Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dateline Normal: "It's practice time again."---FICTION

Well. Cool weather is just a month away. The Fall cross country team is beginning their night runs---the Lake Leota 2, the Stand pipe 3, the Water Street 5 and the Porter 5. Ah the good old days. I am still running the track 800 meter.

Still..... the excitement of fall sports is palpable. The lights are up on the soccer field, ready for those night games. The grass cut nice and short on the fields so the watering can run all day to prevent burnout.

I was just sitting on the bleachers resting from an 800, when I picked up the old cell phone and called my old friend Herman, in Normal, Mn.. I just wondered whether this fall excitement was happening up there in Normal. The weather was clear and the cell phone call went right through.

"Herman, what is with the fall sports in Normal? Is the excitement building up there?

Herman let out a huge bellylaugh.

"Shucks NO, Wolfman,( that's what he always called me) Up here we only have cross country. We cancelled the football program years ago!"

"What?" I exclaimed. "How could that be?"

"It's real simple, Wolfman. Up here, all the athletes drink. And if ya drink, ya can't play football. It's just pretty simple. We just gave em a clear choice. They decided which was most important. It just was not football. "

"WOW." I was just speechless. "Thanks Herman" I finally said.

As I ran around the track once more, I was just very relieved. Man....it sure was good to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where athletes can drink and still play football. Where we do not have to choose which is more important. And where officals are sensitive and such. And never dare to enforce the law so as to offend anyone's delicate sensibilities.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dateline Normal: "The Legacy Thang"-or; "Unfinished Projects Reviewed"----Fiction

Well it's summertime again. Time to review the list of projects around the home. Time to review the budget for all the repairs. And get the time to begin....and finish...all of them.

I have been giving a considerable amount of time reflecting on completion. It seems that our President Bush has been doing the same. It's the legacy thing. Must git R done. Complete the mission. See the meaning of our supreme accomplishment.

In fact, in the heat of last week, there was some heated discussion here regarding getting some of the projects done. In fact, just some progress would be good. What was the problem?

I decided to just pick up the phone and discuss this with my old friend Herman, the countryboy lawyer in Normal, Mn. ---also served on the Normal School Board. I always counted on his wisdom for a little balance to the frenzied life in these here parts.

"Herman how do you handle the pressure to complete projects and such. You seem so relaxed all the time. Are you NOT worried about the Legacy thang?"

"Shucks, Wolfman. (That's what he always called me.) You just need some fishing time. It would make things perfectly clear.

"Up here, we leave the project thang-- the vision thang--- at the edge of town. It is important to ask for the right things. You know not what you ask for......"

"Huh?---I asked.

"You think you want to know. All the good. All the perfect pictures of your legacy. You forget....If you got that....and it would be much more good than you think.....you would by law....have to get all the bad too.....all the evil.....a lot larger than you think too......"

"So what is it when President Bush wants his legacy," I asked.

"It's not about that at all. He wants to survive to the end of his term. He does not want to see at all. Can't bear to face it. Take personal responsibility for it. "

"And besides," Herman went on, " Since when did you become the creator of the universe, that you should know the supreme meaning of things. Up here in Normal, we just fish. Mostly just catch and release. That's best. We leave the fame and esteem to others. "

I was just shocked.

I got off the phone in dismay. Thank goodness I am back home in our fair city. Where we can quest for fame. For projects with our name on them. Whether they make sense or not. Whether they benefit anyone. As long as they are on our watch.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dateline Normal: "Budgeting Time Again in Normal"---the FTE Con----FICTION

(Ed.note; The original date of this post if October of 2006.)

Dateline Normal: Budgeting Time Again: or; moxie budgeting revealed- Fiction
(Ed. note. The following is fiction. Any resemblance to reality is purely by accident.)

