The Monday Morning Rouser
Well, hi, welcome to Monday. Off to work are we? Sure, Mondays aren't a lot of fun but once you retire you'll be able to do those things you'd rather be doing.
What would you do if you didn't have to work? Mountain climb? Better do it quick! Lonnie Dupre, the Minnesota adventurer who turned back from his third attempt to scale Mt. McKinley alone a week or so ago, is reflecting on his attempt, saying his age may have caught up with him.
Lake Minnetonka has claimed two more victims. A man and his grandmother died over the weekend when their car plunged through the ice on Lake Minnetonka.
Audrey Kletscher Helbling, who writes Minnesota Prairie Roots, reflects on this tradition:
Yes, in Minnesota we drive cars, trucks and other vehicles onto frozen lakes to access ice fishing houses or open-air fishing spots. Sounds crazy, I know. But ice fishing, in which a hole is drilled into the ice to fish, is a big sport here. For example, some 5,500 fish houses are set up each winter on Mille Lacs Lake, probably our state's most popular winter fishing destination. Roads are even plowed, bridges placed, across Mille Lacs to allow easier access to houses outfitted with kitchens, beds and other comfy accommodations.
Her ice-fishing and ice-driving days were all good fun, she reports... until she heard the ice crack.
When is ice safe? You can't tell by looking at it, the DNR says. Even fish swimming in a lake can bring warm water to the top and weaken the ice, it says. And a foot of ice does not equal a foot of ice. A foot of old is weaker than a foot of new ice, according to the DNR.
The Duluth News Tribune may be in some hot water with fans of the comic strip, Blondie. The paper is canceling the comic strip. That might be news. So might this: Blondie still has a sizeable following.
In a letter to Blondie fans, the DNT reports that the amount the comic syndicate charges for Blondie is much higher than any other comic -- five times higher, for example, than Beetle Bailey.
The bigger issue, though, is the explanation for why we're paying so much, which I asked of the company's salesman on his last visit here.
His answer? The DNT is a "legacy" subscriber, going back years ("Blondie" first appeared in the Duluth Herald and Sunday News Tribune in May 1937), and therefore subject to yearly price increases. In essence, our benefit for being a longtime customer is we get to pay more.
I suggested that maybe we should cancel it and start again, but he warned me I didn't want to do that -- and launched into the story of how the News Tribune once canceled "Beetle Bailey" and the Budgeteer picked it up and made hay out of it.
I don't know if he heard me say that's unlikely these days because the DNT and Budge are now the same company. Regardless, if he didn't want to talk about it then, he certainly hasn't made much of an effort since. For at least a year I have called and e-mailed him repeatedly with no call back. So has my assistant. Zip. No response to our director of finance, either.
We shall this week be monitoring the Great Blondie Controversy of 2013.
More media: In Los Angeles, a Christmas Day photo prompts help for a woman who lost her job. (LA Times)
Last Friday in this space, I noted the work of Lindsay Gorelick, a University of Minnesota senior who parlayed her love of couponing into creating $3,000 worth of gifts to the Harriet Tubman Center in Minneapolis. Total cost to her: $38.
How is this possible? Here's a Q&A with her.
NewsCut: When did you get this idea of donating your collection? You mentioned this was your "biggest haul." Have you been donating before.
LG: I donate about 95% of the things I get. I have a strong belief that humans are not meant to have so much excess, we are supposed to share what we have. When many people are living without necessities, and I can get those necessities for free or cheap using my skills, I will. I donate many things including: pantry items, toiletries (for men and women), cosmetics, vitamins, etc.
NewsCut: Why this shelter?
LG: I chose the Harriet Tubman shelter because they are an amazing organization. They help women get out of dangerous situations and give them the support they need to begin a new life. I used to volunteer at a shelter in Milwaukee growing up, and I realized how little some of these women had when it came to necessities. Battered women often leave their home with very little, if any luggage. Donating these things can help make their transition a little bit easier.
NewsCut: How'd you get into couponing? How much time does it take. How long did it take to assemble this haul?
LG: I started couponing about a year and a half ago. I started because I am a college student, and I wanted to stretch my dollar further. I am an economics major, and I absolutely love working with numbers and prices. Numbers and math come naturally to me, so it is easy for me to figure out how to maximize my savings using the coupons that I have. This project took me 5 months, and I put in about 8-10 hours a week.
NewsCut: Have you gotten other people into this idea? Has Reddit helped you?
LG: Couponing is something anyone can do. Most people do it on a smaller scale, but any savings are good savings! My roommates clip coupons sometimes, and I give them to my mom to use for her shopping trips. Extreme couponing is a little intimidating for most people, but I tell people: start out small. Just use 3 or 4 coupons at the grocery store. Even a few coupons can make a difference for the total cost!
Reddit is a very cool online community, and they have expressed different opinions about my donation. Some people are very negative, calling me horrible names or a saying that I am a thief. However, most redditors have been very receptive to my project, and a few of them even messaged me on how to donate themselves!
NewsCut: After this particular donation, are you going to start on another and, if so, who will benefit?
LG: I am starting another project, which will be a donation to the Simpson house which is a homeless shelter for men and women. I am hoping to collect another $3,000 worth of supplies for donation.
NewsCut: Are you from the Twin Cities originally? What's your major and post-graduation plans
LG: I am originally from Milwaukee, WI and I moved here for college. I go to the University of Minnesota, and I am studying applied economics. After I graduate this May, I am planning on going to culinary school.
NewsCut: Any advice for people who want to mirror your effort here?
