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Tests Are Not Just Academic

Aug 11, 2017

“Graduation is an exercise.”

That was the clever headline I put over a storyboard I submitted for a photo class in college. My photos showed the daily grind students plod through to reach the holy grail — a college degree.

Looking back, I’d say the biggest obstacle was passing tests. Lots of tests. I remember cramming for tests … and trying to guess what will be asked.

A Time To Speak Out

Aug 10, 2017

I wonder who’s next?

Martin Niemöller, a pastor, was an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for this quotation:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.

An Incredible Place To Discover

Aug 9, 2017

Illinois is the “Prairie State,” but we’ve lost more than 99.99% of our prairies to farming and development. This loss of prairie threatens the survival of iconic species such as regal fritillary butterflies. Other species, such as the upland sandpiper and large grazers like bison, have been driven nearly or completely out of Illinois from hunting and habitat loss.

But, in a remote corner of Franklin Grove, a team of citizen volunteers and restoration practitioners is trying to change all that. Walking around Nachusa Grasslands is like taking a step back in time.

A New Look At Musical Heritage

Aug 8, 2017

You never know what you may discover – and learn – when you set off on a road trip, even if it’s just one state over. 

Destination: The Traverse City Film Festival.
Mission: Films that may not make it commercially.

Michael Moore, the festival’s founder, puts it this way: “We need movies that seek to enrich the human spirit … not the bottom line.”

In the documentary “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” Buffy Sainte-Marie tells us there’s medicine in the arts. She’s one of the many Native American musicians profiled in this extraordinary film.

A Challenge For This Vacation

Aug 7, 2017

For vacation I am going to Europe. Despite my excitement, I have a tinge of loathing.

It’s not about struggling with speaking German. I am more concerned with the possible onslaught of questions about U.S. politics.

The last time I visited Europe was during the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011. After being asked about the impasse several times, my answers began feeling hollow. Being abroad forces you to be a little more objective as you hear yourself outside the comfort of our borders and see how other nations actually live.