Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Minnesota State Fair -- Happy Birthday, Minnesota!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Minnesota State Fair – Happy Birthday, Minnesota!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Let’s Talk History

Summer is winding down; it’s time for the Minnesota State Fair! After 4 years of territorial fairs, the first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near downtown Minneapolis, one year after Minnesota was granted statehood (2008 is the Minnesota Sesquicentennial). The Minnesota State Fair found a permanent home midway between Minneapolis and St. Paul when Ramsey County donated its 210-acre poor farm to the governing body of the State Fair, the State Agricultural Society.

The Fairgrounds now cover 320 acres and contain a number of architecturally and historically significant structures. And this year, there are Sesquicentennial Celebration events taking place under the Big Top at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, including a 150th birthday cake and Minnesota Memories, conversations with some of Minnesota’s most colorful residents.

Many famous people have walked through these gates. It’s hard to believe it’s been 80 years since F. Scott Fitzgerald reminisced about the Minnesota State Fair in his book, A Night at the Fair. Since 1859, rain or shine, the Minnesota State Fair has been held every year except five:

  • 1861 — the Civil War
  • 1862 — the Dakota Indian Conflict
  • 1893 — scheduling conflicts with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago
  • 1945 — war-time fuel shortages
  • 1946 — polio epidemic

Grandstand Show, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Grandstand Show, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

Classic rides grace the Mighty Midway; a couple of new ones, too, like the Heartbreaker and the Wind Surf.  I’m not much of ride person (I get too seasick!). I attend the State Fair for the tradition, the food, and the music (Alabama has performed 18 times in 13 years). This year, Liz and I have tickets to see Gnarls Barkley at the Grandstand. We plan to make a day of it. And if you’re into history, the Minnesota State Fair is full of odd and choice moments in time:

  • 1887, 1888, 1889, 1898 – Battle Reenactments of Minnesota at Gettysburg
  • 1906 – St. Paul Growers Association built a model of the new State Capitol out of onions
  • 1915 – a Baby Contest pitted city babies vs. country babies, Minneapolis babies vs. St. Paul babies
  • 1927 – John Phillip Sousa was the Fair’s first big name entertainer. He performed in the Plaza Park outside the Grandstand.
  • 1938 – the last year the Fair started on the Saturday before Labor Day
  • 1949 – the last year of horse races
  • 2002 – the last year of Grandstand auto racing

Close Up Nightshot - Carousel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Close Up Nightshot – Carousel, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I’m particularly fond of the carousel, and the tradition of outdoor sculptures at the Fair. Over the years, there have been many: the 36-foot-tall Pioneer Woman made of gold fiberglass erected in 1958 to commemorate the State’s Centennial (she’s 50 years old this year); the 1959 statue of Neptune (a tribute to the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway); and my personal favorite, Fairchild the Gopher, a 24-foot fiberglass statue dressed as a Midway barker, complete with striped jacket and straw skimmer.

Stella Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Stella Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

In 1966, Fairchild the gopher became the official mascot of the State Fair and was joined by his nephew, Fairborne, in 1983. Fairchild (a play on the institution’s title) got his name after a state-wide naming contest. It is also a tribute to Henry S. Fairchild, the man who suggested the Ramsey County Poor Farm become the permanent site of the State Fair (more Fair photographs in my Flickr set Minnesota State Fair.)

You can learn more by visiting The State Fair History Museum in Heritage Square. The museum, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., showcases memorabilia and artifacts from the Fair’s past and admission is free. Or, for little known Minnesota State Fair trivia, visit the comment section of last year’s MN State Fair On-A-Stick where our friend Teri (who works at the Fair) knocks our socks off with her bounty of State Fair knowledge.

Worlds Greatest, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Dairy Barn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

World’s Greatest, Dairy Barn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

What’s New In Food at the Minnesota State Fair?

I’m going to wrap up with my favorite subject — FOOD! Corn fritters, fried green tomatoes, and blooming onions debuted 15 years ago (1993); nearly 500,000 corndogs are consumed at the Fair each year. This video of Minnesota State Fair food lovers snarfing Fair food on-a-stick is a must see. And there’s a breakdown below of all of this year’s foods on-a-stick, as well as what’s new in food at the Fair in 2008 (check out the Minnesota State Fair Food Finder).

I’ll come back after next week to give you a rundown on all the foods on-a-stick I ate (and let you know how Gnarls Barkley turned out). Oh, one more thing — if you want to save a little money, look for the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book Bonus Coupon. Liz just came home from Cub Foods with groceries, State Fair tickets for $8 each (Admission is $11 at the door), and our Blue Ribbon Bargain Book ($4 before August 20th). She’s a big Minnesota State Fair fan and early bird bargain shopper!

Ways To Save $$$ At The Minnesota State Fair


  • The State Fair Blue Ribbon Bargain Book has 100 coupons worth over $500 in savings on food, merchandise and attractions. New this year, the book contains a bonus coupon good for a free ride or admission at one of the five favorite fair attractions, including the Butterfly House, Pirate Island Shootout, Space Tower, Sky Ride and Ye Old Mill.
  • Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available through August 20th for only $4 wherever pre-Fair discount admission tickets are sold. During the Fair, books may be purchased at State FairWear Gift Shops on the Fairgrounds for just $5.


  • On Sundays, August 24th and August 31st, this evening promotion will feature a minimum of 20% off at participating vendors from 8 p.m. until close.

Fried Fruit On-A-Stick Family, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Fried Fruit On-A-Stick Family, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

MN State Fair – Foods On-A-Stick

  1. Alligator Sausage on-a-stick
  2. Bacon (Fried) on-a-stick
  3. Bananas (chocolate covered) on-a-stick
  4. Beef Kabobs on-a-stick
  5. Beer Battered Brats on-a-stick
  6. Bomb Pops on-a-stick
  7. Butterscotch Cake on-a-stick
  8. Candy Apples on-a-stick
  9. Candy Bars (deep fried) on-a-stick
  10. Caramel Apples on-a-stick
  11. Catfish on-a-stick
  12. Cheese on-a-stick
  13. Cheese (fried) on-a-stick
  14. Cheesecake (chocolate covered) on-a-stick
  15. Chicken on-a-stick
  16. Chicken Bites on-a-stick
  17. Chocolate Chip Cookies on-a-stick
  18. Coffee (frozen) on-a-stick
  19. Corndogs on-a-stick
  20. Corned Beef and Cabbage on-a-stick
  21. Cotton Candy on-a-stick
  22. Dessert Dumplings on-a-stick
  23. Dixie Wings on-a-stick
  24. Espresso (frozen) on-a-stick
  25. Fruit (fresh) on-a-stick
  26. Fruit (fried) on-a-stick
  27. Fudge Puppies on-a-stick
  28. Hot Dago on-a-stick
  29. Hot Dish on-a-stick
  30. Hot Dogs (wrap) on-a-stick
  31. Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate (frozen) on-a-stick
  32. Lamb (leg of) on-a-stick
  33. Macaroni & Cheese on-a-stick
  34. Marshmallows (Chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  35. Meatballs (porcupine wild rice & ground pork) on-a-stick
  36. Meatballs (Scotch) on-a-stick
  37. Meat Kabobs on-a-stick
  38. Nut Roll (chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  39. Pickles on-a-stick
  40. Pickles (deep fried) on-a-stick
  41. Pizza on-a-stick
  42. Poncho Dogs on-a-stick
  43. Pork Chops on-a-stick
  44. Pronto Pups on-a-stick
  45. Rueben on-a-stick
  46. Sausage on-a-stick
  47. Scones on-a-stick
  48. Scotch Eggs on-a-stick
  49. Shrimp on-a-stick
  50. Shrimp (grilled) on-a-stick
  51. S’mores on-a-stick
  52. S’mores (deep-fried) on-a-stick
  53. Spaghetti & Meatballs on-a-stick
  54. Spudsters on-a-stick
  55. Steak on-a-stick
  56. Taffy Pops on-a-stick
  57. Tater Tots (deep-fried) on-a-stick
  58. Turkey Tenderloin (bacon-wrapped) on-a-stick
  59. Vegie Fries on-a-stick
  60. Vegetable Kabobs on-a-stick
  61. Waffle (Belgian) on-a-stick
  62. Walleye on-a-stick
  63. Wild Rice Corndog on-a-stick

