Five at 8: 3/20/09

  • Darn it! I missed it. The vernal equinox — spring — arrived this morning at 6:44, right around the time I was toweling the snow off the dog. But let’s just get this out of the way first: you can stand an egg on its end on lots of days of the year.

    There are plenty of different ways to define the first day of spring; pick the one that works for you and go with it. For many, it’s the day pitchers and catchers report to Florida. For meteorologists, it’s the first day of March. For people in the Red River Valley, it’s the day the sandbags appear and see their shadows.

  • In yesterday’s “5 at 8″ I mentioned the pastor in New Hampshire who’s under fire for taking in a murderer on parole. So let’s start a “practice what you preach” file. In Bemidji, a church with a “homeless ministry” is testing the question of whether it’s really a church, or a homeless shelter, according to the Bemidji Pioneer (registration possibly required). This is going to be a heck of a story. The ACLU is in on it now.
  • I don’t know if there really is a “whack job yard art” contest, but…
  • By way of Northfield.org, we learn of a fascinating project undertaken at a cinema & audio studies workshop at Carleton. Four audio pieces examine how college kids and the town intersect. They’re well worth taking the time to listen to.
  • Oh, Mr. President. Your Special Olympics comment was ignorant on so many levels, including the point of Special Olympics, which is that winning and a particular score are irrelevant, that the important thing is trying in the face of apparent adversity. Isn’t there something important there for the “smartest people in the room” to learn?

    “If I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.”

    In the “covering my eyes” category, the Vermont Special Olympics start today. I’m covering my eyes because I know the state’s media will head there, if only to get reaction to Obama’s gaffe.

    What we’re covering today

  • Midmorning has a real pick-me-up, toe-tapper in the first hour at 9 : How to prepare for the end of life, followed by a segment on turning animals into art, which isn’t what you think it is — bison coffee tables, for example.
  • The snow-free dog is in full “it’s going to thunder” posture as I write this. This is a day after he went into the closet and pulled down — and chewed to pieces — the expensive full-length coat I bought my wife. I’ve submitted the questions to the first hour of Midday, which is taking pet questions today.
  • Science Friday — more proof that Darwin was right.
  • This afternoon on All Things Considered: Laura Yuen reports on a grand jury in Minneapolis considering the disappearance of Somali men. She talks to one man who recently testified. He went to high school with suicide bomber Shirwa Ahmed. Marty Moylan reports on the magic wand being waved by Delta Airlines that’s making the Northwest Airlines logo disappear. Tim Post reports on one of the many student groups at the University of Minnesota — the people watchers group.

    This will intersect nicely with a piece coming from NPR in Washington about two Purdue University students who stand outside and shout compliments at people.

    But why wait…

    Don’t miss: Sasha Aslanian’s story on Somali women playing basketball. It got me thinking about how little Westerners know about interacting not only with Somalis, but in particular with Somali women. A few years ago, at an MPR open house, I was greeted by a Muslim woman and was embarrassed when I stuck out my hand to be informed she wasn’t allowed to shake my hand. What Minnesota needs is a good tutorial on these things. I’m certain some of you are aware of one, if so, post below.

    Have a great Friday! What should we talk about today?