Shopping, the Vikes and the dangers of irony

I was a local shopper before it was cool, so I was pleased to see Small Business Saturday turn into a national phenomenon.
My goal this year is to buy all my Christmas presents in the small towns of the Mille Lacs area.
I’ve never liked Walmart, and Target isn’t much better except that it keeps most of my money in Minnesota. I was pleased to see Walmart workers starting to stick up for their rights, and I hope it continues.
An interesting study released last week showed that if large retailers increased wages from the average — $21,000 — to $25,000 per year, it could be covered with a 1 percent increase in prices. A penny on the dollar to lift 700,000 workers out of poverty.
The ripple effects on the economy would be tremendous, with millions of workers spending an extra $4,000 per year, resulting in an estimated $12 billion to $15 billion in GDP and over 100,000 new jobs.
Speaking of small business, we have several great organizations in our community that support small business and go to great lengths to improve the local economy.
If you are a business owner and are not a member of the Isle Chamber of Commerce, the Onamia Civic Association, the Garrison Commercial Club, and/or the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council, you should be.
The game we should’ve lost
Yeah, it was all a dream, those first few games, with Christian Ponder playing like an all-star and the defense looking like the ‘85 Bears.
Now we’ll be lucky to win another game.
Like many Vikings fans, I’m thinking back to last year, when a loss to Washington would’ve given us a shot at drafting a Heisman-winning quarterback by the name of Robert Griffin III.
RG3, as he’s known, threw for four touchdowns a week ago against Philadelphia and four more on Thanksgiving in the Redskins’ win over Dallas.
Meanwhile, our own franchise quarterback is looking more and more like a cross between Gary Cuozzo and Norm Snead (for you longtime fans).
Assuming Mr. G3 stays healthy, Vikings fans will have a good 10 years of jealousy.
A clarification regarding last week’s column
Last week I wrote about a former friend who was arrested for criminal sexual conduct that allegedly occurred while he, a pastor, was counseling adult male parishioners in how to be “cured” of homosexuality.
To be clear: I don’t believe that homosexuality is a sickness, or that it can or should be cured.
Some also may have thought I was confusing pedophilia and homosexuality.
I know the difference. Pedophiles can be straight, gay, or in between, and heterosexuals commit far more sex crimes than homosexuals.
The last line was problematic: “Finally, there’s my friend himself, who has spent his adult life attempting to reconcile an irreconcilable reality: that the God he loved so much had created him with a disease he could not for the life of him cure.”
It was intended as irony. I was not expressing my own beliefs, but what I believe my friend believes.
I guess I should’ve been more direct.
If anyone was offended, it wasn’t intentional. My track record on the issue should speak for itself.
Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.
This column was published in the Mille Lacs Messenger on Nov. 29, 2012.


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