Category Archives: Not Eudora

100 pints of blood

Just in case anyone reading my previous post skipped over the link to my latest column in the Duluth Reader I’m providing another chance to read it here.

I am always annoyed to discover that my proof reading missed something and, especially with something gone to print. In the case of this column I am missing an article……a darned “a.” That was after about seven rereadings sessions to edit it. Pshaw!!

“My Vietnam” from today’s Not Eudora column

Peace sign cuff links made for me by my Uncle Frank, a Korean War Veteran.

It begins:

“I just read a short biographical story about Robert Mueller III which described how he earned a bronze star and a purple heart in Vietnam. The story briefly contrasted Meuller and the draft dodging Donald Trump. It described how Trump has often joked that avoiding STD’s in the 1980’s was “his Vietnam,” and how his constant pursuit of sex marked him as very brave soldier. Both men are five years my senior and reached draft age before the war turned sour.”

Read the rest here:

NOTE: Yeah I see it now. It should be “a…

very brave soldier.”

One more reason why my loyal readers will remain reduced to 7

Yes, I lost a reader due to too much emphasis on the state of black America. My departed reader assured me that I had obviously been subjected to too much propaganda. Well, true to form the first of the New York Times pieces I will link to is about America’s new holocaust museum in Alabama. Duluth will be sending a delegation to this memorial as our infamous lynching is part of its story. If its mention of the treatment of an angry young wife who railed at her husband’s murderers is propaganda……well, I will continue to subject my readers to it.

The other article was a review of the book written by a reporter who covered Hillary Clinton for ten years right up to her defeat at the hands of Donald Trump.

And this same author separately explains the advice she was given before writing a book. It was: read lots of books. Since I keep putting off authoring my own book/books I found the advice sensible.

And last night I sent in my next column to the Duluth Reader’s Submissions email. The column will be titled: Swallowing Ham’s Sandwich. I can’t link to it yet but it begins:

The story of Noah’s Ark begins in chapter six of Genesis. My grandsons would tell me that Chapter six was afraid of Chapter 7 for good reason. Why? Because 7-8-9.

Whatever happened…..My latest Not Eudora Column

Whatever Happened to the Magnificent Seven

Thanks to the Reader for the nice graphic.

It begins:

In 1966, at age 16, I discovered pop music which was then a witch’s brew of pop, country, and rock about to go their separate ways. One of my early favorites was a song by the Statler Brothers “Flowers on the Wall.” It was about a guy who was dumped by his girlfriend. In the lyrics the fellow claims not to mind “playing solitaire alone with a deck of 51.” Seven years later, after the horrors of 1968 and Vietnam, the Statlers – now confirmed red necks – sang a new song that pined for the days of rugged cowboy heroes. I couldn’t stand it. The lyrics and chorus began:

You can read it all here.

Pardon Mon French – latest Not Eudora

I just got my computer out of the Geek Squad’s hands. It had been acting up. Just in time to link it to my latest Not Eudora Column in the Reader – Pardon Mon French which begins:

I am attempting to learn to speak my first foreign language three years short of my “three score and ten.” Why I am, is not as interesting to me as the how. French wouldn’t even have been my first pick. That would have been Spanish. As a kid I knew that more nations close to the U.S. spoke Spanish than any other language after the era of colonization. It also had a reputation of being an easier language to learn.

I spelled “Boche” wrong. I discovered that last night in the subtitles of the 1937 film The Grand Illusion.

As in Casablanca it had a stirring scene of the French singing the Marseilles to Germans who had power over them but it was an anti-war film not one pushing anyone to join a war. It was a sad cry from the French to avoid a war that would break out just two years later.

My latest Not Eudora

…from today’s Duluth Reader The Wayning of America.

It begins:

A recent New York Times story explained how the Arizona Legislature came up with millions to begin teaching what some critics call “dead white man’s history” in the halls of the godless public universities.

…and regarding my previous post – I’ve changed my mind. I won’t add anything else. Hopefully they got my eight loyal readers cogitating without any additional help from me.

The first rough draft…..

of History.

