Derek Johnson Muses

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Straight from the Cornfield, Episode 15

In this episode, I discuss Mike Riley’s equity at Nebraska, what it means that he has stuck by Mark Banker all these years, and the failed 2-point conversion against Northwestern.

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The Line Outside the Party of the Year

Straight from the Cornfield Podcast, Episode 11

In this episode of Straight from the Cornfield podcast (formerly Maximum Red), I cover that 3rd-and-7 disaster and what it showed us about Tommy Armstrong’s and Mike Riley’s relationship, plus the foilables of Riley’s air-raid, Alex Lewis, and what you’re fearing about Nebraska’s football programs moving forward. Finally, we look forward to the rest of the season and Wisconsin.

Already Forgotten

Already Forgotten

Maximum Red Podcast, Episode 10

In this episode of Maximum Red podcast, I talk Alex Lewis’ untimely post, Mike Riley, throwing the ball, and of course, your tweets!

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Maximum Red Podcast, Episode 9

In this episode of the Maximum Red Podcast, I recap the Nebraska-South Alabama, talk Terrell Newby, and share some awesome tweets from the game.

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More Memorial Stadium Pictures

While these pictures weren’t officially part of the Memorial Stadium Monday series, I did tweet them and wanted to add them to the series.

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Where it Used to Be

A little known-fact about me: for a brief four-month stint after I graduated college in 2005, I took up residence in Lincoln between 17th and 27th, just south of A. The Sunken Gardens and numerous parks were with reasonable walking distance of my hobbit’s layer, the bottom floor of a large house that had been carved into apartments. The surrounding neighborhood, a stone’s throw from downtown Lincoln, was full of nice, reasonably well-kept homes and apartments, enough so that I was not scared at night.

Old crib...

Old crib…

I had a meeting in the area and drove by there again last week. The place feels not-me-now, although to be fair, the neighborhood is very similar to the one I live in now. At the time, I was living the life I thought I was always bound to live in my twenties, a cheap apartment in an urban area, working all the time, and spare time at the coffee shops.

I’ve always been fascinated by these houses that get carved up into apartments. Some time ago, probably in the fifties, a working class family lived there, but as we’ve become more mobile and moved the suburbs, it was divided into apartments. People have fewer children and want more closet space.

In the long run, it might have been better that circumstance sent me back to the more-economical Seward. Yes, there is not as much to do here, and there are fewer options, but God had a plan. Still does.

How Much Irrelevance Do You Need? Distributing Phone Books.

Yup. I’m responsible.

In the two and a half years between my college graduation and my starting work for my dad, I work a number of temp jobs to get by. Of all those jobs, distributing phone books was one of the most interesting ones. Even though the jobs never lasted long and were tedious and physically draining, I somehow kept doing it. Maybe I am crazy.

I have done about seven or eight distributions, for all of the major companies like Windstream and Yellowbook. They all worked the same-you showed up to a warehouse in northern industrial Lincoln, sat through a boring orientation video, filled out the paperwork, and loaded your car with books. The routes were all based on postal routes. The workers was supposed to be able to walk a route in a single day, but they would always give us three to accommodate for the work of bagging the phone books. Plus, we had to go into businesses and them how many phone books they needed, so that took extra time.

That was the most taxing and somewhat embarrassing part of the whole job, walking into a business and in essence saying, “How many of these irrelevant books are you willing to take off my hands. At times it would be great, because you could dump twenty in a single office building. I once passed off six at a a pizza delivery place (multiple lines for people to call in). At other times, it wasn’t as great, and you’d get pushed out by the receptionist, which you couldn’t blame her for. I was, after all, giving them several pounds of information they could just as easily find online.

It was best to go about the distributing in the morning after eight, when people were at work and couldn’t say no and traffic in the neighborhoods was light. There was one instance where I was in north Lincoln, and it was before eight, and I was working my way down the block toward this one house where a woman was puttering around her car, getting ready to leave for work. I mentally prepared myself for approaching her, knowing that there was a chance she could say no to the phone book. I walked up and handed her the book. She made some remark about just getting another book, and I said I didn’t know anything about it. I started walking away and was to the end of the lane when the woman said, “You know, I really don’t need this.” So close.

The rate was five cents per book, twelve cents per stop (a single house counted as a stop). I received a raise of one cent per stop for every route I completed. Yes, it was a bit petty to be mad at that woman who didn’t want her book, but you don’t think about that at the time. You just know the more book I dump, the more I get paid.

That said, there were some people, none I knew personally, who would put two books in a bag and deliver them to the same house, using more book and getting paid more. This was a bad idea for both them and the other distributors like me who did it the right way. First, the extra five cents they made was used up in the time in effort to bag the books and carry the heavier bags. Second, because of this, I had people coming up to me and screaming, “Please don’t leave more than one phone book!”

I got it, though. The internet has more or less made phone books irrelevant. (Also the reason some of the distributors cut the size of their books in half.) But I still did the work because it was work and I needed the work.

Save Your Indigation against September Cupcakes, Husker and College Football Fans

Every September, there’s a certain indignation that runs around college football when major college programs play their non-conference filler games against the lesser programs. When I was growing up, this used to be WAC or MAC teams, and usually regional games (Colorado State at Nebraska, for example). But more recently, the rankings between the teams who make the one-stop games and the teams who write the big checks for those games has grown as Nebraska annually reaches down to the FCS ranks to bring opponents to Lincoln. With Savannah State’s embarrassed against Oklahoma State’s third time, the chorus is coming harder against these patsy September game, notably from Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald to take a stand and not schedule FCS teams, period.

Let me say this, Husker fans: I hate September patsy as vigorously as any of you. Even more so, I hate that Nebraska is spending $600,000 to play a team that has won eight games since 2007, more than two thirds of which they paid South Dakota State back in 2010. But if you don’t want these games, don’t buy the tickets. Let the sellout streak end.

Nebraska has to have seven home games, and the reason they have is you, the fan. Well that, and they need the $7 million in ticket revenue from each home game to pay for their non-revenue sports. Four non-conference games to schedule means you can only play one road game per year, and the number FBS teams willing to come in for a single home game without a return game is low. UNLV hosted Minnesota this year and has hosted Wisconsin. Umass, in their first year in FBS competition, got a home game out of Indiana. Louisiana Tech is hosting Texas A&M, and Sun Belt-cellar dweller Louisiana-Lafayette pried a home game out of Oklahoma State a few years ago. Even Nebraska had to sell out last year and play a road game at Wyoming in front of a mere 32,000. That Nebraska had to play a road game against a mid-major who had been to one bowl game in ten years is a heck of a lot worse than inviting South Dakota State or Tennessee-Chattanooga into Memorial Stadium.

Really, it’s remarkable that ESPN is as involved as it is in college football and were still getting these game and seeing them on major networks. It’s a dead horse. The vast majority of FBS teams (mid-majors included) have scheduled one or more FCS teams past five or six years, and the FCS schools used to the big paychecks. I’m just saying that if your program is making an effort to schedule big, which Nebraska appears to be (one BCS-level team a year, plus good 2-for-1’s sprinkled in), don’t complain that hard. This year, Nebraska got a great single-game opponent in Arkansas State, and has one lined up for 2015 in BYU. That’s the best you can hope for.

There could be a solution: once the 16-team super-conferences arise, add two games to the season and play fourteen conference games. Programs would get their seven home games, and we won’t have cupcake games. But even that scenario’s a bit fanciful

My Husker Game Day: Part 3

(This is the the third post in a piece I wrote a few years ago about my experience going to Husker games: Part 1 and Part 2)

Washington 2011-Big Picture

Tunnel Walk is where the game starts for me. Highlights from the previous years, mingled in with a few highlights from this year, or last years game against a common opponent. It has been a bit sad in recent years; looking at the glory from the 1990’s which seems a million miles away. But times in college football have changed, and Nebraska’s had a rough patch. At least now, we’re a program that the state can be proud of.

As I watch the memories, some of which I can recall as I kid and many I can’t, my blood starts to rush as I begin to think about the five year stretch between 1993 and 1997 when Nebraska won sixty of sixty-three games and three national championships. And I wonder if, in spite of the tougher conferences and the nemesis that is the state of Texas, that kind of dominance could still be possible. It is usually about this team that I see the team exit the locker room and start toward the field. And as I see the players pup themselves up with high fives from the fans, I feel the rush again, the ownership that whole state has in this team. And then they hit the field, and I know inside that anything is possible.

All games are different, depending on the opponent and the stakes. I don’t go to insignificant non-conference games anymore . The only two notable non-conference game for me were Bo Pelini’s first game against competent mid-major Western Michigan, and the 2007 season opener against Nevada, where I was lucky enough to find a $50 ticket four rows up on the forty yard line.

Then there are the average conference games, against the Baylors, Iowa States, Kansases, and, since the conference switch, Minnesota. These games are nice wins, and occasionally, a very embarrassing loss. (See Iowa State 2009). These are the majority of games that I go to. Occasionally, bigger stakes make the games more important (the K-State game in 2009 for the conference title), but most of the time there’s little tangible drama. These teams may have good enough players or a good enough coach to hang with the Huskers for a while, but ultimately, the crowd takes over.

Since 2010, I only go to the significant games. That year, I only home games I went to were Texas (ugh) and Missouri, and this past year, Washington (family in town) and Ohio State (my soggy story of the night) . I trimmed back how many games because, in my memory, the tougher games are the ones that stand out: the 2006 games against Texas was the most memorable game I attended at Memorial Stadium, win or loose (read the experience here). It’s so much work to go to a game, it’s almost not worth it to go in the stadium and watch anyone but Oklahoma, Texas, or Ohio State and Michigan now.

The game, I get lost in. After the kickoff, I rarely take photos of the action, shameful I know. But for the three-and-a-half hours in the stands, it’s just me and my team, as I’ve been abandoned in uniformity. Game day is really the only time that Lincoln becomes a crowd like a crowd you would find in a major city like San Francisco or Chicago, where you can just be anonymous and no one looks at you. It’s strangely freeing.

Attending a live games pull me in ways that are almost inexplicable. Unlike when I’m at home, I have to fight the urge to curse, and I can’t just go get up and walk into another room when it gets frustrating. Everything’s out there in front of me. The turmoil within always comes from the fact that this game will stay fixed in my mind for the better part of the next couple of years, and even though I’ll watch the highlights on YouTube, the nuances from the stadium will stick with me. The views of the players on the sidelines, the demeanor of the people around me. My brain will process everything.

During halftime, I usually get up and walk. When I was younger, I liked to walk around the stadium as much as I could, but not as much now that I’m familiar with all the nooks and crannies. Often times now, I’ll just find an empty space and sit against the wall with my legs stretched out and periodically check my radio for updates on other games. But I like to take the earbuds out and sit there distant from all the senses that I’m taken in, almost as if I’m napping.

But then I go back to my seat and watch the game. If Nebraska ends up winning, I’m on a high whose high by is determined how big the win is. It’s just a buoyancy that propels the rest of my day. If it’s a loss, I feel as if I’m trapped in a painting that I can’t get out of. Losses feel more like subtractions to me, little non-events and omissions where something I can’t define has left me.

Washington 2011-Little Moment

When I leave the game, and usually I stay to the end or near end (longer than I have to), I’ll take a round-about way to get to the one of the west gates, if I’m not sitting in the south stadium, which is closed off. Leaving is always a rush for me, and I like picking my way through crowds. I feel unnoticed even though I’m with people, and once, when I was going back down through a crowd of people who were trying to head up to their seats, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind and noted how good I was at doing so.

I have a bad habit of cutting across streets when I’m not supposed to. I’ll do it a lot at the end of the I-180 bridge at 9th street, where occasionally there will be enough breaks in traffic (no one heads into downtown at the end of a Husker game), and dart back into the Haymarket, reversing my way back through the tailgaters who are still grilling and watching games as I go back to my car. On the way, I often stop at Jack’s for a drink (they’re less crowded) or grab a tea from Scooter’s or The Mill.

When I get to my car, I’m exhilarated. I hit the streets, and try to calculate the best way to get Highway 6. Usually, it involves going down to A via minor streets, then cutting back on Coddington to get on Highway 77 North to go back to Highway 6. This helps me bypass most of the heavier traffic, and once I pass the entrances from Highway 6 to the Interstate, I’m home free.

When I get home, I usually try to go to bed if it’s a night game, but I’ll check the scores quick on my computer. If not, I crash on the couch, grab on easy dinner if I don’t get something on the way, and watch other college football games, waiting for the perspective from the game highlights. By now, I’m very content, and while working on Monday has usually started to loom, I couldn’t be happier for the experience. Except if it was a loss, of course.

Illinois Road Notes: Part 1

Last week, I left Dubuque and went on a trip that took me to my aunt’s house in Tinley Park, Illinois to Princeton, Illinois, down to the St. Louis suburbs, then back home. The following is the first half of some notes from my ride that I wrote on my IPod as I drove, or things that I was thinking along the way.

Tuesday

The road from Dubuque to Chicago is at first a frustrating two-laner over hills and curves, made even more frustrating by early morning fog and traffic. At points, I’m going 40-45. I’m gleeful when the road splits into four lanes by Freeport, and I happen upon a farm to photograph. I fill up at the oasis on I-88, just as a bus with high schoolers comes in. Chicago freeway traffic is light.

I exit I-294 and take Cicero down to where my aunt and uncle live. I drove this route several times when I would come down from Milwaukee seven years ago, and there are many more empty store fronts now then there was then. Not the roughest neighborhood I’ve ever been in, but it’s bleak nonetheless. Tinley Park, where they actually live, is much better. Seeing the bus stops with movie ads to me, is the hallmark of city life.

On the way out of Chicago, I get off at Joliet, Illinois, and find a minor highway that runs north of I-80 about ten miles. I have a fleeting thought about taking I-55 instead, but its raining, and I’d like to drive on a road less crowded.

Downhill

After photographing a group of sheds, I pull into a driveway to turn around and have to wait for two vehicles to pass. While I sit there, someone watches from the doorstep of the house, probably the person who owns the sheds. I worry about him approaching me or yelling at me, but he doesn’t do either.

Spend the night in Princeton, Illinois.

Wednesday

There are days when the road turns in unexpected ways, and today’s one of them. After a commitment is canceled, I take it as a sign to go to Collinsville, Illinois and visit the Issues, Etc. studio.

Take a break from driving in the rain. I’m in the middle of a forest preserve by Tiskilwa, Illinois, which appears to be nothing more than a collection of bushes. Found several abandoned buildings to photograph, an extended shoot of the Illinois River by Lacon.

The Illinois

Get coffee at a Starbucks in Peoria, Illinois, answer e-mails, then get soup at Culver’s. Head out on the interstate, but get pulled over by a cop for going 70 in a 55 MPH zone. While the cop takes two full games of IPod Moxie to write my ticket, I see two other people pulled over in front of me and it dawns on me: the state of Illinois is broke. They’ve become Wyoming.

Stop at the Lincoln home in Springfield, decide not to tour it since I remember some of it from our family vacation twenty years ago. I get my national parks passport stamped and wander among the buildings, listening to an audio tour on my phone. Take a vanity photo for my facebook page. Springfield is a rugged town; it has a “historic” downtown, but it still looks more worn down than it should. On the way out of town, I stop at Starbucks and download my e-mail in the parking lot.

Our lives are defined by our actions.

Stay at the Congressional Motel, a $45 a night shop for a room that smells like drugs were used in it. The WiFi doesn’t work, so I have to go to Panera Bread, which for some reason is called the St. Louis Bread Company. Come back and watch the sad coverage of the Junior Seau suicide and see Marcellus Wiley crying on ESPN. Heartbreaking.

A Day in My Life…

A while ago, my fellow blogger Eirinn (who you should all follow) wrote a merry post that outlined every thing she did in a day. That really inspired to write a similar post, and after a couple of months, the idea felt perfect for this past Easter Monday.

6:13 My consciousness hums for the first time since last night; I see a wisp of light from outside coming through the window outside, and I hear my parents bustling around downstairs.

7:23 Actually come around.

7:26 Get out of bed, use the bathroom, dress in ratty work clothes, and come downstairs to find my mother engaged in a pre-dawn nap.

7:31 Heat up milk to pour over my natural foods version of shredded wheat. Breakfasts takes me five minutes, during which a read a page or two of Laura Rider’s Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton, a Wisconsin author if there ever was one. I have committed myself not to look at my computer or IPod screen until noon.

7:46 Make coffee; my current brew is an indulgence, Cream City Blend, a signature of Stone Creek Coffee, a chain from Milwaukee that I feel in love with in college and wish was in Omaha or Lincoln.

