Father’s Day – Rolling Thunder

The front porch of our little, off-white stucco house in Medora, N.D., was a magical place to be on hot, muggy summer evenings.  / I was about 5 years old, and it was father-son time. I’d lean back, feel the strength in his chest and the arm around me, enjoy the cracking of peanuts in one of his big hands or the aroma of tobacco as he puffed at his pipe from time to time. 

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The front porch of our little, off-white stucco house in Medora, N.D., was a magical place to be on hot, muggy summer evenings. 

I was about 5 years old, and it was father-son time. I’d lean back, feel the strength in his chest and the arm around me, enjoy the cracking of peanuts in one of his big hands or the aroma of tobacco as he puffed at his pipe from time to time. 

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Positively Brilliant

I’d never heard a more miserable, pitiful statement in my life, and I haven’t heard a more miserable, pitiful one since.

It came in an upper-level English literature course of some sort, when the group was chewing through a work by Dickens or some other dead Englishman. This woman raised her hand, then said, “When I wake up every morning, I tell myself, ‘This is going to be the worst day of my life.’ That way, I’m never disappointed.”

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Extra! Extra!

Fifty dollars was nothing to sneeze at in 1976. And to a 7-year-old newspaper boy used to spending nickels and dimes on Nu-Grape sodas and Marathon candy bars, it was an almost unfathomable amount. It was so much, in fact, that I didn’t dare keep it when I found the $50 bill in a gravel driveway on the edge of tiny Medora, N.D.

PaperboyI was on my paper route, trudging through the dust after slipping a paper into a door, head down, thinking about who-knows-what, when a movement caught my eye. There it was, a half C Note, shuddering in the early morning breeze and sunshine.

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Big D and the Fourth Estate

Trump decries what he calls “unfair” reporting by “slime”, a.k.a. journalists and news organizations. He’s made a habit of banning from his events any that have said or written things he finds troubling. / But don’t be fooled. Trump’s working the bigger picture….

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Trump decries what he calls “unfair” reporting by “slime”, a.k.a. journalists and news organizations. He’s made a habit of banning from his events any that have said or written things he finds troubling.

According to USA Today, the list of news organizations that Big D will no longer let in the doors includes “… Politico, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, The Des Moines Register, the Union Leader, Univision and Fusion”. The latest to incur his ire is The Washington Post.

But don’t be fooled. Trump’s working the bigger picture.

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Dripping with Irony

I stood in the shower this morning, absentmindedly going through the get-clean routine and thinking about what I’d like to knock off of the honey-do list today. Suddenly a lightbulb went off over my head….

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I stood in the shower this morning, absentmindedly going through the get-clean routine and thinking about what I’d like to knock off of the honey-do list today:

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How I Became a Pirate

Once there was a little girl who, although I didn’t know it yet, was to be the first of three for my wife, Cassi, and me. The little lass loved books. More than that she loved having them read to her at bedtime….

Avast ye, mateys! (Pay attention!).

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Know ye that September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye landlubbers? Never ye mind – I’ll let ye keep drawin’ breath t’day. Fer now, pull up a stool an’ listen smartly while I spin the yarn of how I came te be a pirate. Arrrr!

(I’ll stop trying to write like a pirate now – it’s exhausting, not to mention confusing, and from what I hear most pirates couldn’t write, anyway.)

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Here to There. It’s Everywhere.

Change Happens – I’m thinking about transitions on this first day of the New Year. I’ve learned change is constant. Some changes are bigger and more impactful than others. We move on. It’s all good.

I’m thinking about transitions on this first day of the New Year.

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Bad to good, good to better, better to great. If you’re not so lucky it’s the other way around. More likely, though, you’re on an up-down-up wave like the rest of us. We’re all moving all the time. From one place to another, task to task, priority to priority. I suppose “status to status” is more applicable in these online-all-the-time days.

Three things about change and transitions are, at least in my mind, undoubtedly true.

Change is constant.

Heraclitus is commonly credited as the first to put this truth into the words. According to the peer reviewed Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Greek philosopher from the late 6thcentury saw life as “…an ongoing process governed by a law of change.”  Some sources report he expressed this as, “Change is the only constant in life.” Others claim the line was “The only constant is change.” Others have it this way: “Change alone is unchanging.” Still others:  “There is nothing permanent except change.”

Which goes to show that even axioms transition down the years and depend on who is reporting them.

Some changes are bigger than others.

In 2014 my wife left her job to pursue a new career, which meant going back to school first. I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I admire her courage. The leap has been huge for our family, in a good way.

I changed jobs. So far, no day has been the same as the one before.

My daughter dropped soccer, a sport she’s been playing since she was six. That might not sound like much, but for seven years soccer seasons and tournaments ruled our lives. She’s found a new athletic passion – volleyball – which requires less travel and won’t impact our schedules quite as much. However, our two younger kids are getting deeper into the world’s game now…

It’s all good.

We move on.

Mom died in April, and all of us have been getting used to life without her. Lately I’ve been wondering when that transition might be done, but I know it never will be. Fact is, I don’t want it to be. I go on, but I think about her every day. Dad, too. And you know what? It always makes me smile inside.

My hope on this first day of 2015 is that our up-down-ups never flat line. If every day were the same, if we slid along in a ho-hum never experiencing euphoria or anguish, life would be like a dull, grey winter sky. No thanks.

This year, I plan to be whatever change demands:  sad, happy, understanding, strong, supportive or in need of support. I’ll try to be kind in everything. Above all, I’ll do my best to embrace the transition.

I hope you do, too.

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No tight pants. How about NO victim blaming, instead?

If the ’50s were calling, the Devils Lake Public Schools phone would be ringing. That’s where officials have enacted a ban on girls wearing jeggings, leggings, tight jeans and yoga pants.

The 1950s called. They want their discriminatory dress code back.

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Bad joke. I wish the news out of Devils Lake, N.D., today were just a bad joke, too.

If the ’50s were calling, the Devils Lake Public Schools phone would be ringing. That’s where officials have enacted a ban on girls wearing jeggings, leggings, tight jeans and yoga pants.

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Robots Rock. And Score Goals. And Write.

With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans. They also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

140727_Robots-Rock-WriteThey’ve been rolling into our lives for years, performing tasks from the relatively mundane, like vacuuming floors, to the Jetsonish, like working as teachers’ aides in classrooms. With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans.

Robots also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

According to the experts, if robotics continues to advance at the current pace, it might not be long before bots will be able to score goals as effectively as Lionel Messi, and other machines will report the wins and losses.

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Shocking Distractions: A World Without Daydreams

Being able to disengage mentally is crucial to mental health. Can you?

Sixty-seven percent of men and 25 percent of women are shockingly distracted. Or at least they’d rather be.

According to a series of studies by University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, two out of three men elected to shock themselves rather than be alone with their thoughts for six to 15 minutes. SHOCK. THEMSELVES.

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