The Middle Distance 12.21.12: Reweaving the Social Fabric

This week’s mini-blizzard provided respite I’d been hoping for — no appointments, too cold to even think of going outside voluntarily, and streets packed with snow. I stayed in with the dogs, reading and cleaning and baking a dense chocolate cake scented with cloves [...]

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The Middle Distance 12/14/12

Last night on a downtown street, someone busted out the front passenger window of my car to dig around inside it. Whoever it was — a passerby who, conveniently, had a brick or a big rock in his hand — found a wallet stuffed with essential identification, [...]

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The Middle Distance 12.7.12: The Image Becomes a Phantom

In her treatise on photography, Susan Sontag said, “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.” Witness any public event in the 21st century, crowd members’ arms extended outward with smartphones pointed in every direction and understand how prophetic that statement was way back in [...]

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The Middle Distance 11.30.12: Unknown Woman

She resides in a painting — a simple stretched canvas, unframed — emerging from a slate blue background, her hair and dress the same silver-gray. Her breasts sag low, as if from the natural weight of years.

She hung in a corner of the bedroom wherever I lived [...]

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The Middle Distance 11.16.12: The Scent of Smoke

It is nearly Thanksgiving and in the early mornings my turn-of-the-20th century neighborhood smells like wood smoke. Nights are cold, the neighbors cranking up their fireplaces and wood stoves. A deadly summer wildfire season has put the fear of God and flame in most [...]

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The Middle Distance 11.9.12: “Honey, It’s Jest Foo-ood”

In a parallel life, I think I might have been a cafeteria lady, baking industrial sized trays of yeast rolls every morning in a stainless steel kitchen, ladeling out clouds of mashed potatoes and smothering them with milk gravy.
Last Sunday I spent [...]

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn wonders where to best place her worry during the Frankenstorm.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn embraces the obsessive mathematics of aging.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn tugs at the long tail of gun violence and its current literature.

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In this week’s Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn ruminates on the struggle for faith.

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We recently uncovered some shocking information regarding Big Something intern and recent Colorado College graduate, Jake Brownell. It turns out that the young man we know as an earnest, polite and responsible member of the community spent his youth as a gangster rapper. Well, perhaps gangster is a little hyperbolic, but he did cut a [...]

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn gathers seeds from her garden and remembers the autumn of her twins’ birth.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn celebrates locavore and farmer Dan Hobbs on the occasion of his Palmer Land Trust Conservation Award.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn sees her late sister through the eyes of a ghost costume.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn walks back into her second grade classroom.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn unearths a moment in civil rights history that happened right under her nose.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn looks through the blurry lens of a toy camera into the past.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn stares into the eyes of a toothless flasher in a dirty raincoat.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn spreads her toes across years of shoeless memories.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn ties two summer films together with the unlikely string of far-fetched fantasy.

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(Cybil Shepherd, center, after winning the Miss Teenage Mephmis Pageant in 1966)

The Middle Distance 8.5.11: What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking? I was 15 years old and had moved with my family from the small town of Jackson to the big city of Memphis. I didn’t know anyone, [...]

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn commemorates the 5th anniversary of her son’s death in the wake a summer of difficult news.

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In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn’s 100th column for KRCC’s The Big Something, she looks at a new book that examines the long term physical and psychic costs of Rocky Flats.

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News

May 24, 2015 | NPR · Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of Texas and the Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee.
 

Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab
May 24, 2015 | WESA · In polluted Pittsburgh, a new device from a local university helps residents assess indoor air. It’s not the only monitor on the market — but is the only one available to borrow from a public library.
 

May 24, 2015 | NPR · The great mathematician, whose accomplishments and struggle with schizophrenia were depicted in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, died with his wife, Alice, in a car accident on Saturday. “His suffering, I know, was real,” says University of Chicago economist Roger Myerson. “But he was touched by glory.”
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of Dutton
May 24, 2015 | NPR · “I’ve never accused myself of being manly,” Offerman says, noting his real-life persona is different from his Parks and Recreation character. His book is a set of essays about people who inspire him.
 

Associated Press
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Meara, who was married to Jerry Stiller and mom to Ben Stiller, had roles on Rhoda, Alf, Sex and the City and The King of Queens.
 

The Kobal Collection
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Actor Kenneth Choi is best known as the boisterous Chester Ming in The Wolf of Wall Street. Growing up in Chicago, acting was his passion, but his dad didn’t approve. So he ran away — to Hollywood.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Madisen Ward and his mother, Ruth Ward—better known as Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear—have been performing together for six years, but have only recently begun to attract national attention.
 

Courtesy of the artist
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Experimental artist Holly Herndon, who mashes up collected sounds, dance music and pop, reflects on society’s relationship with technology on her new album, Platform.
 

Courtesy of the artist
May 23, 2015 | NPR · The polymath pianist and composer has released three new albums — including a recording of his own Mass, whose writing was interrupted by a disastrous car accident.
 

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