When is funny not funny? (5×8 – 2/7/11)

The only question remaining from the Super Bowl, the great Ziploc controversy, the South Shore gets its day, snowblowing the roof, and should college kids be allowed to rent in your neighborhood?

I’m going to be in the Moorhead area today and tomorrow so I will not be posting here for the rest of the day, nor will there be a 5×8 tomorrow. Don’t fret. A small cadre of smart people will be (‘cept for tomorrow’s 5×8).

Here’s this week’s Monday Morning Rouser to help dry your tears.


What was Groupon thinking?

Even though the culture of Tibet is in trouble, they can still cook a mean dish, actor Timothy Hutton imparts.

Over the line?

It went over… real big…


Groupon treats the whales the same way…

If you didn’t care for the half-time show, it turns out you’ll have to hand in your “proud Minnesotan” card. The costumes were made in Baxter.

Columnist Rick Lubbers in Duluth has a decent list of things that would’ve made for a better halftime show.


The world was turned upside down this weekend after a blog in Quebec reported that a young boy was denied entry into a class contest because his lunch came to school in a Ziploc bag. The world was outraged. (Here’s the French version). Then the school was outraged. Then the blogger admitted he didn’t talk to the teacher before venting. Then he was stunned that his country was repulsed, apparently, by the teacher’s actions. He hasn’t been able to put the cork (biodegradable) into the blogger bottle:

When we met with the principal, she explained the school’s « Green Plan » and the many challenges the school faces every day. We also understand the school receives criticism far more often than praise for all the good things it does. It’s sad, but it’s human nature to talk about the bad things, instead of the things that are going well.

We explained to the principal that the story grew to unexpected proportions and that we did not intent the blog post to go so far. We made it clear that we never released the name of the school or the names of the individuals involved. We simply talked about a very specific issue that is the symptom of a much larger issue.

“Things haven’t changed,” Michael Sanera, co-author of the 1999 book, “Facts Not Fear: Teaching Children About the Environment,” told ABC News. “Here we have the same sort of pattern we documented in the book — teachers are becoming activists and training their kids to be activists. Secondly, they are latching on to environmental dogma and teaching that as science to kids. Who is to say that kids don’t wash out the baggies and re-use them? Why is the Ziploc a problem?”

This reminds me of a situation when I was in the 5th grade (it was 1965). In Massachusetts, when we went to the dentist, you got a little orange card to take to school, showing that you had undergone some sort of dental care. The teacher would “thumbtack” it onto the bulletin board. But it was optional. A visit to the dentist wasn’t a prerequisite for an education.

At the end of the year, the teacher had a picnic. If you submitted a card, you got to go on a picnic. That year, Jimmy Burgess, was the only member of the class who didn’t bring in a card. All these years later, as plain as day I can see Jimmy Burgess sitting on his bike by the road, watching all of his classmates playing at the picnic nearby.


What does the south shore of Lake Superior have in common with Napa Valley? People who love the drink, the New York Times says:

Here winter delivers a hefty wallop: about seven feet of snow annually. With their snowmobiling and their ice fishing, Northlanders revel in it. Northland brewers revel in winter too, savoring the opportunity to experiment with spices and fruits, bigger bodies and higher alcohol contents. It all makes for a kind of north woods Napa Valley for the beer tourist.


Question: If the roof can support, I’d say, a 200 pound person in one location, couldn’t it support more snow considering the load is shared across all of the roof? Let’s hear from you engineers with your fancy calculations.


“We need students, and we need to make them feel welcome. But we also need to have a balance,” A Duluth woman tells the News Tribune. “We can’t have our neighborhoods completely flip. If they do, who are your kids going to play with, and where are you going to park?” She’s in favor of a proposal before the Duluth City Council that would build a “protection zone” around the University of Minnesota Duluth to keep the kids from renting in the area, and taking over the neighborhood.

Can a community have a college/university and not have it take over neighborhoods? Discuss.


Several U.S. senators plan to introduce a bill that would give the president the power to restrict Internet traffic in the event of a cyber security emergency. Should the president have an “Internet kill switch” to limit damage to U.S. infrastructure in case of a cyber attack?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A preview of the governor’s budget. Minnesota’s Republican-led Legislature has proposed nearly $1 billion in cuts, and next week Gov. Mark Dayton will release his own budget proposal. Two men familiar with Minnesota’s past budget battles share their thoughts on where the battle lines will be drawn.

Second hour: With the 53rd Grammy Awards coming up this weekend, Midmorning brings you Kerri Miller’s in-depth conversations about music and songwriting with Grammy winners Aaron Neville, Shawn Colvin, and Loudon Wainwright III

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Richard Sandor and Bob Litterman on environmental economics.

Second hour: Douglas Brinkley, Lou Cannon & Richard Reeves on Ronald Reagan’s legacy.

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

Second hour: The rapid growth of food allergies among children and how the conventional wisdom on treatment has changed.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – As a bill to repeal local background checks for gun buyers moves through the Legislature, MPR’s Sasha Aslanian examines the impact of the carry law in Minnesota. Who’s currently not able to get a gun and will that change? Requests for permits to carry are way up. How about gun sales? And what effect has conceal carry had on crime in Minnesota? Is it making Minnesota safer, as the supporters claimed, or is it putting too many guns on the streets, as the critics alleged?

Chris Roberts looks at the astonishing beat boxing and vocal dexterity of local rapper “Carnage the Executioner.” On his new CD, “Worth the Wait,” Carnage opens up about his incredible ‘rough and tumble’ upbringing on the streets of Chicago and Minneapolis.