Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

Blessed Assurance


Church via livestreaming.

We began with the song Blessed Assurance while sitting on our living room sofa. Claudia is hand sewing a mask together after reading the names of people on her cell phone who were sharing the piece.

I guess that I am live blogging. I will stop here but note the missing children who we always arm with palm fronds to reenact the Palm Sunday.

Oh yes….the absent choir is being lauded even though we won’t be singing the cantata we had been practicing for today. Maybe next Palm Sunday.

Good Sunday to you.

Still life for the age of corona virus

first of three pics. Moi avec mon nouveau look. Must keep up my French. I think my recent difficulty getting a good night’s sleep stems from my excitement at several challenges. Fighting corona virus would be the top of that list. Now I can put on a face mask and have more security should a micron of virus spittle try to invade my respiratory tract. But that’s not all. By shaving my graybeard I won’t look that much older than the 53-year-old Congressman Stauber. Claudia always tells me my beard makes me look much older. I like it and it was a good way to hide my youthful impish qualities that some stodgy voters find off putting. But even with young folks swooning over Bernie I doubt looking curmudgeonly will be that attractive. So now, instead of looking 16 years older than Pete, voters will think I’m only ten years older.

Second pic. Continue reading

Edging closer to a fourth abyss – My latest Reader Column

The Duluth Reader, to whom I am fondly in debt for kick starting my print career, didn’t get printed last week. Robert Boone told me that it was the first time ever, in over twenty years, that he had failed to get it into print. The Duluth News Tribe’s Trib did not note or celebrate this disappointment. It has to do with a print shop being sold more than Boone’s recent threadbare financing for the Boone empire. Its financial state will not be helped by advertisers pulling ads due to the coronavirus drought. But in the long term I’m not worried for the future of the Reader. Bob is even more stubborn than he is wily and I think he’s plenty wily. This is simply the beginning of a long prologue to introduce today’s Not Eudora.

I just threw down a gauntlet that I’ve been waltzing around for a couple years, like when I filed but did not campaign in 2018’s Republican primary against Congressman Pete Stauber. Any official campaign I might launch will likely wait until filing opens in July. That doesn’t prevent me from idle threats and taunting in the Muhammad Ali style. I’ll float like a butterfly and sting like a bee until such time as I actively court the voters, ALL OF THEM. There are few voters, citizens or residents in the Eighth Congressional District who would be vastly better represented by me than almost any other American politician I can point my finger at at this moment in time. I am from a different age, and in many ways a better one.

Mr. Boone has some reservations about having active politicians writing for him so I’m hoping that as long as I remain only a distant, unofficial threat to the Congressional campaign he’ll let me keep writing my columns for the Reader. He may not. If not, that just gives me more time to write the book I’ve been threatening to write. Up to now its been a moving target for four or five years. I’ve taken orders on one book, changed my mind, offered refunds, then refocused as events on the ground change as fast as Donald Trump’s tweets.

At present I’ve got a rough idea for a Book title. I’ll keep it under my hat because it would be snapped up by someone else. And frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if a title like it has already occurred to a dozen people. I can imagine finishing it in a month’s time of concentrated effort because the secret is – I’ve been writing it for the last twenty years!

So, with this prologue out of the way I introduce you to the Online version of my latest Not Eudora column: From Victor to Vector.

STAY IN PLACE – DAY 4


A street in Paris under lock down.

My French pen pal Etienne sent me this today. No traffic on the streets of Paris. I sent him a picture of four cars on 21st Avenue East with the explanation that in our small town there seemed to be a lot more traffic than in his world capital city.

My wife has a nephew in the ICU suffering from Corona-virus in Bismarck, ND. Everyone in my family is taking this pandemic seriously. I and most of my family have the good fortune to be able to ride it out with some security. Not so those people serving us when we saunter out to spread viruses we may have but can’t be sure we are spreading.

I have been assuming worst case scenarios. Until the beginning of the week I thought that was unlikely. Now I hope the concentration of scientists, the medical comunity and America’s “deep state” keep us safe from Donald “I’d give myself an A” Trump.

I went to high school with a ton of kids who would be considered the deep state by the loons like Limbaugh and Hannity. They went into public service like the generation of young people went into the Peace Corps. Deep State. That’s an insult……to my intelligence.

