Dining with the Colonel – No. 39

Snow was falling and I was tired. I was returning home to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin after a day of teaching at the university. It was 5:30 in the afternoon in the middle of winter, so it had already been dark for about an hour. As I pulled into town, I started thinking about food. I…

Cartoon: Fellow is updating his facebook account while nuclear warhead explodes.

What if Facebook Were Our Only Source of News?

What if Facebook were our only source of news and information? What would we know about the United States? How would we see the world around us? I have been thinking about these important questions and offer the following observations. (Note that some of the observations contradict others, but that’s the nature of reality in…

Cute kittens being petted by their foster parent

Wisconsin Doublethink

In his prescient political novel, 1984, George Orwell writes that “doublethink” is the “power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . .” Here in Wisconsin we are in the middle of deer hunting season. On the front page of last Saturday’s Janesville Gazette, the local…

Map showing roads and businesses in a small part of Janesville, Wisconsin.

National Bicycle Month vs. Reality

I just read that this is “National Bicycle Month” and that this week is “Bicycle to Work Week.” I have no idea who makes these pronouncements, but I am sure they represent a kind of wishful thinking rather than an accurate reference to everyday reality. Last week an article in the Washington Post reported new…

Night scene with candles illuminating a wall of tombs at the main cemetery in the city of Oaxaca.

Day of the Dead – Three Cemeteries

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca include elaborate attention by family and friends to the grave sites of the departed. And while the traditions in each cemetery are similar and have the same purpose, the customs in each cemetery may differ from community to community. In this album three cemeteries from the state…

A long view of a field of ripe golden soybeans all the way to the tree line on the horizon.

Amber Waves of Bean: The Beauty of Soy

Soybeans Ready for Harvest near Whitewater, Wisconsin This is a remarkable time of year in southern Wisconsin. The changing colors of the leaves capture one’s attention, but I also like looking at the crops ready for harvest, especially the soybeans. Wisconsin is ranked 13th in the nation for soybean production, and Rock County (where I…