It made it to this week’s Reader. It begins:

I stopped in a used bookstore in Bullhead City, Arizona, last week and found about 25,000 mostly paperback books. I asked for the nonfiction section and was directed to four shelves containing perhaps 100 books. If the lion’s share of romances, westerns and thrillers in that store reflect our psyches, perhaps it’s no wonder Donald Trump looked like a sure bet to a lot of voters. I removed 4 percent of the store’s history books at two bucks a pop and read half of one of one book, “Fierce Patriot,” on my overnight flights back to Duluth.

Duluth Reader Redux

The heading I proposed as the title for my column today in the Duluth Reader was “Not Eudora Redux”. The editors chose another for me: “Poor thinking a tough nut to crack”. Its not what I would have chosen but oh, how true it is.

I’ve been talking to Bob Boone off and on since after I took a photograph of a dead Palestinian during my Peace Studies Class in the Holy Land. I thought my post in on this lesson in Peace might make a good column – maybe several. But Mr. Boone is a man with too many distractions, so nothing came of it although he did let on that it wasn’t a bad idea. Continue reading

Not Eudora Redux

I’ve been talking to Bob Boone off and on since after I took a photograph of a dead Palestinian …… Wait a minute. This would make a pretty good column. Sorry. You will have to wait to see if the Reader will print if first. If not. I’ll publish it here.

Flying Blind (with the brakes fixed) Read the previous couple of posts to get the inside joke

My Reader Column Published January 4, 2018

Word has it that the Duluth News Tribune will no longer have an education reporter starting this January. Jana Hollingsworth is to be retired because her aunt, Jill Lofald, is about to be seated on the School Board. The conflict of interest supposedly justifies the stepped-back coverage but I think it’s more a matter of economy. I remember the 20-page News section from 43 years ago densely packed as though white space was a crime. The Trib in the days of Watergate was where locals got their news. Today an entire Trib from sections A to D rarely exceeds 15 of their much smaller pages.
It was still that way when I was elected in 1995. The News Tribune had three education reporters and their editors gave them lots of scope to poke sticks at our board and superintendent. During Julio Almanza’s time at the helm, two of them sat in the superintendent’s office glowering for an hour until he grudgingly handed over a proposal to close five elementary schools.

For the past four years Jana has had to shoulder that responsibility alone. If a big story does pop up, someone is sure to attend a few meetings. I suspect that big story will be the district falling into bankruptcy or Statutory Operating Debt. I offered my condolences to the newly elected board members at my final meeting and suggested that they begin researching that law. It’s happened before.

I ran for the school board in 1989, 1991 and 1993, losing each time. During this period the district fell into SOD, which may help explain my winning in a fourth attempt. I came on board during Superintendent Mark Myles’ era when he was forced to make a great many unpopular budget cuts. That alone did not get us out of the frying pan.

In 1993 Minnesota passed a law to avoid being taken to court by poor school districts desperate for funding. The poor districts were angry that the Legislature was backing away from 1971’s “Minnesota Miracle.” I was in college when that school funding law was passed and wrote a paper on it for my State and Local Government class. It was passed by a long-extinct bipartisan legislature and poured state money into property-poor school districts. The miracle did not last.

Freed from raising local taxes, school boards were quick to raise their spending. Two fiercely competitive teachers’ unions, the AFT and the NEA, competed to see which of them could bring about the most local teachers’ strikes in a bid to gain new locals. I witnessed this in the mid ‘70s as a teacher in the Proctor Schools.

And the fiscal brakes had come off school boards. In the old days, local school boards were mostly composed of tax-averse businessmen and farmers. Once the state could be counted on to finance 70 percent of public education, school boards lost the appetite to fight off strikes. They knew that state taxpayers would pay the lion’s share of their costs.

There were other reasons for farmers and businessmen to avoid local office. Board member Dr. George Balach’s dental practice was boycotted (unofficially) by angry teachers and took a huge hit emotionally and financially. Who needs that?
Although I lost the 1993 election, I pulled off one success. I talked candidate Bob Mars into supporting an “excess levy.” The legislature had sweetened the pot and was willing to give Duluth $3 for every $1 Duluth voters approved. It was an easy sell, especially when Bob got all the other candidates to promise to spend all the new state dollars on building a reserve equal to 10 percent of our annual operating costs. It took about three years to go from a deficit to a $10 million reserve.

