Author Archive

How to End Trophy Hunting in Africa

  Okay. If you want to end trophy hunting in Africa, here’s how to do it: First you need to understand why it exists. People enjoy big game hunting for the same reason people in my family like deer hunting–or even fishing. It’s about strategy and problem solving, a mental exercise of knowing where the […]

Cockroaches, Cow Guts, and Other Pictures from a Thailand Food/Fish Market

  Bright colors–of vegetables and cow guts. Fried toad. Live toad. Crustaceans and catfish. And all the locals supplying and buying the goods. On a down day during our stay in rural Chiang Rai Province, I set out with a couple of the boys I was chaperoning to visit the local market. Thai cuisine is […]

Faces in the Crowd at the Rice Street Parade in St. Paul

  Parades are tried and true. I’ve been going to them my whole life, and they’ve been part of down-home American culture for longer than anyone on Earth’s been alive. Parades are great for a couple of reasons: 1. They display the different aspects of the area culture. Pageant queens, politicians, cowboys, police, athletes, performers, a […]

Thailand’s Hall of Opium and a Talk with Teenagers About Drugs 

  We walked a long, darkened hall with just a hint of red and purple hues in the air. The light reflected the bumpy, rock-like walls that had embedded within fossil-like skeletons and skulls with expression of scream and terror. This museum started off like a haunted house, and that’s evidently the first impression they want visitors to […]

An Unbelievable Twins Story, A Revelation of What Makes Us Who We Are

  After writing about identical twins (including my grandmother and her sister), I was sent this incredible story from the New York Times about two sets of identical twins in Colombia: Two sets of identical twins were born at the same time at the same hospital. They were mixed up, with one of each being sent home with the […]

The Incredible Experience of Being a Twin Reveals How We’re All Connected

  There is more to the human experience than I believe meets the eye. There are bonds between people. There are coincidences that aren’t really merely coincidences at all, but are so-called because the forces at play are invisible. At a fundraising benefit dinner on April 24 for the school in Tanzania at which I […]

One Cliff, Two Rivers, Three Countries: A Story of Freedom

  I stood at the edge of a cliff overlooking a windy, muddy river coming into view from my left. It meandered its way across my line of sight until meeting another, larger river perpendicularly. This truer river, clearer in direction and color, came into view from the distant horizon straight ahead and continued toward me until […]

I Received an Old Dollar Bill as Change; A Lesson Ensued

  “Hold on,” said the barista as she studied the bill she was about to hand back to me for change. She looked down at it with wrinkled brow. The she held it up to the light. I joked about counterfeiters probably not wasting time producing dollar bills. The barista couldn’t find her counterfeit-finding pen […]

The Hmong Mountain Village in Thailand

We walked past one-room houses of bamboo stick walls, straw roofs, and dirt floors. Chickens scampered and clucked about. Children played barefoot and parents in flip-flops tended to the babies, prepped meals, or conducted other daily chores. This was a quiet lifestyle. No machines–though it felt as if we had entered a time machine and gone […]

The Minnesota Mike Rowe

  Meet Chris Hensiak, welding instructor at Hennepin Technical College. I met him while researching a story about work being done to help lives in inner-city Minneapolis. His school is partnered with a north Minneapolis nonprofit to provide welding and machining education to local young adults. The demand, on both ends, is high. “They’ll take […]

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