Managing to Win

About a year ago, after Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak had celebrated his rout of Peter McLaughlin by diving off the stage into the arms of his supporters, I noticed John Blackshaw wandering through the crowd of well-wishers, a slight smirk on his lips and a look of satisfied exhaustion in his eyes. Blackshaw had […]

Politics at the Piano Bar

Somewhere in the archives at the Richard M. Nixon museum in Yorba Linda, California, is a photograph of Nixon playing the piano in the White House with his wife, Pat, sitting in the foreground, clapping and singing along to some popular show tune. I was reminded of this scene recently while sitting stage right at […]

“The Only Other Job I’d Like”

The candidate was running late, of course. So, on a sweltering June morning, I was left to wander the third-floor headquarters of Peter Hutchinson’s gubernatorial campaign and consider its architect. Two floors above a coffee shop and the funky Architectural Antiques, someone erected temporary walls to form a couple of small offices, and in one […]

The Long Bomb

The last time our Golden Gophers won a Big Ten football championship, none of this year’s players had been born. It’s possible that some of their parents hadn’t either. In 1967, we had a shifty quarterback named Curt Wilson, a bruising fullback from South St. Paul named Jim Carter, and an All-American defensive end in […]

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Burning Down the Firehouse

To look at the tidy little house at 48th and York, you’d think the fire that killed Pearl Gallagher on June 14 didn’t really amount to much. Sheets of plywood cover the windows, but there are no flame-scarred walls, no singed rafters. The flower garden just beyond the front door blooms as if nothing happened. […]

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Building the Boys of Summer

There’s no tarp on the ball field at Cretin and Grand, though snow sprinkles the brownish grass and the morning promises more. A white portable fence arcs in awkward sections from the right to leftfield foul lines, where orange foul poles stand uncertainly against a wicked northwest wind. For a clueless pilgrim seeking the heart […]

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Get Rail!

I once punctuated a doomed love affair with a ride on the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park in Montana. It was my 25th birthday, and I spent it sighing deeply into a window-framed postcard of North Dakota, idly expecting the steel rails to yield some inspiration. Instead, I was deposited unceremoniously outside an RV […]

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