1) GIVING UP THE DREAM
Lonnie Dupre, the Grand Marais adventurer, has tried for two consecutive years to climb North America’s highest peak — Mt. McKinley — solo. For two consecutive years, nature has had other idea, pinning him to the mountain with days of wind and weather. Dupre will not try a third time, he tells the Duluth News Tribune.
“It’s such a roll of the dice these days that I don’t know if it is worth it. You could easily get pinned down at high altitude for 10 days and run out of food and fuel. Now that I’m qualified to join AARP I might just start dogsledding again.”
Discussion point: What dreams have you given up? How do you know when it’s time to give up a dream?
2) THE DAYS OF GARY
Let the tributes begin! Gary Eichten retires next Friday and the rest of the Minnesota media is starting to notice. Jon Tevlin at the Star Tribune is the first out of the gate in the broadcasting legend’s final work days.
While the station has sometimes had a reputation for being elitist, Eichten “is kind of the everyman in the newsroom,” (Senior editor Bill) Wareham said. “He loves outlaw country, softball, red meat and Grain Belt. If you have a risk of running off the tracks, you have a guy like that sitting in the middle of the room.”
Wareham thinks Eichten will do just fine outside of radio. “He’ll probably sleep in until 5 or 6,” he said.
Eichten says he’ll miss his colleagues the most. “I love being around younger people.”
But he is looking forward to reading for leisure and spending time with his wife, Joann. “I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with Joann over the years,” he says. “Who knows, a couple of weeks into this I think she’ll be looking at the want ads for me.”
One correction in Tevlin’s article: Eichten’s last day is January 20th, not the 19th.
Related “company men:” The St. Cloud Times editorial today suggests Garrison Keillor step forward to keep the Swany White Flour name alive. The Freeport building burned to the ground just after Christmas:
The state’s best bike trail — in the middle of which is Freeport — was named after Lake Wobegon. And you even jumped into the area’s restaurant scene when you were part of a group that purchased Fisher’s Club in Avon in 2005. Since then, you’ve visited and even performed your show in that town.
So why not make your next connection one involving Swany White flour out of Freeport?
The possibilities are endless. Turn those fictional Powder Milk Biscuits into a reality. “Has your family tried ’em? Heavens! They’re tasty — thanks to Swany White flour!” Use Swany White to bread Fisher’s walleye fillets, or in the crusts that hold Bebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie.
You get the idea. Find some way to help a rock-solid part of the real place behind your fictional masterpiece.
3) WHAT IKE WOULDN’T LIKE
There are so many interesting angles to the story that the family of Dwight Eisenhower wants the person designing a Washington memorial for the former president to take another crack at it. Architect Frank Gehry got low marks from the family for overemphasizing Eisenhower’s Kansas roots while de-emphasizing the matter of World War II.
Gehry’s response was sobering, indicating that statutes aren’t the way to go because “all the great sculptors are long gone.” Is sculpture extinct?
Susan Eisenhower, another granddaughter, said “Ike” is simply the wrong figure to memorialize with an avant-garde approach. He was a traditionalist and bewildered by modern art, she said.
In a 1962 speech at the dedication of his presidential library, Eisenhower spoke of modern art as “a piece of canvas that looks like a broken down tin lizzie (Model T Ford), loaded with paint, has been driven over it.”
“Just about everybody on the mall had humble origins,” she said. “But you don’t get to the mall because you had humble origins. You get to the mall because you did something for which the nation is grateful.
When he unveiled his design almost two years ago, Gehry acknowledged he didn’t know much about Eisenhower:
Does every president need a memorial in Washington? And if it’s been more than 50 years since his term ended, does Eisenhower really need a memorial?
4) I CAN SEE YOUR LIFE FROM HERE
The Consumer Electronics Show has opened in Las Vegas and we’re getting a look at all the new gadgets, many of which will report much of what you’re doing, allowing companies to have a better idea of who you are, and what you want. Privacy advocates are not happy, the Washington Post reports, but they haven’t been happy since Prodigy was the social network of choice. Do you care?
LG was among several companies to showcase “connected homes,” where appliances are connected to one another as well as energy grids via the Web. Scan a receipt onto your smartphone and that information will be sent to your refrigerator, which will serve up a recipe based on the grocery list. That recipe is then sent to an oven that pre-programs your oven to preheat at the recipe’s suggested temperature. And if you are doing a load of laundry at the same time, your “smart” energy meter will suggest cooking later so you can save energy.
