February 2009 Letters to the Editor

Letters from readers regarding the last issues of <em>Minnesota Monthly</em>

Brave Beginnings

I really enjoyed reading your article “He Who Laughs, Lasts” (December) about Dudley Riggs and the Brave New Workshop Theatre. As one of the people currently in charge of running the asylum, it’s always a joy to hear stories from those who came before. It is a great thrill and awesome responsibility to work at a theater with such a rich history.

Dudley probably didn’t know it at the time, but he and the original company created an entity that, at some point, took on a life of its own, and all we can do is try to serve it well until we pass it on to the next generation. Of course, they won’t be nearly as funny as we are, but then again, we’re not nearly as funny as the people before us—that’s a given. Thanks for shining a light on a true Twin Cities gem and the man who got the ball rolling.

Katy McEwen
Associate Artistic Director
Brave New Workshop Theatre


Beating the Winter Blues

I would like to take a moment to thank Minnesota Monthly for the section, in December’s issue, “Winter Survival Guide.” Each winter, my friends and I find we’re getting cabin fever by January. We’ve already referenced your guide and planned two activities this winter. Thanks for providing fun ideas in one comprehensive listing. I’m sure it will be well worn come April!

Jenny Tracy Stoltenow
West St. Paul

Zeitgeist Love

As a former Minnesotan and current MNMO reader, I would just like to say what a pleasure it is to read Jeff Johnson’s elegant prose each month. His sense of humor and unique perspective on his wonderfully eccentric topics are, for this expatriate, a distillation of the Minnesota zeitgeist I recall so fondly. Hats off, Mr. Johnson!

Jim Thornton
Sewickley, Pennsylvania

We Stand Corrected

I must take exception to the claim regarding snow blowers in “Dear Paul” (Talk) from the January 2009 Minnesota Monthly. Electric snow blowers do not produce zero emissions. Coal-fired power plants, which generate electricity, are one of the largest offenders in the production of greenhouse gasses. While it may be true that an electric snow blower would produce less emissions than a traditional gas powered snow blower without a catalytic converter, the second law of thermodynamics will guarantee that some amount of emissions exist when a fuel is burned.

Craig Bibeau
Coon Rapids

Paul Douglas responds: It’s always good to get reader feedback, and Mr. Bibeau is right. Since most of us receive our electricity from coal-fired power plants, plugging into this system through an electric snow blower contributes to the production of the plant’s emission of greenhouse gases. The reader in the January column wanting to help preserve the ozone should take heart that an electric snow blower will not produce any exhaust emissions, but only the shovel can claim to be completely emissions-free.

Here’s what the MNMO.com community has been saying…

The 2008 Loon Awards

Was [Jim] Oberstar really off base? For your characterization of his comments to be correct [Oberstar questioned the initial investigations into the bridge collapse], you’d have to assume the maintenance [Tim] Pawlenty and [Carol] Molnau refused to perform and legislative Republicans refused to fund wouldn’t have caught the decayed condition of the gusset plates, which seems quite a stretch. Moreover, to take the National Transportation Safety Board report at face value, you’d have to believe the NTSB is the one agency of the federal government Bush didn’t politicize…. Can any reasonable person believe that?

—posted by ericf


Submit letters via e-mail to letters@mnmo.com, or the old-fashioned way to the Mail, Minnesota Monthly, 600 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402. Please include your daytime phone number and city of residence. Text may be edited for length and clarity. Please limit letters to 200 words.