Unheralded

RON SCHALOW: NDGOP Trumpedemiologist Champs Were Born This Way

Bear with Me. I’ve been pounding my head on Trump’s health care plan. The second line of Section 2 under Article I of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of the state of North Dakota reads: “Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people…” “Does the ‘protection, security and benefit of the people‘ have anything …


Unheralded

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Who Did You Kill Today?

You’re killing me. I’m not saying it’s intentional, but in the end, dead is dead. Many of you just don’t get it. After seven months and 220,000 dead Americans, nearly four times as many as we lost in Vietnam, I still hear people say they won’t wear a mask because they don’t care if they die. Well, I don’t care …


PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids —Speaking To The Lord

I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I suspect I am not alone. In fact, in conversations with parishioners and friends, I’ve been hearing a lot of people are struggling to sleep at night. Whether it is falling asleep, or like me, waking up in the middle of the night and then struggling to get back to sleep, many of us are restless. …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Attitude Of Gratitude

Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving. One of the joys of being a dual citizen is that I get two days set aside to focus on Thanksgiving. This weekend, I had a chance to celebrate it with my sons and their girlfriends, which was a source of thanksgiving in and of itself, and in November, we will do the same. However, I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Dear District 8 Republicans: Please Vote For The Dead Guy

As if this election year isn’t crazy enough already, in one of the most maudlin election tactics I’ve ever seen, North Dakota Republicans are urging voters to cast their ballots for a dead man. This bizarre recommendation comes from North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Rick Berg (not to be confused with Rick Becker, a real bizarre Republican) in the case …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Let The Lord Be Your Rock

We live in uncertain times, times where there seems to be no strong foothold, where we are trying to balance on shifting sands. With all the unpredictability created by COVID-19 and exacerbated by what is unfolding in our national affairs, it is easy to feel unsteady, unsure and exhausted. Many of us wake up in the middle of the night …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — What Happens When A Sitting President Is Stricken?

We all woke up Friday to the news that the president and first lady had tested positive for COVID-19. In a year of wild and enormously disruptive events, things just got crazier. Just what the president’s health crisis will mean for the election, and for a nation fighting its way through several profound challenges, is unclear. It is too early …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Walking In The Light Of God

I hate 2020. That was my visceral Facebook post after hearing of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shortly followed by the announcement that 200,000 people in this county have died from COVID-19. Almost immediately, someone who doesn’t share my political views chimed in, “You should not hate.” A bit later, it was followed by a far more well-meaning parishioner …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Red Or Blue, All Lives Matter

On Wednesday, President Trump said, regarding COVID-19 deaths, “So we’re down in this territory, and that’s despite the fact that the Blue states had had tremendous death rates. If you take the Blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level. But some of …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — It’s TimeTo Show Your Hand

In late 2019 BC (Before COVID), my wife and I were vacationing in Mexico. Our hotel in Playa del Carmen was just a couple of blocks away from what we’d read was a “tourist trap.” It was known as the “Quinta Avenida,” which translates to: Fifth Avenue. The tree-lined and bustling street stretches for more than two miles and includes …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — In God We Trust

I hate playing God. Lately, I’ve been struggling with that as I deal with my dog Marti’s health. Marti began losing weight sometime during my surgery and recovery and when we took her in, they diagnosed her with Lyme disease, with a principal attack on her kidney functions. Since we found this out, we have been working with the vet …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Let Us Now Praise The U.S. Postal Service

Since the pandemic shut down much of American life back in March, I have worked mostly at my kitchen table in a suburban house in Bismarck, N.D. I chose the kitchen table because it has seven big bay windows around it. I like to work in the natural light. But I also like to watch for the moment when the …

RON SCHALOW: He Is What He Is

It’s getting a little chippy out there. An old guy can’t even drop dead at the bowling alley without some jamoke claiming that the man’s last cough was deliberating misleading to skew coronavirus numbers in order to make Donald Trump look bad. It’s tough, I tell you. Last week, I saw two facially naked Norwegian-Americans mug an elderly masked man …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Patience Is Truly A Virtue

I walked  in my own shoes today for the first time in 10 weeks. I have to admit, I was surprised it took so long. My foot surgery was the first time I have had an operation on a bone or joint, other than a rather minor medial meniscus repair on my knee. So I either wasn’t listening carefully enough …

CHUCK SCHUMACHER: Coach Chuck — Feel Good Moments

“My son, Zach has worked eight years to become an acclaimed athlete at his middle school and now can’t reap any of the privileges. He says it doesn’t matter, but it stinks for all the eighth-graders — it’s not fair.” “My daughter, Kelsey just lost her senior year in volleyball after years of dedication to the sport she loves. It’s …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Ribs And Tacos: It’s The Little Things That Matter, After A Long Trip Through The Darkness

