Good job, St. John’s. My son is impressed.


Thirty-six years ago this winter, a Catholic young man living in San Juan, P.R., took a leap of faith and — sight unseen — chose a secluded, wooded Benedictine campus in a faraway land called “Minnesota” as his home for the following four years.

It was the best decision of my life (up to that point; meeting and marrying a certain green-eyed woman now tops the list).

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I loved a new memoir about death & love


Ralph the Toddler and I crossed paths for the first (and, so far, only) time at a Minneapolis backyard party last summer.

The little dude was impossible to miss: He nonchalantly picked up a garden hose, engaged the trigger, and proceeded to spray the adult attendees for several seconds until someone frantically intervened.

It was awesome.

Now think about an entire book filled with such awesomeness. Such a book exists … by the Mother of Ralph herself, Nora McInerny Purmort.

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I’ve set my reading goal for the year: 200

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I love to read and I’ve lately been disgusted with myself for not doing more of it.

I am talking about reading books, specifically, and I’ve been feeling tortured about the backlog of unread volumes in my bookcases.

So, this year, I vowed to get caught up. What’s more, I set a goal for myself of reading 200 books this year.

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One of the best decisions we ever made


As a palm tree-worshipping Puerto Rican, I am not crazy about Minnesota winters … but this bitter season does sometimes trigger fond memories.

It was during a deep-freeze January that my wife, son and I moved into our current St. Paul home, which turned out to be one of the best decisions of our lives.

“That was five years ago, right?” I asked my wife today.

“No, dear,” she replied, “Seven.”

Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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I’m Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a nerd, boricua and tech writer living in St. Paul, Minn.
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Julio's bookshelf: read

MacArthur at War
liked it
This sweeping account of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Pacific exploits during World War II is heavy on the minutia but nonetheless thrilling. This isn't an adoring account, either, but a warts-and-all tale.
The Menopause Book
My wife pulled this out and jokingly asked me if I wanted to read it. Challenge accepted. I learned a lot.
The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage
really liked it
Decades before Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage, the authors (who are a couple) pushed boundaries. A good read.
"The Last Starfighter" with a twist, this grabbed me more than the author's earlier, better-known "Ready Player One" (which I never finished).
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists
it was ok
I had a hard time getting through this disjointed narrative. It's in some ways a rehash of the authors' earlier minimalism manual. Not impressed (but I like their blog and podcast).