Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Don't blame me, I voted for Grar

Don't you remember Grar? He ran for president back in 2008, against Argbf. Later he became a political pundit on Fox News, I think.

At any rate, I did not watch the State of the Union address last night. I had a really long day and I was famished and, also, Trump.

So, did I miss anything important?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


This picture

I took this a few years ago, in Detroit's Eastern Market. It makes me miss Detroit and the way I sometimes learn things there, all in a rush-- an epiphany rather than a slow accumulation of knowledge.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Sandwiches, ranked

I think I'm going to list the top sandwich haikus in the order I would like to have those particular sandwiches.

Number Five: Susan Stabile  So... This sounds really healthy. But no meat and no cheese makes me mopey. That's just me, I know. And this is why you hike the Camino while I eat chips and shoot dice with some guys behind a grocery store.

Smashed avodado,
perhaps a smidgen of salt,

lettuce if you must.

Number Four: OsoGrande I suppose this is an acquired taste, but pickles + peanut butter is something that makes me a little unsettled.

Salami, cheese, ham,
greens, pickles, peanut butter

Dagwood would be proud.

Number Three: Gavin  A little vague, but I'm with you. But wouldn't some cheese help the whole thing out?

Bread Bread Bread Bread Bread
Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat

Bread Bread Bread Bread Bread

Number Two: The Medievalist  Good choice, but I would probably like hot meatloaf. And could we get some Havarti on that?

I love cold meatloaf,
With some mayo on toasted

Bread with glass of milk.

Number One: Waco Friend  What's not to love about this sandwich? He had me at "Havarti."

Mesquite smoked sliced ham
stone ground spicy mustard, twice
havarti sliced cheese

Natural risen
rosemary whole grain sliced bread

HEB special!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Sunday reflection: On mortality

It's been a year with some death in it for me and many people I know, just 27 days in. It's an odd thing, isn't it? That this ends. Some people I know are comfortable with that, others not at all. I am more on the comfortable side.

Even for those of us who believe there is a plane of being other than this world, it is striking to think of this corporeal existence coming to a close. I know that so many who have died changed me in some way. I am different because of them.

That is hidden, closed off, inside my head (except when I talk about my heroes), but there is a string that goes forward from that life, one person to another, a butterfly's wings across ages. My father or grandfather taught me--when he didn't know he was teaching me--how to talk to a stranger and maybe one day that mattered, and changed a bit of that person's day, and there is a tiny difference in that person, and a ripple in what we all are over time. That person you lost, did they matter? Of course; they changed everything.

In Detroit, there were people who built cars. They engineered a chassis or designed a rear fin or attached a rear quarter-panel or welded a B-pillar. There is a kind of immortality in that, I often thought; as long as that car was around, somewhere, that person was in it, a part of that story and all that came from it: the people who drove it and where they went and what they did when they got there.

Death as an end? Only if your eyes are closed now.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


The Nassar fallout continues...

Larry Nassar, the Michigan State employee who also worked with US gymnasts, was sentenced on Thursday to 40-175 years in prison for sexual assault of athletes under his care as a doctor.

Now the structures that let him do this are under threat. At Michigan State, the President and the Athletic Director have resigned. Meanwhile, the US Olympic Committee forced--and received--the resignation of the board that governed USA Gymnastics.

It all came in a rush, but it was a long time coming. Michigan State was put on notice that there were problems as far back as the year 2000, and there was a steady stream of red flags after that according to a timeline at SB Nation. And the problems at MSU seem to have gone far beyond the actions of this one doctor.

Penn State.
Michigan State.

They are all different scandals, but they are tied together by one thing: ambitious sports programs. Did that play a role in what happened? It's an important question, and one that hopefully will be examined as this latest scandal continues to be unpacked.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Haiku Friday: What's in your sandwich?

This is what happens when I blog while I am hungry: we get food topics. 

But this one could be fun, right? Who doesn't like a sandwich now and then? Of course, what we have on the sandwich makes all the difference.

Here, I will go first:

Meat and cheese and chips
And some more of all of that
But bread decides it.

Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 formula and have some fun...

