Archive - Feb 2004

February 27th


This weekend I will be at the Fargo Home and Garden Show, promoting the nursery from my little booth. The Home Show is the first promotion I do every year. It takes a while to get the rust out and remember the names of the trees and the answers to all the questions. I'll have to take along the reference books.

February 26th

Vision of the Future

I have always wondered what the world would be like when the Jeremys and Justins and Joshs go into the nursing home. I am used to Elmer, Oscar, Emil, Melvin and the like. Those are the old names.

Well, today I met a farmer who's not yet old, but must be at least in his mid-seventies, at the Flom Cafe. We had a nice chat--then I noticed that the name on his jacket said Justin. Couldn't be, I thought, it must be his grandson's jacket. But no, somebody said, "See ya, Justin," when he walked out.

Excursion to Flom

In what has become an annual ritual, Aunt Olla and I went out to the Flom Cafe today to debrief from my trip with Cousin Ilene. Today, the debriefing happened over tenderized steaks, mashed potatoes, and some very good raspberry shortcake.

Flom is a town of any beaten path. The road ends there. Its population remains firmly in the double digits, where it has been for much of the past century.

The cafe has three tables. The food is always good. It is a marvel the place stays open, although all three tables were busy this noon.

February 25th

Winston and Franklin

Just finished the excellent book with the above title by Jon Meacham. It is an account of the friendship between Churchill and Roosevelt which lasted from the beginning of the war until Roosevelt's death in April of 1945.

Writers will never tire of Churchill; the mounds of evidence about the man are endlessly fascinating. Roosevelt is another matter. His brilliance is obvious. But his lying, his supreme egotism and his ability to hide all emotion make him a more difficult topic for biographers.

Stay-at-home parents

Reader BW responds to yesterday's ramble on education:

February 24th

Much ado

Bush stirred the pot today by coming out in favor of amending the constitution to "protect" marriage. He said nothing about how he is going to protect the institution from people like Brittany Spears. Nor did he say how those 3600 couples in San Francisco getting married hurts anybody else.

I think he (or Karl Rove) made a political miscalculation. He should have ignored this issue. He'll get the right-wing votes anyway, and now he loses some moderates, as well as those who don't like to tinker with the Constitution.


The annual tax bill came yesterday. It is usually the occasion for much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but this year's wasn't so bad. I don't know if I have the big tax cut to thank, or what.

When you think of what we get for our taxes, I don't get so upset. Good roads, all over the country, over which our goods arrive in relatively good shape. Safe bridges. In Minnesota, we have reasonably good schools and reasonably well-run and clean nursing homes, especially in the rural areas.

February 23rd

Cat Quotes

Reader KS forwards the following quotes about cats:

Two things are perfect in the world---the clock and the cat
--Emile Auguste Chartier

There is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest. For there is nothing
brisker than his life when in motion.
--Christopher Smart

Before a cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream.
--T.S. Eliot

February 22nd

Sex and the City's final episode tonight!

The nation mourns. I watched a few episodes of the much-heralded show in hotel rooms on the trip, and was impressed by how completely awful it was. A bunch of overwrought, self-centered and completely shallow females mooning over even worse males. Lots of navel gazing--do I really love him? Should I cheat on him? Should I sleep with an older man? What about a younger one? What are my friends going to think? What should I wear? What should I wear? How should I do my hair? Good grief.

Spring training

Pitchers and catchers report to training camp this weekend. Baseball has started. Hopes are high.

As for the Twins, it is difficult to tell what will happen. Pitching is always the key. The last two years, the Twins went into the season expecting that their starting pitching would be their strength. For the most part, it failed. Milton got injured. Mays got injured. Radke didn't pitch well, and was also injured. Rick Reed showed his age. Even so, the Twins won their division both years due to their unexpectedly strong bullpen.