History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Soldiers' bond distinguishes "Bridge at Remagen"

A certain type of World War 2 movie entertained the boomers when young. All these movies were correct with their historical backdrop. Thus they had value in terms of learning history. They revealed the horrors of war but only up to a point.
Eventually Hollywood crossed a line and decided it was time to show the real horrors. Thus in 1998 we got "Saving Private Ryan." It's hard to criticize honesty. But "Ryan" and some other subsequent cinema may have dulled our appetite for the traditional war movie. We're not ghouls. But we have an appetite for history.
"The Bridge at Remagen" was of the genre of WWII movies that boomers consumed when young. It has become a favorite of mine. Bleak as it is, it teaches us a lesson about the tragedy of war without being graphic about the violence. It is bleak in every way imaginable. An online critic says "everyone in the movie is pissed off all the time." He adds that this quality, in his view, doesn't make it bad.
You might have to search for some special inspiration in this movie. But it's there. We see the inevitability of the Allies' victory. We see the pathetic nature of the Nazis' final resistance when SS officers went out and about and trumped the judgment of the regular military people. At the end an SS officer has taken over the command of a general who had a grasp of humanity. This general had dispatched the Robert Vaughn character to attend to the bridge over the Rhine River.
What to do with that bridge? Hitler ordered it destroyed. But its immediate destruction would trap the 15th Army on the west bank. General von Brock (Peter Van Eyck) and Major Paul Kruger (the Vaughn character) felt a reasonable delay was prudent.
Of course, everything seems to go wrong for the losing side toward the end of any war. Their resources are gone. The noose is tightening. Yet people get delusional. It happened to the Confederates here in the U.S.
What do I find that's bright or inspiring in "The Bridge at Remagen?" One has to peel through, but I think the friendship of Lt. Hartman (played by George Segal) and Sgt. Angelo (Ben Gazzara) is defining. With the world seemingly crumbling around them, they have a bond that seems transcendent. I had a psychology professor once who called it "unconditional positive regard." 
In the midst of conflict that shows "war is hell" - never mind that's a paraphrase of General Sherman - Hartman and Angelo are male soul mates, even through some occasional discord.
E. G. Marshall plays "General Shinner" who exudes the wisdom and guidance of a true father figure.
The U.S. 9th Armored Division approaches Remagen and finds the Ludendorff Bridge still intact. Bradford Dillman plays "Major Barnes" who is "sort of" a bad guy. He's bad in the sense he's vain. Hartman and Angelo find themselves at the actual heart of the conflict. Hartman in particular seems weary from having seen too much of the sharp edge of war. He's promoted to company commander after the death of a comrade. A week-long battle will develop around the bridge.
E.G. Marshall's "Shinner" character sees immediately that the bridge will afford a foothold for pushing into Germany and shortening the war, saving many U.S. lives.
When I say this movie is a period movie, it's meant in more ways than one. It's period by definition because it's about World War 2. Less obvious but still significant is the fact this movie was made in 1968. War weariness with Viet Nam was growing. There was a haunting sense of futility about that war and about the efforts to try to get out of it. The fact we knew it was horrible, coupled with our skepticism about being able to withdraw from it expeditiously, made for cynicism. It's this mood that creeps into "The Bridge at Remagen" and gives a backdrop.
The review I quoted earlier, whose byline is just "Chris," observes that "in typical '60s angry fashion, just when you think it's over, it's not, and the real massacre starts." And more: "You have to love the equally cynical closing plates, where they tell us 'none of it mattered since the bridge collapsed of its own accord a few days later.' "
The futility of Viet Nam creeping into a WWII movie? In reality it wasn't all futile, even though the capturing of the Remagen bridge had mainly a psychological advantage for the Allies. The Allies were in fact able to push resources across, albeit for a short time. Its collapse did cause casualties.
Hitler ordered five officers shot by firing squad due to loss of the bridge (or failure to demolish).
A line that really struck me in this movie was a German saying "a dying animal begins to bite at its own wounds." This German was a schoolmaster in peacetime, he tells us. He and Major Paul Kruger come off as sane and sensible even while under the Nazi hysteria.
Remagen is defended by a tattered assortment of old veterans and boys. "On paper" their strength is supposed to be greater of course. Kruger calls for tank reserves. "Reserves" never seem to show up for the losing side. It's like the Confederates in the John Wayne movie "The Horse Soldiers," who always say "General (Nathan Bedford) Forrest is on his way." No, the Wayne character and his side prevailed, even destroying a bridge at the end. Bridges seem quite the plum in wartime. Wayne uses a cigar to light the fuse as advancing Confederates are seen in the distance.
When was the last good Civil War movie? Could it be that "Gods and Generals," that turgid movie that tried to show the Confederacy in a sympathetic light, killed off that genre? Is Hollywood afraid to offend the Deep South? 
Did "Saving Private Ryan" and similar stuff later kill off the standard WWII movie, through its vividness in showing the violence?
"The Bridge at Remagen" continued a genre that was epitomized by "The Longest Day" which also included John Wayne. "The Longest Day" was shot in black and white, surprising since it's dated 1962. It's long, coming in at 178 minutes. "The Longest Day" tells the story of D-Day. Yes we see lots of death. But in the 1960s, Hollywood drew a line on the vividness. We'd see a group of soldiers running through gunfire with some dropping to the ground, perhaps writhing for a moment. Perhaps these guys were dead but we saw no prolonged suffering or agony. Or exposed entrails.
Yes, the Richard Burton character at the end of "The Longest Day" looks like he might be mortally wounded. But there's nothing graphic, and this character just seems downcast and resigned. He's befriended by a British flight officer. They observe a nearby dead German soldier. There's a line that typifies the kind of wartime despair evident in such conflict, a line that could just as easily have been spoken in "The Bridge at Remagen." The Burton character says "he's dead, I'm crippled and you're lost." 
(He might feel similarly down if he were to see the current "Liz and Dick" movie, LOL.)
I like the music in "The Bridge at Remagen." This is an often overlooked aspect of a good movie. We might take it for granted. (I have heard all my life that Maynard Ferguson played in "The Ten Commandments" but I've never been able to pick out the sound of his trumpet.)
"Chris" of The War Movie Blog says of "The Bridge at Remagen" that "if you're after a good old-fashioned war movie with lots of gunfire, tanks, explosives and the stereotypical soldier-types on both sides, this movie is right up your alley."
I think Vaughn was masterful playing his "Kruger" character. He comes across as human and with depth, getting lost and disoriented amidst the rapidly growing futility of the Nazi cause. E.G. Marshall looks like a general who couldn't lose if he tried. Bradford Dillman looks like a middle manager type who "does whatever it takes."
The real human beings in this movie are Lt. Hartman (Segal) and Sgt. Angelo (Gazzara). Many of their type weren't fortunate enough to survive. The dramatic scene at the end shows Hartman making what seemed like a suicidal walk across the bridge toward the enemy position. He is at his most despondent here, thinking Angelo has been killed in an assault on a gun nest on a barge moored to the bridge. Hurriedly, Hartman's mates try to give him "cover." At the same time, a squad of M24 Chaffee light tanks begins an advance across the bridge.
Hartman is greeted by the tattered and exhausted Germans who seek surrender. Hartman then discovers to his ecstatic delight that Sgt. Angelo has survived.
Kruger is marched out for execution. If there's a famous line from this movie, it's from the Vaughn character as he's about to be executed by the SS. Planes roar near the city. "Ours or theirs?" Vaughn asks the officer who has escorted him. He is offered a cigarette. "Enemy planes, sir," the officer says. Vaughn looks afar, sighs and says "But who is the enemy?"
"The Bridge at Remagen" was filmed on location in Czechoslovakia. The filming itself had its own special drama. The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to reinstall a hard-line Communist government, forcing the film cast and crew to flee to the west in taxis.
"The Bridge at Remagen" never got iconic status among war film buffs of the 1960s. It was reasonably well-known and was shown (and still is) on TV. "The Longest Day" is more the iconic movie of that genre. But I find the bridge movie especially appealing. It shows how human bonds can overcome an environment where nothing but destruction and despair seem evident.
I give this 1969 movie the full five stars.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let's transplant Charles Dickens story to today

