Out and about and a couple of oddities

Here are my photo-day-shots from Week #23 of 2017. We went to the theater, I played golf, and then we went north and we went south, and went to the theater again.


(6/4/17) The back yard is coming along.


(6/5/17) guess how old she is?


(6/6/17) “Backside” of the Guthrie Theater catches the early evening light.  We saw “Refugia” — a mostly excellent and thought-provoking play.


(6/7/17) This is one of the oddities of the week — a tree at the University of Minnesota/Les Bolstad Golf Course entirely covered by . . . not sure what, but it’s like cobwebs or something.  Anybody know what this is?  It would make a great Halloween tree.


(6/8/17) We headed north for the day, to the town of Oklee, Minnesota, for a Frette family funeral.  This is Karen’s cousin Lowell walking with his mom, Karen’s Aunt Myrtle.

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(6/9/17) After heading north for a day, we turned the car around and drove south to Lanesboro for some biking, two plays, and good dining and conversation with friends Judy and Craig.


(6/10/17) The Rushford Depot Historical Museum along the Root River bike trail has a lot of cool old stuff, including an upstairs full of creepy dolls and mannequins.


Trying to stay a month behind

Here are my photo-a-day pictures from a little over a month ago (Week #22 of 2017, if you’re keeping score at home.)


(5/28/17) The view from Ford Parkway bridge over the Mississippi River never fails.

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(5/29/17) Birthday Breakfast for Emily at the Colossal Cafe in south Minneapolis. All four of these guys are worth celebrating.


(5/30/17) Graydon hits a wedge over the infamous tree on the short 4th hole at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul. Roger and Jerry prepare to comment.

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(5/31/17) Dean and Alan attempting to block the amazing view from the balcony in their downtown Minneapolis condo.


(6/1/17) June starts with breakfast at the Finnish Bistro in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul. Both the restaurant and the neighborhood are hidden treasures. (In case you’re wondering, all of the food visible in this photo was consumed on the premises — and yes, animals were harmed in the making of my meal.)


(6/2/17) No it’s not a barn. Yes, it looks a lot better now.


(6/3/17) We can grow Hibiscus plants in Minnesota, too! (for about 5 months and then we kill ’em.) 

An Incredibly Terrific Plan for More Bigness


The President of the United States called in to Fox and Friends this morning to announce that he is planning a “really big, really terrific” lunar AND solar event to demonstrate America’s “power and bigness” to the world.  “I usually use Twitter to communicate important stuff, but what I have to tell you today is even bigger than a tweet, believe me . . .”,  POTUS tweeted at 3:28 AM,  “. . . and Fox & Friends is the only real news program, frankly, with the credibility and audience to deserve airing this announcement.”

A few hours later, “F & F” personalities Steve, Ainsley and Brian smiled very bigly, as the interim POTUS rolled out his “frankly, quite massive and very, very large plan — the biggest plan in history, unless you count sending men to the moon, which probably never really happened anyway — a lot of people are saying that.”

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This photo illustration will be on the cover of the upcoming TIME Magazine “Strongest President of All TIME” issue.

Here’s a transcript of the President’s announcement:

“I’ve instructed the amazing people at NASA to do whatever they need to do to move the moon to a position in front of the sun for a few hours on August 21st, 2017. The moon will block the sun’s rays and cast a shadow that moves across our entire country, all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic — from the mountains, to the prairie, to the ocean, white with foam. (My words — poetic)  Never in the history of the world has the moon been moved in front of the sun and cast a shadow on the earth before. When I found out from my Junior/Senior Advisor Jared Kushner recently that it might be possible — and no other President ever knew this, not Abe Lincoln, not Frank Underwood, not even Benjamin Franklin, and he flew a kite up into space in a blizzard once.  I asked my Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to find out how long it would take to arrange such an event.  He checked around and told me that August 21 was the earliest they could get it done, so that’s the date we’re going with.

It’s going to be an all-American celebration like no other.  I originally wanted it to be a red-state-only thing, but my Chief Strategist Steve Bannon — he’s a great guy — suggested that we could play up a “Sea to Shining Sea” (trademark – I made that up, too) theme if we planned the route of darkness carefully and bit the bullet by including one blue state (Oregon) and the southern tip of Illinois — which votes red anyway. 

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97% of the districts under the shadow of the planned Trumpclipse2017 voted for Trump in 2016.  Trump calls the carefully chosen path of darkness an “amazing feat of lunar orbit engineering that could only be accomplished by me.”

