The thoughts of a writer.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Raptor Release!

On Saturday we went to the Carpenter Nature Center to see the Raptor release done by the Minnesota Raptor Center. They released seven birds that included three Bald Eagles, a Red-Shouldered Hawk, and some Broad-Winged and Red-Tailed hawks. This young Bald Eagle nearly flew over us. My son was on my shoulders and had a great view. You can hear him say, "That was a big one!"


Friday, September 26, 2014


Bennett Lake this morning

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bad Data in Education

Sending assessment scores with NO identification numbers is really dumb. It might be common in the world of education (where much dumb thrives unchecked), but it is NOT a good way to keep track of data.

Furthermore, pulling a student ID number out-of-your-butt, is also a poor method. These numbers mean nothing to the database. You should try using REAL numbers next time.

Also bad, is sending multiple (different) students with duplicate student ID numbers. It is my understand, that each student should have a UNIQUE set of identifying numbers…

And finally, when your numbers are already crap, spelling the student names in a variety of ways is also NOT helpful. Example: “William” is not the same as “Billy” to the database—and who the heck is AJ?

Do you REALLY know who got which score? I mean, just guess—because it would work just as well! Excellent work educators!

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Police Special

Wow! Two donuts and a coffee for $2!
That sounds like the Police Special!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Drugs, Guns & Daycare

I feel bad for any parent who had their kid(s) in this daycare; but not as bad as I feel for the kids. This is a good reason to check up on your daycare provider. When I checked this woman's Facebook this morning, she is "following" a "gangsta'" from Chicago, who has listed his job as, "CEO & Founder at Hit $quad". So anyway the police raided the house where this daycare is in East St. Paul. Amongst the drugs, guns and arrests, they apparently found a gun hidden in a child's crib! Wow! Seriously? So we now know why you wanted to be a daycare provider—so you could stay home and be close to your drugs and harbour criminals. But how could you put children in jeopardy like that??? Anyway, I know exactly where this place is so it was rather startling to see this news story.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Celebration of MN Authors & Illustrators

We attended the 15th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children's Authors and Illustrators at the Anderson Center in Red Wing on Saturday. My favorite part was climbing the steps to the top of the water tower!

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Hennepin County, Still Questionable

In 2003, I left Hennepin County as an Office Specialist III on an early retirement buyout incentive. They were trying to reduce staff. The documents I signed said I could not return as an OSIII; though other positions would be open to me. Now in 2014, I applied for a job at Hennepin County as a Communications Coordinator. I was told that I was not eligible due to the early retirement buyout. I informed the HR rep that this was incorrect and she later emailed me that I was right and all jobs except OSIII were open to me. Shortly after, another email (with the you are correct part now gone) said they had changed the rules and I was now not eligible for employment due to the buyout. I asked for, but they could not supply anything I signed agreeing to this (because such a document does not exist). Later, they were able to supply a contract that actually supported my position. Still, they did not concede that I was right and also eligible.

I kept after them. They would try to stall and ignore and I would persist. I pointed out to them that their own contract that they drafted said I could return as anything except an OSIII. They stalled and said it was being reviewed. So I asked if the job opening was going to be held open during that time (because I know that trick). Finally, they went the logical route (a big step forward for them!) They said that while I met the minimum qualifications for the job I applied for, I was not in the "top group" and provided the reasoning. So I don't get the job, but they could not exclude me for the reason of my previous early retirement buyout. It was so easy! I mean they really took the long way around but I let them know that we had at least settled this issue if I ever apply again.... yeah sure... So I may have "lost" on that job, but I won on principle! I feel good about that. Somebody's got to keep Hennepin County honest—and man from what I saw in two separate divisions while working there, they've got a long way to go before they are truly honest!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Blame Shifting for Beginners

1.  Nobody will hire me because I'm (Insert race, religion or other dumb reason)!
2.  That (Insert cuss words and derogatory adjectives) doesn't like me because I'm prettier than her!
3.  It's not because I don't try! (Look up from video game marathon to say this)
4.  I get discouraged easily. (Implying it is the person responsible for rejection's fault)
5.  I didn't have enough time. (Say this after returning from 4-hour trip to the store)
6.  I'd like to do that; except it's too hard. (Say this while lying on the couch)
7.  Nobody understands me! (Scream this and then slam the door with no explanation)
8.  That's how I was brought up. (This absolves you of responsibility and blames your parents)
9.  You are a racist! (Trump card. This can win any argument you cannot otherwise win with truth and logic)
10. Why bother? It will never work. (Probably because you will never try)
11. Well I could say the same about you! (This directly transfers the criticism back at the other person whether it is right or not)
12. He told me to! (This demonstrates that you had no control)
13. I was just following orders. (This demonstrates that you had no independent thinking ability)
14. I did my best. (This tells others to believe you did your best)
15. I guess I'm a failure. (But only because you believe that)
16. He told me to! (This demonstrates that you had no control)
17. It's because I'm (Insert race, religion or other dumb reason)!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Duck & Goose Flee the Country"

Duck & Goose Flee the Country!

