Thursday, May 23, 2024



When I was a child courses in American History included several units on the history and construction of the Constitution and on the governance structure of the nation. Politics and political structure were barely mentioned. Today I looked at a textbook in which political structure and opweration overshadowed the organization and operation of our government.

Political organizations rule the roost. Candidates are chosen mostly as a result of technical evaluations from paid consultants, not by what they stand for. They get a political label. Media reports focus as often on their political affiliations as they do on the stated positions of the elected officials.

And we voters have largely bowed to those patterns. We have stopped choosing candidates on the basis of what they stand for (or say they do) and instead we look at their endorsement labels from a political party. In many place you can’t have your name as a candidate on an official ballot without meeting certain political party status. Party status has become more important than position on issues.

For a majority of voters, it appears to be more important what political labels you wear, than what you say you stand for. And will work for.

The real question that becomes so very important in the coming presidential election is not which political party will win the White House, but whether democracy will suffer another possibly seminal blow to its future. Presidents do not have the power of CEOs, but the Congress of these United States do carry that power and that responsibility.

Saturday, May 18, 2024


It's almost three on a sunny afternoon. Feeding time. The green rustling canopy overhead has nearly reached its maturity. above it, on silent still wings, hawk and eagle soar silently on the gentle updrafts.They peer down, seeking prey. One, my friendly striped and long-tailed critter, pauses, hearing or smelling the danger signs I cannot dcipher. Then she continues cautiously from spilled seeds to spilled seeds, filling her pouches for unseen children in her den. The predator birds soar away and as always happens in our green yard at about the same time every day, the songbirds appear for afternoon tea. One can almost see the downward departure of the feed from the hanging feeders. A lone hummer comes by to check out the new sugar water tube. Crowded on the branches of the oak black walnut trees are four or five varieties of sparrow, six kinds of woodpecker in line at the suet cage and orioles, cardinals, and a host of  other small birds in for afternoon tea. In the background, the purring sound of a distant mower, and a lone black bird with shining head dive bombs the big wind chime, providing musical interlude against squacking jays and goldfinches. Peace abounds in the neighborhood. All is well in the valley.

Thursday, May 16, 2024


 Canadian author, literary Nobel Prize winner and tireless women's advocate, Alice Munro has died at 92. She was a wonderful writer, master of the language, especially the short story. She published collections of her work and was just a lovely person to boot. Everybody who ever reads short stories will miss her contributions. R.I.P. Alice Munro.

Saturday, April 20, 2024


Today, Saturday, April 20, The Library staff of St. Michaels and members of Twin Cities Sisters In Crime, joined in happy collaboration of an excellent book event. City Hall in St. Michael was the venue today for a bright panel discussion and then circulation among 30+ authors prepared to comment and sell their best books. A good day in a fine venue.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Author: Kristi Belcamino ISBN: 9780062338914 2014 releases by William Morrow Gabriella Giovanni is a young reporter on the West Coast. She's assigned to the Crime Beat on her medium-sized daily newspaper in the California Bay area. Her time is is mostly spent chasing down law enforement calls and tryung to get background and context from distraught citizens who are crime victims. What her editor and others around her don't know is she is driven by a horrible crime, like those she reports. Moreover, its an unsolved crime. Her professional life is complicated by others at the newspaper who want her removed from the crime beat. It's apparent that author Belcamino knows the landscape in which she writes. In this story, Giovanni becomes entangled with a man incarcerated for a lengthy series of murders. She is focused on his background for reasons that gradually becom clear, but the reporter's concentration on the murderer's history interferes with current events. Ultimtely, family elements, job pressures and the emotional power of the killer come together in an overlong but powerful and satisfying climax. I look forward to reading the next in her continuing series of crime novels.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024


As a former brass player, it was delightful for me to experience the recent Thursday and Friday concerts by a fine orchestra. Guest conductor Domingo Hindoyan brought out the Latin focus of the music selections, from the Sienna Fandango to Dvorak's Eighth. An enthusiastic audience clearly appreciated the offerings of the orchestra and those of guest trumpeter, Pacho Flores. He offered an array of virtuoso pieces on four separate instruments including a four-valve trumpet and two cornets. Mr. Flores demonstrated excellent control, double and triple tonguing, and wide-ranging tonal control. The music selections were lively, rhythmic and called forth substantial appreciation from both audience and members of the Minnesota Orchestra. A fine, up-tempo program.

Friday, March 08, 2024


 President Biden's State of The Union speech Thursday evening was (IMO) more campaign than report to the nation. I suppose that's where we are going. Instead of a respectful fact-filled presentation, accepted quietly by friends and opponents alike, as used to be the atmosphere, there were Britt-like cat-calls and loud objections from conservative members, a few of whom dressed for a day raking the yard. Well, so be it; you elect rabble, you get rabble-rousing. I think it was primarily a campaign speech. "Here's what I have done (actually a lot of people, both right and left politically) " and "here's where I intend to take our nation." As a small aside, note that the President talks in personal terms--we, us our-- whereas GOP speech-makers talk mostly about "the American people," as if we are some group out there somewhere and the GOP is separate.

In any case it was interesting, hopeful and sure lays out the prameters for the coming election campaign. 

Y'all be well.