Passion at play (5×8 – 10/19/11)

This will be the last 5×8 of this week. Tomorrow, I’ll be spending the day on the farms of Winona County for a post I’ll put up next week, and Friday I’m in the Rochester area for interviews for the “You Should Meet….” series (for which you can nominate people here.)


Airplane pilots — the kind who fly small planes not the big computers you take on a business trip or vacation — spend a lot of time worrying about the future. They’re usually bald or gray and when they go, they’re taking the passion of flight with them. Younger people don’t look at the sky anymore and wonder what it would be like to fly. They don’t ride their bikes to the small airport gates hoping someone will give them a ride.

“I was in Civil Air Patrol in my younger years growing up in Minnesota (Apple Valley Squadron) and many kids/teens seemed very interested in flying…..I just don’t see that as prevalent these days,” one poster said yesterday in a discussion I’ve been involved with.

Times change. Passion is redirected. That’s just the way it is. More smaller airports become empty industrial parks, companies that make small planes go out of business and, eventually, the era of flight that was created by the passion of the Wright Brothers and Lindbergh and Earhart dies.

Passion — and sometimes the lack of it — changes the world around us.

The “You Should Meet…” series I’m working on could easily be called “what’s your passion?” At the heart of all of the people who’ve made the initial cut (from the people you’ve been suggesting) is their passion — a person of academic letters whose passion is horses, a man whose passion of Latin led him to teach it for 43 years, a man who loves a river.

Most of them don’t consider themselves interesting or newsworthy because it’s just their passion.

Most of what constitutes news today is passion. A football stadium debate — for good or bad — feeds off a passion for football. A presidential debate is about a passion for power and perks. Crime is not only people without hope, it’s often about people without passion. “Job creators” aren’t people who hire people because they can; it’s about people who have an idea and the passion to pursue it. Protests are all about passion. Unemployment is often about a passion denied. Can you discover a malaria vaccine without the passion to do so? What would motivate someone to go around in circles and risk death at 200 mph if not passion?

What’s got me thinking about passion? This guy:

What’s your passion?


It’s going to get messy in Fargo. Yesterday, the Fargo Forum newspaper reported on the resignation of long-time news anchor Robin Huebner, who was demoted to a less-glamorous newscast in favor of a 26-year old woman. Her lawyer told the paper she’s considering an age discrimination suit, and had filed an age discrimination complaint with the EEOC.

You don’t often see a TV station boss take to the airwaves to talk about an anchor person’s resignation, but Jim Wareham, general manager and president of KXJB and KVLY, did last evening.

Wareham also said the publicity may be motivated by the fact the newspaper is owned by the same company that owns his stations’ competitor TV station.


The Ford plant in Saint Paul, , which will close at the end of the year, cranked out a lot of Ford Ranger trucks in its day. Thanks to a video from a Minnesota SCUBA diver, we now know where one of them is:

“It’s in one of the Cuyuna pit mines in Crosby/Ironton, MN,” diver Curtis Lahr said. “It’s been there for quite a few years. Not sure how it ended up there.”

There’s a story beneath the surface. He found a dump truck in a mine pit in Ironton It was stolen and dumped there last year. While he and a friend were exploring it, Mr. Lahr says, they found another stolen vehicle from the city of Crosby.

“Just for good measure you should watch this one too,” he said in an e-mail. “I took it four

years ago in the Cuyuna Mines, it’s unique.”


How bad is it to be a sports fan of Minnesota sports teams? Bad. Idea Peepshow has updated its chart to include a comparison to Wisconsin.


It’s getting worse, as you can see, and as Bob Ingrassia writes:

… our winning percentage has plummeted to .282 so far this year, even worse than the pathetic .294 mark we sported in May. The Twins, who were 12-23 (.343) when we posted our first chart, actually managed to “improve” to .389 by the end of the season. But horrible starts by the Vikings (1-5, .166) and the Gophers football team (0-2, .000 in the Big Ten) are dragging us down into uncharted depths of misery.

Things are looking up, though, thanks to the Minnesota Vikings. Our backup quarterback is now the starting quarterback. We love our backup quarterbacks, TV Fury acknowledges in a post today. But why? History is not on their side around here.


