Thursday, February 23, 2017

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Posted February 01, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

At the checkout counter

Winter sits heavy in Des Moines, Iowa. Grey skies, bare trees, and a cold wind blowing across the Urbandale Hy-Vee parking lot and down my sweater, turning those last few steps into a run to the finish line. I make it through the front doors just as the sun sets

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Posted January 04, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

David or Pinocchio?

The loud and angry Italian couple leaned into each other as they faced off like professional wrestlers getting ready for the big, slingshot-catapult, missile-dropkick finale to their match. Waving their arms and posturing on the narrow, crowded street, they left little room for us to politely walk around the drama.

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Posted November 30, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

‘Enough!’

“Keep pumping your arms, Joe. Legs up and squeezed together. Shoulder blades on your back. Keep that pelvis on the mat. Belly button in and up. That’s it.” The hard-bodied, diminutive instructor, Monique Weevers, rattles off the technique for a Joseph Pilates sit-up called the “hundred.” We all gamely follow.

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Posted November 02, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Joe’s Neighborhood: A Thanksgiving story, the Pilgrims and same-sex marriage

Knocking on the door of No. 9 Beschuitsteeg in Leiden is unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, not the unsettling of eating slimy raw herring by the tail, a Dutch delicacy that is plenty unsettling, but more like “my wife is going to wonder one more time why she’s married to

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Posted October 05, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

‘I am Iowa’?

“ ‘Gov. Robert Ray was a phenomenal governor and a true statesman,’ said [Gov. Terry] Branstad.” – Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, Sept. 26, 2012. “In his speech, [Gov. Terry] Branstad said, ‘Throughout his career, Ambassador Quinn has displayed leadership in protecting the world’s most vulnerable, working

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Posted October 04, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood, Uncategorized

Joe’s Neighborhood: George Arvidson

George Arvidson died the other day. Most of you probably didn’t know him. I barely did. He floated around my legal career as an older fellow lawyer, but we rarely had contact. I picture him in the courthouse with his traditional suit, glasses, and an easy smile. A defense lawyer

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Posted August 31, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

A tall woman on being tall

A woman is running along a narrow pole in Strasbourg, France. That much is clear. But straight up in the air? She certainly is striding strong, arms outstretched, thumbs up, pushing off at the toes, head pulling forward. A sculpture. Frozen. But with just a few more steps, she will

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Posted August 09, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Rio bound

  “There is always a certain game flow. When you don’t know beach volleyball, you don’t see it.” The women clear the net with ease. It looks like a water ballet in the air. Soft, gentle, acrobatic. But then the ferocious smash of the ball removes all doubt as to

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Posted July 27, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Old surfers

The old surfers float out just beyond the harbor, waiting, patient, lions in the tall grass. The noses of their surfboards are high up out of the water while they sit on the tails, their faces turned to the sea. The waves roll in. No one moves. Then, a larger

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Posted July 20, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Saved in Dublin

  To save a rabbit is why the man jumped off the bridge, according to the newspaper reports. Somebody threw the rabbit over the O’Connell Bridge into the current of the River Liffey. The homeless man apparently followed the same arc, up and over the bridge railing, flying through the

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