The Heartland: Coping with Pandemic Then and Now

Ernest Hemingway wrote from his hospital bed in Milan in October 1918 that people dying from the Spanish flu “drowned in mucus, choking, unable to breathe.”  At that time the 19-year-old writer was recovering from wounds sustained while he was an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I.   The same month Hemingway’s physician father Clarence wrote from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park that for … Continue reading The Heartland: Coping with Pandemic Then and Now

Newspapers: Disruption, Decline, ….Collapse?

For newspapers the internet revolution brought savage disruption from which there’s been no recovery. The industry that initially downplayed the digital challenge now pays the price as only the NY Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have viable online strategies. For more than 100 years newspapers were cash cows with revenues from classified ads, subscriptions and advertisements making fortunes for their owners.  With hindsight … Continue reading Newspapers: Disruption, Decline, ….Collapse?

Personal Reflections on the Kent State Tragedy

At 11 a.m. on a pleasant spring Monday, May 4, 1970, 77 combat ready Ohio National Guardsmen with bayonetted rifles and gas masks assembled at the lower edge of the Kent State University campus. In front of them across a large grassy area known as the Commons were several hundred angry students awaiting a 12 o’clock anti-war rally that was going ahead despite having already … Continue reading Personal Reflections on the Kent State Tragedy

Lessons From a Writing Retreat

It was autumn in this pleasant Baltic Sea corner of northeastern Europe. I arrived at the Litinterp guesthouse in Klaipeda, Lithuania in September 2007 with one objective; to spend seven days in relative isolation and emerge with a draft of the book that despite best intentions had not come together over two preceding years.  The venue was perfect.  It was a long three-story house built in … Continue reading Lessons From a Writing Retreat

Cecil Rhodes With His Pants Down

In September 1891 Cecil Rhodes set out from Beira in Portuguese East Africa for the new settlement of Salisbury in Mashonaland 310 miles away. It was an arduous journey through lion country and knoted forests.  There was no road and a rail line was some years away.  Empire builder Rhodes was at the time prime minister of the Cape Province. A year earlier he had dispatched to … Continue reading Cecil Rhodes With His Pants Down