The Sun White Citrus Collection

Mountains & Deserts

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tab- A Mind Sticker

Tonight I had the honor and pleasure of attending a work-social and barbecue at the gorgeous Cloquet Forestry Center. Each year supervisors and staff from around the State get together to re-acquaint themselves and crack a few jokes. Maybe even gripe a little (or a lot) about how our work gets even more complicated. Unlike most red carpet events, this shin-dig is o' natural, with a pathwalk comprised solely of wood chips from Minnesota.

Certified by SFI and FSC of course.

I'm quickly informed that beverages tonight include water and mixed soda-pop drinks. Micro-brews come later after all the dorky kids show up. When the picnic food is ready, I quickly sample a taste of baked beans and potato salad. Yum. Then savor a polish sausage and chicken strip. Eventually, I strut on over to the cooler, quietly ask to see what’s hiding. No, it's not ceremonious flap-jaw that creates a mighty's....

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Several pink cans….. could it be?

No way. Not in 2008.

I carefully stick my hand in, feel through several chunks of melting ice, and hoist one up! Yep, it’s TAB!

What a gas!

Right on!


I understand that one of our media folks- (a forester named M.H, and I thank you dearly for this, I'm serious)- probably excavated these from an old root cellar or perhaps she hired some contractors to hoist them out of the Mississippi / Minnesota River confluence. I heard back then about the ol’ Coca-Cola barge that sunk somewhere in those murky depths. Who needs born on dates anyway.

Y’all remember this gem of a drink. First issued during the fabulous sixties, Tab was one of several new DIET (it really works) drinks to be released in America (at that time, I had a diaper spot for Fresca .... while today it's being marketed as the drink for the downtown scenester). Tab sales quickly boomed in the sensational seventies as marketing teams began to target the soft drink at young to middle aged women, and although it was tre-chic for men to sip on as well, I rarely recall anyone in my childood partaking in it's funky cola blend. Tab continued to be a major hit in the eighties as well. This I do remember. Just ask my parents- they used to drink it regularly.

So tonight I’m goin’ retro. I’ll never need a conversation starter again. Tab fits well into discussions about prescribed burns (3.28MB) and pine regeneration, but even better when ranting about Native Plant Communities in fire dependent boreal forests on the North Shore. Tab's influence was the talk of the party.

It's the old drink for the new forester. Keeping your shape in shape is my new motto, or is it ...what condition is my condition in (some saccharin damage prevents me from memberin'). Thanks anyway Tab.

How to drink? Get 12 oz. tall clear class. Fill with as much small ice cubes as possible (aids in numbing taste buds). Open Tab can and pour in slowly making sure that tall glass is tilted at a 45 degree angle. Wait 5-10 minutes before tasting. Drink reasonably fast. Repeat.

Share your results.

Special thanks to my DNR Forestry supervisors for inviting me!

What’s your favorite retro-soda-pop?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Healing Mass & St. Paul's Teaching

Occasionally, we can forget about our need for the sacraments during the long, hot summer months. That’s why our wonderful church provides for a special day in late July. I invite you to the 17th annual evening of healing at St. Benedict’s Church, Monday, July 28th.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: 12-5pm

Sacrament of Reconciliation: 2-4pm

Holy Celebration of the Mass: 7pm

Individual Prayers for Healing following Mass

St. Ben’s is located on the intersection of Arrowhead Rd. / Kenwood Ave. 1419 St. Benedict Street, Duluth. MN. It’s just north of St. Scholastica campus.

Say hello if you see me!


[All are welcome to attend the second presentation of the Duluth diocese Year of St. Paul teaching series on Sunday, July 27th. at St. Benedict's Church. Father Michael Schmitz will speak on the first and second letters of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Father Schmitz is the diocesan director of youth and young adult ministry and chaplan for Catholic Campus Ministry, UMD. Vespers will be at 6pm and the teaching will be from 6:30-8:30pm. For more information visit the Duluth Diocese website and click on Year of St. Paul. ]

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound
in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 15:13

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Defining Poetry

Discovering new poetry can be like finding an agate on the windswept shores of Lake Superior. It’s a rare-euphoric moment.

A shiny little rock glimpse.
A contemplation of unique phrasing, the positioning of words.

Distinguished poet Billy Collins had the honor of being guest editor for The Best American Poetry 2006.

In his introduction, Collins describes what he feels makes great poetry.

What defines a really good poem?

