Sunday, March 31, 2024


Sunday Reflection: Easter in Unsettled Times


The women at the tomb must have been shocked: the body was gone. I've always thought they immediately thought there had been grave robbers.
But the resurrection was so much more than shocking. It must have been deeply unsettling to those who followed Christ and those who didn't. Jesus had been blurring the line between life and death for a while-- raising people from the dead and talking about "everlasting life." And then this!
We don't like being unsettled; at least I don't. I like firm ground under my feet and a wide, clean road in front of me.  But sometimes I need to be unsettled.
Jesus's unsettling wasn't just for his own time. What he taught unsettles so much of what we want and think, if we are honest. He told the rich man to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. He taught that when someone steals from us, we should give them more. He said that if we want to find him, go talk to someone in prison. Very few of us can take that seriously without being unsettled.
But if you look at your own life, you'll probably see that the inflection points, those moments that were the start of anything good, were almost always a time when you were deeply unsettled-- when something about your identity or safety or relationships or work shifted under you. 
And that is what today is about: that great unsettling that came with a life after death.

Saturday, March 30, 2024


If you missed the news this week...

 ... here is a quick catch-up!

Friday, March 29, 2024


Haiku Friday: New York


I'm not sure why, but Easter makes me think of New York. Most everyone has a memory or a hope or an idea tied to that place-- let's haiku about that this week. Here, I will go first:

Beautiful indoors--
So much of that in New York
Wood and stone and art.

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

Thursday, March 28, 2024


Religious/Political Mayhem Thursday: The Trumpish Bible


For sixty bucks, you can now buy the "God Bless the USA" Bible from Donald Trump. It includes not only the King James Bible, but the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the pledge of allegiance, and the lyrics to a Lee Greenwood song.

There are a lot of issues here.

First of all, as far as I know (check me on this, IPLawGuy) all of these materials except the song are out of copyright, so Trump is paying nothing for the content. More accurate and modern Bibles, that take into account new discoveries, include translations that often are still under copyright. 

Second, there are lots of conflicts between the documents in there. For example, the First Commandment says "Have no other Gods before me," while the First Amendment in that pesky Constitution advises that we can have whatever God we want-- or none at all. And in that Bible, Jesus says to "take no oaths before God or Man," yet, the pledge of allegiance is exactly that. Hmmm.

Finally, the best kind of Bible is this: full of side-tabs, marked up with pen in the margins, taped together from being carried around, and full of fingerprints. No Trump required.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024


New at CNN


Yesterday, CNN posted my piece about President Biden's unfortunate record on criminal justice reform. You can read it here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024


Sweet 16 is on the way!

 The men's field for the sweet 16 was set on Sunday (the women's field was set late last night). Here is who is left, ranked by who I think is most likely to win through the team least likely to win:

Iowa State
NC State
SD State

And it's interesting to see which conferences are doing well...

ACC-- 4 teams
Big East- 3 teams (of three Big East teams who made the tourney)
Big 10-- 2 teams
Big 12-- 2 teams
SEC-- 2 teams

Monday, March 25, 2024


Poems o' Pie

 Oh, Pie! I can tell by what you all wrote that you all love pie as much as I do. Here are the many submissions, listed according to how much I like the pie you describe.

CraigA, I want this pie (the pecan pie)!!!:

Pecan pie the best;
Derby pie with pecan and
Chocolate better!

And Jill, you know I love lemon meringue (my fave overall, but I just ate one):

My Mamaw's lemon
meringue pie lives on in my
mem'ry. Love through pie.

And Desiree, mmmmm.... key lime....:

Graham cracker crust
with a tangy sweet center.
Key lime so yummy!

Chicken pot pie can be good, as an anonymous poster noted (and I love the opening line):

O chicken pot pie!
Your crumbly crust and warm sauce
Perfect comfort food.

Jill, the Kentucky Derby pie sounds pretty over-the-top:

Kentucky Derby
pie is ooey gooey good
best to add bourbon.

And egg custard could be good:

Hubby Dave made an
egg custard pie from scratch. Swoon!
Won me heart, body.

Christine is suggesting something I haven't seen (but could be good):

Raspberry Cream Pie
An annual ritual
More custard than fruit.

While the Medievalist... please, just, no:

The joy of mince meat!
Spicy, sweet, fatty, tangy,
Is misunderstood.

There was an anonymous general comment that I totally disagree with:

I'd eat pie each day,
If only the scale said YES!
But the answer: no.

