Category Archives: Community

About our community, local and global

Dreaming of Minnesota Traffic

I woke up at 5am this morning and decided there was no point in being up that early. I went back to sleep and dreamed of traffic.

It was snowing and I was in a 2-lane column of stuck traffic when some bozo goes speeding past in the narrow breakdown lane. Then the bozo’s car gets stuck in slushy mess just past where we are stopped. I get out of my car, feeling a sense of justice, and I walk over to the side of their car.

The other side is tipping into this pond that appeared by the side of the road. This being a dream, I give the car a gentle push and it tips right over into the lake.

This being Minnesota, I immediately wade into the lake, help the confused occupants from the car, apologizing the whole time.

It’s a couple of hapless 20somethings on their way to family Thanksgiving. Fortunately I wake up just as their Mom arrives to start yelling at me.

Author of My Turkey ’tis of Thee

My Turkey 'tis of Thee
My Turkey ’tis of Thee

I first learned this song from my old friend, Tim Leonard. The song is a tradition in his family and is attributed to their distinguished ancestor, the Reverend Doctor Thornton Bancroft Penfield (1867-1958). The Reverend Doctor was born to missionaries in India but grew up in the US, graduating from Columbia in 1890.

He wrote a fair amount of poetry and had a sense of humor. He did time as class poet at Columbia and he edited various college publications.  He also published a book of poems called The Four-Leaved Clover.


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Slander in the Workplace

Image I enjoy reading the advice column by Cary Tennis on Salon. He seems sensible. People haven’t changed much since the days of Ann Landers and Dear Abby, but Cary does manage to put a modern spin on things. For example, a lot of his stories have to do with business relationships.

Recently, he posted one on slander by a former co-worker. While I doubt I’ve ever been slandered myself, I’ve seen it happen to others. Cary’s advice was pretty succinct: stick to the facts, and only bring it up with specific people whose opinion you value. He also linked to a couple of other blog posts on the subject I found especially valuable.

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Jefferson the Slaveholder

Thomas JeffersonMy goodness, the media has discovered that Thomas Jefferson, hero of every U. Va. alum, actually owned slaves. Not only that, but he exploited them for their labor! He arranged his life to make things nice for him even if it made things hard for them.


A slaveowner is a private dictator and, as we know, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Slaveholding even tainted Jefferson’s architectural efforts.

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Minnesotans United for All Families

Last week we had a tea/party/fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families.

That’s the organization that’s trying to defeat the Minnesota constitutional amendment that forbids gay marriage. There are a lot of “nots” in there, which makes it tricky to explain. The bottom line is that we want our married daughters to be able to move here without putting themselves or their children in some sort of legal jeopardy.

Election Eve Schenanigans

We were out about town the night before elections and found this:

Smatters: Church electioneering

The location is both a church and a designated polling place for the next-day election.

A row of parked cars indicated a meeting in progress. When we wandered past later, the meeting had broken up. Cooler and wiser heads must have prevailed, since the sign had disappeared.

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Pioneer Press Reneges

A couple of weeks ago, I was phoned by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. They offered me six weeks of the paper for free. All I had to do at the end of 6 weeks was write “Cancel” on the invoice.

I assume this was a last-gasp attempt to boost circulation at the end of the big Back-To-School advertising season. I’ve received this sort of offer from them in years past.

This morning my wife fielded a call from the Pioneer Press disavowing the offer. I also received an invoice in the mail TODAY, instead of receiving it in six weeks. Thus, my free offer has been aborted about five weeks early.

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