Week #12 — and the official arrival of spring — brought us a variety of weather. But any time we’re playing golf in March, that’s an early spring around here.
We’re now beyond “To act, or not to act”. While it appears that “wait-and-see” continues as the modus operandi for most of those who voted for the person who currently holds the office of President, (although the Trumpcare proposal is causing a few cracks to appear) I think it’s safe to say that nearly all of us who voted against him have seen enough, and that there’s no more time for waiting.
Not since the Viet Nam War have the actions and words of a President produced such a polarized and angry climate. I don’t think the degree of pissoffedness (or is it pissedoffness?) is not really measured by the public opinion polls. The latest poll has Mr. T at a 37% approval rating vs. 58% disapproval. What I have observed is this — the 37% has been pretty quiet lately, and the 58% are mad as hell.
We are mad about this madness in Washington (and not just the White House) and many of us want to be more involved in this fight — this “resistance”. But we don’t really know where to direct all our new-found energy.
Karen and I were talking to someone at a coffee shop on Friday and “the situation” came up, as it often does these days. The woman we’d just met told us she was going to an event the next day, and that perhaps we might be interested as well. It was the annual state meeting of TakeActionMinnesota.org, a political action and lobbying group that has been around for 10 years.
So we went. It turned out to be a very good way to spend 3 hours.
I went to a breakout session on communicating with elected officials, where a large group was divided into tables of about a dozen people, each discussion facilitated by a TakeActionMN leader. Karen went to the health care session.
Nick Faber, Vice President of the St. Paul teachers union, led my group’s discussion. Also at my table were a candidate for Minneapolis City Council, a candidate for Mayor of St. Paul, and a State Representative.
State Representative Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, the first Somali-American elected to statewide office in the the nation addressed the larger group. After lunch, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, who recently finished second in the quest for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, mingled and chatted with anyone who was interested, and then got up and gave a rousing call-to-action speech. I feel good about living in a city that elected both of these people — especially in these strange and turbulent times.
The energy level in the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building was high, and the message mostly hopeful and positive. There’s much work to be done, but it feels like a lot of us are willing to be more informed and more engaged than we have in the past. What will that be for me? I’m not entirely sure yet. It will start with sending a check to TakeAction Minnesota. Then I will move through the menu of options for involvement and decide what other things I’m willing to do.
Let’s keep in mind that this fight is not about one person. While he’s big and and obnoxious and scary, he’s a symptom, not the disease.
I will, no doubt, continue to complain. But I have to do more than than. We all have to do more than that. Thanks to Cathy at the coffee shop, we at least got started.
Looking through my Photo-of-the-Day choices, I realized that the theme for last week was “getting together with groups of people” — some friends, some new acquaintances, and a couple of krazy kids. I began and ended the week with new groups doing things that were (mostly) new to me — good bookends for the week.
Here are my photos for Week #11 of 2017.
We saw two great shows (a play and a movie) at two very different Minneapolis theaters last week —King Lear at the Guthrie and Manchester by the Sea at the Riverview.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as a good cities for live theater, for several reasons. There are many smaller companies around town that have managed to thrive (or at least survive), and several renovated classic old theater buildings that bring in Broadway shows and such. But the Guthrie is the big daddy – it has the name, the reputation, and the history. While some may not like the relatively new (10 years) home as much as the old one, and while some may have other reasons for staying away, the Guthrie Theater continues to be a regional — and national — force in the theater world.
This was my first King Lear, and I was enthralled by the whole production. (and the less-than-half-priced rush line tickets in the 6th row didn’t hurt.) It was a wonderful night, with the Guthrie doing what it does best.
An article in today’s paper says that attendance at the Guthrie is up this year, under the leadership of new artistic Director Joseph Haj. But on Thursday evening, there were plenty of seats available. So join the “Rush Club”, go on a week night, and get good seats at a deep discount.
On the other hand, the Twin Cities have not been so kind to our movie theaters. St. Paul only has two operating movie houses within its city limits, and Minneapolis only has a handful. But one of them is a gem, and fortunately, not too far from home for us.
The Riverview Theater is a mid-century modern beauty that has managed to stay open for nearly 7 decades in a quiet neighborhood at the corner of 38th St. and 42nd Ave. South in Minneapolis. Just as with every American city, there used to be many neighborhood movie theaters, but most are gone now.
Any baby-boomer who walks through the Riverview’s lobby will feel nostalgic. The colors, the furniture, lights, shapes, lines all remind us of what the world looked like when we were kids.
How do they do it, you ask? How have they survived when so many have failed? A loyal following of regulars, yes. An attention to preserving the mood and style of the time, yes. But here’s an idea for a business model for you:
- Show 3 or 4 different movies each day (one screening each) — some big names, some lesser known films or indies.
