Showing posts from October, 2023

The Long Way Home 10.20.23

Today, an observation, a pair of mini-rants, and a bit of nostalgia. An observation based on a Depression-era quote from Will Rogers and watching the Republican side of the US House of Representatives.  “I am not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat,” Rogers wrote. A Native American, Rogers was a vaudeville performer, movie actor, and prolific and acerbic writer about current affairs. He appeared in 71 films and published over 3,500 newspaper columns. He died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935, only 55 years old. One is left to wonder what he would write about a Congress that has tied itself into a Gordian Knot as crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East boil, and our government faces a debt ceiling-related shutdown in a month because one party is too disorganized to select a leader.  ***** Rant one.  What’s up with the names given to grandparents these days? Our first granddaughter popped out in Reno 21 years ago. At 48, we were relatively young to be grandpar

The Tale of Five Mile Rock 10.13.23

East of Grand Marais is a landmark island off Lake Superior's shore called Five Mile Rock. Once you pass it going west, you can be in line at World’s Best Donuts in Grand Marais in less than ten minutes. Eastbound travelers will be at the Kadunce River mouth (or Kodonce, as the State of Minnesota spells it both ways) in five.  Five Mile Rock is so rugged even vacation townhouse developers aren’t able to build on it. It sits less than a mile offshore, five miles from Grand Marais. It is a tourist attraction in its own right, though. So, an enterprising resident of Colvill thought he’d lend some assistance, and he prepared a tri-fold brochure in 2016 that presented a history of the island to help tourists understand how it came to be there. He printed a number of the flyers and handed them out during the annual Fishermen’s Picnic in Grand Marais that summer. A creative sort, this man, who wished to remain anonymous, so we will call him Anonymous, took some liberties with the facts. B

The Long Way Home 10.13.23

Sometimes, the best column ideas come from a trip to the transfer station. Before dumping our trash last week, I went to the office to pay the $8 disposal fee. I opened the door on Miss Daisy, the family car, and fought gravity to stand up. As always, I tugged on my jeans to bring them up to where I was comfortable and strode through the door. From behind, I heard a woman say, “Need help pulling up those pants?” Followed by a sinister laugh. Turning to see who the brazen hussy might be, I saw a friend of mine, a sometime reader of this column, and I realized she wasn’t a hussy at all. We both laughed then. This tic of mine, pulling up my pants before walking away from the car or just standing up, is quite common among men, especially those of a certain age. I thought I was the only one. As we discussed this topic with the young lady at the cash register, I began questioning my relationship with pants. The two gentlewomen proposed that men’s pockets are too full of stuff because they do

The Long Way Home 10.6.23

How to begin? It’s the age of scandal and the worship of false idols. Right?  In my adolescence, and maybe sometime before that, my mother dreamed I’d become a Lutheran pastor. She would have been so happy if I grew old, leading a small congregation in rural Minnesota. Alas, I shattered her dreams. Not for the first or the last time. Shunning the clergy, I entered the business of moving freight. An industry where my dad made his living.  There isn’t much of the spiritual in moving freight, an industry driven by steel, rubber, diesel, and cement. The people in that industry, me and Dad included, relied on copious amounts of caffeine, nicotine, and not insignificant amounts of the demon alcohol to keep the country moving. I do recall the story of Moses from my churching days. He climbed a mountain to get God’s commandments, as he’d been ordered. I even knew those commandments at one time, in order, but I digress.  While old Moses was gone, the people he left at the base of Mount Sinai cr

The Long Way Home 9.29.23

Maybe it’s because of advancing years, but I seem grumpier than I should be. Simmering rage sends me to my keyboard to write about things that aren’t right and rail against the establishments that keep them going.  So it was with great hope that I subscribed to a weekly online newsletter titled “What Could Go Right?” They captured me with this:  “Can't stop doomscrolling? Take a break with our progress newsletter.” I indeed spend too much time “doomscrolling” on my mobile phone. It keeps me from doing more productive things on the ridge, and the habit does fuel my discontent.  Still, I don’t like myself when I get worked up from Facebook or Threads. (I gave up on Twitter when the Musk guy took over because, well, the Musk guy is a twit.) So, the Progress Newsletter seems like an exciting and happier diversion. The Progress Newsletter is put out by The Progress Network, which is part of an organization called New America. New America claims to be a non-partisan think tank (we have t