Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beans to Beer: Stonehouse Coffee in Nisswa Brewing Up Plans for Beer Making

Beans to Beer: Stonehouse Coffee in Nisswa Brewing Up Plans for Beer Making

Stonehouse Brewery is going to be serving frosty pints in Nisswa.  It will be a fun place to grab a few beers and hang out before heading out to the lakes with your summertime friends. Walk around Nisswa and shop at all the cool local stores,  and check out the Minnesota surf shop for SUP rentals while you are in town. There are so many different walking trails and public beaches to check out, and take advantage of the rentals and lessons at Minnesota Surf and learn to SUP in one of the best places for fresh water lakes in the world.

Hipster Beard Molting Season

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. The greatest concentrations of hipsters can be found living in the Williamsburg, Wicker Park, and Mission District neighborhoods of major cosmopolitan centers such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco respectively. Although "hipsterism" is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too "edgy" for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The "effortless cool" urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent's trust funds.

Dodge One Ton Hauling a Flatbed with a Sleeper

I have been seeing more one ton trucks hauling campers and flatbed up in this part of northern Minnesota. Last week, I was going into town and saw a really nice white, late model Dodge one ton with a factory made sleeper.

After doing some online research, I found a company called AA Truck Sleepers.

Here is some information about the company from their website:

About Us

We start with a great idea and tons of enthusiasm.

With over 34 years in the business we know the ins and outs truck sleepers. We believe in great design, durability, and usability. Coupled with our amazing fabricators and high quality materials, AA Truck Sleeper LLC always delivers.

AA Truck Sleeper, LLC provides complete design, build, and installation services for truck sleepers, crew cabs, and specialty products in sizes ranging from 32″ long “coffin” sleepers to fully-furnished Super Sleepers in lengths up to 156″ and beyond. We have outfitted trucks of almost every make and model.

Along with new product design and installation, we offer interior remodeling on existing truck sleepers whether factory or after-market regardless of manufacturer. We also perform interior remodeling for RV’s and stock trailer living quarters.

AA Truck Sleeper, LLC offers complete repair services for all sleepers whether factory or after-market. We are an authorized Norcold repair center and have certified air conditioning technicians on staff to service both engine driven A/C systems and APU’s.

Check out this video for more information on Hot Shot Trucking:

Kayaking in Pillsbury State Forest and Jake's Wings

We went kayaking last night out in the Pillsbury Forest on a small lake.  The water is down quite a bit but the temperature was really nice and the trees are starting to leaf out.

We loaded up the kayaks and went to Jake's on Gull before our paddle.  Jake's has some really good food, and the wings with their house made Blue Cheese dressing are the best ones in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

 I have always been a fan of the food, and we even sat out on the patio.  We were the only people sitting out there but after a long winter I can't resist getting out and enjoy some 60 degree weather.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Brainerd, Minnesota Food Truck Ordinance Passes!

Article written by Chelsey Perkins via the Brainerd Dispatch:
An ordinance governing food trucks in the city of Brainerd is now on the books.
In a 5-2 vote, the Brainerd City Council approved the ordinance Monday night, establishing the permitted boundaries, hours of operation and uses.
The ordinance covers all "transient food units," including trailers, wagons, carts and seasonal temporary food stands. The trucks will be allowed to park in eight designated zones, on public and private property in the city, most from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the downtown zone, hours of operation allowed are from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The trucks will be allowed to sell only food and nonalcoholic beverages and must acquire a license from the city of Brainerd. Operators are not allowed to draw attention to themselves with audible noise or music beyond the unit, nor is exterior lighting permitted. Sales are not permitted within 300 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant or bar that serves food or within the same distance from the property perimeter of any festival, sporting event or civic event.

Full Article in Brainerd Dispatch about Food Truck Ordinance Passing

Click the links for more information on food trucks:

Link to a great recent article on food truck positives and negatives:

Application for Food Truck vendor in Brainerd, Minnesota

Here is a link to a successful food truck in Los Angeles, CA.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jon Huck Comedy Video

text via

Jon Huck is an Actor and a Comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central's Live At Gotham as well as "This Is Not Happening" for Comedy Central Digital. His album "Fantasticular Hilaritation" is available at Itunes or Jon's first movie - Garbage - is out now on DVD and streaming through Blockbuster & Netflix. His second movie - Dumbbells - will be on Netflix mid 2014. Jon has done countless commercials and has been on shows such as MTV's Punk'd, TBS's Frank TV, the Disney Channel pilot "Kirby Buckets" and several other television projects. On top of stand up & his acting career Jon has made an impact as a Producer and writer as well. His producing and writing credits include (but are not limited to) - Proving Ground on the G4 Network, MTV's Punk'd (seasons 1 - 8), NBC's The Real Wedding Crashers, MTV's Room 401, The Untitled Steve Jones & Jenny McCarthy Pilot and Disney's Code: 9.