And finally, a pie-affirming word from Christine:

Double R Diner,
Twin Peaks, Agent Dale Cooper
Eats a lot of pie.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


Sunday Reflection: Palms


On Palm Sunday, the crowd that was in Jerusalem wasn't there for Jesus-- they were there for the Passover Festival. Some of us know what that is like, to be in a city that is full of people to celebrate or share something. Those crowds sometimes gravitate towards what is happening, and on that day it was Jesus's entry into the city. 
The people grabbed palm branches and ran out to greet him. (I've always imagined that as the people going out of the gates to the road, palm branches in hand). They created a scene, a good one, welcoming someone who intrigued them. I would love to have been one of those people.
It's the one-year anniversary of my dad's death, and I have been deeply affected. Grief is real, and these moments are triggers. 
But part of that is remembering moments, which is redemptive. One that I have been thinking about is a show my dad had in that last year or so, at the Southfield City Hall. So many people came and looked closely at it all, then gathered in a group in the center, kind of a mob, as my dad kind of explained things (or didn't, depending). It was... a moment, a singular moment, kind of like that road outside Jerusalem.

Saturday, March 23, 2024


Charles Barkley's bad day


At halftime of the Auburn-Yale game yesterday, Charles Barkley was so confident his alma mater would win that he lit up a cigar. That didn't age well as Yale ended up winning 78-76. 
It has been a bad tournament for the perennially-overrated SEC. Their 4-seeded champion lost to Yale. 7 seed Florida lost to Colorado, a 10 seed. SEC powerhouse Kentucky, a 3 seed, lost to tiny Oakland University. 6 seed South Carolina lost to 11 seed Oregon. 
Maybe next year, fewer spots for the SEC and more for the Ivy League....

Friday, March 22, 2024


Haiku Friday: Pie!


Yesterday I was having a bad day, and my friends brought me this spectacular pie-- and it sure mad things better. So let's haiku about pie this week! [Yes, I know we did pizza last week, which is technically a pie, so if you have a leftover pizza haiku, feel free to use it]
Here, I will go first:
Lemon Meringue 
Each snowy peak bears my name.
 Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum!
Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable pattern, and have some fun!

Thursday, March 21, 2024


PMT: Texas Going It's Own Way (and not in a good way)


Texas is fighting to implement-- over federal court challenge-- a new law that would allow state authorities to arrest people for illegally being in the country and then effectively deport them.
For all of the nation's history, border protection and immigration have been federal issues. Most recently, in Arizona v. United States (2012), the Supreme Court held that Arizona authorities could not arrest people for immigration charges. That means that if Texas is allowed to do so, it will be a radical change from existing law. Of course, this Supreme Court kind of has a penchant for that.
Iowa has already decided to follow Texas' lead, and we can expect others to follow. If so, it will become a free-for-all on immigration enforcement-- and that will be very messy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Good Giving!

 About my favorite philanthropist these days is MacKenzie Scott, who received a bazillion dollars in a divorce settlement with Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) and who is giving it away. But not only is she giving it away, but in a particular way-- she  focuses on small, local non-profits that work directly with people or on causes that help those who need help.

Yesterday, she gave away $640,000,000 to 361 small non-profits, including these in my area:

  • $2 million to Appetite for Change, which increases access to healthy foods in north Minneapolis
  • $1 million to Dream of Wild Health, a Native-led Minneapolis nonprofit that provides culturally specific food and related programs
  • $2 million to ISAIAH, a faith-based, nonpartisan coalition in St. Paul
  • $2 million to OutFront Minnesota, a St. Paul-based LGBTQ advocacy organization
  • $2 million to WellShare International in Minneapolis, which provides public health programs in Tanzania and Minnesota
  • $2 million to Gender Justice in St. Paul, a legal and policy advocacy organization
  • $2 million to Build Wealth Minnesota in Minneapolis, which offers financial literacy classes and loan assistance for homeowners
  • $3 million to Twin Cities Rise in north Minneapolis, which helps low-income Minnesotans with job training and career coaching
  • $2 million to All Square in Minneapolis, a criminal justice reform and re-entry program
Of these groups, I have worked with or supported ISAIAH, Outfront Minnesota, and All Square, and they are incredibly worthy of this support.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024


It's that time of year!


The NCAA basketball tournaments start this week, and (at least on the men's side) people are ready for upsets! That is in part because there were so many upsets in the league championships just concluded. In fact, of the four Number One seeds, only one (Connecticut) won its league's tournament, while Houston, Purdue, and UNC all fell. There was a lot of "bid stealing"-- that is, a situation where a league with a team which is a lock to get into the tournament, but another team wins the league play-off and the automatic bid, meaning that a league that normally only gets one team in will get two. 

In my own bracket, I'm favoring those hot teams that won their league, including 10-seed (in the league play-offs) ACC champion NC State. After all, those are the teams that are good NOW, rather than in December. A lot changes...

The action gets hot and heavy on Thursday and Friday, right through the weekend....

Monday, March 18, 2024


Poems of pizza!


Y'all were all in on the pizza haiku!

It was great to see CraigA weighing in:

Pepi’s pizzeria:
My beloved college pie shop
of old – beer and za.

