Thursday, March 29, 2007


Do you know this man? No, it's not an old Gisselquist - though if you've seen the family albums I couldn't fault you for guessing he was.

That's Herbert Sellner. He's the inventor of the Tilt-a-Whirl – my favorite amusement park ride. According to the Star Tribune, the good-old Tilt-a-Whirl may soon receive some legislative attention,

Eight decades after it was invented in a Faribault kitchen and began its long
run at the Minnesota State Fair, the Tilt-A-Whirl soon may share a lofty
distinction with blueberry muffins and monarch butterflies: the official state

In this case, the official state amusement ride.

I love our legislature.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So Good, Yet So Wrong

My cousin whipped up some Bisquick Sausage Cheese Balls. I enjoyed these at a work-related event in January and I'd have to agree with Blair, "These look so wrong and yet so good"

MMM - more "Vendor Recipes" at Recipes Inside.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles are not quite as common as starlings or Canada Geese, but they are turning up all over the Twin Cities. Driving across the Mississippi River on 35E every day, I often see an Eagle or two soaring overhead. There's also a regular pair that spend each year their spacious nest near the southwest corner of Highways 36 and 61. [North end Keller Lake. Birder etiquette states that one should not publish nesting sites, but when a pair have been as open and notorious as these two - for several years - and an are often seen looking down on the hundreds of cars passing on the highway, they can hardly be said to be nesting in secret.]

The latest news in the birder world is the pair of Bald Eagles setting up house in South Minneapolis, near Lake Nokomis - actually in a residential neighborhood behind the old 5-8 Club (great burgers I hear!). Birdchick Blog has all the details. It's probably a great location - if not for the low flying airplanes - they are probably one-quarter mile off the end of a runway at MSP - almost directly under a flight path. The new Eagle nest is near several nice fish sources: about 1/4 mile from Lake Nokomis (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and about1 mile from the Minnehaha Creek, and 2 miles from the Mississippi River. The area also borders some park-land (Airport property I believe), as well as a pretty densely populated neighborhood. Very interesting.

Short Post

Several attempts to post a longer version of this have failed, so let's go with short and sweet.

The lack of blogging is due to my general weariness and the crazy, busy times around the Hobbled House. Will blog in more detail later (or maybe not), but it looks as if the school thing is close to resolution, decisions having been made and all that. Still need to help the Dude deal with general anxiousness about life – it’s harder than hell being 6 some days – but with the school issue closer to resolution perhaps we can focus our efforts there.

Looking for a little sunshine on a rainy day, I found this tickled my fancy. Lileks waxes nostalgic about old coins:

It’s rare to find a coin this weathered in your pocket anymore. Either they’re yanked away from sight before they erode, or they’re made of sterner stuff. I pawed through one of my coin cans earlier today, and everything looks bright and shiny. It’s almost as if coins aren’t allowed to carry the marks of human use anymore. Too bad – the smoothing of a coin is a great communal endeavor. It serves no purpose and adds no value, but the loss of detail actually suggests a million details you can’t imagine, the actions of a million fingers whose owners had many things on their minds – but each one of them stopped and looked down at this, if only for a second, to tote its worth and pass it along.

Note - I've taken to using italics for quotes because the Blogger block-quote feature indents just fine, but cuts off the lines in all sorts of weird places. Many tricks have been tried to get around the odd line breaks (and I know a lot of tricks!) but all were unsuccessful.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Relatives in the News

My uncle hit the news yesterday. The story was about how nursing homes are changing with the times:

Lyngblomsten Care Center has changed dramatically since 1912, when a group of Norwegian Lutheran women started caring for 34 residents.
Ahh - Norwegian Lutheran women circa 1912 - sounds like a fun bunch.

Here's what my uncle had to say about it:

"It really helps to have the same people around," said Orloue Gisselquist, 85, a retired professor at Augsburg College who moved to Lyngblomsten three years ago. "They're good people, pretty much friends. I moved here from another home where I don't think they even knew my name."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good News

It's been some time since I posted about our former neighbor (pictured above in the Black Hills with his family) and his struggle with Hodgkins. Here's an email update:

Good news from Mark's TWO-YEAR POST-TRANSPLANT check-up at Mayo. CT shows only residual pneumonia but it's most likely inactive. He'll have a follow-up x-ray in mid-April. Dr. Zent described him as "big and tough, but delicate." His immune system is as good as it will ever be given the Hodgkins, chemo and radiation, so we have to be completely committed to a healthy lifestyle (food, exercise and sleep!). Good to be reminded. Dr. Zent also said because Mark hit the two-year mark he's considered unofficially "cured."
So, we are so blessed and grateful to God and wonderful support system. Mark is ready to move off the Prayer List at church; that's been a goal! Thanks for all of your love and care during this difficult journey.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

St. Paul

Having criticized Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman in the past, I thought it only fair that I call attention to one of his great pieces in today's Strib.

