The ribbon (5×8 – 10/10/11)

Goodness and tragedy at the finish line, drive-in memories, an anniversary on the farm, Sgt. Prince’s final trip, and the hyperbole of mental illness.

The Monday Morning Rouser:

(Watch the acoustic version.)


The Cooper High School cross-country team traveled to St. Michael last Thursday for a race.

“Apparently, the first so many racers who cross the finish line received ribbons,” reader Sue Daniel writes. “My son ran a good race and came across the finish line in ribbon territory, however he forgot/neglected to get the required number on his hand that gave him an identifying number. This meant he got disqualified from the race. As my son was realizing the fact that he was DQ’d from the race, the racer that had finished immediately behind him came up to him and just handed him his ribbon. Just out of the blue. I don’t think my son or (I for that matter,) realized what just happened and what this young man had done.”


In Chicago, meanwhile, Will Caviness was running the Chicago marathon to raise money for burn victims in North Carolina, where he was a firefighter. He had already raised $2,500 by the time the race started. He’s raised almost $4,000 by this morning, most of it in the hours after he collapsed near the finish line and later died.


Given that in the middle of summer, the movies here don’t start until after 10 p.m., it’s amazing that two of the 300 or so drive-in movie theaters left in the United States are within a few miles of each other — Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove.

The Star Tribune reported over the weekend that the Cottage View Drive-in will probably be back for another season next year. When the real estate market bounces back, the drive-in property will probably be too attractive to be anything but a shopping center that looks like every other city by the side of the road. It’s almost enough to make you root for the economic gloom. Almost.

Justin Atkinson, a producer for the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission, made this video about the drive-in.

Cottage View Drive-In from SWCTC on Vimeo.

Memories? Oh, yeah. When we were kids, the drive-ins charged by the head, rather than by the car. There were 7 people in my family and as one of the youngest, I was always the one to hide under the false floors of the station wagon. Somewhere around the second movie, I’d fall asleep, awakened hours later when my father carried me in to bed.

Live long, Cottage View.


Community supported agriculture was a fairly unknown concept 20 years ago, when Spring Hill Community Farm in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin started. It started partly because of a story on Minnesota Public Radio. It posted this video over the weekend.

Spring Hill Community Farm 20th Anniversary from Larry Schmidt on Vimeo.



A 2007 study of the terms “schizophrenia” and “schizophrenic” in the UK national press found that 11% of references using clinical diagnosis of mental illness were metaphorical. By contrast, cancer was only used in this manner in 0.02% of cases, the BBC says. It’s reporting on the campaign to target the increasingly common practice – deploying the language of clinical diagnosis to describe everyday personality traits.

“They’ll be saying we can;t say ‘he went MENTAL’ when someone gets angry (i.e. “MAD”) next,” a commenter said.

Bonus: Small cities have been competing for government grants – Small Community Air Service Development Program — to try to show airlines that providing service to them could make money. The Cranky Flier blog has looked through the proposals and picked the “9 goofiest ones.” Bemidji made the blog’s cut:

I’ll give these guys points for creativity. They seem to think that people don’t fly out of Bemidji because they don’t know the airport has flights. So what will they do? Create a travel desk to book flights for people in Bemidji and those coming to town. This just isn’t going to do much since we all know that people coming to town aren’t going to call Bemidji to have flights booked. And locals should know the airport exists – they just drive because it’s cheaper or flights are more convenient from other airports.

Alas, Bemidji’s proposal lost in the competition.


A key task force has recommended that men stop getting routine blood tests for prostate cancer. The panel says the test does not save lives and too often leads to harmful complications from cancer treatment. Today’s Question: Is it possible to know too much about your health?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Will voters get to decide on a new Vikings stadium in Ramsey County?

Second hour: Veteran political journalist Jeff Greenfield sits down with Kerri Miller for a discussion about presidential politics, what American history might have looked like, and even baseball.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Presidential communication in bad economic times. Excerpts from FDR’s “fireside chats” and a discussion with Michael Hiltzik, author of a new book about the New Deal.

Second hour: Award-winning PBS documentary producer Ken Burns, speaking recently at the National Press Club about his new documentary, “Prohibition.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The growing gulf between those

watching the wars, and those fighting them

Second hour: Siddartha Deb talks about his new book, “The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Laura Yuen profiles Minnesota’s craft-beer rock star. Leveraging the passion and loyalties of his beer-drinking fans, Surly Brewing Co. owner Omar Ansari helped bring about one of the most significant changes to the state liquor laws in recent history. The so-called “Surly bill,” signed into law in May, allows brewers to sell glasses of beer on site, and paves the way for Surly to expand into a destination brewery and restaurant.

In the small, southeastern Minnesota town of Caledonia, Christian and Liz Gassets own and operate Au Bon Canard, a Minnesota duck farm supplying locals with breasts, wings, and other parts of duck. They’re also one of just three fois gras producers in the country, and as such, they’ve come face to face with the controversy surrounding fois gras, the liver of duck or goose that’s fattened by a force-feeding technique that’s targeted by animal rights activists. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier will have the story.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I worked in two drive-In theaters in Indiana, first as a high school student and later as a college student. Ah, the stories I could tell…

  • Emily

    Two stories about drive-ins:

    My husband and I used to celebrate our anniversary at the drive-in. We’d pick up a slice of tiramisu (our wedding cake) and drive to the Cottage Grove drive-in to catch the triple feature. They usually had action movies playing, which was fine. Nothing beats lifting the gate on an old suv and cuddling in the back. We don’t live in Minnesota anymore and all the drive-ins are a bit too far.

    I grew up in rural Southern Colorado. We had two drive-ins within 30 mins of each other. One was torn down for the “new” five plex. The other still exists and was mentioned in a PBS documentary since its screen is not only surrounded by car spots with speakers, but by a motel with large picture windows. They were great places to take out of town guests. Sort of fit with the whole time warp feel that my hometown embodied.

    FYI- I’m 29 and feel quite thankful I have had so many personal drive-in experiences.