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Sporadic posts about a wide variety of topics.
Joseph Campbell: Power of Myth, Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell: Power of Myth, Hero’s Journey

Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field...

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‘In Spite of Ourselves,’ by John Prine and Iris DeMent

Here at the homestead, we've kinda considered this our theme song for about the last six years or so. The complete Sessions at West 54th Street show is on a VHS tape down in our basement somewhere, but I stumbled across this John Prine YouTube clip this morning, and...

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The grace of Elizabeth Edwards

Back in October of 2004, my wife Amy was working at the Maidenform store in Pleasant Prairie's Prime Outlets shopping center. One morning — October 21st, to be exact — Amy phoned home to tell me that there was some unusual...

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Growing flowers from seed for hummingbirds and butterflies

Growing flowers from seed for hummingbirds and butterflies

Last year, we made no effort to grow annuals and perennials. We were busy transplanting black elderberry bushes and dogwood and pruning back our bridal wreaths and weigelas. We grew tomatoes and herbs in pots, and happily grabbed some Black-eyed Susans and purple...

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Erik Mongrain:  “AirTap!”

Erik Mongrain: “AirTap!”

I just stumbled across this clip on YouTube while monkeying with stuff on my Google homepage. It's Erik Mongrain, from Montreal. I've never heard of him before, but I imagine we'll be seeing more of him from now on.

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Free directory assistance: 1-800-FREE411

My sister forwarded an email to me yesterday that she received from one of her in-laws. It advertised a free directory assistance service called 1-800-FREE411 and she wanted to know if it was for real. According to Snopes.com, it is. [includeme...

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Thursday night TV

For several weeks now (otherwise known as the February "Sweeps"), Amy and I have looked forward to Thursday night TV with a childlike glee. Three NBC Thursday night comedies — My Name is Earl, The Office and 30 Rock — are so good that we want to punch the furniture....

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Keith Olbermann’s ‘Special Comment’ on Condoleezza Rice

Keith Olbermann’s ‘Special Comment’ on Condoleezza Rice

I continue to enjoy Countdown with Keith Olbermann every weeknight. There are a few bugs in the show that I would fix — for example, there's way too much talk about American Idol — but overall, it's a very refreshing hour and an entertaining downshift from the...

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Alton Brown’s shrimp gumbo recipe: Brown roux in oven

Alton Brown’s shrimp gumbo recipe: Brown roux in oven

ere is the gumbo recipe from Alton Brown: Shrimp Gumbo.This is yet another example of why I think Good Eats is one of the best shows in the history of television: Not only does Alton Brown give us an entertaining half hour of viewing, but we also...

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‘Tsotsi’ (movie, 2005, Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto)

‘Tsotsi’ (movie, 2005, Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto)

When we first meet him in his bleak Soweto slum, the young gangster nicknamed Tsotsi ("thug") is little more than a predatory animal. Like a panther, he dispassionately stalks and pounces upon his victims, taking their belongings and, if need be, their lives. He seems...

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Hawaii dreaming on Wisconsin winter day

Hawaii dreaming on Wisconsin winter day

Saturday was when we really reached our limit. Sitting across the living room from each other, both flabby, both pasty, both exhausted by the worlds inside our laptops and the gloomy, windy, dead, and frozen terrain outside, we exchanged a glance that conceded the...

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What my cousin did last summer

I last talked to her years ago at a wedding, about the work she had been doing then in Mozambique. I was thinking about her yesterday, so I did a quick Web search and found a story from the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that originally...

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Blogging documentary: Chuck Olsen’s ‘Blogumentary’

Jennifer, whom I don't personally know but who sends me links fairly regularly, emailed me last Tuesday about an item at Google Video. Expecting to find a short clip only a minute or two in length, I was surprised to see instead that blogger Chuck Olsen has posted his...

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NOAA Weather Radios: Midland WR-300

NOAA Weather Radios: Midland WR-300

The freak tornadoes that swept across Central Florida one week ago, killing 20 people, have reminded me that I want to buy a weather radio — the kind that turns on automatically in the middle of the night when the National Weather Service issues a warning. Here in...

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Super Bowl 2007 XLI: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears

Super Bowl 2007 XLI: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears

6:50 a.m. — It's ten minutes before seven on the granddaddy of American holidays, and I'm not going to be sleeping anymore, but it's still ten and a half hours before kickoff, so why not put my nervous energy into something cliché — like, say, live-blogging Super Bowl...

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Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

A little while back, I blogged about how hard it is for me to find new music and how I've been trying to use new technology like Last.fm and Pandora to seek out fresh songs and artists. Then, a couple of Sundays ago, I learned about a young songwriter from a source...

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‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ (2005 movie)

Late in November of 2005, Oprah Winfrey was on my TV getting all effusive over Memoirs of a Geisha. To hear Oprah describe it, it was the most moving, most beautifully filmed cinematic masterpiece in the history of box offices....

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‘North Country’ (2005 Charlize Theron movie)

‘North Country’ (2005 Charlize Theron movie)

Honored with two Academy Award nominations in 2006, North Country finally worked its way to the top of my Netflix queue recently. It was a pretty good rental. You've probably seen stories similar to this one a number of times....

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Erasing José Padilla, United States citizen

In his special comment about "sacrifice" last night, Keith Olbermann spoke of the way President Bush has been able to "deaden the collective mind of this country to the pointlessness of endless war, against the wrong people, in...

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Edward R. Murrow: ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ (2005 movie)

Edward R. Murrow: ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ (2005 movie)

As a lifelong news junkie, I think of Edward R. Murrow as a divinity. I don't feel all that strongly about George Clooney one way or another, but I was interested to see what he would do as a director. (I have always meant to see his directorial debut, Confessions of...

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Happy New Year with Emeril’s Hoppin’ John recipe

Happy New Year with Emeril’s Hoppin’ John recipe

Amy and I visited New Orleans in the spring of 1992 on a road trip through Arkansas and Louisiana, and immediately fell in love with the culture of the whole area, which has had a lasting impact on our cooking, reading and musical tastes. Another road trip in 2003...

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Where to find music?

It was simple when I was, say, 17. I could tune my radio to 93 XRT and just leave it there to hear my favorite music and some exciting new stuff at any time of the day or night. Now, it's been years since I listened to WXRT. If I look at what they're playing this...

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US broadband speed is slower than Slovenia

US broadband speed is slower than Slovenia

I was standing in my nephew's bedroom a couple of months back, waiting with my sister-in-law for a YouTube video to load before unpausing it. "Is it this slow for you?" she asked me. I believe they're using DSL from the phone...

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‘Junebug’ (Amy Adams movie, 2005)

‘Junebug’ (Amy Adams movie, 2005)

Junebug (2005) was nominated for one Academy Award®, which is how I came to hear about it, but it was not talked about very much, and it stars nobody whose name I recognize. Now it is one of my favorite movies. It's the story...

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‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (animated movie, 2004)

You know how you watch the annual Oscars® telecast and notice a few clips of some animated films you've never heard of and think that you would want to see these movies? Well, thanks to Netflix, you can add them to your queue...

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Earthworms eat dead vegetation, improve the soil

Earthworms eat dead vegetation, improve the soil

Today, our yard is under about a foot of snow and the temperature this morning was 7°F. A week ago, I mowed the lawn wearing a T-shirt. It wasn't so much that the grass needed cutting, although it was green and growing a little. It was just that I wanted to mulch up...

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