Gagging on the Patriot Act

If the title of patron saint of journalists were not already held by the seventeenth-century French priest Francis de Sales, many American reporters would be ready to canonize Professor Jane E. Kirtley of the University of Minnesota for her steadfast support and defense of their work. Through a serendipitous career as a reporter, attorney, advocate, […]

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F. Scott’s Shame

Remember the good old days of mom-and-pop bookstores? Back when Ruminator had healthy operations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, we might have walked in the door, charged right up to the counter, and asked a real person: Can you tell which city readers are from by the books they buy? With the recent unpleasantness, […]

Aqua Vita

Minneapolis’s Lake Harriet is known for many things—its bandshell and summer concerts, multitudes of strollers, kamikaze inline skaters talking on cell phones, and cyclists shamelessly riding the latest goofy recumbent bike. As an urban lake collecting runoff from treated lawns and storm sewers, it’s not the first place I’d go for drinking water. On any […]

A Blue Boat on Brown Water

If you peer off the north side of the Lake Street Bridge this time of year, you’ll often spot a dark blue, double-masted sailboat anchored on the Mississippi. For most of the past seventeen years, Captain John V. Caola has sailed from points south—Key West, Miami, and the Bahamas—to beat the heat and visit his […]

Speed Bumps

On June 30, LouAnn Clarissa Kilpatrick was killed by a turtle just outside of Grand Rapids. The 66-year-old swerved to avoid hitting a turtle and died when her car careened off the road. Her tragic accident was a reversal of the usual state of affairs between turtles and humans. Each year, thousands of these reptiles […]

Carp per Diem

In his 1653 book The Compleat Angler, Izaak Walton declared the carp the queen of the rivers, and the species is still highly regarded as an angling prize in Britain and the rest of Europe. Anglers on this side of the pond still reject the monarchy, and the carp is generally regarded as a trash […]

Busting Baghdad

Two days after one of those giant statues of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Firdos Square, and had its head chopped off and dragged through the streets of Baghdad, artists at the University of Minnesota were participating in the art department’s 34th Annual Iron Pour, casting new and graven images for artistic fulfillment and academic […]

Feeling Minnesota, Looking Nebraska

Illustration by Christopher Henderson I’m going to miss Minnesota—not because I’m going away, but because Minnesota is. The north woods? There’s a fairly good chance I will outlive them. A walk through the spruce, the cry of a loon—a lot of experiences we think of as quintessential Minnesota may disappear. Or emigrate to Canada. In […]

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Segue to the Future

Members of the baby boom generation may not be getting the hover cars or personal helicopters that the futurists of their youth forecasted, but it appears they will have a self-balancing, battery-powered two-wheel scooter. As the focus of one of the biggest hype campaigns in recent memory, the Segway scooter is slowly being rolled out […]

Go, Fish!

The other day, the Minnesota Zoo announced the birth of a baby dolphin. The zoo is soliciting $25 sponsorships to help pay for the little calf’s all-fish diet. Once she’s weaned from her mother, she’ll eat up to 20 pounds of fish a day. Where will all that fish come from? Perhaps our thriving local […]