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Political Mayhem Thursday: Net Neutrality

So... Burger King made this ad which is mostly about net neutrality (the regulation that directed internet providers to treat all content the same, which was reversed by the Trump administration earlier this year):

First of all, why does Burger King care about net neutrality? It probably doesn't much, as an institution, but they have hired some sharp marketing folks who have figured out that this is a good way to get in front of millennials (and note that in the ad, many of the customers are from that generation).

The other thing is that, probably unintentionally, the ad makes points on both sides of the debate. Sure, the Whopper fast lane seems really inconvenient. But it also is a terrible business move; any rational burger seller would dump that plan immediately-- and that is what opponents of net neutrality say about that issue, too: that no business would "throttle" content egregiously, because that would undermine their own profits.

I'm for net neutrality. That's because I know that corporations won't abuse it in the overt way that we see in the Burger King ad, but in more subtle ways. Why? Because they hire the kind of psychological experts that Burger King did when the came up with a plan to engage millennials....

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Oscar nominations are out!

Here are the nominees for best picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

I have seen four of the nine: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, and The Post. I thought they were all good, though I would probably put Lady Bird and The Post above the other two. Which of the nine do you think should win?

Lady Bird was great, but I found it disturbing in the way it intended: The too-true depiction of the awkwardness of high school rang very true for me. And sometimes I still feel that goofy and odd, so the sense of truth in it hit me hard.

The Post, on the other hand, made me nostalgic, in two ways. First, it made me miss printing presses, the giant machines with typesetters and molten metal and paper flashing by. But, too, it made me miss that sense of a rush of work on something bigger than yourself, which I had at the end of the Obama years. Not that my work now is less important; just different. Much is accomplished in quiet.

And you? What emotions were raised in you by these movies?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


The decline they predicted

Since I moved to Minneapolis, I have read the dire warnings of Republicans that "socialist, job-killing" policies of this area--such as embracing Obamacare and raising the minimum wage--will lead to unemployment. Nonetheless, we trudged ahead towards socialism.

And look what happened! Now we have an unemployment rate of 2.4%, and they can't find people to hire for the Super Bowl. Admittedly, unemployment is down all over (which may be in part a function of the immigration actions taken by the Trump administration), but we still are doing better than our neighbor Wisconsin, which took the opposite tack from Minnesota under Governor Scott Walker.  And what about those "super pro-business" states where the politicians do whatever the Koch Brothers like? Well... Mississippi has a 4.9% unemployment rate,  Alabama, Arkansas,  South Carolina, and Kansas are at about a 3.6-3.9% rate, and Texas sits at 3.9%.  

The economy has been growing, but mostly it is growing in blue counties in states which have embraced policies opposite to those that Republicans have promoted, and "counties that voted for Hillary Clinton against Trump in 2016 accounted for nearly three-fourths of the nation's increased economic output and almost two-thirds of its new jobs in the years leading up to his election," according to a study by the Brookings Institution, as reported by CNN.

But, employed or not, Minnesotans are kinda down about that football game on Sunday...

Monday, January 22, 2018


Gentle addictions

Hey, we have all the same addictions! So, Gavin, I am with you:

Pizza, you call me. 
Your hot, cheesy siren song
I cannot resist.

Meanwhile, Desiree brought us all back to the 80's:

Morning without juice,
Like a day without sunshine.
So true, Anita.

The Medievalist, Waco Friend and others took the hint from my picture of a cup of coffee, but Megan Willome-- who has a tea and poetry themed blog of her own--went in a different direction:

Tea in the morning
Tea in the noontime and Tea
when the sun goes down.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Sunday Reflection: Conflict and Meaning

We all seek meaning in our lives. We want what we do to matter, and to see meaning in the things that happen around us. It is often the best instinct that we have, the one that moves us to improve our world, to shake things up, and to ditch complacency.

So often, though, the easy way to find meaning is through conflict. War, of course, is the ultimate this way. That marks the darkness that this often-good instinct can draw us towards.

What of meaning that happens without conflict, even unseen? The love of a parent, of a sibling, of a child, of a dear friend, of a stranger-- often, that is the deepest meaning we have. And when it is done best, when it is truly healing and good and true, that is when no one save the recipient knows what has happened. 

