There's some decent evidence Neanderthals were driven to extinction because our more direct ancestors were better able to organize themselves into functional groups, sort of like how Democrats are better than Republican governors at things like public health. Maybe Biden was saying more than he knew.
There’s something in us that likes to name historical eras, at least the big ones.
The Kennedy administration became Camelot in our collective memory. The American Civil War was followed by Reconstruction. Hear the word “Victorian” and it’s easy to conjure up images of laced-up corsets and drafty houses with colorful paint, even if you don’t know much about the monarch who presided over the high water mark of the British Empire.
Assigning a name to an era is probably something best left to historians. But I’m going to go out on a limb here as a lowly ad guy…
It’s a month into the new year. The snow is piling up in my home state of Minnesota. With each new snowfall I clear a path across the front yard to make things easier for the young man who delivers our mail.
In a normal year this eventually becomes a contest between the crumbling vertebrae in my lower back and the relative youth of his legs. The snow keeps arriving and at some point the complaints of the vertebrae win out and I become less diligent about the path.
But the events of the past year will keep me on…
The temperature has nudged a bit above ten degrees, so it’s time to go for a morning run. It would be warmer if I waited until afternoon, but by then we’re supposed to get snow. Maybe a lot of snow.
Typical winter morning in Minneapolis MN.
Running in ten-degree weather — and I’m talking degrees Fahrenheit here — has its challenges. If the year’s cold weather has come too abruptly your lungs ache the first few times out in it. Luckily winter has arrived on a long, gentle trajectory this year, giving us runners plenty of time to acclimate.
Right from the start we’ve struggled to define the Trump Administration’s particular brand of populism. Chaos. Authoritarianism. A con. A cult. An alternate reality. White nationalism. Fascism.
Finally we just called it Trumpism.
On January 6 we saw it for what it really is. Mob rule.
It took the brutalization of one of our most sacred democratic shrines to understand that. But look back over the past four years. Trump’s populist rhetoric has always been a thin veneer over something that operated more on the level of the barbarians sacking Rome.
America’s fondest hope for 2021 was to get back to something approximating normal life. Maybe even normal politics. And yet, with the new year hardly begun, we are betrayed.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has announced his intention to object when Congress meets to confirm Joe Biden as our next president, joining a group of noisome backbenchers from the House to give one last wheezing gasp to Donald Trump’s fantasy of overturning his defeat at the hands of the people.
The senator’s antics are destined to fail, accomplishing little more than to elevate the stress level of a nation in…
Christmas is supposed to be about peace, and I guess we got that. Me, my beautiful wife and our geriatric dog.
Home alone, only without even the excitement of an inept burglar duo trying to break in like the storyline of the iconic holiday movie.
Silent night. Silent Christmas morning.
What excitement we had was entirely provided by the dog.
He has decided Christmas is his holiday. His memory seems to be fading along with his vision and his hearing. …
Sometimes I think each of us is a soul surrounded by a dense and indifferent forest. Writers are the ones who’ve learned to use storytelling to create a pathway in.
That’s the reverse of the more typical view writing — something inside, aching to be let out.
But for me being a writer is all about inviting the outside world in. Giving it a glimpse of what’s buried in all the layers of me. Hoping the world will find something worth attending to. Maybe even taking to heart.
When I was a kid my parents gave me a book of…
We all reach a point in life where childhood ends. Kaput. Finito.
I’m not talking about the often-lamented winning of innocence. More the hard realization that life has stopped being carefree. Maybe it never was.
The Apostle Paul mentions this in his famous I Corinthians passage about love. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.” He’s getting to his point about love, but he takes the time to first mention that understanding the important things means putting the childish ones behind you.
For some, this moment comes…
We like to think of elections as The People’s moment to wade into the workings of our government. Assign some sort of mandate for moving forward.
The 2020 election was more like a black hole sucking the light out of our national conversation. In many ways, it still is.
Worse, events did not stand still while we were busy shouting past one another. For everyone who’s not an actual hermit living in a cave the pandemic has become extremely dangerous. Like Stephen-King-novel dangerous.
It would be fatal to think we can keep riding the current Covid-19 trajectory while the national…
Writer. Observer of mass culture, communications and creativity.