I guess I could get all worked up about the examples of corruption in our U.S. government, the endless end-arounds attempted by crooked folk at the state and federal levels, at the amount of waste that is part of budgets.

Then I remember a watermark in my time at a four-year liberal arts college in Iowa: “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”

There is a refuge offered, of sorts, in the fictional character that Herman Melville created. The story is not an easy read or the character easily explainable, but in the tale is told a refuge available to all, the active/passive “I prefer not to.”

That utterance comes to mind quite frequently, these days, maybe too frequently. I hope to use it sparingly, but it is always there when I’m faced with several bad choices in the candidates offered or with folks in governance that somehow got elected, even with the voters’ best intentions.

Bartleby wastes away in the story, but Melville’s phrase lives on. Maybe if more of us use it when exhorted to vote for a poor choice, we will make progress.

Visitor inundation

The rain held off until the events of the morning and afternoon were completed at the annual Tulip Festival. Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday were great, weather-wise, and the usual press of people took their Saturdays to attend the annual ethnic celebration.

Shown here is the press around the meat market. The bratwursts were a hot item. And, right next door, the heritage group was serving poffertjes, quarter-size pastries topped with a butter-and-rum mix.


A courthouse centennial

A friend of mine, retired professor of English and writing, not yet retired from writing, worked up a narrative for stops on a virtual centennial tour of the courthouse in Sioux City.

Jim Schaap is a great storyteller, and you can hear his voice in the pages he wrote for the tour.