Wouldn't it be wonderful if certain people got up on Christmas morning as if they had been visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future? Just imagine Wayne LaPierre, Jim DeMint and Allen West. It's especially hard to imagine Allen West. But imagining is what the classic Charles Dickens story is all about.
West's basic countenance is so bitter and in-your-face. He's the guy from Florida who was part of the reactionary political wave of the mid-terms (in 2010). Curious time, those mid-terms.
The nation sent a message in November that the sentiment of 2010 was not going to be long-term. We in effect came to our senses. Some of the regressive voices remain shrill. Those souls have a tin ear about what the American public is saying. If they won't listen to us, "us" being the sensible mainstream, maybe they'll listen to those ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Maybe the ghost of Christmas present could show them how so many Americans "in the middle" are struggling. We lament the lot of the middle class but what about the poor? When I was a kid, it was common to hear about the plight of the poor. RFK did his "poverty tour." Politicians have gotten more delicate, not wanting to use language about "the poor." Why? Today they're apt to use language about "the middle class and those aspiring to be middle class." The "aspiring" term might be the closest they get to talking about the poor. The ghost of Christmas present might scold us about that.
But there's so much more he could scold Allen West about. The bitter face of that individual has been like a scourge, signaling just what a regressive force the tea party is. He lost in his re-election bid and hasn't even been a good loser. He tried challenging his loss. Might he weigh, just for a moment, moderating his views? Might he weigh simple humility? Could he laugh just a little? This is a man who said Debbie Wasserman-Schultz "wasn't a lady" just because she was making a policy argument. He used other language that made him a parody of himself.
So wouldn't it be wonderful if by some miracle, he could wake up on Christmas morning and be transformed into a joyful soul? Since he's apparently always close to a Fox News camera, maybe he could find one and project that brimming Christmas cheer that embraces all of humanity. Exercise those smiling muscles. Let your guard down about all those "liberals" out there. Stop looking at the world in such simplistic terms. I realize Fox News rewards you for doing that. I realize you have learned that reading a certain script for Fox News will get you considerable attention. Surprise them. Be like Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, going out on the streets of London with a whole new countenance, giving a big donation to the Community Chest etc.
Say you understand people's struggles. Say you understand government's role in giving people a platform from which to build on. Say you understand the need to trim our military from the kind of bulky model that was designed in the Cold War (or to defeat the Wermacht). None other than David Stockman has said we could cut as much as 1/3 of our defense budget.
Republicans like Stockman (Ronald Reagan's old budget hatchet-man), Chuck Hagel and now maybe even John Boehner are being slowly drummed out of the right wing corps. For a while we heard the term "rino," denoting "Republicans in name only." That was a prelude to the kind of splintering we're seeing now in conservative ranks. Charlie Crist has decided to become a Democrat. His undoing, conventional wisdom holds, was when he joined President Obama in a brief embrace when announcing stimulus funds for Florida.
Who knows? Boehner may have been hurt being videotaped just shaking hands with Obama. Hank Williams Jr., a man of the Deep South who's unabashed with his conservatism, called Obama "the enemy." He likened Obama to Hitler. Yes he was almost completely banished from television, although Mike Huckabee has seen fit to pay some attention. Progressives like Bill Maher have tried to be nice about Huckabee, describing him as a basically pleasant person, never mind the Neanderthal stuff.
Progressives have indeed tried to stay restrained up until now. We have bent over backward trying to show respect. MSNBC will try to deny it's a prima facie soap box for progressives when in fact there should be no reservations about this. Fox News has tried to use stealth. Fox News says it's fair and balanced and proclaims it's needed to offset the "liberal mainstream media." Fox News is a virtual soap box for the likes of West, Huckabee, Sarah Palin and others who are resisting the forces of history.
Thomas Ricks says of MSNBC that "they do the same thing (as Fox) but they aren't as good at it." Ricks says it better than I can. The emperor has no clothes.
MSNBC is getting better. Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell do investigative and analytical stuff that is absolutely necessary. Whatever defensiveness they might have had about being ideological, has got to get wiped away. Joe Scarborough has said the way you deal with a bully is by punching him in the face.
I'd prefer seeing many of these ideological ruffians (e.g. Rush Limbaugh) get visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Why did Wayne LaPierre have to be so predictable, as predictable as (the bad) Scrooge himself, when going to the podium post-Newtown? Why do these people have to stick to their script so much? To stay in their foxholes? Why couldn't the likes of LaPierre say they've been humbled by what happened? That they have learned to look at the world in a different way? That they have been horrified into backing off on certain views?
Intransigence on the debt ceiling actually hurt the U.S. economy. Intransigence is endangering the House speakership of John Boehner (pronounced "boner" by radio host/humorist Stephanie Miller).
Why does LaPierre have to go to that microphone and insult us all by merely stating the knee-jerk standard NRA rhetoric, when we all know some re-thinking is in order? Maybe the ghost of Christmas past could escort Mr. LaPierre into the lives of some of those cherub/vicitms from when they were infants, revealing the glow and innocence in their lives - the tremendous promise.
LaPierre's answer now is more guns. Specifically we need more "good guys" with guns, LaPierre says, to counter the "bad guys." One envisions an old west main street complete with a saloon, where one man says to another "all right, draw!" But we don't live in the movies, we live in real life. In real life the mad shooters might actually take it as a challenge that schools have armed officers. What's to keep an armed teacher or principal from "flipping out" and doing something horrible, or having their weapon fall into the wrong hands?
"More guns," eh? It's what the NRA stands for, not for humanity. And LaPierre has to continue in lock-step because this is his stock in trade. It's his "brand" as it were, and we're all about "branding" and never deviating from it. If only more people would throw off the shackles of such groupthink.
Ebeneezer Scrooge woke up on Christmas morning completely freed of all the old inhibitions that bothered him. He was unafraid to become that new person, to view the world from the depths of his soul as if he were a child again, a child like those in Newtown.
LaPierre represents a "protection racket" of sorts. He might have to leave completely if he's to become the kind of person like Scrooge on Christmas morning. Why does our Congressman Collin Peterson have to be so deferential to the NRA? Please contact him.
Jim DeMint is from South Carolina which was the state most eager to start the U.S. Civil War. Are we still dealing with vestiges of that? After having gone on record railing about "pressure groups," DeMint has decided to leave his elected position to join a pressure group: the Heritage Foundation. It's a pressure group from the right wing naturally.
Is the Deep South going to muck things up again?
Like so many on his side, DeMint is so utterly predictable. These sullen souls can't show a shade of nuance for the life of them. They are zombie-like in their withdrawal from reality, from the lives of "real folks" who live in places like trailer parks.
Wouldn't it be amazing, like the greatest Christmas gift of all, if DeMint could awaken Christmas morning, find a Fox News camera and express a new viewpoint on life, one showing true empathy about all of humanity? We can pray or dream about Allen West, Wayne LaPierre and Jim DeMint waking up on the 25th with that ebullient and joyful air.
Reality will almost certainly spell a different story.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recognizing Christmas in its truest essence

A favorite of mine: "Little Drummer Boy."
We attended the Christmas program at First Lutheran Church Sunday afternoon (12/16). The charm and innocence of these programs is a constant through the years.
As a child I felt the same kind of spirit at the public school. We felt the Christmas story should be recognized as a universal. We knew there were some non-Christians among us, and I think we (the kids anyway) didn't have any problem with that. We just felt everyone could join in the acknowledgment of Christmas as simply a time of joy, brotherhood and escape. Go ahead and sing "Silent Night."
Eventually we as a society had to restrain some of the Christmas zeal and let the non-Christians have some more real "space." I don't think we (the kids) would have had any problem with those who might want to distance themselves. But would it be the kids' own decision (to withdraw) or their parents?
My opinion: The singing of Christmas songs and the various other trappings of Christmas are not "indoctrination." I think they can be viewed as innocuous. They are uplifting. But there's no point in compelling anyone.
We then went from giving non-Christians their "space" to having to openly acknowledge non-Christian faiths at holidaytime. Public school Christmas programs began to include gestures toward "Kwanzaa." I'd rather see no religious element at all. Late December is a time for Christians to rejoice. Christmas "is what it is." You can acknowledge it and watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or you can be non-religious and go about your own affairs.
Jewish people justifiably mark Hanukkah, about which I have to admit knowing very little. I had a first cousin convert to Judaism late in his life. He had been a very committed Christian previously, to the point where he had some sort of clergy credential. "He dressed up in robes," a family member remarked once. He then adopted Judaism. He reportedly said of Christianity: "I don't understand it."
Those words stuck in my head because I sort of agree. I had a Christian proselytizer say to me once: "Has any other man ever risen from the dead?" The answer is no. How can we accept as fact that any such thing ever happened?
I went to Alexandria to see that movie about the Nativity about a decade ago. This movie was intended to make a big splash. As it turned out, it didn't have staying power. It didn't move me. It actually came off as rather bizarre, just as the story of the virgin birth with its angels and the like, can be seen as bizarre. It seems like a drug-induced fantasy, to be blunt. But believers are undeterred.
Those of us who graduated from college might remember Campus Crusade for Christ or Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. Reportedly the Crusade just goes by the name "Cru" now. I once met a family near Donnelly in which the parents first met through their involvement with "Cru." They are gentle and considerate people, these "Crusaders," but sometimes it seems their eyes are a little glazed over.
I have a harder time accepting things on faith. So does my old boss at the Morris newspaper, Jim Morrison. (I think he was my boss although it was hard to figure out who you worked for there.)
Obviously, Jews should have total breathing room to mark "Hanukkah." But it has nothing to do with Christmas. So it seems a little perverse to see little kids have to devote portions of the "Christmas" program either to Judaism, "Kwanzaa" or whatever. I put "Kwanzaa" in quotes because I consider it rather a pseudo-religious holiday. It wasn't even developed in Africa.
Obviously the Christmas program at First Lutheran Church was totally religious in its focus. Churches can do that, naturally, and there was a time when public schools were given lots of latitude to do that. The world has changed, or America has changed. Kids get their "holiday break" now, not "Christmas break."
By no means am I suggesting there's a "war on Christmas." My mindset is anathema to Bill O'Reilly and Fox News. I'm just saying that when us boomers were young, we expected those few non-Christians among us to just join in with the Christmas stuff and enjoy it - enjoy the pervasive spirit of the holiday. No need to adopt our religion. Eventually voices rose up insisting on real separation. Again, it's the parents more than the kids who would insist on this. Especially parents who are college professors.
One of the concerns about "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when it was made, was that it was too overtly Christian. Of course it was resoundingly successful, no doubt because of the innocence of the children characters. I suspect its success was also due to how unabashed it was about recognizing Christmas - its essence and its focus on the virgin birth. "Linus" read dutifully from the Bible. You could see the kids were uplifted. It's a delight to view this stuff even if you don't proclaim Christianity.
A lesser-known TV special is "The Little Drummer Boy." Greer Garson narrated. Jose Ferrer was endearing as a singer even though his voice was that of "the bad guy," Ben Haramed. Haramed and a bumbling partner temporarily abduct the young boy who has been orphaned. They sell the boy's camel, named "Joshua," to the trio of kings who are on their way to Bethlehem. The boy's name is Aaron. He's also accompanied by a donkey, "Samson," and lamb, "Baabaa."
The boy becomes free and suddenly notices the bright star. The kings had mentioned it. Aaron, Samson and Baabaa proceed in haste to try to find Joshua. So excited were they to finally see Joshua again, they became inattentive and Baabaa is mortally wounded by a chariot. Aaron, at the lowest point in his life, has only his drum - his only possession - as he is befriended by the benevolent kings who encourage him to observe the newborn Christ child. Aaron does what only he can, play his drum while all the animals around the manger nod their heads to the rhythm. Aaron turns around and notices that Baabaa has been miraculously cured. This scene made me cry when I was a child.
This is the kind of story we must embrace this time of year. Non-Christians can watch it and still feel moved.
Listen to Linus recite the Bible verses. It won't contaminate you.
The singing children at First Lutheran were typically charming. Have you ever noticed how the very youngest ones don't really "sing," they "shout?" There's nothing like an ensemble of second graders singing (or "shouting") a song like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." It's the feeling of the season.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

