Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

July 02, 2004

National news and politics

John Kerry is in hiding, apparently hoping to avoid overexposure before the election. Good strategy. He doesn't wear well. That strategy worked for him in the primaries--Howard Dean wilted in the spotlight, the rest of the bunch just didn't seem up to the task, and Kerry won by they're speculating that he'll name Hilary Clinton as his VP...that would really stir the pot. The Bushes and the Clintons...will they ever leave the stage?

The movie Fahrenheit 9/11 is stirring the pot. When I was in the Cities last weekend, people in the Uptown district were passing out pamphlets promoting the movie. Micheal Moore is the left-wing answer to Rush Limbaugh: Populist, spouting what his audience wants to hear, fast and loose with the facts, unfair, unabashedly biased, essentially a propagandist. It seems that hearing their own blowhard blow smoke is at least a therapeutic exercise for left-wingers. What a relief to hear somebody line up all of their darkest suspicions in a row and preach them loudly! Just what Limbaugh has been doing for the right-wing for however many years. If nothing else, Moore provides a sort of demogogic balance to the national debate.

July 01, 2004

House progress

George the scraper man worked for the past two days with a huge John Deere pulling a scraper to build the road up through the woods to the building site. He also raised the house site about three feet, which really makes the view better.

It is fun to watch people who know what they are doing with machinery. They take pride in their work. It is their craft. George worked that tractor through some pretty tight spaces, spaces made tight by my reluctance to tear down oak trees.

I feel like I just took off down an expert ski slope without knowing how I am going to get to the bottom! I have done some construction on the nursery, but never a house, so this is a new experience. Advice comes in from all angles, as does criticism!

RAN INTO ALMA at the grocery store yesterday. Alma is our 92-year-old neighbor. She worked at the nursery for 40 years and was a schoolteacher in the schoolhouse that is now our gift shop. Of course, she asked about the house. News has spread. Then she asked, "So, have the neighbors been over to criticize yet?"

Ha. Of course they have. "Why are you building in a swamp?" was my favorite question. Oh well. "Aren't you going to have a lot of mosquitoes?" was another's first question.

Alma said as we parted, "Well, when you get farther along, I'll be over to criticize!"

That's a joke, because Alma has always been way too classy to criticize anybody. Now, she does know how to give a wise, knowing look of doubt! I have seen it a few times over the years.

Even though she worked for my Dad and Mom for years, Dad always thought of Alma as his school teacher.

One time, my Dad built an airstrip in the alfalfa field so Uncle Rolly could land his plane there when he came home from Utah. Rolly buzzed the nursery once to let us know he was going to land, and Dad jumped in the pickup and spun out of the yard out to the alfalfa field. Gravel flew everywhere.

When he got back, he got one of Alma's looks of disapproval. Although he was about 40 years old, he felt quite shamed.

So, when Alma does come over to "criticize" my house, I will, of course, be watching her face for any hint of disapproval.

June 30, 2004

Summer stuff

Beautiful weather! The past two nights I have been invited to BBQs with friends. That's summer stuff. Mosquitoes were there, but not too bad. Brats--I could eat them every day, I think.

As the sun set last night, we tossed an oversized beach ball back and forth as my friends' eight year old jumped on the trampoline and tried to get high enough to hit the ball as it passed by. I think we did that for an hour. Cable Lake was perfectly still by the time the sun went down. We sat around a fire for a while, but then the skeeters got too bad.

But man, is this a beautiful time of year. It is to be relished. The long days--sun sets at about 9:35 pm. It is getting a little warmer--warm enough so air conditioning is nice--warm enough so perhaps the soybeans and corn and flowers will start growing, finally--

The soybeans look sick. However, it seems that they always look sick this time of year. They come back and do fine in the end. I think the farmers are leaning pretty heavily on soybeans this year. Prices have been good.

We are getting ready for the county fair. We haul in the left-over flowers, planters and such--anything that looks nice--and set them around the grounds. Dot, the gift shop manager, always decorates the little log cabin we have at the fairgrounds in a different theme. This year she's going to turn it into a Pacific island.

About 95% of the annual business at the nursery is done. The gardens are planted. We are focused on next year. We placed our tree order Monday, and now it is to figure out the geranium order, etc. Mom will work on that in the next weeks.

The phone doesn't ring as much. When it does, I just say, sorry we're out and won't have any till spring.

June 29, 2004


Attended the above movie this weekend in Minneapolis. It is a silly little flick which takes some irreverent pokes at the self-satisfied, self-centered claptrap which passes for religion in the suburbs these days.

One of these days, I am going to go off on a rant on modern American religion. I find little to like about it. The music it inspires is trite. The mindset it promotes is arrogant. The buildings it builds are ugly. The leaders it anoints lack the decency of the folks in the pew. More to the point, I don't think modern religion does its job of providing a spritual oasis for people made dizzy by a busy and confusing world.

Instead, modern religion focuses on mass politics, both on the right and on the left. Where do you find quiet, humble piety? Perhaps in the pews of some rural parish, but not amongst the publicity-addicted leaders. Where are the old hymns? On the dust heap. Where is the quiet introspection? Not to be found in religions where prayer has degenerated into a begging for medical healing and other little self-centered favors.

June 27, 2004

Where are you all coming from?

Every now and then I check in to see how many people are visiting this weblog--for the past couple of months, about 120 of you have checked in each day. Thank you for that!

This weekend, I left for a vacation and announced that fact on the weblog Thursday afternoon. I expected a decline in numbers, but tonight, I returned to find that over 450 people had visited this site each of the past two days. Uff da! I could find no clue where all these people came from or why they were visiting this site. Did the address get published somewhere? I suppose I should be thrilled, but I am more curious than anything. If any of you newcomers can clue me in, I would appreciate it. Meanwhile, I am sitting here in my own living room with case of stage fright...

Twins win

Saw a good game at the Metrodome Friday night. The Twins beat the Brewers by 6-3. Or so. When I attend a game, I seldom am able to keep track of what is going on, much less remember the final score. There is too much other stuff to see!

I sat in my favorite spot--in center field, right by the cameras which focus on home plate. With my binoculars, I am able to see both dugouts, and I enjoy seeing who sits with whom, who seems to get along, and so on. Last year, I remember seeing Juan Gonzalez of the Rangers sit alone in the dugout--it was known that he had lost the confidence of his teammates, but that was made painfully evident when I saw him spend an entire game at the far end of the dugout sitting alone.

I enjoyed seeing my favorite pitcher, Johann Santana, ring up 10 strikeouts to take the league lead in that department. He was on Friday night. I could see his curve curve, his changeup disappear, and I could hear his fastball pop into Joe Mauer's glove, albiet a second or two after it actually happened.

The Metrodome has new turf. It is pretty, but still--I could only think about how nice it would have been to sit outside to watch the game. The Metrodome is an aesthetic atrocity. However, today it was pouring in Minneapolis, so an outdoor game may well have been washed out.