Total Number of Foods-On-A-Stick: 63

Freshmade Nutrolls, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Freshmade Nutrolls, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

New Minnesota State Fair Foods In 2008

    Chicken Bites on-a-stick (blackened chicken breast meat served with horseradish sauce)
    @Axel’s, located on the outside southeast corner of the Food Building
    Deep-Fried Ice-Cream
    @San Felipe Tacos, located in the Food Building
    Deep-Fried S’mores on-a-stick (marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker, battered and deep-fried)
    @Oodles of Noodles, located inside the Food Building
    Deep Fried Tater Tots on-a-stick (tater tots made with hashbrowns, cheese, bacon, onions and sour cream deep-fried)
    @Axel’s, located on the southeast corner of the Food Building
    Dessert Chocolate Pizza
    @Pizza Shoppe, located inside the Food Building
    Fish Tacos (southern California-style fish tacos)
    @San Felipe Tacos, located in the Food Building
    Fried Bacon on-a-stick (Big Fat Bacon) (1/3 lb. slice of bacon fried and caramelized with maple syrup and served with dipping sauces)
    @Big Fat Bacon, located on Carnes Avenue near Nelson Street in front of the DNR Building
    Grilled Shrimp on-a-stick
    @Grilled Shrimp, located on Underwood Street near the Ye Old Mill
    Italian Breakfast Strata (layers of Italian sausage and cheese with Italian bread)
    @Oodles of Noodles, located inside the Food Building
    • Italian Ice (frozen non-dairy confections with up to 20 different flavors)
    @Isabella’s Italian Ice, located on the corner of Liggett Street and Dan Patch Avenue
    •Leprechaun Legs (lightly battered, deep-fried green beans with dipping sauce)
    @O’Garas, located inside the Food Building
    Neapolitan Cream Puffs
    @Cream Puffs, located on the corner of Liggett Street and Dan Patch Avenue
    Norwegian Style Cheese Curds (cheese curds battered in a Scandinavian batter, deep-fried and served with Lingonberry-flavored dipping sauce)
    @Ole and Lena’s, located on Liggett near Carnes
    Pickle Pop (pickle juice frozen in a plastic push-up sleeve)
    @Preferred Pickle, located inside the Food Building
    Pig Lickers (chocolate-covered crisp-fried bacon pieces)
    @Famous Dave’s, located on Dan Patch Avenue near Liggett Street
    Walking Taco (taco ingredients served neatly in a Dorito bag)
    @Church of the Epiphany, located on Underwood Street between Carnes Avenue and Judson Avenue
    Yaki-Soba Noodles (buckwheat style noodles, wok-fried with spices and vegetables)
    @Island Noodles, located inside the International Bazaar

MN State Fair Poster 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.MN State Fair Poster 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

MN State Fair Poster 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

More Nuts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. More Nuts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. More Nuts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

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Rescued Hummer, freeing the bird that was stuck in the
shed, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

This weekend Jim rescued a hummingbird that got stuck in our potting shed. It flew into an open door then couldn’t find its way out. Just as it seemed to be on the verge of exhaustion from flitting this way and that, bumping windows and ceiling, Jim caught the bird and set it free. Jim has a way with hummingbirds.

Up until starting this blog, I never realized how big a role animals play in our daily lives. We’re not the kind of people who I think of when I think about the term “animal lovers” — horse people or dog rescuers — yet we constantly interact with all manner of critters.

Now that we’re outdoors almost every day, we come across crawdads and fish in the ditches, mating mallards that frolick in the irrigated fields (we call one couple “The Ortegas”), and box turtles lumbering about.

Box Turtle, nameless turtle found making its way toward the
orchard, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

I used to love animals as a child. I remember one time walking around the yard with my eyes trained on the grass, looking for any living creature. I came across a dead bird, featherless and scrawny, that had tumbled out of its nest in the sycamore tree. I picked up the bird, cried while I dug a little grave, cried while I lay the little body into the hole, cried as I piled the dirt back over it.

I can see that same, almost unbearable animal love inside my daughters. The way they cry at the cruelty that invariably crops up in nature programs on TV, or how when they’re outside playing they’ll stop in their tracks if they see a dead lizard. They crouch around the body, gently prod to see if they can revive the poor lifeless thing, then get to the work of burying.

Dooley Details, waiting with Dooley and Dee at the horse show,
photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Horses are tricky. They’re so big, and the relationship we humans have with them is really special. That point hit me on Sunday during a community horse show in which Dee and her horse participated.

Dooley is about the most gentle, “unflusterable” one-ton creature you can find. He even makes the hippophobic klutz (i.e., me) look good. Something about his sad eyes or the way he patiently lets Dee flop all over him — you can’t help but fall for him head over heels. 

I watched his graceful giant body lope with my daughter poised just as gracefully atop his back. I truly hold these two, and especially Dee, in awe. A part of me wishes I could move like that, trust like that, have had that kind of mastery over something when I was that young.

Good Luck, what Em found the first time she went out to look for four-leaf clovers this spring, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved

One last tidbit from the weekend. On Saturday my parents had a garage sale. It’s an annual event where the whole neighborhood participates. Throngs of buyers come and walk from house to house looking for deals.

My sister and her friend brought the bulk of items to sell at Mom and Dad’s house. I rummaged through all my stuff and found exactly five things I wanted to get rid of: three pairs of shoes, a black purse, and a lamp. I laid out my five items among my sister’s and her friend’s goods, then set off to see what other neighbors had to offer. Right away I found a mid-century modern chair in chartreuse vinyl, perfect for sitting in a spot of sun and reading. I bought it.

My lamp sold immediately. One woman almost bought one pair of shoes but suddenly ran off to catch her infant son, who was about to walk into a low juniper bush. Three people examined the purse before placing it back with the other items.

At noon, we shut down. We piled everything that didn’t sell back into bags and prepared to haul them off to a neighbor who holds everything for a local charity. Em asked if she could have my black purse.

“Sure,” I told her.

Within minutes of taking possession, Em came running to me with five bills.

“Mom, look!”

In her hand were two $100 American Express travelers cheques and three for $20. Two-hundred sixty dollars worth of travelers cheques that I had misplaced in 2003 after a trip to China and India. Back then I had looked everywhere for the darned things and concluded that they were gone for good. They were the kind that never expire.

Lucky weekend. Lucky, and blessed.

Purple and Green, one recent sunset, photo
© 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Pray for Gas, religious statues inside the stone pillar for the gas price sign at a gas station in northern NM, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

stop the wind, please stop
war, drought, hunger, judgment
drop the price of gas

nuestra señora
santo niño atocha
break us free from oil

exxon, conoco
profit from the rest of us
prisoners of war

4-plus a gallon
GM lays off 3 thousand
this isn’t funny


-related to post haiku (one-a-day).

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           Minerva, 1889 - 1890, Roman goddess of poetry, music, wisdom, and warriors (Greek, Athena), bronze sculpture by Norwegian American artist, Jakob H. F. Fjelde, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Minerva, 1889 – 1890, Roman goddess of poetry, music, wisdom, and warriors (Greek, Athena), bronze sculpture by Norwegian American artist, Jakob H. F. Fjelde, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The first black hole was discovered in the same decade that Star Wars was released (and not by Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, or Sonny and Cher). It was the 1970’s, and you were probably wearing Halston ultrasuede or cashmere, leisure suits, platform shoes, string bikinis, and hot pants. Or maybe you were more the Birkenstock type, sporting tie-dye jeans, crocheted vests (think orange and lime green), and bouncy, wide bell-bottoms.

