Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Facts Still Matter

Ignorance kills. It is the reason unvaccinated people are dying from COVID-19 and other diseases whose worst effects could be avoided. It is why people ignoring the consequences of climate change are wreaking havoc rather than being addressed. It is why people are victims of hate crimes and why teaching our children real history — not some whitewashed version that …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Donald Trump And I Got Censored By Facebook

Looks like it’s going to be a rainy, windy day. A day to stay inside and write, something I haven’t done for a while. I need to share with you something that happened a little more than a week ago at this same keyboard I am writing at today. I got censored by Facebook. Now I know how Donald Trump …


TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What If Polio Had Become Politicized?

Those of us of a certain vintage grew up without fear of polio because Jonas Salk’s vaccine against that awful virus went into distribution in 1955, quickly eradicating the disease in America. But many of us grew up seeing and knowing polio victims, many of them irreparably crippled, some unable to walk, others with atrophied limbs. There was no great …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Wanted, Critical Thinkers

I never received the smallpox vaccine. But I thank God for everyone who did. My parents were not anti-vax. But back when everyone my age lined up to get the vaccine that would leave a unique scar on their upper arm, I couldn’t join them. I had severe eczema as a child and due to a reaction that the vaccine …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Nicholas Christakis And Understanding Our Year With COVID-19

Nicholas Christakis’ “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live“ is an outstanding book. I agree with the eminent historian of ideas Niall Ferguson, who called it “magisterial” in his review in the Times Literary Supplement. I could not recommend it more highly. It’s not only the most readable of the books published on …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Living Through The Pandemic: A Review One Year Later

A year into the modern pandemic era, it seems reasonable to ask, what have we learned? And what should we have learned? I found answers to those questions in a wide-ranging interview with Nicholas Christakis, the author of “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.” Christakis is the Sterling Professor of Social and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Winter Of Our Discontent

I’ve been away. It’s been nearly two months since I took a punch to the gut, the likes of which I have never experienced. I lost a brother in the COVID pandemic. He was younger, just 66. Unknown to his family or friends, he suffered from severe depression, which engulfed him during the isolation of the last year, taking him …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Beyond Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, the day when Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow to see if he sees his shadow to determine whether there are six more weeks of winter. Today also feels like Groundhog Day, as portrayed in the 1993 comedy classic starring Bill Murray. The premise of “Groundhog Day” is that a TV weatherman finds himself reliving …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Out With The Old, In With The New

A few years back, I decided to toss away the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead embrace the idea of a “Word of the Year by Which to Live.” The idea is to have one word for the year that you focus on and each day you work on that word. It becomes a centering principle by which you …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — When Life Gives You 2020, Make Lemonade

Jan. 1, 2021. 2020 is finally over. It was a helluva year. It wasn’t ALL bad, but it was different. Very different. Here’s an example. At about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, just as hints of daylight were appearing in the southeast sky, four (relatively) old men huffed and puffed their way for about half …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Thomas Jefferson, Epidemics And His Vision For American Cities

The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia changed Thomas Jefferson’s thinking. Always anti-urban in his social outlook, the future president now began to formulate a radical plan for the development of new states and new communities west of the Appalachian mountains. In an age before antibiotics and systematic vaccination, Jefferson sought to design healthier communities on the tabula rasa, …

RON SCHALOW: The Nutty Hairdresser

It’s hard keeping up with the amount of misinformation that one individual — who isn’t a deluded lame-duck president — can publish in a day, so I’ll merely identify the root of the problem so you can gasp and be on your way — after this Public Safety Announcement. (Cough) When Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson, told the Dickinson Press, “I’ve been called a lot …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — COVID Is Real

I have COVID. You can take all the right precautions, wear a mask at all times, socially distance, wash your hands, etc.,  and still get it. As luck would have it, I hadn’t left my house for more than 72 hours before showing symptoms, so no one else was exposed. That made contact testing much easier! I got tested after …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Christmas Worship 2.0

Christmas is going to look different this year. That is pretty much a universal truth for so many people. We won’t be traveling to spend time with loved ones, we won’t be having large family gatherings in festive outfits as we exchange gifts, share food and drink and celebrate the joy of being together. And perhaps for many of us, …

JIM THIELMAN: The Show Goes On — So Break A Leg

Doc Kippen looked down at me through black-rimmed glasses, bows disappearing into his gray hair at the temples. “I wish I had a bullet for you to bite on, Jimmy.”  I was on my right side, left foot pulsing with each heartbeat as the ankle hovered above my left hip. It could have been someone else’s leg. I had no …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Reuben Squares

What do sauerkraut, corned beef and Swiss cheese have in common? If you guessed a Reuben sandwich, give yourself an “A.” That eclectic sandwich is one of my favorites when I go to eat lunch, which hasn’t happened since the pandemic took center stage in our lives. Two places that come to mind are Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews in East …

RON SCHALOW: Meet Rep. Jeff Hoverson Of The Bastiat Caucus

Pastor Jeff Hoverson lives with his family on a hobby farm near Burlington — according to his Living Word Lutheran Church website — or at 1300 72nd Street SE in Minot if you want to believe the deep state. Hoverson is disgruntled with Gov. Doug Burgum for playing the science card— by belatedly mandating masks in public spaces— so Rep. …

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

I decided to fast from all media this past weekend. It was a good choice. My spirit needed it. But when I listened to NPR’s “Up First” on Monday morning, I was overwhelmed all over again with the heavy weight of the world falling down all around me. The simple truth is, just like the reduction in light we receive …

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 …

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 …