I have known people-- and you have too-- who constantly seem to seek out conflict. They create drama where there is none, pick fights where there is no disagreement, question motivations, and always have a criticism. Shoot-- there have been sad moments, I think, when I have been that person. What was I seeking in those sad days? I suspect, really, I wanted meaning. I wanted what I did, and what was around me to matter. 

I still want what I do to matter, but realize how wrong that path is for myself and those around me. I am better to forgive towards meaning, to love towards meaning, to encourage towards meaning. Sometimes, yes, meaning comes through an honest critique and even a righteous anger. But, that cannot be the center of a healthy soul for long; it should only be part of a larger picture that we paint of ourselves.

We see Jesus do that in the Gospels. He has moments of critique and righteous anger, but mostly it is something else. It is meaning in gentleness; healing, teaching, contemplating. I am not anything like that, but hope that I am moving in that direction. It's a slow walk in a culture that values the brash and the loud, the rich and the flamboyant. But were we promised anything else than a difficult path?

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Michigan State has a problem

Perhaps you have been following the victim statements in the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the man who served as the sports doctor for Michigan State and the US women's gymnastics team. The allegations underlying his conviction and brought in at sentencing are horrifying.

Nassar will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Limiting the punishment to him, though, seems irresponsible. Those who employed him were given information about his sexual abuse of children, over and over, and did not address the problem. According to the the Detroit News, at least eight women made complaints to the school, and at least one of those reached the president of the school:

Reports of sexual misconduct by Dr. Larry Nassar reached at least 14 Michigan State University representatives in the two decades before his arrest, with no fewer than eight women reporting his actions, a Detroit News investigation has found.

Among those notified was MSU President Lou Anna Simon, who was informed in 2014 that a Title IX complaint and a police report had been filed against an unnamed physician, she told The News on Wednesday.

“I was informed that a sports medicine doctor was under investigation,” said Simon, who made the brief comments after appearing in court Wednesday to observe a sentencing hearing for Nassar. “I told people to play it straight up, and I did not receive a copy of the report. That’s the truth.”

Among the others who were aware of alleged abuse were athletic trainers, assistant coaches, a university police detective and an official who is now MSU’s assistant general counsel, according to university records and accounts of victims who spoke to The News.

Collectively, the accounts show MSU missed multiple opportunities over two decades to stop Nassar, a graduate of its osteopathic medical school who became a renowned doctor but went on to molest scores of girls and women under the guise of treating them for pain.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting nine girls in Ingham County but faces more than 150 civil suits that also involve MSU and others. Already sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography in federal court, Nassar will be in Ingham County Circuit Court on Thursday for the third day of his sentencing hearing for seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

In response to all this yesterday, the MSU board "doubled down" in their support of the President.

This echoes in many ways the mistakes that were made at Baylor. There, they took down the leadership once the charges became public. 

What do you think should happen at MSU?

Friday, January 19, 2018


Haiku Friday: Your gentle addiction

I am a little wiped out from reading about bad addictions, particularly to opioids. Yikes-- bad, bad stuff.  

But what of gentle addictions? To the morning paper, or swimming, or maybe Lance snack cakes ("Don't go round hungry!"). Let's downshift a little and haiku about that this week. Here, I will go first:

One cookie a day
But... chocolate chip goodness
Makes me quite smiley.

Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable formula and have some fun!

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Political Mayhem Thursday: A Tumult in Pittsburgh