You can hear Jon & Comedian Shawn Halpin every week on The Full Count Podcast.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon Huck & Matt Schuler

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Minnesota SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) Season is Near and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Info!

This is a good video on SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) on Lake Superior's North Shore. Lake Superior is a great place to go and camp, hike, and enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities.
Just west of Lake Superior and the North Shore is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Check out his site:

 The site lists the best places for a canoe trip in the BWCA, and it has a great section on the basic items to bring along on an outdoor trip. The quality of this video is very good and it makes me get amped up for the upcoming open water season in Northern Minnesota.

Wood Duck Box Pictures and Information

For the last few days, a wood duck pair has been checking out his box I built and put up last year.  I went to clean it out yesterday and there was a large defunct wasp nest and a bunch of sticks and leaves some of the local squirrels had stashed.


I have been building wood duck boxes for the past ten years.  Ornithology and bird watching have been a large part of my life since I was very young.  I haven't got a chance to watch any baby ducks fly out of this box I built.  I give away the boxes to friends and I have had a few friends get a chance to see the little ducks leaving the nest.

It is sunny hear today, but the wind is cold out of the north. Most of the ducks and other birds seem to be in hiding.  It was seventy degrees last weekend, and it has been cold and snowy for the last few days.
Wood ducks will have up to 12 little chicks, and from the information I read online, multiple pairs will use the same nesting box each season.  Here is link to the Minnesota DNR Wood Duck Page.  It shows their range and has a ton of other great facts concerning this duck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Free Tips and Links for Writing Jokes as a Standup Comedian Richardson gives some good advice to people like you who are interested in stand up comedy because you want to practice at an open mike night, or because you know humor is the best way to score. is a great site with comedy podcasts and this little gem of advice from Louis CK. link to a format option for writing effective jokes. your way onto the stage and other good bits of information on how to get started in live comedy. classic "Reader's Digest" provides some great information on pacing jokes and why comedians don't care if you are offended.

Check out the article below which has some good advice George Carlin provided during an interview:

George Carlin on How He Came Up With Material, Advice to Young Comedians, and His Influence
by Larry Getlen | December 10th, 2013

I just released an e-book called Conversations with Carlin: An In-Depth Discussion with George Carlin about Life, Sex, Death, Drugs, Comedy, Words, and so much more, a novella-length transcript of a five-hour interview I conducted with comedy legend George Carlin in 2001. As the title indicates, I spoke to Carlin about not just expected topics such as comedy and words – two topics covered at length in the book – but also about more personal and philosophical subjects including religion, war, morality, and the importance of romantic love. Here’s an exclusive excerpt.

Let’s talk about your material. Do jokes and premises just come to you, or do you actively sit and try to think of funny things?

It comes to me. Part of my leaving the media on all day is a way of…my mind has trained itself to have a very sensitive system of radar about certain words, expressions, topics, and areas of discussion that come up. There are things that interest me more than others, and then there are things that jump out. There’s one thing I learned about the mind as a young man, when I quit school. I read a book – half of it, anyway – calledPsycho-Cybernetics. The author said that the brain is a goal-seeking and problem-solving machine, and if you put into it the parameters of what it is you need or want or expect, and you feed it, it will do a lot of work without you even noticing. Because the brain does that. It forms neural networks. There are areas in your brain that communicate with one another because of a need they perceive that they have – if you have trained yourself passively or actively, which I have – to look for certain kinds of things to say, and certain kinds of things to compare. Because a lot of comedy is comparing – the things that are cultural or social or language-oriented, or just plain silly. My brain got used to the fact that that made it feel good – that I liked finding those things. So the brain does networking on its own where those connections get made, and pretty soon there’s an automatic process going on all the time that leaves out a lot of unimportant or less interesting areas, and concentrates on areas it has trained itself to passively look for. Because it knows that when it finds one of them, you’re going to feel good! Oh, boy, I found another one! Let’s go back to work and find some more of these for him. What I do is, I collect my notes. I have about 1,300 separate files in my computer – they change from week to week, because I combine or expand files – and they are 44 years worth of collecting thoughts, notions, ideas, pieces of data, and material. Anything I think might have promise for my writing sometime in the future goes on a piece of paper, and that becomes a stack of papers, and that gets a topic title. The scientist is at work with the little artist – he’s got a scientist buddy – and this guy’s indexing things and figuring out categories, and that stuff goes in the computer. And every time you see it, touch it, look at it, or think of it, it gets deeper in the brain, the network gets deeper, and at some point, it gets to be a telling mass that says to you, “OK. Take a look at this now. This is gonna be funny. You got enough data, take a look at this.” So I’m drawn to something and start writing about it, and then you really start writing, and that’s when the real ideas pounce out, and new ideas, and new thoughts and images, and then bing, ba-bam ba-boom, that’s the creative part.