But I’m having fun. As I said before I have a few objectives during the plague. Maybe run for Congress again with Pete Stauber’s Trumplicans handcuffed to their divans in front of Fox News. Learn French. Write a book possibly in tandem with a campaign for Congress. And most fun live up to my failed promise to substitute teach. I had decided to simply teach in the school that my grandson’s attend. But they don’t attend it under the circumstances and I’m beginning to see that this could be the end of the school year.

So why not tempt them into doing what I’ve done all my life – peek under the hood of “What’s that all about?” Continue reading

Stay in place – Day 1

This is not our first day of partial voluntary confinement. Sunday my wife reluctantly went to our church service as one of the indispensable bell ringers in the bell choir. Even so our church was only one of three Duluth Churches holding services that Sunday. On Monday we went out to buy some groceries. Tuesday there was a church meeting and Claudia participated by phone. She’s staying home now while I’ll run errands and wash my hands with lye when I come home. Well, soap. No need to overreact.

I’ve got a couple French citizens I’ve been pen pals with on my cell phone. All are in government imposed confinement. Police are at the intersections giving transients 130 euro fines. One has relatives that are physicians who are overwhelmed with sick people and beginning to withhold intubation for those who are too far gone – an effective death sentence. I asked if the sick are being sent to hospitals elsewhere that still have free beds. Apparently that is happening…..as long as remote hospitals still have beds available. My new friends are in a state of controlled shock.

Another has a nine-year-old niece who has a bad case of it. And its no longer just an overseas problem. Claudia’s nephew has been hospitalized in Bismarck, North Dakota, with a severe case that is not the flu. He should know by later today if he has corona virus. His wife came back ill from a Rhode Island sporting event with 24 young women two weeks ago. All the kids went to school the next day. That was two weeks ago and points to one of the fearsome aspects of Corona virus. It has up to a 14-day incubation period unlike our typical flues which incubate for two or three days. That’s fourteen days of walking around passing on the virus compared to 2 or 3. Here is a short story explaining the facts.

and a chart:

Today I decided to lend a hand keeping my grandson’s education from withering away. I sent them two challenges to answer questions from Sherlock Homes. One required translating a couple hundred word message in french. As they discover the answers more challenges will be sent to them via an envelope in their porch. My older grandson just called and told them that contrary to the message it was his dog that was not the best not his grandpere. He earned fifty cents. His younger brother is about to look for a translator as well. I’ve got to come up with a new challenge but I have one in mind.

I’m still working on French. I’m puttering with the books I’ve been threatening to write. I’m also thinking about how I might challenge Pete Stauber in a campaign where neither of us can gather together with crowds for fear of spreading the pandemic. I’ll have more time. No more snow sculptures for a while.

I’ll be donating blood tomorrow. I got a call from Memorial Blood bank. They are still up and running and cleaning off surfaces like mad. Folks in our church are sending messages back and fourth about how they can help. I suggested that those of us who might get a thousand dollar check we don’t need from the government make sure it gets into the hands of those who need it.

And I talk politics with my French pen pal

Even as I tear my hair out with my ex brother in law I’ve got other political discussions started in one case with a new pen pal of sorts in France. S is attempting to improve her English while I work on my French. She’s quite competent with English but I wonder if, like me, she sees what she has just written and it looks funny to her as my French looks to me. I know I’m getting the correct words out but what I see is not a language that jumps into my eyes and brain fully formed. I have to think it out like a small child with his first book. And speaking French…. Don’t get me started! I heard a more knowledgeable person explain that learning French is like learning two languages the written and the spoken. I agree.

At any rate, S who thinks her fellow French citizens are soft and demanding compared to the Germans who just do what has to be done, was explaining how her President Macron has created a new political party. After reading my piece in the Reader she suggested that America needs a third party.

Here’s what I wrote back to her in French (which was greatly aided with the use of a google translator)

Aux États-Unis, des tiers se matérialisent tous les dix ou deux ans. J’ai voté pour le membre du Congrès John Anderson en 1980 au lieu de Jimmy Carter ou Ronald Reagan, mais il est difficile pour eux de gagner.