The curious case of Matt Rustad of St. Francis

Matt Rustad
The fuss in the St. Francis school district is a reminder why the world needs good defense attorneys. People screw up sometimes. A defense attorney helps ensure that the consequences are in proportion. The accused individual, depending on what he did, needn't have an anvil come down on him as if he were Wile E. Coyote from "Road Runner."
Based on what I've read, I'm not sure Matthew Rustad's attorney is up to the task. Now it's necessary for a high-powered attorney to come on the scene, lest a disturbing precedent be set.
Rustad is nursing a bump on his head, figuratively speaking, caused by that anvil. What kind of indiscretion would cause removal from a school board? Can a school board member be judged by the same standards applied to students? Aren't board members elected on the basis of their views and priorities, and not on the basis of whether they'd ace a sophomore-level English class?
We had a member of our Morris Area school board stay in his position quite long after he probably should have been induced to resign. And that was a serious legal matter. We don't demand that our elected public officials be free of indiscretions. It would be nice if they were, but human beings make missteps and have peccadilloes and the like. Surely you remember Bill Clinton?
The curious case of Matt Rustad came to my attention thanks to the state news section of the Star Tribune. State news - actually I think it's called "area/metro" - is the one category where I find I really need to keep looking at the Strib. National, international and sports news are easily accessible online. An update on the Rustad case appeared recently.
If you're not familiar with the story, you might be thinking at this point he must have done some egregious or heinous thing. Well, his critics might indeed claim it was egregious, in the same sense the critics of Susan Rice would make such a claim. I'm not aware of any charges, criminal or civil, being aimed at Mr. Rustad. Now, I don't know the person and have no idea if he's the kind of person I'd vote for. But it clearly appears his critics are trying to kill an ant with a sledgehammer.
These are precisely the kind of circumstances that call for an advocate who thinks like a defense attorney.
Will anyone even want to run for school board if they are put under this kind of microscope? No one does this seeking fame or fortune. It can almost be seen as a sacrifice. Board members are mature adults who have learned how to navigate in the real world and have found a niche for themselves. We don't judge them in the same way as if they were schoolchildren.
I have never watched "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" but I assume it's about the irony of adults having trouble mastering the same lessons as kids. I really don't see any irony. We all go through passages in life. An elementary school child is "wired," as it were, to learn certain things in certain ways. It comes naturally. Adults are done with that. They focus on priorities that enable them to be responsible in life. They have left such things as "social studies" far behind them.
I'm amazed at the stamina of young people who can be in class 7-8 hours a day, perhaps be in extracurricular and still have some "homework" to do. I couldn't cut it.
Rustad has been found to have "plagiarized." I put the word in quotes because I'm not sure this is what you'd call full-bore plagiarism. OK, what did he do? Matt Rustad lifted an item he found online (presumably online-only, a blog post in fact) and submitted it for the school district's monthly newsletter, called The Courier.
As a matter of pure principle it's of course always best to use your own words. We should also understand that the concept of plagiarism developed in the pre-Internet age. Way back when, to "publish" something was really a big deal. You almost had to have economic incentives. You needed access to a printing press. Either you printed something on your own dime (rare) or you sought some sort of commercial reward. Economic incentives always color a particular matter. The law gets involved when money changes hands.
You don't need me to tell you the online world has turned everything upside down. Today to "publish" means simply clicking on a little symbol on your computer screen, and spending no money to do so. The incentive is to simply share or opine. It's ubiquitous. We are saturated with information, unlike the "old days." How quickly we forget.
Today's young people have a much more loose understanding of "intellectual property" than older generations. This is why we saw the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation shot down. On the basis of pure principle, SOPA and PIPA seemed perfectly reasonable. But young people saw through this, readily, and saw the dangers. They know that in our online wired world, people will frequently "share" in a manner that might technically cross a line.
Here's the deal: Sharing is what the Internet is all about. With that as a backdrop, the strict and traditional understanding of "intellectual property" isn't practical. This is why we have the "Copyright Reform Act" on the drawing board, which actually goes in the opposite direction of SOPA and PIPA. The Reform Act is a new model statute for the digital age. It's a new project from Public Knowledge. It seeks to clarify the "fair use" principle and give people with innocent (non-commercial) purposes a little more breathing room.
While using someone else's words is never defensible, the small-time stuff should probably just be governed by a code of ethics, which young people in their good sense could easily adopt. They already are.
Ouster from a school board for borrowing some paragraphs found online, with no commercial motivation, doesn't pass the smell test. Again, where is this guy's attorney? It would appear the original writer had no commercial motivation. I'm not even sure a censure motion was needed, I just think a verbal apology and subsequent correction in this newsletter would be fine. Perhaps we could just call this "failure to attribute" rather than the "p" word of plagiarism.
The language being directed at Mr. Rustad has hyperbole. There was a petition with sanctimonious sounding language.
Surely "plagiarism" is an unforgivable act, right? Surely you should be pushed out of whatever position you held in which you committed such a dastardly act, right?
Well. . .
We're just talking a stupid school district newsletter here. It's the equivalent of putting some sheets of paper on a copy machine, stapling groups of them together, and maybe it's even done this way. But let's call it a "publication" if we're out to smear Mr. Rustad. And that's what it is, a smear, making any reasonable person think there are other issues in the background here. What? On a board of education? I'm shocked there's gambling in this establishment.
I'm 57 years old and have a pretty long memory of events in our state. Probing my memory banks, I remember an interim president of the University of Minnesota, surely an august institution, who was caught lifting material in the late 1980s. He had to apologize to the Regents' head. He felt he had to withdraw as candidate for president of another university. This individual's name: Richard Sauer.
An old AP report says "Richard Sauer admitted lifting part of a presentation for the North Dakota State University job from a magazine article without attribution." More: "Sauer has acknowledged that in a speech he has given several times in the past six weeks, he failed to credit the article." He told Regents' head David Lebedoff he'd made a "bad mistake." He called his failure to attribute "a dumb thing to do." He said "I made a mistake of poor judgment."
Surely Mr. Sauer was drummed out of the corps, then. Surely the Regents took some sort of prompt action booting him out of academia, because after all, "plagiarism" is an egregious thing that would make you ineligible to serve on a school board, right?
Well. . .
Lebedoff was asked by the AP reporter if the incident might lead to a call for Sauer to "step down" (not be forcibly removed) as interim president. Lebedoff answered: "I don't want to speculate on that." The AP report stated "Regents and lawmakers interviewed by the AP said they had heard no calls for Sauer's resignation, and expressed support for him."
"Expressed support?" You have got to be shittin' me. Not that I'd care about joining any lynch mob vs. Mr. Sauer who I'm quite sure is a decent human being, but how on earth would anyone square what the St. Francis school board is doing vs. past incidents that drew no drastic action?
We learn that Rustad actually "added and removed (only) a few phrases to the original text." So it's not even pure plagiarism, rather it's somewhat similar to what Fareed Zakaria of CNN was caught doing recently. Zakaria was suspended for his actions but he's back on the air now, in full glory. And this is a media professional.
Did Zakaria plagiarize? Like so many alleged incidents that are going to come about in our Internet age, there's a gaping gray area. Zakaria re-wrote some material he found elsewhere but didn't re-write it enough. He left footprints.
Do you remember the trouble that Doris Kearns Goodwin got in? I suppose I'm showing my age again. The well-known author got in serious trouble for committing non-gray area plagiarism. This surfaced in her book "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys." We learn from Wikipedia "she used without attribution many phrases and sentences from three other books."
Kearns Goodwin admitted she reached a large private settlement with author Lynne McTaggart. Slate Magazine discovered problems with the Kearns Goodwin book "No Ordinary Time," in which many passages were taken from "Eleanor and Franklin," "FDR's Splendid Deception" and other books. Kearns Goodwin has not disappeared as a result of all this. Although she did depart as guest pundit on a PBS show, she appears on TV today with some regularity offering her views. Would she be unqualified on the face of it to serve on a stupid little school board?
Rustad wanted to share about "paperless classrooms" in the district newsletter. Not even a controversial subject. Actually "paperless" is something I advocate so maybe I would be inclined to vote for Mr. Rustad. He found material from the International Society for Technology in Education. The piece he tapped was a lengthy comment on a blog. Just a "comment" and not the blog itself? I'm going by wording in an October Strib article. The item is still online "and is not identical to Rustad's column, but nearly so."
If this is grounds for being removed from a school board, heaven help us all. A majority on any public board could seek removal of adversaries just by doing your basic "opposition research." I'm sure our system of governance guards against this. It had better. Blogger John Hoff had to be rescued by our legal appeals system after he initially was in a courtroom where the judge didn't understand the First Amendment. That's not an exaggeration; she literally didn't understand it.
It's a shame the legal system might have to come to the rescue of Mr. Rustad too, not because he's an exemplary school board member but because our system of government is to be cherished and protected with vigilance.
In the case of Richard Sauer, he called William C. Nelson, chairman of NDSU's presidential search committee, to say he was withdrawing from consideration. Nelson told the AP that "he unsuccessfully tried to get Sauer to remain" a candidate.
Huh? We're talking a very high-level, important university administrator associated with "name" institutions, obviously with a resume nothing short of sparkling. And he's asked to reconsider his decision to withdraw? And Mr. Rustad, a small-time no-name school board member with a small-time and apparently very petty school board, is ousted?
And, Mr. Rustad is subjected to an "administrative hearing" on November 14, in which he had to answer questions "under oath" under "cross examination" by District 5 Attorney Amy Mace? We learn all this from an ABC Newspapers article.
Shouldn't his attorney at some point have advised him to just quit talking? Mr. Rustad is an elected public official who to my knowledge hasn't been the target of any legal action for anything he's done. We had a school board member here, initials V.G., who actually was the target of legal proceedings, remember? Eventually he resigned but it was very belated and it appeared not to be forced.
We learned that Rustad wasn't forthcoming when first confronted with the "accusation." What would you expect him to say? "Yeah, I plagiarized." He felt awkward, on the spot and knew he had done something not according to Hoyle, to be sure. But he didn't want to be that ant killed by a sledgehammer. In this sense he's like Mark Fuhrman, the detective in the O.J. Simpson case, who denied under oath ever using the word "nigger." Vince Bugliosi eventually defended Fuhrman's conduct in this matter.
There are probably other issues in the background of the Rustad case. He looks like a young guy and is maybe viewed as some uppity young individual who subscribes to some different ideas, like "paperless schools."
"Paperless schools" certainly threatens the book publishing industry.
Based on what I've read, the naivete and pettiness of St. Francis school board members should cause them, and not Mr. Rustad, to leave the board.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, December 7, 2012