Trumpclipse2017: Path of Darkness is going to be wonderful— a long overdue celebration of darkness in a world of too much light — I’ll bet you didn’t know that half the earth is always light — I’m going to change that. It will also show the so-called scientists that America and its rightness is bigger and better than the wrongness of their [airquotes] “theories” based on “evidence”.  If it were up to these “scientists”, they’d be sitting around stuffing pens in their pocket protectors, putting more masking tape on their glasses, just waiting for this kind of big sky show to happen on its own. Good luck with that, Science!  #idiotgeeks, #unamericanatheists, #stupidlosers, #weakmorons, #dangerous, #bad, #sick, #outofcontrolhillarylovers, #supernerds

So I’m asking that billions and billions of patriotic Americans from all of our 50 (or so) states to flock to places along the Path of Darkness route on August 21 and spend a lot of money on things like these special AmericaFirstGogs darkness-viewing safety glasses that my very sexy and talented daughter Ivanka designed and has available on QVC.

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Ivanka’s AmericaFirstGogs will block all light, allowing you to only see the darkness — and they’ll keep you safe from scary things, people, and ideas.

This event will be yet another win for America under my administration (as if Bill Cosby’s mistrial and the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Championship weren’t enough!). America wasn’t winning anything any more until I took office after my landslide electoral college win.  Other countries were laughing at us, but now they’re taking note of my accomplishments, and come August, they’ll be cowering in fear, imagining what we could do to them if we have the kind of power it takes to move the moon around in the sky and take the sunshine away. A lot of countries are afraid of the darkness, but not us. True Americans, true patriots, embrace the idea of being in the dark. In fact, many, many of us go through life with our eyes closed.

If Trumpclipse2017: Path of Darkness is as successful as I know it will be, I’ve got another idea up my sleeve. I can’t tell you much about it yet, but let’s just say that Jared’s been telling me that the Earth’s sea level doesn’t necessarily have to always stay where it is right now. Nobody knew that  — Jared’s brilliant and very smart — but all I can say is, let’s not miss out on the next opportunity to make America a leader again. Hey, I won the election — that was amazing, right? It doesn’t get any better than this, folks!

I hope to see all you incredible patriots on the side of a highway somewhere in the middle of Nebraska or Wyoming or South Carolina, or one of the other God-and-America-loving states that I’ve carefully chosen for the Path of Darkness on August 21st! (BTW – the eastern part of Oregon is OK, too!)”

Week 21 photos

Here are my photo a day shots from Week #21.

I’m going to get caught up this week.

I think I can . . .


(5/21/17) Give a kid some PlayDoh and a plastic knife and you might get mint cookies or a blue dinosaur skeleton.


(5/22/17)  My first day of jury duty brought me to a big waiting room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.  Although I sat there for almost 8 hours without being called, I at least got a nice view to the east.  The new Vikings football stadium doesn’t look as ugly from this angle as it does from the other side.

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(5/23/17) On the second day of jury duty, I took a walk across the river on my (1.5 hour !?!) lunch break and found what’s left of Nye’s Polonaise Room.  This iconic watering hole was closed last year (despite a public outcry for trying to save it) to make way for — you guessed it — condos.  Just a decade earlier, Esquire Magazine did a feature piece on Nye’s and named it “The Best Bar in America”.  How sad it is that they couldn’t find a way to incorporate the main floor bar into this structure.  On a personal note, the church you see in the right edge of the photo is Our Lady of Lourdes, the oldest standing church in Minneapolis.  My parents were married there and I was baptized there.  In the old days the church served the French-speaking Catholic residents of the area. My Grandmother spoke French and Ojibwe before she went off to a boarding school in Kansas. When my Mom lived on nearby Nicollet Island as a kid, they had French language mass every Sunday at “The French Church”.  Please, let’s not tear that place to shreds, too.


(5/24/17) On my third day of jury duty, I was called for a “panel”, which means a pool of candidates from which a jury is chosen for a case.  But at the last minute, the case was dismissed, and I was sent home early.  Here’s a picture of some of the downtown Minneapolis buildings as I waited for my ride home.


(5/25/17) My friend Joel and his brother built a beautiful deck and “pergolette” for us last year.  We haven’t put stain on it yet, but I love the way it looks.


(5/26/17) After running into each other a few weeks earlier, my friend and former teaching colleague Brian Wachutka invited me to meet for coffee at my favorite neighborhood place.  It was great to talk and catch up.  He’s a smart, funny, thoughtful, and compassionate guy, and he writes a wonderful blog called 21 Cent Peace.  Check it out.

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(5/27/17)  We took Svea to see “A Year with Frog and Toad” the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre for an early 5th birthday present.  It was a delightful afternoon.


So I’m not perfect . . .

. . . in case you were wondering.

I’m not sure how I missed two days of shooting photos during Week # 20, but if they’re not there, they’re not there.  I thought about trying to pull one over on you, the viewer, and sneak in a couple of shots from other days, but then I realized that I’m pretty much the only one that cares and I already know the truth.

So here are my 5 photos from the week of May 14 – 20.


(5/14/17) I was riding my bike over one of the bridges on Minnehaha Creek just before sunset and I saw this guy fishing. Since I happen to know that the number of fish in the creek is about as close to zero as you can get, I stopped and asked him the obvious question.  He answered, “Because I live across the street and I’ve never tried fishing here before.  It’s such a nice evening, and I just decided to walk over and give it a try.”  Can’t argue with that.


