The ‘D’ Word

By Sabrina Völz

still-alice-book-coverRecently, I read a highly acclaimed novel written by Lisa Genova, a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Her first book, Still Alice (2009), chronicles the descent into Alzheimer’s of Dr. Alice Howland, the eminent William James Professor of Psychology at Harvard. Reminiscent of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Lisa Genova pens a touching, highly accurate, and gripping account of the effects of dementia on the body, mind, and spirit.

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Reconciliation with the Dakota Sioux in Mankato

By Roger Nichols


Everyone reading this blog has seen monuments to historical events or national heroes. But how many of you have seen a memorial to a mass hanging? Outside the movies or TV, few people today have ever seen a public hanging. That was not true a hundred years ago when criminals’ lives often ended at the end of a noose. The largest public hanging in American history took place on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. That day, federal troops executed 38 Dakota Sioux Indians for their part in the Minnesota Sioux War that had just ended. By some accounts, up to 4,000 whites jammed the town square or sat atop nearby buildings to watch the mass execution. The crowd cheered loudly when the trapdoors opened and all 38 men hung at the end of the ropes. Why not take a few minutes to find out why this gruesome spectacle happened 134 years ago and how the city of Mankato – often associated with the Little House on the Prairie TV series – has dealt with this legacy? Read more »

How to Haiku Part Two

By Maria Moss

“Gray wolf running” by Eric Kilby

A long journey ends
when farmers grab their rifles
wolves in Germany


Remember the Haiku rules from last week? If not, check here.

As opposed to last week’s blog on traditional Haikus, this blog will focus on the non-traditional variant. While these Haikus still feature a natural scene or a part of nature (e.g. landscapes, animals, oceans), the focus is no longer on the depiction of a quiet, solemn image of nature but on the disruption or even destruction of a once balanced and harmonious environment. Non-traditional Haikus always call attention to environmental damage due to man’s interference in the natural order of things.

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Getting to Know You

By Bobbie Kirkhart

my university school days – at least on the student side of the desk – are two decades past now, but I daresay this story is still playing out today, in graduate schools and other places where thinking people with different experiences collide.

On the first night of class, we started with an icebreaker: paired off, we were to interview each other and then introduce our colleague to the class. I was partnered with a woman who, as soon as the professor said “begin,” narrated her life story. I knew everything about her in 10 minutes without having asked a single question.  She concluded her soliloquy with the statement, “I’m very active in my church.”

When she interviewed me, I concluded, “I’m an atheist activist.” I was almost expecting a negative response, but she simply commented, “that’s interesting.”

When we were called on, she introduced me, my school, my specialty, my hobbies, and then turned to me and asked, “Shall I tell them the secret?” Read more »