Keep kids with age peers? Maybe we shouldn't

In photo: the kind of silliness we can only associate with college. It has prompted an investigation at Penn State University. Just what that institution needs. It's a Mexican-themed sorority party (Chi Omega) with quite questionable taste. Are kids' interests really best served when they spend so much time with each other? St. Cloud State University is trying to restore Homecoming after a history in which it got dragged down by bad behavior. Maybe kids can learn outside the boundaries of these institutions. Remember the goalpost incident here in Morris?
Maybe young people should be liberated. They should be liberated from the shackles of being segregated with their age peers while growing up.
"Growing up" hardly describes what a lot of kids experience. Where did the notion begin that kids ought to spend nearly all of their developmental time with their age peers? I don't think the notion is really all that old. The old country school model contradicted it. Kids of varying ages were expected to work together for mutual benefit.
And first and foremost, why not let kids spend more time around adults? Don't adults set a better example by being more settled in their lives? Don't adults set a better example by their basic lifestyle? And, by their values? By having shuttered their least desirable impulses?
Kids together can be a disaster. Why can't more of us recognize this obvious fact? This regimented system of education that extends into college might in fact begin to break down. It won't necessarily break down because of enlightenment. It will break down because of the easy availability of information. We can say goodbye to that regimented system that seems almost like prison.
The analogy isn't stretched. Rules are applied with an iron hand. Kids move from room to room only on cue from "bells." They can be terrorized by instructors who say "let's have a pop quiz." The kids groan. There's an assumption that large classes of kids can be brought along at the same pace and they all have the same needs. Kids bounce from one grade to the next as if they're all advancing at the same pace. Once in college they have this progression from "freshmen" to "seniors."
There's no letup in the kind of demands that are imposed. There's an assumption that knowledge is elusive. Were it not so, we wouldn't need these elaborate bricks and mortar institutions. Well, it's "not so" anymore.
All bets are off (for keeping the status quo) in the information boom caused by electronic media. The days when colleges could be staid places that could just keep feeding at the public trough will be fading. That's why colleges, especially the large state colleges, have to guard their image more than ever.
Imagine the hair-pulling if you were involved in public relations at Penn State University. The students there didn't cause the major debacle for which you, the reader, won't need any background. Sports gave the backdrop for that. What? Sports causing turbulence? I can't imagine (LOL).
That debacle grew in part out of the established model of higher education, where sports is a cog. Sports demands success on a level that has nothing to do with the aims of education. The competitiveness can bring out the worst in human nature.
What else but sports could have encouraged the kind of ridiculous, primitive behavior that caused the death of a University of Minnesota-Morris student several years ago? That of course was in the goalpost incident. Take a close look at the young people who get involved in that kind of behavior. Are they really best served by spending so much time with their age peers? Why don't we steer them on a course that leads to maturity faster?
Penn State has a new problem. I imagine Penn State really does have a PR department. We should have those people keeping a diary. The new problem is accompanied by the word "investigation." So it's ditto what happened with that sordid mess in the athletic department. And this is an institution of learning?
The new investigation is about one of those typical "Lord of the Flies" episodes that can only involve college students. A sorority has misbehaved. It threw a racist Mexican-themed party with photos, naturally, posted to the web. It all happened around Halloween. We saw sombreros. We saw signs saying "Will mow lawn for weed and beer" and "I don't cut grass, I smoke it."
The Chi Omega Sorority has expressed regret. "Mistakes were made." (Chris Matthews always laughs about the passive voice behind that statement.)
Anyone with a college degree can remember much silly behavior surrounding them as they "matriculated." I would say boomers, especially so. If your parents are boomers, don't expect them to be honest about this. They have probably blotted a lot of this out. Boomers went to college at a time when society decided the doors of our institutions should swing open wider and let more in. After all, college prior to that time was marked by great exclusivity. Too much exclusivity. Institutions like my alma mater, St. Cloud State University, adopted the philosophy of letting young people swarm in.
It's laudable to want young people to learn. But the old model for learning may be showing cracks because of the new age we're in. To repeat: we are saturated with information now. Kids really do want to learn. They simply must be given a feeling that their learning will benefit them. Too much of the knowledge dispensed in what I'd call the "analog" system didn't fit that bill. There was an assumption that kids had to be dragged along in learning. "Take out a sheet of paper, we'll have a pop quiz."
I don't blame kids for groaning if they were taking a course like "Sociology 101." Or anthropology, or foreign languages taught in anything but immersion-style.
We allowed college academic disciplines almost to become like "rackets" unto themselves. Many of these problems will fade as public money, i.e. money direct from taxpayers, becomes less of the higher education funding pie. Pure public funding seems to lead to amorphous and ossified tortoises. Kids are gaining empowerment from the Internet. They can gain knowledge more on their own terms. They can assert themselves more as individuals. Thus they needn't be confined to the narrow parameters of a "class" (as in freshman, sophomore etc., or prior to that, a grade in public school)
Herding kids into "classes" will increasingly be seen as a practice akin to prison. A member of our Morris Area school board has described many of the newly-built public schools as looking like "prisons on the outskirts of town." I have been reminded of that quote when driving past the KMS school. Those poor kids are segregated into classes, assigned reading that may not feed their real needs, and made to feel brethren only with kids within an age range of one year.
As a kid, a mere one year age difference from a fellow student is drastic, putting you in separate worlds. Years later we look back and think that was strange. But society decided it was progress to move beyond the one-room school model. Just like society decided in the 1960s we had to have the doors swing open at institutions like St. Cloud State. Let the swarms of boomer youth in. Shudder.
Many of the young people didn't even develop proper respect for the institutions. Look how Homecoming at St. Cloud State devolved. It devolved so bad it got canceled. Students there are now trying to revive it.
St. Cloud State is the second largest university in Minnesota. It is nothing if not big. A non-binding student body vote has recommended Homecoming come back. But SCSU spokesman Adam Hammer put down the hammer with this statement: "It's premature to make any conclusions about the vote or what might follow it. Those conversations haven't been had yet."
It's amazing SCSU treats the matter as so sensitive - walking on eggshells. Homecoming is innocuous, isn't it? Well, it ought to be. In the old days it was.
Young people are restless today. Maybe the old models just aren't working for them anymore. Maybe they can find their own way. Maybe they can become the kind of self-starters we've always wanted them to be anyway. And take off those sombreros.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chorus grows vs. football with Paul Butler of NH

