Five at 8 – 2/5/10: The drinking study

1) Bottoms up, Minnesota! You didn’t make the top 10 in any “drunkest” category in a survey by Men’s Health Magazine. But you didn’t make the top 10 in any “least drunk” categories, either. Fargo, step forward. You’re the 5th most drunk city in America. St. Paul ranks 50th in lowest binge drinking. Minneapolis shines brighter at #34. Here’s the survey.

2) What to look for between the plays at this year’s Super Bowl between the Vikings Saints and Colts:Will there ever be another Super Bowl ad as famous as this one?

What can we learn about Super Bowl attendees? They’re fairly wealthy and there aren’t as many of them this year. PRI’s The Takeaway has a profile. (The audio will be posted shortly if it’s not there already).

3) Five crates of whiskey belonging to explorer Ernest Shackleton have been “liberated” from the Antarctic ice, the BBC reports.


Now, this takes me back to one of my favorite MPR special projects from the “old days.” This project, Walking Out of History, isn’t as pretty as it used to be, thanks to all of the various redesigns of our Web sites since. But the content is still first-class.

4) Who would have thought it possible that J.D. Salinger could be a bigger mystery in death than he was in life? Slate has the first-person story of the woman who handled his fan letters:

Six months later, I left Ober, unsure exactly of what I would do next but certain I couldn’t spend another minute behind that old Selectric, secretly consoling the readers of a writer who didn’t care to receive their letters. Over the ensuing years, as I became a writer myself, I returned regularly to Franny and Seymour and Buddy and Zooey–and even, on occasion, Holden–often at those moments when I felt unsure of what turn to take in a story. People often talk about outgrowing Salinger, about returning to Catcher as an adult and finding it silly, histrionic, annoying. But the stories have grown with me, as the best fictions do. I still have some of those letters–the letters I couldn’t bear to throw in the trash–and I look at them from time to time, too, if I’m feeling strong enough. They still break my heart, those old bastards, almost as much as the work that inspired them.

Well, OK, whatever. As much as his fans loved J.D. Salinger. J.D. Salinger didn’t love them back a whit. Which, apparently, only made their devotion stronger. Crazy world, this.

Oh, it’s revealed today that a film documentary on Salinger’s life was finished just before his death.

5) What we have here is a failure of the common sense gene. A kid brought a 2 inch toy gun to school — the kind you’d try to stick on your Lego action figure — and got busted for bringing a weapon to school.


Toyota is the world’s number-one automaker. One of its key strengths has been a reputation for quality and dependability. Now that reputation is threatened by a massive safety recall. How has the recall affected your opinion of Toyota’s cars?


I’m out sick today so posting will be light or non-existent. Maybe it’s a good time for an “open thread” in which you get the soapbox, with the proviso that you can’t talk about anything that hasn’t been talked about a thousand times before. Dare I?

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Economists expect the jobs picture to improve but recent figures on unemployment claims were worse than expected. The recession’s continued pain affects nearly all job seekers. Employment counselor Amy Lindgren has ideas for dealing with the difficult job situation.

Second hour: Consumers are discovering that they need to have a whole new level of spending that’s lower than in the past. Personal finance guru Ruth Hayden says new way of managing your money means more than just cutting back on purchases

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: MPR President Bill Kling answers questions from MPR listeners. LRT, anyone?

Second hour: Former Bush administration Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, best known as the author of the “torture memo,” speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California about his book, “Crisis and Command.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – It’s Science Friday. First hour: President

Obama’s budget, and what it means for basic basic science, alternative energy, and NASA.

Second hour: Depression, and how it may change your brain. Plus, how do ntidepressants stack up against sugar pills?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Brandt Williams takes you behind the scenes of Toyota’s major repair work on troubled accelerators, and asks customers how this episode is working out for them.

For anyone who has ever wanted to say they have had a work displayed at a major art museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has “The Foot in the Door” show every 10 years. All comers are accepted, providing they fit in a box one foot square. Euan Kerr will have the story.

County officials in Cook and Lake counties hope last month’s phone outage can help their chances of getting federal grants to create broadband communications networks. Each county has applications under consideration to tap federal stimulus money. A Twin Cities organization helping Cook County thinks funding could be approved as soon as next week. MPR’s Bob Kelleher will report.

  • Bob Mofftt

    Nice tie in with the “drunkest city” news and the discovery of Scotch in Antartica. The story of Sir Ernie and his crew is one of the most remarkable true adventure stories of the last century. Do I sense an ethanol thread today, Bob?

  • Shane

    That ethanol related thread would justify the principle’s reaction to the toy gun. Wow.

  • Tyler

    If I had a principal as scary-looking as the kid does, I’d bring a gun to school, too!