|Our Morris MN water tower is a true landmark.|
You could expect humor. You could expect irreverence. You could also expect politically incorrect assertions, certainly by today's standards. Riley covered women's golf as if his only interest was in the athletes' looks. The criterion was of the type you'd expect as applied by the Dean Martin Variety Hour.
I remember him writing of women golfers: "My God but they're ungainly and crude." He picked out Laura Baugh as a nice sexy exception, and said of this blonde: "She's the only one I'd care to share a rhumba with." Try getting that past a copy desk today.
Women's athletics in general was a novelty that the well-established sportswriters of the time just didn't know how to handle. The one thing they had trouble doing was writing about female athletes like they wrote about all other athletes. And when they did start taking it seriously, they could still be condescending at times. They couldn't keep from attaching an asterisk of sorts to women's sports.
I remember myself, being surprised that female hoops players could even make 3-point shots. Mary Holmberg would want to bang me over the head for sharing that memory.
Don Riley had these offbeat subheads in his column that could be such a delight: "I'll talk, you listen." "Scatter-gunning from the catbird's seat." "Behind the lockers." "Don't print that." I remember coaxing Bart Hill to use one or two of these in his youth baseball submissions to me at the Morris paper in the1980s!
Riley set up this amusing adversarial relationship with Wisconsin and the Green Bay Packers. It was faux teasing and anger, of course. He just seized on a rivalry. He would sometimes publish angry feedback from a Wisconsin fan, and then react with his own (faux) vitriol. He'd respond by saying, for example: "And you'll love the view at Happy Acres." Of course that's politically incorrect humor too.
Yes, it was a more innocent and naive time in the history of our civilization. We worshipped the Vikings back then in the 1970s. We didn't know those poor men were being physically and mentally hurt to such a great degree by their sport. Fred McNeill the linebacker recently died because of degenerative brain problems. Alzheimer's or CTE? Lou Gehrig may not have died from Lou Gehrig's Disease.
The Star Tribune has had some long-time survivors from that era. I wonder if Sid Hartman has a ghostwriter today. At least there must be a very vigilant editor. Sid is at a very advanced age and should just be enjoying retirement. He has stayed at the dance too long, just like Herb Carneal did. Some people just cannot let go.
Patrick Reusse is a holdover from the Riley era, and he often strikes me as a throwback with his cynicism and incisive eye. My generation when young understood and accepted that cynicism and frankness. Young people of today who have studied "conflict resolution" are far less understanding. Today's youth are encouraged to be "glass half full" types. It was impossible to be like that in the age of the Viet Nam war.
Don Riley belongs in another age. He did give spice during that age. Don Riley RIP.
I once knew Willie Martin well so I'm inclined to use the word "astronomical." Maybe I should say "super astronomical." Willie would say "have a super astronomical day." I don't think he'd be fond of the Powerball, a phenomenon that maybe says something about the desperation of living in America. We buy into an elusive dream, a dream as likely to come alive for us as seeing a unicorn.
Morris native Dom Klyve reminds of the futility of buying tickets. Klyve is a mathematical genius, quite the opposite of yours truly. I reject the Powerball on the basis of common sense. Klyve can help us reject it using numbers logic. Dom's father Bill used to arrange for me to come and cover Pheasants Forever banquets.
I once worked with Dom's mother Lynn at the Morris Sun Tribune. Lynn said "good morning" to me in a way that made me feel more buoyant than anything in the world. Those times are gone with the wind now. Lynn once said that years hence, "no one will remember I worked at the Sun Tribune." Well, I remember. She got attuned to the Internet early-on. She helped me learn the ropes. It was through emailing with Lynn that I learned that you can send and receive email from anywhere in the country, using a Yahoo or Gmail account. I was amazed discovering all this. I was so used to old, analog systems of communications. Finally I got "hip." Thanks Lynn.
Is it realistic to hope to win the Powerball? Is it realistic to hope to come in contact with space aliens?
"It's hard to come up with words for how unlikely this is," Dom Klyve of Central Washington University said. "You could try flipping a coin, calling it in the air, and your odds of getting it right 28 times in a row are better than your odds of winning the Powerball." Only one combination out of 292 million will win.
The more tickets you buy, the better the odds? Not by much, Klyve advises. If one person buys a single ticket while another person buys 20, Klyve says "they have a 20 times better chance of winning, but 20 times approximately zero is still approximately zero - neither of you are going to win tonight."
I remember the young prodigy Mr. Klyve working along the checkout line at Pamida in Morris. Pamida you'll remember was the predecessor to the more high-class ShopKo. Pamida was notorious for having such gaping potholes in the parking lot, it was dangerous.
Dom has a sister Danika who you might remember too. Danika is in the TV media field in the Twin Cities. Each year I email a Christmas greeting to Lynn and I see that she gets a link to my new Christmas song. She has stopped answering those emails. I'm sure she's very busy. She's a good friend of Judy Diehl of Morris.
There's a person in Fargo leading an effort to get main street stores to be open on Sundays, all the time. It's about time someone made note of this. The big box stores with their substantial hardware departments are open on Sunday, while the traditional little main street hardware stores aren't. It's a head-scratcher. I suppose it's a reflection of blue laws, seen as more and more quaint.
The Morris newspaper prior to Black Friday was loaded with a ridiculous number of those ad circulars. This is a head-scratcher for me. The papers brag about how many circulars they are offering their customers. So I suppose it's good for the papers. But if I'm an individual advertiser, I'd be concerned that my circular would get lost in the shuffle. Who on earth is going to page through all that crap and then drive to Alexandria and spend hundreds of dollars all over the place? And if you did, would all that "stuff" really make you happy?
It's odd because we now live in a time when communications are so easy and economical because of the electronic media. And yet we seem to be showered with those ad circulars more than ever. It seems environmentally stupid.
I suppose people still buy the Morris paper so they can see if anyone they know got a seat belt citation from police. It feeds the gossip mill and isn't good for much else. If enough people stopped buying the Morris paper, maybe it would just disappear.
A nice Thanksgiving regardless (published November 30 on "I Love Morris")
I wonder how much food that restaurant had left over at the end of the day. I wonder what happened to it. Maybe in the future something could be worked out where the Senior Community Center kitchen could put out something for Thanksgiving. No point in that building just sitting there empty and locked up.
We have had winters with more snow. But there is something about the sheer persistence of this past winter that has gotten into our psyche. It's something we can't even dismiss with the "sing-song" voice cadence revealed in the movie "Fargo." A new TV series continues the legend of "Fargo." It continues the themes of that movie but with all new characters and story line. Get ready for more of the "sing-song" voice. The voice cadence belies the burden we feel as Minnesotans, scraping ice off our windshield or walking over snow with the "crunching" sound underneath.
In the fifth inning the snow started cascading down. The game was called off. Calvin could have used the sing-song voice to indicate "life just goes on," or to change the subject. He recalled thinking to himself: "What the hell have I gotten us into out here in Minnesota."