What’s the greatest mistake made by up-and-coming comics?

I don’t know, because I don’t know enough individual stories to know what that would be. I’d love to hear what [new comics] said about it. But if I had to guess, the most common mistake they make – or even experienced comics, just comics in general – is not writing your shit down. Not keeping these files. In the past year or so, I’ve met a number of what we think of as high profile comedians. I mentioned my files to them, and I got this blank look. I would ask them, “Don’t you keep your files? Don’t you at least have a record of the things you’ve already done?’ And they said no. For 44 years I’ve been categorizing and indexing these things, and I feel unarmed without it. And these are not guys who just get up on stage and do it differently every night. It’s not that way. It’s a wonderful myth that certain comedians can exist that way, and it’s just not true, because you’re alone up there for thirty minutes or an hour, and you better have some structure. So I think it’s unimaginable that people who want to be funny aren’t writing down every little aspect of it that they think of, and trying to find ways to put those thoughts together.

What do you think your influence on comedy has been?

It’s very hard from in here to know and be objective. I’m told by some people – and I have dispute with this – that I started that whole “observational comedy” thing. I guess I’m being a little modest when I say, well, all comedians basically observe, and make observational comedy. But I think they mean something narrower, which is, “did you ever notice how, when you do this, you don’t do that? And then this happens?” I did a lot of that in the mixture of things that I do. The three areas I’ve always drawn from, at least since I got flying in the 1970s and the big part of my career happened, were the English language; little things, such as what we’re talking about, observational comedy; and the huge issues that will never really be solved, (as opposed to topical political humor), things like race, genocide, war, death, commercialism, consumerism, big business, and education. I’ve always drawn from those three wells. So the observational stuff that I’ve used, which is what they’re identifying when they talk about me, in a lot of cases it wasn’t that minutia stuff, it was talking about cats and dogs as I had owned them. So I was talking from a personal platform. The same is true of the food, and the refrigerator, and the things I didn’t like to eat as a kid, and driving. It all comes out of personal experience, and not so much, “Did you ever wonder why this, or that, or so on.” So my answer is, the influence I’ve had is to be successful in the mainstream with a decidedly non-mainstream vocabulary. That’s about it, I think. The observational stuff – maybe there’s a hint of that. Maybe one or two people took that part of my thing and thought that was great for them too. I just think that me making a success out of things and still being able to say “cocksucker” somehow inspired a few people that [stand-up comedy] is an arena of expression, rather than just a performer’s job.

Joey Diaz on Joe Rogan Podcast link

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Taking the Mystery Out of Writing Mysteries": Informative Article by Dennis Palumbo

Full Article by Dennis Palumbo

The following italicized sections are from the article and I posted them because they contain some great brainstorming questions for beginning a mystery novel. Please click the link above to review the article in its entirety.
For me, there's only one answer: ask yourself, what makes you unique? What scares you, interests you, makes you angry? What do you yearn for, or wish to avoid? What are your hobbies, passions? What's the aspect of your own character about which you're most conflicted, unhappy, even embarrassed? Believe it or not, this is where the seeds of an interesting, unusual protagonist are first sewn.


So why don't you start by making a list of your own traits and interests, as suggested above? The closer the hero or heroine of your mystery story is to you, the more vivid and engaging he or she will be to the viewer. After all, as Emerson said, "To know that what is true for you in your private heart is true for everyone - that is genius."

Next, let's look at the world of your mystery story. What is the world you inhabit? Suburban soccer mom or single father? Former football coach, magazine editor, or Rhodes scholar? Travel agent, computer specialist, or kindergarten teacher?

After all, you know the details of your particular world so clearly. You know the ins and outs. It's those details that create the backdrop for the crime, that make possible the intrigue, the collision of misleading, back-stabbing, or too-good-to-be-true characters. Think of the gambling background in the movieOcean's 11. Or that of the legal profession in The Firm.

How to Write a Mystery Novel Link and Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger Symbols

I found this Link to Random House, "How to Write A Mystery Novel", and found it to be quite an interesting formula.  I just finished reading "Iron Lake" by William Kent Krueger and was very impressed with the format of the mystery novel.  I was also impressed by the setting. WK Krueger is a Oregon native but has been living in St. Paul for many years.  He has definitely done his research concerning Minnesota and how to incorporate symbols from the state into his writing.  "Iron Lake" is his first novel in the Cork O'Connor series and it is filled with many elements that will appeal to readers interested in learning about Minnesota. He write about many Ojibwe beliefs and does a great job at creating diverse American Indian characters.