** A poem should speak directly to the reader, keeping him or her always in mind. Kind of like doing radio programming. Your shows are only as strong as the audience who is listening in.

** A real voice is critical to poetry. Collins defines it precisely, "The recognizable sound of a human voice is always an inducement to continue. I prefer to act as an auditor rather than a witness to an act of literary alchemy." "Stay Human" as Micheal Franti sings it.

** Poems should provide direction. A word compass that points you toward imagination. A directed reading orientation as opposed to drifting on a raft w/out said paddle. Journey. Collins again, "Being oriented at the outset of a poem offers the promise of being pleasantly dis-oriented later as the poem moves into more complex territory where the waters are more strangely stirred.

** Because it’s so common, the hardest ones to avoid are poems of "self-expression." I once got into a good discussion about this in regards to the film Love Liza. I argued for self-expression over content (likely a mistake on my part). Here’s the dialogue:

angie19130: Be forewarned, if you disliked Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, you should avoid this movie like the plague. PSH is a great actor and I like a lot of films he is in, but this is a real stinker.

Harbostar: That's a bit harsh don't you think? Unfortunately, people deal with loss in tragic ways. Addictions are real. I agree that lack of character development and plot results in a thin movie. ***** stars

angie19130: I really don't thing I'm being too harsh. I have very definitive ideas about how addictions are portraited in film. I put this movie in the same category as Leaving Las Vegas. I see you liked that as well. Here's what the issue is for me. In both films the audience is introduced to the character after their addiction has already taken hold. You don't get to see their lives before. You don't get to see the characters recover in any way. This leaves me wondering what the filmmaker hoped to accomplish. Those at the beginnings of addiction can't identify with how they're on that path. Those in the painful stage of addiction are given no direction of hope. I just don't get the point the filmmaker is trying to make other than mucking around in the pain. Not something I respect. All that said, you're more than welcome to your opinion.

Harborstar: All good points you make. Sometimes I see film less about the message and more about self-expression. A film maker can do well just by capturing a character's current world w/out seeing the before or after. If we don't don't respect the cinematic world portraying suffering- especially with regard to doc's- I'm afraid were going to be a far to sentimental world. Of course, I'm leaving a discussion on this topic w/out looking at it from a Christian perspective. That's for another day. I think Hoffman did a wonderful job of potraying this character though.

angie19130: Hoffman's always great. There's no denying that. I get what you're saying about self expression, but I hate real downers when I see them. That's just me.

Collins goes on in great detail to define and illuminate good poetry,

"poems carry us further through a series of steps that lead- or ironically fail to lead- to some revelation, a notion or even an angle of vision that was not possible before that poem was written. The way of the poem takes us to a place that did not exist before the poem was written. A poem is a path of its own going and the only access to its ending. And besides the rhythm of the line, which sometimes can be scanned and identified, there is the less obvious rhythm of the whole poem, the pacing of its parts, the gradual release of its energy, its rhetorical pulsations."

Photo Credit: David Robert

Krista Benjamin’s poem Letter from My Ancestors is one such rare reading moment. Connecting past to present, Krista writes for the future generation…..

Letter from My Ancestors

We wouldn’t write this,
wouldn’t even think of it. We are working
people without time on our hands. In the old country,

we milk cows or deliver the mail or leave,
scattering to South Africa, Connecticut, Missouri,
and finally, California for the Gold Rush—

Aaron and Lena run the Yosemite campground, general
store, a section of the stagecoach line. Morris comes
later, after the earthquake, finds two irons

and a board in the rubble of San Francisco.
Plenty of prostitutes need their dresses pressed, enough
to earn him the cash to open a haberdashery and marry

Sadie—we all have stories, yes, but we’re not thinking
stories. We have work to do, and a dozen children. They’ll
go on to pound nails and write up deals, not musings.

We document transactions. Our diaries record
temperatures, landmarks, symptoms. We
do not write our dreams. We place another order,

make the next delivery, save the next
dollar, give another generation—you,
maybe—the luxury of time

to write about us.

How Do You Sleep?

It's not Kelty Tents, nor Guinness, nor Wolfgang Puck- what's important in this secular phase of life is sleep- the harmonious state. How can anyone complain about it?

Google sleep and you will find many recipe's.

Can we avoid these.... perhaps we fail to do on occasion (

* Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Please whatever you do, keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night. As soon as you turn on that light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.

* Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. I gave up my alarm clock years ago and now use a sun alarm clock. It also includes a sunset feature where the light fades to darkness over time - ideal for anyone who has trouble falling asleep.

* Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.

* Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keep some people from falling asleep.

* Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

* Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it... 2 a.m. ...3 a.m. ... 4:30 a.m. ...

* Wear an eye mask to block out light. As said above, it is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible. That said, it's not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can help to block out the remaining light.

* Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow's deadlines.


I apologize to anyone who has difficulty sleeping.
Warning- contains offensive language

Friday, July 25, 2008

Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Bits

Look up Winnipeg in the dictionary, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will find the warning: beware of the July (CLPS). No, that's not referring to the latest indie-rock project from Canada. Instead, CLPS refers to Canadian Low Pressure System(s). Sometimes referred to as the Alberta Clipper (Americanized version).

Normally, Winnipeg in July is easy street- sunny skies, moderate wind, warm temps.


This year, it's the weather that never ceases to it hot, is it cold, wet or dry... one never knows. Fortunately for festival attendees the tornadoe canceled. Only close encounters....

More on that subject to come. Tornadoes, Iron Range, dreams.... what's it mean?

(Thanks to Justin Hobson for the photo credit)

Seriously though, now that everyone has comfortably forgotten about the rain soaked shows, I can get on with da business. It’s time to post about the festival. As you've come to know, I am a man of few words. This blog entry will be an ongoing attempt to capture some of my music thoughts and memories. More importantly, it will contain shameless promotion of music, cause that's what this thing is about. As Bill Elder (The Dynamites composer, guitarist and producer) shouted out during a rain soaked soul party, " Y'all a bunch of music freaks aren't ya!" Yep, and I'll shake my white-male, groove-move anytime someone suggests that. Of course, nobody busts - a - move like tye-died Irwin. You know him, you love him. By the way, 2007's event became known as the " White males.... they still can't dance" folk festival. You remember that right? Yesssssssss......

First, here's a slideshow of selected amateur photos that I culled from my digital vault. It's called "The Hack" As you will see, photography isn't my forte.

Winnipeg Folk Festival 2008

Image hosted by
by HarborStar

If you want to see some real photography, visit the Winnipeg Folk Festival website.

On Thursday evening Carrie Rodriquez kicked things off with a really fresh set of music, including songs from her upcoming album "She Ain’t Me".

For the first time.

I wasn’t aware that she was promoting a new album, so listening to a few songs live was a treat.

Damn! Carrie Rodriquez

Carrie’s music is the twang for modern day cowgirls and cowboys. After opening with the hypnotic "Seven Angels on a Bicycle", Carrie worked into the set two striking cuts from the new album. She proudly announced that "Infinite Night" was co-written with Gary Louris of the Jayhawks. What a great way to start a festival! An instant favorite that's sure to get lots of airplay at KAXE...... "just a little bored of the infinite night."

She also featured "Absence", co-written with Mary Gauthier. Another gem for those who appreciate heartfelt lyrics.

Thanks Carrie. Your music sticks to the road.

How’s Brooklyn treating you? We have plenty of room in Northern MN for you and your band. Come on up!

Review of her 1st solo album:

Taking a break from duet duties with Chip Taylor, Rodriguez takes a stick of dynamite to country music. So used are we to seeing Rodriguez playing second fiddle to Chip Taylor, the verve, swagger and attitude she flaunts on this excellent solo debut comes as quite a shock. It may be rooted in an Austin country background, but it's a surprisingly adventurous, eclectic collection, with telling roles for avant-jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and her husband, jazz sax player Javier Vercher, whose contribution takes the compelling title song into a new dimension. There's a real earthiness in both Carrie's singing and fiddle playing on a series of colourful neo-country songs (half of them written with Taylor .) She's hot and steamy one minute on the outrageously seductive 50s French Movies, and pure Nashville the next on the Tammy-esque I Don't Want To Play House.

Four Stars **** Colin Irwin- Mojo

Carrie Rodriquez music: The new album "She Ain't Me" is due out August 8th on Manhattan/Backporch Records.

Do visit this entry... I'll try to post more music soon. Criticism welcome.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Folk Festival Shines Despite Unpredictable Weather Pt. 1

Great music, friendly people, and a healthy dose of positive vibe prove once again that the Winnipeg Folk Festival is the premiere summer music event in North America.

Although it’s over, the memories will shine on for many moons.

