You are: The kite-flying guy (Five by 8 – 9/16/10)

1) Sweet. Another chance to play “you are,” courtesy of the city of St. Paul, where nothing comes easy, apparently.

You are a Ramsey County judge. Carrying a kite in one hand, and dragging Ernest Sawka Jr., with the other, a St. Paul prosecutor walks before you and says, “Your honor, this guy is flying a kite at night and the good people of St. Paul keep calling the cops reporting there’s a UFO over St. Paul” (Optional discussion point: Name one thing going on at night in St. Paul that aliens from another world would want to see).

“Is that illegal?” you ask.

“Well, no,” the prosecutor says, oblivious to the fact he’s tangled his feet up in the kite string. “But it’s a waste of our resources every time we have to drop what we’re doing to see if life forms from outer space have come to St. Paul, presumably to see how an advanced civilization rips up its streets for light rail. So we want to throw him in jail.”

You are the judge, you notice that a cop in the front row bears an uncanny resemblance to Arthur Treacher, and you fight the urge to break into song as you render your verdict. What is it?

2) In the news business, there is nothing more valuable than the newsroom archives. The Duluth News Tribune is demonstrating that with a fabulous thread on one of its blogs. The subject: Concerned citizens. It started after the Web site, Perfect Duluth Day (a perfectly wonderful site, by the way) opined that the faces of “concerned citizens” are priceless. So commenters all had submissions in the category.

For photos that make you drift to another place, however, you need MPR’s new Minnesota in Photos blog, which today features Mike Link and Kate Crowley. They’ve been walking around Lake Superior. For the sheer “I wish that were me” factor, see the last photo.

3) We New England natives knew this a long time ago, but now the world is onto it. If you’re a criminal and a thug, you probably wear a New York Yankees hat.

4) Nothing like a good fight about public radio between the hard-throwing lefties from New York (in their Yankee hats, no doubt) and the West Coasters. Jay Rosen (disclaimer: I’m not much of a fan, but not because he can’t make a point), the influential journalism professor, takes on Marketplace. He hates it and explains why. Comments are open. Be respectful. Can you be both a floor wax and a dessert topping when covering “business news”?

5) On Twitter yesterday, we had a good discussion on whether anybody from the media really needs to be in a locker room. Quick: Cite the last quote from an athlete in a locker room that was insightful and analytical. This interview from University of Southern California football coach Lane Kiffin yesterday was not recorded in a locker room, but it shows nonetheless how perfectly worthless sports interviews can be. “We’re going to have our hands full; they’ll come ready to play,” Kiffin said of his opponent this week. His opponent this week? The University of Minnesota.

But back to the Inez Sainz controversy. This morning, Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post writes:

In what other profession does one set of people do business with another while they’re partially or wholly unclothed? He’s right: It’s unnatural. But that’s not just about women.

It’s the job of the media to get inside a player’s character and thoughts, to critique and document a team’s progress and flaws, and to pass that knowledge on as accurately as possible to the public. It’s vital to engage athletes in the locker room, where they experience their tempers and celebrations. It’s an exposing situation – for everybody.

Perhaps, but most sports reporters don’t do that in a locker room. We don’t know what athletes are jerks or what their character or tempers are because for the most part, there’s the unwritten code that certain things in the locker room stay in the locker room. Instead we get stuff like, “they’ll come to play.”


The federal government is again considering whether to remove the gray wolf from its protected status in some states. Should Minnesota’s wolves be removed from protection as an endangered species?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Is the economy getting worse or is this the new normal?

Second hour: The Master Butchers Singing Club at the Guthrie.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore and David Kluck of NOAA discuss climate change models and what the Midwest impact might be.

Second hour: Gubernatorial debate sponsored by the Citizens League and Bring Me the News.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A live broadcast from the headquarters of National Geographic. In this hour: A discussion of the Gulf ecosystem.

Second hour: Is it too late to save the oceans?

  • Matt W

    I guess my question would be more about what the suggested procedure for police responding to a UFO sighting would be. Are they rushing in to arrest the visitors for entering illegally or are the police our officially designated extraterrestrial representatives? Is there special training at the police academy for Alien interactions? ‘Cause I would really like to sit in on a class like that.

  • John O.

    Sounds like the only thing missing from the kite story is Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Frank the Pug sitting in the first row of said courtroom. With their shades on.

  • Jim B.

    Perhaps as a compromise he could write on his kite in glow-in-the-dark letters “This is not a UFO”?

  • vjacobsen

    Given the chances are always going to be greater that any “UFO” is actually a kite and not a real UFO, perhaps when people call to report flying objects, they are told it’s a kite. Let the guy go and stop wasting energy on it.

    The action isn’t the problem, the reaction is.

  • Kim E

    5. “Quick: Cite the last quote from an athlete in a locker room that was insightful and analytical.”

    I’d say that Brett Favre leading the “Pants on the ground” cheer in the locker room after a win last year was pretty insightful. (Kidding, kidding….)

  • John P

    “Quick: Cite the last quote from an athlete in a locker room that was insightful and analytical”

    You could drop the “in a locker room” portion of that statment. Questions to athletes in post-game interviews are pretty much never insightful, and neither are the answers.

    Q: How did it feel to score that touchdown/hit that home run?

    A: Pretty Good. I got a good break, and I was able to take advantage of it. Now we just have to play it one game at a time.

    That’s the typical interview. It’s not the athlete’s fault. I don’t know what people expect athletes to say that wasn’t on the field for all to see.

  • David

    The police need their use of “disorderly conduct” handcuffed, it’s their catch-all for when they want to badger a citizen and that’s the real system time and money waster.

  • Heather

    If you haven’t flown a kite in the dark, you really should try it. It’s fun!

  • Ryan

    Curse you, Bob! I have had that song in my head all day now.