Monday, March 25, 2019

Local Art Seen: What The Feminist @ the PRØVE

Viridescent by Sarah Brokke
I believe this is the second year for the WTF Show, an art exhibition that strives to bring awareness to feminist issues. This show at the PRØVE featured 79 pieces by local and regional artists. The aim of the exhibit is "to commemorate International Women's Day by bringing visual awareness to feminist issues."

The works were produced in a wide range of media from traditional painting to printmaking to porcelain to Ellen Sandbeck's scissor-cut pieces.
Carla Hamilton's Jewels
Six Graces at the Laundromat by Carolyn Olson
Winter Amaryllis by Alison Aune

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Five Articles Recently Published On Medium Related to the Past, the Present and the Future

These are all fairly short explorations around various ideas. The first two were stimulated by passages from the book Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. The third examines a thought I had in response to what is happening in France these past several months. The fourth is a brief presentation of how our preconceived biases influence the way we envision the future. The last is a short story idea that came to me around two decades ago when we took a family vacation in the Black Hills.

Lord Nelson, the Battle of Trafalgar and a Lesson in Strategy

Dark Matter and the Psychologist’s Dilemma

My Biggest Concern About the Green New Deal

Notes from Herman Kahn’s The Next 200 Years

Coyote with Broken Mouth (A Black Hills Story)

Painting by local artist Shawna Gilmore.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Local Art Seen: Sirpa at the JNG and a Flask Exhibition

Last night there were several openings of note in Downtown Duluth. The Sirpa Särkijärvi opening at Joseph Nease Gallery is all the evidence we need to affirm the value of this addition to the arts community. The Finnish painter, herself present, was greatly appreciated by the crowd of art enthusiasts who gathered for the freshly hung exhibition.

Down the street you could also attend two other shows: The Flask Exhibition at the Nordic Center and WTF (What The Feminist) at the PROVE.

The Flask exhibition was subtitled A Focus on Form and Function. The show featured flasks a flagons of all shapes an sizes. Flasks have been used in Nordic and other cultures throughout history for carrying liquids from place to place. We saw them in the form of canteens on TV Westerns as kids. The flasks in this show, curated by Karen Keenan and Bob Dearmond, were produced from clay, wood, metal, glass and fiber by area artists, an intriguing theme with some remarkably inventive "products."

It was fun to see the variety of names we have given to our containers. Jugs, flasks and decanters were most common. There were also glasses, a funnel, and a growler, all for sale at reasonable prices, considering these pieces were also art.

Artists who contributed included Bob Dearmond, Erin Eitsch, Richard Cruchalla & Carrin Rosetti, Bob & Cheryl Husby, Elzabeth James and Jim Klug, Clayton Johnson, Karen Keenan, Karin Kraemer, Loiselle D Lehigh, Michael Maguire, May Anne Malm, Yarrow Mead, Kathryn Mongan-Rallis, Rita Morris & Barry Sands, Robin Murphy, Dan Neff, Anne Wolfe Nichols, Denise Perry, Mike Simieja, Sheila Staubus and Julie Zenner.

Gallery hours for the Flask Exhibition are from 1-4 p.m. on March 23, 24 and April 6, 7 as well as on March 29 from 5-8 p.m. during the Downtown Duluth Art Walk.

The space was crammed, but not impossibly so. Friends and fans made their way through, many of them sifting down into the WTF space where it may have been easier to make an exit.

Transcription 57 (She) by Sirpa Särkijärvi @ the Joseph Nease Gallery
Sirpa Särkijärvi
The Joseph Nease Gallery offers a versatile space for a art appreciation.
Sneak preview of what I saw at the PROVE's WTF show & will share soon.
Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sneak Preview: Sirpa Särkijärvi's Transcriptions at the Joseph Nease Gallery

Tonight Joseph Nease Gallery will for the first time feature an artist from outside the United States with an exhibition of over twenty new works by Finnish painter Sirpa Särkijärvi. The reception will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Since opening in October 2017, the contemporary art gallery has facilitated artistic exchange in Duluth by bringing in artists from around the country, and in particular from throughout the Heartland and the Kansas City region, where owners Joseph and Karen Nease previously curated a gallery. This current exhibition, titled Transcriptions, marks a departure from this trend.

