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).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Will fall hang on? Is winter's onslaught nigh?

A view to the east from the U of M-Morris campus
Sometimes I'll type an "addendum" item with a sports coverage post, an add-on that is not related to my topic of the day. Below you'll find several of these which you probably missed if you don't follow the sports stuff. I put up a post like this three or four times a year. I appreciate all you readers. You breathe extra life into me.
Whither the weather? (posted on Nov. 6)
The volleyball post-season coincides with that time of year when winter may come, or it may hold off a little. Winter definitely looms. I'm writing this on a bleak Friday morning, a very overcast morning. The temperature isn't winter-like yet.
I always wait to put the riding lawn mower into the storage shed until the first snowfall comes down. That would make a good Norman Rockwell painting: yours truly pushing the riding lawn mower into the shed as the first snowfall comes down. I have been fortunate to get that mower through many summers without having to get it professionally serviced. The mowers go into hibernation for winter. Then I do a Hail Mary in spring for getting them started. A little gas in the spark plug chamber might help.
Leaves? We get a lot on our property. It's really impossible to get ahead of that situation. I just have to make sure the rain gutters are reasonably cleared. I can see where senior citizens get hurt getting up on ladders. Max McGee, the great Green Bay Packers wide receiver, died as the result of a fall from his roof. Young adults design homes with impediments that they don't realize until they become senior citizens. Like steps leading up to the entry doors.
This is the time of year we have church suppers. My church, First Lutheran, had its big event Wednesday. Mom and I didn't go, partly because I think we're seeing a little too much price inflation with these events. The price was $16 Wednesday. And don't even consider attending a Minnesota Twins game. Faith Lutheran has its big meal upcoming. We're not going this year, because last year we sort of got hurried out. A meal worker said to us: "We'll need these seats soon." To hell with that, and to hell with that person. Pastor Sanderson, please get word out to your people to behave hospitably. Relax.
A dubious ten-year anniversary (posted on Oct. 30)
It was in 2005 that the UMM goalpost incident happened. It was on Homecoming weekend. I needed that journalistic obligation like I needed a hole in the head. I was probably at the P.E. Center when it happened. I had just arrived for the UMM volleyball match, and I was surprised to notice the football game hadn't ended yet. When leaving the volleyball match, I still had no word of that tragedy at the field: a student was killed as part of the rite of "taking down the goalposts."
Those students needed to do that like they needed a hole in the head. Only in sports could something like this happen. I'll take the UMM Homecoming concert at the HFA over any Neanderthal football game. People do not attend the music concert full of alcohol.
Was anyone at UMM ever fired as a result of the goalpost incident? If not, why not? Oh, I know why: the act of firing someone would be an admission of culpability. UMM's first priority when something like this happens is to protect its interests in terms of not getting sued. I would like to see a list of UMM campus security personnel who were present at the field when this happened.
Chancellor Sam Schuman would later say that if he had to do it over again, he would personally go out to the field and tell the students to knock it off. "Maybe they would have listened," he said. Why should it be up to him?
I must have answered a hundred phone calls over the rest of the weekend, from media near and far. Why couldn't Schuman have done a press conference on Sunday just to try to get all the questions answered? It's bad enough that football is a sport that greatly endangers the health of its participants. Football should be cancelled at UMM and we can enjoy soccer.
My coverage of the goalpost incident drew a response from Mike Busian, who I thought was probing the outermost reaches of his imagination. It was an asinine piece in which he even cited "the First Amendment." I wouldn't want a doctor whose mind worked that way.
A regret (posted on Oct. 7)
I wish I had brought my camera to the MAHS Homecoming parade. The problem is that Thrifty White Drug in Morris no longer processes camera film on a timely basis. That film gets sent out, and the photos (and CD) aren't available until about 9-10 days later. I did this once, was told that the wait would be eight days, but it was longer.
