Monday, April 26, 1993

Best of St. Paul

And now a word from Chairman Mao: "In this world, things are complicated and are decided by many factors. We should look at problems from different aspects, not from just one."

I'm not into this dream thing much. It's probably more accurate to describe my nightly thought processes as "nightmarish." But since a new regular feature is sharing our dreams with one and other (something not to be done lightly), could someone please explain the doozy I had last week?

I was holding a large press conference. I was George McGovern. The press was hounding me, bedlam was all around. Everyone wanted me to declare my intentions for the 1996 Presidential race. Nostalgia of '72 hung heavy everywhere. The questions turned to begging, people pleading me to run. I finally had enough and said, "l'm too old." At that point I woke up. George McGovern?

The Best of St. Paul
Best Potholes: Lexinqton Avenue between University and Larpenteur. It’s unbelievable. I bet downtown Beirut has better streets.

Best Fast Food Acoustics (drive thru division): McDonalds on Snelling across from Har Mar. It must be digital technology. The voice asking if you want fries is crystal clear.

Best Organization of Harlequin Novels: Landfill Records. They're alphabetized by "author".

Most cheerful phone caller: Patti G., Dun and Bradstreet.

Best Politically incorrect sign: "Please smoke" found in Jonathon and Robert Fielding &Co., a tobacco store.

Best place to walk a cat: Fernwood Avenue.

As we go to press, the big Ella Fitzgerald gala is being held at our St. Paul Applause. Wish I was there. I'm not a huge Ella fan; her arrangements over the years don't appeal much to me. But the lady can sing. My favorite performance? Her interpretation of the Gershwin's "Soon". "When I'm with you this world will be in tune, let" make that day come soon." The way her voice caresses the word "soon" is sublime. Happy birthday Ella.

I caught my first episode of "Beverly Hills 90210" last week. Now I know what the kids are talking about. I'm hooked. Great looking cast, complex social commentary, and effective music add up to a collage that's a feast for the senses!

The number of contributions (not counting this week) is on the rise and I appreciate that very much. It makes my job easier, and the newsletter better. I do have one request from those contributing: please attach your name. If you don't want credit we won't print your name, but there have been some contributions I had questions about, and I didn't know who to talk to. Keep up the good work.

Monday, April 19, 1993

Laundry Night

And now a word from Chairman Mao: "What is work? Work is struggle. There are difficulties and problems in those places for us to overcome and solve. We go there to work and struggle to overcome these difficulties. A good comrade is one who is more eager to go where the difficulties are greater."

Regular readers of the newsletter may have discovered what those who have worked with me have known all along: there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the intimate details of my life with everybody else. With this in mind, I would like to tell you about the center of my existence, the very foundation which all else revolves around – laundry night.

For me, laundry night is Friday night. This came to be because the last place I lived was woefully short on laundry machines, for the size of the building I was in. I discovered the best night to do my laundry was Friday night since most other people had a life to live and Friday night was as good as any to live it.

With my move to my current apartment, the gridlock over equipment has lessened, but establishing a tradition, I have continued to do my laundry on Friday nights.

For most, laundry night isn’t a big deal. To me it’s more than the separation of white and dark, more than choosing powder or liquid; many weekly decisions are based on working toward a successful laundry night. I have to make sure by Friday, I have at least four dollars in quarters to cover a week’s worth of dirty clothes. Since I refuse to take the easy way out and get a roll of quarters from my friendly bank people, this means plotting out a strategy during the week to accumulate the right amount of change.

During the week I like to enjoy a can of fruit juice each morning. The downstairs vending machine sells this item for seventy-five cents. Since the machine accepts one dollar bills in payment, this means I can collect five quarters a week and still enjoy my morning beverage.

This leaves eleven quarters to be gleamed from other sources. Groceries, gas and gum, more often than not covers this amount. If it is getting close I will cash a dollar in change- a bit of a cop out, but sometimes a necessity. Like the diligent government employee I’ve become, I’ve also

"…most other people had a life to live and Friday night was as good as any to live it."

Discovered the value of saving all quarters I come in contact with. Sometimes my bookshelf at home will have as much as two weeks worth of laundry money on top!

The ritual for the grand night itself has developed into something special. I get home around five o’clock on Friday evening. I play with my cat, Max, and sometimes lie down for a nap- have to be well rested for the upcoming events.

Max and I have our own "stupid pet trick." As I’m removing the sheets from my bed, he’ll tear into the bedroom and hide on the now stripped bed. I’ll put the new sheets on and he’ll lie under them and paw and claw at me.


Monday, April 12, 1993

The Boy Who Couldn't Tell Time

There was a little boy, and there was a little girl. They lived under a red moon. The boy's name was Sherwood, the girl's name was Stephanie.

They did everything together; swung on swings, played basketball (Stephanie always won their games of HORSE), ate picnic lunches together, and played and played. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the best of friends.

One evening after they played, Stephanie told Sherwood she had to go home. Since they were having so much fun, Sherwood asked her why.