Nick criticizes efforts underway to re-launch the Twin Cities brand - using my own corporate lingo here:

So it is a cause of concern to learn that a new public-relations campaign for the metro area is being spearheaded by something called "Meet Minneapolis," a new name for the old Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau, which might as well have called itself "Forget About St. Paul."

Nick takes potshots at the mayors of Mpls and St. Paul (his own baby brother Mayor Chris Coleman) for their attempts to cozy up to each other:

I liked it better when our mayors used to get on each other's nerves and take potshots at each other's burg. Now, it's all sweetness and light. The Brother was even quoted in the newspaper as saying that Minneapolis and St. Paul are each other's "best friend."Best friend?" Watch out, Little Brother. That's what somebody always calls someone in a mob movie right before they end up in a river. St. Paul's best friend is not Minneapolis. St. Paul's only friend is St. Paul.

Having grown up in Mpls' shadow (Richfield) and living many years in Mpls itself, I've always been oriented towards life west of the River. But now as a resident of Roseville (first-ring suburb of St. Paul) for the past 6 years, I'm beginning to feel some affinity for our parental city - St. Paul. It's nice to see Nick defend good old St. Paul.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No When to Fold'em

I found this comment by departing Walker Art Director Kathy Halbreich to be spot-on:

"In many ways I think of it as the job of a lifetime, because it really was a dream ... the most stimulating, rewarding, nourishing 16 years I could have imagined," Halbreich said Monday. But she realized that it was time for a change when "I heard myself say to someone once too often, 'Oh, we've tried that.' I think 16 years can make you think you've tried everything. And I thought, that's not good for me and it certainly is not good for Walker." [Emphasis mine.]

That's food for thought - - Not that I've every said that myself, or know those who do - No sir, not me.

Pinewood Derby

It's important to learn life's lessons early. Tonight the Dude learned a very important lesson: No one in the Gisselquist clan are very handy with tools and wood. That lesson was delivered in the form of the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby race. Actually, the Dude did pretty well - finishing last only once over several heats - but at the end of the evening - no trophies.

To his credit, it didn't bother him in the least - he is a Gisselquist after all and accepting defeat in contests of woodcrafting skill comes natural.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Good Books

Haven't finished too many "grown-up" books lately, but I've finished a few really cool books geared towards the younger generation. The Dude and I recently finished Word Eater by Mary Amato. It's about a magical worm that eats only words. When you put him down on a piece of paper, he eats the words off the page. And - this is the good part - when he eats the word the thing the word represents disappears! It's fun at first when the main character uses the worm to make the class exams disappear, and certain awful items from the school lunch menu. Things get dicey when the worm starts to eat the names of living beings.

The Dude and I also read a very short - "little" kids' book - the Bunyans, by Audrey Wood, with illustrations by David Shannon. You know all about Paul and Babe - but did you know the story of his wife and kids? I didn't - lots of fun and great pictures.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blogger Problems

Late yesterday afternoon, I had a nice post all set up and ready to go. It described last weekend at the big "In Law Meet Up" in Madison. It was full of links to places we'd seen: zoo, children's museum, capitol, state street (Do you own Google searches). I also had some nice pictures.

I also mentioned how the kids had been sick - stomach bug - awful way to spend Spring Break.

Went to "Publish" and got some arcane error message. Didn't even save the draft. Stupid Blogger.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Suddenly I'm an Expert . .

. . . an expert on "Minnow Racing".

The kids' school is hosting a fundraiser, and someone suggested minnow races. The person tasked with the minnow race activity asked the Hobbled Wife if she knew anything about such races. I was tapped to provide some expert advice.

Here's the extent of my email - in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

The most important piece (in my opinion) is the "starting gate". The race I witnessed in Vergas, MN used a long stick with wooden blocking devices attached to the stick. The blocking devices are attached to the stick so as to line up with the gutters - you lift the stick up and all the minnows are released at the same time. I could draw a picture if that doesn't make sense.

This PTA site
has a description - but no pictures. I think they used goldfish, then gave them to the winners!

To build the racetrack for this fundraiser, you must first acquire two 10-foot-long rain gutters. In a gymnasium or cafeteria, place the gutters side by side. Then cap the ends and fill the gutters with water. A goldfish (or minnow) is placed in each gutter and held at one end with a removable gutter-shaped gate. Each contestant uses a straw to blow into the water behind the fish to encourage the fish to swim to the other end of the gutters. The contestant whose fish reaches the other end first wins. The winner gets to keep his or her fish. Charge $1 per entry. Increase your profits by selling small goldfish bowls (assuming you're able to get a supply at a substantial discount). Arrange ahead of time to return any leftover fish or bowls to your suppliers or your local pet or hobby store, or sell the fish and bowls at a reduced price at the end of the day. Make sure the gutters are properly braced so they don't turn over. Use narrow tables that allow contestants to gauge the fish's progress. If you expect sufficient crowds, set up several gutters so more contestants can participate in each race.