He begins the novel with a mystery but also gives readers some background concerning the main character Cork.  Cork grew up with a very wise American Indian elder to guide him in the ways of the woods. This character also teaches him about the mysteries associated with the Minnesota forest, and the windigo element that continues throughout this novel.

Other Ojibwe American Indian symbols found in this book:
Sweat lodge, Sauna, genocide, gambling, buffalo, casino, hunting, courage, bravery

Witch Tree
Medicine Man-Midewiwin
Check out this introduction to Ojibway Culture and History page for more information.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Visiting the Kom: First Salt Water Ship of 2015 in Duluth, Minnesota

From Duluth News Tribune

Check her current position in Lake Superior at Marine Traffic

The first salt water ship of the year arrived in Duluth, and it was much earlier this year compared to 2014 .  I heard about it on MPR and wish I could have been over at the harbor to see her come into town to pick up some grain to bring back to Europe.  She is registered in Malta.

The Kom from

The Kom arrived on April 13, 2015, the first salt water ship of the season. It was her 5th trip to the Twin Ports; she first visited us on May 26, 1998, just a year after she was built in Varna, Bulgaria. She is owned by Navigation Maritime Bulgare in Varna. Captain Mariyan Yotov lives in Varna and all of the crew live in Bulgaria, some in Varna also.

Timber Wolf in Minnesota DNR Reports and News

March 30 DNR Report Duluth News: C

click on the link for more MN DNR news

Here are a few of the reports about wolves:

A concerned landowner contacted CO Frericks regarding a collared timber wolf that came into her yard and appeared to have little fear of humans. The landowner has lost dogs and livestock in the past to wolves.

Officer Schmidt assisted Officer Duncan with a wolf depredation complaint involving a domestic dog. Injured animal complaints were handled including a raccoon and an eagle. The officer also spent time at Camp Ripley for training.

An investigation was started with the USFWS on a wolf that was found dumped on the Nemadji River in Clear Creek Twp. Initial findings show that the animal may have been snared. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call TIP.

King of Obsolete: Screaming Ford 1974

The 1974 Ford

Chainsaws, salvage metal, and all things old and worn out but still useful.  Check out the King of Obsolete's webpage on his Detroit Diesel in the Old Ford Truck:

Visit the link above to read his descriptions and see more about what he does to haul supplies in the far northern reaches of Manitoba, up near Lynn Lake.

This is a couple of pictures of his Ford Truck.  I still see quite a few up here in Minnesota, but don't see many on the highways anymore pulling freight.  Most of them are used as local construction or tree service rigs. I am interested in the old Fords because my father and grandpa used to have a Ford dealership and I remember them hauling tractors and other equipment with some of the old Ford semi trucks.

King of Obsolete: Info., Video, and link to his site

One of the King's Rigs
From his site:


THANSK (to read more on MY spelling of thansk click on)
Published Author


Video of the Lynn Lake Manitoba scrap yard and trucking genius.  Check out his site for more information and find out how to order one of his books.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wolf Hunting and Trapping in Minnesota

Via MN DNR website:

Wolf hunting and trapping

Wolves in Minnesota can only be killed in defense of human life. 

Only agents of the government are authorized to take wolves if pets or livestock are threatened, attacked or killed. 

Minnesota's wolf legacy is unique: its northeastern corner of lakes and sub-boreal forest once sheltered the last remaining wild wolves in the lower 48 states. Wise and careful management under the Endangered Species Act allowed those remaining wolves to flourish and repopulate northern Wisconsin and Michigan's upper peninsula.

Minnesotans clearly value wolves. Public opinion surveys and attitudes demonstrated during development of the state's wolf management plan show people view the animal as ecologically important, scientifically fascinating, aesthetically attractive, recreationally appealing and significant for future generations. Only a small minority fear and dislike wolves or believe Minnesota would be a more desirable place without this apex predator.

DNR is committed to a responsible, conservative and science-based management strategy that ensures the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota recognizes the animal's legacy and Minnesotans' collective interest in and concern for this northwoods icon.

Here is another side of the story. Check out his Bagley farmer's opinion in a news article from the Grand Forks Herald:

Winona indoor skate park proposal coasts forward

Winona indoor skate park proposal coasts forward (Full Article)

The Winona City Council late Tuesday heard from a few Winona natives who are proposing to move the city’s outside skate park from the East End Recreation Center to inside the West End Recreation Center, along with opening a skate shop there. The council reached consensus to move ahead with planning the details between the business, Anthem, and the city.

City staff said if the proposal becomes a reality, the business could look at beginning construction and moving by September.

“I certainly think it’s worth exploring,” Mayor Mark Peterson said.

