Wednesday, March 1, 2017
I had the opportunity to "cover" a play-off basketball game between the DCTC Blue Knights, and the Gogebic CC Samsons at the yet unnamed Inver Hills Community College arena tonight. I almost feel like I am on deadline and am feeling pretty good about it. Nothing great, but 20 or so to choose from and well ahead of the traditional 10:30 PM deadline. The Blue Knights dominated and won by almost 20 points, extending their season and setting up their Sunday afternoon game for the Region XIII championship.
Monday, February 27, 2017
I have had gaps in my blogging but few as long as my present hiatus. Three months is a long time, and for the three of you who might actually be reading this blog now and again, I apologize. Life, eh?
And the delay has been caused by life. I started a new job and there was some adjustment to the demands of that. What is up with this focus on getting up at 6AM so I can be at work but about 7:30? And really, who does work until 4:30, or at least, who works until 4:30 everyday? Apparently I do, and that was an adjustment after my five month long sort of sabbatical. Or really, since ever, as I have never before in my life had a job where I had to basically punch a time clock. Since when do newspaper photographers or college faculty or deans have a regular schedule? But grant directors do, and I am getting used to that. As long as I am on the road by 6:47 I can make it to work in 30 minutes. A few minutes later than that start time and it takes me 45 minutes or longer, and then I have to deal with the real crazy drivers and far more of them.
The commute is but one change. I am getting used to working in a college, actually two colleges, again. My job and what I am tasked to do might actually be transitional and make a difference, but there are some challenges. I have to admit that I was used to being a bit higher up on a bureaucratic chain, and as a director there are considerable differences. Some are petty and ones that I have to just deal with, but some are more challenging. Being able to direct or to tell at least some people what to do is a slight perk of being a dean, but I am simply not in that position any more. The biggest challenges are that I am not required to nor should I think so strategically any more, and that I have to be a whole lot more patient. No problems or worries, right? I am working on it, ok?
Job challenges and quibbles aside, I like my life here in the big city. I still find my neighborhood and city fun and exciting, and I am constantly finding new things to do. I love the diversity, however you define it. A friend and I find fun places to eat all over the metro area and I have eaten at places representing more countries than I can count. Yes, I have eaten at Taco Johns, the gold standard for "Mexican" food, but I have also discovered the differences between Honduran and Mexican tamales and have eaten more varieties of Asian food, broadly defined, than I have ever imagined. That means a lot to me and while food is not the only defining factor of me, it is important and these little snapshots of another culture have enriched me. No, I do not really like fried cassava, but it is really fun to be able to say that because I have tried it!
I have commented on the grocery stores before and before you label me a foodie snob, please let me convince you that I like the variety of available frozen pizzas just as much as I like the availability of bread that I don't have "wonder" about. See, I am easy to please! But let me stress that it is really nice to be able to have butter from three or four different countries to smear on that crusty, sometimes warm, but always good bread. Who knew? This is a huge difference from the Blue Bonnet Margarine of my youth. No, everything is not better with Blue Bonnet on it and it is good to discover and celebrate this.
I do have a new job and other things to fill my life and all that has distracted me from my blog. But those are really superficial things that fill my days. I think that the real reason that I have not blogged is that all the other crap that is filling the bandwidth of American society has simply worn and weighed me down. We hear of a president who is rolling back democracy as we read this simple blog or newspaper and that greatly troubles me. As a member of the working press for 20 or more years, I do not like being referred to as the enemy of the people, nor do I think that the group of people who are the flashlights who guide and inform society are ever the enemy of the people. We should be celebrating the free press's reporting and discoveries, and certainly not throwing rocks.
As a member of society who has a pre-existing condition, I am terrified of the destruction of a health care or insurance system that won't argue for a premise that every other industrialized country has long accepted. Everyone should have health insurance. How do you start a life with dignity and assurance or, something that comes to mind as I age, how do you enjoy or contemplate the last days of your life without this simple security? I am not among those who think that the ACA is perfect, but changes that would take this security away from more than 20 million people are too horrible to contemplate.
I am, proud to say, a probable most likely bleeding heart liberal. I have kept this blog mostly apolitical though if you have read between the lines you could have figured that out. I think one of the things that has kept me off this blog is that I have been cautious about being too political. I do have a career to think about and with the advent of a simple google search my life is laid out for search committees everywhere. But I do have to believe and stand for some universal truths and and for my core beliefs. Calling a Gold Star family names is wrong. Lying and developing ties to an enemy of long standing (Russia) is wrong. Assuming that most Muslims are terrorists just waiting to strike is just wrong. Ignoring the fact that more Americans have been killed by white nationalists and other believers in fringe theories in the last 10 years than by "radical Islamic terrorists" from seven countries is wrong. Ignoring the importance of the role that immigrants have played in shaping this country and forgetting the statement about the tired and the poor is wrong. Denigrating women and minorities and all the others who have made his list is deplorable and is wrong. Spending 30 BILLION dollars on a wall when people are homeless and hungry is wrong. Adding 55 BILLION dollars to a defense budget while cutting funds for education and for protecting the environment for us and the next generation is wrong. And so on and so on and sadly, and so on.
These points do not make me a political nut job but rather, I hope, a caring, concerned and engaged citizen who cares about others in this country and across the world. While I recognize that on some level this may be a risk for me and my career and that I risk alienating at least one or two of the scant few that actually read my posts, I don't think that I can nor should I remain apolitical any more. This is hardly a strident Facebook page but I should, and I should encourage others to, stand up and be counted as the opposition to what is happening. This stand is not based on Republican or Democratic points of view but rather based simply on what is right vs what is clearly wrong.
So this blog enters a new phase. Not every post will be political in nature but I will not shy away from posts which comment on what is right verses what is wrong. We owe this to a larger society that takes the needs of the many into account
All this does not preclude posting photos or perhaps other art In WWII, England and the UK was faced with a budget crisis and some advocated cutting monies for the arts. Winston Churchill correctly pointed out "then what are we fighting for?" In times of darkness in some areas of life, we need some light in other areas. Here is a tiny glimmer for all of us as we face darkness in other areas.
It is good to be back.