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Yearly Archives: 2019

Heartbreak at Abbey Road

Standing at Abbey Road does create a slight connection to that moment fifty years ago, but it also demonstrates Time’s power to wall us off from history. Ten years ago, I signed onto Beatlemania.  I was 40 at the time browsing the aisles at a nearby Best Buy when I …

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Three Seconds in Sweden: What I Learned About Race

I have always considered myself a tolerant, open-minded progressive.  Life in the United States perpetuated that myth, allowing me to remain ignorant of my biases, especially those regarding race.  But my first day in Sweden ripped that illusion to shreds. It happened in the span of three seconds.  Standing in …

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How the Ed-Reformers Blew It: Four Massive Screw-Ups

After arguing for decades that “schools should be run like businesses” Indiana’s education reformers simply swapped out one bureaucracy for a vastly more complex substitute.  They failed.  They blew it. Now, they’re getting you mad at me, so that you won’t turn your pitchforks on them. It was the grand …

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Vignettes: The Flatland Harmony Experiment

copy by Donovan Wheeler featured image by Amanda Cannon Photography The Flatland Harmony Experiment is one of the first bands I should have written about when I launched this site almost five years ago.  Why they never were will remain a “head-scratcher” for a long time.  At the local and …

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The Myths of Swedish Socialism

I can’t tell you what’s different between a visit to a Swedish or American doctor.  I can tell you, however, that when I hear Americans use the word “socialism” to describe places like Sweden, they’re getting it wrong.  Both sides are getting it wrong. For me the problem is always …

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Why Trains are Better than Cars

In Sweden, I saw the kind of train and rail system we would probably have here in Indiana had we not dismantled it in order to sell cars and build Interstate highways.  It’s a choice with a far-reaching impact, one that often keeps me home rather than traveling around the …

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The Wall of Alien Noise

I didn't have to know any Swedish to get along in the country.  But forcing the Swedes to speak to me in my language made me realize how intellectually fat and sluggish life in the U.S. has made me.

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A Curmudgeon Abroad

Updated on January 26, 2020 The Final Installment Coming Soon! By most standards, I’ve lived an isolated life.  My last time out of the country was a fishing trip to Canada in 1979…when I was 10 years old.  Even by domestic standards, I haven’t zipped across that much of the …

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My Friend Mike

My friend Mike Meyer and I were not friends when we first met.  You need to know that.  Most of the problem was me.  Actually, all of the problem was me.  I’m not going to say that Mike is the same person today that he was when he showed up …

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Natural Born Leaders and the Emerging Face of Music

Natural Born Leaders earned national attention in 2018, thanks in large part to an innovative Tiny Desk submission.  The band, however, is more than that five-minute segment on NPR.  In many ways, the group symbolizes both the future of music and the culmination of the watershed changes in the streaming …

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