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Articles by Pat Grimes

We’ve all heard the horror stories. After signing an agreement for some household upgrade, unexpected complications arise, the contractor comes and goes at his or her own flighty schedule, and the homeowner’s life is turned upside down.

Part of the problem is the nature of construction and renovation; unforeseen problems will undoubtedly crush any expectation of a job’s cost and duration. The twin pillars of your project, time and expense, repeatedly fall, leaving you desolate and unsure of how much longer your wallet and psyche can take the punishment.

Recently returned from another leg of the summer's ambitious tour, this time to the sun-kissed shores of Connecticut with some of my father’s family. This jaunt came on the heels of another long weekend with loved ones, my mother's people in Minnesota.

The settings could not have been much different. The edge of America's breadbasket is awash with corn, soybeans, and wheat sprawled across rolling fields. Seaside New England is bordered by waves roiling onto rocks and sand, and estuaries teeming with seabirds reaching back inland.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”

So wrote philosopher, lawyer, and diplomat Joseph de Maistre in August of 1811. He presumably knew a lot about the subject, as at the time he was serving as the King of Piedmont-Sardinia’s envoy to Russian Czar Alexander I.

Spent some time in my mother's home place, rural Minnesota. The expedition was rife with emotional touchstones, as I visited often as a child and a few times as my children grew.

Motoring up the home stretch, a state highway leading to whichever relative's home we would stay in for our visit, my sister and I would watch for Barbasol–style signage by the side of the road announcing our approach to a roadside attraction/souvenir shop, Treasure City.

In the early ‘70s, my brother and a buddy leased an apartment just off the sand in one of the beach cities – Hermosa or Manhattan, I cannot remember. Being young and full of life, the two roommates enjoyed hosting their comparatively landlocked pals and engaging in many kinds of seaside hijinks.

Just returned from a 600-mile drive south and back. Thought I might avoid the heavy traffic associated with Independence Day by traveling the previous weekend. But this proved to be a foolish notion.

Those of you who got on the highways for the Fourth of July weekend know it is true: America, you are out there driving. And you have brought your campers, boats, ATVs, kayaks, and bicycles with you, along with what appear to be some anger issues.

Less thana week has passed since the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage. To no one’s surprise, there has been plenty of commotion over this decision.


Some have cried out in dismay while others have cried tears of joy. Polls show the American people largely welcome this ruling as equality under the law and a minority thinks it immoral, saying it is a redefinition of marriage, not marriage parity.


Justice Antonin Scalia called the decision a threat to American democracy.


I flew recently from airline hub to airline hub, modern international facilities moving millions of passengers each month. I could not help but feel connected to my fellow travelers; once the inflated fare is paid, we all enjoy similar amenities and are subjected to the same inconveniences.

That feeling soon dissipated.

Esteemed faculty and administrators, proud family members and friends, and Class of 2015, let us acknowledge a tremendous achievement for all of you: either you have graduated, or you have pushed, pleaded, and cajoled your student to graduate. Congratulations to everyone.

I am honored to speak to you today. The expectation is that I will offer guidance on your bright futures. But I suspect most of you have heard plenty of advice already; any suggestions I make, no matter how wise, will likely fall on ears both deaf and impatient.

With the retirement of its host, The Late Show with David Letterman is no more.  In the CBS program’s final weeks, laurel wreaths were repeatedly placed upon his out-to-pasture brow.  Night after night, adoring audiences and longtime guests fawned over Dave, lauding his comedic prowess and publicly placing him high in the pantheon of entertainment greats.

To his credit, Mr. Letterman took it in stride, neither soaking up nor brushing off the unending adulation.  It seems he understands that even for a broadcast icon, fame is fleeting.