Fall colors, Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis from michael john on Vimeo.

Bonus: Drew Manning, a personal trainer, is going to get fat and eat badly. Why? He says he wants to find out why people do that.

“I’m to the point where I feel lethargic and uncomfortable,” he says. “I definitely feel ‘addicted’ to these foods. In the beginning, I did not like soda, but now I can’t go a day without, otherwise I’ll get the headaches, bad mood, etc. Emotionally, it’s taken a toll on my confidence level, even in my marriage. I don’t like the way I look in public; nothing fits right; bending over to tie my shoes or clip my toe nails has become so difficult. I’ve definitely taken those things for granted.”

After he gets himself good and fat. He says he’ll lose the weight.

(h/t: Brian Hanf)


Joey DeFrancesco, of the Providence, Rhode Island DeFrancescos, quit his job because he was fed up with the way he says he was treated in the three-and-a-half years he worked at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Providence. His hotel career is probably over for good. (Language warning)


The American Academy of Pediatrics has renewed its advice that parents not let children younger than two watch television. The group said television may harm the development of young children, even if the TV is merely on in the background. Today’s Question: Would you find it difficult to raise kids without television?


The Big Story Blog will follow news about the GOP presidential contest, with an emphasis on the Tuesday evening GOP debate, the state of the Michele Bachmann campaign, and Herman Cain’s status as a frontrunner.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Why do most people believe that the future will be much better than the past and present, despite all evidence to the contrary? In her new book, Tali Sharot looks at how the brain generates hope and what happens when it fails; how the brains of optimists and pessimists differ; why we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy. (Rebroadcast)

Second hour: The conscious mind might get much of the credit for our actions, but neuroscientist David Eagleman argues in his new book that many of our preferences, thoughts, and intentions are driven by unconscious processes. (Rebroadcast)

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Gay marriage debate: Maggie Gallagher of the Institute for Marriage & Public Policy and Dale Carpenter of the University of Minnesota Law School. The debate was held at the University of St. Thomas Law School.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with Ken Rudin. Plus, what the blind can teach us about urban design.

Second hour: Dan Buettner spent five years, on a search for the happiest people in the

world, and asked, What’s the secret?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The appeal filed Tuesday by attorneys for Alfonso Rodriguez, the man convicted of the 2003 murder of Dru Sjodin, raises new concerns about the work of longtime Ramsey County medical examiner Michael McGee. Rodriguez’ attorneys say McGee lied at trial and misused lab tests to claim falsely that Sjodin was sexually assaulted. Dr. McGee’s use of a specific test, the acid phosphatase test, to show that Sjodin was sexually assaulted is being disputed by the state’s other medical examiners, the BCA, and national experts contacted by MPR News. It’s the latest challenge to the credibility of McGee, who has testified at murder trials in Minnesota for three decades. MPR’s Madeleine Baran will have the story.

Steven Rosenstone will be installed as chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System this morning in a ceremony at the state Capitol. Gov. Dayton is expected to attend, along with leaders and students from MnSCU’s 31 state college and universities. MPR’s Tim Post will look at the challenges Rosenstone faces.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Thanks for posting the Fall Colors at the Falls vid.

    It brought back memories of visiting last July with the spousal unit and thing 1 and thing 2.

    We walked the trail from the falls to the river and back, ending at the DQ.

    Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

  • John P II

    Passion: A milder, more socially acceptable type of obsession/compulsion; probably the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain.

    see also: passive

  • Kassie

    Passion is such an odd thing. If Bob were to ask me what my passion was, I’d have no answer. Not because I’d think he’s goofy (it is a great question) but because I have a small amount of passion for a large number of things. I don’t have a passion, but many. And, it can be embarrassing to admit our passions. I have a love for Food Stamps that goes beyond most people’s love for anything to do with government programs, but that’s not something I’d probably admit to a stranger. Unless that stranger is the whole of the internet, then I will it seems.

  • THis is NOT lucy

    Passion is great. As long as your passion doesn’t ardently put soomeone out into the streerts.

  • Jamie

    What that Valley News guy said doesn’t mean that he hasn’t discriminated against Ms. Huebner. He could be selecting factoids about her just to mislead us. The newspaper SHOULD have revealed its conflict of interest, though.