And so we’re a week into Summer, emerging from what I think is the darkest Spring of my life (my personal style book says capitalize the seasons, but I am almost reluctant to do so this year — this Spring doesn’t really deserve any recognition). The only Springs darker that I can recall are 1968, the year I got drafted, …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — In God We Trust

I hate the phrase “Everything happens for a reason.” I despise it because it draws to mind a picture of God who is somehow responsible for the result of human sin, the brokenness of our imperfect world and everything that results from those things. It pictures a God who is a master puppeteer, controlling our actions as part of some …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Father Dies On Memorial Day

My father died on the morning of Memorial Day as “Taps” was playing on the nursing home televisions. Although we have been Skyping with him when possible during the lockdown and my sister and I each accompanied him for two separate medical appointments at Sanford Clinic, we were not allowed to be with him in his final days, even though …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Traveling On The Spiritual Path

I usually begin planning my next trip during the waning days of the one I’m on, so this summer is more than a bit unusual. I have no bookmarked spots in Tripadvisor, no routes saved on Google Maps, no flights booked. I am not planning anything, except surgery on my foot, since I’m not going anywhere. My hobby is traveling. …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Church Is More Than A Building

My congregation never closed. … Nor did the church. Since we began this time of Great Separation, the church I serve, Emanuel Lutheran in Hartford, Conn., has been alive and well. We have had worship — real worship — each week.  It may have been prerecorded, but God was present and Christ was praised — through song, children’s sermons, virtual choirs …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — A Time To Grieve

I watched the “Graduate Together” celebration of the Class of 2020 this weekend and truly enjoyed the efforts to highlight and rejoice with those students who will not get a traditional graduation ceremony this year. However, I must admit to having a little bit of trepidation about the efforts to place a Band-Aid on the consequences of COVID-19 and those …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Gardening Notes No. 57

An early warm spell lured Mr. Green Jeans into planting his tomatoes May 1. Last week’s cold snap killed most of his precious hand-raised heirloom seedlings. He says it is worth the risk because of our short growing season. I’m not much of a risk-taker, but the vegetable garden is his territory, so I try to stay out of it …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Finding True Peace And Joy

There have been moments when 2020 has just seemed too … much. I was talking to someone the other day and they mentioned something about the U.S. being on the brink of war with Iran in January and I had completely forgotten that happened. And the fact that Australia was on fire. It’s just been too much this year, so …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — ‘I Don’t Know What To Do’: A Coronavirus Conversation With Grief Therapist Dr. Patrick O’Malley

As doctors, nurses and first responders have tended to the physical devastation wrought by the pandemic, my friend, the Fort Worth, Texas, grief therapist Dr. Patrick O’Malley, and his colleagues have been working to help us cope with the profound emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges of this moment. I was Patrick’s co-author of the 2017 book “Getting Grief Right: Finding …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — This Is Just F**king Stupid

The newspaper stories this morning said “North Dakota Gov.Doug Burgum said he intends to allow closed businesses to reopen Friday, May 1.” Well, isn’t that special. A great big May basket for North Dakota. Happy May Day. The rest of the story: “The State Health Department on Monday also announced 75 new cases of COVID-19, marking the second-highest single-day total …

ED MAIXNER: The COVID-19 Governor Factor: Wishing Y’all The Best!

Hoping to avoid COVID-19? Survive it if you get it? Who’s your state’s governor? In many states, that may matter. Our individual odds for surviving COVID-19 are emerging as somewhat of a crapshoot, dependent on countless ways we can avoid or contract the virus and, if you get it, to a large degree how healthy your heart and lungs are …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Paving The Road To Failure

It is possible to be a positive and encouraging leader, one who is able to weigh the balance between being honest and factual while also instilling hope. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower both embodied these characteristics, as did Winston Churchill. And many U.S. governors of both parties are displaying those characteristics each day right now. It is also …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Unmasking Our Feelings

Context is everything. As I was preparing for my sermon this week — on the wonderful Gospel story about Jesus, who on the day of his Resurrection, joined two of his followers as they walked the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus — I read the same comment at least three different times. In the story, the two companions did not recognize …

RON SCHALOW: Dumb And Dumber

For years after 9/11, President George W. Bush would tell dozens of audiences some variation of his “ocean’s theory of complacent defense.” Like this one from 2002: “No, it’s a different kind of war than our nation has seen in the past. One thing that’s different is oceans no longer keep us safe,” he explained to the folks at the …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Isolation Quiz