As you can see here the Finnish painter has an impressive energetic style. In person the paintings are even more striking, in part due to the scale, and also because of some technical effects. By using a matte, uniform colored background, the glossy, multi-colored images pop from the canvas. The overall impact is dramatic.

Särkijärvi is based in Turku, a city on the southwest coast of Finland about two hours west of the capital Helsinki. She was born in Muonio in the Lapland area of Finland north of the Arctic Circle, a region that experiences 24/7 darkness a portion of the year and 24/7 daylight in mid-summer.

Särkijärvi’s travels have taken her far from Finland, where she has earned an established position in the arts scene. Her work has been shown in Spain and Berlin, drawing inspiration from her experiences in places as distant as Beijing and California. The title of this series, begun in 2015, references her artistic process of soaking in the environments she visits before translating them to the canvas.

“The idea behind the name is that these aren’t just about my inner world, but that I kind of write notes on a paper according to what I hear or about what I perceive,” Särkijärvi told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat in 2017. “Everything comes from the surrounding world, what I see and experience, and what other people experience. I turn it into a picture, like as if it were an engram of our time.” *

How did it come about that Särkijärvi's work is appearing at the Joseph Nease Gallery here in Duluth? In 2011 the artist had work in a Kansas City show where the Neases' gallery was located until until moving to the Northland two years ago. The Neases were impressed with the work and never forgot the artist behind it. The plans for this Duluth exhibition unfolded when the Neases learned that Särkijärvi had received a grant from Finland to exhibit internationally.

“Right at the outset, the Finland connection seemed like a suitable fit for the region, especially in view of the many Scandinavian immigrant communities that settled along the North and South shores of Lake Superior,” said Joseph Nease.

As it turns out, Särkijärvi herself has distant ties to the region.

“Sirpa told us that her great-grandfather visited the Iron Range area and traveled along the north shore before the First World War,” said Karen Nease. “According to Sirpa, he planned to migrate to Minnesota. But when he went back to Finland to bring his family over, World War I broke out and he wasn’t able to return.”

Särkijärvi will be in Duluth for the exhibition’s opening reception tonight and will spend a few days here seeing the area.

“It’s interesting to see how multiple generations of Sirpa’s family have been drawn here," said Joseph Nease. “We’re very pleased to help write a new chapter in a story that started decades ago, so to speak, by showcasing Sirpa’s work in Duluth.”

According to the press announcement:
Her Transcription series blends the portrait and the landscape traditions to create hybrid compositions in which the subject and the background discernibly influence each other. Särkijärvi’s earlier painting series going back to 2011 typically depicted a lone person, often female, in surroundings that were identifiably interior or exterior spaces. In 2015, she shifted her focus to place a greater emphasis on the individual or individuals in a field of emotionally-charged color.

Sirpa Särkijärvi was born in the Lapland town of Muonio in 1974. The Turku-based painter’s systematic process of working with fluid acrylics on a horizontal canvas has distinguished her within the Finnish art scene and abroad, with exhibitions in Spain, Berlin, and Helsinki as well as Kansas City, Missouri in the United States. Her paintings are known for their swirling, flowing colors and tension, reflecting themes from gender and behavior norms, to marginalization, exclusion, and power. 

For more information on Sirpa Särkijärvi, visit the gallery website and the artist’s website

For a chance to meet the artist and see her newest paintings in the Transcription series, be sure to attend the opening reception tonight at Joseph Nease Gallery. More than twenty of Sirpa Särkijärvi’s paintings, all completed in 2018, will be on display at the gallery until June 1, 2019.

* * * * 
Joseph Nease Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the downtown art district of Duluth, Minnesota. Similar in scope to its progenitor in Kansas City, Missouri, the gallery features exhibitions of painting, sculpture, installation, and new media by artists regional, national and international. Since its October 2017 opening, the restored building at 23 West First Street has established an arts destination providing educational and social opportunities for art lovers, collectors, and visitors to the north shore of beautiful Lake Superior. For more information on Joseph Nease Gallery, visit

EdNote: Simultaneously, there is also an event at The Nordic Center titled Flask Exhibition: Focus on Form and Function running from 6:00 to 8:30. The weather will be perfecto. Include a little art in your evening plans tonight.

