I get email

You know who scares me? It’s not the trolls on the internet. It’s the local loons.

I got a weird demand from some guy named Terry Dean Nemmers (for some reason, he calls himself “Terry Dean, Nemmers” — I’ll refer to him as Comma from now on). This was sent to me and many other people at UMM, but it’s really irrelevant to me, since he’s going to have to go through campus police and the administration to get any of those things he is requesting. But he’s clearly been fed well on Fox News to direct his hatred at me.

Chancellor Johnson:

Chapter 13 data request – Email me the 13.82 Comprehensive Law Enforcement Data. Subd. 7. Criminal investigative data for the incident involving PZ Myers, associate professor at UMM. Email me the incident reports, handwriting samples, audio files and the referral to the prosecutor for prosecution. It shocks the conscience that UMM personnel would incite others to engage in censorship and criminal activity, isn’t it?

Oh, and in case you intentionally forgot, you are currently illegally withholding (censorship, right?) the following public data: 1. Names of all UMM personnel 2. Salaries of all UMM personnel (In dollars and cents – if coded provide key to code) 3. Incident reports for the 09-05-13 botched West Central SWAT raid (publicity stunt) at America’s Best Value Inn in Glenwood. You remember: The willful misuse of municipal, county, state and federal funds on a wild goose chase for Andrew Dikken.

Terry Dean, Nemmers

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Our weird local paper

I mentioned a while back, when Bill Nye visited Morris to speak to a sold-out crowd, that I’d be looking in our local weekly paper, the Morris Sun Tribune, to get a sense of the community response to the appearance of such a prominent advocate for science, who promotes evolution and the importance of responding to climate change.

I’ve been looking.

And looking.

It’s not quite what I expected.

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Mary’s Monday Metazoan: We’ve got company

We’ve been invaded by a pair of groundhogs who have taken up residence under our deck, and are apparently dining grandly on our weedy overgrown backyard. They’re evasive, though, and I’ve only got this one poor shot of one of them resting in the dappled shade.


OK, here’s a clearer shot of what they look like from the web.


These two are big beasts, and they probably outweigh our cat, who claws frantically at the door to the deck when they make an appearance. I have mixed feelings about their presence — on the one hand, they have gnawed on things in the past, and now we’ve got a mating pair — but on the other hand, they are native Minnesotans. Maybe I should leave them be.

On the third hand, they do look rather plump and meaty, and if we weren’t all vegetarian, might be tempting to toss in a stewpot…

We need to ban Minnesotans

Clearly, residents of this state are the problem. Look what this wretched Minnesotan did.

A Minnesota man who admitted shooting a 17-year-old girl multiple times because she asked him to stop trespassing on his riding lawnmower has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Associated Press, 40-year-old Chad Pickering shot the 17-year-old girl in the chest, right thigh and left ankle while she was standing on the deck of her Bemidji home on Monday night.

“The victim herself was able to describe what had happened and talk to us and tell us that she’d simply been shot when she stepped out of her house to check on her dogs,” Sheriff Phil Hodapp explained to WCCO.

The teen told investigators that she had asked Pickering not to ride his lawnmower through her yard. She also said that he often carried a pistol with him on the lawnmower.

That’s just the way Minnesotans are…

Oh, wait. Wrong word. Not Minnesotans, but rather assholes with guns.

Phil Plait promises us a spectacular meteor shower on Friday!

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit — he hedges on it being a good possibility that might produce a good show.

Experts are predicting we may be in for quite a show: a brand spanking new meteor shower that will peak on the evening of Friday, May 23, 2014! Folks in the United States and Canada have the most favored viewing locations for this event (but that doesn’t mean you should forget about it if you’re elsewhere). Predicted rates for this new shower are quite high, about 100–400 meteors per hour, far higher than normal showers. And they’ll appear to be coming from an area of the sky near the north pole, so they should be visible raining down all over the sky!

I checked the weather report for my area, and it’s supposed to be “mostly sunny”, so I imagine that means patchy clouds in the evening, so not perfect viewing conditions. However, where I live, I can drive a mile out of town and find perfect darkness and a total absence of any artificial lighting, so that might offset the lack of flawless weather. I might give it a shot.

And if it doesn’t pan out, I can wag my finger at Plait on Saturday morning.

My entertainment options

The tradeoff for small town movie theaters is that you have to maximize your attendance, and that’s tricky in a place split between liberal weirdos at the university and narrow-minded Christian conservatives in town. So we get double-bills like this:


I’d like to see one of them, even though I’m getting tired of the genre. Can you guess which one?

As for the other one, the only question is…how much will you pay me to sit through it?

It gets even more fun next week, when the two movies in town will be The Grand Budapest Hotel vs. God’s Not Dead. I don’t think there’ll be much overlap between the 7:00 and 9:00 crowds.

I knew they were around here somewhere

When I expressed my disgust with the lunatic fringe on campus that published the North Star, I also said, “We do have conservative students here — I expect that the majority are more conservative than I am — but they also trend towards being more the reasonable, rational, educated sort of conservative.” Sometimes I fear that’s just my optimism speaking out, but then today I just got this nice letter from the College Republicans.


See? They’re not all far right wackaloons. The t-shirt isn’t exactly to my taste — a teddy bear holding a pistol with a word balloon that says “College Republicans believe in the right to bear arms” — but I can accept it in the spirit of reconciliation in which it was offered. Of course, I’m not going to wear it…even a loose shirt is uncomfortable with the trench excavated in my back right now. The cookie was tasty, though.