The proposal would be a win-win for the city and the business, city staff said, by providing a solution for both an aging skate park and an unused building. The west end center hasn’t been staffed for at least five years due to budget cuts and lack of attendance, and has only been used as a rental facility. And in recent years the skate park hasn’t had a large number of skaters, because the park is in such disrepair that the city is ready to recommend either closing it or budgeting more than $100,000 for repairs.

Anthem co-owner Zach Krage said being a skater himself he can understand why the attendance rates have fallen. The equipment is noticeably rundown, particularly compared to skate parks in nearby communities.

“The quality of our skate park leaves a lot to desire,” Krage said. “The ground is not high quality surface. It’s built on top of rotting structure.”

ICYMI: Indoor skate park proposal coasts forward; WSU basketball teams upset ranked rivals

A proposal for an indoor skateboard park in Winona moves forward and I hope this trend takes off in other parts of Minnesota. In Brainerd, the long winters don't allow for much in terms of activities outside of mainstream sports, and like many other cities in Minnesota, Brainerd has a large and under-served skateboarding population. Congratulations to Winona for realizing the importance of these facilities for their youth!

ICYMI: Indoor skate park proposal coasts forward; WSU basketball teams upset ranked rivals

Timber Wolves in Minnesota: Final Part 5

I enjoy learning more about trapping and hunting, and one new experience I really enjoy is using a call, and attempting to shoot predators, such as coyotes, during the hunting and trapping season in Minnesota.  I have spent some time in my predator blind and tree stand using an electronic call, but I have never successfully harvested any predators using this method.

Concerning predator hunting in Minnesota this year, I bought a .17 HMR, and plan to do some coyote calling this year.   If I saw a gray wolf, I would take its picture but not a shot. It would be illegal to shoot at a gray wolf without a permit, and  I don’t know why, but I have more respect for wolves than coyotes. I would explain my reasoning for this is due to a lecture at AWLS involving the discussion of gray wolves as an example of a keystone species.   I assume wolves want to harvest coyotes, just like I do, and to help explain my reasoning concerning the difference between harvesting a coyote, but not a gray wolf, I looked to to Aldo Leopold for more insight concerning predator hunting:  “I personally believed, at least in 1914 when predator control began, that there could not be too much horned game, and that the extirpation of predators was a reasonable price to pay for better big game hunting”(Leopold 916). 
This quote may be out of context, but I thought it was interesting due to the fact that my thinking about deer hunting, and gray wolves, and just my overall perspective concerning conservation, changed after my time at AWLS this summer. I learned more about the interconnections concerning predators, such as the gray wolf, and its prey.  For the gray wolf, prey could be deer, or coyotes, and I never entertained this thought before, as I didn’t think wolves would eat a coyote. The fact that gray wolves will eat coyotes may seem like common knowledge, but it is a very important point concerning the overall conservation of animals in Minnesota. Conservation is something I am very passionate about, and the more I learn about the topic, the more I would like to know.  Aldo Leopold’s writings are something I plan to revisit in the near future, and a big part of my reason for this decision is based on wanting to compose more posts on conservation topics.   I found another quote by Aldo Leopold  from his book, Thinking Like a Mountain, in which he writes, In those days we had never heard of passing up the chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy. When our rifles were empty the old wolf was down and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable slide rocks.” (Leopold 130).  This quote made me think back to the time in 2004, when I carelessly hip shot into the ground to try and scare the two blue eyes looking back at me.   I shot out of fear, which is something I should be embarrassed to admit, despite the fact that it is the truth.
   A fellow trapper, and one of  my trapping mentors, obtained a permit through the lottery, and was able to harvest a gray wolf during the 2013 season by working with a local farmer, and utilizing a cow carcass, to make a cubby set. After a few misses, he was able to connect and harvest a wolf using a snare.  He used rubber gloves and kneeling pads.  I am very happy about my friend’s accomplishment, but I am also very aware of the number of years, which is over thirty, he has been trapping.  He is very successful at harvesting animals during trapping season.  I spend quite a bit a time trapping, but I am still just trying to learn more about this process, and I won’t be applying to trap or hunt wolves in Minnesota anytime soon. (I wrote this before hunting and trapping wolves was banned in Dec. 2014).
As an avid, but self taught trapper, I have a hard enough time outsmarting muskrats, one of the easiest furbearers to trap, much less the gray wolf, an intelligent predator that allowed me to see it one day in 2004, when the wolf and I were both searching the woods for deer, or maybe the wolf was looking for a coyote.   I guess we will never know for sure, but I hope the gray wolves remain in Minnesota, for my children to someday observe, but also to maintain deer numbers, and maybe the wolves will help limit some of our coyote population, as my trapping skills aren’t getting the job done when it comes to controlling predators in Minnesota. I enjoyed composing this series of posts on wolves; I now have a very different perspective on conservation, and have learned more about the gray wolf, and the fluctuation of its population size, in Minnesota.