(5/15/17) Bird’s eye view of our robin’s nest (see May 8 photo) reveals a couple of  little ones doing what they do until it’s time for Mom to push ’em out.


(5/16/17)  I can’t remember if she’s pushing him or trying to not get kicked, but they’re both smiling.

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(5/17/17) It got very dark very quickly as a storm blew in from the west over Lake Harriet.  But somehow the light caught the side of this canoe, carrying two furiously paddling fisherman across the lake.


(5/19/17)  Here’s what kind of guy I am.  I made an impulse buy to get the SAME FRICKIN’ CAR as I had — only a different color and with no dents, dings, scratches or dirty seats and carpet. You gotta admit that it’s definitely a chick-magnet muscle car, though.

Photo a day Week #19

Question: If a train leaves a station traveling 50 mph 2 hours before two trains traveling 24 mph and 37 mph on the same track, how many weeks will it take Steve to catch up to the current week of his photo-a-day project.

Answer: Not sure, but what difference does it make until he gets there?

Here are the 7 photos from Week #19 of 2017.

Chug Chug.

I think I can.  I think I can . . .

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(5/7/17) While riding down this bike path on Minnehaha Parkway, I saw what appeared to be a sweet, poignant moment happening up ahead.  I got off my bike and grabbed my camera. By then, I could see the two photographers in the shadows behind the blissful couple.  I’m guessing they were friends shooting some pics for the engagement announcement.  It was still a sweet, poignant moment, just not as spontaneous as I’d hoped.

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(5/8/17) This Mama Robin built her nest on top of the pergola that’s attached to our house.  As you can see, she found some colorful material from the graduation season to spice up the nursery.

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(5/9/17) Have they invented new flower colors?

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(5/10/17) Pickin’ and Grinnin’

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(5/11/17) I was walking by the ballfields at Lake Nokomis, taking some pictures of the softball games and this guy made a fantastic diving catch right in front of me. I approached him between innings and told him I had a photo of his catch and I’d send it to him if he gave me his email address.  He looked at me like I was some kind of creep (that part isn’t surprising) and basically told me he wasn’t interested. All I can say is that if I made a catch like this and someone happened to capture it, I’d have it in a frame by now.  Oh well.


(5/12/17) Barton Open School in Minneapolis has an annual plant sale that raises a lot of money for much needed programs.  It’s too bad that public schools have to do this, but this has become wonderful community event. The school’s website says that their goal was $80,000 for this year.

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(5/13/17) Who’s that behind those Foster Grants? At Lake Harriet Rose Garden, Minneapolis.

Photo a day from Week #18 of ’17

Here’s a photo from each day of Week #18.


(4/29/17)  OK, I know this is a strange pick and an uninteresting photo, but it shows milestone for me. After putting off learning the “new” version of Final Cut Pro video editing system (FCPX) for a couple of years, I finally bit the bullet and put my nose to the grindstone (my old adult ESL class would have had fun with those two idioms) and figured out the new program enough to finish a video project for MinnPost (computer on the left). I was forced into this because my old program (FCP6) would not work with a second camera’s format that I used for the shoot. This feat may not sound like much, but believe me that being able to use the new program has lifted a great weight from my shoulders and brought me into the modern world of video editing.


(5/1/17) May is here, we’ve gotten some rain, and spring colors are popping.  This is part of the Peace Garden near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.

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(5/2/17) Otto is happiest when he’s either operating a machine or watching one. (Maybe some day he’ll figure out what the handles are for.)

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(5/3/17) The trees across the street from our house show beautiful fall-like colors when backlit by the setting sun.


(5/4/17) Here’s another photo that’s more about the story than the image itself. Karen notice this light bulb in a gutter on the garage when she reached up to clean it out. A little detective work revealed that a critter of some sort (aka squirrel) chewed it off our heavy-duty string of lights on the nearby pergola and deposited it in the gutter for safe-keeping — to eat later, maybe? This is either very clever or pretty stupid, depending on who you ask.  But if the perpetrator is reading this, I have one thing to say . . . “YOU are dead meat if we catch you doing this again.”


(5/5/17) My friend Aaron Westendorp (who I’m making a documentary film about) texted me this morning and said he’d been asked to introduce author and host of “Democracy Now” radio and TV shows, Amy Goodman, (a friend of Aaron’s) when she gave a speech this evening at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.  Never wanting to miss an opportunity to film Aaron in action, I made it over there to shoot his on-stage intro of Amy and was able to get some comments from Amy about Aaron. This photo is from the book signing after the show. Amy and co-author Denis Moynihan are in the foreground and Aaron in the center of the photo.


(5/6/17)  The Frette Family makes its usual strong showing for a roofing party at Karen’s dad’s place in Cambridge, MN.  Only one person fell off the roof, which they tell me isn’t too bad.