In 1977, there was a world shortage of coffee and prices soared from 50¢ a pound to $3.20 (isn’t it around $12 a pound today?). You might have been playing a lightshow guitar (imitating Pink Floyd), or listening to the Stones, Roberta Flack, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Tony Orlando (knock 3 times), or Gladys Knight and the Pips, on your new Sony Walkman.


The Beatles broke up, Jack Nicholson flew over the cuckoo’s nest, Harold and Maud were the May/December romance of the big screen, playing next to The Deer Hunter, Deliverance, and Saturday Night Fever. Yes, John Travolta was hot (even before his Pulp Fiction days). So was Billie Jean King, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, and Jesus Christ Superstar (did you see Andrew Lloyd Webber on American Idol?).

If you are under 21 and voted during the 2008 Presidential Primary, you can thank the 1970’s — the voting age in the U.S. was lowered to 18. And Paper Mate introduced a new erasable ink pen, allowing you to wipe out those pesky voting mistakes in a single swipe.

But don’t jump too fast. It was before the age of the hanging chad. The Apple II computer had just hit the market, the first email took a lumbering ride across ARPANet (central backbone during the development of the Internet), and Intel’s first microprocessor 4004 (1971) contained 2,300 transistors (today’s will run 3,000 times faster).

            Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

In the 1970’s Annie Hall was all the rage, along with Club Med, the VCR, streaking (yes, I tried it), and Pet Rocks (move over Sony the Pug!). Patty Hearst wielded her first machine gun, Son of Sam ran loose in the streets, Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, murdered 1-2 million people, and the Ohio National Guard shot and killed 4 college students at Kent State during an anti-war demonstration. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?

In the Me Decade, Elvis died of an overdose. So did Sid Vicious and Jim Morrison. Life and Look magazines were defunct by the end of the decade, along with cigarette advertising on TV, the draft, the VW bug (so they thought), and the Vietnam War. There was a recession in 1974 on top of an oil crisis in 1973 (what’s changed?). And TV would never be the same: Bonanza ended after 14 years; Gunsmoke after 20; and Ed Sullivan called it quits after 23 years.

You don’t see that kind of longevity in 21st Century media. Nor would you ever see televised daily proceedings of a national debacle like Richard Nixon and Watergate.


The world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in England, CAT-scans were introduced, the Heimlich maneuver perfected, and popular 70’s culture was buzzing with new words and phrases:  Murphy’s Law, Pro-choice, pumping iron, Punk rock, Rubik’s cube. Don’t rock the boat!

Money, money, money — 180,000 Americans were millionaires by the mid-70’s, an average hospital stay would set you back $81 a day, and a First Class postage stamp was 6¢ (Airmail, 10¢). The Metropolitan Museum paid $5.5 million for a Diego Velázquez portrait, while the Susan B. Anthony dollar took a political nosedive.

Rupert Murdoch bought the New York Post in the 70’s, and Cosmopolitan blossomed with Helen Gurley Brown at the helm. But literature (and a few oddball tomes thrown in for good measure) still boomed under the watchful eye of Minerva, Roman goddess of poetry and wisdom.

You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read. You can also tell a lot about a culture. In the 1970’s, here’s what America was reading.

  Minerva, Goddess Of Poetry, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Minerva, Goddess Of Poetry, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Minerva, Goddess Of Poetry, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Minerva, Goddess Of Poetry, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

1 9 7 0 ‘ s – B E S T S E L L E R S


  1. Love Story; Oliver’s Story, Erich Segal
  2. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles
  3. Islands in the Stream, Ernest Hemingway
  4. Travels with My Aunt, Graham Greene
  5. Rich Man, Poor Man, Irwin Shaw
  6. Wheels; Overload, Arthur Hailey
  7. The Exorcist, William P. Blatty
  8. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
  9. Message from Malaga, Helen MacInnes
  10. Rabbit Redux, John Updike
  11. The Betsy, Harold Robbins
  12. The Winds of War, Herman Wouk
  13. Jonathan Livingston Seagull; Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach
  14. The Odessa File, Frederick Forsyth
  15. My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
  16. Captains and the Kings, Taylor Caldwell
  17. Once Is Not Enough; Delores, Jacqueline Susann
  18. Breakfast of Champions; Jailbird; Slapstick: or, Lonesome No More!, Kurt Vonnegut
  19. Burr; 1876, Gore Vidal
  20. The Hollow Hills, Mary Stewart
  21. Evening in Byzantium, Irwin Shaw
  22. The Drifters; Centennial; Chesapeake, James A. Michener
  23. The Matlock Paper, Robert Ludlum
  24. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing, Paul E. Erdman
  25. Watership Down, Richard Adams
  26. Jaws; The Deep, Peter Benchley
  27. The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth
  28. The Fan Club, Irving Wallace
  29. I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Margaret Craven
  30. Ragtime, E. L. Doctorow
  31. The Moneychangers, Arthur Hailey
  32. Curtain; Sleeping Murder, Agatha Christie
  33. Looking for Mister Goodbar, Judith Rossner
  34. The Choirboys, Joseph Wambaugh
  35. The Eagle Has Landed, Jack Higgins
  36. The Greek Treasure: A Biographical Novel of Henry and Sophia Schliemann, Irving Stone
  37. The Great Train Robbery, Michael Crichton
  38. Shogun, James Clavell
  39. Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow
  40. Trinity, Leon Uris
  41. A Stranger in the Mirror, Bloodlines, Sidney Sheldon
  42. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien; Christopher Tolkien
  43. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough
  44. How To Save Your Own Life, Erica Jong
  45. Delta of Venus: Erotica, Anaïs Nin
  46. War and Remembrance, Herman Wouk
  47. Fools Die, Mario Puzo
  48. Scruples, Judith Krantz
  49. Sophie’s Choice, William Styron
  50. The Dead Zone, Stephen King
  51. The Third World War: August 1985, Gen. Sir John Hackett, et al.
  52. Smiley’s People, John Le Carré


 Goddess Of Wisdom, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Goddess Of Wisdom, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Goddess Of Wisdom, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Goddess Of Wisdom, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