Paul Butler, visionary?
A friend noted recently that a theme I appeared to have over the summer was "anti-football." True, I had made note of troubling health reservations about the sport. It troubled me partly because I have spent a chunk of my life covering it.
"Anti-football" is not the term I'd choose. It's of course negative. I may be "anti-smoking" too but I'm really "pro-good health."
It's sad we have to cast this new negative eye on football. The new truths are inconvenient. But they are in fact truths. George Will sounded an alarm with a column before this season began. He cast doubt on suggestions the sport's problems can be solved as with new helmets.
The NFL is run by money-seeking wizards. No one questions their ability to pull all levers keeping their product sound. Where these wizards lack control is at the youth level. Without that youth "feeder" system, their product is endangered.
Many of us are conflicted. Part of that involves denial. We are troubled by the health reservations and wish we could just continue enjoying the sport on the tube. How could we possibly adjust our lives away from it? Well, we can. We have come to accept that public places will be free of cigarette smoke. We have come to accept that seat belts are required. Believe it or not, one's weekend can be reconfigured so there's enjoyment without football.
But let's return to the subject of the youth feeder system. There have been some early voices on the side of pushing football aside in high school. OK let's use the word "banned" with its drastic connotations. Banned? Those early voices represent people not inclined to feel inhibitions. I cited one in my last summer's writing: Patty Sexton, a school board member in the Philadelphia PA area. She claims she was just being sincere in making a point and wasn't thinking in terms of getting headlines. I believe her. She talked about how public schools shouldn't be sponsoring "gladiators."
Such talk raises eyebrows. In a few years it may not.
Schools aren't exactly bathing in resources these days. They may want to get out of the football business. The very valid health considerations give them firm footing for that. Sexton's name faded within a couple weeks. But a new name has surfaced. This individual says basically the same thing and he has medical credentials. He's a retired physician and current school board member in Dover, New Hampshire. His name: Paul Butler. Like Sexton he spoke from the heart. He wasn't intending to make a splash.
In terms of making a splash, the news media did it for him. He brought up the subject with permission during a portion of a meeting called "school board matters of interest." He spoke for five minutes after which there were no comments. The board moved on to another matter. Clearly no ballyhoo, that is until the next morning, when the newspaper sounded the trumpet. Newspapers aren't dead quite yet.
The newspaper furthered the subject along, via its headline, to where other media began contacting Dr. Butler. Reflecting, the doctor said "I didn't even know a reporter was there (at the meeting)."
Butler became transfixed as he noticed the story "went all over the country." Why would it? The media, whose members always reflect public sensibilities, know concern is afoot about football. The concern is at the micro level. It's being discussed in family living rooms as the decision is weighed for what sports boys should pursue. Football has been a fall standard. People are transfixed watching football even if they've never played it. How do we deal with it? Well, we can, with the proper resolve.
Butler said "there's a lot of unease about the dangers of football for the brain. The brain is who we are."
It's unconscionable to court the risk of lifelong problems as a result of impacts experienced in one's mid-teens, he asserts. He suggests that if local boards of education don't take action, the lawyers will take the reins. He later amended this to suggest "lawyers and insurance companies." That's quite a steamroller. But how can we be skeptical about this?
Columnist Will emphasized how college players have gotten substantially bigger, stronger and faster. High school coaches typically tell the players to lift weights in the off-season. I wrote last summer that this is pointless when your opponents are all doing the same thing. The game is just going to take on more of a look of combat.
Coaches feel excruciating pressure to win. Look at the turnover of coaches in NCAA Division I football. Even if you acknowledge that football can be taught so it's "safer," the incentive to win can never be suppressed.
Some of the sport's defenders say other sports too have risks. Dr. Butler says in response "football is the only game in which we use our head as a battering ram and a spear." Even if instruction at the youth level discourages this, it's pretty futile. Oh my, kids watch the big-time football on Saturday and Sunday and these are their heroes. They feel the invincibility of youth. Exuberance takes over. Immediate rewards are all that matter.
We have learned so much about the dangers of repetitive head trauma over the past ten years. Butler is especially concerned about effects on "the developing brains" of children. Several experts have said tackle football should not be allowed until age 14.
Is Butler some prude or nerd - apologies if the latter term is obsolete - who rejects football without any personal experience? Not at all, as he in fact played football and continues to play hockey at age 68. He in fact calls football a "great game." He cites the work ethic invested in it.
What trumps that, unfortunately, are the head trauma risks which are too great to be disregarded.
As for the benefits of football, which we always hear about in athletic award banquets and the like (motivational type speeches), such benefits can be gained from other activities, according to the good doctor. He cites band, debate club and math club. "Same benefits, no risk," he said.
Boy, you should have seen the Irondale marching band here at Big Cat Stadium this past summer. Why can't Morris Area have a program like that? This isn't your father's/mother's marching band. It reflects tremendous creativity and harnesses tech to empower all instrumentalists.
Butler isn't just sitting idly by while talk continues on the issue of football. His school board term ends in 2013. He wants to give other school leaders more time to ponder the subject and gain information. Undoubtedly there are some emotional hurdles to get past. Ban football? Our jaws might drop.
What's to become of our fall weekends? Well, for one thing, we'd no longer have "football game day" on college campuses on Saturdays - an event inviting various kinds of self-destructive and foolish behavior like alcohol consumption. Campuses could remain as serious bastions of advancement throughout the week. No "Lord of the Flies" timeout.
Sundays? Reportedly the behavior at NFL games is discouraging and getting worse. Can we still nix the new Vikings stadium? I have ranted against that all along. Governor Mark Dayton drank the Kool-Aid. How disappointing for a Democrat. Labor unions went along with it. They could have been just as enthusiastic about an array of other infrastructure projects, which heaven knows we need.
The NFL for the time being seems strong. The youth feeder programs are definitely going to be treading rough water. A decline could happen suddenly.
For the record, Dr. Butler is proposing a ban on high school football. "I'll bring it to a vote (in Dover) by December of 2013," he said (in an NPR interview with Neal Conan).
I have joked with a Morris Area school board member that if she were looking for fame, she could make similar statements. Such statements would come from the heart, though. And in a few years, it will be no joke.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Larry Hagman and entertainment for the masses

Larry Hagman as Major Anthony Nelson
Larry Hagman's passing reminded of the "Dallas" TV series in the eyes of many. I'm guessing that many boomers may have thought first of "I Dream of Jeannie."
"Jeannie" was part of a stable of meticulously constructed entertainment productions for when boomers were young. They seemed brainless on the surface. They seemed absurd and off in some child's dream world. But in fact they were carefully honed by people very dedicated to the entertainment craft. The brainlessness was an illusion. There was a method to the madness of those entertainers.
It's the same as with popular songs. "Tiny Bubbles" seems like the kind of song you could scribble on a cocktail napkin in an idle moment. It only seems that way. Guys like Hal David wrote songs like that after years of honing their craft.
The boomers grew up with entertainment so different from today. There was a fundamental problem: entertainment had to be constructed so as to appeal to a very wide audience. It was also the age of general interest magazines like Life and Look. Yes, I realize Life was resuscitated in later years and may even still exist in some form. But it's a boutique item now. It gets lost in the vast sea of what we call the media now. Life and Look were icons in a previous time. They coincided with television entertainment programs that were highly vapid.
Is this a slam? That's a good question.
You might argue those programs simply entertained. We had "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Gilligan's Island," "Petticoat Junction" and a whole lot of other shows that will bring smiles to boomers when mentioned. Hagman fit right in with his military officer role on "I Dream of Jeannie." TV then was like a world in which we might all be forced to eat the same breakfast cereal. It would sustain us but wouldn't be truly satisfying for a large number of people.
It's easy to just feel nostalgia about it all today. We can even see re-runs on retro-oriented TV channels. Those channels are of course just part of a sea of TV entertainment available to us today. I guess you can watch TV on your laptop too.
I haven't taken the step to get a laptop. I'm reminded of Jim Bouton being told by a friend that "you're really getting there" with some fashion tastes. Author/athlete Bouton responded: "Yes, but by the time I get there, everyone will be someplace else." That's me with tech stuff.
Young people today would experience culture shock if forced to live in a world with the minimal media/entertainment options my generation had. Why, what an analog, retrograde world. There was absolutely no empowerment for the individual in that old media world. Forget it. The vast masses of knaves consumed what the entertainment puppeteers in New York City and Los Angeles laid out for them. I remember when Johnny Carson moved his late-night show from New York City to L.A. What of the whole vast nation in between? We were just the consumers - the helpless, unempowered consumers.
Not that we didn't think we liked it. And none of this is to say there weren't hints of what was to come. For example, "The Monkees" was a highly edgy show for its time that touched the irreverence of hyperactive teens. The teens learned that their least desirable impulses might have some reinforcement from the performers on TV. The parameters of earlier sitcoms were breaking down. But "The Monkees" was ahead of its time. Its model broke down to where it seemed little more than silly. It met its end.
A better example of what I'm talking about might be "Star Trek." This was a cerebral and substantial type of show, definitely breaking through the limitations of that time. That was good and bad. It was good on the merits of what it was trying to do, but bad in the sense it got canceled prematurely. Like Life Magazine it would have later incarnations that capitalized on the established brand.
Today we don't question the power of "Star Trek." But when that show with the amazing William Shatner was in its original incarnation, surviving was hardly a given in the media landscape we had then. There were three major networks. In Minnesota we had the "independent" TV station of WTCN in Minneapolis. Gil Amundson read us the news in the evening on WTCN. Mel Jass hosted the movies. "Quaint" hardly describes all that.
I think the limited nature of the media universe was hard on the boomers. It might explain some of our psychological challenges. Had social media existed then, it would have been like a giant pacifier for the boomers. We consumed entertainment and heaven knows we were targeted doggedly by marketers.
We were the first young generation to be marketed to in such unrelenting fashion. Maybe that explains the psychological issues. And yet we weren't allowed to be collaborators with the kind of media that came at us. Media were created by cynical and distant puppeteers. "Flyoverland" became awash in the kind of entertainment they crafted. They were filling a need. But they were forced, tragically, to try to create a one size fits all product.
Kids today might be amused watching re-runs on a retro TV channel. But they'd have a hard time imagining a world in which such fare was our only choice. You could watch "Gunsmoke" or have a bowl of cereal and go to bed.
There were trendy shows like "Night Gallery" that kids would discuss in the school hallways the next morning. But again, we were merely consumers. The days of using media to establish your own identity were a long ways off in the future.
My old college advisor (now deceased) once said "you can watch the Tonight Show every night and never learn anything." Today the Tonight Show would be past my bedtime. Johnny came out from behind the curtain (at least on those nights when he didn't have a guest host like Joey Bishop) at 10:30 p.m. I can't believe I ever felt a need to watch it.
My college advisor had a role in a deposed government of Ethiopia. Years later when I learned of an area clergy family who had a background in that country, I thought (based on the details I'd read) there was a chance the minister would have known my advisor. I ran the name past him one day. He responded: "I don't know him but my father probably did."
Ah, a reminder of my age! Us boomers are getting that all the time.
Just as with the passing of Larry Hagman of "Dallas," I mean "I Dream of Jeannie."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving story an oversimplification? It's still OK

