Good Morning Midnight, Flat Black, and Other Dark Matters

Every fall, teenagers worldwide go off to college expecting to find a career and themselves. Most of what they find is disappointing. Like, instead of a road trip with a manic pixie dream girl, there’s an exciting if ill-advised romance with a lady who sticks her finger down her throat so she can drink more….

A Cemetery is an Art Museum

Head stones are art objects. We don’t usually think of them that way, but they do exactly what art does. Each stone reflects the culture of its day. It’s a momento mori more effective than the Danse Macabre (“Dance with Death”). A concentrated few make an outdoor local art and history museum. Mount Joy Cemetery…

Squatters and Supplementary Farming

People generally think of squatters as those who live in the basements of dilapidated urban buildings. Detroit and parts of Chicago come to mind. But Iowa has its share of squatters, and my guess is that number is about to rise drastically. After all, real estate is expensive, and the state’s economy is about to…

On The Saint Elizabeth’s Fire

There’s a tiny cemetery in the yard of the hospital where I was born. A statue of Mary watches over sixteen plain stone crosses. Mary gazes down, palms outward. She is missing a finger on her right hand. Her brow is relaxed, but her mouth is folded in sorrowful indignation. She gestures to the crosses…

Awful or Awesome?: Quad City-style Pizza

Update, Mar. 13, 16:22. I just realized this can go in the Awful-Awesome series, which I wanted to be a thing for a while but then fizzled out. Thus, I have retitled this post and added an additional closing paragraph. Enjoy! I was in my twenties before I stumbled upon this term on Wikipedia. That…

Hit These Links: Quad City Tastemakers Tell Locals to #GetBaked

ATTN: Iowa writers, entrepreneurs, and bloggers – Travel Iowa has a blog that seems underutilized, especially considering how accessible it is to small business owners. I wrote this post about an awesome new venue in the Village of East Davenport called Baked Beer and Bread Company: From the partnership that brought you Brew in the Village:…

Why Iowa Votes Democrat

This post was inspired by an infographic someone posted on my Facebook newsfeed, and, yes, I do have the actual answer. As I was born and raised in Iowa, it never really occurred to me to ask this question, because the answer seems so obvious. It’s ingrained in my brain, my personality, and my values….

The Hancher Teardown

In 2008, the Iowa River flooded Iowa City. This was nothing new – the University of Iowa has had to evacuate some of its classrooms and dormitories many times over the years – but this flood turned out to be so bad that it was called “Iowa’s Katrina.” It has its own Wikipedia page. The…

Disillusioned at the Farmer’s Market

I’m feeling very Dr. Seuss today, if Dr. Seuss were more cynical, had an iPhone, and lived in Iowa. Two Mute Youths Two mute Youths follow the Farmer through the booths of fresh produce, Corn, tomatoes, snatches of herbs, rosemary, basil, potted flowers, and clean-cut bouquets, honey comb, and home-baked bread. Two mute Youths wearing…