them are "brujas & brujos" (witches), "magos" (wizards), hechiceros (sorcerers), whose stock in trade includes charms, spells, love potions, divination, and other magical goods and services. And at the top are the naguals (no English equivalent), the closest thing in the Potter universe being an animagus. However, a nagual is different. A nagual not only can magically turn into his or her personal guardian spirit animal (also called a nagual), but also can shape shift into any animal or into just about anything. A nagual is capable of magical movement through time and space and into parallel worlds or universes. They have tremendous political and social power in their communities.
In Mexico and Central America, I have witnessed the power and mystery of these most powerful practioners of native magic, seen them in the streets of the mountain towns wearing their special caps. In these societies magic is a part of life. And it is practiced openly for everyone in the community. It is scorned but tolerated by educated and sophisticated people. But it is accepted, encouraged and supported by many ordinary people and even government officials.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH NAGUALS
My job in Mexico and Central America countries was to teach scientific principles related to production agriculture, pest management and safe handling of agricultural pesticides. However, I had to learn how to integrate what I was teaching with the beliefs of people who had been using magic in their societies for thousands of years.
It was an adventure to say the least, particularly in Guatemala, where I worked for the USAID Food Security program (http://www.usaid.gov/guatemala/food-security) among the K'iché (pronounced “key-CHAY”) and Kaqchiquel (pronounced “kack-chee-KALE”), two Mayan speaking indigenous people of highland Guatemala. In the town of Sololá., I taught about mathematical predictive models of pests and diseases, while local Naguals conducted divinations and prognostications. I taught about safety and strategy in using commercial poisons, while the local Naguals concocted botanical potions of unusual potency. We learned to live and work together. I retired in 2006 at the end of my Guatemala service.
MY DISCOVERY OF HARRY POTTER
So seven years later, what would cause a 70-year-old retired associate prof & extension entomologist / toxicologist to suddenly take an interest in Jo Rowling's writings is a question I keep asking myself. My two youngest girls (I have four) started reading them in 1998. My oldest two were in college. The youngest was in middle school. The two youngest chattered about them incessantly.
My two oldest girls didn't start to read them until after the first two movies came out because by that time they both were teaching school and their students couldn't stop talking about the books and movies. The oldest told me that she didn't like them. My second said that they were imaginative and she thought I might find them interesting. I didn't pay much attention. I was buried in research and USDA and USAID foreign agriculture programs in Central and South America.
I didn't actually read the first book until just a few years ago when I had a go around with cancer and needed something to do during my 6-hour chemo sessions. I had listened to the audiobooks several years before after I had retired to Utah from where I had been working at a southern Land Grant University. At the time, I was driving from Central Utah to Sparks Nevada every three weeks, and the great spaces between towns with radio stations left me with silence most of the way. So I listened to Harry Potter audiobooks. About a year before I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, I listened to the Deathly Hallows audiobook. While I was going through chemo, I decided to read and re-read the entire series, and then highlight and make margin notes about the parts I found interesting.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH WIKIS
Since then, I have been prowling the internet and have found many interesting wiki articles. However, I haven't found any with citations and references adequate enough to hold up under an academic peer review.
I am a big fan of wikis. They appear to have a lot of information unavailable anywhere else. Unfortunately, from what I have seen in many wikis, I am also skeptical. Mingled with some of the best researched articles, I also find a slap-dash assortment of misinformation, problems and outright falsehood. It is a relief see that the Harry Potter Wiki at least tries to maintain strict standards for contributions. However, I have seen a lot of flapdoodle on this web site too. I would definitely like to see a lot more reference citations in articles, including chapter, page and book edition.