Compulsory death

Because “freedom” is as American as God and apple pie, it’s surprising that the editors of the MIT Technology Review have not been charged with treason. In one of the MIT articles titled “Hacking the Soul,” Gabriel Kreiman, neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, says that studies suggest, “all actions are the result of neural computations and nothing more.” So “there is nothing really free about free will.” Continue Reading

Privatize intercollegiate sports

“Have we gone insane?” is what a Minnesota cattle farmer probably not much interested in March Madness asked. His question was a reaction to the news that Jerry Kill, the University of Minnesota football coach, had his $1,2000,000 salary increased by an extra $2,100,000, plus perks, for guiding the Gophers to eight wins and five losses during the 2013 season. Maybe winning isn’t everything. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Continue Reading

Our favorite F-words

The question surfaced as a bad joke among a group of thoughtful friends: What’s the favorite American F-word? A woman––who happens to be a very attractive blonde––responded first. “Freedom,” she said with a slight twist to her smile. Continue Reading

What good people want to be when they grow up

When one’s vocabulary shrinks to one word––“No!”––the mind trains the body to perform sick tricks. While sitting on their hands the anti-government slugs have taught themselves to point a finger of blame all around. This finger has yet to develop the flexibility enabling it to turn itself around. Continue Reading

My Kuhl Jak Rabbit #1007

I got something really Kuhl as a Christmas present this year. It’s a “Men’s Jak Rabbit #1007,” a sort of fuzzy-soft jacket sweater with a zipper pocket over the heart area for toting, I suppose, warm feelings about the cell phone I don’t own. Continue Reading


“Do you feel any younger?” my wife asked as she set the digital clock of our car an hour back. We had just crossed the Indiana state line into Illinois, returning to Minnesota from my fiftieth homecoming reunion at Albion College in Michigan. Suddenly I had gained an hour, and this got me scheming about how my presence in the Central Time zone might mean I’m not too old for an exciting mid-life crisis to kick in. The downside was that we were so trapped in Chicago traffic I didn’t see how we’d ever get home from my homecoming. Continue Reading

Who knows? On surveillance, privacy and technology

As a small-fry writer I have a professional interest in being well-known. Celebrity is an American gross national product routinely converted into cash, and cash comes in handy when the bills come due. Celebrity more easily spawns cash if there are dirty little secrets involved. I personally enjoy entertaining dirty little secrets, but my small-fry status as writer has crippled me when it comes to the cash. Continue Reading

A room of my own

Whenever the house gets messy enough I like to retreat to a favorite little space where I hope everyone will just let me be. There, in that small room, I find some quiet ways to come to terms with all the messy troubles in the world. I’m suspicious of the way the word “spiritual” is used, so I tell myself it’s where I make my separate peace. Continue Reading

Uncivil marriages

I was pleased when legislators added the word “civil” to the gay marriage bill recently approved by the Minnesota legislature. Marriage has a long history of being on the rocks, so it could use a little civility. Continue Reading