How things change, and how they stay the same

Fishing with Misty & Dad
An old photo (’75-ish?) from a fishing trip (Colorado?) with my sister and Dad

This blast from the past was taken in the mid-70’s and features a much younger (but no less geeky) yours truly, his squirt of a sister, and our dad.


  • Just turned 50
  • Just celebrated 24 wonderful years of marriage to a woman I couldn’t have dreamed of meeting when this was taken
  • Have a 19-year-old son, making him quite a few years older than me in the picture
  • Work in computing (not much of a surprise to someone who knew me then)
  • Teach for a living (probably a lot less obvious when this was taken)
  • Have more than a little gray hair to document the years in between :-)


  • About to turn 46
  • Turned out to be the actual outdoorsperson in the family (we were a little slow to figure that out – gender stereotypes weigh heavy in the world)
  • After traveling through an undergraduate degree in music history, got a PhD in biology and now teaches animal behavior and conservation at UW Oshkosh
  • Is biking this summer (with her awesome dog in a trailer behind her!) from Ann Arbor, MI, to Ithaca, NY (I consider biking the 15 minutes across the Mississippi into downtown Minneapolis without dying an accomplishment)
  • Also turned out to be a teacher for a living, and an exceptional one at that (I suspect our mother has something to do with that)
  • Got to do field work in cool places like the Galapagos and Turkey (yeah, I have biologist envy)
  • Also has more than a little gray hair to document the years in between :-)


  • About to turn 83
  • After living for decades in Wichita Falls, TX (where Misty and I essentially spent our whole lives before going away to college), moved to Houston for roughly a decade
  • Then retired to NW Arkansas, where our folks still live an incredibly active life
  • Got really involved in the NW Arkansas jazz scene and knows all the celebs
  • Rediscovered (with Mom) his love for bridge, and they get invited to play with some pretty serious heavy hitters which is super cool
  • Joined with a submariner veterans group in NW Arkansas and has become a lot more connected to his experience on subs during the Korean War
  • Fishes as much as circumstances allow, but physically managing the boat and the truck and the gear, etc., etc., is proving tougher. Luckily he’s got friends that help a lot.
  • Has beaten cancer twice, but it hasn’t been easy and those battles have definitely left their marks

The crazy thing, though, is how much this old picture resonates with now. My sister and I have changed a ton, but my Dad still looks a lot like that. Thomas, Dad, and I went trout fishing on the White River in Arkansas last week, and it was pretty much just like I remember events like this picture. A few weeks before that, he and Misty went fishing in Lake Michigan near Green Bay. While we were in Arkansas, he and I took the recycling to the recycling center. He came with me to the car place while they looked at a rattle. We went to a picnic hosted by his submariners group. We listened to live jazz over a Sunday brunch. A lot of the details have changed, but the broad brushstrokes are still very recognizable; it’s definitely our strange, happy family.

Since she’s not in the picture, I end up pretty much ignoring my wonderful mother in this, which isn’t really cool. She just turned 75 and totally rocks, and is the rock of the family in so, so many ways. I suspect that while we were fishing she was back at the camper, bravely enduring the “great outdoors” when she would have much been somewhere with indoor plumbing :-). Love you Mom!

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How do we wish to be remembered (again): Vote No tomorrow

How do we wish to be remembered?

Looking back, it can be hard to imagine why people in the past just didn’t get it. Why they thought women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and why blacks and whites couldn’t use the same restroom, or the same school.

The people that voted to supported these old ideas were not all Bad People going out of their way to work against the rights of others. I know some where my relatives, and I’ll bet that some were yours. Certainly, there were plenty of small-minded, mean-spirited people leading the charge, but they depended crucially on the passive support of numerous well-meaning folk who mostly just didn’t want to rock the boat or weren’t very comfortable with change.

Tomorrow in Minnesota we get a chance to vote on whether our state constitution should be amended in an attempt to block all future efforts to allow gays the human & civil rights of marriage, & the legal protections it affords. As you consider this amendment, it might help to ask yourself: How do I wish to be remembered? As someone who quietly stood with those who would limit the freedoms of those different from themselves, or with those who believe in liberty and justice for all?

And let us be clear: This is a human rights issue.

Sue & I have been married for over 20 years and she has been a full, equal, & wonderful partner in building our shared life. Her creativity and passion flows through our child, our home, and the experiences we’ve shared. I would hope that our community would recognize this and support her associated rights, which include critical things such as health coverage, our pension, and her right to speak for me regarding medical treatment. If, however, someone didn’t recognize her rights, she would have the legal backing of the state of Minnesota, which ensures the human and civil rights of a spouse in numerous ways.

Why should any committed couple be denied these same rights, regardless of their genders?

Which brings us back to the question: How do we wish to be remembered? Do we want to be remembered as supporting a last, desparete gasp of a group attempting to deny yet another group a basic human and civil right? Or do we want to be on the right side of history tomorrow, knowing, win or lose, that we voted to treat our fellow travellers humanely, with courage & justice?

So I urge you to Vote No. It’s a vote your grandchildren can be proud of.

I would also strenuously encourage you, for many of the same underlying reasons, to vote no on the proposed Voter ID amendment. I recommend that you check out Guante’s excellent video on the Voter ID amendment if you wish to learn more:

You might also want to check out MPR’s nice video on the huge amount of vagueness and uncertainty there is in the proposed Voter ID amendment:

So go vote tomorrow. It matters. I know that the weird math of the electoral college can make it seem like voting for president doesn’t matter unless you live in Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida. And it can seem like incumbents have a lock on everything. But on either of these amendments, it could literally come down to a few votes. So don’t say your voice doesn’t matter. Don’t say you don’t have time. Don’t say no one cares. Instead be a voice, however small, for a more humane world.

Vote No on both proposed amendments.

How do we wish to be remembered?

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