Hillary’s speech

If you were watching, it was hard not to see it as the shining moment of her career. I was thinking that she would’ve done a lot better against Obama if she could’ve tapped into that passion and humanity a few months ago.

The Republican spin doctors were once again brilliant this morning, turning a moment of glory for the Democrats into a disappointment because Hillary didn’t talk specifically about Obama. Whoever they have pulling the strings behind the curtain is amazing. Rove or someone else? They’re all immediately on point, lockstep, on message.

Their new method of attack against Obama is to praise Clinton. Unreal. If only George Orwell were here.

Tomorrow’s paper

A few articles to watch for:

A story on Mark Olson, the endorsed Republican candidate for Senate District 16. Olson came to me office last Friday for a visit.

A story on a local inventor who built the Dog Mahal, as reporter Rob Passons dubbed it.

A story on eating disorders by our intern, Eve Christensen.

Two features on local girls who competed in a pageant.

Lots of crime news.

A story on 30 dead cormorants found on Spirit Island, likely victims of Newcastle disease.

Sports previews by Bob

Columns by me, Viv, Joe Fellegy, Sherri Jedlicki, Larry Smallwood

Not a bad mix for a small-town weekly, wouldn’t you say?

Go to http://www.millelacsmessenger.com

Dogs think we’re stupid

I was jogging on my newly cleared trails this morning with Lucy, the black lab. I went around twice, plus out to the mailbox twice, a total of about 4.5 miles. I took a wrong turn both times around, and thought Lucy must’ve been rolling her eyes at me. To her, the trail is probably obvious, since she follows her nose.

It made me think dogs are probably always thinking we’re stupid, so utterly clueless about smells and high-pitched noises. When you’re sitting on the couch, and suddenly the dog jumps up and runs to the door, she’s thinking how stupid you are. She looks at you with her best Napoleon Dynamite and says to herself, “Gosh! What’s wrong with them?”

On another note, I liked Michelle Obama’s speech last night.

I’m not terribly confident about Barack’s chances at this point, but she’s gotta help.

Here’s the backstage video:

Column ideas

The Replacements really do stink.

Culture wars: Two examples

1. Letter to the editor about Duane Barnhart’s second amendment cartoon.

2. Blogger accusing NBC sports analyst Chris Collingsworth of being a left-wing tool.

Worst bee sting ever

My brother has this little swimming pool – three feet deep, 12 feet across or so. I got hot working in the woods the other day so I jumped in, along with Diane and Leif. There was a bug in the pool, a beetle I thought, so I scooped it up and was going to throw it out, and it stung me on the finger. It was the most painful bee sting ever, and one of the most painful experiences ever. After five minutes of whining, Diane and Leif were ready to drown me.

I looked around and found another bug just like it. It had the typical yellow-and-black abdomen of a bee, but its wings were covered in tan-colored shells like a beetle. I’d never seen the like. A bee in beetles clothing.

I googled it and found lots of beetles that mimic bees but no bees that mimic beetles.

Reject column

Here’s one I didn’t run a few weeks ago when I was depressed.

I’m really getting tired of words

I heard an old Bob Marley song yesterday, and it cheered me up. It was that song about the birds, and it’s so short, I’ll quote the whole thing:

Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun,
three little birds by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs, melodies pure and true,
Singing, “This is my message to you.”

Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright,
Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

It’s been one of those months where every time I turn around, I step in dog poo. Every time I open my mouth, venom comes out.

The book of James says we should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

I’ve always been envious of those people who are slow to speak. They look so wise and mysterious. Most of us talk too much and say too little.

I’ve never been slow to speak, but I used to be slow to anger. Lately I’ve lost that skill as well. I’ve been yelled at more in the last year than I had in the previous 25, so now I pick up the phone ready to defend myself. I sit in my office with the door closed, hissing and baring my teeth.

James also says the tongue is a fire. “No one can tame the tongue,” he says. “It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

The same is true of the written word. Lately when I put pen to paper, the words burn a hole in the page.

The poison pen thing comes naturally to me. I didn’t cry when the doctor spanked me. I looked at him with righteous indignation and began forming my arguments.

I’m sure the guy who said “The pen is mightier than the sword” knew it could be deadlier, too. Without Hitler’s words, his tanks and bombs would’ve sat idle.

I came to this job a year ago, thinking it was a perfect fit. I thought I was good at getting along with people I disagreed with, which is important for a newspaper editor. Over the last year, I’ve proven myself wrong.

We don’t take our job here lightly, or make decisions without thinking of the consequences. We know people get hurt by what we do, but we also know people expect us to do it anyway. Many stories turn to burdens that we carry home. They wake us up at night. They yell and swear and cry.

As if the real yelling wasn’t enough.

After an especially bad Monday last week, I went jogging Tuesday morning and saw a dicksissel. It’s a little bird that looks like a meadowlark but doesn’t sing as sweetly. I had only seen two others in my life, one 20 years ago in Illinois and one two years ago, on the very wire where I saw it Tuesday. “Dick-sis-sis-el” it said. It cheered me up the way no words could. I thought to myself, “It should be called a ‘dicksississel’.”

When I got home, I told Diane about it. We were sitting on the porch, watching the light fade and listening to the kids play. Diane used to be an ornithologist, before she became a nurse midwife. She said, “They actually say, ‘Dick-sis-sis-el’, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“It should be called a ‘dicksississel’,” she said.

I kept trying to say it, but it wasn’t easy: dick-sis-sis-el, dick-sis-sis-el.

I’m starting over with words. I’m going to choose them slowly and carefully, using only the ones that James and Bob Marley’s birds would approve of.

So far I have one.

I’ll try this again

I’m back. Maybe I’ll work on updating this thing routinely again. We’re working on getting a new website, which will give us new blog spaces, but it will probably be a while, so I’ll get back to doing this one in the meantime.

Things have settled down a bit at the Mess. I’m keeping my head down.

This week we’re working on several articles. One on Jane Hovey, an Isle teacher who has a brain tumor, one on a local inventor who one an award for solar dog house, one on a guy’s experience with addiction to booze and pot…

I also have to get around to making a video of the Mille Lacs County Fair, which was last weekend. I took a lot of little video clips.