Nancy Crampton

Some people become authors because they are of the exact opposite temperament from a movie star. Putting on a clean shirt can, in itself, be a chore; putting on a pressed one is out of the question. Author photos, then, are the art of making these schlubs and misanthropes look believable, wise, and even a […]

DIY Law Enforcement

Citizen’s arrest is no joke, as fans of The Andy Griffith Show can attest. In a memorable 1963 episode, Barney Fife issued Gomer Pyle a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, and then, as Fife was wont to do, began philosophizing. “It’s from little misdemeanors that major felonies grow,” Fife said, adding that even citizens […]

Pimp My E-Ride

John Herou isn’t your typical electric-car ideologue. The founder of e-ride Industries possesses a bright strain of idealism to be sure, but fundamentally he’s a practical man, an inventor and classic car buff, more entrepreneur than tree hugger. The cars he builds, called neighborhood electric vehicles because by law they can go only twenty-five miles […]

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The Doctor is In

Kevin Turnquist, a psychiatrist for more than twenty years, currently cares for some of the most seriously ill patients in the Hennepin County public mental health system. The good doctor, who specializes in schizophrenia, has pretty much seen it all—such as the woman who believes that during sleep she grows extra limbs that are clandestinely […]

“Look at me—I’m OK.”

Once upon a time, say fifteen years ago, portraits of chief executive officers had much in common with oil paintings of George Washington or Robert E. Lee. There was a man (they were pretty much all men), shot from a slightly low angle so as to amplify his stateliness and power, with his hand on […]

Sized Up

This was the first interview I’d ever conducted with my shirt off. Standing before me in the mirrored pink closet was my subject: Lonnie Eiden, a nattily clad woman of supreme confidence, a professional bra fitter for forty years. “I think I’m a 34C,” I offered, playing right into her hands. “Let’s see what you’ve […]

Bacchanalian Bedware

If you visit the P.M. Bedroom Gallery in Blaine or Woodbury, you might run into Jim Borofka, co-owner of the stores and one of the last waterbed salesmen in the Twin Cities. The showrooms at HOM, for example, don’t feature waterbeds, though the store was once called the Waterbed Room. Borofka accuses HOM of “disconnecting” […]

The Long Walk

A year ago, I made a trip to Copenhagen, which is arguably one of the most walkable cities on the planet. Despite the presence of real winter—it was snowy and around twenty-five degrees while I was there—the streets were full of people walking, to shops and parks and jobs, as well as to and from […]

Health

Back a long time ago, in the olden days of the last century, we all knew how to respond to a set of enormous fake breasts. We stared. We muttered, “Oh my Lordy.” It was new then, and comical in a grotesque, medically questionable kind of way. Pamela Anderson was nothing if not an absurdity, […]

Missed Manners

The room was smaller than I would have liked. And there were no tables to stand behind and very few chairs. I was on an upper floor of the Cosmopolitan Club in Manhattan, celebrating the eightieth birthday of my husband’s father, the lights of the surrounding buildings twinkling through the windows as the bow-tied and […]