"Because it's my dinner time and I also have homework to do," she said. Sherwood looked puzzled. He looked at the sky. It was still light out, plenty of sun left to play under.

"Come on, just a little bit longer," he begged. "Nope, I gotta get home," Stephanie said.

Sherwood was left alone. He slowly moped home. When he got there, his mom was mad. "Do you know what time it is?" she asked him. To tell the truth, he didn't. Sure, it was true for his last birthday Sherwood's parents had given him a watch. It had a gold face and leather band. But Sherwood didn't know how to read the watch to tell the time. More than that, he didn't understand the concept of what time meant. To him, yesterday was the same as today, and tomorrow probably would lead to the same place as yesterday or today.

That evening, Stephanie called. "Do you want to walk with me I to school tomorrow?" she asked him, He sure did. "Meet me at 7:30," she said.

He looked at his watch. He saw a seven but he didn't see a thirty. None of it made any sense to him. He was sad.

The next day arrived and Sherwood went over to Stephanie's house. "You're too late," her mom told him. "She already left for school."

He followed her foot steps. When he got to school, everything seemed as it was the day before. The grass was green, the sky blue, the wind whistled through the leaves of the trees. Everything was the same except Stephanie. She didn't talk to him. He watched her play with the other children instead. Sherwood decided he would learn to tell time. He didn't know how, but he knew it was important. That night he had a dream. In his dream he asked the grass to teach him how to read his watch. "We just grow when it's time," the blades told him. "We don't have to know how to tell the time,"

Next he asked the sky. "Today is like tomorrow. At night it gets dark and the next day the sun appears," the sky said, "I don't have to tell time, I just have to be here." Sherwood awoke from his dream. He still didn't know how to tell time.

He felt lost. He looked at his watch. It was hopeless. The next day he called Stephanie and asked her if she wanted to play. She said yes. They agreed to meet at 10:00.

As Stephanie finished her morning chores, she noticed she lost her watch. She didn't know what time it was. "I wonder if I'm too late to play with Sherwood,' she asked herself. "Now I know what it is like not knowing how to tell the time." She went over to Sherwood's house but he was gone. She skipped along the path that led to the playground. She saw him sitting alone. "What are you doing?" she asked him,

A smile lit his face. "I was just waiting for you," he said. "Are you mad at me?" he asked her,

"No I feel the same as always," she told him. He scratched his chin. What difference did the time make now? Time had passed and there was plenty more ahead. They were together again and that was what was important. "Let's play," he said. And that is what they did.

Monday, April 5, 1993

Comically Speaking

We’re going down like dinosaurs, but I’m an avid newspaper reader. In the last building I lived there were eleven apartments, only three subscribed to one of the two dailies these fine cities offer. What’s the deal?

For me, my day isn’t complete until I read Reusse, Soucheray, Powers, Lambert, Coleman, Grow, C.J., Cal Thomas, Pat Buchanan or DJ Tice.

There are a lot of people who throw thirty bucks a month down on cable television when a newspaper gives you much more for your entertainment dollar. Here now, are my ten favorite comics, the one area you can objectively judge the quality of any newspaper:

Foxtrot – My sister claims young Jason reminds her a lot of me but how can you dislike a comic strip so wacky that the pet iguana isn’t being marketed as a huggable stuffed animal?

Zippy the Pinhead – The Pioneer Press annually runs a reader poll about their comics and Zippy inevitably finishes at the top of the list of least favorites. At first the many zany pop culture references (even more than Dennis Miller uses) flew by me. Now I’m beginning to think a lot like the Zipster.

Calvin and Hobbes – It’s starting to get a bit repetitive but Calvin’s philosophy (Calvinism?) will be studied for years to come.

Dilbert – The nerdy engineer and his clever sidekick Dogbert. For those stuck in a comical (though not intentionally so) job, this is a must read.

Doonesbury – It hit its peak about twenty years ago but it is still worth reading. My favorite character: still the Duke. And whatever happened to Clyde and Ginnie?
Far Side – Even the most annoying people seem to have a favorite Far Side strip.

One Big Happy – I’m in love with young Ruthie. Is blowing your nose through your mouth funny? I think so.

Ernie – This is the one strip that uses unlikable characters as its backbone. Sometimes it goes too far but it gets points for not trying to be cute.

Crankshaft – The difference between this and "Ernie" is behind the gruff exterior, Crankshaft has a heart of gold. Still, the bits about being a bus driver, paper carrier harasser, and pet owner ring true.

For Better or Worse – This one does try to be cute, and most of the time it is. But it’s hip in its unhipness.

Consolation Prize: Peanuts – He hasn’t had a good bit for years, but Charles Shultz’s love of baseball and Snoopy’s love of cookies keeps this one readable. Besides, the majority of comic strips owe their inspiration to this one. Favorite character? Marcie. Whatever happened to Freda with the naturally curly hair and her cat?

This is just an observation but have you ever noticed in "Beetle Bailey" that General Halftrack and Sergeant Snorkel never appear together? Could it be they are really one and the same, played by the same person?