* Sirpa Särkijärvi quotes from: “Scenery Enters the Human,” Turun Sanomat, published Oct. 23, 2017.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thursday Miscellaneous -- Art at the Encore, Treasures of the Earth JNG and Document Spring

Equinox. Today the sun is crossing the equator into the Northern Hemisphere. WooHoo! It is officially spring. It's nice to see the snow melting and temps rising. If you get out and about there's the Treasures of the Earth arts and crafts event at Peace Church here in Duluth Saturday. Friday night's opening for Transcriptions at the Joseph Nease Gallery will be exciting.

* * * *
Even though Spring begins today, the Oldenburg House is once again pursuing their Document Spring Project from April 15-May 31. To be part of this project guided by expert phenologists and photographers, you will want to Register before April 1.

* * * *
Kris Nelson sent out a Call for Art for an upcoming show at the Encore! Performing Art Center and Gallery. (Located at 2035 S. Hwy 33, Cloquet.)

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash
Their next play is MYNX &SAVAGE by Rebecca Gorman Oneill. A tri-level story of a comic book writer, the characters of his superhero story, and the creatures of his “serious” work.

Your artwork should reflect the theme of the play. Suggestions would be fantasy, superheroes, caricatures, etc. Any new original work will be accepted. (This means no art that has been shown before at the Encore. Also, no prints) Please limit to three pieces. Each piece should be labeled with title, price, medium, artist and ready for display. If your piece sells, the buyer will make out the entire check to you. The theater doesn't take a commission, but donations are accepted.

Work should be delivered Tuesday, May 28 between 9am and 5pm. Work may not be accepted if after this date.

Thursday, May 30, 2019 is the ART OPENING from 6 to 7pm. You're invited to stay and watch the final dress rehearsal as a thank you for displaying your work in the gallery (no ticket required.) Please bring a treat to share. You can "get in character" by dressing up as your favorite superhero or cartoon character (not required) Encourage guests to come and join in the fun.

You will want to pick up your work from June 10 – 17, 2019. 9am-5pm

Creatively Yours, Kris Nelson - 218-348-7619 – art curator Joel Soukkala – 218-451-0715 - Manager

* * * *
On Saturday April 6
THE ENCORE is hosting an art show by the
Arrowhead Art Club. Details below.
* * * *
Of course there is more to see and do than this. 
Just get out and get around.

For an interesting read related to fantasy and imagination
check out this story posted today on Medium:
Gone Too Far? Says Who?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Update: Yellow Vests Continue to Rock France

In December I attempted to draw attention to the Yellow Vest protests, in part as a means of understanding what was going on and, in part, in an effort to at least help make people aware of what had been taking place in France. Considering how few Americans seem even aware of these protests and have little to no understanding of the issues still, I am sharing this update.

Depending on your source, last weekend was the 18th or 19th week of Yellow Vest protests. It was one of the more violent weekends, the saddest part being the destruction that took place on the Champs-Elysees, at the heart of Paris.

If interested in following what is happening here, I recommend using Twitter as a news feed of sorts. Go to and in the Search button type in #YellowVests.

Here is a March 18 story from the BBC:

Here is a story about Paris violence, from VOX:

Here's a Tweet I captured yesterday:

Here is a March 18 story from The Atlantic about France's "Rebels Without A Cause":

Here is my original story in November with helpful insights from an Economics scholar in Marseilles:

Twitter Feed -- #YellowVests

This Mike Huckabee editorial expresses concerns about how the Green New Deal could backfire and produce a similar disruption here. It should be noted that the trigger event in France was a 12 cent gas hike.

Wikipedia gives an extensive overview of the backstory and current events.

