Archive - Jul 2004

Travels

Spent the last two days of this week on the road south of here. First, to Morris for the Horticulture Night at the U of M experiment station there. They have a beautiful experimental gardens there, and I presented a little seminar on planting annuals. They had several food stands, displays by nurseries, dozens of seminars, stuff for the kids to do, and as the evening wore on, a band played marching tunes in a big tent. Quite an event.

July 28th

Chautaqua

Spoke and performed tonight at a Chatauqua in Devils Lake, ND. Nice bunch of people. Beautiful auditorium--with a Steinway grand! A good sound system as well.

I left home in plenty of time so I could stop at UMC in Crookston and pick up the textbooks for the classes I am teaching there this fall. Then, an oil change in Grand Forks. Finally, off on US Highway 2 to Devils Lake.

July 27th

Santana untouchable, friends appear on TV

The Twins won tonight behind the stellar pitching of Johan Santana. Great to beat the White Sox in their own park. Great to see some hitters get clutch hits with two out.

My friend Mark called from his cell phone to say that he was going to go to the game in Chicago with his wife and daughter. Later I called him to see where they were sitting. With 38,000 at the park, a capacity crowd, I didn't think there would be any chance of seeing them.

Baseball vs. Convention

I watched the Twins beat the White Sox last night 6-2. A great game for the Twins. Radke pitched well again. The only bad news was that the Twins lost Nick Punto, their fireplug utility infielder, for the season due to a broken collarbone. I look forward to sitting in front of the television again tonight.

Satire

Writing satire has its risks--and rewards. When I wrote last week's column, a lampoon on The Lake, I didn't anticipate that anybody would take me seriously. I forgot that I was poking fun at about the most humorless segment of the populace, people in their late forties and early fifties; usually, but not always, female, people who are fully engaged in the rat race of getting the right home, the right car, the right college for their kids, people for whom it is important and vital that their pursuit of the good life be considered Holy and Sacred--and a heavy cross to bear, at that.

July 25th

Feedback

The column I wrote on The Lake last week was innocuous enough, I thought. Then I got a nasty email saying it was "unintelligent and stupid." The writer of the email was anonymous, of course. Then I started hearing from people-- "I loved your column on the lake! I am sure you'll get some hate mail from that one!"

Really? I thought it was utterly uncontroversial. I re-read it today and there wasn't a single line I thought was provacative. Oh well, you just never know what's going to push their buttons.

July 24th

Sanders

Discovered an old gift certificate about to expire for Sanders in Grand Forks, the finest restaurant in the valley. All the more reason to go out to eat with friends.

Sanders is well-run. The staff knows how to make things fun. They are all on the same page, and all of them act as though they own the place. Many of the waiters have been there for over ten years. That is a sure sign that the place is run right. They have enough confidence to improvise, to give you a little extra, or to bring something back if it ain't just right.

The Lake, cont.

It might be just a coincidence, but since I wrote last week's column about The Lake, I have heard five or six stories from people about property disputes at the lake. One person cannot build on their lot because the DNR owns a 24 inch strip of land which he would have to cross with his driveway.

July 23rd

Perham Rotary

Drove to Perham yesterday to speak to their noon Rotary Club. Perham is a lively little city--they have 3,000 jobs in a town of 2,600. My friend Chuck, who runs the hospital/nursing home/senior housing/clinic complex there showed me around his building before the meeting, and then gave me a tour of the town afterwards.

July 21st

Teaching

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered the chance to teach a couple of classes this fall up at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. One would be an American Government class, the second an American History class.

I have taught both before, but it has been ten years, so I was hesitant. The pay isn't much, and it would be a lot of work.