Poking Around in the real world usually starts with learning frontiers in my immediate neighborhood, Northeast Minneapolis, or places in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area that are reachable by public transit. While others rush by I poke around by foot and by bus or light rail transit. There’s no end of things to see and hear and learn. On a good day I just hop off the bus and check out a neighborhood or a building or a park. I’m not so much into museums as into the treasures that are overlooked. Same goes with people.
In the digital world my favorite frontier is access to public information and to the public institutions, especially libraries and librarians, that rise to the challenge of enhancing access to public information. When you get through the endless discussion of “pipes” and get to the hard core of live information, it’s a fascinating information frontier. Though the technology may be 21st Century, the tools of the trade of librarianship has passed down through the centuries. And the more information there is, and the more people who need the information, the more those tools become indispensable.
In another life I was a stooge on the Minnesota News Council. At some point I, as a member in good standing, read in the press that the MNC was to be no more – no explanation, a simple affirmation that the staff person had acquired a safe position at the University of St. Thomas. Because I was too otherwise engaged to explore the roots of a decision I accepted as a done deal, closed that file, and gave complicit assent to a decision I knew was wrong.MORE »
If you’ve discovered Eat My Words, you’ve been there often. If not, the next couple of weeks offer a great chance to explore this charming bookstore nestled in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area. Whether you’re a veteran visitor or a newbie you’ll find the agenda of readings during the early holiday season is intriguing, even irresistible.MORE »
When Ursula LeGuin and Pope Francis echo each other’s concern for basic human rights being relegated to mere commodities it is time to take heed. As these intellectual giants remind us, human beings have a certain and inalienable right to access to food and access to information and ideas. The right to food and literature transcend the unfettered pursuit of wealth and the power that it affords. Pope Francis spoke at the International Food and Agriculture conference meeting in Rome.(http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49396#.VHjGY8aC14M). Ursula LeGuin shared her thoughts from the prestigious platform of the 2014 National Book Awards. (http://www.nationalbook.org/amerletters_2014_uleguin.html#.VHjFjcaC14M)MORE »
The coming weekend marks not one but significant dates in American history. Sunday, December 7, is familiar to many Americans as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the efficient cause of the Second World War. Since 1994 that global tragedy has been officially designated as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a date that FDR correctly predicted would live in infamy. (See earlier post)MORE »
Most Americans alive today do not remember December 7, 1941 – still, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt predicted, it remains “a date which will live in infamy.” It was on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, that the Imperial Japanese Navy executed the infamous surprise attack on the American Army and Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor. The next day the United States declared war on Japan and thereby entered World War II.MORE »
Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a
gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.
-Writer & journalist, Erik Larson
A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list. A best path to the perfect book – - or the gift certificate — starts with a visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!MORE »
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to focus on the seminal issue of the human right to access to food, an issue so complex, political and gnarled that I’ve given up the quest to plumb the depths – until Pope Francis brought it up. Truth to tell, the Pontiff didn’t conjure it up out of the rarified atmosphere of the Vatican – the challenge to unravel the issue has fostered countless efforts, stymied many and challenged human rights activists for a couple of centuries.MORE »
What image comes to your mind when you think of a “food chain worker?” Is it the efficient functionary at the super store? Or a friendly neighborhood organic grocer? Or do you take a more holistic approach and envision the field worker who plants and harvests your favorite veggies? Or the truck driver who gets the food to market? The packer at the cannery? The street vendor? Or the waiter at a neighborhood restaurant? These and scores of others are all links on the food chain – and members of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. (http://foodchainworkers.org)MORE »
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. -Friedrich Nietzsche
Which is why it seems to me that the Walk to End Hunger offers a chance to conceive some truly great thoughts about hunger – such as What’s wrong with a society that endures a system that tolerates hunger – that allows the albatross of hunger to hang around the neck of the body politic?MORE »
“Imagining a world beyond incarceration” is the theme of Maya Schenwar’s new book, a critique on the nation’s prisons entitled Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better. Schenwar will read from her book and help readers imagine a world beyond incarceration on Saturday, November 22. The reading and discussion, set for 3:00 p.m. at Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Avenue South in Minneapolis, is free and open. Schenwar’s reading is sponsored by the Women’s Prison Book Project (WPBP) which is housed at Boneshaker.MORE »