The image here is one I discovered in the early days of the Internet when I was still with the Morris newspaper. I'm taking it from "The Skeins" blog of Moira Finnie. Thanks Moira. Incidentally my first Internet-capable computer at the paper was a hand-me-down that was a disaster. It froze a lot and I couldn't even open attachments. Shudder. Today I could do all my work on a simple laptop. The Morris paper of course isn't what it used to be.
We see turkeys on the cover of the new "Morris Area Merchants" advertising publication. Kudos to the publication for recognizing the true spirit of the upcoming weekend.
The turkeys point to Thanksgiving which is a holiday with a grand purpose. We needn't recognize "Black Friday" so much. Only in recent years has "Black Friday" picked up steam to where it might be seen as overshadowing Thanksgiving. Of course it's up to all of us to set our own priorities.
We could just cancel cable TV if we didn't want to hear so much about Black Friday. The media have elevated the "shopping" day beyond reasonable proportion. We can reject that. Fox News would be another good reason to cancel cable TV. But I'm unemployed so I might get bored.
I used to discuss with Glen Helberg how unemployed people are subject to feeling depressed on holidays. "Normal" people slow down and relish the time off. For those of us who are shiftless by comparison, we see no contrast. You get the blues. There's a feeling of relief when "the routine" kicks in again (and I can watch "Morning Joe" at 5 p.m. weekdays as scheduled). On normal workdays you can check the stock market futures at that very early hour. You can see how Europe is doing with the "footsie" (the European FTSE). When I was a kid it wouldn't have crossed anyone's mind to check the stock market futures very early in the morning. In fact, we'd get a "test pattern" if we turned on the TV. So, times can change remarkably.
As a kid I received the standard imagery about Thanksgiving. Pilgrims and the "natives" together, rejoicing and giving thanks. It was a benign and uplifting story. We'd see the famous portrait of "George Washington in the clouds" out by the milk machine in the commons area (at Longfellow Elementary, today an office building for St. Francis Health Services).
The iconic status of Washington was benign and uplifting too. The turbulence of the late 1960s and '70s began to obscure a lot of that. Much of that turbulence was unavoidable. We needed turbulence to get out of Viet Nam and advance civil rights. But a lot of that fizzled off like fireworks gone awry, i.e. it got misdirected.
The all-out assault on American traditions and myths probably wasn't needed. It wasn't necessary for the deconstructionists to take over so much of American education. It's fine for kids to learn the story of Betsy Ross sewing the flag. The "great men" approach to history was far from perfect but its replacement - the story of aggrieved groups - had a discouraging air. We could easily see both approaches had oversimplifications.
Kids are of course smarter than many of us think. They know when they're being "sold" something.
Is the Thanksgiving story unhealthy because it suggests the Europeans were eager to break bread with the natives and make accommodations, when in fact the natives were headed toward much travail? History is a messy story of the strong exploiting the weak. Identifying heroes and villains is a pursuit that seems to get us nowhere. There are those who want to diss the history of Fort Snelling. So much misery heaped on the Indians, so the argument goes. I think the fort ought to represent one of the most fascinating historical locations in Minnesota. We can't make history "right" by all the aggrieved groups.
The so-called white people had no cakewalk. Just think of the percentage of the male population killed as casualties of the Civil War. (Timeout: I'm uncomfortable with the "white" and "non-white" dichotomy of terms. Why should all "non-whites" be lumped under one label?)
The Civil War cause was good for the Union. But think of the massive pain and death needed to advance it. We are so human an animal. So in the end we must consider the traditional Thanksgiving story a benign piece of imagery for kids as they develop their most benevolent outlook. They'll eventually learn that history is written by the winners. Plymouth and its "rock" (much smaller than most of us think) endured in our national memory. The English prevailed.
New Englanders were at the forefront of molding America's collective memory. Let's call it a bit of a creation myth. We teach kids about the piety and work ethic of these gentle people who appeared to seed the new land. All fine and wonderful, but of course the settlement and development of this land was more complicated.
Of course we know all about Columbus. But that was in 1492, long before the Pilgrims who arrived at that "rock" (five feet square) in 1620. Did nothing much happen in between? Oh my.
Europeans other than the Pilgrims had made quite extreme inroads in this continent by the time the stovepipe hat-wearing Pilgrims broke bread with the red Indians. Europeans had reached half of what would become the 48 states. Maybe the Kensington Runestone wasn't such a big deal.
Why in heck don't we treat Giovanni da Verrazzano the same way as Christopher Columbus? There's a bridge in New York City named for the former. I remember when National Lampoon had a satire that had the bridge collapsing under the weight of runners beginning the New York City Marathon. This was before we had The Onion. It would be a perfect Onion gag. If you don't regularly check The Onion website, you should.
Ol' Giovanni toured the whole eastern seaboard of the U.S. in 1524. At one point he ordered a member of his crew to swim ashore. The natives took this man to a fire. But it was to warm him and not to roast him! Why not commemorate this instead of just those black-clad Pilgrims by their "rock?"
Verrazzano ventured north where he spotted a wide bay. This would become New York Harbor. He was an Italian commanding a French ship. The story of this most intrepid soul ends tragically. He visited a Caribbean island in 1528. There he was seized and eaten by natives (sorry for the bluntness). We do have the bridge named in his honor: the "narrows" bridge where he sailed in 1524. Quite famous in his own time, he has faded.
The Portuguese really got out and about at one time. They sailed along both U.S. coasts in the 16th Century. Spanish conquistadors got inside our continent in 1542. My, they rode rafts along the Mississippi River. And would you believe, the intrepid Spaniards broke bread and "gave thanks" with natives 56 years before the iconic Plymouth Rock story?
Some English explorers built a fort on Cuttyhunk, an island, in 1602, motivated not by a desire for religious freedom but to seek wealth digging "sassafras." This commodity was most sought back home in Europe, as it cured "the clap." It's not quite so endearing a story as the Pilgrims with their newfound native compatriots. But hey, let's stick with those charming Pilgrims and all that benevolent imagery. It's good for kids.
And never forget: "History is written by the winners."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 17, 2012