I also found this rather limited site, it has a great name and nice picture of the race "course".

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Loud and Clear

Ahh - now this is good news. My favorite radio station, KFAI, is moving it's transmitter to the taller IDS Tower. According to their newsletter, it means better reception for yours truly:

KFAI, Fresh Air Radio Is Moving Its Transmitter and Antenna To New Digs!As the Foshay building becomes home to Minneapolis's newest downtown hotel, KFAI's transmitter and antenna will be moving to the IDS building. The move from the Foshay to the much taller IDS building is projected to improve reception for listeners in areas like Roseville and East St. Paul.

[emphasis mine]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

She's Not a Marketer - and Proud of It

The Library does not have enough money to balance its budget in 2007 without taking some dramatic action. MPLIB.ORG

Ain't that the truth. So it was with some surprise that I read this the other day,

Kit Hadley, director of the Minneapolis Public Library, is reluctant to play the economic development card. Indeed, she insists, "[W]e take great pride in not knowing" who uses the library. "That makes us a marketer's nightmare."

Why the pride in not knowing who your patrons are? Most other non-profits, musesums for example, seem to keep much better track of who walks through their doors. It costs money to acquire library resources, store them, and make them available for public consumption. It couldn't hurt if they knew more about who's walking through their doors.

Maybe that's why the MPLS Public Library has been closing branches, and is now looking at merging with the Hennepin County Library System.

Check out the latest on Mpls Library budget woes at their site:

To balance its budget for 2007, the Minneapolis Public Library's Board of Trustees voted to close three neighborhood libraries - Roosevelt, Webber Park, and Southeast - and to close Central Library on Mondays.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tiny Dancer - - Hmm?

I just finished Gavin Edwards’ Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton John’s Little John: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed.

It’s fascinating - and weird. Answers to all your rock questions, and a few you didn’t know you had. It tends toward the sex side of the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll equation – more than I needed to know about groupies and various stars’ habits and preferences. I enjoyed the story of Mick Jagger’s academic career at the London School of Economics – straight C’s the first year, but he returned for a second year, leaving only after the Stones had signed a contract for the release of their first single.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fat Summer

This is interesting - considering all we hear about cutbacks in phys-ed at schools, and the awful lunches. Kids apparently get fatter during the summer:

"The researchers noted that schools were often blamed for the rising obesity problem. Critics have pointed to unhealthful food in cafeterias, the sale of packaged foods and soft drinks, and too little physical activity. The new findings suggest that at least some of the criticism may belong elsewhere.
“Although a school’s
diet and exercise policies may be less than ideal,” the study says, “it appears the early school environments contribute less to obesity than do nonschool environments.”
Why children would become less fit over the summer is not clear. It may be, the study said, that outside the limits of a school setting, children are even less physical and eat even worse."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

SNOW! - again

Just heard the good news - Roseville schools closed tomorrow because of snow. It's really coming down. Left work early on bosses orders. I shoveled when I came home, then went cross-country skiing through the streets - something I've always wanted to do -- very fun.

M spent about an hour outside with the neighbor building a snow fort. This is what she looked like when she came in.

Parents - Better Managers??

Do Parents make better managers? Forbes has this to say:

“According to new research, parents--at least those committed to family life--actually perform better in the office. Researchers from Clark University and the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., interviewed 347 managers and executives, mostly from large public companies, about their family lives. Then they talked to the participants' colleagues, subordinates and bosses about their work performance. Those who were committed to family life achieved significantly better reviews. The reason: Parents learn to multitask, handle stress and negotiate, says Marian N. Ruderman, research director at the Center for Creative Leadership, and one of the study's authors.”

Hmm – this doesn’t mean that procreating alone makes you a better manager. Most managers/executives where I work have families – but of course they are all great – Hey! Maybe this study is right.

Seriously, parenting has helped me be a better worker/manager – it has given me perspective (trivial work problems often pale in comparison to life’s larger family/home problems), it has (probably) made me more patient, and it has helped me juggle responsibilities better.
On the other hand, parenting also exhausts me – somedays leaving me with less energy to devote to work. I’m often grumpy at work because of something at home – of course the opposite is often true.

In the end, I suspect it’s not as easy as saying that parents make better managers. Probably closer to the truth is this: Good parents make better managers – whatever good means.

Via: Business Pundit.