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Local Columns

Books and Beyond

The book I want to tell you about is “The Ragman’s Son,” c 1988, an autobiography written by Kirk Douglas, who was in “The Vikings,” the first movie I saw in my young life. I was 15 years old. It is such a telling book about his young years, the movies he was in (over 80), the nature ...

Fireworks for the Fourth

On the Fourth of July we celebrate the declaration of our nation’s independence with picnics and fireworks and with the great American tradition of going to furniture stores and taking advantage of their low, low prices on mattresses. The Fourth is essentially an all-you-can-eat potluck ...

Mom economics

There has been much talk lately about our nation’s flagging economy. To hear some say it, the economy is like a man crawling across a vast desert under a burning sun, mumbling through parched lips, “Water! Water! But first, can you tell me whether or not this store has been restocked with ...

Ubuntu

A tree blew over in the big wind and the story began. As you are aware, we’ve had some pretty windy days even for this part of the prairie. Yes, we’re used to windy conditions, but, well, let’s just say, it’s been darn windy. Windy enough to blow down a tree that was standing between ...

A second for sauger

When it comes to fishing, I’m a fan of second fiddles, the underappreciated, those that don’t take the top spot when it relates to what many people target on the water. I revel in the solid smack delivered by a rock bass as it steals a jig meant for a smallmouth, or when a white bass ...

So I have tachycardia

So before COVID-19 took over a few months ago, I was anxiously awaiting the results from the Zio patch heart monitor I wore for a couple weeks earlier this year. I gave a nudge through the Avera portal and had learned that what I was experiencing was supraventricular tachycardia, fast heart ...

Mowing memories

I would often see her sitting there alone, grimy, decrepit, languishing. I would look the other way as I walked by, tying to ignore the wretched castoff in my own backyard. After all, I thought, it’s just a rickety old sickle mower. Specifically, it’s a John Deere #5 sickle mower. I had ...

Home is…?

What’s home mean to you? I have always been of the mind that home is where you are living at the moment. However, I wonder if that sort of thinking is restrictive to the word. After a few decades of living, home is now taking on a much broader and deeper meaning to me. For the last few ...

A season saved

I’m a firm believer that a quick trip to the water is better than no trip at all. One jaunt in the uplands, even in the middle of the afternoon well ahead of the witching hour, can still produce plenty of excitement. Even a short sit on stand in the fall to watch the sunrise and the first few ...

The tale of the tails

Last week in Starwatch I attempted to explain the tricks of the trade for finding your way around Ursa Major, the Big Bear, and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. The Little Bear and the famous Little Dipper are one and the same. The Big Dipper makes up the rear end and tail of Ursa Major. Its stars ...

Uncle Jim

Jim expertly maneuvered the massive RV around a tight corner, barely missing a lamppost. We were somewhere in the middle of Los Angeles, trying to find a friend’s place of business. My wife, our two young sons and I gaped at the morose cityscape with rising alarm. “We’re not lost,” ...

Books and Beyond

“Home of the Brave: 15 Immigrants Who Shaped U.S. History” by Brooke Khan, c 2019, is another book you can pick up and read any chapter that draws you in. The book was written for middle school students. I have in mind asking a great-niece or great-nephew to read the book this summer and ...

A daily dose of ?

Hey! What did the grape say when it got stepped on? The answer later... Yes, maybe it’s time to focus on laughter and funny, silly things, alright with you? I’ve noticed lately there are folks who are virtually pushing some humor and more and more people are replying. Within our ...

An old adage

This has been perhaps the windiest spring I can recall since I became a dedicated angler several decades ago. The scattered calm days seem to come at a rate of one in 10 or so, but the balance of the spring has been dominated by gusty conditions and stretches where even when the wind shifts, it ...

Captain Tammi

As a little girl growing up on a dairy farm at Kenyon, Minnesota, Tammi dreamed of becoming an astronaut. “I would sleep outside without a tent so I could look up at the stars,” she said. After high school, Tammi enrolled at University of Minnesota Duluth. She joined the Air Force ROTC ...

Recycling program positives

At this juncture, we are often looking for positive things to hear about in the news. During the past couple of months, we all have been struggling with recycling at home or cleaning out our homes while we are or were staying at home. There are some positives to report with our recycling ...

The ecstasy of gold

It was one of those spring days we’ve had an abundance of: warm but not quite hot and just windy enough to make it feel cool. As a result, the river was quiet. The fact that it was midday left only me, following a long morning run that ate up most of the front half of my day, and a couple of ...

A dove

I wonder how many coincidences we notice during a day’s time. Amid all the disruption in today’s world, an upside to that same world is we now have some time to notice what’s previously gone unnoticed. How many “coincidences” have we not seen? How many serendipity moments have we ...

Wine and religion

Over the years, I’ve attended wine classes, read many books and articles about wine and have taught some wine classes and, for some reason, the words of Augustine keep coming to me. The one theme that keeps coming forth in my ruminations is that I have faith in wine to reflect the world — ...

Faint but beautiful heavenly hair

Believe it or not, there’s still a few winter constellations, most notably Gemini the Twins and Auriga the Charioteer hanging out in the western evening Marshall sky. Sharing that part of the heavens right now are the bright planets Venus and Mercury. They’re still putting on a great show ...