I want to take a moment to thank the hundreds of volunteers and all of the board of directors and staff who made this years festival possible. I admire you all. A special thanks to Chris Frayer (Artistic Director) for all of your hard work in pulling this off. I can only imagine the endless hours of work you do all year round in building a four day musical event like this. It was great to see you all smiles on Thursday evening.

By the way Chris, last year I suggested on the festival comment form that you bring both Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Calexico to Winnipeg.

Amazingly, you did!

Even though it’s unlikely my comment form made it past the recycling bin, I can’t thank you enough. Now I know you don’t know me from beans but, I am one of several community radio volunteers who tirelessly promote this music festival - rain or shine. In fact today on KAXE 91.7 FM, I heard volunteer and festival attendee Susan Lick playing artists featured at the festival. How many folks do you know that can say that?

By the way Chris, I set a goal this year to watch as much as music as possible or drop from sheer exhaustion.

Both happened.

We all know that it’s virtually impossible to witness every show on the bill, although I certainly made a valiant attempt at it. I was strong just up to the finish line before having to wimp or perhaps limp back to base-camp, missing both the Ray Davies’ headline performance and the festival finale. Too bad as I understand Davies put on a great concert.

We had a campfire instead and listened to the I'm Not There Soundtrack.

BW Trout fell asleep in his chair.

Harborstar fell asleep in his chair but managed to awaken to Calexico and Willie Nelson's version of Dylan's "Senor"

Upon awakening in the morning, I expected to read Monday’s Winnipeg Sun headlines, " The Kinks Re-Unite at WFF 2008!...... in other news, Two USA campers snap over missing the Kinks!"

It didn't happen.

What you don't know is that the very first concert I ever attended featured the Kinks. Back then I learned about paranoia.......

: > )

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up. After all, this is supposed to be a two or three part blog installment. These reflections take time mind you. Things like work, Adoration, dinner, and a bike ride get in the way.

Tonight I tallied up the results:

Total continuous hours of music watched = approx. 34 hours.
Total number of concerts, tweeners, and workshops watched = approx. 30.
Total number of wrecked ponchos = approx. 1
Total number of herbaceous plants I got wrong on my last, most important MN DNR job interview=7 1/2.

Imagine.... 34 hours of non-stop music.
Seems daunting doesn’t it?

Fortunately, this does not include the various musical events/tribal-pagan dances at festival camping or the number might be larger. For me, it’s not physically nor spiritually possible to experience as much music as I do and still camp at festival.

Year after year, many younger folk chide BW Trout and I for staying at Birds Hill Park. Maybe they ridicule me personally I'm not sure. The chide, the slide exists nevertheless..... "the real folk festival experience resides across the road, in the field, in the drums, in the tents, and in the _______ (you fill in the blank). "

Yet, some hipsters seem to miss the point.

Clearly, I love Canadians..... and I like to socialize and party like anyone else. But I’m here for the MUSIC. It’s really that simple.

In all fairness, I really hold a special place in my heart for Manitoba folk. Although their ultra-liberal trends are too slick for me (maybe that’s in the other Provinces eh?), I still have a kinship for this region. Years ago, on a major canoe trek from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, my canoeing partner (Mr. John O' Malley) and I met many wonderful folks all along the river and lake systems of Manitoba. Those folks were very hospitable and kind.

I remember.

So yes, Manitoba folks are worthy of praise. Hey, one might even consider me an honorary citizen. After all, my signature can be found in York Factory- one of Canada's most beloved National Historic Sites.

It's there on paper, trust me.

A special greetings to Maggie and Victoria. These two women took some time out of their evening fest to chat with BW trout and I during one of our "rare" beer tent breaks. Do they call it the bump here too?

We learned a lot from your insights. Nice to hear about your Polish family Maggie! I didn’t tell you but my Grandmother (Mother’s side of family) was Polish and I love her dearly! She taught me the Rosary and till this day prays for me in heaven.

Yes, I know you made fun of my music schedule and I forgive you……. I think I’m now known in some Winnipeg hipster circles as the "schedule guy" . That’s ok. I can think of worse things to be known for.

For my other readers, a "schedule guy" is one who creates a list of "artists to see" and "pick to click" workshops before the festival begins. This is done as a means for planning out a 4 day itinerary. The list is always subject to change.

It did.

Is this obsessive? Maybe.

But, when you’re seeking to watch as much music as possible, it’s necessary.

