N.D. Dem-NPL, It’s Time to Stand Up

And, Please, No More “Republican Lite”

170420_NDDemNPL_StandUp

Byron Dorgan once got my ass kicked.

That’s not literally true, of course. I can’t remember the name of the kid who actually trounced me in a back alley half a block from Jamestown Junior High when I was in the 7th grade, but it did start with our future senator.

Continue reading “N.D. Dem-NPL, It’s Time to Stand Up”

Pops References

No one has called me “Pops” to my face yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

161016_Pops-Bus

A young colleague recently showed me a graphic meant to accompany a client’s social media post. It dealt with clean water in underdeveloped areas. Prominently featured was a blue bus. I shook my head. “Makes me think of Jim Morrison,” I said, assuming the underlying narcotic use suggestion was obvious. “We don’t wanna go there.”

I could have been speaking Swahili. Blank look. “Who?”

Continue reading “Pops References”

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.”

Continue reading “Positively Brilliant”

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.

Continue reading “Extra! Extra!”

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!).

150919_How-I-Became-Pirate

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.)

Continue reading “How I Became a Pirate”

Sacred Things

She died on Palm Sunday. I think that would have made her happy, as she drew her last breaths, knowing that she was going to die on a significant day on the church calendar. I held her hand all that morning. Now I hold the bean stone.

I’ve been carrying a rock around in my pocket for a couple of months.

The smooth, bean-shaped stone is about an inch and a half long, half an inch wide and five sixteenths of an inch thick. It’s smooth, like a worry stone. Not perfectly smooth, like the kind you’d find in a gift shop. But smooth in a natural way, with some imperfections and slight ridges that make you know it’s real.

Continue reading “Sacred Things”

Bob Lind Shoutout – Ellington Story

Got a shoutout in Bob Lind’s “Neighbors” column in yesterday’s issue of the local paper,The Forum, Fargo. The column references a story I wrote back in 2001 (the Lind column was off by a couple of years) forNDSU Magazine about the night a North Dakota Agricultural College extension agent and his friend from South Dakota State College recorded Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the original Crystal Ballroom in downtown Fargo.

Continue reading “Bob Lind Shoutout – Ellington Story”

Feeling Blue? Get Yourself Some P!nk. Or Just About Any Other Color.

From Pink Floyd to the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, there have been a lot of colors along the way. And they’ve all be awesome… CLICK THE HEADLINE TO READ MORE.

It started for me in 1979 with Pink Floyd.

I found my 11-year-old self standing in the principal’s office at Roosevelt Elementary in Jamestown, N.D., the second from the end in a line of four 6th graders performing “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II.” I thought about how much trouble we were in as we sang, “We don’t need no education / we don’t need no thought control/…”

We were rebelling, of course, with the song that was all over the radio those days.

Continue reading “Feeling Blue? Get Yourself Some P!nk. Or Just About Any Other Color.”

Extra! Extra! Part II

ExtraExtra

I submitted “Extra! Extra!” (see earlier post on this blog) to Country Extra magazine, which was soliciting personal, small-town stories featuring acts of kindness.
The magazine’s editors shortened the piece considerably and printed it in the November/December issue. I received my copy in the mail last week, along with my free, full-size dinner triangle.
Ah, yes, freelance writing will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams….

Just Winking At You

Look at it. The front page of your daily newspaper, down at the bottom. Winking at you!

Every morning when I open my copy of the local newspaper, The Forum, I can’t help but think of Jackie O’Shea’s line from “Waking Ned Devine.” Because at the bottom right of page one, Monday-Saturday, there it is just winking at me – a print ad. It’s no winning lotto number, to be sure, but in the end Jackie and I are referring to the same thing: fortune.

Continue reading “Just Winking At You”