Should I buy a digital camera? Well, in order to get a camera that would be capable for low-light sports, with zoom lens, a high cost would be presented. I could get a lot of rolls of film developed for that cost. It's too bad I can't still get film developed locally. I could have taken an outstanding close-up photo of that Class of '65 reunion float, on which was seated an exchange student from that year: Roger (last name I can't spell).
I see where the town newspaper had an item on Roger returning, but that photo was terrible. You can't make out anything. I could have posted a top-notch photo at the top of either of my websites. Roger lived in my neighborhood back in the day, a guest of the Holts. I was so pleasantly surprised to see him back here.
Whither sport of football? (posted on Sept. 16)
We're reading about efforts on the part of the football powers-that-be, to reduce health dangers of the sport. George Will questions whether football can continue as it has, with proper health precautions taken. Football is by definition violent. Violence seems the whole point.
Maybe back in an age when we groomed young men to be warriors, it seemed reasonable. Today that thought gives pause. I remember as a child hearing speeches expressing the hope "there will be no more war." It was balderdash, as we got dragged into the biggest hell pit of all time: Viet Nam. About half of the deaths in Viet Nam happened after our leaders in Washington D.C. realized it was a failure. Yes, our nation really did experience that.
Today, football as a model for militarism seems obsolete. In this age of new media that penetrates everywhere, a debacle like Viet Nam would not repeat itself, I feel. Iraq was bad enough. We backed away from intervention in Syria.
Football? Here's a question I have been offering over the recent past: If all the players in the NFL outside of the quarterbacks and wide receivers were low-round draft picks, would anyone notice or care? Actually, it might be nice to see offensive linemen who actually look like athletes, with well-defined bodies, rather than these huge masses of flesh that are just designed to obstruct.
Coaches are adjusting now, prepared to test their whole depth chart in games, due to players being pulled because of injuries or concussions. The NFL is afraid of lawsuits. Who isn't afraid of lawsuits? It's a relative thing, with all coaches knowing the other coaches will be doing the same thing. The quality of backup players will become more important. In the meantime, the Vikings look lousy. I really don't care.
You know, that "true purple" color may have fed nostalgia for a while, but I'd actually like to see the team go back to its standard old uniforms, like of the '90s. A uniform only seems "cool" if the team is winning anyway, right?
"Are you ready for some football?" I'm really not.
Keep up with this trend, please (posted on Oct. 3)
t appears there are fewer businesses willing to part with their money, to have their name in a tiny box on the edge of an MACA sports schedule page in the Morris newspaper. The paper should simply publish the schedules (three times a year) as part of its news reporting obligation. I thought that's what newspapers were for.
The paper should also publish obituaries as news and not try to wring money out of grieving families. But if the paper can get away with it. . .
The fall sports schedule page appeared to have fewer names of businesses than before. An ad like this is called a "sig ad," as a business basically just places its signature on it - the business does not inform about its products and services, which is the purpose of advertising. So, by supporting the sports schedule page, you're really just subsidizing the Fargo-owned Morris newspaper. Please try to employ more brain cells in the future.
Oh, and "sig ads" are referred to in another way by some in the newspaper industry: "sucker ads."
Here's another media observation I've made recently: I noticed that in the Chokio Review, the football game review article had a byline with the name of an assistant coach. Whenever I see this sort of thing, I think "bush league." Isn't there anyone associated with that business who could generate some paragraphs? These activities are fun and important. Let's make them exciting and interesting with the media.
Stevens County appears to have one less print media product now: There's no sign of the controversial "Northstar" on the UMM campus. I strolled through the campus a few days ago and saw no "Northstar" newsstands. It's astonishing that this "shock" publication was allowed to last as long as it did. As I ponder whether to make my annual $ contribution to UMM, I'm weighing how much to consider my anger over the needless distraction that Northstar represented.
Maybe we'll see no "affirmative action bake sales" either.
Northstar was not even a legitimate journalistic product. It was a very oddball attack vehicle mounted by an oddball faction of students. Amazingly, it got inserted with the Morris Sun Tribune paper not once but twice.