On January 14--Martin Luther King, Jr. Day-- the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a staff editorial titled "Reason as Racism: An Immigration Debate Gets Derailed." You can read the whole thing here. This is how it concludes:
Did the president use a crudity in a private meeting? He says he did not. No one who was there has said he did on the record. But if he did, so what? So what? America today is a sadly crass place where many of us use vulgar, corrosive language we ought not use in private and work conversations. How many of us would like to see and share a transcript of everything we have said in private conversations or at work?
And how many presidents have said crass things in the Oval Office in private meetings? Think of Kennedy, Clinton and Nixon, to name three.
If the president is wrong on immigration — on merit, on finding a balance between skilled and unskilled immigrants, on chain migration, on the lottery — let his opponents defeat him on these points, and not by calling him a racist. If he is to be removed from office, let the voters do it based on his total performance — temperament as well as accomplishment — in 2020. Simply calling him an agent of the Russians, a nutcase or a racist is a cowardly way to fight.
We need to confine the word “racist” to people like Bull Connor and Dylann Roof. For if every person who speaks inelegantly, or from a position of privilege, or ignorance, or expresses an idea we dislike, or happens to be a white male, is a racist, the term is devoid of meaning.
We have to stop calling each other names in this country and battle each other with ideas and issues, not slanders.
There is a lot wrong here, in my view. But I will hold my tongue for minute-- what do you think?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Words from friends

So, I have two links for you today, from people I love writing about words.

First, please read our friend CraigA's piece from last Sunday in the Richmond paper. It is beautiful and authentic. You can read the whole thing here, but I will give you a taste:

Language is important, particularly so figurative language. The images and metaphors used to guide and to inform personal narratives can be fundamental to the process of living, to the process of healing — and to the process of dying.

It is important to note that language and images that may work for one, may not work for another. Such has been true for me.

I too have had to navigate a life-threatening illness — one that would have taken my life, save for the due diligence of my outstanding primary physician, a timely diagnostic procedure and excellent care throughout. And save for grace.

In terms of language, my experience had far more to do with acceptance, engagement, collaboration, trust, submission and, most of all, surrender. The language of prayer was important as well: my prayer and the prayer of others. The language of grace was also significant — a lot of undeserved grace.

Second, check out my dad's blog this week, about, well, words:

In 2008 I painted a portrait of Barack Obama in thought. During debates he was often criticized by his opposition for not thinking quickly on his feet in debates. I  thought that  he was the best choice for President because he was the candidate who thought before he chose his words.


My mother’s voice was always calm and soothing. She took time from her life to read to me. I still can curl up inside the memory of her pleasantness and the choice of her words.

My father had less time for extended warm moments. His voice was firm, authoritarian and final. It was also loving because he was loving which was reflected in his choice of words.

Martin Luther King Jr came along later and just reinforced my appreciation for the spoken and written word.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Footprints in the snow

I really liked the Medievalist's haiku from last Friday:

Walking in the snow,
I leave a track upon which
I will not return.

In part, I like it because of its ambiguity-- where is he going? Does "I will not return" mean the snow will be gone, or he won't be back?

Monday, January 15, 2018


MLK Day THIS year....

It's MLK day. I have been thinking about Dr. King's teaching and legacy a lot lately. In part, that is because I need to get ready to speak in Memphis as part of the 50th anniversary of his death there in April (more details here).

It's not just that, though.

It has been a hard year in this country in terms of race. President Trump has (often subtly) stoked his base with racial offense since the primaries, but now he seems to have gotten to the point where reasonable people are publicly and somberly concluding that he is a racist.

At the same time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been turned into a secular moderate in much of the public imagination. That image hides two deep truths. One is that his faith had everything to do with his passion and his project. Christianity should, if it is true, drive us from hate, bias, and racial oppression. Over and over, he articulated that.

The second falsehood that sometimes we seem to want to believe is that he was a popular, let's-all-get-along type of guy. He was deeply unpopular with much of America, who seethed with anger at what he wanted and how he sought that change. He was right and they were wrong-- but often it is being right, in a way that implies moral judgment, that makes people the most angry. His solutions were radical at the time, in the places he sought them. His Letter from Birmingham Jail expresses his frustration with those who wanted him, in real time, to go slower and to be more moderate.

The truth, right now, is troubling.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Sunday Reflection: Redemption in the desert

It's been quite a week.

On Tuesday, I found myself in Florence, Arizona. It's a dusty, remote place, out in the middle of the desert and far from Tucson and Phoenix. It's a prison town; there are more people inside those prisons than outside in the town.

It has a beauty to it, though. There are mountains around, and as a flatlander that always makes my heart skip a beat. The land in and around town is flat and dry, but not barren. The sun defines the place of course, and even in January it was inescapable. I liked it.

