Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in the New Year - A Fantasia for Youth

As I prepare to attend a New Years Eve party, I am faced with all the traditional elements of an adult ring-in-the-new-year event. Is this a formal engagement? Should we bring a side-dish, hors d'oeuvres, a bottle of wine? Are we going to stay late, stay the night, or chance driving home through precarious city festivities and overly-skeptical authorities?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music For the End of the World

With 2012 quickly approaching, the likelihood of apocalyptic destruction seems to be imminent. Whether you believe the Mayans, the fundamental Christians, or Kirk Cameron, it is going to be a busy year for all of us as we brace for the coming of Jesus, asteroids, zombie epidemics, or whatever other form the end-times may take.

There are a few things that are crucial for any doomsday survivor to have in their emergency kit. Mcgyver always recommended keeping a few paper clips, chewing gum, and a pocket knife on hand. Indiana Jones was never far from his bull whip. Sherlock Holmes used naught but his common sense. And Nostradamus prophesied that the most important item to have as the world came to an end was a mysterious machine called a "Walkman".

So here are a few songs that will get you through the end times. Mix a tape, burn a CD, or Upload it onto your MP3 player, because this is the playlist for the end of the world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thoughts on the Role of Ritual in our Lives

A few weeks ago, in the frosty haze of a brisk Southeast Iowa Sunday morning, I awoke from one of the most solid slumbers that I'd enjoyed in a long time. I donned my best blue jeans and, with my wife and my grandmother in tow, cruised down the sleepy, two-lane highway bound for Sunday mass.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

To Do it Yourself or To Pay the Man - The Eternal Struggle

I grew up in a society of do-it-yourself, self-sufficient agrarians who refused to pay someone for a service they could do themselves. I serviced most everything on the beat up old vehicles I drove in high school - the brakes, the tires, oil, anti-freeze. You name it, I could probably find a way to do it myself. I pulled the engine, replaced the gas tank, fuel lines, and carburetor on my pickup, all with the help of my grandfathers and a book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life - A Different Take on the Same State

University of Iowa Professor Stephen Bloom wrote an article for the Atlantic online last week that has scores of Iowa natives up in arms. The professors inflammatory words about the state that boasts the first Republican primary in a matter of weeks have created quite the cacophony among bloggers, facebookers, and Iowans of all make, model, and color.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boxing Day - Not Just for Canadians

This week I took a giant leap into the unknown and signed up for boxing lessons. Many people, upon reading this may be thinking,

"Boxing? What in Hell is the matter with you?"

Let me explain.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time is Here - The Music of the Season

Christmas is upon us and the top 40 stations have been piping the same dozen auto-tuned Christmas songs into our brains since late November. I love the holidays, but if you are like me, I get pretty scroogey when all I hear is "Santa Baby" and "All I want for Christmas is You".

So here is a list of alternative albums for everyone who wants to save their sanity and their love of Christmas this holiday season. You'll find old favorites and discover new loves. As always feel free to share your favorite hidden holiday gems.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bowlin' is Hard Work...

Today my staff is celebrating the holidays in true professional style - We're going bowling.

Although I am not at all a good bowler, I love the sport. It may be because of the great bowling movies that have inundated my youth. So here is my list of influential movies that at least mention the great ten-pin sport.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Passion for Coffee - Fuel for the Soul

As of seven o'clock this morning I had already notched two hours of productive morning under my belt. As I stepped out into the waning darkness, the crisp air that accompanies the first snow of the year slapped my freshly shaven face like a forgotten lover in an old Cary Grant film. I drove to work in the chill of a sluggish car heater, surrounded by commuters who looked similarly drowsy and equally frozen.