And what does it mean? Using the translator to turn it back into English this is what I wrote to S.:

In the United States, third parties materialize every ten or two years. I voted for Congressman John Anderson in 1980 instead of Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan, but it is difficult for them to win. (That awkward “every ten or two years,” is the work of a translator dealing with my faulty French.

Then I added in English to challenge her English reading skills:

“Maybe my preference was only possible in the Cold War. Back then there were only 2 parties with soft support. Half of America was in the Middle and could swing either way. That meant that both parties pitched their appeals to the center not to their extremes. Now there is almost no middle ground and both parties have to keep their extremists happy.”

Back in the Saddle again

So to speak. I posted twice from Arizona while I was away. It was a good vacation. Actually it was a good second vacation as I returned from a short Disney cruise one week earlier. Having posted very little for the past few weeks I’m please my eight loyal readers kept visiting despite having so little fresh food at my blog buffet.

I finished my Not Eudora column on the flight home last night and bent over backwards to get its sent to the Reader for this week’s issue. I scarcely had the bandwith at O’Hare field to get it sent then had to send some corrections afterward. As promised earlier its titled Arizona Highways.

At noon today I dropped by the now silent Duluth offices of Bloomberg’s campaign to express my gratitude to Josh and Nicole for their part in moving the primary season into the hands of someone poised to give Trump a run for his money. They were however gone. And from what I’ve read in the news, they were dropped a little unceremoniously from the campaign by Mr. Bloomberg against the expectations that they and other Bloomberg staffers had a guaranteed job harrying Trump until November.

Now that my vacations are over I intend, once again, to begin writing books. Oh Harry. Please don’t disappoint yourself again. Get to work.

I kept up with the news all the way through Arizona and it will be hard to tear myself away to write. Even the blog beckons. I’m discomfited by all the trolling of Democrats in Facebook. Trump loons and Ruskie trolls have perfected their primary work of pissing off Democrats. I suspect half of the apparent Bernie lovers are fakes but real ones not Trump’s Fake News fakes.

Among the latest tactics is to assure Biden supporters that Biden has lost it and is in full blown dementia. One such post ended with the oblique comment “What would Eugene V. Debs do?” I’m sorry but mentioning the imprisoned socialist who got a million votes for President in 1916 while in jail is just the sort of smart-ass comment a recent college poly sci drop out would throw around. A true Bernie supporter could give a damn about that factoid.

At any rate I’ll offer up my Facebook comment on the subject of Biden’s alleged unfitness for the Presidency, to wit:

Winston Churchill may never have said this but I have always liked this quote attributed to him. “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

I’m for the failing Biden. He should lead us back from the abyss over 4 years before winking out. Does America need a shot of Sanders. You betcha it does. Its 50 years overdue. But lots of things take time. Black voters who are still decades away from being treated as equals and a century away from overcoming 400 years worth of disadvantages collectively understand this. Four more years of Trump is their biggest impediment. America was hardly ready for a black President. Apparently Americans still would prefer a rat bastard to a socialist. I don’t like it either but don’t think I am an idiot for understanding this ridiculous morass and acting rationally in supporting Biden.

To which yet another troll exulted in Biden’s dementia. I added this:

BTW – Ronald Reagan was showing serious signs of a confused intellect in his last term as president and it was a great success. More so than his first term.

Reagan was a real President who did his best to be everybody’s President even if you didn’t care for his priorities.

Arizona Highways

I’ve kept up my French in Arizona for the past 11 days but given up blogging. I’m going to the blog today as I’ll be returning home tomorrow and my old ways. I’ve got to get back in practice and the headline here is what I’ll title the next Not Eudora column which I’ll be writing tomorrow on the plane.

I’m preparing for that column by sharing here a couple photos and thoughts about Arizona based on my trip. This is mostly to assure my eight loyal readers that I have not abandoned them. It would be a lovely time now to heap abuse on the big hands of our Commander-in-Chief with his botching of the corona virus epidemic; the historic fall in stocks and the getting-it-together of the fractious Democrats, but my critique would pale in comparison with others I’ve been reading. I will just share that my vote for Bernie or Joe will be ever more gladly cast next November from France where I’ll be soaking up French in situ.