- Charge a small amount per ticket ($3.00 . . . and $2.00 for seniors!!!!!!!) and get very large crowds who buy lots of not-overpriced popcorn and other stuff. This place has a lot of seats, and they often fill most of them.
It’s one of those “so crazy it just might work” kind of plans. And it does work.
So, with two memorable theater experiences, a visit from the grandkids, and 5 more weekdays of being old enough to not have to go to work, life was pretty good last week. Continuing my Photo-a-Day project (for 10 weeks now), here’s a snapshot from each day of the week.
Here are my 7 photos from last week, week #6 of 2017. I’ve decided to take a short break from complaining about President —–.
The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. The Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.
“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.
It’s been only 9 days since his coronation. We’ve all been watching him perform self-proclaimed amazing and alarming feats of strength each day. His opponents have been vocal, and his supporters have been oddly quiet (at least my Facebook friends who supported him, anyway). In a way, I get it — there’s no need to stick your neck out right now in support of his impetuous actions and crazy words, because he doesn’t need you anymore. He is now the king, and he will rule. He’s going to do what he said he was going to do for as long as he can do it, and none of us can feign surprise. He’s what we thought he would be.
Many voted for him because they wanted a “strongman” — someone who would put a stop to all this compassion, fairness, and unalienable rights nonsense. Most wanted him in power because he said he would shake up the status quo and “drain the swamp”. But many Americans didn’t bother to vote at all. Others chose a third candidate who had no chance of winning. Did they do that because they didn’t mind the idea of being ruled by a narcissistic bully? Because now we have one. We have a president that fancies himself as an emperor. To those of you who didn’t try to prevent this, aren’t his new clothes magnificent? To those of us who see him for what he is, and find nothing but the world’s yugest ego, we need to keep calling out what we see, as loudly as we can, for as long as it takes.
And in alternative news . . . . it’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon.
Continuing my photo-a-day project, here’s week #4 . . . . . of 1984!
So . . . . President Trump.
How does that sound to you . . . . ?
No, I can’t do it. I can’t talk about it right now. Everybody’s yakking about it, and for one of the few times in my adult life, I want out of the conversation instead of in. We all know where we stand, and we now pretty much know where everybody else stands. I will say that the enormous crowds at all the marches and rallies yesterday made me feel better. The videos and photos of all the people were truly inspirational and uplifting. I regret not going to the state capitol and being part of it all. But I’m really proud of all my friends who did.
Even with yesterday’s boost, I’ve not emerged yet out of the damp, dark, gray week we just finished. It’s going to take more than a few million people marching together and vowing to fight the good fight to shake me out of what I was hoping was just the fog of a dream. But with each day, each action, each utterance from the new guy or from the people who got him to the White House, I am going to build my strength and resolve to do my part in fighting back. It’s time to wake up and get busy.
In the mean time, here is a photo from each day last week — week #3 of 2017. Did I mention we had a damp, dark, gray, foggy week?
The second week of January is alway pretty quiet in this part of the country. Everyone is solidly back in the daily grind after the holiday season.
The bulk and the brunt of winter are still ahead, which can be a daunting thought. A small percentage of Minnesotans actually enjoy going outdoors in the bitter January air. We all like to brag about being hearty souls, but honestly, most of us merely survive the winter — relatively few embrace it. .
If you venture out in single-digit “high” temps, you might see a runner on Minnehaha Parkway, a cross-country skier on Hiawatha Golf Course, and increasingly over the past few years, grown, intelligent-looking men and women riding bicycles with big fat tires on the snow and ice.
Seemingly every time I shovel the front sidewalk, the ever-chipper neighbor walking her dog with its little boots comes by and says something about what a nice day it is. Not to be argumentative, I find my self mumbling a semi-agreement. It works for a moment, long enough anyway to remember the bigger picture, that life really is pretty darn good right now. One day, I even found myself thinking (for a split second), “I’m thankful I can still shovel snow”.
Being retired brings other, more predictable, moments of gratefulness. We had a mild snow storm earlier this week and a voice on the radio said the usual, “There have been hundreds of accidents on Twin Cities roads already this morning. If you don’t have to go anywhere today, stay home”. I did, and I liked it a lot.
I’ve managed to keep my photo-a-day resolution going for two weeks. According to a survey by a site called StatisticBrain.com, 68.4% of those who make a new year’s resolution keep it going for the first two weeks. I thought that percentage would be lower, but I’ll take it. I’m already ahead of 31.6% of the resolution-makers!
With my back still stinging from that self-pat, here is one photo from each day of week two. You’ll that see I did manage to get my butt outside a few times. And OK. . . .yes, it was a good thing.