Author Archive

New Country, New Trek: Into Uganda

At night I lay sick in my saggy bed in my dingy motel in Bukoba, wishing that buses could leave later in the morning. I wanted to sleep in the next morning, but dawn-departure trips seemed the norm. Surprisingly, I awoke feeling okay. In fact, I was eager to leave this city on the west [...]

The Difficulty of School Behavioral Policy, of Policy in General


This week at my job at a Twin Cities charter school, I was asked to review their new discipline policy. In accordance with the state of Minnesota, and also the school’s own standards, the document stretched 17 pages addressing everything from what constitutes (and how to respond to) food fights, firearms, bullying, sexual harassment, improper [...]

Ferry Ride to Bukoba, My Low Point on this Trek

I told myself when I left Arusha that this trek around Lake Victoria wasn’t going to be a vacation. It was an adventure. I’d be okay with delays and discomforts; they were all just part of the experience. The upshot: this mindset allowed me to also be open to any opportunity that came along. And [...]

Was it Right for Bloomington to Charge the Mall of America Protesters?

Under normal circumstances, a group walking out on the freeway to stop traffic or infiltrating the Mall of America to force a wing to shut down would warrant arrests and prosecution. But these aren’t normal circumstances. Law enforcement often bends to make room for special situations. Until vandalism enters the picture, police allow unsanctioned celebrations [...]

Mwanza: A Monkey-filled Hike to One Incredible View

Having by now showed me an abandoned (but not eerie) cemetery, as well as some locals living off the land tucked away in a small bay, and then the urban lake shore scenery of Mwanza, I was feeling pretty good about my new friend Daniel. Adventure travel had struck again. And for second time in [...]

Is Race Real?

Two books; two smart, well-educated writers; two entirely different opinions on race. Nicholas Wade is a former science writer for the New York Times. He released his latest book last year called A Troublesome Inheritance, and it deals with genetics, evolution, and how humans and societies have been shaped by these factors. He thinks race is [...]

Mwanza: A Huge Lake, Freakishly Large Birds, and a New Friend

I awoke, did one of those looks back and forth where the eyes dart but the head stays put. New room; new city in Tanzania. A new city to explore. And I would do so this day to discover gardens along huge Lake Victoria tended to by locals, tan boulders the size of cars (and [...]

On the (deadly) Road to Mwanza, Tanzania

“Here is it,” said the guy standing next to me at the busy Arusha bus station. Finally. It was the morning of September 18, and after the joy of waiting for two hours watching hoards of other Tanzanian travelers getting on their on-time buses, I was relieved with the tardy arrival of mine. I needed [...]

2014: The Stories and Moments of Our Year

2014 Or as it was known to the Armenians: 1463 Or to the Berbers in Northern Africa: 2964 The Korean calendar had it at 4347. The Hebrew calendar split between 5774 and 5775. The Shaku Samvat Hindu calendar puts us back in the “30s”: 1936-1937 Meanwhile the Ethiopians considered the year 2006-2007. Despite global use [...]

Views of Mt. Kilimanjaro: Goodbye to Arusha and Hello to a New Adventure

Walter Mitty was introduced to the world in 1939 by writer James Thurber. In Thurber’s short story, Mitty is a dreamer, not a doer. And his fantasies attempt to compensate for his lack of real life adventure and accomplishment. He never does find fulfillment. Not only do his dreams fail to replace reality, but his [...]

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