December 2005 Letters to the Editor

Letters from reading regarding the last issue of <em>Minnesota Monthly</em>

Control Issues

Tim Brady’s “Kitty Kitty Bang Bang” (MN Then, October) implies that feral house cats are the equivalent of naturally occurring predators. This is an erroneous assumption.

For background, the article recounted the history of how we have dealt with predators in the past. Yes, years ago we incorrectly placed emphasis on killing predators in an attempt to increase the numbers of desired species. Then our knowledge took a leap with the birth of wildlife ecology. We learned that “it’s the habitat, stupid!” This realization does not negate predator control as a management tool, as Brady stated. Take, for example, the recent discovery that we may be able to use chemical attractants to lure sea lampreys to streams that feed into the Great Lakes, thereby allowing us to sterilize or terminate this non-native intruder.

I did appreciate the promotion of responsible cat ownership. I wonder, though, if most of the feral cats we see aren’t wayward farm cats that traditionally are not controlled in any manner. Keep in mind that feral cats are not “Fluffy,” purring contentedly in your lap, but stray, non-native species that have no place in this ecosystem. It would be best to prevent them from living in the wild where they do, indeed, prey on our native wildlife. Failing that, dispatching them with a charge of speeding lead might be the most humane and ecologically sound method to help solve a real problem.

Thanks for a great magazine—and great story titles. Who comes up with these, anyway?

Cold Spring


Pack Mentality

Although neither my husband nor I have ever been smokers, we share stories of our mothers smoking—and of us trying to get them to stop—when we were growing up. Pamela Espeland’s tale “Saying When” (Back Talk, October) made us laugh out loud over and over again, resonating with our own memories. The phrase “all-you-can-breathe buffet” will be quoted daily in our household! Besides its entertainment value, Espeland’s story is worth telling because it is an honest account of a reality check, and that’s something with which everyone can identify. Thank you for sharing, Pamela.

St. Paul

Bravo to Pamela Espeland for capturing the essence of a smoker’s desire to quit versus the head game that keeps people smoking. She perfectly described how it takes a certain something to tip the scale, to be able to finally give it up. She articulated exactly my experience: years of living in a love-hate relationship with smoking, unrealized timelines to quit, unsuccessful quits, then having an “on-the-road-to-Damascus moment” that gave me the mental/spritual/emotional (whatever it is!) strength to actually give it up. After reading her essay, I realized that every ex-smoker probably has had such a moment.



Sauer Taste

I can imagine why Rachel Hutton would not like German food if the only thing her grandmother fed her was sauerkraut soup (Quick Bite, The Black Forest Inn, October). It’s obvious she has not eaten German food in Germany. It is not at all like the food she described. There are many exciting dishes that don’t contain all the starches she mentions. Beer has little to do with the quality of food in a place; there are so many local breweries, and not all beers are created equal. She shows her preferences when she contrasts people who eat German food with those who eat seared ahi tuna (which doesn’t sound too good, but I wouldn’t pass judgment without giving it a try).

Regarding Minnesota Monthly as a whole: you finally had one article in the last several months about the Iron Range (1st Person Singular, “You Might Be a Ranger If,” October). I’m willing to bet there are more native and proud Minnesotans on the Range and in greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities. But you cater to Twin Citians.


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