Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rainy Day in June

Hi All!

Recent weather brought me to mind of a great old Kinks tune:

A misty shadow spread its wings
And covered all the ground
And even though the sun was out
The rain came pouring down

And all the light had disappeared
And faded in the gloom
There was no hope, no reasoning
This rainy day in June

The eagle spread its mighty wings
And pounced upon its prey
And all the skies, so brilliant blue
Turned suddenly to grey

The cherished things are perishing
And buried in their tomb
There is no hope, no reasoning
This rainy day in June

And everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain

The demon stretched its crinkled hand
And snatched a butterfly
The elves and gnomes were hunched in fear
Too terrified to cry

The reckoning was beckoning
They're living to their doom
There was no hope, no reasoning
This rainy day in June

And everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain
Everybody felt the rain

Ray Davies, 1967


Automotive Art

This piece was done by a fellow Merkurist with too much time on his hands. Here is his description:

"I'm selling this in an attempt to make some money or I would keep it hanging in my dining room. I made this over the winter when I found the parts while cleaning my garage. It's made from Ford 8.8 3.55 gears, 2.3 turbo timing gears and some brake lines. It contains 5 50 watt bulbs and weighs in about 30 lbs. The whole light is black with silver candlesticks and a silver chain. This is a one of a kind unit."

I'll say!


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Breaking News and Human Nature

Hi All!

I just returned home from a trip to the Vadnais Heights Wal*Mart. As I tooled down the entrance ramp from County E to 35E south, I was amazed that there was no traffic to merge into.

A glance in my rear view mirror revealed a complete roadblock of cops and emergency vehicles on the road behind me, under the overpass. There must have been a gawdawful tragedy there. I have checked the news, but it is all golf and racing right now.

Speaking of racing and this leads to my observation on human nature, I had 3 lanes of open road and knew that every law enforcement unit in the area was tied up.

I was suddenly fahr farh farhen auf Der Autobahn.

As I approached extra-legal speed through the 694/35E "Weave" I started getting passed as though I was driving a VW Beetle on the Autobahn.

Cars and motorcycles were passing me at easily 100mph. I think I got up to 85, but with my recently having got my license back, that was as far as I dared, lest a stray traffic enforcement detail was not called away to the wreck.

It was a kick, if only for a short while.

Am watching news now and I guess it must not have been a huge deal, since it isn't being reported. I hope that's good news for whoever was involved in whatever happened.



Friday, June 24, 2005


Hi All!

The overactive brain has been in hyper mode of late.

I have tossed out a couple of visual aids as to what things have been interesting to me in the past few days.

I hold back the words, much as a movie "teaser" holds back the truth of the final product, for better or worse (usually worse nowadays).

If I croak tomorrow, I have left instructions with my heirs to go on ahead and let loose the "DRAFTS."

These nascent writings are pretty drafty alright, but I am trying to learn to be more disciplined in what I have heretofore blindly ejaculated into eternal cyberspace.

Sure, the stuff I am withholding is bloody brilliant. I've got an oversized ego and am humble enough to admit it.

For the next few days I will be doing mundane dad chores and will likely not post for awhile.

Meanwhile, if you are so inclined, take the time to mine the archives. Farts and Pearls to be found, depending on your sensibilities.


PS. To add to the tease, I was given the best hairstyle since my dad used to crewcut us in the workroom as a child. I have NEVER tipped a Costcutter $10, but damned if it wasn't worth it. In my new Ray Davies coif, I did YRGM (a little Kinks lingo there) at my nephews wedding and it came out, "quite good."

PPS. I could not NOT buy that Scorpio. Damn the consequences. At least I can make a decision about budgeting, unlike certain highly esteemed and paid public servants!

OOPS! I did it again...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mullet Head

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Roseville Teacher Makes a Good Point

Hi All!

I received an anonymous comment on one of my posts about Mike Lemay and even though it is already on the blog, many don't read the comments.

I think it makes an overlooked point that is worth reprinting here on "The Front Page".

"As a Roseville Area High School teacher who had Mike in class and knows he is an easy-going kid who would never in a million years mean to kill someone, I appreciate your comments. I also appreciate that you would take the time to write a letter expressing your opinions to Susan Gaertner.

A question I haven't seen come up yet - although I didn't hear the KSTP radio show you referenced - why are the St. Paul police allowing 100 teenagers (some of whom were using alcohol and drugs) to party at Como Park at 11:30 p.m. in the first place? The police had spoken with the group earlier in the evening, so were aware of the very large party going on. The park apparently closes at 11:00. The police should have been there at 11:01 to send the kids on their way. Granted, this unfortunate incident could have happened at any time, any place, but our students routinely go to this fire pit to party (in fact, the seniors gathered there into the wee hours the week before), and are well aware they will be allowed to do so without the party being broken up. Can't we make it more challenging for groups of 100 teenagers to gather IN PUBLIC to drink and smoke?"