And relatedly (maybe), "Eli":

New Haven street cred
Knowing, defending your fave
For me? Frank Pepe's.

An anonymous entry called out one of the greats:

Oh, Lou Malnati’s!
Though folks may love your toppings
It’s all about the crust

And Desiree is thinking New York:

Perfect slice? There is
a correct answer. Thin crust,
bought in the Village.

Jill Scoggins has memories:

I still have some dreams
about Shakespeare’s Pizza at
Mizzou. So, so good.

IPLawGuy is messed up in the head (I don't think he knows anchovies are fish):

Anchovies need riz
Better for you than sausage
or pepperoni

And Christine, just no (snails?!?!?):

The age old debate
Pineapple on pizza? Yes!
It's a blank canvas

An all time fav'rite
French Country pizza with snails
And smoked gouda, yum

But the Medievalist... isn't that the 9-9-9 guy?:

Godfather’s combo,
A bit of everything!
So delicious.

Sunday, March 17, 2024


Sunday Reflection: All I cannot see


One of the best, and hardest, things about faith-- any faith-- is the humility if forces on you, that acknowledgment that if there is some higher power or powers, then you will never have complete mastery of this world or really any part of it. We see through a glass darkly what God sees clearly.

It's not in our nature, of course; we are drawn towards understanding and mastery. But it is one thing to strive to find out truth, but another to imagine we have attained it. 

What do you see in the photo above? And how sure are you?

Saturday, March 16, 2024


Speaking of hockey hair....

 Check out Craig A back in the day-- that's him in the middle. It's a little grainy, but they didn't have modern cameras back then, with the lenses and everything, but Quaker Oat boxes with a pinhole.  And the Colgate player in the upper right is future NHL star Mike Milbury....

Friday, March 15, 2024


Haiku Friday: Pizza


I've been lucky to live in three places with very distinctive styles of pizza: New Haven, Chicago, and Detroit. I'm partial to Detroit-style, though I love a hot pie an Modern, too. Sadly, my time in Waco and Minneapolis hasn't yielded anything like I got in those three other cities.

So, let's haiku about pizza this week-- what you like, a favorite place, whatever. Here, I will go first:

New York style pizza?
Limpid floppy walking dough
I'm no fold-over!

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

Thursday, March 14, 2024


Political Mayhem Thursday: Jesse Ventura for VP?


Former Minnesota Governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura is apparently being considered as a running mate for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who will be on the ballot in many states. Yeah, Kennedy is a kinda-crazy vaccine opponent, but the return of Ventura to the campaign trail could sure make things interesting!

For those of you who missed his bonkers career, Ventura had the following roles:

-- From 1969-1975, he was in the US Navy, serving as an underwater demolition expert.
-- In the late '70's he served as a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead.
-- In 1979, he began wrestling in the Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association.
-- From 1981 to 1987 or so, he wrestled in the WWF (later the WWE)
-- After that, he was a commentator on wrestling shows
-- He also turned to acting, and was the co-star (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the original Predator film.
-- In 1990, he ran to be the Mayor of Brooklyn Park, a Minneapolis suburb. He won, and served until 1995.
-- Then, in 1998, he beat the Republican (Norm Coleman) and Democrat (Skip Humphrey) as the Reform Party candidate for governor. He chose not to run for a second term. 
-- Most recently, he successfully pushed for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota.

No, I won't vote for Kennedy and Ventura-- but it could make things interesting, and they could skim more votes from Trump than Biden.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024


SOTU-- and what comes next


I started out watching Joe Biden's State of the Union address last week in kind of a protective crouch, waiting for disaster to happen. It didn't though-- he really exceeded my expectations and I thought it was a pretty good speech. Sure, he didn't mention criminal law at all, but... sigh. 
Anyways, I thought the speech would go a long way towards addressing the allegations that he lacks mental acuity. Sure, he was reading from a teleprompter (as all presidents have in modern times), but he seemed sharp for about an hour, which is something I can't always say for my lectures. 
Unfortunately, the polls show no bump for him from that performance-- which was exactly what I though he needed to get a bump. That's pretty discouraging.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024


It's that time-- for the Minnesota Boys Hockey Hair Team


You know what I want? A picture of CraigA in his playing days back at Colgate-- I'll bet there was some serious flow...

Monday, March 11, 2024


Spring Break Poetry

 Hey, nice job this week! I am most intrigued by the Medievalist's, who is apparently in Minnesota:
Spending time with Dad,
Beautiful fire in the stove,
Relaxing from work.

And then Desiree has a twist on warm sand:
Leaving on a jet
plane, off to New Mexico.
No beach, lotsa sand.

Christine remembers well:
Sun, sand, Easter friends
Sticky Hawaiian Tropic
2 weeks of heaven.

And, sadly, Jill Scoggins doesn't get one!:

Faculty, students
Get spring break. Staff don’t. I don’t.
Unfair it is, no?

