Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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Tales from Normal, Mn. Headline News---FICTION

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dateline Normal: "It might be about you"---FICTION

I wish to recognize the many folks worldwide who have written and wondered about each of the episodes of the Tales from Normal and have asked the simple question: "Is this about me?"

For efficiency purposes, so that each of you has a prompt response, I will simply say: "YES. It might be about you."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Normal News"----FICTION

Well. It's homecoming this weekend. Lots of hubbub, parades and such. Normally I stick around for the parades and the candy....but..... they eliminated the candy....so this weekend, I decided to head on up that long winding road, up Hwy 10 North of the Twin Cities to my favorite fishing town, Normal, Mn..

Sure was great to get the usual king size single at the Spruce Goose Motel, with the pull down bed in the wall, and the little mini-dove bar in the ash tray, just for a little upscale treat.

After meeting Herman at the Hideaway Lounge, I had the chance to ask him a question that has been simmering on the back burner for a long time.

"Herman, how come I never see a newspaper here in town? There should be plenty of news to support a local paper. What's the deal?

"Yup, there is a newspaper. It's called the "Normal News." In fact, over at the bank building, there is one of them gold nameplates showing that it is domiciled there. Real official like."

"How come I never see a paper?, "I asked.

"It's real simple," Herman replied. Up here in Normal, the paper receives a stipend per month for their services. It covers 10 stories per month. The only thing unusual is the paper is paid to NOT print the story. It sure makes it a profitable deal. In fact, last year we had a barnburner of a news year, with over 20 stories per month....in that case, the paper earned a premium for each story it did not print over the regular budgeted 10. "

"Do you mean to tell me that the paper is paid NOT to print?"

"YES". In fact, it makes things real peaceful like. There is sure a lot less stress with folks not reading what is happening. Everyone is real serene like. They know kinda what is goin on, but it just aint in print. It's just real natural."

I was just totally stunned. I always wanted to be a newspaper man. And a profitable one too. The Normal, Mn. style must be the way to make it profitable.

I just got in my car and headed back to good old Wisconsin. Where we don't have any of those papers that don't print the news. Where cheese is cheese... beer is beer... and ads are ads .....and sometimes....just sometimes.... what happens is even printed in the real newspapers. Sure is good to get back home.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Dateline Normal: Superbowl Punk: Run on Shades and Bears 85 Attire"

Dateline Normal: Superbowl Punk; Run on shades and Bears 85 Attire

(Ed. note: I wish to apologize for writing this story, since I have always deferred to my esteemed sports talk bloggers locally to cover the sports punk scene. However...just this once....)

With all the hype of the Superbowl, and the tendency of all of Minnesota and Wisconsin to simply take off the SuperBowl week to get properly prepared for the festivities, I headed up that long and winding road, Hwy 10, to my favorite hideway, Normal, Mn. . As soon as I arrived in town, I noticed the change. Everyone had shades on. Everyone had Chicago Bears attire. Everyone was acting very rough, tough and roudy.

I was pretty stunned. So...I wandered over to the Hideaway Lounge to meet up with Herman who was just getting finished from a Finance Committee meeting with the Normal School Board.

I saw him coming from a mile away. Herman was dressed up as Jim Mc Mahon---the famous punk dude that was the Chicago quarterback. He starred in the famous video that the team made prior to the Superbowl victory of 1985.

I asked him about the attitude thing: "Herman---how can you be a role model for all them students when you are dressed out in all that Chicago punk style attire?"

"For once in my life, Wolfman, I do agree with you. It has been a REAL finance nightmare."

"How does this all affect FINANCE?, I asked.

"Well, Wolfman (that's what he always called me), it is one thing when the big stars get kinda a punk defiant attitude, but up here in Normal, it has been REAL catchy. Virtually EVERYONE has the style now. It's a real GANGSTA type of PUNK attitude thing. "

"I still don't get the problem, " I replied.

"Well, Wolfman, we are in the middle of budget season. And just when we thought we had an understanding about the LIMITS thing, the punk defiant attitite wrecked everything. It has blown the budget to simthereens. It is a disaster. "


I sensed trouble. So. I got in the car and headed back to good old Wisconsin. Where we have limits. Where we know that GANGSTA style is just for the clothes. Where leaders are responsible. Where plans are long term. Where the sunglasses are cheap and easily available and ------just sunglasses----- and not a total lifestyle.


Saturday, April 1, 2006

"How Normal got its name"-----FICTION

Last weekend was that annual peak moment when the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers met on the football field of the Metrodome in Minnesota.

It was great to get the vehicle out on the open road with the Packer flags waving on the side windows all the way. It is true that when one is a true Packer fan, one likes the open air stadiums----- not the Metrodome.

I well remember one such Viking game back at the old stadium near the airport -----on a crisp cold fall day with the leaves changing and the stands crammed full of fans in bulky jackets breathing plumes of steam in the cold, cold air. Alas--those days are gone. Now one can watch the wall to wall tv. monitors and never really even see the turf in the Metrodome.

Rather than struggle with the traffic, I simply steered the car, Packer flags and all, around 694 and headed up HWY 10 to good old Normal, Mn, just south of Garrison. On gameday at the Hideaway Lounge, they always saved a special parking stall for us out of towners.

As I entered the Hideaway Lounge, the guys were abuzz in discussion about the "field" vs. turf of the Metrodome, and whether this would be a curse for the Packers. Being in a more reflective mood, and yes maybe dazed a bit by the long drive with the loud rock music blaring, wondered how we named things these days. It used to be a football "field" when I was young, but now it was "turf". So.....I just blurted it out:

"Herman, I just wonder how we name things these days. Why DO they call it Normal, MN?"

The whole group was pretty startled by my question. They all listened while Herman rose to the occasion to give the answer.

"Well, Wolfman (that's what he always called me.) You are correct that it was not always called Normal, Mn..( In fact, readers who travel up Hwy 10 well know the bait shop with the colored stones so often referred to in these fictional tales. I trust they will keep the secret.)

But the answer, Wolfman. Years ago our fair city was graced with a creative citizen who had a .....plenty of ......wonderful ideas for improvement and investment in our town. And what's even better for...well...him...each idea had a substantial investment necessary from the taxpayers. At the beginning this was wonderful. Folks were excited to get the very latest. Over a longer time, and once the taxes had skyrocketed in town, the city fathers gathered together to take dynamic action to preserve the essence of the town and guarantee the peace of fishing that has made it famous."

"In short, Wolfman" they offered to name the town after him-- Normal, Mn.. In return, he would propose no further taxpayer funding for his ventures. Mr. Normal readily agreed. He was thrilled. So were the taxpayers and citizens. Today---just as the major football stadiums are named after corporate sponsors---well....that all started up HERE in Normal, Mn. We did it first. And the best part----today, since we have no white elephants to contend with, we have the lowest tax burden in Minnesota. Everyone is happy here. Affordable living. Peace. What could be better?"

What a shocking idea!! And yes. A wonderful one too.!! Rather than letting him buy the city....they named it after him instead. WOW.

It was a wonderful game. Brett Favre set the all time touchdown passing record. Soon it was time to head on back to good old Wisconsin.

It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin...... good old cheese country. Where tycoons are bigger than life. Where any tycoon worth his cheese could never settle for just having a town named after him. Never!! That's just no substitute for owning it.

Still. During the long drive back home...the more I thought and thought...Maybe...just maybe...