Good question.


Saturday, June 18, 2005


Hi All!

Lest you get a bit too frisky and overconfident in your plans to enjoy this pleasant "last weekend of Summer" (Fall starts 6/22) the helpful folks at the MPCA have justified their existence.

Perhaps in prospect of budget cutting and needing to issue SOME sort of warning before a paid vacation starts if the State shuts down (not gonna happen) the MPCA Nannies have issued a stern warning.

So. lest you think about enjoying this priceless weekend weather, check your medical history and perhaps close the windows, pull the shades and stay inside until the danger passes and we go back to Seattle-type healthy weather.


Friday, June 17, 2005

My Life Story - Click to Enlarge

Who Needs a Psychiatrist?
The Mind of a 13-year-old in 1969.

Holy Hannah!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Hi All!

I have always been passionate about Journalism.

Journalism and Education. Those have always been my true overlapping vocations.

Thank goodness "Bloggerism" has come to be. If it is too late for me to start "real" career in Journalism, at least I have an outlet to play at it.

I came up 2 credits short of a double major in Journalism on top of Business Administration in my haste to get out of The College of Saint Thomas in three years, (Summa, which meant something in those days). I settled for the BS in Business with the master plan of making a ton of dough so I could retire early and afford to write for a newspaper.

I sigh to myself when I look back and dream that I could have been the next Oliver Towne or Paul Light. Hey, I'm still young... ah, just google it. Someday I will explain what dream jobs Gary Hiebert and Bill Farmer had. Boxmeier, Soucheray? Close sometimes, but no cigar.

It is certainly no great insight of mine that Bloggerism is to Journalism what Pulitzer and Hearst were to Newspapering. Bigtime shake-up. I am just thrilled to be in on it in my own little way!

This post comes from my intense observation of the way the death of 17-year-old Roseville boy Marcell New was reported.

The "big rip" on Bloggerism is that unprofessional, unregulated and sloppy reportage is figuratively tossing glowing cigarette butts on the dry forest floor of the internet on a hot windy day. There is much truth in that.

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst would be proud.

Bloggerism is the modern equivalent of Yellow Journalism. You have to break some eggs to make an omelet and it can get messy. Hearst took dubious credit for starting a war to sell papers. "Remember the Maine!"

There are well-understood and debated up and downsides to any innovation. Mistakes, from harmless to tragic, will happen.

In the end, IMHO, things will become more established and mainstream and "responsible," whatever that means in these days of separate realities.

Meanwhile, my fellow ex-con Martha Stewart might say, "Bloggerism is a GOOD thing."

I knew details about the New tragedy that hadn't yet been reported.

No bird-dogging was required on my part. What I learned dropped on my lap. A juicy local beat story with simple facts and over 100 witnesses with as close to 100 percent agreement on their versions as a reporter could ever hope to take notes on.

Here's where my Journalism instincts kicked in.

I was slightly ahead of the MSM with my first post and I reworked it as carefully as I could to get to the gist of it without divulging too many of the unfortunate details.

I watched the story evolve during the course of the Thursday and grew increasingly frustrated at how damned restrained and cautious the MSM coverage was.

The St. Paul Police spokesperson spooned out a some cautious, "safe" facts and the MSM basically regurgitated it.

In the next few days, some of the best reporters in the business, Curt Brown, Jim Ragsdale and Cindy Boyd to name a few, dug in and fleshed out the story, eventually with more facts than I had.

One lesson I forgot is that a reporter can't get emotionally invested in a story. I have learned a lesson and hope to be a better blogger for it.


Update - Phone Call from Susan Gaertner

Hi All!

Ms. Gaertner was good enough to call and try to address my concerns.

She assured me that the System isn't unfeeling, but that someone is dead through no fault of his own and Society has ways of dealing with this.

It appears that Mike will not be allowed to go home until the Adult Cerification Hearing on July 12 in front of Judge Fetsch. It appears that juveniles don't have the same rights as adults as far as having a chance to make bail.

That doesn't seem quite right. This will be a hell of a lonely month for Mike and his family and friends.

As to the length of time before the hearing, I was told that much needs to be investigated so the judge make the best-informed decision. There will be psychological tests, interviews with family, friends, teachers, etc and records gathering to get a complete picture of how this kid came to do what he did.

She left me her number in case I have any more questions.

Aside, I noted that she had met David Strom and Margaret Martin the other night. She wondered how in the world I knew and I told her I read it in the blogosphere, of course!