In the next installment, I will share with you some of my musical notes. It’s my way of documenting what is always such a memorable prairie experience. Take a moment to explore some of these. Better yet, do the artists a favor and purchase some of their music.

Before that, check out what happens at a Harborstar / BW Trout pre-folk festival base-camp? Here’s a glimpse below:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Not Just Your Average Folk Festival

Start packing, call your friends, get the family together-- it's time once again for a whole slew of characters from Northern Minnesota to make their annual trek to the Manitoba prairie and be a part of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. It's been 35 years since the festival first kicked off in 1973. Winnipeg volunteers and staff have shown amazing patience, creativity and work ethic in growing this festival! Every year there's new opportunities to enjoy cool music, eat healthy food, and just relax (or should I say bake) in the sun. Let’s hope the weather holds like last year. We didn’t see a drop of rain over the four day festival. Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic church is north of town if your looking for Mass service too.

A Weather forecast is available here.

The folk festival website contains a preview of music lineups including both the evening main stage concerts and daytime workshops / concerts. There’s just too much I recommend so I put together a few artist links to explore, plus there's a playlist above for your enjoyment. You can also listen to my festival music special that aired on Saturday, July 5th (12-4pm) KAXE-On The River. You can play or download 15 minute MP3 excerpts from our website here. Click on the redbird head and that will take you to our radio archives.

Eve Tushnet on The Weakerthans (a great read).

Steve Legett on The Red Stick Ramblers

Calexico-- I recommend their DVD "World Drifts In" as a starting point. This is a live concert in England and truly captures them at their best. It's also available to rent thru Netflix.

Marisa Brown on Balkan Beat Box

Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts about the festival.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independents Day 2008

For a limited time only, available July 4th through July 6th, you can download and save all the songs from the ID08 U.S. digital album, burn an audio CD, copy the music to your iPod and even print the artwork. It’s automatic, right from this page: Independents Day 2008

Independents Day 08

Here's some of the artists featured on the album:

Ani Difranco - Alla This

Atmosphere - You

Devendra Banhart - Don't Look Back In Anger

Frank Black - Seus

James Hunter - Don't Do Me Know Favours

Jim Lauderdale - You Loved Me Too

Pacifica - Me Cai

Tift Merritt - Tell Me Something True

Have a wonderful 4th of July. May it be peaceful and full of joy and blessings!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Man Who Planted Trees

Here is one of my all-time favorite stories originally published in 1953 by Jean Giono. Canadian filmaker Frederic Back transformed it into a beautiful animated short-film. A synopsis is really not needed. The story reveals itself. Anyone who loves nature will find this truly inspirational. A must for the forestry profession!

You can watch it for free right here: Movies Found Online

If this doesn't work on your computer order it from Netflix.


PS: as a forester I can't resist the opportunity to comment on the oak tree photo above. The little branch sticking out from the main trunk appears to be a phenomenom called epicormic branching. These are branches that protrude directly out of the main stem instead of at the top of the crown and usually result due to some type of forest disturbance. Epicormic stems can decrease timber value because they produce knots in the wood that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

Sorry, artistic value gets trumped here!

You're Goin the Wrong Way!

Here's a quick story about my morning city driving experience:

Around 11:30 am this morning I was on my way to mass at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea when out of nowhere I spot a mini-van passing me on my left (we’re on a two way street that typcially has a fair amount of traffic during this part of the day). The road markings are two solid yellow lines! Last time I checked, the DMV states that there’s not to be any passing in the left lane and definitely no driving in the left lane.

As you can imagine, this moment was very perplexing. I was confused and I had a strong urge to laugh. Finally, enough of this. I stop my truck in the road and assume she’ll figure it out and signal back into the right lane.


You know that most cities have a lot of multi-lane, one way streets. Some of these streets switch from a one-way to a two way in the blink of an eye. That’s what I assume happened to this poor woman who still thought she was driving in the left lane of a one-way.
Photo: Darin Breen
It gets even crazier-- 10 seconds later she slams on the horn signaling to the oncoming driver (going the correct way on the two way ) to get out of her lane.

Finally all vehicles come to a stop. Two cars are behind me, lady driver is still in the left lane, and the other oncoming vehicle is idling away, ready to get on with her day.

So, I slowly drive my vehicle next to hers, roll down the window, and expect to hear an earful from a raging lunatic. Fortunately, she is calm. I tell her "your going the wrong way…… this street is NOT a one way." Oh, the look of anguish on her face.