My readers have been begging me to head out of town for some R&R and to stop writing about money matters, so I wheeled out the old Lincoln for one last trip up Hwy 10. The transmission has been slipping a bit so I felt it might be the last such long trip. After arriving late, I was lucky to get a room at the Spruce Goose Motel. I arose and met my old friend Herman, the country boy lawyer, at the local coffee shop, just adjacent to the historic bait shop with the colored stones.

Before I had even ordered, the waitress, Ginny, came over smiling with my "usual." And in the Blue Minnesota Vikings mug. Right away, I blurted out to Herman, "I have had enough of budgeting for awhile. How do you deal with all the FTE analysis up here in God's country."

Herman just burst out laughing.

"Shucks Wolfman," we don't do any of that FTE stuff up here in God's Country. It is forbidden by the natural law here.

I interrupted, "But...But...how can you present a budget that makes any sense so the elected officials can decide?"

Then Herman spoke boldly, " Just shut up and listen, Wolfman. Up here we have real moxie. Our fiscal year ends on 9-30 so for budget purposes we always propose to the alderman that we add a person on 9-29 of the first year, and quote for all the citizens to see the cost. For example, if we added an employee, we could say we are adding an employee for a cost of $230. The cost of $230 is of course the cost only for the last day of that fiscal year, but the real cost is $60,000 for the next year.

When the citizens see the minutes published in the paper showing the cost of $230 they think we are miracle workers. We are legends up here in God's Country.

"But don't you have to talk to citzens about FTE's," I asked.

"Heavens, no, Wolfman". Talking about that FTE stuff is strictly outlawed up here.
After all, remember the story about the good shepherd. Man, ya gotta treat the folks like sheep in order to be a great shepherd. That was exactly what the good Lord was talking about."

It sure is good to be back in good old Wisconsin. Where men are men and the numbers are straight and transparent...... and FTE increases are clearly discussed. And the shepherds lead more than weak sheep to pasture.


Dateline Normal: "The Candidate Forum"---FICTION

Dateline Normal: The Candidate Forum---Fiction

(Ed. note: This is one of a long series of tales from the land of Normal, Mn., up just south of Garrison, Mn., and west of the Land of Lake Woebegon. It is not on the Google Earth map, but then neither is Evansville. These tales are on ITunes for FREE and can also be downloaded from this site onto your Ipod. When shipped on cd, they are shipped in a brown paper wrapper clearly marked FICTION.)

This week, with the cold weather alert and all, I thought I would just call Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend in Normal, Mn., rather than making the long trip. It would save lots of time, and besides, I had called for reservations at the Spruce Goose Motel, the only motel in Normal where the premium down comforters were standard. All the rooms were taken. They were fully rented all weekend. In the midgst of the cold spell.

"What's goin on up there, Herman? I asked.

"It's real simple, Wolfman, Herman replied.

"It is Candidate Forum Weekend up here in Normal."

"Tell me more. I still do not understand, " I replied.

"Well---we are deeply committed to democracy up here. Our community has over 20 school board candidates. In fact,....we recruit candidates. We have a pre-function at the Hideaway Lounge on Friday night, the Forum on Saturday morn, along with the bake sale, and then the ice fishing contest all day Sunday.

"Why would you recruit candidates?, I asked.

"It's real simple, Herman replied. Each year we have a candidate forum bake sale on Saturday morn. The proceeds from this event are the main source of revenue for the Daughters of the American Constitituion, the big political social group up here. All the ladies belong. In order to ensure that we have enough attendance at the bake sale, folks are actually recruited to run for office so that their relatives will all come to the candidate forum---which is held on Saturday morning DURING the bake sale."

"During the bake sale?", I asked.

"Yes," Herman went on.

"We begin the candidate forum and break for intermission. Then when ALL the baked goods are sold we resume the rest of the program. Sometimes it takes ALL DAY till all the baked goods are sold. "

"Do you mean that the candidates are held hostage to the baked goods?"

"I never thought of it that way, Wolfman,(that's what he always called me.) In the format of the forum, each candidate is asked why he/she is running for school board. Most say in a loud confident voice that they are running to ensure the success of the bake sale. The crowd goes wild. They just love the loyalty of them folks."