I believe that what is happening in France is of major significance and that leaders worldwide are paying close attention to the events unfolding on this world stage.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lord Nelson, the Battle of Trafalgar and a Lesson in Strategy

I've been listening to a great book by Richard Rumelt titled Good Strategy Bad Strategy.  Of the 100 audiobooks I've listened to the past year this is the third that I found myself purchasing a hard copy by the time I finished the book. I hope to share more about the stories and ideas here. If you are a marketing professional or business leader, I encourage you to read this book. It is the clearest presentation of marketing strategy that I have ever read.

Rumelt begins his book with the Battle of Trafalgar as an illustration of strategy. For the unfamiliar, this major naval battle took place in 1805. Napoleon had made his intention of invading England known. First, however, he would have to clear the English Channel of any opposition.

Britain already had established its dominance of the high seas in the 18th century, so Napoleon teamed up with the Spanish to clear the way for his ambitious plans. The French-Spanish coalition had 33 ships versus Lord Nelson's 27 ship fleet for this confrontation on the high seas.

The normal manner in which battleship fleets would engage on the high seas was to line up in two parallel lines and face off. Lord Nelson, being outnumbered, recognized that being outnumbered would be a major disadvantage. Evaluating his options, he conceived an alternate, non-traditional strategy that would take advantage of his navy's strength, more experience in turbulent seas.

Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash
Lord Nelson chose to form two lines that would sail perpendicular into the Spanish line, dividing it into three groups. He would then surround the tail third and wipe them out while the other ships took time to to turn around. The maneuver also cut off the bulk of the fleet from the signal corps so there was a communication breakdown and much confusion.

When all was said and done, the Franco-Spanish fleet lost 22 ships and Lord Nelson's fleet lost none. The end result? Britain’s naval dominance was firmly secured and remained unsurpassed for another century-and-a-half.

* * * *
So what's the point? Good strategy is built on good diagnosis. Lord Nelson's fleet didn't win by flexed muscles and pep talks. "We're Brits. We're the Best! Hoo Rah! Hoo Rah! Go team!" Because Lord Nelson knew what he was up against he was able to devise a strategic plan that pit his strengths (experience) against the Franco-Spanish fleets lack of experience. In the confusion that ensued, his fleet made fast work of skillfully pummeling the opposition.

The key to marketing success is applied critical thinking. There is no single strategy that fits all situations.

According to Rumelt, good strategy almost always looks simple and obvious and doesn't require a thick deck of Powerpoint slides to explain. It doesn't pop out of some strategic management tool, matrix, charts, triangles or fill in the blanks scheme.

“The core of strategy is always the same," he states. Discover the critical factors in the situation and design a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors.

Related Link
Lessons from Desert Storm
Good Strategy Bad Strategy (about the book)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Treasures of the Earth @ Peace Church, March 23

Susie's Crayon Creations to help fund Kids' Kitchen.
This week is the start of a new season... Spring. I have yet to hear any complaints about the weather forecast for the week ahead.

Two events of note for this coming weekend. The first, Friday evening, will be at the Joseph Nease Gallery. Info below. The second: On Saturday March 23  Peace Church is hosting its Treasures of the Earth Green Art & Gift Fair. All the goods, arts and crafts are made from recycled materials or natural materials, by local artisans. There will also be nature photography and artwork featuring the beauty of life on earth.

It's been a long, snowy winter, but the forecast for next Saturday is mid-fifties and sunshine. It's time to come out and stretch. Maybe pick up a gift for your mother or something new for your yard, home, or office. Several of the vendors this year are new to the fair and there are plenty of 'regulars' with their quality, locally-made items you won't want to miss, including Susie's latest Easter Edition Crayon Creations made from recycled crayons. Easter Edition crayons are a perfect little gift to put in a child's Easter basket, something that is NOT sugar for a change. Best of all, 100% of her crayon sales goes to the Damiano Center Kids' Kitchen.

Yes, they are crayons, not candy.
Susie's Gift Original Box Designs 
Treasures of the Earth will have all manner of treasures.