Then, she immediately puts her van into rear with the intention of backing up behind me. I say "NO, NO!!"

"Go ahead and pull forward and go around me." Then it clicks. She drives off... completely mortified at what just took place in the street I’m sure.

With my window still down, I look across the street. A dude is on the sidewalk heading toward the hospital. "Some people!" he says laughing. I grin.

Upon passing the vehicle heading east bound, we just smile and wave.

Now I know who to pray for today. : > )

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What's In A Song? Where The Streets Have No Name

In 1987, U2 released a thoroughly captivating album entitled "The Joshua Tree" Music for the masses. The opening cut captured them at their best: a gradual unfolding of layered guitars driving bass and drums that eventually explodes into a peaking chorus:

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Were still building
Then burning down love, burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you...(its all I can do)

The song was an attempt to recognize that in some parts of the world there are people who try to pinpoint one’s religious affiliation and economic status by identification with the street they live on.

Ok…. I know this song is permanently embedded into the psyche of many a hipster, almost to the point of nausea. I'll admit there are times when U2 force me to sigh over their perceived dominance in the music business.

Still, "Where the Streets…" is an important song because I can relate to it on a number of different levels:

The desire to get out of the city and be more connected with the natural world;

the yearning for a spiritual dimension beyond the "trappings" of the city.

I also see what is perhaps the most literal meaning behind the song- a desire to transcend urban labels of class, race, status, and place.

All of us recognize that neighborhoods and communities ought to be clean, vibrant, and filled with caring people working toward a common ground. In fact, we should never give up in our attempts to build lasting social networks that are committed to sustainable growth, environmental improvement, religious, and racial acceptance.Unfortunately, there are times when a neighborhood, a street, or even a large community gets a label tagged on it. We all have seen it: "So and so comes from that part of town, or we don’t want those types in our neighborhood, or all the blanks live on that street." Might this be true on your street?

U2 lead singer Bono explains further:

"Where the Streets Have No Name is more like the U2 of old than any of the other songs on the LP, because it’s a sketch - I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling. I often feel very claustrophobic in a city, a feeling of wanting to break out of that city and a feeling of wanting to go somewhere where the values of the city and the values of our society don’t hold you down. An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they’re making - literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. You can almost tell what the people are earning by the name of the street they live on and what side of that street they live on. That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name." Wikipedia- "Where The Streets Have No Name"

I currently live in a moderate sized city consisting of several neighborhoods (and streets) that collectively make up what we know to be the Duluth community. I love this city and have admired it for some time before moving here three years ago. There are many, many wonderful people who live here and contribute to the growth of the city in countless ways. Duluth can and should boast of having several engaging and talented civic & religious leaders who are committed to addressing many of the current socio-economic problems we face: homelessness, lack of affordable housing, racism, education costs, property taxes, etc.

But like many cities, we have to deal with the tag. On occasion I have noticed that Duluth gets split into an East vs West dichotomy. The east is "characterized" as wealthy and white while the community in the west is "seen" as mixed racial and low income. Is it media perception or folks spreading rumors? Maybe there are long-standing historical conditions that lead to the creation of this perceived fracture. I’m not sure. I guess cities can be complicated at times.

Two years ago I participated in a Duluth Diocesan sponsored program called Just Faith- a ten month formation process whose goal was simply to empower people of faith to develop a passion and thirst for justice. One of the most gratifying components of the experience were events called "Border Crossings".

Now I know what your thinking, you travel to another country to learn about world poverty or hunger. No, No….I’m not talking about that. A border crossing is an opportunity to "cross over" socio-economic or racial borders within our community. To meet and listen to people that you might not ever have the chance to meet. By really listening to each other, sharing our fear and joy; all of us came to realize how much we need each other in order to fully function as a viable community.

Occasionally, we neglect those who do not have a voice. A single mother who struggles to feed her children and work a living wage. A young man who just lost his job and can’t afford health care insurance. There are many examples as you might imagine. But the beauty of meeting someone for the first time in this environment can be a blessing. For me, it’s in those open, non-judgmental conversations that we truly hear one another. Or as Mother Teresa put it, "to see the face of Christ in each of His numerous disguises wherever we go."

In 1987, "Where The Streets have no Names" seemed like just another creative rock song from a blossoming band out of Ireland. Today, it’s meaning and value bears fruit when we consider it’s implications, especially if you live in a city that doesn’t want to recognize it’s own common streets.

Check this out: Seeing Others