Am I proud of America?

We could see the St. Paul fireworks clearly from our livingroom, plus two more distant fireworks. Very nice. We did not like the two rockets set off in the street next to our building by some idiot, which wizzed up and exploded just above us. Another idiot was continuously yelling, maybe in response to the fireworks, though it sounded as if he were saying, ‘I am here. For God’s sake notice me.’ I like fireworks, though I don’t go out of my way to see them. Continue Reading

Overcoming anger and despair

How does one remain aware of the injustice and evil in the world, without becoming consumed with anger and/or despair? My role model in this is Howard Zinn, who was a civil rights activist and anti-war activist, the writer of The People’s History of the United States — a man with an acute sense of what was wrong with the world, but also an optimist and a man with a good sense of humor. Maybe part of the answer is The People’s History, which describes what ordinary people have achieved. The dominent culture tells us either (a) everything is fine or (b) the struggles of ordinary people have never achieved anything good or (c) as bad as things are, there is no alternative. We need to be able to see struggle does result in achievement and there is always an alternative. Continue Reading

The storm

We had several days of above freezing temperatures and then a winter storm. It began as rain, which froze, then turned to wet snow, ten inches or more in many places. The combination of freezing rain and ten inches of snow made travel very dangerous. The governor has declared a state of emergency and ordered out the National Guard to help stranded travelers. The Department of Transportation advises no travel in the state. Continue Reading


I have a bad habit that dates from childhood. Once I achieve something, I check it off my list and then move on to the next thing on the list, without spending much time at all enjoying my achievement. My childhood is so far away now, that I have no clear idea of what caused this. Continue Reading

Musicians and buildings

I went to the Minnesota Opera last Sunday: a performance of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. It was good. Going there, I noticed the construction next to the Ordway Theater. A note in the program said this was going to be a new 1,100 concert hall, that would be the home of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Previously the orchestra played in the existing concert hall, the one I was watching the opera in. Continue Reading