The spring and summer of 2011 have been historically devastating. An earthquake and tsunami in Japan rival Hiroshima and Nagasaki. EF5 tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and throughout much of the South have killed more people than any outbreak in six decades. Wildfires have burned more of Arizona to the ground than ever before. […]
To be honest, I never imagined I would ever write about this subject, but this month I want to explore. . .here goes. . .the fate of soap operas! Sudser fans (and some media mavens) shuddered this spring when ABC announced it was canceling One Life to Live and All My Children. This leaves General […]
Spring is renewal time. We reconnect with so much that has left us over the winter months: our gardens, the leaves on the trees lining our street, the open waters that we canoe or kayak, warm breezes, robins and cardinals singing in the morning, the first chirps of crickets in the gray dusk […]
I pinpoint my first flash of place-consciousness to a day when I was in elementary school while growing up in Rockford, Illinois. I don’t remember precisely how old I was, but it was somewhere between eight and twelve. I also don’t remember what I was doing, but I vividly recall the epiphany–that my entire world […]
Change is coming to downtown Iowa City. Since the “21” referendum last fall, this mantra has been chanted incessantly by people from all sides of the issue. For better or worse, change has already come to downtown Iowa City, with the closure of several bars. Honestly, I don’t want to enter the mainstream of the […]
Congratulations to Little Village on its 100th issue! February is a wonderful month to celebrate this milestone. Here in the middle lands, most people moan and groan about February. Shoveling more snow, chipping more ice, wrapping up for another foray into a sub-zero morning–“Enough!” is the cry heard round the Heartland from Columbus to Wichita, […]
Bad eyesight and new reading glasses. Just another step along the way of middle age? Yes, but last month, they also sparked in me some new thoughts on place. I’m of a largely geographic bent when it comes to place. That is, I believe a large part of “place” is what’s “out there.” When I […]
“Home for the Holidays.” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” It’s that time of year when the return home defines the season for many people. Songs, movies and TV specials during the holiday season relentlessly emphasize homecoming, for both comedic and dramatic effect. And our highways and airports testify to the culture’s real-life enactment of this […]
One of the problems we have in modern, globalized, industrialized society is that we often fail to understand, acknowledge or care about the consequences of what we do. If we really, truly cared about the environment, we would calculate the damage we inflict upon the Earth every time we start up a car or airplane, turn on a computer, throw away Styrofoam, etc.
In early August, my family and I returned from our annual sojourn to the Minnesota North Woods. Our experience this year dramatically illustrated to me that the two major ingredients of a sense of place are food and sex.
Kudos to Mark Ginsberg and Marc Moen for putting pianos out in our public downtown walkways a la the “Play Me, I’m Yours” initiative in New York City and elsewhere. Now, anyone can share their musical talents, big or small, with everyone else. This is the truest definition of “public art,” and I hope we […]
In the raging underage/binge drinking debate in Iowa City, a couple of familiar refrains keep singing: “You can’t change the drinking culture,” and “Downtown Iowa City’s economy will collapse,” the latter with various subpoints (the downtown economy is heavily bar-dependent, so there will be mass vacant storefronts, many jobs will be lost, tax revenue will plummet, etc., etc.). These talking points are repeated ad infinitum by many, but especially the student population. Underlying both of these arguments is a fundamental belief that things cannot change from their current state. The universe always tells us that nothing is further from the truth.