"Then, right after all the baked goods are sold, the candidates that are just running for the bake sale success can withdraw--but not before. It's a real firm rule."

I was just stunned. You mean that candidates just run to raise the attendance at the forum in Normal. And some withdraw after the baked goods are sold?"

"Exactly" Herman replied. "In fact, Wolfman, you might consider trying that format in your town."

The battery on my cell phone was starting to run low, so I had to get off the line.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we don't just hold candiate forums for baked goods revenue. Where candidates are serious and do not just withdraw after the baked goods are sold.

Still. I could understand why someone that was just running for the baked goods might want to withdraw. In fact. I had to agree with Herman. It might be best.

Posted by Evansville Observer at 6:52 AM

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dateline Normal: "The Reverse Growth Rate or Declining Birth Rate Con"----Where Normal made their Big Mistake--Fiction

Well it has been sheer delight---two full days of fishing with Herman with that little 25hp Mercury motor. Clear skies. Just a slight breeze. And weather in the upper 60's. What could be better! Not a touch of cloudy weather in sight. WOW.

Last night, right after catching our limit of sunnies, and after a couple of tall cold ones, I just had to ask Herman the question of the moment:

How could Normal have calculated the lots needed for development at 9000? I did grant him a lot of moxie. He got the deal done real quickly. One 24 hour planning session and it was done for all time. Herman was a proud man. He said it was planned that way. I wondered. So I just asked:

"Herman, how did you come up with the idea that you needed 9000 plats for Normal to be developed?"

Herman just let out a huge bellylaugh.

"I knew you would ask, Wolfman. (That's what he always called me.) It's real simple. This was the one time we went outside our town to hire a contract planner to determine our needs. He calculated that since 1776, our growth rate was on average "x" and if we wanted to prepare for the declining birth rate of America, where less and less children would be in each home, just to keep even, we had to add 9000 lots.

"But Herman, I exclaimed, " Normal was only settled in 1899.

"Yup," Herman sighed. That was the big mistake. That planner was one moxie kinda guy----he simply pulled the wool over our eyes-------yes---- he pulled the reverse Freedom Fighters Dollar Averaging con-----I read about it in law school. It was really all my fault. It was one of the most famous cons of all time. I should have known."

"Ya just take the current growth, and in addition to the data, add the zeros back to the American Revolution, and then come up with all this "catch up demand" that necessitates immediate action. I am totally ashamed of falling for it.

I assured Herman that it was common for communites to fall for this con.

Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where even though we have hundreds and hundreds of unsold homes, we are not tricked by the backward averaging con from the American Revolution to justify busting a controlled growth plan.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Dateline Normal: "The Town that couldn't say "NO"

After a long series of Planning Commission meetings, I felt a need for a little R&R----a time to just fish and relax.

After I got settled in the short fishing boat with the 25 hp Johnson----I always let Herman, my old countryboylawyer friend from Normal, handle the motor. Just baiting the hook or getting the lures out for casting was enough of a challenge for me.

What about all them planning commissions up here in Normal, Herman? Back in Good old Wisconsin they just cannot seem to say NO. What is the point anyhow?

Herman let out a loud bellylaugh. "Shucks Wolfman---(that's what he always called me. Up here it's real simple. We have a platted map for 9000 homes. We did it in a marathon session with a special computer program. Real simple."

"Do you mean you annexed it all and platted it in one fell swoop."

"YUP" Herman said. "That way we got all the pandering out of the way in just one 24 hour session. "

"But you still only have 200 folks in town. That does NOT add up, Herman".

'Oh YES it does add up,"--Wolfman.

We never have to deal with any of them folks again. All the plattin and pandering is DONE. Now its just fishing and regular life. It's just real simple."

I was just stunned. Thank goodness I am back in good old Wisconsin. Where we can meet each month and smile and make speeches and al and never get tired of it. Thank goodness we are free to say YES all the time.