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Posts from the ‘Essays’ Category


10 Better Halloween Treats

Halloween is that one day of the year when it’s all about the candy from the moment the kids wake up to that serene moment when you tuck their sugar laden bodies into bed. Although most people have to go with the flow and tolerate their kids bringing bags of sugary candy (is there any other kind?) home, there are ways to work around the system and provide trick or treaters (and your kids) with a delicious treat that isn’t loaded with garbage. Read more »


“Tell Everyone I Said Hi”

A taste of honey is worse than none at all.                                 ~Lionel Richie from I Second that Emotion

There are people who love a quick fix whether it be a piece of dark chocolate, a cup of espresso, or a short story that can be read in its entirety in ten minutes or less. Not that a whole chocolate bar, a mug of coffee or a 600 page novel aren’t fantastic – they certainly are – but there are times when a “hit” just makes your day a little happier and more satisfying. If you happen to agree, then Tell Everyone I Said Hi  is the book for you. Read more »


“What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures”

A lot of my process is informed by the notion that two mildly good stories put together sometimes equal one really good story.

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell was published in 2009, although the 19 non-fiction essays included in the book were originally published in The New Yorker magazine where the author has been a staff writer since 1996.

Divided into three parts with three themes: obsessives, theories (ways of organizing experience), and the predictions we make about people, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures is one of the most interesting contemporary collections of stories that anyone over the age of 40 can relate to without having to refer to Wikipedia for an explanation of events, characters, products, and businesses. Read more »


“The Kraus Project”

Our Far Left may hate religion and think we coddle Israel, our Far Right may hate illegal immigrants and think we coddle black people, and nobody may know how the economy is supposed to work now that our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, but the actual substance of our daily lives is total electronic distraction. We can’t face the real problems; we spent a trillion dollars not really solving a problem in Iraq that wasn’t really a problem; we can’t even agree on how to keep health care costs from devouring the GNP. What we can all agree to do instead is to deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies, to Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, and let them profit at our expense. Read more »


The Short Sweet Life of Bessie

In Iowa most people are either growing food (corn, soybeans, wheat) or raising animals (cattle, pigs, chickens) or doing a bit of both on the farm.  Russ and Beverly were both born and raised in central Iowa, marrying after high school and settling into a small place down the road from the farm where Russ spent his childhood. When Russ’s father passed away from cancer, Russ and Beverly moved back to the farm and took over the operation, allowing Russ’s mother to enjoy her grandchildren, bridge club, and church socials.  Married nearly four decades, Russ and Beverly spent a lifetime growing corn and soybeans in the nutrient rich black soil and managing a small cattle operation on the remaining acreage. Read more »


The Piano Tuner

Rain was pouring down from the skies causing mud puddles to turn into streams and parts of the dirt road to wash out. Still, Vlatko made his way down the mile-long driveway to the lone house on the lake. He parked the car, turned the ignition off and noticed the wipers stopped mid-way on the windshield as if his timing was slightly off. Vlatko always thought windshield wipers reminded him of a metronome, the tool musicians use to maintain a consistent tempo while playing music. Read more »