TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Potpourri

Laurel or Yanny?

Weird week. Everyone was weighing in on the Laurel or Yanny question. Some heard the robotic voice on the Internet say “Yanny”, others heard “Laurel.” Others thought their iPad was possessed by Stephen Hawking, Linda Blair or M. Night Shyamalan.

The president heard “covfefe”. As for me, I distinctly heard, “Paul is dead.” and I think, in the background, “I Dreamed a Dream,” from Les Miserables.

There was some speculation that the differences in what people heard were based on the recorded frequencies. There seemed to be greater discrepancies between what women heard — “Yanny” — and what men heard: “It’s second and three, and the Packers are driving …”

The Royal Wingding

Well, there was lots of excitement about the royal wedding last week. All kinds of celebrities were invited — George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Elton John, Laurel and Yanny, Laurel and Hardy, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, which is appropriate, because I find the hubub somewhat of a mystery.

There’s obviously a gender gap at work here. Maybe for women it plays into a fairy tale Prince Charming fantasy. It’s unfamiliar territory to me. In any relationship I’ve ever been in, I’ve always been The Beast, and once, Quasimodo, which, until I did some research, I thought was a term of endearment.

People seemed captivated by the smallest details of the royal wedding. One woman’s Facebook post pondered the question: “Beard or no beard?”

I answered, “No show.”

Wow. Some people can’t take a joke.

For the record, beard, and it went splendidly with Camilla Parker-Bowles’ hat.

Peepin’ Will

Go figure this one. North Dakota Republicans endorsed for scretary of state, Will Gardner, who in 2006, as a 29-year-old married father of two, was caught with his zipper down outside the window of an North Dakota State University girl’s dorm. Prosecutors said he had peeped in numerous windows. I’d like to see the ink blot test on this guy.

I guess the North Dakota GOP didn’t know about the “The Weible Hall Incident” until last week. Apparently, Republicans were so eager to retire Al “The Ancient Mariner” Jaegar and his abacus-based software system, they didn’t do any vetting. Gardner looked good in a suit, and Jaeger had mustard on his tie, so they went with the new kid. Besides, his zipper was up and everything. Still, it should have raised suspicions when R. Kelly gave the nomination speech.

Now, Gardner is playing the victim card. I guess it was mostly just a misunderstanding, and the cops got it wrong. Another damned witch hunt. On Sunday, he decided to withdraw from the race.

Fundraising hadn’t gone too well for Gardner. It helps if you don’t start each call with, “I know what you did last night.” Still, it might have worked out. Depravity is pretty much a plank in the GOP platform these days. It all starts at the top. It’s one of those trickle-down deals. And we do mean trickle down. If elected, Gardner would probably have kept a very close eye on things.

What climate change?

We all know climate change is fake news, but the atmosphere averaged 410 parts per million of carbon dioxide last month, the highest ever — at least since the mid-Pliocene Period, which according to Al Jaeger, was really hot. It’s inarguable that sea levels were 66 feet higher 3.6 million years ago — unless you’re a fundamentalist science-denier who thinks the world is only 2018 years old and that Jesus rode into Jerusalem to visit the U.S. Embassy on a brontosaurus.

Meanwhile, the president has defunded the NASA carbon-monitoring program because what you don’t know can’t hurt you, which is pretty much the theme of this administration. EPA Director Scott Pruitt was so excited when he heard the news, he actually went back to mingle with the folks in business class.

Keep the graduation speeches short

I used to write a column filled with advice to graduates each year, but I’ve stopped. For one thing, I don’t know how to get this on Snapchat. And then I realized that when I was that age, I had everything figured out, and I’m guessing these kids do, too. Over time, though, things have a way of unfiguring themselves. It’s like there’s a cat in my head unwinding a ball of yarn.

I’m not a fan of graduation speeches. I think the only speech I’ve ever enjoyed was by a really drunk best man at a wedding. Until the fight broke out and the cops came.

I don’t go to baccalaureate, but I do pray before every graduation: “Dear Lord, please make the commencement speaker’s speech short.”

Carpe diem. (I think that means “Seize the Carp”.)

© Tony Bender, 2018

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Little Crow

One of my favorite places is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Dorette and I are frequent visitors. She’s out of town, so I drove to the MIA on Saturday and wandered around for a couple of hours.

It’s truly a world class institution.

Photography is allowed, not the case in many museums.

Among the works of art I’m most drawn to is this one of Little Crow, painted in 1863 by Henry H. Cross, 1837-1918. Little Crow was the leader of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

I was reminded of the fairly recent series about the war by Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Curt Brown. It was titled “In the footsteps of Little Crow 150 years after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.”

Powerful stuff that ends with the chief’s remains being returned from South Dakota to Minnesota many decades after the conflict.

As the procession began, one of the Elders pointed upward and a murmur rose from the mostly Native American crowd. A huge flock of birds was circling overhead, then headed east. Many of those present believed they were accompanying Little Crow’s spirit home.

I searched Amazon today, but a print version of Brown’s history is unavailable. It is on Kindle, however, now on my “to-buy” list after I upgrade my device .

Amazon did display a few pages from the book, including one with this photograph of Little Crow.