Friday, June 29, 2007

Gotta Get a Bow Tie

Back in the 1980's I had several bow ties which I wore quite regularly. I believe I gave them all away - - that's too bad. After attending the MN Bar Assoc meeting, I've got a hankering to wear one again. At least 4 different attorneys were sporting bow ties - including everyone's favorite bow tie wearer - retired MN Supreme Court Justice John Simonett. Don't see that too often anymore.

Actually, a number of the attorneys were well dressed - "business formal" we call it in my world. Lots of suits - not just sport coats and ties. Attorneys - the last of the formal dressers.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Celebrating the Law

[Clarence Darrow re-enactor, Gary L. Anderson]

I've been busy "Celebrating the Law" and having a "Capital Good Time" at the Minnesota Bar Association Convention at the River Center in St. Paul. I'm there in my role as "product guy" staffing the T-W booth along with a colleague, and several sales reps. As "trade shows" go - it's a slow one. This is not a captive audience like we had in Missouri - - when you're not attending the speeches and free lunches, there's lots to do right outside the door in downtown St. Paul (don't laugh - there really is!). Lots more to do than learn about the latest features of a premier legal online research tool -- even though we giving out lots of cool free stuff.

Highlights of the day include my brief conversation with the Clarence Darrow reenactor. It took me a few moments to realize that the guy was not going to "break character" - though his insistence on bringing creationism into the conversation should have been a big clue. I guess once you put on the suit, suspenders, and crazy tie (not to mention the Darrow haircut) it's hard to get back to the 21st century.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to Succeed in Business . . .

Business Pundit has a very interesting post today. This one little quote doesn't do it justice, but it is a bit of teaser:

I fancy myself a deep thinker, but the truth is that I've gotten ahead primarily by schmoozing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Generation Jones?

For many years, I've puzzled over the fact that I'm supposed to be part of the "Baby Boom" - generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964. I was born in 1962, but never felt that I fit in. I couldnt' identify with the popular media depictions of the Baby Boom generation - since many of them were whooping it up in the "Summer of Love" - whilst I was preparing for kindegarten (1967). The Vietnam War and Watergate are often depicted as watershed events for Baby Boomers - again I was about 12 years old when Nixon resigned. Anyway - even though the label didn't fit, I had made my uneasy peace with myself as "Boomer".

Imagine my surprise when I learned that I have a generation of my very own - Generation Jones. "The “Jonesers” were born between 1954 and 1965, sandwiched in between the Baby Boomers and Generation X." Apparently "we" are very important in the electoral process - figures!

Anyway I stumbled across the GenJones piece in Brazen Careerist, where she offers a test to determine which generation you are part of. The test has nothing to do with politics, but is instead based on how tech savvy you are.

Interesting - I scored 6 points on the test, putting me into Generation X.

First a new generational "home" - and now I'm getting younger. Not bad for a Monday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Busy and productive weekend. We (belatedly) celebrated M's tenth birthday on Saturday night. Nine girls and one little brother at the Shoreview Community Center for swimming, pizza, cake - and swimming. Lots of fun.

In between the usual stuff - laundry, various grocery and library related errands, breaking up fights between brother and sister - I found time to stain the Rainbow Play Thing. With a little help from the Dude, I completed the job in a few hours - though it had to be spread out over two days. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by for a swing.

Oh - and I ran a little over 2 miles on today, and biked about 4 or 5 on Saturday. Feeling a little Hobbled - right knee kind of stiff, but I think I'll survive. I'm in training for the Looney Days race - old link but you get the idea. (Don't tell Jake.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Birding and Vergas

Don't often run across blog entires about birding that also mention Vergas, MN. Vergas - home of the "World's Largest Loon" is located about 6 miles from the cabin. When we go "to town" it's often to Vergas, home of some 400 souls.

Birdchick took advantage of Explore Minnesota's new project called Bed, Breakfasts, and Birds. The point is to help B&B's market to birders traveling about the state. Birdchick recently stayed at the Loghouse and Homestead Bed and Breakfast on Spirit Lake.

