Roses are red, violets are blue, it’s Valentine’s Day, the rest’s up to you (5×8 — 2/14/14)

Bob Collins is off today. Bruce MacDonald is today’s guest host.

“No need for any fuss on Valentine’s Day,” said my spouse last night. “A simple smootch will do.” Our marriage may not wind up the subject of a New York Times Magazine piece, but it’s lovely nonetheless.


Mark Seeley, whom I met years ago during my radio days on “Morning Edition” in St. Paul, writes for today’s broadcast,

For the Twin Cities the count of nights with 0 degrees F or lower temperatures stands at 44 for the current winter season (since December 1st), the most since the winter of 1981-1982.

A string of 17 consecutive days with minimum temperatures of 0 degrees F or lower was observed from January 26 to February 11, the 8th longest such streak in the Twin Cities climate records. But this may be the end of temperatures of 0 degrees F or below with the possible exception of early Saturday morning (Feb 15). All of the forecast and outlook models suggest more moderate temperatures for the rest of the month.

Seeley, a meteorologist and climatologist at the University Of Minnesota who appears at 6:50 a.m. most Fridays on MPR News’ Morning Edition, implies that we won’t be turning the earth for gardening or planting any time soon.

Over the past week there were many reports of frozen water lines in residential areas. The persistent cold has produced deeper than normal frost penetration into the ground. Where snow cover has been thin the ground frost has gone deeper than 40 inches.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation notes that under roads and pavement some of their measurements show frost at 6 feet or deeper. Near Ottertail, MN frost was measured at 95 inches (nearly 8 feet). For many parts of Minnesota frost depth has not been this deep since the 1970s.

Ah, it brings back memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Long Winter.

Related links
New York Mayor Blasted for Keeping Schools Open in Snowstorm [The New York Times]
International Garden Photographer of the Year 2014 – in pictures [The Guardian]


About this time each February I cast my thoughts to our public radio colleagues out west. I visited Pasadena, Calif., some years ago for work. I walked around in shirtsleeves and admired the rose bushes — on Valentine’s Day! At Southern California Public Radio, Shirley Jahad writes:

Many Los Angeles residents never ride public transit. But would they get on board for a chance at finding love?

For a couple of hours this Valentine’s Day, one car of each Red Line train will be set up for speed dating.

“We’re playing cupid,” said Metro spokesman Marc Littman.

If you’re interested, you need to register, then get on board the decorated train car and have a seat. After two minutes you can switch seats or get off at the next stop and switch trains. Participants will wear pink wristbands and heart-shaped buttons.

Doesn’t that sound so much nicer than sitting in traffic, texting?


An elusive regional angle for a cat story on the Internet — it’s a writer’s dream. Don’t put your hand near that cat’s mouth; you don’t know where it’s been!

In a three-year retrospective study published in the February issue of The Journal of Hand Surgery, researchers reviewed records of 193 people who came to Mayo Clinic Hospital with cat bites to the hand.

“Redness, swelling, increasing pain, difficulty in moving the hand and drainage from the wound are all signs that there may be an infection and that treatment should be sought,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Brian T. Carlsen, a hand surgeon at the Mayo Clinic.

“The tendon sheaths and joints are superficial in the hand, and cat bites penetrate easily, seeding those spaces with the germ,” he added. “Once it’s in there, it can grow quite rapidly in fluid-filled spaces that don’t have blood circulation, and surgery is often required. That’s an important message: don’t ignore a cat bite.”

[The New York Times]


Although the income tax filing deadline is still two months away, many of us with a long weekend off for President’s Day will start thinking about finding that shoe box and the Internet financial account passwords and mutter naughty words under our breath.

Every year it seems to get worse (and I get older and more easily distracted). Why can’t the government just send me a bill, as the county does for my property taxes? The New York Times even published a special report a week ago devoted to “The Tax Wilderness, Untamed.” The accompanying art consists of a backpacker walking an infinite Möbius strip made out of Form 1040. I couldn’t bring myself to read it.

Tax season always reminds me of this scene from a 50-year-old film:

There’s Sid Caesar, who died this week at age 91.


I don’t need to ask my doctor if the Minnesota DNR’s interactive bird poster is right for me.

What we’re doing on the radio today

The Daily Circuit
9:06 am — Do the Twin Cities have a vibrant future?
10:06 am — “Lincoln’s Boys”: The men behind the president’s image
10:30 am — BBC: Saving the oceans
11:20 am — Lizzo gaining national attention

MPR News Presents
Noon — The Really Big Questions: What is This Thing Called Love?

Classical MPR Network
8:00 pm — Live broadcast, Minnesota Orchestra: Music of Elgar and Holst

If music be the food of love, play on.

Bruce MacDonald is a former reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio. He now writes computer software for American Public Media in St. Paul.