As I drove in, I saw what looked like snow by the side of the road. It was over 75, though, and I knew that couldn't be right. I pulled over and picked at it-- it was cotton, which grew in the fields nearby and had piled up in the ditch and roadside. It felt primal, to run it through my fingers next to the empty highway.

I wasn't there on an agricultural mission, though. I had been invited to Florence by James Mannato, the public defender for Pinal County. He had come to a presentation I had given last June on selecting capital jurors, and wanted me to come talk to his team as they prepared for trial in a death penalty case. I found myself presenting in a small courtroom, with the lawyers and staff in the galley and along the wall. It was humbling; they knew more than I did, of course. Their questions were real and somber, which is what you get when you are dealing with life and death. Mr. Mannato explained the case to me--at least the public details--and I was struck (as I always am) by the complexity of these cases, the underlying humanity to it all.

It's been a difficult period in some ways, these past several months. As I look around, I don't see much hope in the near future for a resurgence in the role of human dignity within criminal justice. We who care about that have to fight just to maintain our ground. But that afternoon rejuvenated me. I loved hearing about what they are doing, and how they are doing it.

I drove out at the end of the day with a new hope. I'm part of a community of people who care about justice being just and humane, and sometimes I forget that. It was good to be reminded.

As I drove out, I passed one of the prisons in town. Behind a fence, there was one man in the yard, silhouetted against the sky as he leaned an a pole. It was an image I can't get out of my head. And between me and him was a field of rough earth, bone dry, marked with a few scrubby plants covered with thorns. It was this kind of land that Jesus walked across, I suppose. He told us to visit the prisoner, because then we visit Him. And to do that, in the United States in 2018, you have to go to  a place like Florence, Arizona.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Thanks, Yahoo News!

Yesterday I opened up a story on Yahoo News and came across this remarkable first line:

Botswana condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony. [sic]

Now, I'm the last person who should criticize anyone for a failure to edit properly. I am the worst editor in America. But... what is going on here? Who is "John TrumpHouse?" And with a name like "John TrumpHouse," how is he a Democrat?  

Don't get me wrong-- I'm all in on John Trumphouse's condemnation of Donald Trump Jr. and his serious case of amnesia. But... what was that about Botswana?

Friday, January 12, 2018


Haiku Friday: Things to do in winter

Yeah, it's winter. Here in Minnesota, we just put on some more clothes and deal with it. Some people build a fire and hole up (which is what I am doing right at the moment), while others get out and have some fun in the snow (like my niece Alexa in the photo, from Christmas week in Michigan). 

Whatever it is you like to do, let's haiku about that this week. Here, I will go first:

I walk outdoors, night
And something about the snow
Makes the stars brighter.

Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable formula, and have some fun!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Political Mayhem Thursday: Trump and the Farmer

So, maybe you missed it, but last week the Waco Farmer came back to the Razor! In a comment, where is what he said:

--> "Good morning. Hello from the other side. Some of you will notice that I have not checked in for a while. Some of you will remember me as a crazy guy who said a lot of crazy things. For most of 2015 and 2016 I asserted with absolute authority that Donald Trump would not make a serious run for the Republican nomination, even if he did--he could never win the nomination, and, in the end, he absolutely, categorically, unequivocally could never be President of the United States.
In the aftermath of that nightmare, I remembered a few fundamental truths ("nobody knows anything," hubris was in fact the original sin, and I had taken a professional oath at the beginning of my career to never predict the future). How had I gone so wrong?

I resolved to take a year to listen, ask questions (to which I did not already have all the answers), reject conventional wisdom, and observe. 

Questions. What is the true impact of the Trump presidency on American policy and political culture? Smaller and more Specific. What grade do I give his judicial appointments? What do I think about his re-orientation of the regulatory state? What do I think about his tax policy? What do I think about ACA moving forward? What do I think about his foreign policy? What is the state of our relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, Venezuela, China, Japan, and Mexico--just to name a few? What do I think about the Paris Climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, the decision to re-evaluate our traditional policy of buying off our allies and "frenemies" through foreign largesse?