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Sunday Reflection: The Cloud of Saints


None of us have done what we have done-- good or bad-- alone. 
There are times I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. There are other times I sense a cloud of Saints around me. Not the Saints the Catholics recognize, but those Saints that played a part in my life: who loved me, who guided me, who challenged me, who told me when I was wrong and when I was right. I have a LOT of Saints. A lot. 
Pictured above (with me and Chris Lynch-- notably, I have the same hairstyle I do now) are Bill and Jane Smith, and they are part of that beloved group. The lived down the block from me when I was a kid. On the way home from school, I would stop at their house and read a book on the porch; when I finished one, Mrs. Smith would bring me another, and maybe an apple. When I was in high school, they advocated for William and Mary, and I took their advice. Then I knew them the rest of their lives, and loved their company. Mr. Smith referred to his wife as "Champ," and he was right.
The best kind of Saint...

Saturday, March 09, 2024


If you missed the Republican Response to the SOTU...

 ... it was a doozy, featuring Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama, the state that just keeps giving. And no, this isn't a parody-- it's her actual response. So many questions!
-- why is she in a kitchen?
-- does her shifting from cheerleader-ish happiness to tearful sadness in six seconds indicate a need to maybe seek some help?
-- is she like this all the time?


Friday, March 08, 2024


Haiku Friday: Spring Break!


Maybe you don't get Spring Break-- but I bet you once did! Let's haiku about that this week. Here, I will go first:
IPLawGuy, me
Each year, head out West to ski 
Sun, snow, speed, and food.
Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable formula, and have some fun!

Thursday, March 07, 2024


Political Mayhem Thursday: The other Super Tuesday results


Yes, Super Tuesday made it Super Clear that the presidential race will be between Biden and Trump again. Sigh. But that's not the only thing of note that happened! There were also these results:
-- In California's primary for Senate, the top two spots went to Adam Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey (yeah, the baseball player). Coming in behind them and thus not making the general election were two very significant female members of Congress, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter, both of whom gave up their seats in Congress to run. It's a net loss to loser them from the House. 
-- In the North Carolina gubernatorial primaries, the Democratic Attorney General, Josh Stein, and the Republican Lieutenant Governor, Mark Robinson, won. Stein is a moderate. Robinson is a full-on MAGA Man, and has attacked Michelle Obama, the Parkland school shooting victims,  and the LGBTQ community,while casting doubt on the Holocaust, the 9/11 attacks and the moon landing.
-- In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz will face Congressman Colin Allred, a civil rights lawyer. I've never understood how Texans can even stand Ted Cruz, but they have.
-- In Houston, District Attorney Kim Ogg was soundly defeated by Sean Teare, who talked about expanding diversion programs. Meanwhile in Austin, incumbent Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza defeated an opponent who criticized Garza's progressive reforms and prosecution of police officers accused of shooting civilians.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024


The Left Coast


I'm kind of fascinated by this map at the New York Times, which shows the primary results in the California Senate race, showing the divide between counties where Democrat Adam Schiff won and those won by Republican Steve Garvey. (There were also two significant other Dems in the race, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee). 
Except for Orange County (south of LA) and San Diego County at the bottom of the map and Del Norte at the top, the coast all went to Schiff-- and two of those might shift when the race is down to two. It's a really stark divide, and one we outsiders don't always perceive about the state: when we talk about wealthy and affluent California, we are talking about the coast. The inland areas are very different, and not just regarding politics...

Tuesday, March 05, 2024


The dinosaurs among us


It's always fascinating when a fringe theory becomes and accepted truth. One of the most fascinating such shifts in my own lifetime is the theory (now generally accepted) that birds are a surviving kind of dinosaur-- egg-laying, warm blooded animals with the same characteristics. Specifically, they are part of a group of dinosaurs called Theropods which walked on two legs. In fact, fan favorite Tyranosaurus Rex was a theropod.
 I was obsessed with dinosaurs as a kid, and this news would have fascinated me: dinosaurs everywhere! Even now, it gives me a little jolt of joy...

Monday, March 04, 2024


Sickness (and health)

 So, I got better! Thanks for the well-wishes-- and the haiku.

Dr. Price (who should know about this) offered not just one:

Not an infection;
no longer a death sentence;
exceedingly rare.
But two!:
Autoimmune non-
sense. Awakening weary;
exhausted by night.

Des, I think, IS sick:
I so wanted to
write a good haiku this week
but the bugs got me. 

The Medievalist is dialed in and dodged it:
Congested, no fever,
Big positive for Covid,
Never really sick.

Christine has a cure:
Maybe chicken soup
Covid, covid go away...
Will cure what ails you.

And here is another cure!:

Rest, rest, rest is best!
With a pillow 'neath his head
Put this bird to bed!

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