Tomorrow (6:40) on the KAXE Morning Show we'll talk with the Mom of Pop Culture before she heads out to California for the Oscar show and parties - we'll also talk with University of MN film history professor Dr. Rob Silberman at 8:10. He'll tell us what to look for at the Oscars and also what to go see at your local theater or to rent on dvd.
So who will win best picture?
Atonement Michael Clayton Juno No Country for Old Men There will be Blood
There are at least 2 Minnesota ties to these films - Juno is written by former Minnesotan Diablo Cody (once a guest on the Friday Morning Show) and No Country for Old Men is directed by superbrother directors Joel and Ethan Coen (never guests on the Friday Morning Show) who grew up in Minnesota.
And don't forget - a perfect pre-Oscar event is happening at the Grand Rapids Area Library - the final Film Noir of The Big Read with Steve Martin's spoof "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid". It's at 3pm - free (both the movie AND the popcorn!).
It is cold outside today - "gissa namaagad agwajing", the sky is clear - "mizhakwad" (mih-zhuh-kwud), and the wind will change directions - "aandaanimad" (aahn-daahn-i-mud), come out of South and warm us up a little - "wiiniiabawaa".
With overnight temperatures this week 20 to 30 below, Spring seems like a remote possibility. It wouldn't be uncommon for more below zero readings the rest of the month. But the Canids - wolves, fox and coyotes - are preparing for thier mating season by marking their territorial boundaries with urine and scats. As you ski, snowshoe or snowmobile in the woods these days look for the signs of these fur-bearing pedators who time the arrival of their young with the availablity of rabbits, deer and other mammals they depend on for their food
The Aitkin Independent Age, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, and Lakeland Public TV have all shown us the story by now of the ugly and dangerous practices that have put California ground beef in our school lunches.
Federal inspectors, too few and too late, are currently investigating the underground video from that Westland/Hallmark plant which showed "downer cows" - non-ambulatory and disabled - being shoved and prodded into slaughtering pens.
Patrons and citizens of this school district ought to be told just why Minnesota is buying and distributing this product to hundreds of its schools - including schools in this region at Brainerd, Little Falls, McGregor, Pierz and Aitkin.
Whatever happened to "Minnesota Grown?" Cattlemen across our state can deliver a good beef product.
As one landlord in a Stevens County operation named "Boss Ridge Ranch," I'm proud of the thousands of pounds of safe and nutritious Grass-fed Beef raised on our land, in cooperation with the U of Minn. experiment and outreach station at Morris.
As teachers like to tell us parents and grandparents, this can be a "Teaching Moment."
I am confident that this Westland Beef, hauled in bulk from California was cheap. And now how can Aitkin Schools find meat for our students that is locally grown, healthful, and nutritious?
The low point for local eating this week was definitely last Saturday when I found that nice, big pumpkin melted into the carpet. The low part for Dennis was trying to clean it up.
We’d put the season’s pumpkins and squash in an unheated room upstairs and closed the door. Squash like warmer temperatures and lower humidity than our cellar provides, and we thought the room would be about right. Now and then, on cold days when the wood-burning cookstove is hot in the kitchen, I bring one or two squash downstairs, cut them open, scoop out the seeds, put the squash in a baking dish with a little water, and roast them in the oven. We eat the seeds too, if they’re still tender—-rinse them, soak them in salt water, then roast them with melted butter in a pie pan until they’re brown. Yum!
But upstairs, there’s that big stain on the rug. We still have to buy a scrub brush and have at it with carpet cleaner again—and maybe again and again. We found and removed a couple more squash on the verge of melting. We’ve also moved the squash off the floor.
Dennis and I wondered if we’d reached the point in the year where the squash were going to make a habit of rotting, so last night I brought some downstairs to cook. The pie pumpkin was dry and stringy—I could hardly force it through the food mill even though it had cooked a long time. The buttercup was beautiful. I didn’t have time to make them into anything yesterday, but tonight they'll become pie or soup or custard.
Inspired by the pumpkin, Dennis also went through the carrots and beets in the cellar. They’re holding up remarkably well, but we’re running low on carrots and the beets are sprouting some pale, pink leaves.
Other than the cilantro and basil in the window, we aren’t growing anything right now. So the focus is on cooking and eating. We talk a lot about creating a regional northern Minnesota cuisine, based on what grows here.