Check out her site for lots of great pictures. I'll be certain to be the lookout for Bobolinks next weekend.

It Was Twenty (40) Years Ago Today

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I’m not going to make any great claims about the album, or how it revolutionized the music world. I’m sure it revolutionized the “pop – Top Forty” world, and influenced how musicians wrote and packaged songs for years to come, but I don’t know if we will attach the same significance to this one record 100 or 200 years from now.

I enjoy most of the songs from Sgt. Pepper but my favorites are some of the lesser played songs on the album/disc – Lovely Rita Meter Maid, Getting Better, and Fixing a Hole.

Here’s an interesting story about the “real” Lucy of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds fame. As for the drug references, and questions of the song’s origins, I say both apply. I believe John wrote the song based on the picture, but he also probably immediately saw the drug connection in the picture. He'd probably already seen people in the sky with diamonds – or something similar – during his various chemical experiments. It all came together in a song, while the picture gave him an innocent "out" when questioned about the LSD origins of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Congratulations NWA

The recent J.D. Power customer survey ranking Northwest Airlines (NWA) as dead last isn’t too surprising. Doing as much business at MSP as they do, it’s hard to find good flights on other airlines when traveling from MN. For many Minnesotans Norwest has become the company that everyone loves to hate. Being slow to jump on bandwagons (metaphorically speaking – I’ve actually never traveled by bandwagon), I was slow to jump into the fight. But my recent travel whirlwind has left me armed with new information on how NWA stacks up to its competition.

Trying to save the company a buck (Your Welcome), I never end up flying direct anywhere. In the past three weeks, I’ve been in seven (7) different airports, and traveled on three different carriers: NWA, Frontier, and US Airways. Comparing airlines, I can see why NWA ranks so low.

Unlike NWA, both Frontier and US Airways offer snacks – OK – only chips or pretzels – but snacks nonetheless. In addition, both Frontier and US Airways offered movies and in-flight TV. You had to pay extra to hear the movie, but believe me; – Wild Hogs is just as good without dialog – probably better.

So overall the in-flight experience was superior on the non-NWA airlines. Post flight, I had the chance to mingle with some NWA staff and learned a great deal about those handling our bags. None of it inspired confidence.

Arriving late in the afternoon at MSP, the main Lindbergh terminal parking ramps were full. I parked in the Humphrey Terminal ramps instead, and took the shuttle over to Lindbergh. On the way home, I boarded the Humphrey shuttle about 11:30 p.m. with 6 or so NWA baggage handlers and one NWA pilot. Apparently NWA employees park at Humphrey as well. The baggage folks started to de-brief, sharing (loudly) with colleagues about the past 8 hours. Seems one of their colleagues had failed the drug test and had been terminated. What amazed them was that no one could believe that this particular person was the sort to do drugs. The baggage handlers on the shuttle thought of themselves as the partying sort, and had never pegged this guy as the druggie type. No one said anything about their own particular habits, but I almost wanted to distribute little cups to everyone of them and have them submit samples. Throughout this, the pilot looked very uncomfortable; I think he even winced one time. Overall, these guys were not the best ambassadors for NWA.

Yard Bird

This post has nothing to do with "the" Yardbirds, or Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, or Jeff Beck. This is a more mundane post about an interesting addition to my "Yard List" - the list of birds I've spotted in my yard or ones that I've seen while standing in my yard. Most birders allow a "yard list" to contain birds seen from your yard, which is how I can claim a bald eagle, observed overhead, but never landing in my yard.

Stepped out the front door this morning and heard the distinctive tremelo of a Common Loon. This is a common occurence at "the cabin" but something almost never heard in the TC area. I've seen loons in the early spring or late fall on Twin Cities area lakes - but those are migrating, making their way south from their breeding grounds in northern Minnesota.

