Cord Wood

A slightly earlier, tongue-twistier version of last night’s MPR commentary: Probably many Minnesotans have been happy that, so far, it’s been a pretty mild winter. My family is on one of those stabilized payment plans where we pay the same amount for heat each month of the year, even in the summer months–not because I’m […]

Stating the obvious

The Minnetonka police officer who gave U of M student Nick Stremer a ticket for underage drinking, it could be argued, was just doing his job. It could be argued, I said. But, arguing with a fool is always a bad idea. Like a lot of the people quoted in today’s Strib story and on […]

Night Stand

We are contemptuous of transient well-being, as if there were any other kind. Routinely discounting the preponderance of evidence is not the behavior of reasonable people, nor is devaluing present experience because it may be overtaken by something worse…. Powerless people can hardly demand coherency of themselves, since they must always react to forces they […]

Klobuchar the Elder

Klobuchar Pere: “l’etoile c’etait moi” For those of you who remember afternoon newspapers, you know that one of the best things about the Minneapolis Star was columnist Jim Klobuchar. When it came to homespun humor, he was Garrison Keillor before there was a Prairie Home Companion. Characteristic, often, of his portraits of typical Minnesotans, was […]

This Business, This Project

Hardening your heart is difficult, stressful, and taxing work. You’ve never been much good at it. You’re getting better, though, as you learn to accept how necessary this work is to your survival in a world where the heart is mostly useless anymore beyond its function as pump and plumbing. The heart, you recognize, has […]

This Post More Interesting & To-The-Point Than The Next

New issue is up. Print edition–the real thing–will hit the streets on Monday. This is what we’re doing most of the time.

The Narcissist At Work

With the news that our publisher and son have taken the reins of the ab fab MNSpeak, I was reminded of an ongoing monologue I’ve been developing (I know, among all the other ongoing monologues) about the variety of blogs. Just within any particular medium, there are so many varieties that creating a typology is […]

Nothing At All Like A Voyage, Nothing At All Like A Journey

Your ideals are invisible clouds So try not to suffocate the poor, the peasants, with your sympathies. They know that you’re staring at them. –Jim Harrison, from “Easter Morning” Dance on, you pigs, what concern is it of mine? –Franz Kafka, Diaries, 1914 Could any of this possibly be true, these things you tell us? […]

What have the Vulcans been up to since last year?

“The Winter Carnival suspended the 2005 Vulcan Krewe and ordered future krewes to wear their real names on their costumes. In the past they have used character names, including ‘Baron Hot Sparkus’ and ‘Grand Duke Fertilious.’ The new Vulcans will also stop placing garters on women’s legs and attaching pins to their clothing. They will […]

Cut Out

By summer, the hulking, multi-ton blade sharpening machines of Printers Service Inc. will be gone, hauled out through the big front windows of 716 Washington Avenue North. For more than half a century, Ken Springer has run his business here, with the help of various employees who tend to stick around like family, and his […]