So a couple of photos from Arizona:

1st day Bisbee, AZ – 11 mi. N of Mexico border. An arty town with a sense of humor about itself. 100 years ago the town fathers crammed a dozen box cars with union men and shipped them out of town at gun point warning them never to return.

2nd day, Tucson AZ, Saguaro NP Zoo A great zoo in the most bio diverse desert on Earth.

3rd day, a wedding mixed Jewish/Christian ceremony. The bride’s grandmother was talked out of marrying a Jewish gentleman about 70 years earlier.

4th day, Sedona, AZ, A picturesque Hollywood western town with kool bronze statues abounding. Here’s an old cowhand spellbinding children with western poppycock. Apropos First of three lovely nights. Some shopping, sight seeing and one helluva canyon tour in pink jeeps.

Days 7-12, Bullhead City, AZ, first stop Oatman, AZ, western trinkets, gunfighters, donkey’s galore.

Colorado River cruise courtesy of my Brother-in-law.

Domestic canid

Not so domestic canid, “Wylie”

Got a brief glimpse of his nemesis “Meep, Meep Roadrunner” that morning in a toney part of Bullhead City. No hard life on the banks of a river for him.

Sign of human neglect in a nearby wash surrounded by the homes of Snowbirds.

Sunset the night before the full “Worm Moon” of the local SW Indians when the worms come out of the winter soil

The three eared hombre

If I hadn’t mentioned it before I am traveling once again. Today I am in Sedona, Arizona, and reading about the corona virus, the falling stock market and the thinning of the ranks in the Democratic presidential nomination process. To distract myself I have been hobnobbing with dead movie stars. I met John Wayne beyond the grave and one of his celluloid sidekicks – the three eared hombre.

BTW We just watched his first Sedona movie. The Angel and the Badman. It was very charming.

2020-03-02_05-13-41

Behind the scenes of a snow sculpture

I like to look at my snow sculptures from my windows. I don’t build them to be seen from the back but I like looking at people slowing down to take pictures once they are near completion. And this effort is near completion. Like the see no evil elephants that melted a few days after their birth in December, this particular sculpture was ambitious and took nearly two weeks to build. Its not quite done yet.

Yesterday’s warm temps hint an yet another short life for this year’s second “call-to-arms” sculpture but they sure made it easy to get the work done fast. It should be finished by tomorrow, Monday, and well into the melting process by the end of the week. I’ll snap a picture when its finished and post it so long as no one mutilates it over night.

I’m feeling better at this point. The wonderful new knock off of American Pie I just watched on Facebook has cheered me immensely. After church I’ll find it and post it.

Cruisin

For five nights I’ve been on a Disney Cruise of the Caribbean during a Winter break. I was blissfully ignorant of our plans or what we might do or where we would go. I was too preoccupied watching Donald Trump and the Democrats dance around a deep pit I hoped would not become America’s grave. So, landing in Florida and being freed from the news and the Internet for a week was a blessing.

In fact I slept well, meaning six hours or more, every night of the cruise. I’m not sure whether the absence of Trump News or cellphone gazing late at night was the chief reason for this. I slept well again back in Duluth last night leaving it till this morning to do some catching up.

I was so detached from the planning that I only paid attention to the itinerary after we boarded Disney’s Magic. Its the sister ship of the Wonder that I think we sailed on for a Disney trip to Alaska with our grandsons five years ago. I didn’t even know until the day before we arrived that our first stop was the Cayman Islands. We snorkeled there, had a fine lunch and returned to our ship. I only knew that the Caymans were something of an off shore tax evasion site. Just now I googled it and discovered that it was a British possession.

We all got a little sun burned, ate too much, enjoyed family entertainment and forgot that Donald Trump is doing nothing to slow down the Caribbean heat sink which is fueling stronger hurricanes. I shared lots of pictures this morning on Facebook which I won’t share here because my family deserves a little anonymity even as I continue to streak nakedly across the internet.

I will however show you a string of pictures I took in Grand Cayman’s capitol, Georgetown, of a traffic cop who enjoyed entertaining the pedestrians he shepherded across the closest thing to a busy intersection in the city.

