October’s Top 10

NewsCut set a record for web traffic in October, although — when we stop to think about it — it wasn’t really a month for earth-shattering news. But interesting stories don’t need to destroy earth. Here are the ones you selected (in descending order) this month:

10) Fleet Farm goes on the block
fleet_farmAt some point, a company can get too successful to be the family business. It’s economics in 2015. Business is good but in order for it to be better, the Mills family has to sell to deeper pockets.

9) Milaca cop says restaurant cook refused service
“I need to see my kids working in the Hardee’s,” Officer Jackie Minks told me. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities in Milaca. So she wasn’t feeling any better about one of them being fired than anyone else, even if the worker refused to make her dinner. Because there are troubled kids in Milaca, too.

8) While coaching football, Jerry Kill taught us about epilepsy Photo:  Nati Harnik/Associated Press.
The U of M football coach’s resignation because of health problems also sparked a backlash against the media for giving it any attention at all. Some things are perfectly predictable.

7) The truth behind the aircraft carriers photo
aircraft_carriers_largeThe two-and-a-half-year-old blog post about a false claim on a Facebook post surfaces every few months. And when it does, I know someone somewhere is having a flame war about President Obama about it.

6) The awkward interview of the day
Poor Chrissie Hynde. She dared tried to control how she felt about her own rape. Poor David Greene of NPR. He dare tell us how hard his job is when he tried to interview Chrissie Hynde.

5) The ‘senior dancer’ controversy of 2015
senior_dancersSome people took the title too literally. It was a joke to indicate the silly things that people elevate to importance. But the daily outrage must be fed.

4) Politics surrounds closing of Minneapolis’ last fine-dining restaurant
Photo: La Belle Vie Facebook page. Nobody takes more emotional ownership of its restaurants than Minneapolis St. Paul. The wails of anguish at news of a closing, however, suggests that people are often more interested in lamenting them than patronizing them.

3) The two-space debate is over
commaHow do you know you’re a public radio geek? When your face turns red while arguing whether there should be a second space after a period.

Mary Norris, the wonderful Comma Queen at the New Yorker, settled it once and for all. Because I’m a big Mary fan and whatever she says goes.

Which is why this backstory is worth telling. I’ve sent fan mail to two people in my life. One was to Tony Horton, a first baseman for the Cleveland Indians in the ’60s. And it wasn’t really a fan letter. I told him he was a jerk who couldn’t hit. A few weeks later, he had a nervous breakdown. I’ve felt bad about that since.

And one was this month. To Mary Norris.

Dear Comma Queen:

Again this morning, my wife of some 33 years walked in and “caught” me laughing hysterically while watching one of your videos on my laptop.

“Why don’t you write her a fan letter” she said with a smile, although I believe I detected a sneer in her voice.

And so I shall.

Will you marry me?


Bob Collins
Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, MN.

CC: My wife

And she goes down in my record book as the only person to whom I’ve sent fan mail who replied.

Dear Bob Collins:

You are obviously a man of taste and discernment. I will consider your inquiry with all due seriousness.

You’ve seen the video, but I have to ask: have you read the book?

Should you wish to press your suit, I will be at the Wisconsin Book Festival this Saturday, Oct. 24th. Wine, roses, chocolates . . . all good. Book sales and free advertising especially appreciated.

My regards to your wife.

Thank you.

Mary, YCQ

2) Minnesota bride dances with the donor who saved her
Photo: Mark Milburn, Phodot PhotographyMaybe if you sign up to be a bone marrow donor, you can save a high school girl’s life and then get the first dance when she gets married too. That’s what Danny Daniels did. He thought he was helping a military buddy when he signed up for the registry. He was wrong. And oh so right.

1) The real story about the aunt who sued her nephew
aunt_today Pitchfork Nation [tm] rose up when the news broke that a young boy’s aunt was suing him for the medical expenses incurred when he knocked her over when trying to hug her. The liability laws in Connecticut proved nowhere near as fascinating.