Anyone looking for a similar easy fix in 2018 will be disappointed. The state no longer matches our increased local taxes. Where did all those reserves go?
Starting in 2006, new Superintendent Keith Dixon charmed the pants off flinty, tight-fisted, Chamber of Commerce types to build schools we could be proud of. His astonishingly inexperienced school board caught the spirit of those heady days before the 2008 housing crash. Even as that crisis unfolded, Dixon’s school board increased the cost of the building plan by 25 percent against the loud protests of my organization, Let Duluth Vote.

The district was like a small child whose mouth was too big for its stomach. It spent down $30 million of reserves. It laid off teachers in the hundreds. It eliminated its vital Curriculum Department. It ended its generous busing. This would not have been necessary if the board had honestly raised the taxes to pay for the Red Plan’s full costs. However, in the face of criticism the board, perhaps cluelessly, chose instead to cannibalize its operating budget. Today only $2.5 million of the local levy goes into the classroom while $28.5 million pays for the Red Plan.

When the editors of the News Tribune interviewed me for a possible endorsement, I honestly acknowledged that I played a part in the resulting disaster. I’m not sure I made it clear to the editors that my only role was in frightening the school board away from raising taxes. Of course, the editors have never acknowledged that they failed to grasp, let alone report, the looming deficits. As we head, once again, into Statutory Operating Debt the reporterless News Tribune will be flying blind. It won’t be the first time.
By the way. My successors on the school board chose a new set of captains at tonight’s organizational meeting. Sadly, their most education savvy colleague, Alanna Oswald, was frozen out despite a lot of talk a lot about economizing.

Harry Welty is a local eccentric who also pontificates at

Zero Hour’s beginnings twelve years ago

Tonight I decided to look through old scribblings of mine thinking that I might be able to cobble a book together for use in a possibly nefarious activity in the near future. I discovered a 2002 column I had written for the Duluth Reader during my four-year stint as a columnist. The column presaged the email I’ve been receiving for the past couple weeks from students and parents trying to save the zero hour.

In 2001 I labored long and hard to pass an operational levy. It was an uphill fight. I remember PTA President Judy Seliga-Punyko telling me that she wouldn’t vote for it. She was mad that the school board hadn’t acted on my idea to slim down from three high schools to two high schools. I thought her reasoning was nuts. The following year after the failure of the levy we put an end to the seven period day. Years later Judy’s memory of the loss of the seven periods involved my being on the School Board when it happened so that I could take the blame. She had no memory of voting against the referendum that would have allowed us to keep it.

Well, I’ve pasted the last half of the column below which deals with the Union’s crocodile tears about having lost the extra period. The column begins with my mulling over another run for the legislature in the 2002 election. I eventually did run and lost – one of my thirteen electoral defeats. I think its 13. Its hard to remember them all.

Here’s what I wrote about the “seven period day.” Or, if you’d like, you can read the whole original column:

Last week I bumped into my old nemesis Frank Wanner, the teachers’ union president, a fellow who helped put me in the minority. While my feud with Frank was put to bed two years ago my feud with the folks he helped elect lives on. Well, it’s true that one of them was defeated last year, but the three-high school supporters still have more votes. Frank was very cordial and suggested that we get together. I promised to call.

The next day I had to leave a message with him because he was holding a press conference about saving the seven-period day. I sure wish he’d done this before we finished registering students for a six-period day! When my wife saw him on the news she said, “No wonder Frank was so friendly!” The next day I left another message for Frank.

The weekend was blissfully free of politics (except for some email) until we joined friends for an Easter Dinner. Our friend’s son is interested in political science. He told me that Frank likes to bad mouth SUVs in class. Apparently my website gets discussed too. That explains some of my email.

Frank called me back on Monday and we agreed to meet at Bixby’s. I told Frank that I’d heard that he hated SUV’s. He smiled and asked where I’d heard this. I told him that I had my sources.

We talked about his seven-period day proposal which he assured me was not a negotiations ploy. I prefer to take him at his word. The DFT wants high school students to be able to take up to seven classes a day. Many students, teachers and parents are convinced that this is a key to getting into their preferred colleges. Whether it is or not the six-period day is our response to financial hard times. I told Frank what I keep telling the Board – if we had two high schools we could keep seven periods. Frank didn’t disagree. Ah! But I’m in the minority!

If I could just get elected to the legislature maybe I could do something about school finance. I’m sure not having much luck on the school board.

