Connections (5×8 – 5/29/12)


A young man from Japan made a connection to the Upper Midwest when he was an exchange student almost 50 years ago. Then he grew up, thought he was going on a business trip to Minnesota, and ended up back in Cedar Rapids.


If you go to an office today, will you try to hide from your co-workers? “We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together,” says Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She tells NPR that technology is letting us hide from one another at work.

Is that a big deal? There are few reliable studies on the effect of the Internet in the workplace. Are we more productive? Lonelier? Happier? Turkle spoke a few months ago as part of a TED talk on the subject.

“The feeling that ‘no one is listening to me’ make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us,” she says.


Author Neil Gaiman’s (Close enough; he’s one of us) commencement speech to The University of the Arts Class of 2012. The message: People who know what they’re doing know what’s possible and what’s not possible.

And so, it is not necessarily a good thing to know what you’re doing.

Related: Gaiman’s Theft of the Dial segment on The Current:


Meanwhile, politicians are giving up left and right in the face of the impossible.

Politics isn’t for everybody, especially for people who like to get things done, apparently. But it certainly seems like more and more politicians are giving up because the process doesn’t allow them to change things in the fashion they’d like.

The latest is Sen. John Harrington, a former Saint Paul police chief, who won the seat vacated by Sen. Mee Moua.

“I did not have the passion for it the way it deserves,” Harrington tells the Pioneer Press in explaining why he’s decided to give up the seat. “I don’t really feel like we made the kind of significant change the community and state needed.”

Lots of lawmakers have walked away from their jobs this year, with many saying they can’t make a difference.

Discussion point: Is the problem with the process or the expectations of what’s possible?


From his accounts, it was a much harder trip than Reggie Deal had planned. The blind baseball fan’s attempt to visit 30 baseball parks in 30 days ended yesterday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

We had one rain delay of an hour 51 on May 11 at Minnesota, but no games were lost due to weather or other issues. We had only one shutout and it did not come until the 27th game at Pittsburgh, Pirates over Cubs 1-0 on May 25. One game ended on a double play and it was the same game that featured the only grand slam, May 24 at Cincinnati as the Reds knocked off Atlanta 6-3. Another no-hit game was thrown during my tour, May 2 at Anaheim while I was at St. Louis. Other chances at historic baseball accomplishment or even common accomplishments avoided me for 30 straight games as well, no cycle, no triple play, no inside the park homer, no three homer game by any player, no back-to-back-to-back homers by any team, no complete game for a starting pitcher, no extra inning games, no games ending with a walk off in the bottom of the 9th. IN fact, in only one game did the outcome change hands in the 9th inning, Yankees blowing a 1-0 lead and falling 4-1 at home against the Rays May 9.

Personal highlights for me along the way. Rangers, walked on the field along the warning track covering the entire field with my friend Heather Compton, tour of other stadium facilities. Astros, meant and was photographed with the Houston Mascot, participated in the in-stadium contest called Stros Verses Joes, I named 34 states in 15 seconds, the designated Astro named 19. Braves, took in batting practice on the field near home-plate, tour of other stadium facilities, joined friends at all of the afore mentioned games.

Minnesota made it into his list of trip highlights, thanks to meeting Joe Mauer and sitting next to an old-timer.


Here’s the piece I wrote about Deal when he was in Minnesota.

Bonus: Should parents kiss their kids on the lips? (Fargo Forum)


Bob Dylan, who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today at the White House, may be the most recognized of Minnesotans. Today’s Question: Who is the most under-recognized Minnesotan?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Sportswriter Frank Deford.

Second hour: Are our schools facing a new segregation crisis?

Third hour: Why sitting is the new smoking.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Award-winning MPR documentary, “Boy from the North Country: Bob Dylan in Minnesota.” Dylan receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Egypt, after the elections.

Second hour: For centuries, soldiers fought and died on battlefields or hospital tents. Michael Stephenson tells the story behind those deaths, and describes the changing face of combat,in a new book, “The Last Full Measure.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Doctors push hard to get their patients at the top of waiting lists for organ transplants. But with more demand for organs than supply, physicians’ desires to put their patients ahead of others can become a problem. NPR looks at how doctors are being kept honest in the wait for organ transplants.