Three wishes, sleeping outdoors for a year, and how an iconic photo happened (5×8 -12/23/13)

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) IOWA WOMAN’S THREE WISHES GRANTED, TWO YEARS AFTER SHE DIED

Brenda Schmitz of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote a letter to a radio station with three wishes. Then she died. She asked a friend not to mail it until her husband found love again.

Her first wish was for the radio station to provide a “pamper day” for her husband’s new partner as a thank-you for taking on her four boys.

Related decency: The ink-stained wretches from the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press turned out over the weekend in Minneapolis to serenade (former PiPress and current Strib) reporter Jim Ragsdale, who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

2) WINTER? WHAT WINTER?

Last June, Rudy Hummel of Hermantown, Minn., slept outdoors. No big deal. June is a great time to sleep outdoors in Minnesota. December isn’t. Hummel has spent every night since June sleeping outside, Duluth News Tribune’s Sam Cook says.

“Originally, it was just going to be for the summer,” he said. “I thought it would be cool to spend the whole summer sleeping outside.”

He’s now planning to sleep outside for an entire year.

Related: Bicyclists who ride in shorts in winter (Minnesota Prairie Roots).

3) HOW AN ICONIC PHOTO HAPPENED

It was 45 years ago this week that Apollo astronauts rounded the moon — a first for humans — and read from the Bible. What would be the reaction to that today?

It was also the first time humans witnessed an earthrise.

NASA has recreated the moment.

4) THE NIPPLE ARTIST

Tattoo parlor owner Vinnie Myers has helped thousands of women recovering from breast cancer by painting custom 3-D tattoos for women who have lost their nipples to cancer surgery, the BBC reports in its profile.

“Myers’ creations look so real he has become known as the ‘Michelangelo of nipple tattoos,'” it says.

(h/t: Ben Chorn)

5) FILLING THE CHRISTMAS WISHES OF RETURNING SOLDIERS AND THEIR KIDS

We don’t tire of stories about kids being surprised by their parent returning from active duty. In Zimmerman, Minn., Jesse Stenberg, was wrapped in a big box and placed at an area mall where his three kids were waiting to see Santa.

Bonus I: O, Holy Cow! Churches are using GPS to track stolen Jesus statues (FoxDC)

Bonus II: Doing more to get help for people in mental health crisis? “Not our job,” according to two U.S. senators who have brought the hammer down on the effort. (Star Tribune)

Bonus III: “The Internet can be an awesome place.” – Kid President, 2013

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Unless you had a good experience early on in your school career, chances are you don’t consider yourself a “math person.” Sure, some people just get it, thanks to DNA, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be swept out to a math-less desert. With good old stick-to-itiveness and teachers’ ability to recognize people have different learning styles, we can all make the trek to a math oasis.

Second hour: Managing holiday stress.

Third hour: Can good urban design create more livable, happier cities?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, speaking about their new book about the 2012 presidential campaign, “Double Down.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) talks about a bill to stop credit checks for job applicants. Plus: A look back at Congress in 2013, from the government shutdown to the budget deal.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – At this time of year when holiday shopping is at its peak, many of the people behind the cash register or in the giant warehouses of online retailers often work for little more than minimum wage. Starting in January, expect to hear a lot of debate about that wage — currently $7.25 an hour — on Capitol Hill. President Obama and many Democrats plan to push for a minimum wage increase ahead of the 2014 election. MPR News reporter Brett Neely will have the story.

Qatar is home to a big U.S. Air Force base. The country is also close with Islamists in Egypt and Syria, and it keeps cordial ties with Iran. Qatar has hedged its bets. And its done so conspicuously — in diplomacy, education, even sports. Why does Qatar punch above its weight? NPR ill have some answers.

  • Jack

    #1 – thanks for the dose of humanity.

  • DavidG

    Bonus II is particularly enraging for several of reasons.

    After Sandy Hook, Coburn was one who said we needed better access to mental health care, not gun regulations.

    Second, seeing that much of the money would be for police officer training in dealing with the mentally ill. I am convinced that interactions with police are probably the most deadly encounters someone with mental illness can have. Surely training of the police is a proper governmental function.

    Third, it’s hard to imagine screening of prison inmates isn’t an acceptable governmental function either.