Well Shut Mah Mouth

Karl is right. I have a healthy Ego. Its an American birthright. Karl is also right that without some humility such an Ego can be a terrible thing.

This blog is my id. I don’t hold much back. That’s especially true when I wake up in the morning with an itch in my brain so big that I don’t have the energy to proof read and edit the thousands of words that spill out from my brain as a result of the itch. Think of these pieces as a long internal conversation. I’ve gotten a lot of fair grief for the recent Civil War Trilogy. They, were such an extended typing session.

I can, with careful editing, be fairly economical with my words. The post Karl refers to in which I beat the hell out of Art Johnston is such a piece. That took me better than four hours from about 2 AM until about 6:15 in the morning.

It appeared to me that Art had bad mouthed me to the editor of the Zenith Weekly and since he took the gloves off I took mine off as well. If you can’t tell I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not looking forward to serving with him on the School Board. It will be a test of his maturity to take my attack like a man instead of sulking about it. I expect him to sulk.

I did get a call on my answering machine subsequently from Art but before he read my post. He was looking for a peace deal without realizing it was too late. After he read the Zenith’s story he wanted me to know that he never took after me in the interview. That’s posible although with millions of words invested in this blog I don’t much like to have it dismissed as simply “bullshit.”

Its possible that the id from long distant posts criticizing Art, something I’ve only done rarely, had been read and remembered by Richard Thomas. He’s a long time reader of the blog. Its possible he took previous criticisms of Art from long ago and Art’s dismissal of my blog and my comment about Art’s irascibility, leaped to some conclusions and blew it up into a major war. If so, there is truth to it. Before Art won his seat in November 2008 I was so fed up with him that I sent him an email telling him I hoped he won just so he could endure the four years of frustration being on the School Board would give him. I got my wish.

I’m utterly baffled by Art’s determination to get our District’s Administrators to admit to stupidity and lying over the Red Plan as a quid pro quo to get his support to prevent our schools from sliding into damnation. I think that proposed trade off is the measure of a pretty small and selfish mind. Yes, they ought to own up to being fools and knaves. But most people don’t have the humility to own up to such crimes. So, Art will condemn our children to hellish schools until his unattainable demand for vindication is won. To Heck with Art.

Here’s my last Not Eudora column before the November election. It explains without so much Id and verbiage why I write. Well Shut Mah Mouth.

Not Eudora Again # 5

So far this year I’ve been pleasantly surprised how easy it has been for me to come up with Not Eudora columns. Perhaps its simply an explosion of ideas pent up for the six or so years since I last wrote for the Reader Weekly. Heck, by the time I’d hung up my byline I’d mostly descended into writing myopically about the Red Plan. I don’t mind writing about politics but for special writing like the Reader I’d like to play around a little.

I never reveal yet to be published material until the actual publishing date. I do fudge a little by making the first few lines available. I composed this in my head on Monday while I was painting. I never found the time to start writing it until this morning and in the intervening days I’d gotten concerned that the thread of my thought that had seemed indistructable five days earlier had grown feeble. I did write a 30 word outline on Monday so I wouldn’t forget the gist of what was in my head but over the week I never could conjur up those original thoughts.

I woke up last night and spent an hour and a half composing yet a new column for two weeks from now that peeled like a tangerine skin onto the page. Then having built up some rhythm and steam I turned to the problematic “The Devil’s Friend.” Like magic it reassembled itself. I even went back to bed confident that it could be polished off early the next morning. My confidence was rewarded. I sent it in to the Reader by 10:00 AM four hours before deadline.

Sadly, I did have to sacrifice a visit with my Mother today but I think I can manage that tomorrow depending on when my grandson’s big birthday party commences. If you want to take that peek The Devil’s Friend begins here. The two most startling events are based on reports I believe to be true or largely so.

Not Eudora and jumping ship

I just uploaded my fourth Not Eudora column to the Reader Weekly. So far its been easier for me to write them than I recall it being five years ago. Perhaps that’s because I’ve gotten so used to pounding the keys for my blog.

The Reader has made life a little tougher for me. I used to get the column in about three days before publication. Now its a full week. I’ve also had to be more succinct. That is a bigger challenge although I brought the next column in at just over 600 words. Years ago I pushed a thousand words regularly. I’m not sure that the “soul of wit” is yet mine.