We love Duck & Goose. My son has several of the books. But one day recently while in the car with my wife and son, I started laughing. My wife wondered, "what now?" so I told her I had an idea for a new Duck & Goose book...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Adrian Peterson is Now a Branch Manager

He needed a new job since he's not playing football. After all, he has a lot of children to support...

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Buying Kid's Clothes as a Dad

I like to buy my son things when he needs them. In the realm of clothes, however, my wife is in charge. Many of the clothes I have purchased thinking how great they were, have been vetoed and rejected. Then, I have to return them. Sometimes it is because my wife says, they "aren't comfortable enough." Then I look at them and they feel soft and comfortable but since I like the old style blue jeans that stand up by themselves after a wash and line-dry when they are new, I suppose I could be a poor judge. Recently, my wife informed me that our son needed pants. What size I asked? She told me 5T. So I bought several 5T items and when I came home with them, she informed me that he is actually still wearing 4T. So the following day I went back to the store and acquired 4T. I returned home fearing that perhaps my son had shrunk a size or maybe expanded to 7T while I was at the store. Fortunately the 4T size was still correct (this time) and the clothes passed the various and vigorous criteria set forth by my wife; who I already said is in charge in these matters. Why bother buying them you ask? Why not let her buy them? Well, that doesn't work either. Then I hear that I'm not buying enough stuff. I actually buy plenty of stuff. It is often big stuff like the roof, the furnace, the new driveway, or most of the groceries, etc. But I will admit, my wife actually buys more things than I do.


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The Adrian Peterson Condom Fund

Please give generously to the Adrian Peterson Condom Fund. Your help is desperately needed so that Mr. Peterson can stop having so many children with a variety of loose women. The unfortunate result, is that these children have no father figure and sometimes they get beaten with a tree branch. Don't let this tragedy continue! It is all up to you! It is totally your responsibility. Mr. Peterson should not be required to curb his behavior or use his millions of dollars to buy his own condoms. Please make your non-tax-deductible donation today!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do You Still Think Adrian Peterson is Great?

I for one, have been a longtime nearly solo voice saying that Adrian Peterson is overrated. I've watched numerous great running backs come and go from the Minnesota Vikings and the team has decided that AP is the greatest thing ever.

Plenty of Vikings fans feel the same way. Maybe because he is a good football player and he has a boyish smile that makes him likeable. But he is the poster child for a serious problem in the United States. The man has fathered numerous children—and been a "dad" to hardly any of them. The tragedy of one of his son's being murdered, is overshadowed by the child not really knowing his real father. Children need parents who show responsibility and can teach them. Sending a check to the woman you impregnated, does not make you a dad. You suck Adrian Peterson and this comes from a dad and a Vikings fan. You, and everyone who has children and takes no responsibility for their care and upbringing—you all suck too! It's people like you who are bringing our society down and compromising our children's futures.
Like Cris Carter says, take him off the field! It's the only thing these guys respect!

Take a look at these links America! Take a look at these links Vikings fans! What do you think of your hero now? Stop making excuses for bad behavior and save our kids!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Cris Carter on Adrian Peterson Abuse Charge

Cris Carter was always a class act. Apparently that has not changed.

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The season of school fundraisers is now upon us. That's when all the children we know have to sell crap to support something at school. Yes, this definitely includes Public schools.

I think it would be nice instead of going through the catalog of vastly overpriced crap, if there was an option of finding how much of the (example) $15.99 for the box of 8 pieces of chocolate, goes to the funding of the thing the money is being raised for. Then if you could just donate that amount without needing to pay the extra money to get the crappy, overpriced item, it would be cheaper and easier.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Heron & Egrets

If you click on these photos you can see the birds that I had the pleasure of seeing near the lake this morning. They did not perceive me as a threat and I managed to get a couple of photos of the Blue Heron and two Great Egrets.

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9-1-1 Thirteen Years Later

I remember so well the September 11 attacks in 2001. I remember how heroically the first responders were. I remember the airplane sounds all stopped except for that one F16 that circled at night. I remember the September 11 in 2002 with the American Indians at Camp Coldwater. I remember...


The Star-Spangled Banner

Click HERE for my version of the Star-Spangled Banner.