1 9 7 0 ‘ s – B E S T S E L L E R S


  1. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex but Were Afraid To Ask, David Reuben, M.D.
  2. The New English Bible
  3. The Sensuous Woman, “J”
  4. Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking; Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cook Book; Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cookbook
  5. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, William Morris
  6. Body Language, Julius Fast
  7. In Someone’s Shadow; Caught in the Quiet, Rod McKuen
  8. The Sensous Man, “M”
  9. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown
  10. I’m O.K., You’re O.K., Thomas Harris
  11. Any Woman Can!, David Reuben, M.D.
  12. Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer
  13. Eleanor and Franklin, Joseph P. Lash
  14. Wunnerful, Wunnerful!, Lawrence Welk
  15. Honor Thy Father, Gay Talese
  16. Fields of Wonder, Rod McKuen
  17. The Living Bible, Kenneth Taylor
  18. Open Marriage, Nena and George O’Neill
  19. Harry S. Truman, Margaret Truman
  20. Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, Robert C. Atkins
  21. The Peter Prescription, Laurence J. Peter
  22. A World Beyond, Ruth Montgomery
  23. Journey to Ixtlan; Tales of Power; The Second Ring of Power, Carlos Castaneda
  24. The Joy of Sex; More Joy: A Lovemaking Companion to The Joy of Sex, Alex Comfort
  25. Weight Watchers Program Cookbook, Jean Nidetch
  26. How To Be Your Own Best Friend, Mildred Newman, et al.
  27. The Art of Walt Disney, Christopher Finch
  28. Alistair Cooke’s America, Alistair Cooke
  29. Sybil, Flora R. Schreiber
  30. The Total Woman, Marabel Morgan
  31. All the President’s Men; The Final Days, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
  32. You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis, Harry Browne
  33. All Things Bright and Beautiful; All Things Wise and Wonderful, James Herriot
  34. The Bermuda Triangle, Charles Berlitz with J. Manson Valentine
  35. Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Billy Graham
  36. Winning Through Intimidation; Looking Out for #1; Restoring the American Dream, Robert Ringer
  37. TM: Discovering Energy and Overcoming Stress, Harold H. Bloomfield
  38. Sylvia Porter’s Money Book, Sylvia Porter
  39. Total Fitness in 30 Minutes a Week, Laurence E. Morehouse and Leonard Gross
  40. Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon, Theodore H. White
  41. Roots, Alex Haley
  42. Your Erroneous Zones; Pulling Your Own Strings, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  43. Passages: The Predictable Crises of Adult Life, Gail Sheehy
  44. The Grass ls Always Greener over the Septic Tank; If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries–What Am I Doing in the Pits?; Aunt Erma’s Cope Book, Erma Bombeck
  45. Blind Ambition: The White House Years, John Dean
  46. The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality, Shere Hite
  47. The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate, Leon Jaworski
  48. The Book of Lists, David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace, and Amy Wallace
  49. The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence, Carl Sagan
  50. The Amityville Horror, Jay Anson
  51. Gnomes, Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet
  52. The Complete Book of Running, James Fixx
  53. Mommie Dearest, Christina Crawford
  54. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon
  55. Faeries, Brian Froud and Alan Lee
  56. The Muppet Show Book, the Muppet People
  57. The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet, Herman Tarnower, M.D., and Samm Sinclair Baker
  58. The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise, Nathan Pritikin and Patrick McGrady Jr.
  59. White House Years, Henry Kissinger
  60. Lauren Bacall By Myself, Lauren Bacall
  61. The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court, Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

     Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.         Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library,<br /> Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Study In Light, downtown Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, April 24th, 2008

-Resources:  1970’s Bestsellers List from Cader Books, Writer’s Dream Tools, and The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library

-related to posts: The 1950’s – What Was America Reading?, The 1960’s — What Was America Reading?, and Book Talk – Do You Let Yourself Read?

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Yesterday after work, as I’m shopping for lunch fixings at Smith’s, I get a call on my cell phone from a headhunter. He says, “Hi, my name is Joe So-and-so and I’m an executive recruiter with XYZ in San Francisco.”

I know why he’s calling. I have my profile in one of those professional networking sites, not because I’m looking for a new job. I just think it’s smart to keep your options open.

“Hi, Joe,” I say, “what can I do for you?” My daughter, seizing on an opportunity, points to the Dr. Pepper and mouths, Can we get it, can we get it?

Joe tells me his client is a mid-sized corporation in the Midwest and that they’re looking to fill a Director-level position with someone like me. He ticks off all the positions I’ve held at my current company that make me qualified for the role. “What can I do to entice you to take this job,” he asks.

Right away I tell him I’m not interested. I don’t want to relocate to that city, I’m pretty happy where I am, plus I’ve done that type of work before and don’t want to do it again.

“Take the position for three years,” he says, “use it as a stepping stone to Vice President somewhere else. Salary is $175 to $200K.”

By now my youngest and I are wandering aimlessly down aisles. I’ve shooshed away the Dr. Peppers and am being pulled toward the wasteful single-serving containers of Pringles.

“I don’t think so,” I tell him. He tries a bit harder, reminds me that the salary will go a long way in that part of the country. I beg him off. We chat a bit longer. He seems genuinely interested in me, keeps probing what it is I want to do in my career, so much so that I finally stop and ask half-jokingly, “Wait a second, do you want to find someone for your client or do you want to find a job for ME?”

I offer to send him a couple of names of people I know who might be interested in the role if he sends me his email. He asks if I’m OK with him holding on to my contact info in case something else comes up. I tell him that’s fine.

When I get home I tell Jim about the call. Describe the job and where it is; he says, “Glad you said ‘No’.” Mention how much the salary is; he says, “Hmm, that’s a lot.”

This morning I send Joe the names of two guys who’ve left the company for higher paying jobs. They’re hungry in a way I don’t seem to be. They are the kind of people who will relocate themselves and their families anywhere if the price is right.

I look out my window and see the Sandias. The grasses and trees have turned the muted greens and yellows and oranges that signal the final stages of autumn. My aging parents live close by. I can take Dad to CostCo when he needs to do a shopping trip. I’m not going anywhere.

But Joe’s call did make me wonder. Is there a salary I’d have been willing to seriously consider?

How about you, readers? Does your head have a price?

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Sleep, the Temptress and the tempted. She doesn’t come easily for me these days. There were times when sleep was a blessing, refuge of the depressed. Then there are dreams. I don’t always remember them. But lately, they’ve been restless and disturbed. The things in which I’ve put my trust are rocky and double-edged.

Last night, I woke up at 1:30am, restless and worried. The cats were tossing and turning, too. Kiev and Chaco had been to the vet, Dr. Tiffany, in the late afternoon before supper, hot vegetable soup. Kiev was a doll. Chaco, with his oily black coat, howled the way Siamese do, lashed out, hissed, and threatened to bite. But he is harmless, a survivor of abusive previous owners.

The fairy thin vet assistant grabbed him by the scruff, then tied on the black muzzle with pink shoestring laces that Chaco ripped off with a single paw in two seconds flat.

Domestic animals may not remember short-term inconsistencies or the emotional ups and downs of their owners. But they remember long-term abuse. It’s stored in their bodies. And as much as Liz tried to comfort Chaco, he sat through Kiev’s temperature check and yearly shots, then dove into old anxiety, emerald eyes splayed wide, as she placed him on the cold stainless steel table.

Mr. Stripeypants had gone to the vet earlier this year. So he stayed at home. Waited, nostrils to the windowpane. And when Kiev and Chaco returned, he sniffed and smelled and growled at them. The scent of squirty needles and alcohol and oozing medicine.

And that ties in with the book I am almost finished with, Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty. She races through the latter chapters of her friend Lucy’s addicted and chaotic frenzy. And I think of the ways that addictions plague artists and writers. Recovery offers hope. Addiction cycles around again. It’s inevitable.

Writers go to places that others don’t want to go. They are willing to look at the good, the bad, the ugly of human existence and write about it, so the details of our living history are not forgotten. And I wonder why it is I can’t sleep.

I dream of reams of money floating down from the sky and read how Ann and Lucy had more than enough money with New York parties and scholarly literature awards. A temporary balm, it didn’t matter in the end.

Writing will not make you happy. Or save you from anything. It only offers the comfort of a moment of captured truth – your truth. But back to sleep. How did I stray so far off track? I don’t count sheep.

Kiev and Chaco finally got to sleep and I rocked the bed, boing, boing, turning over and over, leaning up softly against the warm back and hands that sheltered and slowed the spinning in my head. Finally, I grabbed a warm finger, turned over on my side, crawled into a fetal position, and leapt into the next dream.

I was standing in front of a classroom, talking to a group of students about how writing will not save you; I was rattled, a skewed version of art imitating life.

And then, buzzzzzzzzzzzzz, the alarm with the microchip that connects to a satellite clock somewhere in the snowy mountains of Colorado beeped through my brain. And I rose to the dark Fall Minnesota morning.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

-from Topic post, Writing Topic – Counting Sheep

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what if merv were chicano?
Merv García, pen and ink and pencil on graph paper, doodle © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Merv Griffin: OK, my little pajaritos, do we have any requests?

Someone in audience: Y volver, volver, volver…

Someone else in audience: …a mis brazos otra vez…

MG: Coños, babies, come on, I’m not Al Hurricane…let me play you una cancioncita about my lovely bunch of coco-nuts…

Someone in audience: Al Hurricane? I thought you were Tony Bennett, oyé!