The longer the Northstar existed on campus, the greater likelihood that UMM staff members would quietly acquiesce to it. One staffer confronted me over my criticism of it. I imagine this person had adjusted to Northstar as part of UMM's information ecosystem, contradicting logic, i.e. simply because it was permitted. If it was permitted, the staff would begin to shrug and offer no objection, because after all, these staffers had wonderful jobs with wonderful pay and benefits, thanks to the existence of the University of Minnesota-Morris. This is "learned behavior" according to psychology lingo. Well, I'm not the type to be influenced by such a factor - I analyze things objectively.
The First Amendment was never an issue regarding Northstar. UMM has the right to manage the information ecosystem on its campus, as we have finally realized after two years.
What's going on with newspaper? (posted on Sept. 14)
I took a glance at the Morris newspaper when at church a couple weeks ago. Something jumped out at me. To those of you who still look at the paper: did you notice it too? The obituaries were boxed and the type size looked smaller. The type size looked smaller! This at a time when everyone knows the audience for newspapers is aging. More of us are having to turn to reading glasses every day.
Don't we all assume the paper is getting paid the same for running these obits, as when the type was larger and more user-friendly? When I was at the Morris paper, we didn't even charge for running obituaries.
I think it is ethically questionable for papers to charge for publishing obits. The papers would say, well, everyone knows newspapers are having tough sledding now because of the Internet. How is that the problem of the families of deceased community members? No one is obligated to "subsidize" the newspapers. The way the system works now, as I understand it, is that the funeral home takes complete responsibility for writing the obits, and then collects payment from the families which then gets transferred to the paper. I suppose they all feel it would be "tacky" for the families to be forced to go to the newspaper office to pay. The system removes some of the unseemliness.
I have been arguing that the funeral home should actually charge the newspaper for the service of writing the obit. The funeral home does all the work. The paper is relieved of even paying an obituary writer.
The new system has developed with funeral costs getting sky-high. I imagine that funeral homes are under pressure to keep prices down. I have suggested before that funeral homes should affix a copyright notice to the obits they post on their websites, and then they could tell the paper not to publish them unless paying a fee. That would be a fascinating experiment.
A steadily growing percentage of people are just going online to read the obits anyway. Also, the obit gets published on the funeral program. Also, we're living in an age when more and more people simply value privacy. Is a death in the family really "community news" at all? Might it be seen as a private family tragedy? Friends and relatives can be informed promptly. Beyond that, I'm not sure it's the public's business. What do you think?
For the time being, I think we can all look down on the newspaper's practice of reducing the type size for obits, as a simple ploy to just try to keep raking in the same amount of money for a reduced service.
It's the same principle as what we're seeing Thrifty White Drug doing in the community: phasing out their two vibrant downtown stores in order to move to the outskirts in a drastically scaled-down facility. Money. It's all about money.
And finally, some levity
This is one of those jokes that used to flow through people in work channels, perhaps photocopied multiple times. Today it's all electronic but the fun is the same.
Here it is:
There was a young man once with a passion for baked beans, although they had a rather unpleasant side effect with him. He met a young lady and fell in love, whereupon he realized that she would stand for none of this and that once he got married, he'd have to sacrifice the beans. Then one day he was driving home and his car broke down. He parked it and decided to walk, whereupon he passed a diner where the aroma of freshly baked beans overwhelmed him. He figured he could have some and then walk off any ill effects, so he ordered three big servings. He putt-putted his way home, where he was greeted by his wife, who informed him that she had a wonderful surprise awaiting him, but she'd have to blindfold him. She led him into the dining room and sat him down at the table, his blindfold securely on. Then the phone rang and she said she'd be back in a couple minutes. In the privacy of the room, the young man had some unfinished business so he lifted up a leg and "let fire," followed by some other blasts until there was a real "prize winner." He grabbed his napkin and fanned the air to disperse the ill effects. Then his wife returned and said "I have the most wonderful surprise for you tonight." She removed the blindfold, whereupon the man was treated to the sight of several of the couple's closest friends, all seated around the dinner table next to him - guests for dinner that night.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

No comments:

Post a Comment