So that is my contribution to the reporting on this sad story and now I guess all that is next to do is wait and pray.

Update - Pioneer Press Story

Hi All!

Jim Ragsdale got his hands on records that were supposedly sealed, which added a few details to the story of the Lemay-New tragedy, confirming that pot and booze were involved and that their was more forethought and malice involved than inferred by all the reported and unreported information that I had.

The facts were NOT all out when I wrote yesterday but hopefully they are now. Mea Culpa.

While this may slightly alter the perception of the case, I stand by my contention that there is not adult first degree manslaughter here, and that Lemay should not be held until July 12.

With that, I will return to regular blogging.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Letter to the County Attorney

11 June, 2005

Ms. Susan Gaertner

Ramsey County Attorney


St Paul, MN 55102

Dear Ms. Gaertner:

As you and your staff prepare to charge Mike Lemay, I hope you will give this and other letters due consideration.

What charge and what punishment will make Mike Lemay a better citizen? Holding him over the weekend is cruel and unusual enough.

Surely he should have been put in the care of his parents after booking.

Surely as well, he must face legal consequences.

But surely – SURELY -- your office has enough discretion to do the least damage possible to this kid.

Misdemeanor aggravated assault and underage drinking and pot use. That's what the crime is.

The resulting death was a tragic accident.

Mike is blessed in having all the support systems he could possibly need to somehow deal with this.

I have plenty of personal experience to tempt me to think that this will fall on deaf ears.

But I am still enough of an idealist and optimist to believe that true justice is still to be had in this increasingly rigid system you oversee.

Thank you very much for reading this letter and I hope and pray for you to do the right thing.

For everyone like me, there are thousands that feel the same way about this.

Yours Very Truly,

Paul F. Kuettel

1879 Simpson Street

Falcon Heights, MN 55113


The Power to Ruin Lives

Hi All!

I got a bee in my bonnet last Friday when a couple of kids of my kid's acquaintance were involved in a tragic accidental death.

I posted a bit much about it in a bit of a heat of passion. I pulled two posts and modified a third and I'm glad I did, because all the same facts have now come out elsewhere.

Now that Ron Rosenbaum has devoted his KSTP show to a serious questioning of why County Attorney Susan Gaertner is seeking to try Mike Lemay as an adult for 1st degree manslaughter, I can no longer withhold comment.

God help Gaertner if there is the slightest whiff of politics involved in this. She is being challenged for re-election by a fellow DFLer who portrays himself as "tougher." If Gaertner wants to "get tough" this is not a very smart way to do it.

She hemmed and hawed and stonewalled Rosenbaum, repeatedly citing precedents that were not, in my view, precedents at all, having involved adults.

I got thru and put on hold, wanting to ask why Mike was still being held with no idea of when he might have a chance to go home, but she hightailed it off the air when she had had enough of Rosenbaum's pointed grilling.

Gaertner also intimated that not all the facts are out. Perhaps. However, by throwing out hints she is only generating rumor and speculation to fit people's assumptions. It there is more to be told, let's hear it.

The worst part, so far, about this is that Mike Lemay is being held with no promise or hope held out for being released to his parents until the Adult Charge hearing on July 12. That is just plain cruel and unusual.

Perhaps he is being held until Derrick New is buried. That is a rumor I heard, but no one has confirmed that to the the LeMay family or their lawyer. That would be tomorrow. I hope it comes to pass.

I also hope that the power of the County Attorney's Office is not employed to further ruin another family. Further. Damage is already done and seeking to lock Mike Lemay up for 5-7 years, even if it is posturing, is doing nothing to help him try to deal with this horrible accident.

In the end, if justice be served, the conviction will be aggravated assualt by a juvenile and Mike can start his life over again. Nothing can bring Derrick back, but even his family seems to understand the unintentional freak tragedy. His dad and other relatives have been as understanding is one could possibly be under the circumstances.

I suppose the lawyers haven't gotten to them yet. The civil matter of wrongful death might still loom, no matter how the criminal end turns out.

In closing, I think I sensed that Gaertner was a bit defensive this morning. Perhaps she didn't realize how public opinion would fall out on this. There will be those (liberals, perhaps) who will get on a soapbox and spew fake indignation. God help them too.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Bee in the Bonnet

Hi All!

Beware of getting a bee in your bonnet. It happens to me sometimes and it isn't very healthy.

The phrase is thought to have come from Robert Herrick's poem, 'Mad Maid's Song', 1648.

Ah! woe is me, woe, woe is me! Alack and well-a-day!
For pity, sir, find out that bee Which bore my love away.
I'll seek him in your bonnet brave,
I'll seek him in your eyes;
Nay, now I think they've made his grave
I' th' bed of strawberries.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Life - So Resilient. So Fragile.

