Sh*t Show, Indeed

I’m baaaack . . . .

I’ve been on a blog hiatus for a few months. Last New Year’s photo-a-day goal kept me posting regularly, but after returning from a 3-week trip in September, I lost the photo-mojo a bit, and the blog lapsed.  On the other hand, 9 months of daily photos isn’t exactly a failure, even though more than a few were the “Oh crap, I don’t have a photo yet and it’s getting dark!” variety.

I’m making a photo commitment again this year, but changing it so it’ll be easier to keep going and still be meaningful (to me).  This year, I’m posting a “Weekly 7” group of photos instead — from Sunday to Sunday.  Some weeks it might be one pic from each day, but most of the time they’ll be taken from a few days.  I AM going to do my best to avoid the “Oh crap, I don’t have 7 photos yet and it’s Sunday . . . and almost dark!” syndrome.

Now to explain the Sh*t Show title. We went with friends Judy and Craig to see Lizz Winstead’s New Year’s Eve show at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.  If you don’t know, Lizz is a comedian and writer whose resume includes co-founder and head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio. She’s been returning to her home town for a year-in-review show every December 31st for over a decade.

Lizz calls her show “The Greatest Sh*t Show on Earth”, referring mostly to the political subjects of the past year. This was our first one, but 2017 being what it was, I’m guessing it was her sh*tiest show so far. It was a good show, given that some of the usually-funny jokes and ironies of political comedy are hard to laugh at these days because it’s all so depressing and painful. But Lizz seems to be an optimist at heart, and this was a good way to end a sh*tty year and work up a little hope for the new one.

The next day, we began the new year in a happy way with a visit from the grandkids. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

So Happy 2018!  Hang on, folks. Let’s get this steaming pile on the road!

Here are my 7 pics for the past week.

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A packed house at the Cedar Cultural Center on a very cold night. (Technically, it was a few hours before the week —  and year — began, but I’m counting it anyway.)

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Otto seems pleased with the healthy choices he made to top his already-healthy Mickey Mouse pancake.

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Svea loves how well Buffalo plaid and polka dots go together.

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I-35W south of downtown Minneapolis will be under various phases of construction and destruction for about 4 years.  This winter’s project includes closed lanes and replacing the Franklin Avenue bridge.  Drive the city streets and stay off the highway.

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We put in an order for one of these!  They’re very small camping trailers, built in Dassel, Minnesota by Escapade Campers.  It’s a husband and wife company with a couple of employees.  They hand-make 3 of these a week, offering quite a few custom options.  It seems like a good way to travel with a camper, tow with a modest-sized vehicle, at a reasonable price.  Owners Jeff and Brianna are nice people with a good business model and and what seems to be an excellent product. More to come about this in about 6 weeks.

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This is my health club, which, until a few days ago, seemed like an OK place.  Then the management made an odd decision to stop showing news stations on any of the numerous TV screens in the exercise area.  Cable news is one of the things that gets me through the drudgery of indoor exercise — and I’m pissed off about it. They didn’t directly notify members of the change, instead choosing to let the innocent people working the check-in desk answer questions about a poorly thought-out decision.  The official reason for this travesty — which ironically, member found out from reports by the local NEWS channels and the NEWSpapers — was  a pile of mumbo jumbo BS about news-watching being an unhealthy thing to do.  One of the employees told me (when I complained) that there had been arguments — and even fights — breaking out in health clubs over news programs.  If that weren’t so stupid, it would be hilarious. All I know is, I’m not taking this lying down, and it makes me want to “argue” and “fight” with the management.  In the photo, you can see that there are at least a dozen TVs (more screens to the right) and one person watching all the Basketball, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, TLC, Animal Planet, and E! she can handle.  I think there’s a network called PablumTV, too — now very popular at all the Lifetime Fitness Clubs. It helps keep everyone calm and very healthy. But I will probably join a different club soon — one that treats their members like adults.

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What ? — a tiny camping trailer and a new Ford in the same week? I know — what an ostentatious display. (And I just thought of this — the Escape will be pulling the Escapade.  Hey Will Shortz — use THAT in one of your Sunday Puzzlers!

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Photos to take your mind off nuclear war and white supremacists

Here are my photos of the day from Week #32 of the year that Trump built. Don’t be fooled, we’re not immune to extremism here in the heartland, but it doesn’t hurt to take a little break from the daily news and go out and find some good things.

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(8/6/17) Rainy evening at Lake Nokomis

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(8/7/17) Reid Parkinson at the Nicollet Diner

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(8/8/17)  Barbara Shelton invited us over at dusk for a Mojito and some catching up.  Her backyard screened porch, now in its third summer, is charming . . . and it keeps the rain and bugs away.

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(8/9/17) Roger walks through wildflowers on his way from the tee to his drive (in the middle of the fairway, of course) on the 14th hole at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul. It’s amazing to think that Keller, a Ramsey County public course, was a regular stop on the pro tour for four decades, and even hosted the PGA Tournament twice — in 1932 and 1954! While today’s players disagree about some of the design changes made three years ago, no one disputes that this place is more beautiful than ever right now.

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(8/10/17) As a heretofore non-vegetable gardener, you can imagine how cool this seems. Right in our yard!  Things you can eat!

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(8/11/17)  Mark and Deb Frette joined us for some excellent Scandinavian appetizers at “Erik the Red Nordic BBQ and Barbarian Bar” in the old “Hubert’s” building across the street from the Vikings Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (Karen looked up from checking Facebook for a split second!)

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(8/12/17) A moment, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

From Lanesboro to Ortonville

Week # 24 was bookended by weekend trips — one southeast to Lanesboro and one westward to Ortonville, on the South Dakota border.  In between, a couple of rounds of golf and a little time with the G-Kids made for a memorable week.  I’m a very lucky guy.

Here is a photo from each day.

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(6/11/17) Along the Root River Bike Trail between Lanesboro and Whalen.

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(6/12/17) Jerry and Roger on the 18th at Gross Golf Course, trying to finish under a menacing sky.

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(6/13/17) I have a feeling that rabbit ears are about to pop up.

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(6/14/17) Here’s one that will probably only be impressive to other golfers. Graydon fixes his ball mark, showing where his tee shot landed on a 170-yard par 3. The tee is behind me, so his ball flew past the hole by 3 inches, backed up and hit the flagstick (clank!) then came to rest a foot away (ball marker). 

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(6/15/17) Parking lot behind the hardware store.

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(6/16/17)  Can something be cute and dreary at the same time? Hopeful and sad? Colorful and dull?

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(6/17/17) Rain in the distance on the Minnesota prairie, a few miles east of Ortonville.