Sources for posts on Minnesota Timber Wolves

Erb, John, Carolin Humpal, and Barry Sampson. "MINNESOTA WOLF POPULATION UPDATE   
Erb, John, John Erb. “2012 Minnesota Wolf Season Report.”
"Explore Minnesota's Biomes and Discover Our State's Four Ecosystems." Minnesota   
        Department of Natural Resources. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 7 Sept. 2014.    
"Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes States." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1 Jan. 2014.
       14 Sept. 2014. <>.  Web.
Leopold, Aldo. "Review of the Wolves of North America." Journal of Forestry 42.12 (1944):  
Leopold, Aldo. "Thinking like a mountain." A Sand County Almanac 138 (1949).Print.
"Teen Survives Wolf Attack in North Central Minnesota." Bemidji Pioneer 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 18
       Sept. 2014.
"Wolf Management." Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 1 Jan. 2014. 14 Sept. 2014.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Small Towns in Minnesota with Skateboard Parks

Here are some pictures of skateboard parks in small towns in Minnesota. Please be sure to notice the population size of the towns with skate parks.  My question is why Brainerd doesn't have a skateboard park?

Lanesboro, MN: Population 754 according to 2010 census
Another view of the park in Lanseboro is below:

Aitkin, MN Population 2087  (2013)

Marshall, MN: population 13,483 (2013)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blank Tapes - Don't Ever Get Old

The Timber Wolf in Minnesota: Part 4

I haven’t spotted another gray wolf since the deer hunting experience in 2004, but according to farmers gossiping at the local cafe, coyotes and wolves have really become common, and as a trapper, and hunter, I decided to research how the population has changed in Minnesota. 

I recently asked my father about the day he saw the gray wolf when we were deer hunting, and he said the wolf, based upon his memory, was big, and about as tall as a deer.  He said the gray wolf’s coat was white with gray streaks, and I asked him if he had ever had a gray wolf sighting leading up to our encounter with one in 2004.  My father grew up and has lived most of his life in the same area we hunt, and he said the one we saw in 2004 was the first, and only gray wolf he can remember seeing before 2004.  Neither of us have had a gray wolf sighting since 2004, and we deer hunt the same land every year.  When my father told me about the rarity, in his experience, with gray wolf sightings in Minnesota, I decided to research the gray wolf population in the 1950’s and found the following information, from an article published by the MN DNR in 2014: “Estimated at fewer than 750 animals in the 1950's, Minnesota's wolf population – now estimated at 2,423 – has fully recovered from its once threatened status and is firmly established on Minnesota's landscape”(Wolf Management). 

Downtown Brainerd Zombie Pub Crawl

photo. from visit brainerd

For individuals interested in dressing up like a zombie and doing a pub. crawl in downtown Brainerd, this is an event you won't want to miss.   This event has been taking place in Brainerd for the last few years and continues to grow in terms of numbers.  I have heard from many people that the music is awesome and the addition of the Northland Arb. trails to the festivities this year will make the event even more awesome. 

From the Visit Brainerd Site:

Zombie infestations have been reported in Brainerd.

The DTB (Down Town Brainerd) Zombie Crawl will be May 1st & 2nd 2015!

In 2014 the infection spread from downtown Brainerd to include a zombie trail at the Northland Arboretum in addition to several live bands and many new activities. This year the klinup of activities continues to evolve with the addition of two new zombie shoot including a zombie paintball shoot. They have also added a zombie video game tournament. These activities are in addition to the other activities including the zombie parade and zombie bar crawl.

This family friendly zombie event also incorporates a scavenger hunt through downtown Brainerd in which participants visit downtown businesses to find pieces of a zombie picture puzzle. All scavenger hunt participants and others who register for the parade follow the same route as the St. Patrick's Day parade. The parade ends at Yesterday's Gone, where it is followed by the awards ceremony. Ghoul up and come down for a great day of activities, zombie style!

In 2014 the new zombie hordes descended on downtown in great numbers and reports indicate that in 2015 the infection will continue to spread bringing hundreds of zombies to the community.

Zombies roam late into the evening and live music abounds so be sure to book your stay at one of the Brainerd and Baxter hotels or water parks, after all even zombies need to rest eventually.

HotelsWaterparksPet Friendly Hotels

Be sure to check out the Zombie Crawl Facebook page for updates on the event and registration information. Tell them Visit Brainerd sent you!

Zombie fashion show, prizes, zombie drink specials, and music by Dead Larry all starting at 9pm.