morris mn - thoughts while appreciating northern lights

The Morris MN "welcome" sign out by the old Golden Cream
I was walking home the other night when I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing the northern lights. I was on the outskirts of town. Presumably the sight would have been more spectacular had I been further away from the town's lights.
A wonder of our natural world can put our worldly problems into perspective. Its power humbles us. Being alone in the country and seeing the Northern Lights is a release. I was walking along Iowa Avenue which turns into a dirt road as you go north. It goes out toward Wintermute Lake via rolling topography. The road isn't the best. Dirt roads are the stuff of country music songs.
Yankee Ridge Road parallels this road (to the west) and is paved. "Yankee Ridge" is old offhand terminology; use it and you signal you're a native. County Road 5 is the formal reference to Yankee Ridge Road.
When I was a kid we had a contest for naming our road and one of the nominations was "Rebel Ridge" (to correspond to "Yankee" obviously). OK it was a joke entry. The winner was "Northridge Drive." It connects Iowa Avenue and County Road 5. Most of it continues to be unpaved although we have paving in front of where we live. We're old-timers here.
The northern lights are also known as Aurora Borealis. The display I saw was noteworthy, breaking into the next day's news.
As a kid I remember hearing science had no clear explanation of what caused these lights. I also heard it was scientifically impossible for bumblebees to fly. I think science has made inroads since. We have learned that the Aurora Borealis doesn't come from Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
Getting detached from election
The peacefulness of seeing those lights helps me forget (to the extent I'm able) about the election campaign. It might be best for us now if Mitt Romney were to go to someplace like the Fortress of Solitude. Mainly he should just stay quiet if he doesn't have something thoughtful or intelligent to add to our discourse.
I think all along we felt that even though Romney had a total "Richie Rich" background - I called him "Scrooge McDuck" - he must have humanity and depth. Why would he want to run for president? There must be altruistic impulses within him, just bubbling. Maybe they were suppressed. But since the election Romney has given no indications of those better impulses. He has been just as blunt and stupid as when he talked about the "47 per cent."
Now he says that the people who voted for Barack Obama essentially had their votes "bought." I guess he means we expect government to do things for us. The "47 per cent" secret tape should have sunk Romney. There should have been no getting up from the canvas after that. It should have been Johnson-Goldwater redux.
Some suggest Hurricane Sandy made all the difference, reminding us of the extent to which we can rely on government. The GOP is the party that doesn't want us to like government. But Republicans usually have a way of at least massaging that philosophy to get votes. Or they actually break down once in a while and realize the blessing that government can represent. Chris Christie has done this of late. But he's a northeastern U.S. Republican and they're a little more sensible. The northeastern U.S. gives grudging approval to a Republican sometimes, like Scott Brown. And Christie. Their position can be precarious.
Christie did well for himself by "behaving" in the wake of the hurricane. He acted like he had full rapport with President Obama. My hope is that it was sincere. Deep down away from all the media talkers, I think Governor Christie had no problem working closely with the president who is so ridiculously demonized from the political right. Why on earth would anyone have a problem working with Barack Obama? He's a wonderful and loyal family man who has stayed married to the same woman, and with two wonderful daughters and a dog (Portuguese water dog).
As a family man he's far superior to Newt Gingrich.
Was Hurricane Sandy and its lessons the reason Obama won? I certainly hope not. To think Romney could have actually won is profoundly scary. We can't really know what all his convictions are. That's because he was all over the map. I hate to even put forth the hypothetical of Romney winning, but if he had won I think he would have let down many of his most conservative backers. But we don't know. It's amazing so many people filled in the little circle next to his name, having no idea if he'd behave like a Massachusetts Republican or a Republican representing the Confederacy. Romney did carry the old Confederacy.
Maybe some of those states where the secession impulse has been so strong should just be allowed to leave. It has been a pain trying to accommodate them. The Feds had to practically invade the Deep South in the 1960s to get rid of Jim Crow. Today there's still a profoundly regressive streak there. If we were to allow them to secede - Texas included - we would no longer have Democratic presidential candidates having to pretend they like NASCAR.
Good trend in Minnesota voting
In Minnesota the election results were very upbeat. The Democrats (DFL) have been given a mandate and I hope they don't blow it. Democrats can go astray just like Republicans when they get too much power.
Locally we had the race of Scott Dutcher vs. Jay McNamar for House. The race was mighty good for the U.S. Post Office. These pols have apparently lost interest in me since the election. For a long time I'd traipse back from the mailbox examining those beautiful and elaborate color flyers from these guys daily.
Dutcher's campaign was a test of the kind of Republican rhetoric that worked well in the midterms. "I'm a business guy and I know how to create jobs." Silly rabbit, people don't create jobs, consumer demand creates jobs.
The electorate showed a weariness with Republican rhetoric in the 2012 election. The Republicans are going to have to learn to offer a little more, to at least talk like they have more fundamental human compassion. Romney's post-election comments have been the complete opposite. He really is "Scrooge McDuck." His own party has begun turning on him. And to think the GOP gave him such an important mantle of leadership in the first place. But we never really expected Herman Cain, did we? Or Michele Bachmann?
At the state level we could breathe a sigh of relief over the "no" judgment on those two amendments. Can the Republicans finally say they've gotten the message? Can they finally realize they need to appeal to the electorate and not to talk radio hosts or Fox News? We can be heartened to an extent. But Romney got way too many votes. He clearly belonged in Goldwater territory.
Let's be honest: many of the skeptics about Barack Obama continue to be influenced by his racial makeup. He's black, right? Actually he's half-white if you insist on using such crude terminology. But his background was not Anglo-centered and that's an issue for some people.
I think President Obama is about the most compassionate person you can find. It might take a full eight years before we all appreciate that. He has had to try to lift us out of the very deep hole left us by George W. Bush. Heavy-lifting indeed.
Oh my, the Morris Human Rights Commission kerfuffle
The "marriage amendment" lost in Minnesota. "Losing" is the favorable outcome here. We aren't closing the door on the possible expansion of human rights. In Morris we have had the rather ridiculous controversy involving the Morris Human Rights commission. This is a controversy that wouldn't even exist if there were no Morris newspaper. The newspaper greased the skids, started or facilitated a fight and then crawled out from under the pile.
We are left with punches being thrown in the letters to the editor section. Let me be emphatic about one thing: the letters to the editor section is for losers. Nothing is ever decided there. It's a place for people with an ax to grind.
I feel sorry for Jeff Miller. Jeff is a pretty affable and lively guy who happened to be with the "vote yes" crowd. But he never intended to be perceived publicly as a zealous crusader. An argument he wrote ended up under the heading of the Morris Human Rights Commission as if it might reflect Commission sentiment.
If the HRC stands for anything, it stands for inclusiveness and the breaking down of barriers. So Miller's little thought piece ended up not going over very well. Apparently Mr. Miller wrote the item as sort of an internal assignment with the HRC, to encourage the exchange of ideas. He expected that if anything got published, there would be a "for/against" juxtaposition. There's a rather involved story but the end result is that Miller's thoughts were presented bare and unrebutted. It must have looked ridiculous.
Miller's opinion by itself should be respected. But it shouldn't be propped up under the imprimatur of the HRC. So Miller found himself in a spot of trouble through no fault of his own. Here's another argument for letting such debates flower and be resolved in our new information ecosystem of online, rather than in dinosaur newspapers.
Unfortunately a messy controversy developed on the pages of our newspaper, a newspaper whose official stand was that we should vote for Romney. Loser.
It's possible Miller's future in local politics could be impacted, although word of mouth could take over to provide the needed clarity. He has real enthusiasm for local government and for resolving local issues. He says he never submitted his thought piece directly to the Morris Sun Tribune. Since it was handled by other parties and presented in a format he would not have approved of, and contrary to his interests as a local politician, I'm not sure he wouldn't have legal recourse. I hope he explores this.
The controversy apparently spanned several issues of the newspaper which comes out weekly. I don't buy the paper. When I left employment at the paper I tried signing up for a subscription but they said "no, we'll just send it to you." A couple years later I got cut off. Then they started sending me the Ad-Viser as if I would actually want that. Seeing the Ad-viser in our mailbox was more annoying than seeing a hundred McNamar-Dutcher flyers there. I was able to get it canceled, thank the Lord.
Today I do all I can to promote a local online ecosystem of news, information and advertising. Such a system is in fact growing, albeit not as fast as I'd like.
Historical marker: Twinkie departs
These are historic times and the media have to play their proper role. We had the momentous re-election of Barack Obama. And even more important, the announcement that the Hostess Twinkie or the Ding Dong (or as Carol Burnett called it in a skit, the "Dong Ding") was done. We have seen Kodak film disappear. Soon all camera film may be gone. And now we're bereft of an American icon like the Twinkie.
Was it an urban legend that some Hostess Twinkies were found in an old WWII hideout or bunker and they were still edible? Boomers will remember that story. Whatever, we have learned to adjust to change, so we can find plenty of other junk food to jam into our system. When I was a kid there were no unlimited refills of soft drinks at McDonald's. Today we can fill ourselves with all the sugary water we want, although the New York City mayor is beginning some pushback on this. If any of this distresses you, just look into the northern lights sometime.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 10, 2012

David Frum breaks through noise w/ "Why Romney Lost"

