Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "The MoneyChangers in the Temple---the new version----FICTION

Last week during spring break, rather than head south to Mexico with certain members of the family, mostly because I lacked the armored car necessary.....I headed up that long and winding road to Normal, Mn., where I could be certain that the special rooms at the Spruce Goose Motel, the ones with the pull down king size beds and the stuffed bears on the walls and yes....the mini-dove bars in the ash trays to add just a spark of upscale cache....that these rooms would be reserved on just a phone call from me.

Anyway---I did something pretty unusual on Sunday morn and went to the local church---the Church of the Loaves and Fishes---for the standard 10:00 am church service. Pastor Bob was in great form this Sunday, and the Gospel reading was the story of how the Lord drove the Money Changers out of the Temple. One of my favorites.

Father Bob began by noting that this was an unsual sermon, since the Lord actually got angry---and for modern folks it almost seemed that He might need some anger managment classes to get back in control. After all, in throwing out the money changers from the temple, He seemed to violate several key principles of the current Normal School District about sharing concerns, peaceful behavior, etc, and besides arguing with the money class, in any age, is very hazardous to the enterprise.

Right in the middle of the sermon, Father Bob paused. He said, "Some of our current politicians, and indeed our President, have said that "We cannot rule from ANGER"....and the current fashion is that the correct policy is to make deals with the moneychagers---or tax them at 90% of the bonuses, or maybe do nothing because we have to honor the sanctity of their contracts.....or change the story every day till the common citizen wonders what the question was......this is the modern fashion....."

Immediately the whole congregation of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes got REAL quiet.

Pastor Bob went on:

"It is important to understand WHY the Lord threw the moneychangers out of the Temple---the moneychangers greeted the villagers who came with gifts by first rejecting their animals as not appropriate, nor their coin as appropriate, and then selling them pidgeons and doves at inflated prices and giving them "special currency" that gouged them and was ...well....a total ripoff. The moneychangers devalued real, honest folk and the products of their honest labor, and substituted fake and fraudlent currency and gifts---does this sound familiar?"

The congregation was stunned. Then he went on:

" One can rule with JUSTICE. JUSTICE and ANGER are different."

Then Pastor Bob spent quite a while reviewing GOOD justice from mere anger.

So there it is. The congregation was quite a buzz. And all the while as I drove back to good old Wisconisn, I just wondered what I would have done. Would I have driven them out also, or would I have tried to cut a deal with them, maybe a real attractive deal where I had them finance most of the toxic stuff, or maybe even finance a sewage treatment plant....it got all mixed up in the dream of mine....Anyway...I will leave it up to you....what would you have done?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dateline Normal, Mn: "School for Everyone---Seniors gamble with DNR Money----Reversal is just fair play--FICTION

Well. It has been a pretty amazing week for news. President Obama has chided the news media for the short attention span of the news -----and says we need to take a longer view. Says that K-12 education in American has deeply failed us. Some states have the educational attainment of a third world country.

After pausing for a moment to catch his breath----the President then said we should expand that failure into pre-school by adding universal 4k---It seems that those who are currently participating in pre-school, and that is most children----are unfairly discriminating against those who are experiencing substandard education....and thus to be ....FAIR....everyone must get the same substandard eduation.....HUH?

Made one wonder. And when I wonder...which is often these days....I just give my old friend Herman in Normal, Mn. a call----He's a countryboy lawyer...he should know.

I wasted no time:

"Herman---what do you make of all this education improvement stuff?"

Herman let out a huge bellylaugh----

"Shucks, Wolfman( that's what he always called me) do not be confused by all the rhetoric. One must have a sense of humor---most of the talk is just bull...

Up in Normal, we have taken a LARGER view. We have mandated the enrollment of all citizens from birth to death in our school system----and the result has been revolutionary----PRESTO We have doubled our revenue through state reimbursement. It sure is neat!!!!!!

"But...but...what courses could the seniors take?' I wondered.

"It is real simple," Herman went on. "The seniors take yoga theory or water aerobics etc and the most popular course is "Probability theory and gambling---with sidetrips to the casinos for workshops on the subject. In fact, through special grants from the DNR there has been enough money so seniors can gamble free."

"What?". The DNR funding gambling? How in the world could that be justified?"

Herman just smiled.

"They already are funding such stuff. Video equipment etc. It was just a hop skip and a jump to allow full scale gambling. "

What a shock. EVERYONE in school.

Still. The more I thought of it. And being an advocate of education and all. And not being able to gamble on my own. Yes. it sure looked attractive. And why should the big boys gamble with senior invested funds, when the seniors could reverse the game and gamble with theirs. It was just simple justice.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "The End Around"-----FICTION

Some months ago, midst the public hearings on the wind turbine ordinance for a local community, in the middle of the night, some high powered folks, armani suited I presume, came on the Observer late at night to listen to the tapes of the proceedings----checking them out, I found out they were a high powered, expensive public relations firm from out east....and that made me wonder.....Shortly thereafter, nobody from the pro turbine in the city with short setback people appeared at any public meetings.

I picked up the phone and dialed my old friend Herman, the countryboy lawyer from Normal, Mn.. He had beaten the armani suits many times. He would know what was up.

"Herman, what could be happening. I just do not understand".

Herman let out a huge belly laugh.

"Wolfman (that's what he always called me)----when the big boys are beaten, they always go for the "End Around Play"-----It's a simple play that every school child knows. The way the big boys play it, they just stop talking with the public, and bring the money----after all----buying the big boys is always cheaper than winning in the public forum."

"WOW"---I exclaimed.

Thank goodness we are back in good old Wisconsin. Where the folks wear denim and not armani.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dateline Normal, Mn.: Normal Senior Fitness Center eliminates bathrooms, fitness area; Adds Flyfishing room---FICTION

Well it sure has been an interesting week....with the local planning commission in our fair city being presented with a proposal to eliminate several bathrooms, and the fitness area of the proposed senior/community center and instead build an area for carpentry. I just wondered....and as I do when I wonder....I just picked up the phone and called my friend, Herman, in Normal, Mn. He's a lawyer. He should know.

After I told him the latest, Herman just broke out in a huge bellylaugh:

"Shucks Wolfman (that's what he always called me) that's nothing. Up here in Normal, Mn., we cut out all the bathrooms and the fitness area and substituted a flyfishing room. Let's face it. The guys up here love fishing, and flyfishing requires some art in the hook design, and the guys just love gathering to do the their art. The design planners felt the guys could pee anywhere---and besides the filling station next door obliged since when the guys went next door they always bought snacks. It was a real win--win public-private-very private partnership.

In fact it got even better. A well known drug firm, that wanted to promote its pill to control BPH, offered a special grant for medication freebies so that the seniors could achieve better bladder control. "

I was dumbstruck.

"Ya mean everyone goes next door to the gas station to use the restroom?"

"YUP" Herman replied. "After all. These are times to cut back. And bladder control was one area that we thought we could make a difference. Well. It is true hat some of the guys with wheel chairs can't deal with it....but then they could not fly fish anyway. So it all works out. We think it is real visionary."

It sure is good to be back home in good old Wisconsin. Where flyfishing is not so big. And where we occasionaly have bathrooms rather than run next door to the gas station.