Someone else in audience: ¿Qué cosa Tony Bennett? ¡Oralé, he’s Engulburk Humperdink!

what if merv were chicano?what if merv were chicano?what if merv were chicano?what if merv were chicano?what if merv were chicano?

-Related to posts What If The Southwest Guy Were Chicano? and What If Madge Were Chicana?

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Ranked by local Twin Citians as 15th on a list of top independent bookstores in Minneapolis, Orr Books was one of my favorite independents. For almost 40 years, the tiny, quiet store resided in the largely urban Uptown section of Lake Street. The parking was terrible, but the staff was knowledgeable and friendly. And I could find off-the-wall, eclectic books for a lazy Saturday of soul searching.

I spent many days there, in the comfy armchair by the counter, hanging out with great literature.

I had given up believing that Orr Books would ever close its doors. They had been threatening for years. Usually it was some new real estate deal happening in the trendy Uptown area that was raising the rent, pushing them out.

Each time I got wind of a closing, I’d stop in and ask the owner, Charlie Orr, if they were going to make it through. And each time he’d tell me, “Well, we don’t know. We’re going to try to stay open as long as we can.”  He just kept on going.

But in July, while I was in Taos at a writing retreat, one of the longest running Twin Cities Independent bookstores closed its doors for the last time. The day after I returned, Liz slipped a paperback book in my hand over morning coffee and said, “I got this for you. It’s the last book I bought from Orr books.”

“What?” I said, gently sliding the cover through my fingers. “They’ve really closed?”

Orr Books has sentimental value to me. When I felt alone, lonely, entrenched in one of my isolated, weekend jags of lining books up on my bed and reading, reading, reading, Orr Books was there. I would browse their shelves, spend hours grazing covers, and talk to the staff about poetry, writing, and authors.

I rarely left the store with less than $100 worth of books. Then I would head over to the Lotus next store, grab some beef lo mein and an order of spring rolls, stack my treasure tomes up on the table, and dive in.

That was then – before I admitted to myself (much less the rest of the world) that I was a writer.  Before traveling to Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos for writing retreats. Before I went to see Natalie Goldberg read from Thunder and Lightning at, you guessed it, Orr Books.

It was the year 2001, and I convinced my friend, Gail, to go with me. I sat on a hard bench, back by the bodywork books, craning my neck to get a glimpse of Natalie. The store was packed.

I bought Thunder and Lightning that night. Natalie signed my copy of Writing Down the Bones (sneaking a quick peek inside the cover to see what edition I had) and mentioned that she was giving workshops in St. Paul. When I left the store, I had an extra bounce in my step. I told Gail I was going to sign up. 

Many blue moons and 10 or 11 retreats later, my writing is going strong. But Orr Books is no more.

The closing of many independent bookstores across the country marks the end of an era. I’ve often heard Natalie say she knows a town is thriving if they have at least one independent bookstore.

It begs the question, are people even paying attention to the number of independent bookstores that remain standing in their hometowns? What are we as writers doing to breathe new life back into flagging stores. And are communities willing to spend the extra time and money to support them.

Below is the final letter distributed by Charlie and his staff at the closing, a history of the people and the store. Liz handed the crisp, white paper to me along with the last book she purchased from Orr Books – a copy of Ted Kooser’s Delights & Shadows.

Every time I pick up Ted’s book, I will think of Orr Books. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate its memory.

The History of Orr Books
       -details provided by Charlie Orr

The facts go something like this:

Vera opened Uptown Bookstore (2908 Hennepin) during the Art Fair in August 1968. As she couldn’t afford to leave her job as the textbook buyer at the U of M, Charlie quit his job as a cabdriver, and worked for the first 6 months, then left for California with friends. Interesting fact: before hacking a taxi, Charlie had served in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist.

Business was good for Vera, and in 1971 she opened a 2nd store, called Uptown Bookstore 2 (Roman numeral), where she sold new hard covers, while continuing to sell paperbacks at the original shop. When times got tough, she decided to close Uptown Bookstore 2. Vera called Charlie in California, in early 1973, to tell him this news.

Meanwhile, Charlie had been hustling used books to no great avail out west. He told Vera he would return, and take over the 2nd store, renaming it Orr Books. It was located at 3027 Hennepin Ave. before Calhoun Square was a twinkle in Ray Harris’ eye. Charlie’s partner in the new bookstore venture was Zarifah, a Sufi dance leader. They sold only used and collectible books, while Vera continued to sell new hard and soft cover books down the street.

In 1976, Vera gave up Uptown Bookstore, and went to work with Zarifah and Charlie, bringing along her faithful book buyers. Vera, in her day, had her own large and devoted following. Zarifah soon left to pursue other interests, and in 1977 Julia Wong was hired to assist Vera and Charlie.

In 1981, Calhoun Square opened, and Orr Books moved to its present location at 3043 Hennepin. During Julia’s 20-year career, Charlie hired various people you may remember: Wendy Knox, Helen Antrobus, Mary DuShane, Lynn Miller, Steve Thomes, and who knows else. Ben Orr came on board after high school. David started on his birthday in 1986. Liza started in 1994, and Peggy and Lorna have been the last part-timers.

The most profitable years were during the sale of textbooks for St. Mary’s Graduate School. The most interesting years were the fist 3-5, when, to survive, Charlie became a comic book dealer, a Beatles dealer, and most successfully, a baseball card dealer, even running auctions after hours to avid collectors.

It is with great regret that Charlie has decided to finalize Orr Books. Times change, as do we all. Charlie (and David and Peggy) now face, like you, the inevitable question: where will we now go to find the good books that nourish and please? It’s been a wonderful 34 years (39, including Uptown Bookstore) and they will always be fondly recalled.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, September 7th, 2007

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what if the southwest guy were chicano?

Southwest Guy: Oyé, ven aquí por tu regalo gratís…

Traveler: ¿Qué cosa gratís?

Southwest Guy: Es un t-shirt *muy* bonita…que te doy después de que you fill out esté application de tarjeta crédito…

Traveler: ¡No quiero un feo t-shirt de Southwest, hombre!

Southwest Guy: Espera, hombre, you can die it black, man, and wear it camping!

-Related to post What If Madge Were Chicana

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Woman With Bird, folkart from China Woman With Siamese Cat, folkart from China

Michaels was having a sale on custom framing this weekend. Half off the regular price. I took four odd-sized paintings I got in Shanghai a couple of years ago. They’d been rolled up in a paper tube ever since I bought them. 

Paul with a goatee let me go behind the frame shop counter and pull my own frames off the carpeted wall. I took down frame corner after frame corner. I wanted something minimalist, yet I gravitated to brushed metal in neon colors and thick ornate wood. I finally decided on a wood frame that must have been at least three inches wide. It was stained black with decorative embossing, except raised. I requested an eggshell-white mat, also three inches wide. 

Paul asked me if I wanted the special glass that cuts down the glare. Back when I worked at The Framery near the University of New Mexico, we never recommended non-glare glass; it was almost so frosty you could hardly see the image. This new non-glare stuff was way better. Kind of like the UV tint you can get on your eyeglass lens. “Yes, give me the Masterpiece Glass,” I told Paul.

While Paul crunched the numbers on his calculator, I stood staring at the frames I’d rejected. I thought about the many other pieces of art I’ve had framed. One time I went to one of those boutique frame shops and picked out a really nice wood that had been stained bright red. It sounds ugly now, but it’s gorgeous. It was years ago, and it cost so much I vowed I’d never go anywhere for my framing but Ben Franklin’s, K-Mart, or Michaels. A year or so ago I framed about six photographs, all at Hobby Lobby, I think. 

Paul finished the calculations. “Two-hundred fifty-eight,” he said.

“Each??,” I asked. 


