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At Home in the Woods-What Kind of Truth?


Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

My recently published book "At Home in the Big Woods," has taught me the importance of advertising--media coverage, press releases, fliers, book signings and books placed in windows of stores. I enthusiastically joined in the promotion of my book, but soon something began to bother me. I began to worry that the book was selling well merely due to advertising. What would happen when people actually read the book? Did it merit all the attention? Would people like it? Would they identify with it? Would they find errors? Was the writing clear and interesting?

It seems today that advertising has become more important than products. A strongly promoted product by a big publisher can rake in millions for a mediocre book. Mediocre music can succeed merely because of a promotional campaign that tells the buyer he must have the music in order to be "in."

A well-advertised political campaign can elect a politician who won't or can't keep his promises. In the "Yellow Times," November 2002, Matthew Riemer wrote, "The candidates are mere actors who spend most of their time reciting platitudes from history's tired list, insulting one another's character, and making promises that are literally impossible to keep."

Perhaps the public deserves the politicians it gets. With our fast-paced world and short attention spans, many of us can only assimilate sound bites and slogans. All the better if they are delivered with great enthusiasm by a popular wartime president. Key words alone--patriotism, values, multiculturalism, the environment, corporate welfare, tax cuts, free market--seem to elect politicians more often than thoughtful speeches that describe the meanings and implications of these words.

In an Orwellian atmosphere of "Newspeak" and "Doublethink," the words themselves often become twisted and meaningless. For example, we need war to have peace; we need tax cuts for big business to stimulate the economy. We hear that ethanol is good for farmers and the environment, with no consideration given to soil damage and fertilizer-contaminated runoff from increased corn production, or pollution inherent in the production of ethanol. We hear that burning tires is an environmentally sound way to produce electricity even when the technology has never been tested on a large scale before.

It seems that advertising and spin are replacing quality and honesty. It's sad to .....
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Of People, Places & Things-“Who is that guy?”

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Like many of you, I have never enjoyed going to the dentist. It probably has something to do with letting another person put metal objects in my mouth.  When I was a kid growing up in Austin, my mom used to have to drag me by ..... 
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Journal Writing Project-Jamie Howe

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Tis the season

It’s finally here...the church bells ringing triumphantly, the crackling of the fire, the Christmas lights twinkling all around, the stockings hanging, the carolers singing on the snow-covered sidewalks, the chitt ..... 
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Another From Flaherty-"Much to do about whatever"

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

As a general rule, a man has to have something to do; even if he doesn’t get around to it. This is especially true if he is retired. He can’t just sit around twiddling his thumbs, although in certain circles, this could be considered as a digital exe ..... 
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Journal Writing Project-Kyle Anderson

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

As I walk through the halls at my high school, I see kids huddled in their groups of friends talking about what happened on the weekend. Conversations about what movie someone went to, a place someone visited, or something that a person bought. Nothi ..... 
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The Commute: Joy at the Dome

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

My family and I made the trip to the championship game last Saturday. My kids, ages three and seven, had never seen the Metrodome. They speculated before our trip about how big it would be, and whether they’d see any Minnesota Vikings or Twins just h ..... 
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Township Roads – Bragging Rights

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Deb and I traveled to Minot recently to attend the Board meeting of our national farm management instructors’ organization. One of our colleagues told us that he had received a nice compliment from his administrator back home. He was asked, "What bun ..... 
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