I continued to hear the call for about 10 seconds, so I scanned the sky hoping to catch a glimpse. Sure enough it flew directly overhead, from SW to NE. Odd.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Minnehaha Falls

Glorious afternoon in Minnesota. After several weeks of August like weather - hot, humid - we had a wonderful day. It was sunny, dry, breezy, with a high temperature of only 70 or 75. What made the day great was that I had the afternoon off. After picking up the kids from their morning at Summer Academy, we headed off to Minnehaha Falls where we did all the usual things - and one new, exciting thing.

We hiked down along the creek to its confluence with the Mississippi River - about a mile, then hiked back. The kids spent some time wading in the creek, then climbed the 134 steps to the "top" where we treated ourselves to ice-cream at the Sea Salt - poor selection today - Ginger, "with real ginger", and the only Chocolate they had was Chocolate Banana with some other ingredient. Both kids settled for vanilla.

Tried something new today - bike rental. These are not really "bikes" of the two wheeled variety. You can select from a number of makes and models - we opted for some sort of "surrey" - (Yes, it even had fringe on top.) It sat three across, with two of us pedaling, and one steering with a steering wheel. M was given the chance to "take the wheel" and she almost ran us off the path. I forget how hard it is to steer with a steering wheel that first time. Every time she needed to make a slight adjustment, she spun the wheel, and we went flying. Lots of fun - the Dude just about peed his pants laughing. All I know is that when it comes time for one of the parents to teach M how to drive, the Hobbled Wife can have the honor.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Meet the Pets

We've been trying hard to get nice photos of the summer guests. Floyd the Chinchilla is much more cooperative when it comes to posing for the camera. Coco the Tarantula is more elusive. Coco also lives in a glass terrarium which tends to make flash photograph difficult. All photos by the Dude - age 7.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Birthdays and Pets - both furry and poisonous

Celebrated M's 10th birthday with Grandmama and Boppa. Lots of cool presents, and good food.

Haven't had the energy to blog lately. Very busy with work and travel - I'm beat. I have a lot to say, just haven't put my mind to it. Perhaps later this weekend.

Carleton reunion weekend - #20 for the Hobbled Wife. Friends have arrived and they are spending the night in the Hobbled House before heading off to Northfield early tomorrow morning.

In addition to the humans in our house we have two new family members - Floyd (the Chinchilla) and Coco (the Tarantula). The new pet members of the household come courtesy of the "Prairie" - the Dude's First/Second Grade class at Friends School. Hard to believe - no other families volunteered to take the class pets this summer. Floyd I'm OK with - but Coco - I don't know. Spiders don't really turn my crank - especially hairy, poisonous ones.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Greetings from Missouri

I have the morning "off" - my colleague and I divided our duties today since it didn't make sense to have two of us in the booth for 10 hours straight.

Fascinating place this Tan-Tar-A resort. For you MN types it's a lot like Maddens or Craguns - lots of water and golf related stuff. The good lawyers of the Missouri Bar are gracious hosts (Thanks for the free wi-fi!), and I'm actually having fun - something I have trouble doing on business travel.

Well off to buy souveniors for the little ones, then it's back to work.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Update

It was a very busy weekend – with no break in the action in coming week. We had a great time at the wedding festivities of the Hobbled Wife’s old college buddy Chris. She married a fellow academic, who shares her love of aviation – She’s the only person I know who holds a “Lindbergh Party” every year on the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic. For his part, he’s building a plane in his freakin’ garage for pete’s sake. At the food line during the reception, I heard Chris recount a recent trip to Oshkosh for some sort of aviation show. (Perhaps it was this one.) She almost got misty eyed telling of their approach to the air field (of course they flew in) and seeing all the P-51 Mustangs lined up along the runway.

Starting Wednesday, I will be off on a whirlwind tour of the Ozarks – actually a conference of the Missouri State Bar Association. The resort where I’m staying looks pretty cool. I hope I have some time to enjoy it. I return late Saturday night, and then leave again Monday morning for San Francisco.

I’m staying at the Hotel Triton, which I selected for its eclectic rooms. I booked the “Zen Den” – but only now I wonder if I made the right decision.