“That’s before the 50% off, right?”

“No, after.”

Poor Paul. I went back to the drawing board. Threw out the wood. Landed on skinny black metal — the basic foodstuff of frames. We got the smaller prints down to $103 each. The larger ones a bit more.

Egads. No wonder so many paintings and posters stay stuffed away in my closet.

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Foods On A Stick At The Minnesota State Fair 2006, YouTube Video by TKordonowy.

Whoa! After 8 hours at the Minnesota State Fair, Liz and I made it home at 10:30p.m. last night, not much worse for wear. Unless you count the fact that we could hardly walk and had giant food hangovers!

Here are our MN State Fair Stats for August 2007:

  • Money Spent: $102 (not counting the $41 we saved with Cub coupon book & ticket discount) [See WCCO Good Question with Ben Tracy: How Much Does The State Fair Make?]
  • Time Spent: 8 hours (just at the Fair, not including travel & walking time)
  • Photos Taken: 642 digital day & night shots (by the two of us)
  • Events Covered with $$$: admission tickets, Butterfly House, walking, walking, walking, digesting, all food & drink, people watching, shiny blue 100% cotton State Fair hoodie
  • Fair Booty: autographs from Don Shelby, Amelia Santaniello, and Frank Vascellaro from WCCO, 11 kinds of food (5 on-a-stick, favorite was Fried Fruit On-A-Stick), 7 kinds of drinks, Swine, Sheep, Cattle, Goat, Poultry Barns, J.V. Bailey House, Fine Arts Building, polka band and coffee cup hat at Farmers Union Coffee Shop, opera, Air America Talk Radio 950am, Al Franken for Senate booth, wonder and awe in the Butterfly House, joy and laughter all around

We ran out of time for the full tour of the J.V. Bailey House or our annual viewing of the Dairy Princesses carved from butter. And we missed A Prairie Home Companion at the Grand Stand and the escaped bull that ran amuck through the crowd. For more insight into our food hangovers, check out the YouTube video by TKordonowy, Foods On A Stick At The Minnesota State Fair 2006.

I know Minnesotans that go to the Fair at least 4 or 5 times in one week. Ralph Cornelius has attended the Minnesota State Fair for 80 years without missing one year. Ralph was even there as an infant in 1928. But I’ve got to say, for me, once every one or two years is enough. We had a great time this year. More photos to come. Enjoy the video!

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, September 1st, 2007

-related to post, MN State Fair On-A-Stick

another video link you might enjoy that includes video in its infancy, 80’s hair, and brief footage of the butter sculptures:  Minnesota Stories, Just Plain Big: MN State Fair 1988

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BookMark, Minneapolis Central Library, downtown Mnneapolis, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

BookMark, Minneapolis Central Library, downtown Minneapolis, through the rain, August 2007, opened May 2006, architecture by the design team of Cesar Pelli & Associates, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Time for another decade of bestselling books. At the end of the 1960’s, gas was 39¢ a gallon, a 1962 Jaguar XKE would set you back $4,500, and James Bond in Goldfinger grossed $23 million at the box office. Twiggy was big (I just saw her flash by the TV screen last night on America’s Top Model), along with hiphuggers, bellbottoms, collarless Nehru jackets, and cashmere turtlenecks.

People were buzzing about Foster Grants, Duncan yo-yo’s, new math, Dolby noise reduction, macrame, K-Mart, the Twist, the Chicago 8, draft dodgers, Teflon, and St. Louis’s Gateway arch, the world’s tallest monument.

The American 60’s were turbulent, violent, optimistic, free loving, and slow moving. If it was your generation you were either hip, jock, rock, or nerd. If it wasn’t, well, it lives on in the mythology that surrounds it.

The 60’s were big enough to hold Capote, Sontag, Kesey, Plath, Robbins, Baldwin, Ginsberg, Puzo, Hailey, Vonnegut, Nin, Miller, Didion, and Vidal. You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read. You can also tell a lot about a culture. In the 1960’s, for better or worse, here’s what America was reading.

1 9 6 0 ‘ s – B E S T S E L L E R S


  1. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone
  2. Franney and Zooey, J. D. Salinger
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  4. The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck
  5. The Reivers, William Faulkner
  6. Dearly Beloved, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  7. The Shoes of the Fisherman, Morris L. West
  8. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour–An Introduction, J. D. Salinger
  9. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John Le Carré
  10. Up the Down Staircase, Bel Kaufman
  11. The Man with the Golden Gun, Ian Fleming
  12. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
  13. All in the Family, Edwin O’Connor
  14. The Adventurers, Harold Robbins
  15. The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
  16. The Chosen, Chaim Potok
  17. The Exhibitionist, Henry Sutton
  18. Airport, Arthur Hailey
  19. The Salzburg Connection, Helen MacInnes
  20. The Tower of Babel, Morris L. West
  21. Preserve and Protect, Allen Drury
  22. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
  23. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  24. The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton
  25. Naked Came the Stranger, Penelope Ashe
  26. The House on the Strand, Daphne du Maurier
  27. The Love Machine, Jacqueline Susann
  28. Myra Breckinridge, Gore Vidal
  29. Christy, Catherine Marshall
  30. The Pretenders, Gwen Davis


Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

           Minneapolis Central Library, looking straight up, through the rain,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, opened May 2006, architecture
by the design team of Cesar Pelli & Associates, photo © 2007 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

1 9 6 0 ‘ s – B E S T S E L L E R S


  1. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
  2. The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater
  3. I Kid You Not, Jack Paar
  4. Between You, Me and the Gatepost, Pat Boone
  5. Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book
  6. Calories Don’t Count, Dr. Herman Taller
  7. Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown
  8. Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck
  9. The Joy of Cooking: New Edition, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
  10. Security Is a Thumb and a Blanket, Charles M. Schulz
  11. I Owe Russia $1200, Bob Hope
  12. Profiles in Courage: Memorial Edition, John F. Kennedy
  13. In His Own Write, John Lennon
  14. Reminiscences, General Douglas MacArthur
  15. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
  16. A Day in the Life of President Kennedy, Jim Bishop
  17. How To Be a Jewish Mother, Dan Greenburg
  18. A Gift of Prophecy, Ruth Montgomery
  19. A Thousand Days, Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
  20. The Making of the President, 1964, Theodore H. White
  21. How to Avoid Probate, Norman F. Dacey
  22. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  23. Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, Phyllis Diller
  24. Misery Is a Blind Date, Johnny Carson
  25. Death of a President, William Manchester
  26. Edgar Cayce–The Sleeping Prophet, Jess Stearn
  27. The Weight Watcher’s Cook Book, Jean Nidetch
  28. The Peter Principle, Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull
  29. My Life and Prophecies, Jeane Dixon with René Noorberger
  30. Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, Linda Goodman



-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, August 30th, 2007

-Resources:  1960’s Bestsellers List at Cader BooksWriter’s Dream Tools, and The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library

-related to posts: The 1950’s — What Was America Reading?, The 1970’s —  What Was America Reading?

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Riverview Theater, vintage 1948 sign, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

Riverview Theater, vintage 1948 sign, designed by Liebenberg and Kaplan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

A good friend called me last Sunday completely revved up about a film she had seen at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. The last showings were scheduled for Sunday at noon and 5:30p.m. and she said we had to go see it. Both the director and the producer were going to introduce the film and stay afterwards to answer questions.

As soon as I heard it was a documentary on the model most often photographed in Edward Weston’s work, I knew I wanted to see it. It was a rainy Sunday and at 10:30, Liz and I were still in our pajamas, drinking morning coffee; we didn’t have long to get ready. We tried to make the noon showing but got there too late. Instead of missing the first 15 minutes, we decided to head downtown to take photographs and come back for the 5:30. Were we glad we did!

Eloquent Nude – The Love And Legacy Of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson is directed by Ian McCluskey. Ian appeared down-to-earth, excited, and passionate when he talked about the film. He did an excellent job of interviewing, editing, and paring the footage down to just the essentials.

The final product skillfully reveals his vision for the film – to capture the essence of the relationship between photographer, Edward Weston, and poet, writer, and model, Charis Wilson. The film reaches far past their marriage, to reveal the minds and hearts of two people bound by artistic love and creative drive.

Eloquent Nude. The Love And Legacy of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson, image of movie poster provided by director & producer, © 2007 McCluskey explained that he had always wondered who the woman was in the Weston photographs. When he started to dig into it, he discovered Charis and in a moment of bravery, contacted her, filmed over 8 hours of interviews, and, well, the rest is history.

He talked about the tender moment when he worked up the courage to give her a call and then stumbled over his words. “It’s an honor to finally talk to you,” he said. In the cut-to-the-point, direct humor that carried over into the film, Charis laughingly said, “Oh, he says it’s an honor.”

Producer, Julie Gliniany, originally from the Twin Cities, eloquently spoke about the project and how she met Ian through an ad on Craigslist. A few years and a lot of work later, Eloquent Nude is a reality. Julie was beaming when she talked about nervously screening the film at the home of Charis Wilson, now 93 and legally blind. They set up a big screen TV and Charis sat close to the action.

About half way into the film, Charis asked her daughter to stop the viewing, turned to Julie and Ian and said, “If my tear ducts hadn’t clogged up years ago, I’d be crying my eyes out. These are the home movies I never had.”

I can’t recommend this film enough. I was riveted to Charis Wilson’s expressive face, honest commentary, and candid sense of humor. And after hearing Ian and Julie speak about their work, I walked out of the Riverview completely inspired to tackle my own creative projects.

Julie and Ian took a chance; they went out there and did something that was close to their hearts. They didn’t have a lot of money but they had an idea that they believed in; they placed ads, got the crew together, contacted Charis and made their vision a reality.

Before we left the historic Riverview Theater (designed by Liebenberg and Kaplan in 1948, with many of the original furnishings), Liz signed up for their email list. Today she got an email from the producer, Julie, that the film had been held over at the Riverview another week. I had already planned to blog about the experience, but Julie’s email gave me that extra zip I needed to get this post out tonight.

Here’s what she said:

Thank you so much for such a warm welcoming in Minnesota over the weekend. Ian and I are safely back in Portland, enjoying the August sunshine and already missing the friendly crowds, Scandinavian accents, and potato salad of the Midwest (I know, my accent isn’t too far from gone).

We wanted to write and let you all know that due to the huge success of ELOQUENT NUDE, the Riverview Theater has decided to hold the film over for an additional week!

As this obviously wasn’t included in the beautiful press we received we’re asking for as much help as you can offer to spread the word about the additional screening dates. Feel free to post this info on blogs, forums, work email lists, etc.. Although Ian and I will no longer be able to attend the screenings, we hope you will help us fill those seats and continue sharing this story.

Riverview Theater
3800 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis

Wed. Aug. 22nd at 5:30
Friday Aug. 24 – Thursday Aug. 30 at 5:30pm
Weekend Matinees at Noon on Aug. 25-26
Tickets are $2

Keep in touch!

Julie Gliniany & Ian McCluskey

Don’t miss this film! When it comes to your town, rain or shine, rush out in your pajamas, coffee clutched in hand, and see it. Grab some buttered popcorn and a box of Raisinets. And prepare to be moved.

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

related links:

Weston Photography – Kim & Gina Weston’s site – Historic and current photographs of the Weston family and history, including Charis Wilson and Wildcat Hill

Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Interview with Charis Wilson, Conducted by Mimi Luebbermann, In Aptos, California, March 24, 1982 – Great candid interview with Charis, well worth the time.

Weston Book Leads To Documentary Film, Oregon State Website, updated 2006 – Wendy Madar co-wrote the Charis Wilson memoir, Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston. We checked a local bookstore last weekend and found the book to be out of print. But you may be able to find it used.

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Memorial By Night, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Memorial, By Night, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5th, 2007, shot through the grove of trees at center circle, facing the I-35 Bridge, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I heard on the 9p.m. news that they found the final and 13th person from the I-35 Bridge collapse. The final person as far as they know. Our visit to the Memorial two weeks ago was unplanned. Liz had purchased tickets in May to see 1776 at the Guthrie on August 5th. We had plans to take her Mom who flew in from Wyoming the night the bridge collapsed.

By the time of the Guthrie performance, the Memorial in the grove of trees in Gold Medal Park had already formed. We took some flowers to the play that night. Before the performance, we ate dinner and walked out on the Guthrie’s Endless Bridge to view the I-35 Bridge.

And after the performance, we trudged through the soggy grass up the hill in the dark, and placed the handful of flowers down under the trees. The bridge was lit up in the background. We said our prayers.

I wanted to wait until everyone was found to post these shots. The eerie, blue neon lines from the benches that square the trees on the hill at Gold Medal Park threw strange shadows on the handmade signs that night. A light breeze blew through the summer air.

We stood together silently for a while. Then walked down the hill, picked her Mom up in the lobby next to a group from the 1776 cast, drove through the city, and headed back home.

Perhaps tonight there is a little more peace. Yet I heard that 6 died yesterday in severe flooding down in southeast Minnesota. Roads, bridges, and railroad tracks caved in. Houses flooded, fell away in mudslides, and are buried in layers of silt.

Maybe there is no peace. Only the idea of it. And the gentle acceptance and quiet strength that reverberate through our town.

Memorial From The Guthrie, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Memorial, By Day, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5th 2007, shot from high inside the Guthrie Theater, Memorial is in the center of the circle on the hill, left view is the reflection in the stainless steel window panel, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 -posted on red Ravine, Monday, August 20th, 2007

– related post: Bridge To Nowhere – The Great Connector

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Mercedes Trees, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 20, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mercedes Trees, near Lake Calhoun, South Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 20, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

A few days ago, we did a post on Everyday Art. A lot’s happened since then. I added the tag to my Flickr account and ybonesy set up a Flickr account with her drawings and photographs. She was going to add a Flickr group called Everyday Art but, alas, someone beat her to it. So we both joined AgentOdd’s group Everyday Art as the 3rd and 4th members.

This is my first post in our Everyday Art category on red Ravine. There is so much going on around us in the everyday world at our feet. You don’t have to go far from home. Just be open to another way of seeing.

There’s a book called Ways of Seeing by John Berger. If you haven’t read it, it’s thin, short, sweet, and chock full of insight into the way we look at our world. The visual has a big impact. Writing is a visual medium, just like art.

If you want to see more of our images, photographs, and art, click on our Flickr accounts under QuoinMonkey and ybonesy. And check out our Flickr Contacts. There is a whole community of artists, photographers, graphic designers, and endless creatives from every country on the planet. Whole worlds open up.

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

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Queen Detail, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedQueen Detail, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedToday is the 12th of July, one of those days smack in the middle of summer where all I can think about is how much I’d rather be doing anything other than working in an office for a living. I’m supposed to be writing about an object from Frederic Remington’s studio, but the place is so packed with stuff it’s hard for me to focus. There are saddles and chaps and spurs, seven paintings of a single horse standing on a Kentucky blue grass lawn, mounted antlers, a mounted rifle, a hat, masks, a bed with Mexican blanket bedcover, chair, easel, desk. I am overwhelmed, and it’s not so much Remington’s space as it is my own filled-up brain. 

Miriam Detail 2, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedMiriam Detail, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedThere’s an analogy that’s been bobbing around with the other flotsam in my head all day. It has to do with physical space and buildings. I want to say that if my brain were real estate, it would be a multi-use complex. Or an outdated apartment building with rooms that are too small; some empty, most filled to the brim, none orderly.  

Miriam Detail 3, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedI have an urge to evict my biggest tenant, Work. Remember, this is my brain I’m talking about, and so what I’m really trying to say is, Work, you take up too many floors. You are at times an over-bearing tenant. You demand all my attention, value efficiency over creativity, and you use way too much white paint. What’s your problem? Can’t you try just once using eggshell or antique white or a velvety cream? 

Queen Detail 2, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedSarai Detail, photo © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedAh, she longs to work with People of Color, you might be thinking, and while it’s true I wouldn’t mind working side-by-side with a blue woman or a green man — I’m not afraid of aliens — I’m really using white paint as metaphor for lack of curiosity. My main tenant — with its miles and miles of gray cubicles (gray is the new white where I work), its Outlook calendars and inboxes, Blackberry pagers, and snazzy teleconference calls — is boring. Even my United and Southwest frequent flier miles have lost their draw.

Rebecca Detail, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedMy heart’s desire is to turn over the whole kit and caboodle to Art and its roommate Writing. Let them spill into the entire building. Give them free rein to paint the walls whatever colors they want. I trust Art and Writing’s aesthetics so much, I’d even let them gut and renovate the place. Make it into a single-story loft with lots of light and natural woods.

But then I ask myself, what am I thinking? I don’t have money to renovate. That’s my Catch-22. The job I’m hating this very minute is the whole reason we have shelter to begin with. Which means my brain’s going to resemble an overcrowded shopping mall for some time to come. Work and Art and Writing, and I haven’t even touched on Mothering or Being Daughter To My Aging Parents or Friendship or Gardening. I won’t mention the three pieces of furniture I want to refinish.

Sarai Detail 3, painting © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedJust now it dawns on me, it’s not work I mind. In fact, when I’m producing art and writing, that’s all I can think about. I’m consumed by it in a way no other job has ever held my attention. I always tell people that if we gave the same amount of energy to our passions as we give to our day jobs (which, for most of us generally are not our passions) then we’d be wildly successful financially speaking. I honestly believe that.

So what’s holding me back? How do I get from here to there without the aid of an art patron? (Art patron, if you’re out there reading this, I will have no compunctions about accepting your generosity.) And here I have to admit, I’m stuck. People keep asking me, when are you going to do art full-time, or when are you going to write full-time? My only answer is, I don’t know when. All I know is to keep producing, one piece at a time. Just keep putting it out there.

Related to Topic post, Remington’s Studio.

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Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy, book by L. Luis LopezI first heard L. Luis López read his poetry a year ago at the Ghost Ranch “Coffee House.” Coffee House is an open-mic event held Thursday nights to highlight the diverse talents of that week’s participants. I remember Luis standing at the front of the large hall where Coffee House is held, clearing his throat before reading. The room got quiet, even the kids. As he read his voice rolled up-and-down in the sing-songy way los Chicanos de Nuevo México talk, especially when they’re back home with family.

When I went to Ghost Ranch this past week, I arrived at the open-air studio where my Hebrew Scripture Retablo workshop was taught and there at a table in the center of the room was Luis López. It turns out he not only writes poetry — he teaches a class on mythology and the night sky at Ghost Ranch, he’s taken traditional Spanish Colonial tinware for the past five years, and he was enrolled in the same retablo painting class that I was taking.

A year ago Luis read from his book Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy, which recalls his childhood, ages 6 to 16, in Albuquerque’s South Broadway neighborhood. This past week he read two new poems from a book yet to be published. He gave me permission to publish both poems on red Ravine. What strikes me about his words is their poignancy, their all-at-once sadness and humor.

The cadence in this first poem summons a certain sense of heaviness I imagine one might carry after years of seeing a family member live day-in-day-out with schizophrenia.

          Salvador Quintana
          (for Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)
           by L. Luis López

          When on his meds, Salvador Quintana
          leaves Rosy his Chevy
          in the garage, walks to, sits
          at McDonalds,
          drinks coffee, eats apple pie, smokes
          a cigarette,
          drinks coffee, eats cherry pie, smokes
          a cigarette,
          drinks coffee, eats apple pie, smokes
          a cigarette.
          Salvador Quintana when on his meds.

          When off his meds, Salvador Quintana
          takes Rosy his Chevy
          out of the garage, drives to, sits
          at Joe’s Bar,
          drinks wine, eats chips, smokes
          a cigarette,
          drinks beer, eats peanuts, smokes
          a cigarette,
          drinks whiskey, eats sausage, smokes
          a cigarette.
          Salvador Quintana when off his meds.

          But this was not always Salvador Quintana.
          Before he was twenty
          he played center field for the Gold Sox,
          drew cartoons,
          made people laugh and laugh when
          he mimicked
          Cantinflas, Jerry Lewis, sang
          like Dean Martin or Little Richard,
          loved to dance,
          had his Dulcinea deep in his heart, had
          marriage in mind.
          This before twenty was Salvador Quintana.

          But his Dulcinea chose another,
          Dulcinea chose another,
          she chose another,
          chose another.

          Purity of love began to decay deep in his
          heart, anger festered deep
          in his brain,
          voice upon voice upon voice arose,
          unleashing word upon word,
          talking all at once, all at once, until

          something snapped, snapped
          in his head. He saw giants whirling
          on the horizon,
          saw fearsome knights
          riding out of the dark, dark woods,
          saw giants whirling on the horizon,
          heard from the voices
          that acid licked from the back of stamps
          would make the giants
          heard that sips
          of red liquid from the bottle
          would make fearsome knights
          riding out of the dark, dark woods kindly.

          I have known this Salvador Quintana
          forty years,
          I knew the other Salvador Quintana
          before he was twenty.
          I saw the change from that Salvador Quintana
          to the present Salvador Quintana.

          Today Salvador Quintana and I will
          leave Rosy his Chevy
          in the garage, we will walk to, then sit
          at McDonalds,
          drink coffee, eat apple pie, smoke
          a cigarette,
          drink coffee, eat cherry pie, smoke
          a cigarette,
          drink coffee, eat apple pie, smoke
          a cigarette.
          It’s Salvador Quintana’s birthday.
          I will celebrate with my brother on his sixtieth.

Luis prefaced this second poem by saying it was about his very critical father. Later, when Luis talked about his poetry during a break in our retablo class, he said writers often write about their parents as a way to deal with issues carried from childhood. This wasn’t that poem for Luis, although he has written a lot of poetry about his father. The following poem is light-hearted and captures, I think, a sense of acceptance.

          so I left him fuming
          by L. Luis López

          why do you come here from that South
          saying y’all
          and not hardly speaking no Spanish
          my Dad says

          you went away speaking good Engllish
          and good Spanish
          now you come here with y’all and
          down the holler instead of alla
          or over there
          and I say Dad I just like
          to talk like where I am

          so now I will say ese and alla
          and to get more on his nerves said como esta usted y’all
          mon pere because I spent part
          of my South in Louisiana
          among the cajuns

          and he said I mean he really
          said nada and lit a Chesterfield
          and that meant he said nada
          even more
          so I left him fuming

I asked Luis about his path to becoming a poet. He told me he started writing at age 30 because he liked to describe the people around him. His first pieces were plays. He also wrote short stories before finally landing on poetry.

Luis told me he gets he gets up every morning at 4:30 and writes 2-3 hours. Every poem he writes by hand first then inputs it into the computer, and as he does so he begins the revision process. He said he loves revising his poems and knows when he’s done once the poem “clicks.”

Luis was born in Albuquerque in 1938. He currently lives in Grand Junction, CO, where he teaches English and Classical Languages at Mesa State College. He hosts a poetry writing and reading group that meets monthly at the downtown library. You can catch him at Ghost Ranch most summers, where you can watch the night sky with him or listen to him read his poems at Coffee House. Oh, and if you see Luis, make sure to ask him to show you his retablos. It turns out, he is a wonderful folk artist in addition to everything else.

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