Lord, surround me with
those who seek the truth
. . . and deliver me from
those who have found it.
The 15 member commission acts on matters relating to the framing and amending of the 1878 Duluth City Home Rule Charter. We meet every quarter on the second Wednesday of the month at the Duluth City Hall. I was appointed by the Honorable Sally L. Tarnowski, Chief Judge for Minnesota's Sixth Judicial District, for a four year term.
The foundation certifies RAKtivists like myself and assigns us specific kindnesses to perform each month. You can sign up to participate too by clicking on the title above. Let's change hearts and minds, one at a time.
Since the Spring of 1994, I have been teaching at the post-secondary level. In the fall of 2001, I came to America with my newly minted Ph.D. in Organization Studies to teach at Long Island University, Penn State, and the University of Minnesota before retiring in 2016. These pages provide comprehensive details of my educational preparation and experience.
Here is a detailed record of our family history compiled primarily by my uncle Ross Orville Lyttle in Burnaby, British Columbia. There are also the results from recent DNA analyses in which I have participated, yielding haplotypes typical of people from the Border Regions of Scotland.
Mensa is the international high IQ society, providing a forum for intellectual exchange among its members. Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, and special-interest groups as well as local, regional, national, and international gatherings (conferences). I am a Life Member of Mensa and the Area Coordinator of a local group known as "The Northern Brights."
In 1988, James Crawford Little of Dumfries, Scotland (affectionally known as "Dr. Johnnie") published the results of his family research in The Scottish Genealogist. In 1991, he was persuaded to start a society for those who might be descended from or otherwise interested in the ancient Clan Little of Meikledale on the Scottish Borders. Today, I am the Secretary/Treasurer of the latest version of that organization: a 501(c)(7) nonprofit corporation registered in the State of Georgia.
From time to time, I present fun and informative talks about humor, freethought, or teaching with the Harvard Case Method at academic conferences or to community groups. I also occasionally serve as a Master of Ceremonies.
I have conducted some research on "the effective and responsible use of humor for persuasion," such as in advertising, politics, and teaching. My dissertation developed theory about how and when humor could be expected to result in successful persuasion. Then it tested the theory on more than 500 adults using Lockheed-Martin's ethics training methodology. Some of this research has been published or presented at academic conferences and the details are provided on this page.
Scholars and students sometimes find it helpful to refer to my research and writing when preparing their own work. Here is an extensive list of academic journals and other sources that have cited my work.
William van Druten ("Dr. Bill") is a psychiatrist in Duluth, MN who has treated people recovering from various forms of abuse by church leaders. In 1997, the Catholic Church took over his health clinic and asked him to sign an agreement to treat his clients according to the tenets of that religion. Instead, he founded Lake Superior Freethinkers: a registered 501(c)(3) Minnesota nonprofit corporation. It serves as a friendship group for non-theists and an advocate for their rights. I serve as its Secretary.
In an effort to build communities of public discourse and civility, the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA) was incorporated in 1983. With members from within and beyond the academy, it brings the skills and techniques of philosophy to the public and the concerns of the public to philosophers. I have a degree in Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada) and am a proud member of this Society.
Founded in 1975, the American Humor Studies Association (AHSA) promotes scholarship on all aspects and periods of American humor through conferences, publications, and awards (often in association with the Mark Twain Society of America) and the general support of a community of dedicated humor scholars. I am a Life Member.
Information about our family home, built in 1994 and purchased from the owners in the fall of 2013. The house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms on a half-acre lot. The property is named for Luther Mendenhall. He was a Quaker, son of a Pennsylvania underground railroad host, and one of the founding fathers of Duluth. His legacy is too often overlooked because of a widely publicized divorce and re-marriage in the early 1900s.