Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mailbag: Dateline Normal, Mn.: Herman writes: Actors Call: Alert: Normal School Board: Special "Battle of the Little Bighorn scheduled."

(Ed. note; The following note from Herman I have reprinted without alteration:)

Yo. Wolfman. You may remember recently after the General Custer reinactment of the Litle Big Horn that I wrote: (Tales from Normal.)

"After it was all over. Herman spoke in a loud voice to all the actors------"Well done all. And remember----be real kind to your horses. And more important----SAVE the AMMO. I don't want any wild shooting or celebrating. Ya never know when we might need that ammo."

Two big lessons emerged from the battle. Always save the ammo. And..... Always wait for the cavalry.... expecially the cavalry with the t.v. cameras."

I am writing all actors a special notice that a special performance is coming shortly in the annual battle and request all those that saved ammo and horses-----bring em.

Everyone, and especially the t.v. cameras did such a wonderful job last time. I just know we can be very ready for the upcoming production. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dateline Normal: "Why Debt Comes First"; Thinking Green:---FICTION

(Ed. note: This is one of a long series of tales from a land up in northern Minnesota.....a land of fiction.....but other than that.....it is a lot like our own. Enjoy. )

Recently, after watching just one too many videos of the Plunkett Raysich study, I took a long drive. It was spring. I needed a break in the schedule. To fish. To play a little tennis. So I headed up Hwy 10 north of the Twin Cities to Normal, Mn.

On the long drive, I kept thinking of all those charts of the consultants----the ones that showed that even though locals were not increasing their birth rate.....it was those folks from out of town that kept coming.....and coming....and coming....and they were the ones we were building the schools for. We needed to get ready and incur some debt for them. Why I wondered.

So, I just blurted it out to Herman: "Why would the debt come first Herman? I just do not understand.

Herman just let our a huge bellylaugh. "You are just too busy, Wolfman. (that's what he always called me. It is real simple. The debt always comes first when a revolution happens. Always."

"Whatever do you mean, " I asked.

Herman went on: " In a community where there is a broad section of ages, folks stay in their homes till they die. It is real stable. Real diverse. Real stable."

"Exactly." I said. That is what Evansville is all about. A diverse age range that makes life interesting."

Then Herman said; "The problem is that those old folks pay a small fee for property tax compared to what a young couple would pay with two kids. Two kids would be worth $16,000 of revenue to a school district. Thus, it motivates a sophisticated leader, to add debt, big time....and force seniors out of their homes with higher taxes so younger folks can move to town. It is called in planning documents "recycling the housing stock."

"It sounds pretty "green," but it is terrible news for seniors," I said.

Herman mused, " I guess debt is a form of security for a long career. Nothing is more threatening to a career than a stable community. And lots of seniors. They just got to move on to keep the enrollment up. "

"That's pretty cynical Herman, " I replied. "Do you mean to say that the reason to incur the debt is to keep the enconmy moving by moving the seniors out of their homes?

"Yup," Herman replied. That is what all that "Applied Population gismo" is all about.

It was a long trip back home. Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we do not believe in any of that debt first and then enrollment growth. Where we believe in a diverse community of all age groups. Where we resist sophisticated plans to divide and conquer.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "Quid Pro Quo"----the game---FICTION

Well. It's Father's Day time again. The glorious celebration always seems to fall on the hottest day of the year. Finally, I have adjusted and just head on up to Normal, Mn. for the weekend. It just happened that Herman, my old countryboy lawyer friend called me last week and reminded me that this weekend was "Vegas Weekend" at the Hideaway Lounge. What perfect timing!

So I just asked Herman: "Herman would you explain all the Vegas thing up here and what it is about?"

Herman said: "Sure Wolfman,(that's what he always called me)...Don't misunderstand. Vegas Weekend was not about show girls and the like. It is true that the promotion showed some showgirls on the billboard. Some might think that was leading folks on. I personally think the guys like all the promotion. Really, the Vegas Weekend is a serious economic development activity sponsored event by the City of Normal,Mn. and specifically supervised by the "Public Benefits Committee". Rather than the ususal games of chance, such as Poker, Black Jack or slot machines, the weekend focuses on three games we just love in Normal: "Liquor licenses," "Grants", and "Zoning." There is no chance about it. It is the CERTAINTY that the guys love.

We just call them all, "The Games of Quid Pro Quo"-----the guys up here are just experts on the details of the games.

You know all about the liquor license game thing, and the zoning game is just like monoploy, but my favorite is the Grant Game. Here is how it works. As you all know, if you give, you should get back in equal value. Not necessarily the same identical thing, but something of equal value. That is called "Quid Pro Quo." In contracts, it is called "consideration."

