Friday Varia and Quick Hits

I’m pretty sure that today is Friday in North Dakotaland and while I wish I could say that the world was slowly returning to a kind of post-COVID normalcy, it, in fact, seems to imploding. The only thing we can hope is that some good comes from these dark days. 

It does seem kind of pointless to be posting on my blog or fussing around with my scholarship or doing much of anything these days. Writing or reading this blog seems like a low priority. 

But, if you’re here (and I do appreciate you as readers!), do check out the voices that Eric Burin brought together in his Protesting on Bended Knee: Race, Dissent and Patriotism in 21st Century America (2018) or check out Gayatri Devi’s short essay on this week’s NDQ blog on mainstreaming racial slurs.

Or check out this little gaggle of quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

After a week of summer here in North Dakotaland, we’ve settled back into a lazy spring with temperatures wandering through the 60s and visiting the upper 30s at night. With plenty of sunshine and a gentle breeze rather than a howling wind, I’m looking forward to the weekend!

Bonnie Larson Staiger’s poem “Still” got me thinking about the blustery North Dakota winds in the summer. Do check it out over at the North Dakota Quarterly page.

With the world cautiously awaking from its COVID-induced slumber, there’s Cup racing on Sunday (at Bristol no less!) and plenty of whispers from the NBA, boxing, and other motorsports that a return is immanent. In fact, the Aussie’s announced their summer cricket schedule this week and it sounds like the West Indies are headed to the UK soon in preparation for their tour.

It’s also the start of 1000 words of summer! This will be the first time that I try to write 1000 words for 14 days. Needless to say, I’m anxious and excited!

So there’s a lot to look forward in the next couple of months despite all the uncertainty, in the meantime, here are some quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

For the first time in 20+ years, I’m home for the Memorial Day weekend. There’s no Indy 500 this year and, I suspect, that the neighborhood pools won’t be opening with cookouts and other fanfare. The long race in Charlotte is going on Sunday night and I’m tempted to watch a Korean baseballing game, just to see what this is about. 

I also need to figure out whether I should blog on Monday! I’m just not sure of the protocol these days. 

Today, though, is just another Friday (it is Friday, right?), so time for another small gaggle of quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s starting to feel like springtime this weekend here in North Dakotaland. We haven’t had snow in days and the temperature is soaring into the mid-30s at night. It is also alternating between 30 mph winds and rain, fire and flood warnings, but most of us know “that’s just the way of the world.”  

That being said, for the first time in months, I can say that the Cup boys are running this weekend at Darlington and then again on Wednesday night. It may not be the right thing to do, it might be a false dawn, it might even do more harm than good, but I’m still gonna watch.

I don’t usually bark at my own tail, but I was pretty happy with a few of my blog posts this week. I wrote a two part post on the history of urban and suburban growth in Grand Forks, North Dakota (part 1 and part 2; they’re a follow up on this post from a few months ago). I also crunched some numbers from the last two months of NDQ submissions and from our most recent issue to see what patterns emerged. Finally, I started to think in earnest about how I might teach World History in a nonlinear way.

If those don’t float your boat, maybe there’s something in this gaggle of quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

We’ve had cool, but lovely week here in North Dakotaland, but just to remind everyone that winter is never quite over, we’re expecting 3-6 inches of snow on Saturday.

Oh well, I was planning at staying inside anyway.

If you’re planning at staying put and riding out whatever inclement weather or terrible disease is headed your way, may I suggest grabbing a paperback copy of Sebastian Heath’s DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean, which was released this week. It is, of course, available as a free download as well.  

Alternately, you can check out this list of quick hits and varia, which includes a number of free digital books:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

A week of springtime weather has almost melted the snow in our gardens and in the local park and is drying up the mud left behind by the retreating flood waters. 

There’s an old saying here in North Dakotaland. We have four seasons: cold, mud, wind, and dust. Right now we’re leaving mud season, and wind season is just starting. Never a dull moment in North Dakota weather.

Fortunately, neither cold, nor mud, nor wind, seem to discourage me from gleaning some quick hits and varia. Enjoy:

IMG 4990It was Argie’s birthday.
He’d like everyone to know that he’s no longer a puppy and his a grown-ass dog.

IMG 4998Milo in the outdoor Milsey Bed.


Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Spring has finally sprung here in North Dakotaland with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and the last of the snow melting from our gardens. The mulch we ordered is still frozen at the nursery giving us another week to enjoy the warm weather without the burden of doing work outside. 

In my life, the bustle of springtime stands in contrast with the social austerity introduced  by The COVIDs. At best, it’s giving me time to slow down a bit to read, write, and reflect when usually I’d be flailing my way toward the end of the semester.

To help share some of my springtime reading (and stay tuned for my traditional summer reading list), University of Nebraska Press and North Dakota Quarterly have made the latest issue of NDQ available as a free download here. They’ve also offered a discount on NDQ subscriptions using the coupon code “9389VT”. There’s something to be said for the sentiment that for now on, I’ll only read fiction.

These are difficult times for the arts.  If you can, buy a book from a small press (I suggest something from my friends at NDSU Press, or from a small book store like Zandbroz in Fargo, Ferguson in Grand Forks, Books on Broadway in Williston, or Main Street Books in Minot), give to a museum (like the North Dakota Museum of Art or the Plains Art Museum), support a local arts organization (like the Grand Forks Chorales), or subscribe to a little magazine (check out North Dakota Quarterly or Ploughshares at 50).

I hope your weekend is full of good things and enjoy this little list of quick hits and varia: 

Differing attitudes toward walks:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It may be Friday, but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. It feels like some day that ends in “y.”

Some things have changed since last Friday, though. First, Crystal Alberts and the UND Writers Conference arranged for Paul Worley to interview Laila Lalami for North Dakota Quarterly. The interview is great and you can read it here.

Second, Milo would like you all to know that he got a new toy. It’s called “Slobber Ball” and is a soft, furry ball with squeakers in it. 

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And now for some quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

In part of the Christian world, today is Good Friday which is both somber and full of hope. It seems like this year with floods, economic catastrophe, The COVIDs, and the constant roil of toxic politics, the idea of Good Friday resonates more than in the past. If you’re feeling it, Bach’s St. John Passion is going to stream live from Leipzig (a bit about it here).

There plenty to pull us toward the past right now. Wisden named Ben Stokes its leading cricketer of the world, and Oscar De La Hoya still defeats Ike Quartey. Or this.

It’s tempting not to think about the future, but remember that many of our cultural and arts organization need our support now more than ever. If you can, buy a book from a small press (I suggest something from my friends at NDSU Press, or from a small book store like Zandbroz in Fargo or Ferguson in Grand Forks), give to a museum (like the North Dakota Museum of Art or the Plains Art Museum), support a local arts organization (like the Grand Forks Chorales), or subscribe to a little magazine (check out North Dakota Quarterly or Ploughshares at 50)


And here’s a little gaggle of quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

The great thing about April snows is that I feel almost no need to go outside and shovel. By the end of the month, the snow will be mostly gone whether I do anything or not and springtime weather with highs in the 40s is scheduled to resume by Sunday.

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Of course, I have very little else to do these days so going outside and shoveling snow wouldn’t be the worst use of my time.

Then again, I could watch this replay of the 1986 Australian Grand Prix. Or rewatch a classic trilogy of fights: Leonard-Duran I, Leonard-Duran II “No Mas”, or Leonard-Duran III. Or, read, write, grade papers, and entertain the dogs. In short, there’s always something to do.

I could even provide my readers with a little list of quick hits and varia:

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