I have a talent for inspiring people to hate me

Way, way back in 2007, a guy in Morris decided to generously donate a great big fancy electronic carillon to the cemetery near my house, which was nice. Except that he programmed it to play hymns and patriotic tunes loudly, every 15 minutes, all day long, every day, from 5am to 10pm. He lived nowhere near his giant cheesy loudspeakers. I did. I complained. Other people in the neighborhood complained. Nothing was done, because this is small town America, and how dare you question a person’s right to screech Sousa marches and Lutheran hymns into your ears all day long are you some kind of commie pinko atheist or something? It went on for a few years (millennia?) with constant complaints & letters to the paper & some brave hero cut the wires & it was repaired & the guy left town in a huff & took his precious colossal beep-boop Nintendo away with him & donated it to a more grateful town in Arizona where the residents appreciate his contributions to the spiritual life of the community.

He has retired and moved away, but he still writes in to the Morris paper to tell us how much the carillon is loved in its new location, or how he visited some other town that had one and they adored it, and how Morris is full of philistines and liberals.

Well, Ted Storck is back in the paper again.

He’s still nursing his resentment. His account is accurate, as far as it goes. The bit where he says Things then got even worse… and refuses to say how is a little misleading, though. What happened, as I recall, is that town officials finally asked him to turn his music down and maybe play it a little less frequently, which I think is what prompted his hissy-fit and his decision to take his toys away.

It’s silly and stupid, but I have to note that Ted Storck has been seething in rage for fourteen years now and is focused on me as the source of his impotent grudge. That’s not good. I’ve had many obsessed haters over the years, but they all tend to be far away and more into railing at me over the internet. This goon knows where I live, and apparently visits the area now and then. I’m a little worried that some day I might open my door and there’s Ted Storck with a shotgun, and that’s how my story ends, blown away over a petty, small town dispute by an “insufferable self-important Christian” who can’t even spell “Pharyngula”.

Glory! Welcome the Jubilee!

I drove by the local grocery store, and there, on the other side of the street, was a…was a…you won’t believe this, but I actually saw a…


In Morris! I don’t know if it’ll be here for long, but we were promised this way back in 2016. At last it has been accomplished, at last it is done.

(I didn’t actually stop at the taco truck — there were several people in line, but I don’t do that anymore.)

I think there’s something wrong with this place

In Morris, there is a 4-way stop at the intersection of Columbia and 7th Avenue. I usually avoid it, because 4-way stops ought to be a crime in Minnesota, but I mistakenly went that way the other day. I came to a stop last at the intersection. Three other cars were stopped there, their drivers all smiling and waving at each other to go ahead. It was an impasse. Who would be the first to be less nice and proceed?

It was me. I let them have about 2 seconds of indecision before I gunned the engine. I blame it all on 7 years of driving in Philadelphia, which is kind of on the other extreme of impoliteness.

Anyway, this video reminded me of fairly typical Midwestern norms.

Carbon neutrality FTW!

The University of Minnesota Morris already has 100% of its electricity generated from renewable sources, but as this article explains, we’re also trying to kick the natural gas heating dependency. UMM gets a lot of attention here.

In Morris, the university, the city, and a local health campus have created a “Morris Model” that could result in a shared district energy system and other shared projects. The model sets goals of having 80% of energy in the county to come from local sources combined with a 30% reduction in energy consumption by 2030, said Bryan Herrmann, vice chancellor for finance and facilities.

Morris uses half the power from its wind projects to power the school and then offsets the rest of fossil fuel energy consumption through purchasing renewable energy credits generated by the turbines. It is a complex arrangement configured with assistance from donors and Otter Tail Power, Herrmann said.

The campus now must contend with finding money to retrofit buildings and to move them to low-temperature hot water heating. Goodnough, the sustainability director, wants whatever solution the campus chooses to benefit the local community, including farmers and perhaps other towns in the region. “There are some changes that we’re going to have to make to get us to the future where we’ll want to be,” he said.

Yay, UMM! We’re doing what everyone ought to be doing.

The “Home of the People Lovers” is going to kill us

I just had to make a harrowing trip to our local grocery store — harrowing, because no one wears face masks around here, I’ve seen one employee routinely wear one, and as I run my errands I see old people, middle-aged people, young people milling about, often stopping for annoying chit-chat with Ole and Lena in the aisles. I swear, when the pandemic comes swirling back into this county, the central locus for infection will be this store…and the churches. This community simply does not take the threat seriously. Except for the bubble of the university, this is also a county that went for Trump, by the way.

The headline on the Minneapolis Star Tribune right now is “Walz might mandate face masks”. Might. This is madness. The entire country was pretending that the pandemic was over, opening businesses, encouraging everyone to get out and shop and drink and celebrate, when nothing had changed, and now that the numbers are starting to rise again, there is this dull, dim glimmering that gosh, maybe we ought to do something to prevent the spread of disease. They’re going to be dilatory about it all, of course.

It’s not just Texas and Florida. We’ve got these indecisive, dishonest weasels working behind the scenes up here in Minnesota, too.

And goddamn, Willie’s SuperValu, get your act together. You’ve got a “coronavirus alert” link on your web page that hasn’t been updated since early April, and you haven’t taken a single responsible action to limit the spread of disease in your store, other than raising your prices.

This is what it looks like when Canada sticks out its tongue and gives you a big lick

Oh, boy. I checked the weather forecast, as one must in Minnesota in the winter, and take a look at our hourly prediction for the temperature. It’s going down all day long, just getting colder and colder from now until darkness, when it will also get colder. Also, 40km/hr winds all day means we’ll have blizzard conditions.

Fortunately, I have a snug house and a snug lab. The walk between the two might get a bit uncomfortable.