LG: If people want to donate or help someone else, find something you are good at and use it. It doesn't need to be couponing. If you are really good at art, volunteer to teach an art class for kids at a homeless shelter or battered women's shelter. Using your talents to help other people is one of the best ways to make this world a brighter place.
Some behind-the-scenes shots of Friday's concert of the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra musicians, celebrating their Grammy.
Related notes: Music teacher finds 'community feeling' at Oil Patch school. (Fargo Forum)
Bonus I: "The farmer" spot on yesterday's Super Bowl. Winner?
Bonus II: How Oreo got its Twitter ad up so fast.
Image of the Day: It has it all, really. (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
President Obama is visiting Minneapolis today to promote his plan to reduce gun violence. Parts of his initiative are expected to have a tough time getting through Congress. Today's Question: Can you think of a middle-ground solution for gun violence?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Poor kids and selective schools.
Second hour: A 12-step solution for the GOP.
Third hour: Self defense and guns.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Live coverage of President Obama's appearance in Minneapolis.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - TBA
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A recap of President Obama's quick visit to Minneapolis to tout his gun proposals.
Iran's police brutally cracked down on protesters following the countrys 2009 elections. Since then, pro-democracy activists have fled from the streets to cyberspace. And some have fled the country altogether. But the police have followed them all. NPR looks at Iran's crackdown.(2 Comments)
A new generation learned about Paul Harvey last night. Sort of.
You take an old speech, throw some romantic pictures of farmers next to it, put it on the Super Bowl, and the nation waxes poetic about Harvey. The things a good marketer can do!
Harvey was, in fact, an historic broadcaster who could create an old-fashioned image of America with his prose. He also had a dark side which, a few years after his death, might have made him toxic to someone trying to sell a pick-up truck. But it didn't.
Take this 2005 broadcast, for example:
"We didn't come this far [as a nation] because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.
"And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
Harvey was the most-listened-to radio person in America. So it was not for nothing when in that same commentary, he lamented that the U.S. didn't use nuclear weapons in Iraq or Afghanistan.
In September 2007, he passed this joke along to listeners, Time.com reported:
This was mild stuff compared with a joke Harvey passed along to his listeners in September 2007 about an imaginary meeting of David Petraeus and Chelsea Clinton. The President's daughter asks the general if he's afraid of anything, and Harvey gives this reply: "I am afraid of three things. I am afraid of Osama, and I am afraid of Obama, and, Ms. Clinton, I am afraid of yo' mama. Heh heh heh. Paul Harvey: Good day!"
"Those of us who believe in the dignity of the person, the importance of social institutions, the need for economic freedom and limited government owe an invaluable debt of gratitude to the great broadcaster," the Action Institute's Joe Carter writes today. "We should thank God he made Paul Harvey. And pray that the Lord soon sends us another communicator as winsome and gifted in explaining the value of virtue of freedom."
Also, he didn't drive a pick-up. He drove a Cadillac.(4 Comments)
It's great weather for snow tubing in Minnesota, but you're on your own if you go, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled today.
The court upheld dismissal of a case in which a young man sued Green Acres snow-tubing hill in Lake Elmo after he apparently hit another person at the bottom of the hill, although he doesn't remember the accident and no employee saw it.
No matter. The sign in the parking lot saying "tube sliding can be dangerous," the ticket tag that says customer "is voluntarily participating in the activity and acknowledges that snow tubing is a potentially dangerous activity, and the release customers sign saying they hold the owners harmless " provided plenty of warning.
But an attorney for Ryan Grady, the customer involved in the accident, said Green Acres had "a duty to provide lanes on the hill, employ attendants at the top and bottom of the hill who would indicate when it was safe for tubers to come down, and install a protected walkway from the bottom of the hill to the tow rope."
The Court of Appeals made quick work of that argument:
When asked why, when sledding, he waited until no one was in the way before going down the hill, he answered, "So I can make it all the way down and I don't run into anybody." (Emphasis added.) When asked how one could get hurt while snowboarding, he answered, "You could fall, run into a tree or a building or someone else." Thus, the record here supports the district court's conclusion that appellant knew snow tubing entailed the risk of collision with another person and appreciated that risk, just as Snilsberg knew diving into water of an unknown depth entailed the risk of hitting the lake bottom.
Like Snilsberg, who could have avoided the risk by not swimming at all or not diving into the water, appellant had the chance to avoid the risk by not going down the hill. The district court concluded that his "choice to slide down an icy snow hill face-first evinces not only a willingness to relieve others of their obligation for [his] safety, but to leave [his] safety largely to chance." The record supports the district court's conclusion that appellant knew the risk, appreciated it, and had a chance to avoid it.
If you don't want to get hurt while snow tubing, don't go snow tubing.(2 Comments)
It's enough to make a baseball fan weep.
The great Lavonne "Pepper" Paire-Davis has died.
MLB.com reports that Paire-Davis was the inspiration for Geena Davis' character in A League of Their Own.
This comes as a bit of a surprise, however, because when Dorothy "Dottie" Kamenshek died in May 2010 at age 84, she was described as the inspiration for Davis' character -- Dottie Hinson.
In a 2011 interview, Ms. Paire-Davis insisted it was her.
What a showwoman!
Joel Breeggemann posted this short video today on Facebook as President Obama's motorcade sped through a neighborhood in North Minneapolis today, and revealed -- again -- why it must be a bit of a drag not to be able to sneak out on your own when you're president of the United States. The perks of the office are still pretty good, though.(10 Comments)
The end of the hostage stand-off in Alabama, Obama in Minnesota, raw milk, the safety of the radio business, and the worst day on Wall Street.
Here's today's news conversation with Mary Lucia on The Current.(0 Comments)