And there are lots more. Just a sample of the many ideas to ponder. I will check in every once and while and let you know what I am seeing and hearing and how it has affected my thinking. Happy New Year."

So, after realizing "Hello from the other side" did not mean that he was dead (it just means he is conservative) I was so glad to see him back-- over the years, the Farmer has contributed some significant insights here.

In terms of what he said in the comment, I have been thinking some of the same things. The bad things about the Trump presidency are so bad that we see everything in the negative. But there must be some things going right, huh? And what is going wrong requires a more subtle analysis that some of the screeds I have read (and, at times, written).  

So, what do you think of his questions?  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Your trash is not your own

I was fascinated by a piece in the Portland Alt-Weekly that detailed an odd project: In the wake of a mild outcry over the police seizure of a a suspects trash, they went and examined the trash of the police chief, the mayor and the DA.  Two of the three-- the DA being the exception--went berzerk in response.

Of course, I'm not surprised that it was the prosecutor who didn't go haywire. Like me, he is trained in search and seizure law, and knows that trash is "abandoned" once you set it by the curb, and retains no expectation of privacy. It is a well-established principle of criminal law laid out in multiple Supreme Court cases.  Oddly, the newspaper's search found that he was disposing of items related to his own military service in the Marines. No scandal there, but interesting.

So, a note to you all: your trash is not your own. Plan accordingly.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


The Mission of my school

A few weeks ago, a piece I wrote appeared on the St. Thomas website. It was a good exercise, writing it; it made me distill into words some things that i just felt. You can read the whole thing here.

Here is how it starts:

I first visited St. Thomas Law to give a talk to the faculty at lunch. During the visit I saw the mission statement posted on a wall: “The University of St. Thomas School of Law, as a Catholic law school, is dedicated to integrating faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice.” There, in a few words, were so many challenging imperatives. Faith and reason. Truth. Morality. Social Justice. Each different, each complicated, and each one of them was a part of what I had been imperfectly striving for. Within a year, I was a part of the faculty after 10 years at Baylor Law School. Did the mission matter? It did when it drew me to St. Thomas, and it has ever since.
Consider, for example, the idea of morality. For too many lawyers, their vocation becomes amoral; they represent whichever side of a dispute walks through the door and offers money. Earlier in my career I was deeply troubled that we talked a lot about ethics – such as working hard for your client – but not much about morality. That’s not true at St. Thomas. In criminal law classes, I challenge my students to think hard about the morality of professional decisions, such as the choices a prosecutor makes within her area of discretion. Sometimes, I find students who aren’t comfortable with the moral decisions lawyers have to make and part of my job is to change that and help them see the moral dimension to all kinds of legal work. It can be the hardest part of the job.

Monday, January 08, 2018


The bird feeder....

How cold is it? You told us in haiku. I was a little obsessed over this one by Christine:

Enveloped by snow
Bird feeder becomes a Hajj
The world so quiet.

The Hajj, of course, is the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Awesome reference!

And Oso Grande referred to one of my favorite Christmas songs (written by Christina Rosetti:

Frost stops by woods and
Rosetti's bleak midwinter
both give heart and hope.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


Sunday Reflection: A New Year!

I know, I know... it is a bit past New Year's Day. Still, this is the first Sunday of the New Year after that one, and I think it is not too late to mull over what it means.

There isn't anything magical about the year changing, any more than it is meaningful that the odometer flips over 100,000 on your car (which actually happened to me this year for the first time, and all 100,000 were mine!).

Except... isn't it a little magical when the odometer flips over? All those zeroes in a row?

There is a definitive statement in these things, really. Time passes. And, in your car, space passes, places passing by one after the other; some you notice and others you don't. And yet, there is something ahead, unknown, exciting, just as real as that which has past.

If this all has a design, than certainly this is an elemental part of it, a bit of deep truth that can be hard to look at too closely...

Saturday, January 06, 2018


Super Bowl Oddity: The "Food Truck Tower"

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, next month's Super Bowl here in the Twin Cities will feature a "Food Truck Tower":

Where dyed-in-the-wool football fans gather, food trucks are sure to follow.