"In these games the things you give and receive are NOT paid for, but are provided by the taxpayer-----just like Christmas but without the credit card debt. O.K.? Now you can see why the guys like the game. "

"It is a four player game. The first player just shares his feelings----" I need X"---then he waits till someone of the group has something of value that can be traded---some land, some zoning, some grant, something of value of someone else. If there is nothing, they work to manufacture something for that player. Yes. The Game does take time. Years in fact. The guys are real patient at keeping score. They had a special method, though it did not resemble double entry bookeeping. Under the rules of the game, the bookeeping always has to be kept under the table."

Well. It sure was a long Saturday night. Even with Herman's explanation, it was just too darn hard to figure out what was going on. There had been deals over the years that only the four guys at the table knew about and quickly I became confused. Even with my video, and playing it in real slow motion, it still was hard to figure out some of those sly zoning switches.

Thank goodness I am back in home sweet home. Where we celebrate Father's Day in style and not with a bunch of "quid pro quo" games. Where we realy pay for the consideration. Where all the deals are above the table. And where if there are showgirls on the billboards, ya really see them in the show.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dateline Normal, Mn.----"The Liquor License"---FICTION

Well. It's the first weeks of June and everyone is headed out of town. Time to buy some sunscreen, some refreshment, some bait and then hit the road. As ususal, I headed up that long road to Normal, Mn.-----straignt on 94 to the Twin Cities and then up Hwy 10 to just south of Garrison.

Some folks have told me----"You sure live a long way from Normal."

To which I always reply....."YUP".

This trip, I vowed to find a new spot to hang out besides the "Hideaway Lounge." I was getting sensitive to smoke in my old age and wanted to see what the alternatives were. I searched on the Internet and found a whole bunch of bars to go to. There was the "Beer, Bait, and Ammo Lounge," The Speakeasy, The Club, The fishing Line, The Almost a Gentleman Lounge and The Fish Shop Lounge."

When I searched for the addresses for these places, I came up empty---or some had several addreses with the letters AKA, 192 Exhange or AKA 234 Union or etc. I just was thoroughly confused.

I dialed the cellphone and asked my old friend Herman, the countryboy lawyer friend from Normal:

"Where are these bars, Herman? I just do not get it.?"

Herman let out a loud bellylaugh.

"Shucks, Wolfman. Those are just "tradin bars." It's real simple up here. Ya have to have a physical bar in order to get a liquor license. So the guys just make one up for the city folks for the hearing. Once they get the liquor license, they can trade it like a stock and bond."

Do you mean it is traded like commodities---like a futures option like a Ford September 25 Call option or Put option?"

"Exactly" said Herman. "The only difference is that the value is traded not on any exchange, but rather during "Happy Hour" at the Hideaway Lounge. It is kinda like Monopoly but with a tinge of intoxication thrown in."

Wow. It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where we have real bars and not just "Trading" bars with liquor license futures.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dateline Normal: "The Graduation"-------FICTION

Recently we in Evansville have been engaged in that month long exercise of May that is called "Awards Season"---and ..... which conveniently reaches its peak at the moment called "Graduation." It sure has evolved as a process over the last 50 years. In fact, locally, the celebration can become so intense and frenzied that it can be a serious threat to public safety. Yes. So, I thought I would just pick up the cell phone and visit a bit with Herman in Normal, Mn., that town up in the northern tundra just South of Garrison, Mn....Just a small fishing village...a getaway spot...but nevertheless a beacon of reasonablensss for the Observer.

"Herman"----How do you deal with all the frenzy of celebration that has become graduation these days? Talk to me."

"It's real simple, Wolfman (that's what he always calls me). We have just eliminated graduation."

"WHAT?", I exclaimed. "How could that be?"

"Take a moment and think a little deeper, Wolfman. Graduation is just one moment. There are many. That is the message we want to send our kids up here. We do not want to make the whole deal bigger than it is. After all, they have their whole lives ahead of them. It's not like this is the peak or anything."

"What about the graduation certificates and all. And yes, the tassels?, I asked.

"Shucks, Wolfman"----we just mail out that stuff a week before the end of school. We don't want to forget any award or recognition----


After all, that week in June is the beginning of fishing season. We want to make sure to clear the decks so that we focus on the really important things....

like FISH."

WoW----what a shocking concept. Thank goodness we are back in good old Wisconsin. Where we still have a huge ceremony and celebration. Where we don't have to focus on FISH and other important things....