Dennis E. Powell's View from Mudsock Heights

Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at

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The View from Mudsock Heights: Good News Reminds Me I Have a Lot of Work to Do Before Winter

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 31, 2010 at 3:37 AM

Happy surprises are so rare that when one occurs it’s worth passing along. I had been worried that I was running out of propane. It had been a year or more since the big tank got filled and, glancing at the gauge a few weeks ago I saw it was pretty low.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Sea Salt? Organic Sugar? What Exactly are We Talking About Here?

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 20, 2010 at 5:15 AM

The chips tasted pretty good — then I saw the words that made me put them down. No, the bag did not say “contains triglycerides” or “full of transfats.” It said — proudly, if you can believe it — “with sea salt.”

The View from Mudsock Heights: I Thought I Knew About Tomato Growing, But I Was Wrong

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 16, 2010 at 2:01 AM

This year I may have to can some tomatoes. The “putting up” of vegetables was an annual ritual when I was a child, and as a grownup I’ve threatened to do it from time to time, but this year it might just happen.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Pictures Need Captions if They're to Be Worth a Thousand Words

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 07, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Who are these people? What is this place? If I had a dime for every time I’ve asked those questions in the last week, I’d be well-set financially.

The View From Mudsock Heights: A Dreaded Task Brings My Sister and Me in Touch with Long-Dead Relatives

By Dennis E. Powell | Jun 28, 2010 at 3:06 AM

The attic was hot, very dusty in a way that attics full of boxes can be, and peculiarly exciting. My family has usually succeeded in resisting an alarming tradition, that of getting rid of everything a relative owned as soon as possible after his or her death. When my mom died three summers ago, all her stuff got packed into boxes and taken to the attic of my sister’s house in Milwaukee. Now my sister was moving and my mother’s possessions needed to be dealt with.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Memories of an Old Vacation Spark New Appreciation of How Safe We Are Right Here

By Dennis E. Powell | Jun 20, 2010 at 5:38 AM

Looking at the old picture, I had to laugh. I took it in the summer of 1986 in the Texas panhandle, while on vacation with my girlfriend. She was from New England and had as much knowledge of the space between there and California as most of us have of, say, Madagascar. This is not a condition at all unusual in the northeast.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Corporations are Insensitive to the Needs and Feelings of -- Me

By Dennis E. Powell | Jun 13, 2010 at 9:25 PM

We live in a time in which the greatest offenses one can commit include hurting someone’s feelings. A day does not pass that we do not hear of the need for “sensitivity training” for the “unenlightened” transgressors among us.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Awareness is Fine, But It Takes a Lot More Than That to Cure Diseases

By Dennis E. Powell | Jun 02, 2010 at 3:54 PM

All the time we hear about it: the “race for a cure” or a “walk” for this or that illness. When it is explained why the event is being held, the phrase “raise awareness” is always included. Money is always raised, too; it’s never entirely clear what the money is used for. Perhaps it is used to purchase awareness from those who do not give it away.

The View from Mudsock Heights: Linux Has Come Far -- In One Case, Maybe Too Far

By Dennis E. Powell | May 23, 2010 at 3:33 AM

The free software movement, which in many respects means the Linux operating system, is a puzzle to those accustomed to paying for things. Software is expensive stuff — how good can the stuff be if it doesn't cost anything?

The View from Mudsock Heights: The Way to Deal With the Alien Invasion is to Find Them, Cook Them, and Eat Them

By Dennis E. Powell | May 06, 2010 at 5:43 AM

It was bound to happen, sometime. Indeed, two-thirds of the way through my sixth decade, with most of it spent near them, it surprises me it didn’t happen sooner.

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