The high point for the week? It might have been the homemade noodles that became Mee Goreng for our family’s Chinese New Year gathering last Friday, or it might have been the raspberry crepe cake. A crepe cake is simple to make, if a bit time-consuming. Simply make a double batch of crepes (you’ll need 25 or 30 of them). As each one comes out of the pan, spread it with a thin layer of homemade raspberry jam. Stack them up. Sprinkle the top layer with a little sugar. Serve with whipped cream. For greater impact, you can optionally pour about ¼ cup of brandy on top and light it before serving (note: brandy isn’t local, of course)!
We pause in our pursuit of learning weather related phrases and words to get ready for Noondendami-giizhigad, literally "the flirting days", also known as Valentine's Day. On Noondendami-giizhigad you might say, and at some time you probably should say, to your sweetheart: Ojiimishin, "give me a kiss".
I'm a Minnesota DFLer, since 1996. And a Democrat since 1968, working the precincts from homes in Illinois, Arizona, and Missouri, before retiring to my home state. I grew up an "Elmer Anderson-Stassen Liberal Republican" in Morris, and in St Anthony Park - a St Paul neighborhood beside the "Farm School" and Luther Seminary. Elmer was my Scoutmaster, and our State Senator for the 42nd District in the late 1940s and 50s.
After watching the debates on film in the American Embassy of Karachi, Pakistan, this young Lieutenant (jg) sent his absentee ballot back to Minnesota marked for Richard M. Nixon, President, and Elmer L. Andersen, Governor.
Now to the present - and the Obama Rally on Ground Hog Day in Minneapolis
As the sun prepares to rise on the Sunday after.. I prepare to sort through some notes and impressions after being present at a Main Event of this election year. A Barack Obama Presidential Rally.
We arrived downtown early, 122 miles from our shoreline home in Southern Aitkin County.
Doors would open at 1:30 p.m. for a Saturday crowd, just three days before the statewide Caucus on Super Tuesday. We left the parking ramp - and ten dollars - next to the professional basketball arena - called a "center," by the hometown Target Corporation. (See Dayton's.)
Minneapolis crowd-control police directed us away from the Target Center onto a highway bridge where we joined a long line of hundreds, gazing down at the foundation construction work for the new public-private stadium of the Minnesota Twins.
We started our outside wait at 12:45, in calm twenty-something degree weather. The neighbors in line were upbeat and friendly. They came from Hayward, Wisconsin, the nearby suburbs, and The Cities. We fielded questions about our North Country, the resurgence of mining - in iron, nickel-copper, and precious metals. It was "chilly," but not real cold. The companionship, warm parkas and mittens, and no wind certainly helped.
We became aware of a large parade of walkers passing by us - going to the end of the line. Soon it was far out of sight, along the bridge and freeway ramp, where we stood at mid span. This was going to be a huge rally!
What we didn't know then, and would learn an hour and a half later, was that every one of us ticketed Obama fans would need to pass through a careful security checkpoint. Before the rally could get fully underway, some 16 to 20 thousand of us would snake around the outside of the Target Center to the front doors. Finally entering the warm lobby, we would surge into several security stations where our signed tickets were collected, and all purses and diaper bags were opened.
Good seating was now available. Doors had been open for an hour. We had stood in line outside for an hour and then slowly walked towards and around the arena for another hour. But now we were warm and comfortable in a half-full arena with loud rock music, while those thousands that had gotten in line behind us now filtered into their seats for over another hour. My partner had plugged her ears. Earlier she had asked rhetorically. "Why am I doing this?"
But this political husband, being not very attentive, was happily scanning the crowd, looking for colleagues and noting all the ages, ethnicities, and styles of dress. A very diverse crowd - not unlike past DFL conventions in St. Paul, Rochester, St. Cloud, and Duluth. Only more babies in strollers, kids in arms, toddlers toddling, school-age kids, college-age, no military, fewer elders.
Enter Mayor R T Rybak !
It's now around 4 o'clock, and we've heard from the "Golden Smog," pretty-good rockers.
Five white guys with songs, guitars, and drums, with a Beatles sound.
The Mayor is beaming onto the stage with arms raised and a big WELCOME to all. After all, he called this meeting - as State Chair for the campaign, and as one who early on, urged the Senator to make the race. Now the arena is nearly packed, the Candidate is backstage, and all is ready. Rybak is radiant.
Three supporting congress people are named and two are introduced on stage, with the new "Third City" mayor. Jane Freeman comes on as we are told that her late husband Orville nominated JFK in 1960. Mrs. Freeman, former First Lady of Minnesota, introduces "The Next President of the United States !"