In honor of the anniversary of 9-1-1, and because so many "singing stars" have sung it so poorly, and to everyone who is a proud American, here is my quick version I recorded with a digital camera next to a pier on a lake where my audience was two egrets and a Blue heron.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Short Pants Season Ends

It was a good run, but I am wearing long pants today...


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Once-Exiled Republican Tom Horner Backs GOP's Johnson

"Once-Exiled Republican Tom Horner Backs GOP's Johnson"

So I read that headline and I'm thinking.... did I actually see that???"

I have underlined the funny part for those who don't instantly see juvenile humor...

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The Interview

The interview... specifically, the job interview. It is one of those times in our lives when we talk to a virtual stranger, regarding one of our most important decisions. Some people misrepresent themselves. While usually this is thought to be the applicant, it is also (so I found out in the past), sometimes the employer. It is no wonder that the interview is a stressful thing—as is changing and learning a new job. Yet, often, it is good to move. If your employer is not paying you well or maybe is not running the business well, you may be able to find a better situation. But there are always risks. I've changed jobs perhaps more than most—but that may come from learning that I don't need to stay in a situation that is unstable or needlessly stressful. These changes always start with the interview. It begins with meeting someone you (typically) don't know; and negotiating what you will do and where you will spend a lot of your time and what you will get in payment and benefits in return.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Oakdale Discovery Center

We had fun exploring the Oakdale Discovery Center on Saturday!


Friday, September 05, 2014

Tall Heads

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Now more than ever,
As I reflect on how things are being run,
Today may be just one of many days,
It might be like a hundred others,
Over time we should step back,
Not to pat ourselves on the back,
As much as to recognize,
Leadership at its finest.

Doing the things that,
Ultimately will bring the house down,
Making everything fall apart.
Bumbling though they may be,
Failing in seeing the big picture,
Undermining logic with personal power,
Corrupting the data,
Killing the product,
Eroding the very fabric of the machine,
Reducing it to garbage slowly but surely.

Decide now to celebrate the incompetence,
And make this a good day!
You may need to leave after that.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

I Saw a Deer Today

I was able to get extremely close.
She was eating fallen plums in
someone's yard.


The New Company Health Plan

Everybody gets a box of Band-Aids, some rubbing alcohol and two cotton swabs. Don't worry, the cotton swabs are two-sided!

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Nighttime road with 6 second shutter


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Canned Letter

Dear Customer(s),

Some of your $hit is probably broke(n).
We aren’t sure if it is, what it is or where, but likely it is.
It’s not that we don’t give crap about this $hit, it’s just that a lot of it is broke(n) right now.
Hopefully yours is OK, but if not, sorry about that.



America, Stop the Infighting! ISIS is the Enemy!

Hey America! While "we" are all fighting about racism and about the trivial differences between Democrats and Republicans, ISIS (or ISIL) is murdering, torturing, raping and swearing to kill all non-Muslims. Meanwhile, they are also killing plenty of Muslims too. They are doing this all in the name of "Allah." This is a warped and extremist interpretation of the Quran—which I have read. My interpretation of this book is not important. In the United States of America, we enjoy freedom of religion. This is why radical Islam hates us so much. Because we tolerate others and they do not. So let's show some tolerance toward each other! Let's stop the bogus accusations and the stirring up trouble at home. ISIS is the enemy! If you want to shoot guns at people and cause trouble, then fine! Go fight ISIS! They have shown no mercy in beheading, torturing, raping and murdering innocent people. So now it is time we show them equal treatment. America and the world must put an end to these people and do it now. These are not conscripted soldiers in a country. They are primarily, volunteers of a bloody cult. This is a cancer on our world. These people preach intolerance and death to their children! This must stop now.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

St. Paul Skyway Arrest

Why is this getting so much attention? It was turned into a racial thing and maybe even calculated to do so. The guy was waiting in a place where he wasn't supposed to be. He refused to leave when security officers confronted him. Then when police arrived, he refused to show identification and cooperate. Then when they arrested him, he recorded it on his cell phone and created a racial incident. He was black and says he was waiting for his kids. I argue if he was white, or blue or any color and he (mis)behaved the same way, he would have been arrested. But of course if he was white, this would never have made the news. Likewise, if he would have behaved reasonably and cooperated with either the security or the police he would have never been arrested.

The St. Paul police made one mistake here. They should have sent an African-American police officer to arrest him. Why is this even being debated? Being black does not permit you to defy authority and get away with it. Sure it probably works a lot of the time; but that doesn't mean it is right.

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The First Day of School

The first day of school is today for most children. It was a day I hated when I was a student. It was a day I hated when I worked in a school. Now at least for me, it is a day. For all the students and teachers, I wish you a good year.