“We are putting privacy first and the data here will be kept on the appliances and not pushed to the cloud,” said LG Electronics spokesman John Taylor, whose smart refrigerators and stoves will debut in the United States later this year.
While the companies argue that the data collection is harmless, some lawmakers want them to be upfront and specific about what is being collected.
“There needs to be clarity around how and when that information is collected, stored or transmitted that takes into account a consumer’s right to privacy,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who has introduced a privacy bill that would prevent tracking of children online without specific permission.
Maybe it’s already happening. The Fargo Forum reports today on the increasing use of cellphone spyware, on sale at the nearest electronic store and a favorite product of people who think their spouses are cheating on them:
Easy-to-use spyware can be installed on computers to monitor keystrokes, emails and passwords and to take screen snapshots.
And within minutes, software can be loaded on a smartphone to allow a third party to monitor calls, view text messages and photos and track a person’s location and movement via GPS. The built-in microphone can also be activated remotely to use as a listening device, even when a phone is turned off. And the phone user will have no idea that he or she is being spied on, say technology experts.
What can the world learn about you? Do you have a cellphone? You like to be drunk.
5) TEN MINNESOTA BLOGGERS YOU SHOULD BE READING
Audrey Kletscher Helbling, who pens Minnesota Prairie Roots (if you’re not reading it, you haven’t been paying attention to NewsCut), is doing everyone a big favor with her latest project — a Minnesota Moments article introducing us to 10 Minnesota bloggers.
We set out to find 10 Minnesotans who blog with a passion about their lives and/or the people, places and events of Minnesota. We weren’t looking for writers with an agenda. We wanted down-to-earth, everyday Minnesotan. Even though several of our bloggers weren’t born here, they have lived here long enough to pass as natives.
Mission accomplished. Find the article here.
Bonus I: Ten classic videogames you can play online for free. (Mashable)
Bonus II: What’s it like to be stuck on a tarmac, in a big aluminum tube for 8 hours? The Cranky Flyer blog has a minute-by-minute answer. Here’s the illuminating part: The part where an airline employee puts a rude man on a flight to Chicago, knowing he’d never make a connection to Cleveland. Be nice to airline employees, people.
While in line to speak to the lone American employee, we witnessed some interesting drama. The Europeans from our flight got angry. First a few men were angry at the only employee trying to help us. Then they turned on themselves. A French lady in the crowd started chastising the lead man who was giving the employee a hard time. “It is not her fault!” she told him. The French lady brought calm to the crowd, and we resumed our spaces in line. The man in front of us sat next to my husband on the plane. We knew he was French and was trying to get to Cleveland. He gave the American employee a hard time.
He was put back on our flight, which left for JFK that afternoon, and arrived 45 minutes before his connection to Chicago, where he would then have to figure out his flight to Cleveland. She told him this was the best she could do. We also needed to get to Chicago, and when it was our turn we suggested the same itinerary. She admitted to us that there was no real chance of making that connection and thought our plan to fly from Hartford to O’Hare directly was a better one. She printed our boarding passes to Chicago. Lesson # 3 — being nice pays. We again questioned if we could get our luggage. She confirmed we would be abandoning it to fly home from there.
Related airline fun: Non-stop flights to the U.S. from Europe are stopping. For fuel. Headwinds blamed. (WSJ)
VIDEO OF THE DAY
A tractor’s story (contains a few obscenities).
The primary campaign for the GOP presidential nomination is becoming a battle of super PACs. Groups with names like “Winning our future” and “Restore Our Future” are devoting millions of dollars to attack ads, free of the spending limits that would apply to them if they directly coordinated their efforts with the campaigns they support. Today’s Question: What do you think of the role super PACs are playing in the campaign?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: itizens United upended campaign finance reform and resulted in what we have now, Super PACS. What are they? How will they influence the election?Another form of free speech or more corruption?
Second hour: The year in science.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: MPR political analysts Todd Rapp and Maureen Shaver, on the presidential election and the upcoming legislative session.
Second hour: A new documentary from the America Abroad series: “America and the Middle East: What Lies Ahead.”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Wrapping up the New Hampshire primary.
Second hour: With Khalid Sheikh Mohammed set to stand trial before a military tribunal as early as March for his part in the 9-11attacks, William Shawcross draws comparisons to another trial of the infamous: the Nazi war crimes trial at Nuremburg — where his father served as chief British prosecutor.