Unembarrassed, &c.


I see the Bell Museum of Natural History. I think, “Shouldn’t that be a museum of maybe technical history?” (“Bell” puts me in mind of Alexander Graham.)

The university has a current slogan, apparently: “Driven to discover.” You can see that on little banners. As I was writing recently, there is something about the human ear that likes alliteration. This is responsible for the success of that disgusting, slanderous expression “war on women.”

I have seen the name Kaufman spelled several ways. I have never, until now, seen it spelled “Coffman” — as in the Coffman Memorial Union.

Care for a language note? Or, another one, rather? I’ve noticed that people in the Twin Cities use the word “perfect” — “perfect” meaning “fine,” “okay,” “nice,” “got it.” “Meet you at the Mary Tyler Moore statue at 3:30?” “Perfect.” “I thought I’d have a bite to eat then give you a call, okay?” “Perfect.”

Speaking of perfection: It’s always a pleasure to see Scott and Sally Johnson. Scott is the Power Line star, and Sally is a star in her own right: known for her cooking, for one thing. She happens to be a native of Lima — Peru, not Ohio (and I can testify from recent experience how good the cooking in the Peruvian capital is). Sally is a lawyer and professor. She and Scott are the parents of Eliana Johnson, NR’s own. There are notable others in the family, too — including a violinist.

Minnesota is known for “nice.” But I doubt that anyone in this state can out-nice the Johnsons.

Augsburg College is right across from the U of M campus. I speak with the president, Paul Pribbenow, and what he says is music to my ears: He likes to bring diversity to campus — a diversity of views, a diversity of thought. That’s the kind of diversity a college should aim for, in my opinion. The rest is mainly superficial.

I have come to participate in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, held at Augsburg. (It takes place in a rotation of colleges, I understand.) The forum is directed by Maureen Reed — another stellar person, who ought to be a college president herself, in my opinion. It’s amazingly reassuring to find quality people in key positions.

In the airport, before I leave, I have what one ought to have, “when in Rome”: a walleye sandwich — blackened.

On the plane is a prominent Minnesotan, Tim Pawlenty, the ex-governor. He ran for president in 2012. He would have been good. He seems very fit, and relaxed, and patient — with the fellow passengers talking to him. He also seems very young for an ex-governor. An ex two-term governor, at that.

Let’s have a little reader mail. The other day, I was writing about environmental alarums. I grew up during the coming ice age — there would be cross-country skiing in Miami. I also grew up during the population explosion, or “population bomb.” This would cause massive starvation. So, now we’re having global warming, which is supposed to be the ruin of us all. I may be wrong, but I just can’t get all that worked up — having heard wolf cried several times before.

A reader says,

I can still clearly remember standing at the school bus stop one morning in a freezing rain (an Ohio specialty) when I was twelve years old discussing with the guys an article that had just appeared in the Dayton Daily News reporting that the earth had been cooling since 1950. Global cooling was apparently “settled science” in 1966. The only questions we had were whether anyone would still live in Dayton when it was as cold as the North Pole and whether anyone would still want to live in Florida when it had a climate like Dayton’s. I would say that our discussion then was about as intelligent and fact-based as most climate-change discussions today.

A little music? For a review of Sweeney Todd, performed under the auspices of the New York Philharmonic, go here.

End on a joke? Okay. A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and orders five beers.

Have a good one!


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