Here's a request from Wendy Up North:
Tote bag example.
IF ABLE, PLEASE BRING ANY EXTRA SHOPPING TOTE BAGS TO DONATE TO CHUM TO USE AT THE FOOD SHELF (to reduce use of plastic bags). The Great Lakes Aquarium has been collecting some and over 500 have been brought in so far to CHUM. There will be a drop off spot at Treasures near the entry table. Many people tend to accumulate them at conferences and such so this is a good opportunity to share them with others. Larger ones are especially useful. Bring a couple and add them to the colorful pile of bags to share.

For more information, visit the Treasures of the Earth Facebook page.

If you know people who want to be in the fair there will still be room.
Nutshell version of this story:

What: The Treasures of the Earth Green Goods, Craft & Art Fair
When: March 23 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Where: Peace Church, 1111 11th Ave. E., Duluth
Who:  Local artists making things from natural materials (rocks, wood, fiber) or reused/recycled materials will be part of the fair.

* * * *


Opening Reception
Friday, March 22, 5-8 p.m.
Artist’s Reception: Sirpa Särkijärvi, 23 W. 1st Street

"Sirpa Särkijärvi is a painter from Turku, Finland. More than 20 of her newest paintings will be on display in this exhibit."

FOR a list of MORE ARTS EVENTS in the Twin Ports

ART is at the HeART of our Region.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Remembering Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A Profile in Courage

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1974 (Public Domain)
In 1970, the year I left home for college, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature." If you've ever read his works, then you know the force with which he wrote.

The Russian author was both in 1918, the year the "Great War" ended, a year after the Russian Revolution. In college he studied mathematics, which he later said saved his life while he was in the Gulag (the Soviet Union labor camp system). Again, later when he was free he taught math to support his family while continuing his work as a writer.

Though he had been writing since youth, he never publicly or privately shared what he was writing about because of the risk involved. It wasn't until he was 42, after Stalin was dead and Khruschev was in power, that he dared to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, compelled by a desire to share his thoughts as well as to obtain some affirmation of his literary value and efforts.

The following anecdote illustrates the source of his reticence about sharing his work:

Nikita Khruschev was giving a speech that was quite critical of Stalin, and suddenly somebody hollered out from somewhere in the audience: "Why didn't you say anything while he was alive??"

Khrushchev slammed his fist down on the podium and hollered, "WHO SAID THAT?"

The room was quiet.

"Now you know why I didn't say anything while Stalin was alive." *

* * * *
During World War II, because of his knowledge of math, Solzhenitsyn served in an artillery-position-finding capacity until he was arrested in February 1945. The grounds for his arrest were some remarks in his private correspondence with a school friend. He was sentenced to eight years in the gulag labor camps. After four year he was moved to a special prison for engineers and mathematicians, which he states probably saved his life.

During his imprisonment he also had a bout with cancer. Two of his greatest works--Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago--were direct out growths of these catalytic experiences.

After the publication of that first novella, he continued to write, but was ultimately expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974.

* * * *
What follows are excerpts and quotes from the Nobel Prize winner's writings and speeches.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power — he’s free again.--The First Circle

For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.--The First Circle

I can say without affectation that I belong to the Russian convict world no less … than I do to Russian literature. I got my education there, and it will last forever.--The Oak and the Calf

Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?--One Day in the Life...

Beat a dog once and you only have to show him the whip.--One Day in the Life...

It is almost always impossible to evaluate at the time events which you have already experienced, and to understand their meaning with the guidance of their effects. All the more unpredictable and surprising to us will be the course of future events. -- Autobiographical sketch,

Harvard's motto is "Veritas." Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech today, too. But I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary but from a friend.---Harvard University address, 1978

Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life. There is a dangerous tendency to form a herd, shutting off successful development.--Harvard University speech

Should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours.--Harvard University speech

In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as "we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology". The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion. This is one point. Untouched by the breath of God, unrestricted by human conscience, both capitalism and socialism are repulsive.--interview, St. Austin Review

* * * *

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was an awakened mind fashioned by his times. He dedicated his life to sharing he wisdom and insights revealed to him. His voice ought not be soon forgotten.