Registration Fee: Non Perishable Food Item

Activities include:
Registration & Information Center
Scavenger Hunt
Zombie Parade
Costume Contest
Zombie Shoot
Zombie Paintball Shoot
Zombie Video Game Tournament
Zombie Bar Crawl
Live Bands

Bar Bingo and Meat Raffles in Central Minnesota

Jerry's Bar in Boy River, MN.  My vote for best bar in the state!

Listed below you will find the time for bar bingo and meat raffles in central Minnesota. It is a good idea to call ahead and confirm the times listed.

It is tough to have a bad day when you can spend some time at the local powerhouse with friends and family and have a chance to win money or a package of meat. Best of luck on your bar game excursions. Please add any places I have missed under comments!

Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 287 - Brainerd

BAR BINGO Wednesday 6pm, Thursday 7pm (Packet Bingo) & Saturday 2pm — MEAT RAFFLE Saturday 2pm

The Old Waterfall - Brainerd

BAR BINGO Thursday 7pm — MEAT RAFFLE Friday 6pm

American Legion 49 - Pequot Lakes

BAR BINGO Wednesday 6pm & Saturday 2pm — MEAT RAFFLE Friday 4:45pm

American Legion Post 627 - Nisswa

BAR BINGO Wednesday 6:30pm & Sunday 3:30pm — MEAT RAFFLE Friday 4pm

American Legion Post 86 - Aitkin

BAR BINGO Tuesday 7pm — MEAT RAFFLE Friday 2pm

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The man who shot Charles Bukowski

The man who shot Charles Bukowski

Watched "The Big Lewbowski" on Netflix the other night.  Just a few too many similarities with Charles Bukowski, the genius poet and author.  He was the most entertaining poet in the last two hundred years.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Timber Wolf in Minnesota: Part 3

I aimed my rifle in the general direction of those eyes, but didn't pull the trigger until I was aiming almost straight down into the ground. I never saw it leave after I shot, but my dad watched the large gray wolf as it left the woods, running at a very fast clip.
My dad watch the wolf in his rifle’s scope, and followed it, but never pulled the trigger. This was the first time my father had seen a full size gray wolf so close. When I shot, the wolf took off, and exited the woods. The only reason I shot was because of fear. It was one of the few times during deer hunting in Minnesota, that I felt like I wasn’t at the top of the food chain. I have a great deal of respect for gray wolves, but I also know they are a meat eating, top of the food chain, predator, and I wouldn’t stand a chance against a hungry gray wolf without my rifle.

Do they attack humans?

 I had to add this clip from a local newspaper article from a nearby town in Minnesota, where a wolf attack on a teenager occurred.

This information is from the Bemidji Pioneer, and the incident took place in 2013:

“BEMIDJI, Minn. – It’s being called the first confirmed attack of a person by a gray wolf in Minnesota history, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Now, a 16-year-old Solway boy is home recovering from a vicious bite wound to the head". 
This is one rare example of a gray wolf attack, but I included it because it was stated as being the first attack of this kind in Minnesota.

I am proud to live in the state of Minnesota, which has the highest population of gray wolves in the lower 48 states. The growth and development of the human race has made gray wolves a species which many Americans only get a chance to see on Discovery Channel shows or in a cage at their local zoo. 

I began to research Aldo Leopold thoughts on wolves, and found a rather dated, but pertinent, quote by Aldo Leopold: 
“We Americans, in most states at least, have not yet experienced a bear-less, eagle-less, cat- less, wolf-less woods. Germany strove for maximum yields of both timber and game and got neither."

This quote is a reminder of what can be learned from the mistakes of the past. Germany tried to get greedy with timber and game and inadvertently eradicated both of them.

I have never visited Germany, but it sounds like when the country tried to get greedy with production of their natural resources, the result was the whole ecological system shutdown. I think a great deal can be learned from the mistakes of the past, especially in the case of Germany.

I have hunted the same farmland since I was ten, and I am presently getting ready to hunt this year with my father. 80 acres of the land was put into CRP and set aside twenty years ago, and it is on this piece of property, the same property where I witnessed the wolf in 2004, that my father has led by example, in terms of conservation. 
He and I planted trees on the old sandy farmland, which is now covered in prairie grasses. These prairie grasses haven't been turned over in twenty years, and are now beginning to resemble the sod found during the time when the Sioux roamed this same land. Badger are common, and my trapping career started here with pocket gophers. I am allowed to plant up to 5 acres in food plots, but I only do a small plot each year, and usually harvest a doe, or yearling buck, on the land.  My father rarely takes a shot anymore, but he still flies up from Arizona to hunt each year, and it is a tradition I appreciate, even if it is just him and I hunting, as we are the only hunters left in our family. I feel very proud when I can take my kids out to the land, and they know how much I love this place. 
For me, being on this land is cathartic, a viewpoint share by Leopold, in the following quote:
 “On this sand farm in Wisconsin, first worn out and then abandoned by our bigger and better society, we try to rebuild, with shovel and axe, what we are losing elsewhere. It is here that we seek—and still find—our meat from God."

