Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jump the ________

Milano o San Francisco?Image by Luca Zappa via Flickr

"Mom, it's what kids do in Manhattan," Michael explained.

On a weekend in San Francisco, he'd fallen in love with cable car riding, and wanted to head down - solo - to Fisherman's Wharf.

The night before, he'd made a successful solo return to the hotel, carrying two souvenirs and change in his pocket.

Clearly, he's jumped some gap. Gone beyond spreading his wings to flying.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Support your local farmer

It's not just a bumper sticker.

All you locavores who say you support your local farmers, they need you right now.

Minnesota's record-setting October cold dealt small farmers a double whammy; first, it knocked down some crops, then it knocked out customers. They simply did not come to market during the cold snap. So business for small farmers, who depend on direct-to-customer sales, went way down.

To add insult to injury, the cold snap led people to think the season was over.
It's not. Minneapolis Farmers Market growers are still bringing in beautiful squash, peppers, kale, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, parsnips, ruatabagas, beets, apples, potatoes....... the list goes on and on.
But the season won't. So support your local farmer. Come to the Farmers Market now while the bounty is here. Your farmers have been here for you all season. So come to the market and be here for your farmers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Evolution of the species

Sorry, creationists. NickColemanonline is further proof of evolution.
One of the best of the old-style, free-swinging newspaper columnists, this former Star Tribune columnist was always at his best unbound and unbowed, and on his own blog, he calls the shots.
And his aim is true.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Not-so Middle Class

In an interview published in today's Washington Post, TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren says:

WARREN: Well, I believe that the middle class is under terrific assault. And I don't want to play this as a capitalism issue.
When we compare middle-class families today with their parents a generation ago, we have basically flat earnings-a fully employed male today earns on average about $800 less, adjusted for inflation- than a fully employed male earned a generation ago. The only way that houses could increase or families could increase their household income was to put a second earner into the workforce, and, of course that's now flattened out because there aren't any more people to put into the workforce. So you've got, effectively, flat income in this time period with rising core expenses; housing; health insurance; child care; transportation, now that it takes two cars to get everywhere, two jobs to support; and taxes, because you've got two people in the workforce and we have a somewhat progressive taxation system. So that families are spending a lot more on what you describe as the basic nut.
The third leg to the triangle, and that is families, to deal with this, stopped saving and started going into debt.
And the debt side of where families both spend more money and are made much more vulnerable on mortgages, on credit cards, on check overdraft fees, all this side of it, the credit side of it really means that we have a middle class that a generation ago we would have described as solid, secure, dependable. If you could just get into the middle class, you could pretty much count on a fairly comfortable life and all the way through to a comfortable retirement.
That's been hollowed out. Sure, there are people who are going to make it through just fine, but the vulnerability of families in the middle class has just, it has gone up enormously.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

It's a family affair

I've been dragging my unwilling 13-year-old to the Minneapolis Farmers Market despite his adolescent lethargy and his personal aversion to crowds. And yesterday, for the first time, I saw him become part of the farmers market community. My game-plan was to shop and help with a demo. Michael's was to buy breakfast, shop and taste the demo results.

With a "Peace out," he set off with his appetite and $20. I picked up eggs, beets and apples; parked them in the car, and returned to the demo area to find Michael helping with set up. God bless him. Having been coming all season, he knew the players. They knew him, and integrated him seamlessly.

I'd seen this with children of the growers and now its happened with my child.

Last night, we joined neighbors 'round their firepit for a potluck, and I heard Michael offering his "just popped today" kettlecorn and "real hotdogs" from Tollefson's at the market.

It worked. I've made a little locavore.