The back-to-school shopping list (Five by 8 – 8/23/10)

What’s the strangest thing on your school supplies list? What’s it like to be homeless? Farewell Tettegouche arch. Steam engines in western Minnesota. And four protests that won’t depress you as much as the one in New York yesterday.

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) A colleague noted the other day that times have changed with the mandatory school supplies shopping list. Clorox disinfecting towels was on his kids’. It’s been 10+ years since we had to do this ritual — actually, it was my wife who did it, of course — but even over that time things have changed, an article in the Winona Daily News points out:

Likewise, the request that each child bring a deck of playing cards doesn’t mean the public schools are opting to supply Las Vegas with dealers. The numbered suits are an effective and inexpensive math teaching tool, Hanson said. As an added benefit, after class is ended, an after-school cribbage club provides the children with “great practice in counting — especially by twos and fives,” she said.

In other cases, technology drives the need for a specific item.

“If you’ve ever been in a computer lab with speakers on you know why we need headphones,” Hanson said.

When their child first enrolls parents are asked to provide $2 for a pair of headphones

A deck of cards? Headphones?

Here’s the list from a 4th grade classroom at Chelsea elementary in St. Paul:


40 # 2 pencils with erasers

3 black erasable pens

4 wide-lined spiral notebooks

5-10 pocket folders

1 old sock

1 cheap flash drive & 1 lanyard to carry it

Colored pencils, fine-tipped markers, dry-erase markers & crayons (in separate ziplock baggies)

White glue or white glue sticks (with name on it)

Plain narrow ruler with inches and centimeters

Pointed scissors – (left handed if needed)

1 box of tissues

Flash drives? Old Socks? No pencil boxes? (Are they weapons?) Why do colored pencils have to be in separate baggies?

That’s today’s discussion point. What’s the strangest thing on your kids’ classroom shopping list? What’s on there that should be? What’s not on there that should be?

Related: Los Angeles is opening a school that cost more than a half billion dollars. Do you suppose the parents have to buy school supplies there, too?

2) What’s it like to be homeless? Check out InvisiblePeople.TV via YouTube. It documents individuals from the cross-section of homelessness. It warns you that parts of it may be offensive, which seems an odd statement. It’s all offensive.

3) Just stand there for a moment, Tettegouche arch I want to remember you the way you were:


(This image was taken by Jim Brekke via Flickr.)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports the arch is no more:

An iconic image of Lake Superior’s north shore, Tettegouche’s sea arch along the trail to Shovel Point has collapsed. Sometime in the week leading up to August 22, the archway was consumed by the same natural forces that created it. Weathering and erosion have left behind a new landmark, a sea stack, sure to be photographed by many for years to come.

It’s funny how we feel sad about rocks.

4) Kenneth Griffis wanted a steam engine of his own, so he and his grandfather, Jim Briden, went to the drawing board to design one that they built together. Kenneth is 13.

There’s something about steam engines for a lot of people. Or maybe it’s the banjo. They’ll have their get-together over Labor Day weekend in Rollag.

5) Why, yes, I am trying to ignore the dueling demonstratons near the World Trade Center site yesterday (although I did read Howard Kurtz’s spot-on criticism of the shameful role the media is playing on the subject). Here are four protests that won’t depress you as much. In San Francisco, protesters demanded equal rights for women — if by equal rights you mean the right to take your top off in public. Even better. It was organized by Raelians.

In Houston, college kids are protesting the sale of their university’s radio station. In Brazil, demonstrators criticized a ban against joking about political candidates. Jet skiers in Michigan demonstrated against an ordinance that’s kept them off a lake.

Bonus: The Tuttles are selling the nation’s oldest family farm. Their kids don’t want to run the farm. Are you a farm kid gone bad? Why didn’t you want to take over the family homestead? How much pressure was there for you to?TODAY’S QUESTION

Does Minnesota have a revenue problem, or a spending problem?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Glenn Beck’s upcoming rally at the Lincoln Memorial, scheduled on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, has angered some civil rights leaders. The planned mosque/community center near the World Trade Center site has caused outrage in some quarters. Are there places in America where certain activities should not be allowed?

Second hour: A recent study indicated that a spinal fluid test can be 100 percent accurate in identifying patients with significant memory loss who are on their way to developing Alzheimer’s disease. But should doctors offer, and patients accept, a test to find a disease that is not yet treatable?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Carrol Henderson, non-game specialist at the state’s Department of Natural Resources, joins Midday to talk about the effect of the Gulf oil spill on migrating birds.

Second hour: TBA

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: Sissela Bok talks about her book, “Exploring Happiness.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Independent Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner releases his budget blueprint this afternoon. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik is covering the news conference.

Twenty-five school districts in southwest Minnesota got special permission this year to start their school year before Labor Day. They start on Monday. MPR’s Tom Weber will reveal what those schools did with students that had State Fair conflicts.

Euan Kerry looks at a movie that’s being shot around Minnesota. It chronicles the experience of war and stars James Cromwell.