And here’s one more from the restaurant we dined at overlooking the spot where we snorkeled over the wreck of a ship that blew up when its cargo of dried rice got drenched in a storm and the rice puffed up.

Political Spin the Bottle

In our current atmosphere a day can spin you off in new directions. I have written two columns for next week’s Reader and now I’m about to shelve them and write a third. My Snowsculpture plans, however, haven’t changed but they may have sped up.

Anyhoo, this is my latest enthusiasm:

I read about Michael Bloomberg’s Duluth Office opening last night in the Strib and then looked for it in the DNT. Here’s the DNT version.

I sent a couple emails to DNT reporters asking for the contact info for the Bloomberg staff but it was late Friday night and they probably won’t see it till the new week begins on Monday. There is going to be a mini open house tomorrow, Sunday at one, according to the story. I wasn’t sure I could make that as Sunday is a family day for me. But I reasoned that Nicole would be fussing around in the new headquarters today so a little after noon I sauntered over. Sure enough two people trying to pry heavy duty vinyl signage off of their picture window overlooking 4th Ave W. I parked, hopped out and lent them a hand. After some strenuous effort we got the lower half off. That let some light into their headquarters. We chatted a bit and I left. But the work wasn’t done. I returned a short time later with a step ladder and razor to remove the upper half. I took over some paint supplies too because they will want to spruce up the office until Mayor Mike is out of the Democratic nomination or becomes their candidate in the Presidential Sweepstakes. I think our Billionaire class helped screw up America and I find it poetic justice that it might be a much bigger billionaire who cleans up the damage of a much tinier piranha.

Josh, the director, is a local boy and a 2008 graduate of East High. Nicole, another Minnesotan, is his assistant. She told me she came from reality television and when I asked if it was “The Apprentice.” It wasn’t but she knew some folks from that show. They told her they learned never go into any room alone with Trump.

I warned the pair that I’m something of an acquired taste in Duluth but said I’d be happy to offer them advice. I told them that one of the more refreshing things about Bloomberg was that he’s the only Democratic candidate training all his guns on the real menace, Trump, instead of looking over his shoulders worrying about the other Democrats. I explained that the minute I heard Bloomberg take a nasty shot at any of the others I was outta there. I’ll accord Mike a little more leash if he makes it to the debates. Goodness knows he’ll be a big target since he wields fortune that dwarfs Trump’s grifting.

David Brooks is wrong

A fretful sleepless me awoke in a drier version of night sweats. I got up and wrote my next Reader Column. You will only get to peak at its still unedited beginning.

I told Claudia tonight that I thought the reason I’ve been sleeping well for the first time since God knows when, the beginning of my fight for a vote on the Red Plan maybe or, more likely, the emergence of Donald Trump a year before his election, and I thought it was because the Impeachment process had begun and now there was not just hope but the likelihood that America would come of of this new national nightmare with just some scratches and bruises. Or words to that affect.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I have been studying French copiously, and with some success, because its my sophisticate’s version of hiding my head in the sand. Maybe, just like Trump’s first emergence when I sculpted him in his finger pointing fury, I sense that he’s about to pull off a second win. Its a win that the eminently reasonable pundit David Brooks said recently we had little to fear from. Too many Americans don’t want him to be president for four more years despite the economy which a majority of Americans give him credit for. In fact, ………………….

Sorry, no more for now.

Harry’s Diary 1/23/2020

I returned money yesterday…..that’s the next post.

Today I signed up for two more French apps on my cell phone. One allows me to chat with people who will check my French as I check their English. The other is called “slow French News.” My determination to learn French just grows stronger. It is almost purely an academic challenge.

I read about the 400 people, some of whom were quite vocal, at last night’s boundary change meeting. Not only do I have hundreds of posts relating to the issues that were discussed, boundaries, Red Plan, race, neighborhoods, I have experienced even more heated meetings as a school board member about these issues. The most heated was ironically at the same locale when Ordean was a middle school. It had 800 angry parents, double last night’s attendance. My superintendent showcased all nine of the school board members behind tables on a stage in front of all the angry parents. And he deprived us of microphones. I’ve written about that too http://www.snowbizz.com/Crisis/eastcorridormtg.htm If you go to his link please click my comment about how much I detest demagogues. Its an anecdote about the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

I listened to the surprisingly stirring history given by Congressman Nadler. Trump should be removed. He’s lucky his party created conditions requiring their Senators to be eunuchs. Later I was impressed by the President’s worst enemy Congressman Shifty Schiff. In Trump’s case it takes one to know know one. In Schiff’s case it takes a prosecutor to unveil one.

