Apple & Cardamom Waffles


c lee tressel

photo at an indiana hs football game

A magical thing happened in late October, and I didn’t see it coming.

I was showing an old friend around my new hometown—there’s the courthouse and restored movie theater and the old Carnegie library building—and feeling more like a tourist than a permanent resident. We turned down Washington Street to stop by the coffee shop I frequent too often and were met with a surprise.

Up and down the street, storefronts were decked out in red and black paint—a mighty show of spirit for our high school football team, the Bombers. The regular season was officially over. It was time for Sectionals.

Those decorated windows shifted something in me. Suddenly, my new hometown felt less unfamiliar, less like a quaint stopover and more like a place I already knew.

That place was unmistakably Dillon, Texas.

If you know Friday Night Lights (the TV series), you know Dillon. It’s where…

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20 things the poor really do every day

Ben Irwin


Dave Ramsey probably wasn’t expecting this much pushback when he shared a piece by Tim Corley contrasting the habits of the rich with those of the poor. In her response on CNN, Rachel Held Evans noted that Ramsey and Corley mistake correlation for causality when they suggest (without actually proving) that these habits are the cause of a person’s financial situation. (Did it never occur to them that it might be the other way around?)

Ramsey fired back, calling the pushback “immature and ignorant.” This from a guy who just made 20 sweeping assertions about 47 million poor people in the US — all based on a survey of 361 individuals.

That’s right. To come up with his 20 habits, Corley talked to just 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people. Ramsey can talk all he wants about Corley’s research passing the “common-sense smell test,” but it doesn’t pass the…

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A Different Kind of Call

EMU's Debuts

I got a voice mail from my mom a few weeks ago—just 10 seconds long, saying “Call me when you get this.”

My heart plummeted. For a year, I’ve been getting messages like these, and they almost always mean that my mom is back in the hospital. Or, at the very least, that she took a trip to the ER and was sent home once she’d stabilized. It’s the kind of information you don’t really want to leave—or receive—in a voice mail.

But over these past couple of months, things really looked like they were taking a turn for the better. Mom had not needed any emergency hospital trips for weeks. She’d slowly weaned herself off of supplemental oxygen, and her once-enormous trach tube had been swapped for a smaller size. She was getting out and about town, and was even talking about starting to drive again. A year after…

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Where No Google Buses Go

Pueblo Lands

For every word written about the gentrification and displacement that is tearing San Francisco apart, there should be ten words written about the the poverty, environmental racism, and financial predation battering the smaller industrial cities of Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In suburban hinterlands north and east of Silicon Valley and San Francisco are the bankrupted municipalities of the Sacramento Delta and Carquinez Straight. We’re talking Stockton and Vallejo. Even closer are other cities devastated by the economic crisis, places like San Pablo, or Richmond from where you can see the rising skyline of San Francisco across the Bay, growing with towers of luxury apartments as it is.

Black and Latino residents have already been pushed to the fringes of San Francisco, both geographically and in the employment ranks of the new tech-centric economy. Fleets of Silicon Valley company buses that clog San Francisco’s streets picking up and dropping off…

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Mind the Gap


Hey, you're the funny one!

MM and Izzy are 2 months short of being four years apart.  Many people think they are my two oldest.  Sometimes, someone says something, generally with benign intentions about the large age difference. I don’t know if they want an explanation, I don’t know if they expect one, maybe they are just making small talk. “Four years? That’s a long time.” “That’s a stretch in between them.”

Oh, you have no idea how much is between them.

Usually, if there’s time, I’ll tell them.  There’s just no way for that conversation to not be awkward.  Let’s face it, nobody wants to hear that you have a dead kid.  Maybe they’re hoping they’ve made an ins for you to share your infertility story, or the juicy crisis that lead you to consider birth control, then there’s a dialogue to be had, something to relate to.  Maybe they’ve been there, they certainly…

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