The binge-drinking state (5×8- 12/7/11)

1) WHY DO WE POUND DOWN THE BOOZE?

We drink a lot in Minnesota. We binge drink a lot, too. The new national rankings for health in the country are out and we’re the #6 overall healthiest state — the same as last year. But it’s binge drinking that knocks us down a peg. Only six other states are worse than Minnesota when it comes to pounding down the booze. Almost 1 in 5 have us have engaged in binge drinking in just the last 30 days.

Curiously, while we’re one of the healthier states in the nation, we’re one of the worst when it comes to public spending on health — 46th in the nation.

And in the last five years, the percentage of children in poverty increased from 9.0 percent to 17.4 percent of persons under age 18, according to the United Health Foundation.

What’s your experience? Are you living a more health lifestyle than five years ago?

Here’s the full state report.

2) WHY DO PACKERS FANS BUY WORTHLESS STOCK?

When people spend money on a worthless piece of paper, maybe the economy isn’t so bad in the households of Wisconsin afterall. The Packers put stock in the team on sale yesterday, only it’s not investment stock. It’s not worth anything, as the Wall St. Journal points out:


The shares don’t help fans get hold of coveted seat licenses, for which a team spokesman said there is a 93,000-person waiting list. The shares don’t trade on an exchange, and they aren’t transferable, except to family members, by gift or in the event of death.

The team concedes in its 12-page offering document that the stock “does not constitute an investment in ‘stock’ in the common sense of the term,” but it implored fans to invest anyway, to help keep crowd noise in Lambeau and to “maximize our home-field advantage.”

Peter Duffey, a 25-year-old Wauwatosa, Wis., resident, acknowledged the conditions of the sale indicated “you’re just getting a piece of paper, not much more than that,” but said it was worth it because “I’ve grown up being a fan of the Packers and loved them all my life.”

The Packers are going to make $62.5 million on the deal.

3) PEARL HARBOR AT 70

It’s the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and there are plenty of stories about local people who were there.

Lola Yoder of Afton tells the Pioneer Press she could see the face of the pilot as the Japanese fighter flew over her house. “The milkman came flying into the house and jumped into our broom closet,” she said. “We couldn’t get him out. He didn’t want to leave. He thought he was safer with us.”

Agnes Shurr, of Grand Forks, was a nurse on a hospital ship in the harbor. She’s the last of the 13 nurses aboard the ship. “But I don’t see any point in dwelling on the past. Why do you want to remember the bad things that happened, and what can you do about them at this stage of the game?” she tells the Grand Forks Herald.

Richard Thrill of St. Paul, on the other hand, says it’s important to keep the day alive. “I go to a lot of funerals,” Thill tells the Star Tribune. He was on a destroyer that sunk a Japanese mini-submarine.

Not everyone was there. The only man at the University of Minnesota to win the Heisman Trophy, had to rewrite his acceptance speech, two days after the attack. An audio recording of it was recently discovered, according to ESPN.

At Pearl Harbor today, members of the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School will lay a wreath at the USS Arizona memorial.

4) THE HEALING ARTS

There’ll be a lot of chatter today about the state of the arts in Minnesota, what with a couple of major organizations revealing they’re bleeding red ink badly. The arts are often considered a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have,” but quite often the arts is a need to have.

Two stories this week prove the point.

MPR’s Cathy Wurzer talked with Bruce Kramer this week. He directed the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church choir in Edina. A year ago, yesterday, he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Music keeps him sane, he says:

The Associated Press reports today that dance — and in particular, a dance class in Chicago — is lifting the spirits and hopes of people with Parkinson’s.


Dancing, because it’s accompanied by music, may offer benefits beyond other types of exercise for Parkinson’s patients, including socialization for people otherwise isolated by their disease, said Harvard neurology professor Dr. Daniel Tarsy, director of the Parkinson’s disease center at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“When you hear music, it sort of drives the emotional parts of the brain,” he said.

5) DIY AIRPLANE

Wired.com takes a look at do-it-yourself-airplane building today. In its piece it says, “Many of the aluminum parts on the RV-7, RV-8 and RV-9 are pre-drilled for easier fitment and riveting. That saves time, and those planes can be built in around 1,500 hours.”

Last week, I passed 2,800 hours of work on mine.

You know who needs one of these? Alec Baldwin.

Bonus I:

Bonus II: How people “picture” the NPR stars. This would be a fun exercise for the MPR “voices.” Is there an artist in the house?

TODAY’S QUESTION

Some prominent Twin Cities arts organizations are suffering persistent fiscal problems – the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and Penumbra Theater, to name three. Today’s Question: What could arts organizations do better to get you in the door?

THE BIG STORY

The Big Story Blog examines the financial challenges of Minnesota arts organizations.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong (rebroadcast)

Second hour: Excerpts from conversations with Ray Davies of the Kinks, Minneapolis-based Dessa, and the legendary Al Jarreau.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Remembering Pearl Harbor.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Joe Rochefort’s War, from the intelligence disaster of Pearl Harbor to triumph six months later.

Second hour: Putting a stop to band hazing. Plus, an update on Egypt’s elections.