Hi All!

There was an end-of-school gathering of 11th grade Roseville Juniors yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. Later many of the group went to Como Park, joining other friends and classmates to continue the festivities.

Just after midnight, some kids that were elsewhere started getting news on cell phones and AIM that a couple of classmates had a skirmish and paramedics needed to be called.

A realtively benign, almost typical argument which came to a blow. It was not about race, not about attempted murder, not about rivalry. Not even about intoxicants.

Just a scuffle between a couple of Junior classmates who were cut loose at noon on a nice, hot summer day.

A one-in-a-million punch.

This morning, many lives are forever changed. Very sobering.

When I was in High School I lost three friends. Two to freak accidents (I mean, how many guys get their windpipes crushed by a falling telephone pole?) and one totally out of the blue messy shotgun suicide. In two of the cases, I had hung around with the guys within 24 hours of their passings.

I will never forget, of course, but at that age, you come to terms pretty quickly and are never convinced of your own mortality. As I age and have lost friends due to plane and car crashes, suicides, illness, I am only too aware of how freaking fortunate and truly blessed I am and how much I need to squeeze every drop out of whatever time I have left.

Stay alive, if you can help it.

Love your kids. No one has ever had perfect parents, but try to be a teenager and remember how you interracted with your folks and try to fine-tune your approach to the relationship.

In your teenager's mind you are a moron. You reminisce too much. Times have changed. No, we WON'T thank you later.

Sure they will!

Do what you can and pray for the best.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Too Much to Say -- A New Form of Writer's Block

Hi All!

I let the pictures tell the proverbial thousand words on how the trip went.

Now I am starting to save a bunch of drafts on myriad experiences and related observations.

I almost am getting overconfident enough to fancy giving PJ O'Rourke a run for the money, 'cos so much of the total experience reminded me of the road trip pieces he used to write for Car and Driver way back when, and later for Automobile.

Suffice it to say, it ain't all about the cars, not by a long shot. The cars are a backdrop for endless ripping yarns.

Hang in there. Let the suspense just kill ya.

Oh! Remind me to tell about the AMG S 500 we rode in that has more airbags than the Senate Democrat Caucus which were almost tested when a drunken fool peeled out of a bar just ahead of us; Poster World; Kevin from Limerick and my geography lesson -- suffice it to say that mixing Bass and Guinness to make a Black and Tan quaff could getcha bloody killed. Just small talk, Kevin, just making small talk after he remarked at my drinking some exotic beverage called O'Douls at Shenanigan's Irish Pub; Anal-retentive control freak super-host and all around great guy, taken in small doses; Insane Pennsylvania alcohol distribution system; getting nailed with the Merkur guys in the parking lot conclave for holding a cup of O'Douls in my left hand and a Yeungling bottle in my right, which was handed to me to hold while my buddy sifted through a box of parts -- looked bad and I heard about it!; 10th Anniversary of being there with my boys, now 17 and 15, and their, um, total lack of nostalgia.

Well, that's a start. I could flesh any one of those out, but I'm really gonna work on quality over quantity.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ocean Beach, Maryland

All Ford Nationals

Homer's Revenge

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bus Bards?

Hi All!

From the "People With Nothing Better to Do" file, we read in the Pioneer Press Metro today about a "Poets on Buses Project".

Pictured on the 18 bus is Ezra, a young white poet and hip-hop artist, delivering his ode, "Ignore the Problem."

Having become a fairly experienced bus rider of late, I should advise Ezra to avoid the 16 and the 21A particularly, but most any route in general.

Some edgy riders of questionable repute and/or of less than sound mind, me included, might just not "Ignore the Problem" if ya know what I mean.

This sort of "space" invasion is liable to result in "Poetic Justice."


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Good Internet Karma

Hi All!

With the big trip to the All Ford Nationals coming up, I am quite distracted, but thought I'd share some good feelings I have gotten of late.

Had car trouble on the way from dragging my "collectable" back from the lake. Stranded in Forest Lake, I was smart enough to have Laura trailing me so got home ok and immediately sent out an SOS to the Merkur World. Even on holiday Sunday, I got a dozen or so quick replies which got me back on the road in no time.

Then a seal blew out, so once again to "The List" and this time the advice is good, but expensive :-(

I am also on an Ian Hunter list and someone posted about having recorded a long, recent BBC interview with the Great Man. I replied asking if I could somehow get a copy, and this is the reply:

"Hi Paul, I will send you the Hunter interview disc tomorrow.

all the best from Bonnie Scotland.


Ah, the little things that make life worth living...