Saturday, July 30, 2016


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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Posted July 13, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

What exactly is a kidney worth?

  What exactly is a kidney worth? It depends, doesn’t it? If it is 7 a.m. and your left eye refuses to open to the world and you have to be at work by 8, a coffee, for example, seems worth quite a bit. Right? Or that slice of pizza

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Posted July 06, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The angry American

  “I’m not waiting in any more lines.” His voice rises uncontrollably as he faces off with the bored Paris train attendant at Gare Nord, a major railroad hub in Paris. “I’m not going back to the end of the line. Have you ever waited in a line? Answer me.

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Posted June 29, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The Paris waiter

  The Paris waiter stands immobile at the top of the sidewalk. Tall. Imposing. White shirt, black vest, white waiter’s arm cloth, black bowtie, white apron, black shoes. Everything is where it should be. His right arm tucked behind his back and left arm bent to drape his white arm

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Posted June 22, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Under the umbrella

  Do you have a moment today? I know you’re awfully busy. But why don’t you walk under the Crusoe Umbrella. That’s right, it’s downtown in Cowles Commons. No, it won’t be weird. In fact, you might be pleasantly surprised. Trust me. Cologne. Up from the river we stroll in

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Posted June 15, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Capturing the wind

  The 160 acres of black dirt was near Stratford, Iowa. Corn and beans and cattle and chickens and a large garden made up my grandpa’s farm back in those days. I would wake before the sun and he would take me to the landing by the side door, where

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Posted June 08, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

A graduation gift of 3 stories

Listen, I don’t have an actual gift. And of course I missed both parties. Not to mention seeing them walk across the stage. But I’m an ocean away as my friends’ boys graduate from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. It’s a big deal. Will and Henry Gunderson and Eli

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Posted June 01, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Sarajevo, Slipknot, and the Hawkeyes

  “Where do you come from?” the young copper artists in Sarajevo asked. My wife and I told them. “But where in the United States?” they insisted. We went into our typical patter that goes something like this: “A small state in the middle of the country called Iowa, it’s

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Posted May 25, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

A Sarajevo bullet

    “Honestly, officers, I just forgot it was there.” Words I have heard many a guilty criminal utter as they are hauled away to jail. The 5-inch, copper-cased bullet was wrapped in soft tissue paper and buried among the copper coffee grinders, the copper pan, the copper plate and

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