Archive - Jun 2007

June 19th

Word from Iraq

An exerpt from a note I received from a serviceman in Iraq this morning:
...when your blog moves away from nature and bird pictures (which I enjoy the most as I miss home) and focuses on making the military look like we are all child killers, rapists and love torture, I am unsure of your motives. It has already been news, why do I keep getting dragged through the mud?

There is always the risk when one criticizes the conduct of a war that one will be perceived as not supporting the armed forces.

Old Churches

On Sunday, I gave a talk on old churches in an old church, Hafslo Church, which now sits on the ground of the Polk County Museum in Crookson.

Every face in the audience was familiar. I was preaching to the choir. They had regathered at the church only fifteen minutes after the funnel cloud south of Crookston disappeared and the sirens shut off.

Ninety-four year old Agnes from the Villa nursing home was there. She's so sharp. She pitched in during my talk, correcting me at times, agreeing at times, tossing in some stories of her own.

June 17th

Solid construction

I am impressed with how the house has taken this storm. Although trees are falling outside, and the oak are bending quite far, and although a few big branches have struck the house, there hasn't been so much as a quiver up here in the crow's nest.

If you listen real close, underneath the roar of thunder and wind, the frogs croak on resolutely.

And downstairs, Renato, tired from a big Brazilian party he attended last night in Detroit Lakes (mid-June is a festival in Brazil where you dress up like farmers and have big parties), is sleeping through the tumult.

Blogging up a storm

It is late. I can't sleep because a big storm is raging outside. I have no basement to hide in, but this house is built like a brick something or other, so I am not worried.

June 16th

Cluster of clusters and foot-in-mouth

In the past year, I have spoken to several Lutheran woman's groups. They are called "clusters." Today, I spoke to an entire synod of clusters, which means it was a cluster of clusters.

I usually play one piano number, and then go on a monologue about Lutheran church basements and such. Before I started today, however, an older lady came up to me and asked if I would sing some Willie Nelson. I promised her I would, although I usually don't sing country in church sanctuaries. Not that I have any scruples about such a thing, but perhaps somebody present would.

Cabin on stilts


I am sure there will be a concerted attempt to discredit this man, despite his impeccable credentials.

June 15th


Everybody I talk to asks me right away: "Are you still off coffee?"

Yes I am. I haven't had a cup of caffienated coffee in over a month. I did have a cup of decaf this morning, and I thought it tasted awful.

I haven't completely given up caffiene, as I still like chocolate and I drink some root beer. But when I had a Coke at noon the other day, then followed it up with a root beer float at 3 p.m., and a dab of chocolate ice cream at six p.m., I was up until two in the morning, wide awake, full of ideas.

Cell phones

I have gotten some interesting responses on the column I wrote earlier this week on cell phones.

One wrote that he had spent some time in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Although it was rough, and he sent some bleak pictures of the place, he said the punishment of sending rude cell phone users there wasn't nearly harsh enough.


Spent the past two days at a retreat for the board members of all six of the Minnesota Initiative Funds. The retreat was held at Grand View Resort in Nisswa.

The main speaker was a futurist named Ed Barlow. He spoke for two-and-a-half hours on the future and what the trends are. He gives over 120 speeches a year. Somebody said that he charges $8000 per appearance.

Unlike most motivational speakers, Barlow is a little, scholarly-looking man with thick glasses. He talks a blue streak. Some of his observations: