5 x 8: Toughening up in the dark


A couple of letters in the Star Tribune today adequately describe the range of reaction to a day (or days) without power.

It is, said one, a stark reminder of how dependent we are:

I was without power for less than 36 hours, and I thought my life had ended. What floored me was how helpless I felt at night. I had no battery-operated radios or computer, so I felt totally isolated from everyone. My cellphone meant very little, because I didn’t really want to talk to someone while sitting in the dark. What hit me hardest was the fact that how fast I was made to feel helpless. We all need to toughen up and remember where we came from.


Alright, people, let’s toughen up and remember where we came from by… what, exactly?

Another letter writer was already back where she came from:

I have to give kudos to Xcel for great work in restoring power to so many so quickly. I, however, was quite enjoying the peace and quiet of a Saturday without noise. While others in my household whined and complained about not having anything to do, I actually got a lot of the things done that I had been putting off.

Even without electricity, most of my regular weekend chores got done. The bathroom got cleaned, rooms got dusted and floors got washed. We all sat in the same room and talked. We ate by candlelight. I went to sleep without having to cover up the glow of the cable box. How nice for a change!

And then it happened. The lights came on. Within minutes the vacuum was running, and I could hear the Xbox and the television. The quiet of the day was over.



There’s nothing comical about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is why explaining the idea of moral injury through a comic book-like interface is so brilliant.

Jeff Severns Guntzel and Samara Freemark of American Public Media’s public insight network along with Martha Bebinger of WBUR and artist Andy Warner have just released Invisible injury: Beyond PTSD.

Moral injury can happen when “there is a betrayal of what’s right by someone who holds legitimate authority in a high-stakes situation,” says psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, one of the pioneers studying the condition. It’s not as clear-cut as a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (which any doctor would tell you is far from clean-cut itself). It’s less about being the receiver of an attack as it is about being the cause of something that conflicts with what one believes is right.

Find all of the reporting here.


People felt so sorry for bus monitor Karen Klein a year ago when a YouTube video of her being bullied by punk seventh-graders that they donated more than $700,000 so she could retire, something she couldn’t afford to do.

Whatever happened to her? She retired. And started a foundation to prevent bullying, the Associated Press reports:

Klein used $100,000 as seed money for the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, which has promoted its message of kindness at concerts and through books. Most recently, the foundation partnered with the Moscow Ballet to raise awareness of cyberbullying as the dance company tours the United States and Canada.

“There’s a lot I wish I could be doing, but I don’t know how to do it,” Klein said.

“I’m just a regular old lady,” she added with a laugh.

She has spent some helping family members and friends, and “the rest is under lock and key” for retirement, and maybe a motor home to do some traveling, she said. She wants to get back to her crafts, fix some things around the house, maybe get new carpet and furniture, and take it easy, especially since having a pacemaker implanted in March.

(h/t: Brian Hanf)


Perhaps it’s just as well that there’s no tailgating at Target Field.

Kenny Chesney makes his makes his second concert appearance at Target Field next month. Check out what happened when he made his stadium stop in Pittsburgh: 50,000 pounds of trash in the parking lots around the stadium.

It even prompted the creation of a “Ban Kenny Chesney from Pittsburgh” Facebook page. “You don’t hear these kinds of statistics at the Warped Tour or a rap concert. More proof that these bumpkins don’t know how to act,” its creator said.


You cannot print the word “vagina” in a family newspaper, at least not in Ashland, Wisconsin, where a newspaper has censored the title of The Vagina Monologues in an ad for the play.

“I’ve been living in an ignorance bubble,” StageNorth director Kristen Sandstrom told the Duluth News Tribune. “I thought we were all comfortable talking about our vaginas. I guess we’re not.”

Bonus I: Aside from a team winning the Stanley Cup, something pretty cool happened in Boston last night. As he did in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Carlos Arredondo pushed Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair…

And then Bauman stood up…

Bonus II: Stubble Magazine’s interview with some blogger.


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: How America lost its nerve.

Second hour: Cheating in elementary school.

Third hour: The true nature of events and people of the Revolutionary War.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A documentary by NPR foreign correspondent Kelly McEvers titled “Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The Twin Cities is known for its support of arts organizations. But many visual artists say something important is still missing: a connection to the national and international art market, especially for more contemporary art. Chris Roberts reports the state is relatively isolated from the commercial art world, but one Minneapolis gallery is trying to do something about it.

Many people know Carla Bruni as the European model and singer who married the French president. Now that Brunis first lady duties are done, she’s picked back up where she left off in her musical career. NPR profiles Carla Bruni and her new album, Little French Songs.

  • Jeff

    Bob – Have you seen the St. Paul Sears parking lot? It is full of bucket trucks. There have to be some great stories in there. I drove past today around 7am – it may be empty during the day when the workers are out fixing the lines.

  • MN123

    After watching the aftermath of Katrina it was very obvious that as a society we are four days away from total chaos. Four days without services brings our modern society to its knees….no power, communications or food and we will be out of control. Thankfully, it has not happened on a larger scale. I am not a survivalist, but I can appreciate their concerns.
    You are far from being “some blogger”. Congratulations. Great interview.

  • Cara

    Great interview. Could have used some of your editing though.

  • Dave

    Yes, let’s all remember “where we came from.” Caves? Was he talking about caves? If not, I’m guessing that remark wasn’t much more than a platitude.

    Modern life requires electricity. I pay for it. I work to pay for it. And I’m asked to pay more every year, if for no other reason than to keep Xcel’s corporate jets in the air. So yes, Xcel did a good job restoring the power. But I expect them to do a good job BECAUSE I PAY FOR THE SERVICE. They also have a duty to their shareholders to get the lights back on.

  • boB from WA

    Thanks for sharing Bonus #2. For me, you gave voice as to why I read your blog: it has to do with the comment you made about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicting. I’m in a profession that also tries to do the same thing, which is not always easy, but can also be rewarding when someone comes up and says thank you (or **** you) for what was said. Keep up the egood work.