All my new columns were begun a few days ahead of time and Friday was only needed for serious editing. When I come up blank some future Friday it will be a much bigger challenge to both compose and edit. I beat the deadline by about two hours so I have an afternoon to do some yard work and maybe even answer the questions the Trib’s education reporter sent me. I haven’t looked that them yet or even the deadline she gave me.

It was the reporter who warned me that I’d missed my meeting with the Editorial Board. The Editorial Board told me the Reporter thought she got along with me OK. Well, of course I do. I never blame the reporters for the blunders of the Editorial Board!

And that reminds me of one thing I found humorous when the Editors interviewed me. When I mentioned that Superintendent Dixon got the hell out of Duluth before “the shit hit the fan” they all, ALL, laughed. They are not twits.

But Chuck Frederick played devil’s advocate with me after my comment. He said some people had argued that if Dr. Dixon had only stayed in Duluth our District wouldn’t be in its present financial straights because Dixon would have straightened things out. That was so ridiculous that I’m surprised I didn’t laugh at it.

Not at all, I told Chuck. Dr. Dixon sewed the seeds of the disaster, himself, by rushing contract agreements that the District would not be able to sustain without major staff cuts. He did it to keep the staff quiet when the Red Plan was under the greatest assault and spun the settlement as proof of the good will between staff and administration. Besides, he kept adding more expensive baubles to the Red Plan like Judy Seliga-Punyko’s new one-million-a-lane swimming pools that would have to come out of future operation’s expenses. The pools sure looked like a reward to Judy for knocking me off in the 2007 election and giving Dixon a free hand with his adoring and compliant School Board.

Dixon knew when to jump ship alright. No captain he to go down with it. He was the first rat off.

The Democracy of Stupidity

I learned that my third Not Eudora(Again) column had appeared in the Reader Weekly when and old School Board member emailed me out of the blue. George told me he enjoyed it and mentioned that that he’d always gotten a kick out of them. He even missed my columns when I swore off them six or seven years ago. I considered that high praise for a no-nonsense guy like George. He even encouraged me to attend the next Free Thinkers meeting this Sunday to hear a talk about how thorium nuclear reactors can save the planet. I’d kind of like to but I’d miss singing in church.

There is no telling how long I’ll be permitted to keep submitting them since I am now a candidate for the School Board. I’ve already said I would keep away from topics concerning the race although, of course, my blog won’t. The tag at the end of the columns does however reference the blogs existence claiming that its author, moi, is a local crank. Hey. Its just truth in advertising.

My new campaign volunteer criticized this morning for a recent post of mine on the blog that he thought was a little tough on Christianity. I’m sure it was but Jesus himself was tough on his own religion. He set the example.

I told my new supporter who has already made 30 or 40 calls to people on my behalf that if I had to bite my tongue to get elected I had no desire to win a campaign for the School Board. Now that the latest column is in print I can safely link to it on the blog without hurting the Reader Weekly’s subscription base.

It’s here in full and begins thusly:

As I was mowing my lawn, which had grown shaggy during a vacation to the Black Hills, I heard the horn blasts that herald the Mexican anthem La Cucaracha ta da da daaaa daaaa – ta da da daaaa daaaa!

“How passe’,” I thought to myself as I prepared to see some retro Mexican’s low rider cruising by. Instead I found an ice cream truck pausing to sell a dreamsicle to a neighbor. “Cooool,” I thought to myself replacing one moment’s contempt for another person passe’ past with my nostalgic fondness for my own passe’.

About that Reader column

Its been three days since the last TMI post and I’ve been dreading that it was way too too much. Also I forgot what I’d written about. It wasn’t that bad.

The Reader Publisher got hold of me late in the day to say that I could submit the column to an alternative email address that was still working. I joked that with his recent declaration about having kicked my column off the Reader the last time I ran for public office he’d probably have to do it again. He said he probably would but that he was in no hurry. I told him I didn’t plan to write about the School District or Board politics until after the election but that I would understand if he froze me out. He said I was too valuable a property for him to kick me off indefinately but anyway he’d probably let me get another column in after this one before he got around to it.

As for my next column you can read the first couple sentences here. I won’t fully post it until it has appeared in the Reader’s print.