Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Posted April 13, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Prague in 3 acts — an Iowan’s view

  The street is tight with tourists. Some jostling rudely, some floating adrift, some wary of every brush of the pocket, and some, of course, looking to brush your pocket. But all of us, innocent and guilty alike, are pushed away from the river, across the tram tracks and careening taxis,

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Posted April 06, 2016in Featured Story, Joe's Neighborhood

Tulips and candles

  Temperatures continue to drop this day in late March. It is now below freezing, and the drizzly rain has turned sharp with just an edge of ice. The grey sky is an old Dutch Masters’ painting — dark and a little foreboding. A Rembrandt sky. And the wind? Busily

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Posted April 01, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

National crisis looms — dramatic shortage of groups to hate

  “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs; they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and

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Posted March 23, 2016in Homepage Cover Story, Joe's Neighborhood

The Dutch bike

The Dutch bike stands outside the bike store just off the Frederik Hendrikplein in The Hague. Solid. Sturdy. Immovable. It is unclear if the bike is resting against the wall or the wall against the bike. The bike has seen better days. Scratched and scraped, it has certainly never heard

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Posted March 16, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

A short, helpful guide to air travel

Flying in an airplane without crying is just one of those skills we are all supposed to have learned after a certain age. Sure, I get it. The jets fire up, the plane lumbers down the runway, and everyone is anticipating the sun reflecting off the sand as they saunter

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Posted March 09, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The ebb and flow of the family restaurant

Pushing and shoving each other, we make our way over from St. Mary’s School in Iowa City, through the back screen door off an alley from Linn Street, and into the kitchen at Hamburg Inn No. 2. Boxes are stacked along the far wall, full of large tin cans of

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Posted March 02, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The wine lady

“I don’t think I’m all that interesting,” she tells me at the start. A little embarrassed, it seems. Put on the spot. A bit uncomfortable. Really? Can you take your own measure if someone else doesn’t hold the mirror? And isn’t our personal yardstick always a foot or so short?

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Posted February 24, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Defining ‘rad’

“You’re certainly not cool enough to go in there.” I knew that, even without the helpful observation of my wife. I wasn’t at 16, and I’m certainly not at 61. If coolness is the test, I am always good for the overall curve. But here I am, walking past Mars

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Posted February 17, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Mary’s picture on a semi

Crowds storm the Hy-Vee on Valley West Drive. No, it’s not a riot, but carts are nearly full even though customers are only halfway through the many aisles with the many smiles. The weekend of the big game is coming, causing momentary logjams as people debate what sauce to use

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Posted February 10, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The monastic life

Neon doesn’t seem the best light for contemplating the contemplative life. Not to mention those bright red shopping carts lined up in front with the red bulls eye prominent on the facade. And the smell of popcorn and Starbuck’s coffee wafting out the front doors? I don’t know. This doesn’t

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