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Category: Essay

  • Commentary: When a Good Story Ruins the Story

    A few months ago, I read a story on the ethics of restaurant critics. It was not about the morality of a stranger with a pen imposing a subjective opinion on an establishment to the potential ruin of its operators and employees. Rather, it concerned the way in which a popular writer can go to […]

  • Announcing the 2019 Hal Prize Contest

    The Peninsula Pulse newspaper proudly presents the 2019 Hal Prize. Conducted annually since 1998, the mission of the Peninsula Pulse’s Hal Prize is to encourage and appreciate artistic expression through various literary forms and photography. The contest has showcased works from individuals of all ages and backgrounds — novice writers and photographers to professionals. The […]

  • 2018 Hal Prize Judges Announced

    The Peninsula Pulse newspaper is pleased to announce the judges of the 2018 Hal Prize poetry, prose and photography contest. They are:  award-winning Wisconsin photographer Carl Corey, Minneapolis poet Leslie Adrienne Miller, Minnesota novelist Peter Geye, and nonfiction writer José Rodríguez. Conducted annually since 1998, the mission of the Peninsula Pulse’s Hal Prize is to […]

  • Isherwood: How to Dress Warm

    Weather forecasters like NOAA include advice of how to dress for a cold winter’s day. Never mind for Northerners alerting the hazard at a measly zero degrees seems a touch wimpy. Once zero wasn’t cold enough to be considered hazardous, and that with six volt batteries and a hand crank. This warning demonstrates the remarkable […]

  • Justin Isherwood: The Tree In the Barn

    My father was a curious man, perhaps strange, perhaps odd, the streak of oddness as routinely happens to dairymen. A lifetime of what ungodly early mornings will do to you, as will the abiding love of cows. My dad loved his cows. Our father went into a Zen state at evening milking, as could less […]

  • Isherwood: Listening to Late Night Radio

    Maybe it’s just lonely farmers that listen to late night radio. To suggest a political affiliation here, an affinity for the dark, the moods of the night, those solitary thoughts, we who gather around the muffled glow of radios in the nether hours. My childhood was uniquely radio, to reference baseball. As a sport, baseball […]

  • Isherwood: Cassini

    On Sept. 15, 2017 a fellow Earthling will die, actually it’s an execution. To quickly add, for a good cause; this fellow Earthling’s name is Cassini. If some of us believe machines don’t die, they just stop working, some others of us think machines too can have a soul. Perhaps it is only farmboys that […]

  • Keep the Autumnal Fire Burning!

    Autumn has moved souls since the beginning of time. “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” — George Eliot It is the most romantic of seasons, which explains why so many people outside of Door County wonder, […]

  • Isherwood: Blackberry Summer

    Blackberry summers are rare, blackberries are shy, same as bachelor farmers are shy. Blackberries are shy because God and its creation are selfish. Easy blackberries spoil people – they begin to think blackberries grow on trees. The Bible was mistaken. The apple isn’t the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Wasn’t the apple […]

  • Isherwood: Feathers

    Most kids at some point in their transition to adult-form domestication go through a dinosaur stage. There is some appealing element about dinosaurs, big, noisy, different, that connects with kids. Dinosaurs perhaps signify a kind of defiance, and where they, despite being children, know more about something than their parents. Dinosaurs represent a distinctive intellectual […]

  • Isherwood: The Van

    Tom and I were friends, the original fault for this was Vietnam. We were both elderly at the time of that war, the advanced age of 23 and 25, respectively. Both of us medics in the service of our much-mistaken Uncle Sam. Tom was in patient care, I a housekeeping medic, also sanitation, surgical cleanup, […]

  • Isherwood: On Spring

    when daisies pied and violets blue and lady’s-smocks all silver-white and a cuckoo buds of yellow hue do paint the meadows with delight. Wm Shakespeare   It is of spring poets comingle. All on the relent of winter, as northerners understand. When trills the redwing and heralds the sandhill, all is poetry. All the flowers, […]

  • Isherwood: Asparagus Stories

    Asparagus stories are of emergent things, to perhaps add newness to this list, and hope, and joy, and daring. Once was when that tribe of farmers used to utter private catechisms on asparagus. Asparagus as the spring tonic if not an omen. Crops and margins and chances of drought predicted by asparagus. Farmers did this […]

  • Isherwood: The Greenland Shark

    Somniosus microcephalus, also known as the Greenland shark is the world’s latest celebrity. Known to fishermen as the Greenland, this shark is widely distributed through the North Atlantic, found at the surface as well as in the depths, amazingly at 1,800 meters. Adults grow to 400-500 centimeters, making it the largest fish in these cold […]

  • Isherwood: ‘Model A’ Town Plow

    The photo is from the Steir farm, circa 1944, Town of Bristol. The subject is a homemade snowplow consisting of a basic Model A coupe, with a sort of monster jungle gym attached. An oversize steel box attached to a sub-frame, all this in turn attached to the said Model A. On the front of […]

  • My Priceless Portraits

    There were two portraits. They were high on the wall above my grandparents’ organ in their living room. One was a girl and one was a boy. Each child is sitting in a chair – the girl wearing a light blue smock dress and the boy wearing a light blue shirt with a sailor collar. […]

  • Using Art to Inspire Writing

    It turns out photography isn’t the only medium that can speak a thousand words. With the right approach, sculpture, painting and even glass-blown works can as well. Just ask author, poet and instructor Anne-Marie Oomen, who recently teamed up with Write On, Door County to lead a workshop on ekphrastic writing – the literary technique […]

  • Isherwood: Potato Vacation

    Autumn is to remember potato vacation. A time of one-room schools neatly scattered through the townships like jubilant watermelon patches. When kids walked to school, pumped the water and filled the reservoir, swept the outhouse, clapped the erasers before pledging the allegiance to the flag, and President Washington reigned over the alphabet strip. This, our […]

  • Isherwood: How to Build A Bird

    Grandparents have a critical role in a kid’s education. My wife and I disagree on gender lines exactly what this role is, you can surmise the details: fire, gunpowder and jokes about farts. For myself I believe a grandfather’s role can be summed up by the acronym SOTG, Second Only to God, this where I […]

  • Holy Cow, and We Thought GMO Was A Tough Decision

    First, a nasty little list: Zika, West Nile, dengue, equine encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, Rift Valley Fever, Kyasanur Forest Disease. Second, a word, arbovirus; a term used by epidemiologists to refer to numerous viruses that replicate in blood-feeding arthropods such as mosquitoes, sandflies, lice, mites and ticks and are transferred to humans by biting. […]