At a recent history conference I learned – among other things – that the stereotypical movie depiction of circling the wagons against an imminent Indian attack (a plot device used in countless Hollywood movies and TV westerns), originated not on the Oregon Trail but with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show…. read more >
I have been leading modern-day explorers over the Lewis & Clark Trail more or less regularly since 1997, and as you read this I have embarked with another enthusiastic group on our own great journey west. As I prepared for this year’s expedition and found myself growing more and more… read more >
Confucius didn’t think so. Neither did Gandhi nor Mother Teresa. Of course, taking a vow of poverty kind of takes money out of the equation. (Confucius didn’t actually take any vows of poverty that we know of, but as a teacher he probably still qualifies.) My point is that it’s… read more >
There is a wildly popular restaurant near me that offers only two entrees on its evening menu: big steak and little steak! In this day of proliferating options in every category from soup to nuts (pun intended), it’s kind of reassuring that sometimes the simplest choice is the best. Downsizing… read more >
When I was growing up I couldn’t wait for summer vacation so that I could escape my parents’ contentious and migratory household to spend three glorious months on my grandparents’ ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was only seven years old when I made my first solo… read more >
For many people, myself included, the most joyous words in the English language are “Pitchers and catchers report!” I have been fortunate for many years to spend two weeks in the normally dreary month of March, basking under the Florida sun in as many Major League Spring Training ballparks as I… read more >
One could argue – I would – that some of the most enjoyable days I’ve spent on tour were those covering many miles of what early settlers mistakenly took for the “Great American Desert”. It’s ironic that these settlers – nearly all of them farmers – didn’t recognize fertile agricultural… read more >
I recently ran a Facebook promotion featuring Teddy Roosevelt as a “Legendary North Dakotan”. I knew that few Americans are aware of TR’s residence in northern Dakota back in the 1880’s, but I was surprised at the pushback I received from people refusing to accept the legitimacy of North Dakota’s claim.