1) 1000 Friends of Minnesota is releasing the results of its essay contest in which Minnesota writers described a connection with a Minnesota lake. It will post one each day.
The latest comes from Will Weaver who recalls building a house in turtle country.
"There's another one, too!" my wife said, pointing to the yard. In fact there were several. All had come up from the river on the same day-which over the years we have charted to fall on or close to June 21, the longest day of the year. We had as many as dozen big turtles crawling about the yard, digging up the new lawn they tried to find their former nesting sites.
We felt like intruders. Like we had built our house upon sacred ground. The next few days we watched the turtles lay their eggs. They hunched backwards, scraping away dirt with their rear claws, urinating to soften the crust of gravel until they were half-way underground. Afterward, sometimes the same night, predators-crows, skunks, raccoons- dug up the nests and ate the eggs. We felt helpless.
Find the latest essay here.
Extra credit: Identify the lake above.
2) You go to work today and you wonder, "Am I making a difference?" Sometimes, it's the little things you do that deliver the big payoff. Take Det. John Wright of the New York Police Department. He cracked the big New York car-bomber case. He never fired a shot. He just knew where to find the VIN number on the SUV that a man tried to use to kill people with a car bomb. The VIN near the windshield had been rubbed off. So there he was last weekend with a can of degreaser and a flashlight, finding the number on the engine block. That led police to the original owner, which led police to the suspect in the nick of time.
"Some guys have a knack for guns; some guys have a knack for drugs," he said. "I have a knack for cars."
Enjoy your day at work. You and your knack. Making a difference.
3) Sometimes, of course, making a difference involves more direct action. We heard from St. Paul Police officer David Longbehn last evening, after the visitation for Sgt. Joe Bergeron, whose funeral is being held this morning. Longbehn shot and killed the man believed to have killed Bergeron early Saturday morning. "The real hero here is Sgt. Joe Bergeron. He's the hero that came first and foremost and confronted the suspects. So if there's anybody that's a hero, it's Sgt. Joe Bergeron," he said.
4) The editor of Newsweek was on Daily Show last night, newsworthy because earlier in the day the Washington Post announced it wants to unload the magazine.
"This is an existential crisis... and it's not just because I feel incredibly strongly that this magazine, for 77 years and unto this hour, has mattered to the life of this country, and is one of the very few common denominators in a fragmented world."
He challenged people to pay for the news they value, which is, as you know, crazy talk.
5) Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, research out today suggests. It's quantifiable.
Researchers in Scotland say that while there are some idiosyncrasies from person to person, it's possible to predict who will be attracted to whom, livescience.com reports.
The researchers measured the pitches of voices of 113 female college students, and then played them recordings of men saying either "I really like you" or "I really don't like you," and were asked how attractive they thought they were.
The women found lower-pitched voices more attractive regardless of what the men were saying.
"The findings suggest that women's own attractiveness in some way influences their preferences for masculine traits in men's voices," Jones said. "Effects like those in our study might simply reflect people finding their place in the mating market and taking that into account when judging others' attractiveness."
Now, what are we supposed to do with that knowledge?
Bonus: Filthy state seals. (Minnesota isn't one of them)
The Minnesota Legislature may be asked to clarify the circumstances under which the governor can use unallotment to balance the state budget. Should the governor be able to act alone to set the budget?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Rep. Laura Brod and Sen. Ellen Anderson consider the impact of the new budget deficit in the wake of yesterday's ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Second hour: Psychologist Alison Gopnik says that scientists have learned more about the brains of young children in the last 30 years than they had in the previous 2,000. She joins Midmorning to talk about what's going in kids' brains, and what that means for parents and educators. This is from a Ted talk held in St. Paul last night. Here's a video that was played at that session:
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Nick Hayes, author of "And One Fine Morning."
Second hour: Norman Corwin tribute.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR will have coverage of today's funeral for Sgt. Joe Bergeron.
It's believed that a state court judge will issue a ruling this morning in the lawsuit between the Vikings' Pat and Kevin Williams vs. the NFL, which suspended them for a positive drug test. MPR's Brandt Williams will have the story.(4 Comments)
Stories about sportsmanship and generosity are often accompanied by questions of on-field integrity. Who can forget Bret Favre intentionally being sacked in a Packers game against the New York Giants, so that Michael Strahan could break the NFL sack record?
A few years ago there was a wonderful story about a local high school cross country ski team that scheduled a quick meet, so that a skier on another team, who'd been out of state when other meets were held, could qualify for the state high school cross country competition. A nice gesture, indeed, that was followed by criticism that the skier didn't really earn her way onto the team.
There's a golf story like these out of Chicago today, courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
Grant Whybark, a sophomore at the University of St. Francis, had locked up a spot in nationals with his team, which won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, but was in a playoff against Olivet Nazarene's Seth Doran for individual honors.
As championships go, both the winning team and winning individual are asked to move on to nationals, so if Whybark won the playoff against Doran, he'd be honoring both spots and Doran wouldn't be asked to move on.
What happened next is the type of stuff movies are made about. Whybark stood over his tee shot on the first playoff hole, looked down the fairway and back at his ball, and hit it 40 yards right of the fairway, out of bounds by a mile. He made double bogey, Doran made par, and Olivet Nazarene had a man in nationals.
What makes it so incredible? Whybark intentionally did it, because he felt Doran had earned a spot in the next round.
A commenter raises the usual concern:
I am all for giving someone a leg up especially if it is for someone at a disadvantage. However, I don't think you should shank it and let someone get a win. I have been an athlete my whole life and would feel cheated if someone just gave me a "win". This is what being competitive is all about. I think it is a great story, but just not how I would want to take a victory.
What is the balance, by this definition, between being a competitive sportsman, and being a darned fine human being?
(h/t: Sean Collins)
In the shadow of mourning at the Cathedral of St. Paul today, about 100 people were in a more celebratory mood.
The Minnesota version of a National Day of Prayer was held on the grounds of the Minnesota Capitol. Minnesota politicians were not at all shy about participating, despite the ongoing controversy about linking government with religion. Last month a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that a federal government declaration of a National Day of Prayer violated the U.S. Constitution.
Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, subbing for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, read his proclamation declaring a day of prayer for Minnesota, then stood by as a pastor prayed over her and declared the superior power of Jesus.
House Speaker Margaret Kelliher was asked to speak, but declined, opting instead to join other lawmakers as the pastors prayed over them. Before that, however, Sen. Terri Bonoff, who is Jewish, offered a Hebrew prayer, "so we can feel included."
Not everyone was thrilled with the event's timing. Sen. Linda Higgins posted this on Facebook:
Disrespectful? You decide.
After the funeral at the Cathedral, the cortege did not pass the Capitol grounds where the rally was being held.(6 Comments)