The Messenger of HOPE
There is no need for the binoculars I had forgotten at home, as there are four huge screens above the stage where Barack Obama bounds up the steps, greeting and embracing mayors and Congress, then back down the stairs to find and hug the elderly and radiant Jane Freeman.
We are greeted and thanked as "MINNESOTA!" The turnout is huge, and the crowd noisy and appreciative. Mayor Rybak had brought us all to our feet, and now the Senator acknowledges the warm welcome and urges those who have seats to become more comfortable. Obama's style on the platform/stage is interesting. The stage is large enough for a full delegation of greeters. Now it becomes devoted to the one roaming speaker with a hand mike, who turns regularly and gracefully to address everyone in the hall, face to face.
We are led through the stages of this campaign that started in Springfield, Illinois, a year ago. "Why run for president?" We hear a litany of all the troubles we face and finally the words of Martin Luther King, Junior. It is all about "the urgency of now." Waiting til later just will not do for this young legislator from Illinois.
We hear the voices of his critics and opponents. There are many reasons given why he is not the one for the presidency this year. The speech turns next to the advocate's case for this race, why now, and why change must happen here. One memorable argument: "If you work, you should not be poor!"
Are You Ready?
Obama began his conversation with the audience with one insistent question: "ARE YOU READY FOR CHANGE?!" He spoke frequently of children and their needs today. "Every child is our child," he insisted. "All children are our children."
We must make it easier for students to enter college. He would grant each student $4,000 for a year's tuition, then require the student to return this investment with their own investment in America at the completion of their schooling. By a variety of months of service at places where the need is greatest.
The war in Iraq was "unwise." Because of this war, today we are not more safe and the campaign against the terrorists in Afghanistan is not adequate. He will end this war in Iraq as President and bring the combat troops out in 2009.
Are you ready for change?
Obama will end the prevailing "mindset of fear" of the Bush Administration. It has developed a "policy of fear." Used to scare the people into accepting whatever it wants to do. He was criticized for saying he would meet personally with heads of adversary governments. But he quotes JFK again, "Do not negotiate from fear, but never fear to negotiate."
It is time to "Turn the Page and Write the Next Chapter in our History."
His message to the World - "America is Back!" Ready to lead on a host of issues that he ticked off - including Global Climate Change and Nuclear Proliferation. World health and poverty, Energy and sustainable development.
Are you ready for change? It won't be easy!
The Status Quo resists. The arguments against these changes come fast and hard. He has been called a "hope-monger," naive, unprepared, foolish. You must believe in earned change. In hard work. One's judgement can be clouded by fear. This contest is not just about experience and years in government. It is about judgement and common sense. It is the future versus the past.
Finally, a Sermon of Hope
Nothing of lasting importance has ever been accomplished without first imagining and hoping for it. Obama recalled a host of accomplishments to bolster this key concept - this "audacity of hope" that is his trademark.
For example, the American Revolution, the freeing of the slaves, the victory over fascism, the gaining of women's suffrage, federal laws banning discrimination in voting, housing, education, employment, and the full civil rights of all U.S. citizens.
If we can hope, if we can believe in it, this change that we seek will come from the bottom up. It is up to us. This is a defining moment for America. So go out and caucus, campaign, vote, and believe!
We gave him a pretty big ovation. I'd call it a movement.
The last week of January and the first week of February are often the coldest days of winter. Our phrase for this week - "Gissa namaagad agwajing" - is just right for the season. Gissa namaagad agwajing: It's cold outside.
"Gichi-noo-din" is another phrase we've used in previous programs and applies this week too. Gichi-noo-din: "it's windy".
And, another phrase we used a lot this week, "bii-wan" (be-one): blowing snow. It didn't snow a lot, but it sure blew hard.
So, Gissa namaagad agwajing... gichi-noo-din... and bii-wan.
The host of Ojibwemowin, Saagajiwe, teaches at Nigaane ("one who leads"), the language immersion program at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School near Cass Lake.
Ojibwemowin is heard Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35.
The Morning Show at KAXE mixes local programming that reflects Northern Minnesota with National Public Radio's Morning Edition every weekday morning between 6-9, CST.
KAXE is an independent, nonprofit community-based public radio station serving most of north central and northeastern Minnesota with a 100,000-watt signal originating in Grand Rapids at 91.7 FM. Northern Community Radio also operates translators in Brainerd at 89.9FM and in Bemidji at 105.3 FM. Listen online at www.kaxe.org.