After it got repetitive I went out and shoveled snow. When I came back in I asked my wife if there was anything new. She said the description of that Trump’s goons did to the Ukraine Ambassador was shameful.

Mt. Rushmore is weeping.

From Ken Star – GOP expert

The Constitution is unconstitutional.

And this is the second time he’s been involved in one. I am tempted to think he’s a tad hypocritical on this point.

In his first one he gave the Meuller treatment to the high crime of Bill Clinton’s spilling his seed on a grown up women’s dress. …that of course was not the high crime he hangs his hat on. Neither is it the string of Cosby/Epstein-like lies denying having done it. No, like Trump Clinton got into trouble trying to reaffirm the lie UNDER OATH. None of the other lies threatened our Democracy. Just the one under oath.

This is just a quick thought I wanted to unload before I undertake today’s big project. I will be busy today building a maze for my grandson’s first double digit birthday party.

I used to build huge mazes for the Chester Park Elementary School’s school carnival.

Wasscalwy Wabbit

My fingers are itchy enough to tease with stuff that’s been on my mind but only of consequence only to me. I just got the Christmas stuff put away and changed a load of laundry. That led to cleaning the kitty litter box and taking some litter out to the trash and then a reminder of the damage that our rabbits have done to us this winter. Just like the shrews I noted the day after the two foot snow dump our rabbits have had to deal with a lot of snow. When I piled up my elephantine snow I saw hundreds of rabbit turds. Little did I think about them being the remains of my foliage but the picture above shows the wasscal who stripped my “Burning Bush” of bark. I will cut it all down in Spring in hopes that new shoots will spring up. Yesterday I noticed that our cedar trees lower boughs were also badly nibbled having been pulled to the rabbit’s level by loads of snow. I hadn’t dug them out until yesterday. They too have taken a bad hit.

… and those shrews! I assumed I’d mentioned them in the blog but just discovered that that was not the case. I did however, mention them in my Not Eudora column of December 3rd.

Next up french practice…… maybe followed by another post. I’ll add that while taking the kitty litter out I finally resolved just what book to write to save America. Its a challenge that’s been gnawing at me for two years. I hope to begin ….after french, one more blog post and who knows what other distractions. BTW – Chevy Chase, Jerry Ford and the fall of Mainline Protestant Churches were what got me thinking about the book contents.

Keep your middle finger holstered

Donald Trump is counting on all my allies to stoke his reelection with their vitriol. In Trump’s view it will keep his supporters, many of them iffy voters, motivated to come out and vote for him even if the economy takes what now looks unlikely, a stumble. I have been similarly tempted to take offense at the middle fingers Trump’s supporters have pointed in my direction. But its just voting bait. I prefer cool calculated responses.

Not that I’m naive. I think David Brooks is naive. I heard him casually shrug off the possibility that Trump could get reelected on Public Television. I think David is dangerously misguided to adopt such confidence. Donald Trump is like a good surfer in rough waves. He has stayed out of jail for a lifetime by weilding his tens, hundreds and possibly billions of dollars like pugil sticks to keep any and everyone at bay. (I just found this link on pugil sticks and was stuck watching a seemingly unending ad on the Trump driven news source Epoch Times. Talk about a pugil stick)

Until the election I am going to assume that Trump can win. I believe that rational discussion is the only way to calm down middle fingers for Trump. I will be quick to tease, and criticize Trump but not his followers. I hope other Trump critics follow this example but not to the foolish extent David Brooks does.

I’ve not blogged much lately. I’m in a period of blogging remission but there has been plenty to test my patience. I have had Christmas decorations covering my office for a couple days now. I’ve got to put them away and clean all the debris from my office before I return to shooting my fingers off…..holstered or not.

NOTE: IN IMAGE ABOVE THE CRITICAL FINGER IS NOT THE MIDDLE FINGER