Hey folks, if you’re like me, a natural social-distancer, not much has changed except now I have an excuse. Well, OK, a few things have changed. I’ve had so much time on my hands I actually felt compelled to bake bread last week — beer bread, specifically. I’d still be in the kitchen, but I ran out of Grain Belt. …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — At 13, Kevin Curnutt Lost Almost Everything to a Gunman’s Bullet. What the Decades Since Have Taught Him, and Can Teach Us Now

On Super Bowl Sunday in 1981, football was the last thing on the minds of the two young friends, Trey Shelton and Kevin Curnutt. The winter afternoon was warm and sunny, perfect for riding dirt bikes on the rural outskirts of Arlington, Texas. That day, Kevin saw Trey and his bike cross a shallow stream and disappear over a hill. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bad News, Worse News And A Ray Of Hope

I haven’t written here about the coronavirus and all its associated chaos because: 1. I really dislike bad news and don’t like to read it, much less write it; and 2. Other than not being able to see, talk to and hug our friends and family, we just haven’t been that much affected by it at our house, at least …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Reaping What We Sow

“Good leadership takes all of the blame and none of the credit.” As I was sorting through papers during my daily hour of deep cleaning, I came across this quote I gave to someone who interviewed me for a paper on leadership. I believe this is the key problem that is plaguing our country today and the reason that the …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — What Would Monk Do?

One lasting thing this pandemic will leave behind with us, I believe, will be a new regard for cleanliness. In addition to social distancing, we’re told day after day to wash our hands. It’s like a mantra. Wash your hands. From time to time in the past month, I’ve found myself wondering, “What would Monk do?” To explain. Adrian Monk …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Behind The Mask

Russ and I could hardly contain our excitement this morning as we suited up for the biggest moment of our fourth week of house arrest: a festive, much-anticipated trip to Old People’s Happy Hour at our neighborhood supermarket. We’d stayed up late (well, after 9) last night to plan the expedition. Do we need coffee? Toothpaste? Cheetos? Toilet paper, of …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — A Time To Lament

“O Lord, my God and Savior, by day and night I cry to you. Let my prayer enter into your presence; incline your ear to my lamentation.” — Psalm 88:1-2 Good Friday is my favorite service in the church year and one of the reasons is because it is a service of lament. We as a society don’t really like …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Full Moons, Good Friday And Easter

There was a big old full moon this week, April’s “Pink Moon,” and we went looking for a spot for watching the moonrise. But as luck would have it, it was cloudy and the moon was mostly obscured for a couple of hours after it rose. As we were driving home, though, we saw it mostly emerge as we drove …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Love In Action

“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech but in truth and action.” — 1 John 3:18 Today, and the next three days leading up to the great celebration of Easter, are going to be really hard ones for many people of faith. The ebb and flow of our lives are often built around the church year, and …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Waiting Upon The Lord

“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”  — Isaiah 40:31 Waiting is hard. It always has been, of course, but in the past few decades, we have increasingly become an instant gratification society. We used to …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — God Is Always With Us

“Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death, thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4 I keep thinking about people dying alone. And it breaks my heart. I was in Europe when my dad died, but I was able to talk to him on the phone as they …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Walking By Faith

“For we walk by faith and not by sight” — 2 Cor. 5:7 My vision recently altered. I had the flu in January and in the aftermath, my previously very controlled prediabetis/diabetes went haywire. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on because I just thought it was residual from the flu and an infection that followed. …

RON SCHALOW: North Dakota First?

Were we — the state of North Dakota — seriously obligated to wait for Donald Trump to finish bungling the initial response to the Novel Coronavirus before we — the state of North Dakota — acted aggressively to combat the virus? The necessary information was public, and the experts were screaming and blowing air horns at policymakers since January. Was any state required to …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Write This Down

A few days ago, I opened a purple, college-ruled composition notebook, noted the date on the first page, March 23, 2020, and launched into what I am calling The Coronavirus Journal. “What else to call it?” I began. “We are living through one of the most cataclysmic moments in the history of man, or so it seems. Could the wackiest …

TOM COYNE: Back In Circulation — A Wake-up Call

It’s suddenly become vital to all of us: The need to practice “social distancing” to “flatten the curve” of a now out-of-control pandemic known as COVID-19. Admit it. Two weeks ago, most of us wouldn’t have had a clue what any of that meant. Way back then, I was mostly worried about putting up a new big screen TV in …