David Frum has written a book that no doubt makes John Heilemann and Mark Halperin nervous. The Heilemann-Halperin tag team fashions itself the new Theodore White. "Teddy" White gave us the "Making of the President" series of books. It was back in those cave painting times of pre-Internet (and pre-fax).
Frum is already out with a book on the presidential campaign that is commanding special attention. Once in a while a book like this comes out of the blue. It presents analysis that should have dawned on all of us. It points out something that may have been right before our eyes.
So sharp is the author he might arouse some resentment from his peers.
David Frum is hardly a nobody. He in fact was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, which should instantly make many of you dismissive about much of what he says. He prides himself on being a conservative. Again, don't stereotype please. Frum has emerged as very much his "own man." He is a conservative with the proper motivations. He is totally outside any sort of "herd."
While I may disagree with him in some key ways, I applaud the clear lens he insists on looking through. So now Mr. Frum is out with a book entitled "Why Romney Lost." So spot-on is his analysis, the eventual treadmill book from Heilemann and Halperin will fade in significance. You'll remember the "tag team" gave us "Game Change." It was an over-hyped book that resulted in a movie of the same name. How could the movie fail when you had the opportunity to present Sarah Palin?
Our Morris Public Library obtained the book "Game Change" very soon. Heilemann and Halperin are to be applauded on their hard work. But we're already well familiar with the key events and personalities in any such book. The new stuff I would argue is merely some newly revealed quotes with potty mouth language in them. A few quotes like this can get the book in front of the public. Even Bob Woodward (or should I say his publisher) has come to master this ploy. I won't get out my wallet just to read some potty mouth quotes. But to each his own.
"To each his own" certainly describes the tastes of people who consume political commentary. And therein lies the basis for one of David Frum's central assertions. He coined a term we should all file away in our minds. It's "conservative entertainment complex."
Let's just toss out one name: Rush Limbaugh. From there could be added a quite extensive list. These people aren't sharing sincere opinions so much as they're catering to a class of people who scare easily about government.
Let's emphasize here that Frum is not part of the TV political commentary mainstream, whether we're talking right or left. Heilemann and Halperin are in that mainstream and are Beltway guys all the way. Good for them. But as with any groupthink, the lens can get clouded. Occasionally someone outside the mainstream comes along and triumphantly says the emperor has no clothes. This is exactly what Mr. Frum, who's a bit of an eccentric, has done. He isn't hostile to the mainstream but he's clearly outside it.
Such people don't consciously decide to go outside it, it's just the way they are. The fact Frum is seen as a contrarian was evident on two MSNBC shows last week. Because Frum's theories are the type that would win receptiveness on the left-leaning (supposedly) MSNBC, you'd think it would be totally friendly territory. It's not so simple.
Here's the problem: Frum has written a book with definitive assertions about the presidential campaign. He beat "good old boys" Heilemann and Halperin by a country mile. The "tag team" often appears on the panel of "Morning Joe" (Scarborough). Yes, Halperin got spanked once, saying something that constituted a faux pas. But the tag team authors are most welcome in the established TV ecosystem of political talk. Frum? He's just an independent thinker. You'd think that would be benign. But you don't realize how self-protective that ecosystem is, how even the adversaries are comfortable with each other when the cameras are off (just like in professional wrestling).
Mr. Frum gives no thought to "taking a role" and finding a place. He just wants to be honest. People like this can break through when what they have to offer just can't be ignored. And that appears to be happening now.
Chris Matthews seemed to put Frum on the defensive last week, suggesting the book was a "rush job" right at the end of the campaign. Frum bristled, suggesting that he worked hard for about six weeks. He obviously saw what was coming: the Romney failure.
The most interesting conflict was on Joe Scarborough's "Morning Joe." Frum introduced his "conservative entertainment complex" term. Someone on the panel - I later read it was Scarborough himself - interrupted and barked "name names!" Frum then said something that interviewers hate: "It's in the book." But I don't blame him. "Naming names" was a ridiculous exercise when all of us know full well who these parties are. At the same time "Morning Joe" airs, we have "Fox and Friends" on the most notorious right-leaning "entertainment" enterprise of Fox News. So Frum didn't bother starting a list, rather he wanted to continue making his points.
Why would Scarborough, a guy I normally think highly of, want to disrupt Frum's flowing commentary with an asinine question? Why did Matthews say something that seemed to reflect an urge to diss the book? Well, here's my answer: Political commentary shows and networks represent an ecosystem with its own interests to protect.
Have you ever heard the saying "Don't kill the category?" It's why there are limits on how far McDonald's and Burger King will go, criticizing each other. They don't want to "kill the category." If there were no Fox News, there would be no MSNBC. Maybe we'd just have news networks that report the news.
But once the commentary ecosystem gets established, it has its own interests. Frum's incisive and spot-on assertion about the "conservative entertainment complex" might be said to run contrary to the political commentary ecosystem, because it basically diminishes or counters one side. Frum does so by suggesting, as if we don't know (and it appears we don't) that entertainment has its own clear ends. The Fox News crowd does its job very well. It reaches its substantial target audience effectively. But it's not in the business of thoughtfully weighing everything to bring out the truth for the betterment of our country. I can't even write this with a straight face.
Scarborough was following his instincts of being defensive for "his crowd" of people who spew political thoughts for a living. "Don't kill the category." McDonald's shouldn't say that Burger King puts rat poison in its hamburgers. Frum shouldn't talk about the "conservative entertainment complex" like it's merely a cynical and manipulating machine. The whole house of cards might come down.
In the meantime, here's one voice, mine, that totally applauds Mr. Frum and his book "Why Romney Lost." I hope Romney doesn't catch Frum in an unguarded moment, pin him to the floor and forcibly cut off his hair.
Frum says today's GOP is isolated. It's the party of yesterday's America, and instead of re-examining that stance, has seemed to want to "double down" with its message. He considers many Republican leaders "cowards." He feels the base has been "lied to and fleeced" - strong words - by that "conservative entertainment complex." Fear-mongers have overrun the GOP, he asserts.
Frum is a little idiosyncratic like Keith Olbermann. These guys are strong political thinkers who have a hard time getting assimilated with any group or constituency that might help them. Frum was supposedly fired from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a D.C.-based free market think tank. Frum had gone against the grain, suggesting the GOP should have considered compromise on health care.
Was he really fired? Does anyone really get "fired" anymore? Isn't "Mr. Spacely's" style just a stereotype now? I laughed when I read Frum wasn't really fired, he was just told he wasn't going to get paid anymore! Leave it to Republicans.
Frum felt the AEI came under donor pressure after a blog post he wrote. The AEI asserts that Frum simply "wasn't working hard enough." Yeah, I can sort of smell what happened. I made a forced departure from a company once, a company that would probably laugh at any suggestion it was forced. The employer holds all the cards in these things.
For now, Frum is breaking through any sort of fog or rejection that might be thrown in his path. Forget about the personality, read the book. And Scarborough should just let Mika Brzezinski talk more.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cougars can't quite escape hole vs. St. Scholastica

Derrick Foss, former Hancock Owl, prepares to receive the snap as quarterback in this file photo. (B.W. photo)
The UMM football Cougars played their tenth and final game of the season Saturday (11/3). On the other side of the football was College of St. Scholastica (CSS).
The Cougars fell into a hole and then charged to try to get out of it. The comeback ended up just shy. The Cougars were a touchdown down when the four quarters had been played. The Saints of CSS were the 28-21 winner. It was a disappointing end for our maroon crew, still we can take satisfaction in the six total victories. It's the most for the program since 2006 (my last year in the print media).
How far down did UMM get Saturday? The scoreboard revealed a dismal 21-0 picture. Was it an afternoon for the opponent to just romp? Not at all. Eventually the score got tied. But UMM had gone to the well too many times I guess. The CSS Saints pulled ahead with under two minutes left thanks to a drive of 69 yards and 15 plays. CSS consumed 7:28 on that possession.
It was an entertaining game even if it was a loss.
The Cougars were stopped on their first possession, then CSS showed some of that early momentum, marching to score on a ten-yard pass. The Cougars experienced a three-and-out. The Saints proceeded to strike again, this time executing seven plays en route to the end zone, covering 66 yards. Quarter #1 ended with a 14-0 score and little reason for the home Big Cat Stadium crowd to cheer.
The Saints thrust forward in the second quarter, mounting a ten-play, 74-yard drive that gave them that fat 21-0 lead. Finally the Cougars got their engines humming. It was the toe of Cam Adel that got the Cougars on the scoreboard. A 15-play drive ended with Adel kicking the ball through the uprights from 31 yards out. It was a modest start but it was psychologically important. CSS was forced to punt, then UMM took off again with another well-oiled drive, this one covering 69 yards and ending with another Adel field goal. Adel ended this 14-play possession with a 31-yard field goal. Halftime arrived with the score 21-6.
Bring on the third quarter! The Cougars forced a fumble on a CSS punt. They took over possession at the CSS 44. It took four plays to reach the end zone, the last of which was a 12-yard pass involving the Foss boys from Hancock: Derrick (throwing) and Brendon (catching). The Foss boys clicked again on the conversion play so the score is now 21-14 and suspense is in the air.
The Cougar "D" bore down to force a three-and-out. CSS then got off a bad punt, 24 yards, enabling the Cougar "O" to go to work at the CSS 41. From there, one play did the trick. Dan Garrigan was calling the signals for UMM. Garrigan passed to Tyler Peterson who accelerated along the sideline. The PAT was good to get the score all tied up.
The CSS defense made a key play when it snared Dustin Spohn for a two-yard loss at the CSS 35. The drive got snuffed out and then CSS went to work offensively at its own 30 with 9:23 left. Saint Jake Jensen became a workhorse. Time and again he got the handoff. But it was a pass that netted the ultimate score. It was a ten-yard pass on third and seven.
The Cougars bore down to try to answer. The time remaining was 1:49. They were backed up somewhat at their own 33. Garrigan passed to Roumy Desir for 21 yards on fourth down. The Cougars progressed to the CSS 31, then progressed further thanks to a pass interference call. So UMM is looking at first and ten at the CSS 16. A holding penalty dealt a setback. Garrigan connected with Dan Kernan, getting UMM to the 19 where the situation was second and 13. Dalton DeGraffenreid was targeted as the receiver. But the CSS defense was able to break up this aerial attempt. Fourth down loomed. Alex Longerbone was targeted as the receiver, but the pass sailed high.
University of Minnesota-Morris had to accept the losing outcome. But the six wins during the season spelled pluses.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com