Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dateline Normal, Mn.: Need Information; Dial 411. All the reporters are DEAD...or mostly dead.

(Ed.note; I found this little scrap of paper wrapped in a mayonaisse jar near the park in Normal, Mn.. Enjoy. )

all observing
what about
-we have so many
but so little
So many shopper ads,
but no articles in depth.
Even our politics has been
about the three little
and whether
any of them

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dateline Normal, Mn."Why all the Riverboat Gamblers are Senior Seniors"----FICTION

Well. It has been an interesting week. With the meetings and such. I am always amazed when something happens that totally stuns me and I have to revise my thinking completely.

Last night, in the midst of a public meeting regarding the restoration of a very venerable pool of millpond in our fair city, a group of aging seniors, rose to vigorously promote the notion of "going for broke,", "betting the farm", going for the full monte long shot call or put option. And they added at the end that they would be most pleased if they would pay it back over at least 20 years, 30 would be perfect. I had to wonder about that. At 80 or so, some were being...well...somewhat optimistic....or was it just moxie?

When I have these questions...and I often do, I just get on the cell phone and call my old friend Herman, the countryboylawyer from Normal, Mn.. After all...he knew estates and trusts....he just loved to gamble. He must certainly know something about this.

"Herman," I blurted out, "I thought all the riverboat gamblers were young, with steel in their veins---how come it seems the boldest traders are over 70 or so and betting on the farm....or betting the farm or both. "

"Shucks, Wolfman,(that's what he always called me), it is about time you figured it out. Those old guys, with one foot in the grave, are the boldest---why do you think the busses to the casinos are so packed on Senior Day---to be a perfect gambler and lose all ones money in a day, one has to have the consolation that death is not too far off. The timing just works out. It is sheer moxie.

"What about the 30 year repayment they always ask for,?" I asked.

Herman let out a huge bellylaugh.

"That is the classic grandkids double debt con---the oldest trick in the book. Ya build it for your fame, and put the debt to your grandkids. It works even better when you can have your name on the memorial. Yup. Those seniors are the REAL STUFF. THEY are the REAL gamblers, not the youngins. "

What a shock. Now I know why my grandfather gave me two shalleighs from Ireland. I thought they were for the dogs on the prowl. Really. They are just to prop me up to make the final gamble.

"Thanks Herman."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "All Public meetings during Monday Night Football"---FICTION

Last night at kickoff, I could not but help think of the folks of our local town who are on the local school board----their monthly meeting occurs on Monday night. How tough is that? Well the ultimate price is really when the Minnesota Vikings meet the Green Bay Packers. That is a severe hardship in the name of public service.

Right as the two teams were coming through the tunnel last night, I picked up my cellphone and gave my old friend Herman, the countryboylawyer from Normal, Mn. a call---yes I was going to see what his prediction was on the game, but I also was going to ask him what he thought about the Monday night meetings.

Then something unusual happened. Herman's voicemail came on and said, " I am at a meeting right now, but will be free shortly and give you a return call, if you leave your name and number."

When Herman called back in fifteen minutes, I asked him what meeting he was at.

"Shucks Wolfman. Up here in Normal, Mn., ALL our public meetings...for school board as well as the local city are on Monday night from 4:30PM to 7PM. It just has worked wonders for our efficiency. Nobody shows up from the public to ask questions...all of the regular committee members are amazingly efficient in approving everything that is requested. To make it real fun, we all stand up at the table.....and pretend it is kind of a pre-game huddle. The bottom line. It has cut government costs----all of the meetings get done before gametime. It sure works neat."

What a shock!! All meetings on Monday night. And for the efficiency. Who would have thought. An efficient thought coming out of Minnesota. Oh. There is my Packer prejudice coming out. But the positive is that they are nice folks, even when we beat them regularly. They are my relatives and I need to be generous. Amen.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dateline Normal: "Order of the Loon Lodge"--FICTION

Dateline Normal, Mn.: On the order of the Loon Lodge: On the secrets of membership; On loons; On fish...and much more

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dateline Normal, Mn.: Beer, Band, Bonding Time----FICTION

Well...It's homecoming in Normal, Mn. this weekend. The weather is changing up in the frozen tundra, and there is just nothing like the homecoming weekend for a great party----I was expecially looking forward to the football game between the Normal Nuggets and the Duluth Ducks---it was always a classic rivalry.

Years ago, the team had been called the Normal Warriors, but the name needed to be changed to not offend.

Over the years, little had changed except the name of the team. The coach was still George Thompson, the legend football great, who at the age of 80 pretty much still ran the old plays, with maybe a little of the complexity left off.

Anyway, the real important thing was the Normal High School Band----heavy on brass and percussion, it was downhome manly band indeed---maybe a clarinet or two, but only 1 flute. And they loved to march and perform. Well....it was not so much the music as it was the cheers and the animation----and come to think of it, most of the cheers were about beer......

Usually in the fourth quarter there was the "I can't wait ta get wasted Cheer"---the classic cheer that the University of Wisconsin got from the original Normal High School back in the 1930's. I know cause I heard it on ESPN the other night. There is just nothing like Beer, Band and bonding time. And fishing too. Up in Normal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Swim With the Loons Harvest Festival" Comes to Normal, Mn."----FICTION

Last week, I had the pleasure of living in a boat house with a birds eye view of the beautiful lake near Normal, Mn... One the things that you notice, because it is so quiet, is that in the evening, the loons begin their calls--right about feeding time....and also in the morning. The first morning I slept in, and never heard the loons at all. After a couple days relaxation, I felt like meeting the sun in the morning and went for a morning dip. Lo and behold the loons were up too. And looking for breakfast.

Years ago, one of the famous books of salesmen nationwide was "Swiming With the Skarks," by Harvey McKay. Harvey was the owner of a printing firm that was near the University of Minnesota, and his book was for many years the textbook on selling skills---I think the book is still available. Using his sales techniques, according to the book, one could swim with the sharks, negotiate with the crooks, do almost anything and win, win, win......

These days, St. Paul--Minneapolis has come a long way. I think they do not have such simple ideas of great salesmanship---after all just think of the recent Republican National Convention, when all of the local press media decided to go to the lake and fish rather than cover the convention----so much for swiming with the sharks. Yes. Most of the press were really folks that just printed ad shoppers, and yes, if pressed they might admit they just went out to Byerlies and got tofu rather than fish...still....the Twin Cities has changed somehow.

I just wondered about all this. And as usual, I picked up the phone and called my old friend Herman, the country boy lawyer from Normal, Mn. and got right to the point:

"Herman, what is the deal. Everything has changed. Is nobody swimming with the sharks any more. Are there no more journalists that will report the news? Is everybody just part of the syndicate or the good old boys"

"YUP", Herman replied. "It has all changed. However look on the good side. We now celebrate the "Swim with the Loons Fall Harvest Festival"----we teach the youngsters how to recognize a "loon call" and even have a circular device that makes a loon call, and in a deeper sense we become a loon in spirit----yes we also do all the other things that these festivals do as earth friendly celebrations----we drink wine, eat lots of cheese, and after a lot of wine and cheese, we might even talk a bit about recycling.....it's a real role model celebration. A real teaching experience even if one is under age.

Wow. Swimming with the Loons. I was totally stunned. Still. I liked the idea. I just wondered what Harvey McKay thought about all this. I wondered if the loons would be easier to swim with.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Boat House; Welcome to Normal, Mn.

Welcome to the Boathouse---and the Peace of Normal, Mn.