How to Succeed in Bureaucracy without Really Trying – Part 1

Bureaucracies in contemporary U.S. society are as American as apple pie. Those who think they are wasteful, inefficient, unproductive, and incomprehensible, should just get over it, because they are here to stay. Almost everyone in professional life has worked, at one time or another, in a bureaucracy either in the public or private sector.  With a few adaptations to ordinary forms of human interaction, all … Continue reading How to Succeed in Bureaucracy without Really Trying – Part 1

Arghandab Valley near Khandahar, Afghanistan. Credit: 

The Massacre at Kandahar

In the never-ending cycle of tragedy we see daily in the news, I find it difficult to react appropriately to one event before the next one leaves me numb. Ever since the news of the massacre at Kandahar, allegedly committed by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, I have wanted to write something meaningful about this atrocity. But how can anything be said that meaningfully captures or … Continue reading The Massacre at Kandahar

A stand of pine trees in snow.

Pet Peeves – The Winter of My Discontent

Everyone has a few pet peeves – things that get your goat, tick you off, and drive you to distraction. Perhaps it’s this winter with no snow, the bleak landscape, or the endless political season that is bothering me. Whatever the cause, numerous vexations of 21st century life are on my mind. Here are a few of them in no particular order. The use of … Continue reading Pet Peeves – The Winter of My Discontent

Only in Wisconsin . . . .

From today’s Janesville Gazette: By ASSOCIATED PRESS   Tuesday, February 7, 2012 – 6:37 a.m. LITTLE SUAMICO—Seven men and a boy were rescued by airboat after they became stranded by a huge crack in the ice of Green Bay that kept them from reaching shore. While the eight were brought back to land, two other ice fishermen declined rescue and decided to stay and fish. Continue reading Only in Wisconsin . . . .

Photo of odometer at 200,000 miles

Toyota Highlander Turns over 200,000 Miles

Life in the 21st century has numerous milestones. Among these are graduations from high school and college, buying our first car, having our first child or first grandchild, turning 40 or turning 65. Among the least heralded of milestones, yet one of the most unusual, is watching the odometer in your car turn over 200,000 miles. This is a moment to treasure that most of … Continue reading Toyota Highlander Turns over 200,000 Miles

Millet plant in my flower bed

Mystery Millet Grows in Janesville

After returning from vacation back in August, I discovered a small plant growing in the small flower bed next to my driveway. Nestled among the dead rose bushes, the stalk-like plant had leaves that looked like corn. Thinking it was another weed, I ignored it for a couple weeks during which time it grew some two feet. It sprouted seeds at the top and spread … Continue reading Mystery Millet Grows in Janesville

Patches of snow and green grass in a backyard scene.

Wisconsin Spring

Here in southern Wisconsin we are anxiously awaiting our annual seven days of spring. We have cool summers, beautiful falls, and frigid, interminable winters. Spring, a season on the calendar, in actuality barely exists. Except for about seven glorious days, we move  from winter straight into summer. During the months of April and May, flowers and blooming plants struggle to fulfill their genetic destinies, only … Continue reading Wisconsin Spring

Cartoon - full-body scan

Full-body Scan

I travel frequently to Oaxaca, Mexico. On my last return trip I was singled out at the Mexico City Airport for extra scrutiny by the security personnel. I’m told that passengers are chosen at random for the extra attention, but I don’t believe it because I’m often chosen. Maybe I look shifty, or perhaps my mustache makes me look suspicious. Who knows? In any case, … Continue reading Full-body Scan

Living in the Age of “Feel-Good” Citizenship or “It’s not easy being green.”

Have you noticed that in order to avoid using plastic bags we are now encouraged to bag our groceries in little green cloth bags? Have you also noticed that almost everything sold in the grocery store is packaged in plastic? Even the organic produce is put up in plastic bags. In effect, for every little green cloth bag we fill up at the grocery store, … Continue reading Living in the Age of “Feel-Good” Citizenship or “It’s not easy being green.”