Sunday, January 25, 2015

Annual Manual

Posted November 12, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

A moral education

Great teachers are out there, folks. I’m talking about great teachers who are giants walking today’s earth. Great teachers who will make you lean in, or step back or gasp. Who, when they get done, make you realize you are no longer the same person. The planet has shifted. You have changed

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Posted November 05, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Steel shutters

The rain comes down steadily in Amsterdam. No surprise really. It is the Netherlands in late October. The walk from the train station up past three canals was too much for my shoes, as they now release a telltale squish. But still, there’s the line for the Anne Frank House,

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Posted October 29, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Water into wine

Dead would not be too strong to describe the wine industry in Iowa just a few years ago. Only 30 acres were in grape production as recently as 2000. I’m not kidding. Thirty acres. My goodness, there’s residential homes in Waukee with more acreage. Herbicides, bad weather and row crops

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Posted October 22, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Smart phones

Now, don’t push. Everyone will get to see everything. That’s it. OK, sex and drugs to the left. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh straight ahead. And the Anne Frank House to the right. What’s your pleasure? Of course it’s sex and drugs. I know, I know, it wasn’t a fair

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Posted October 15, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

One day in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower

Being underground is always a little unnerving. And certainly when you are more than 6 feet under. The old Paris subway system smells of dark, dripping dankness even in the morning. Wet underfoot. People jostle and collide as they hurry to work or home or school to board the next

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Posted October 08, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Lifting to failure — part 1

The big man in the tight singlet dips his hands into the chalk. His gaze is elsewhere. Fingers spread wide, he brushes his callused palms back and forth letting the white powder fall back into the tin. Smooth as silk. His legs forced bowlegged by the shorts and knee wraps,

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Posted October 01, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

The Frog King

The young girl sat on her dad’s shoulders. Waiting. Not a muscle moved. Fidgeting is apparently not allowed at such heights. The rest of us stood on our toes, dancing back and forth, trying to get an early peek. After a while, we began to envy the young girl. Her back

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Posted September 24, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

‘For everything there is a season…’

There’s a man. And there’s a man. And there’s a man. Yup, another man. Of course, one more man. And there’s a… hold it, my goodness, it’s a woman. It’s not a shabby crowd in which to hang. Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, Fabritius, Steen. To tell your mom that your painting

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Posted September 17, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Shouldn’t we pay for them to plug in their coffeepots?

“Listen.  This is not complicated.  Just turn on some music.  Any music.  And listen.” Hmmm… this is different. “Close your eyes while you’re listening to this music. This is a contest for yourself. You can let your mind think whatever it wants. You don’t have to be at school anymore. You can go wherever

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Posted September 10, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

And the rain keeps falling

The rain is coming down so hard there is nowhere for it to go but up. Water washes over the roads and creates small ponds at intersections making you hesitate about driving without a life jacket. Will your car actually float? Is this a good time to find out? The

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