8:15 Today, I am planting 26 cold samples my father has brought me. I get out six kimpak prep trays, only to find I haven’t made the marking sticks for the trays. So I have to put the prepped trays back in the cold chamber (they can only be out of the cold chamber for 45 minutes). First half of the morning, I do all the sticks and plant 12 samples. I listen to half of an ESPN: First Draft podcast (Kiper and McShay’s back and forth), two segments of an Issues, Etc. podcast (Pastor Will Weedon on the Easter hymn “Ride on, Ride on in Majesty”), and then The Herd on ESPN Radio.

9:45 I don’t like taking breaks before I’m halfway down, but if I start another set, my head will be going numb toward the end of it.

9:50 Snack on a banana and pace a bit. I don’t read, I don’t check facebook or e-mail. Just hanging loose.

10:00 Start back on the remaining 14 samples, listening to my playlist from late last summer (The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young”, The Fray’s “Heartbeat” are the signature tracks), and turn The Herd back on at 10:30, in time to hear Adam Schefter come on and talk NFL.

11:30 Finish with work and head into shower. To rid myself of the horrid scent of wet corn plant and seed lab, I pour on the Axe body wash.

12:05 When I get out of the shower, mom is making omelets for her and dad and offers to make  me one. Thus lunch is an omelet with two cheeses, the last of an oatmeal like cereal that mom made, and toast with crab apple jelly. I’m not eating meat, and I assume it will catch up to me around 3. While eating, I allow myself to go online and check stuff.

12:30 My parents leave for Lincoln to go to my Dad’s dentist appointment, and I settle down for some solid Facebook and e-mail time .

1:00 My mother calls; she has arrived at the dentist’s office in Lincoln and has forgotten the guide book for the diet my dad and she are on. I agree to bring and plan to leave in five minutes.

1:30 Leave for Lincoln after thirty minutes of running the house and gathering unimportant crap that I probably won’t use but might need. (I’m still eight years old.) When I get four blocks from my house, I find that I don’t have the diet guide book that I’m supposed to bring to my mother. I head back to the house to get the book, and after I’m back in the car, my mother calls me again.

1:35 Given that I’m turned around, I now set out to drive the round-about way. Late and listening to “Rumor Has It” on the radio, I get angry when I get stuck behind a gold Cadillac driven by an old person. Flipping the car off (I know), I circle back to the main route, only to re-encounter the Cadillac while it waits to turn into the hospital and holds me up again.

1:52 Get to the light at Fletcher and Highway 34 by the highlands and call my mom; she says they’ll be a while and that I should come straight to the dentist’s office. Could have just taken the Interstate.

1:55 Get off the I-180 at Cornhusker; contemplating taking Cornhusker until I can branch off on Holdredge, then decide to follow Sun Valley to North 10th and get onto Vine. Of course, there isn’t a direct way to Vine from 10th, and end up downtown where the I-180 ends. To try to justify my inefficient route, I take P over to 17th, to then go down to Capitol. This makes no difference.

2:07 I get to the dentists in an office plaza north of the crossroads of 40th, Normal, and South Streets. Mom compensates me for my gas and talks to me about work for roughly twenty minutes.

2:28 Leaving the dentist, I decide that my car is running funny and I should fill up on gas (although the real problem is likely that I need an oil change). I get gas at the Fast Mart on 33rd and A, which happens to be on the corner across from a Valentino’s where worked for two months almost seven years ago.

2:30 When I go into use the bathroom, an older gentleman holds the door open for me on my way out and says “you’re welcome” to me as if I should be ashamed of myself for not saying “thank you”, which I do on my way in. (Hey, I just happened to be in the right position for you to hold the door for an extra half second; if I had been two seconds ahead of you, I would have held the door and been grateful if you hadn’t said anything.) On my way back out, I make a conscientious effort to go out the other side door, but the man has already left.

2:32 Not wanting the trip to Lincoln to be a waste, I go to the Starbucks on 33rd and O, order a green tea smoothie, and set to work on catching up on my e-mail. The place is full, and people are coming and going. I sit on the half-couch, half-chair thing and type to my heart’s content.

3:35 Leaving Starbucks, afternoon traffic has picked up, and it takes me a while to get through downtown. I decide to go to Pioneer’s Park to take my afternoon walk

4:00 I park next a gray Bronco-like vehicle in my favorite parking lot in the middle of the park and hit the trail; millions of kids are out here playing, along with female joggers. I walk along the stream and let my thought peculate.

4:35 Leave the park.

4:53 Stop at the truck stop just of the Northwest 48th Street exit to buy something to drink; settle on two 16 oz. pops for two dollars (root beer and Sierra Mist).

4:58 Blast on to I-80 and blaze for home.

5:26 Get home and make a list of things people I still need to contact.

6:00 Begin to make supper. Mom has left two soup mixes, so break some roast beef out of the freezer and open up the vegetable mix. I dirty an extra pot when I underestimate how big the batch will be. (A blog post on this soup “adventure” is coming.)

7:00 I turn on How I Met Your Mother, the show whose original episodes I look forward to the most. The soup finishes up at 7:10, and I balance eating it with tweeting about #HIMYM.

7:30 Watch 2 Broke Girls while I wash and put away dishes and food. Girls has the best set up of any show that’s come out this year, other than maybe Up All Night.

8:00 Exhausted from standing in the kitchen for better part of the last two hours, I sit and game on my IPod while watching other shows on my computer, instead of doing the things on my list.

9:30 I turn off my computer with the intent of going to bed for Men’s Bible Study at 6:30 tomorrow. Instead I decide to put away some more dishes and fold the laundry that’s been sitting in the basket for several days.

10:30 Prior to going to bed, I fake scan the book next to me for a page or two, then stop kidding myself and turn out the light.

Overtime

6:03 After waking up around 4:30, I decide that I should sleep as late as I can before having to head out. When I see 6:03 on the clock, I’m tempted to go back to sleep, but I know I’ll regret it if I do. I intend to take a five minute shower, and set up my IPod to time myself. My shower last a typical ten minutes. Even still, I somehow manage to show up to Bible study on time.

Heartland Renaissance

There are three demographics articles that I read or heard of in the last year that surprised me, mainly because they’ve mentioned my small home state and the heartland region, as an economic haven. The first was a list of the best cities for young professionals, which included Omaha and Des Moines as number one. The second, which came out this December, listed the top cities to start over in, and included Sioux Falls, Lincoln, Fargo, and Iowa City as number one. Given the small size of Lincoln and Omaha, I never thought much of either city in terms of national importance, but the benefit of being a frugal culture has caused us to recover a whole lot sooner from the economic downturn.

I travel a lot to Michigan and Indiana, the state where my sister lives. It’s not overtly difficult to see why these states plunged into the depths of the recession-too much year-round recreation. Too many middle class families taking too much time at the lakes in winter must have been bad for business. In Nebraska and Iowa, nobody owns summer houses; there is no place within a reasonable driving distance of Omaha or Lincoln to get away to.

I travel a lot in the summer, and I’ve seen a lot of urban renaissance in the mid-sized towns. Sioux Fall, Des Moines, Eau Claire, Dubuque, and Omaha, all have revitalized downtowns centered around rivers, very similar to Twin Cities. None of the shops are as extravagant as Chicago or San Francisco, but each is their own little world. When I see painted park benches overlooking a river or metal statues of wolves and pioneers lining the street, I can really tell that a city cares about its image, and it makes me want to be there.

Statue in downtown Sioux Fall-courtesy of Anita Davis’ blog: siouxfallsdailyphoto.blogspot.com

(Direct Link to the photo above)

Even conservative, nice -place-to-raise-the-kids Lincoln has evolved with the times. Since I was in high school ten years ago, the aging Starship 9 second-run theater has been torn down, and finally now, a parking structure is being built to replace it. The Haymarket is a thriving district, although it could use another good restaurant. A couple of rotting building have finally been ripped out of the shady block between 9th, O Street, 10th, and N Street, and hopefully there will be some good replacements. Will Lincoln ever look like the hip college scene that Madison, Wisconsin or Dinkytown in Minneapolis is? Maybe not, but at least things can move in the right direction.

The Lincoln haymarket in the morning.

In processing all this, I am reminded of something that Robert James Waller wrote in The Bridges of Madison County (yes, I’m embarrassed). “The people of Madison County liked to say, compensating for their own self-imposed cultural inferiority, ‘This is a good place to raise kids.’ And she always felt like responding, ‘But is it a good place to raise adults?'”  The answer to that isolationism isn’t to build a fancy downtown in a city of 200,000 and to start new businesses; it is to change from an attitude of isolationism to an attitude of acceptance and mutual support.

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