Schwan's Co. is taking the idea a step further with its Tailgate Truck Tower. The four-story-tall food stand, made from three of the company's iconic gold delivery trucks stacked on top of the other, wouldn't look out of place in a "Mad Max" movie.

Fans will be able to sample a wide variety of hot food offerings (for free!) from the Marshall- and Bloomington-based company, which owns a several retail brands, like Red Baron, Freschetta and Tony’s pizzas, Mrs. Smith’s pies and Edwards desserts. 

And, if free food is not your thing, it also features an interactive trivia video game, which will be projected on one side of the tower.

The tower will be unveiled during Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall, with construction starting in a few weeks where Nicollet Mall meets 8th Street.

When it’s built, the tower will measure about 40 feet high and 44.5 feet wide, and weigh an estimated 70,000 pounds, the company says.

So how is THAT supposed to work? I mean... what if I want a sloppy joe from the food truck on the top, how do I get up there to order it? This could be a total debacle. Or... the best thing ever.

Friday, January 05, 2018


Haiku Friday: How cold is it?

I love winter. I really do. Look, I live in Minnesota by choice, so if I didn't love winter I would be kind of an idiot.

On the way home from work I drove over a little bridge near my house which passes over the creek. Beneath me, on the ice, some kids had shoveled off a rink and were playing hockey. The puck skittered over the snowbank, and a kid clambered after it in his skates. It was 4 degrees out. I wanted in on that game.

I know that out east, it is kind of crazy with the "bomb cyclone." Any weather system with "bomb" (or, for that matter, "cyclone") is going to be pretty bad. 

Let's tell some winter stories this week, in haiku. Here, I will go first:

What I love the most
Is the sound(lessness) of it
The hush of cold peace.

Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable pattern, and have some fun!

Thursday, January 04, 2018


Political Mayhem Thursday: The sad fate of those around Trump

It seems that if you want to ruin your life somehow, the quickest way is to take a job in the White House. Everyone Trump touches turns to ash, it seems.

Those who got involved first-- in the campaign-- are among those who found misfortune most quickly. For others, the black cloud over their heads has yet to rain down indictments and embarrassment.

The people who ran Trump's campaign (except, for the moment, Kellyanne Conway) are all in some kind of hot mess.  Corey Lewandowski, the first of this trio, has been accused of sexual assault by a pro-Trump singer named Joy Villa.  Where? At the Trump hotel in DC, of course.

The second campaign manager was Paul Manafort, who is now under indictment as part of the Mueller investigation. He reacted to that yesterday with a lawsuit challenging Mueller's authority-- a suit that seems to be universally scoffed at by legal experts.

Finally, the campaign was put in the hands of Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.

Bannon apparently talked to a book author and had quite a bit to say about Trump. Among other things, he supposedly said that Ivanka Trump is "as dumb as a brick."  In response, Trump shot back yesterday with a truly unhinged written response (which was apparently too long for Twitter):

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.
Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
Yikes!  What's next? Oh, right... more indictments. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


Awards time!

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted this out:

I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!

Wow! I am looking forward to that.

Sean Spicer has to at least get nominated!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018



Probably many of you remember Yertle the Turtle. He was a creation of Dr. Suess.  Yertle was the king of the Turtles, and he decides he wants to stack his subjects up so he can be on top-- eventually he wants to be higher than the moon. The turtle at the bottom, Mack, registers a complaint and is told to be quiet. Eventually, Mack burps, Yertle tumbles, and then becomes "King of the mud."

I remember as a kid talking to other kids about the story, and there were a few theories on what it meant:

-- some kids thought Yertle had the right idea and just did not execute properly
-- others believed that it was a story about madness for power for the sake of power
-- meanwhile, I thought it actually was a story about Mack.

What is (or was) your theory?

Monday, January 01, 2018


On the New Year

So... there were haikus. And they were good. I loved the uplifting ones...

Like this from Oso Grande:

Weird President Trump
Shots and cars in crowds, BUT.....then.....Granddaughter Nora!

And most of all this, from my dad:

went away came back
surrounded by rescuers and my
beloved family.

Happy New Year to all!

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