Related Links
The Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Literature Prize 
Solzhenitsyn's Indictment of the West Still Stands
Bio of Solzhenitsyn at the Nobel Prize Website

* Source: Lloyd Wagner, co-author of And There Shall Be Wars.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Roger DeLoach Shares His Passion for Nostalgia and Cars with a New Book: There Was A Time

About a month ago I brought my car to Melanson's in Adolph for an oil change and there on the counter was a new book by Roger DeLoach. I met Roger through the church we attended, but really got to know Roger through his involvement in stock car racing. Roger loved cars and enjoyed building race cars, for himself, his sister and later his son, who left the area to work with one of the NASCAR teams for a couple seasons.

The book is titled There Was A Time, and for car guys it's a pure delight. It's about the size of a glossy hard-cover children's picture book. Each two-page spread features a full-sized photo of a classic car on one panel and a story on the other. I was not only impressed by the beautiful photography, I was equally impressed at Roger's storytelling. He's a guy with a good heart and a passion for cars, and it really comes through.

EN: I like the title of your book, There Was A Time, where did the title come from?

Roger DeLoach: When I was young, I was anxious for the future. I had so many dreams that I couldn’t wait to get there. Now the future seems to be here before you know it, and the present slips into the past way too soon. At this age, I have a treasure chest full of dreams fulfilled; a treasure chest with the words “There Was a Time” carved deeply into its aged hardwood exterior. The title expresses my gratefulness for a past I very much enjoy remembering.

EN: You’ve always been a car guy. What is it that makes Baby Boomers so nostalgic about cars?

RD: I love this question because it goes to the very heart of the book. The term Baby Boomer was birthed in the aftermath of World War II. December 7, 1941 caused America to change over night. The bombing of Pearl Harbor forced men to war, women to factories and children to paper drives. Money once spent on creature comforts now went for War Bonds while factories stopped making toys and began making bullets. 1941 through 1945 became years of sacrifice. When the war ended, America took a deep breath and dove back into life with gusto. Our parents were ready to work hard and play hard. The price of freedom had been burned into their souls.

We Baby Boomers were blessed to be born in a time when people were happy to be alive. For most Americans, family time was valued: road trips, camping trips, trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s, visits with cousins who lived two hundred miles away, extended family picnics where grilled hamburgers and swimming made us believe life could never get any better. And all of these wonderful times had one common denominator…the family car. To a kid the family car was more than a mode of transportation to the next outing; it was a vehicle of anticipation for the next great adventure.

Not all Baby Boomers are car guys or gals. For many it’s not the love of the car, but the love of what the car represents. We are nostalgic about old cars because they spark a memory of a time and place we yearn to go back and visit.

EN: There are so many decisions that go into creating a book. This one is a picture book. How did you select your photos, and what was it like writing a story for each one?

RD: Sometimes I think the photos selected me. There were photos that just had a story to tell. Because cars have been such a big part of my life, it’s hard for me to look at one without being reminded of something. I can walk a car show and come up with a personal story for about ninety percent of the cars I see. In a way, writing this book was a wonderful release; it allowed me to put on paper things that have been rolling around in my mind for years. Of course, there were some stories that needed pictures. That began another adventure, hunting down the right picture for the story I had already written.

The challenge to this book was writing 25 one-page stories that had a beginning, middle and end, and, at the same time, convince the reader a complete story had been told. I read two books on writing short stories before I even attempted to put my thoughts to ink. Truth be told, though, I enjoyed this project more than most others I’ve done. This was not laborious; it was more like hanging out with old friends.

EN: Which are your favorite cars in the book and why?

RD: Picking a few favorite cars in the book is easy: The ‘59 Chevy, the ‘57 Oldsmobile and the ‘58 Corvette. The reasons simply come down to styling. I think they are beautiful cars to look at. The Chevy is the only one of the three I have personally owned, but the Olds was a family car and part of my childhood. The Vette, well, that’s something to dream about. My favorite car of all, though, is not in the book, but I am happy to say that it is in my garage. It was love at first sight, and I was only six years old at the time. The 1958 Chevrolet will always be first in the carport of my heart.

EN: Do you have a favorite story?

RD: Now this is a question that is harder to answer. It’s like asking which of my children I like the most. When you spend intimate time with each child you begin to see them as individuals that don’t compare to the others. I have favorite thoughts or maybe even a favorite sentence in each story. Some stories are true to my life, other stories I wrote because I knew they would be true to a reader’s life. The “Christmas Truck” that I end the book with, though, probably holds the most meaning. Yes, I did exercise some literary license in the telling, but the core of the story is true, and it was a life changing moment for me even though the full extent of its meaning wasn’t realized until some years later.

EN: My grandfather was supervisor of the Packard Plant in Warren, Ohio in the 50s and 60s. What makes the Packard so special?

RD: I have a feeling you threw this question in because you know the answer. If my grandpa was Supervisor of a Packer Plant I think I would know the answer. I do quite a bit of reading on automotive history, but I have to be honest and say I have not read up on Packard yet. You have sparked my interest, though, and now the Packard is the next car I am going to spend some time with.

EN: Was there a “best year” for Cars? Some might say 1957 because the ’57 Chev, ’57 Olds and ’57 Ford were all rewarding to drive and look at. What years were your favorites?

RD: Oh, golly, when we were kids we thought every new year was the best. I bet a lot of your readers can remember the advertising blitz that hit the airwaves and magazines as the new models were rolled out. The designs and innovations of the fifties and sixties were, at times, beyond our imaginations. Government regulations and gas shortages put the brakes on in the seventies. I couldn’t say which year was best, but I would be willing to argue that the fifties was the best decade. And if I ever did find a time machine, well, I know where I would be right now!

EN: Where can people buy your book?

RD: My website is This is set up for single sales. If anyone is interested in multiple copies they can reach me at to save some money on shipping. If brick and mortar retail stores are interested in carrying the book, I do offer wholesale pricing on bulk orders. “There Was A Time” retails for $19.95.

Related Links
Hood Ornaments
One of my Pinterest Boards: All About Cars

Friday, March 15, 2019

Essentia Health Donates $50K To Support AICHO Indigenous Food Market


Seeking community feedback at the opening in November.
Our first home in Duluth was two blocks above the Nettleton School in the Central Hillside. (Bob Dylan's first home here was two blocks East of the Nettleton School, fwiw.) Two blocks down toward the lake from the school was a conveniently located grocery store called the Fourth Street Market. The business closed several years back which was unfortunate because it was a convenient place to fetch milk and other staples. The large grocery stores required transportation and were not easily accessible for low income families in the Hillside.

When the market closed it was more than a disappointment for many. Then, this past July we learned that the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) had acquired the building, with a vision for its future. In November AICHO held an opening ceremony, dedicating the space with a tradition pipe ceremony and drums. The place was packed and some of their vision was shared.

This past week it was announced that Essentia Health, a neighbor four blocks to the East, has donated $50,000 toward the conversion of the former 4th Street Market into what will be the Nijwin Indigenous Food Market. This was a pretty exciting gift indeed.

The building was packed when they held their opening
celebration in early November.
I reached out to LeAnn Littlewolf to learn more about the emerging plans for the market. Part of the vision involves taking advantage of the view of the lake offered by the rear side of the building. Ultimately the Niiwin will be a retail grocery store that showcases Indigenous foods, including wild rice that identifies sources. An Indigenous deli, coffee roasting, along with all the staples of the local grocery.

The renovated space aims to be a meeting place as well, though the ultimate aim is access to healthy, fresh food for the low-income neighborhood, and regional access to nutrient-dense traditional Indigenous food products.

Ms. Littlewolf said they have plans to have food education take place there as well, with information about food processing and the nutrients in their food. People will learn the difference between flint corn and white corn, how hominy corn is process with wood ash, and other processes that have been emerging through the Native Food Movement.

"It's exciting to learn about traditional ways of cooking food. We have a rich Indigenous food history," she said.

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The Essentia grant has been designated for new equipment. In the meantime there will be Pop-Up events like the Winter Market as the work continues.

For more information, contact LeAnn Littlewolf at