(Check back for Part 4)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Timber Wolf In Minnesota: Part 2

During the 2004 deer season, and most deer seasons, my main activity, as the youngest member of the group, was what we call locally, “driving”, or walking woods, a common chore assigned to the youngest member of the deer hunting party. The oldest of our hunting group stayed back up by the road with his rifle, in case any deer tried to backtrack, and my father posted at the far end of the stand of forest I was going to walk, waiting for any deer to come out during the mid-afternoon drive. I walked into the woods, and it was tough going. Thorns and buckbrush, along with swampy ground, made for difficult walking. I made it about halfway through my drive, and stopped at a small opening, before beginning the push to finish this unpleasant walk, and I hadn’t heard Dad or the old cattle farmer shoot anything after the first part of the drive. I left the clearing, and entered the thick brush again, my .30-.30 Marlin loaded.  I crouched down to avoid some thorns and saw two hypnotic gray eyes, and  I will never forget them staring at me from thick cover about 20 yards directly to the south of me, which gave me a shooting line, without having to worry about my dad’s location. In all honesty, when I saw those two eyes, my blood ran cold, and I took off the gun’s safety.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015



Be sure to check out Pastie's Plus on your next trip to Grand Rapids. It is a great town with a lot of good places to eat and drink.

A pasty is a good food to put a good solid base in your stomach before heading over to the Dutch Room for a tapper.

The Timber Wolf in Minnesota: Part 1

In this short post, I am going begin to explore my personal history with the gray wolf (Canis Lupus). I had the chance to see a gray wolf in close proximity one day when I was deer hunting in Minnesota in November of 2004. In future posts, I will also briefly discuss my thoughts on the implementation of a hunting and trapping season on this species in Minnesota, and the changes in gray wolf population in Minnesota from 2004 to 2014, by referring to studies conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. As a trapper, and hunter, I have chosen not to register for the lottery to hunt and trap the wolves in Minnesota. This isn’t due to an ethical decision; I am simply not skilled enough in trapping to even consider trying to harvest a wolf, and will continue to harvest muskrat, and other animals easier to obtain for novice trappers. At the time of this posting, the law has changed concerning hunting and trapping wolves in Minnesota.

I am very interested in gray wolves, and the information I learned at AWLS (American Wilderness Leadership School) during the summer of 2014, along with my personal interest in predators, are two key reasons why I chose to learn more about the gray wolf, and its conservation, in Minnesota. One of the other reasons I chose this topic, is due to the fact that I like learning more about keystone species, and predators, and I had some questions concerning our wolf population, due to my first and only encounter with a wolf while deer hunting in November 2004.
 My interest in gray wolves, and their numbers in Minnesota, is due in part to my agricultural background. I grew up on a small farm in northwestern Minnesota, in a unique area, ecologically speaking. The farmland was at the confluence of three biomes; praire, oak savannah, and northern pine forest. It was also an area that had changed a great deal in terms of wildlife. Growing up in the area, I remember seeing moose quite frequently on my grandpa's farm. They have now seemingly vanished from northwestern Minnesota. I saw my first gray wolf, also known in Minnesota as a timber wolf, hunting this same farmland. My grandfather’s neighbor, an elderly cattle farmer was not a fan of wolves. As a lifelong rancher, the reasons were mainly economic. He would lose calves to wolves and coyotes, and when I told him I had seen one, he asked me why I didn’t shoot it.

Check out this update on the status of wolves in Minnesota via the MN DNR

(Check back for the next section of this story tomorrow and in the next few weeks.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Vu Skateboard Shop - Transworld Business

Vu Skateboard Shop - Transworld Business

Excellent example of a business run by a skater for skaters. Gary Smith gives back to the community and does a great job at promoting skateboarding to various socioeconomic groups in inner city Baltimore. I am impressed by the way he donates boards to kids that can't afford to buy one. He also offers skateboard lessons and many other great services along with a really cool skateboard shop.

This is a great example of what a skateboard shop can do for a community.  Brainerd could really use a good skateboard shop to help promote the sport and give people a place to skate during the long cold winters. Please post comments on your opinions or ideas for a skateboard shop or park in Brainerd.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Know Your Bartender: Katie Redditt (from TLV #161)

Know Your Bartender: Katie Redditt (from TLV #161)

Bar where you work and your shifts: Two Stick, six days a freaking week, so come see me! I love it when I have a FUN bar crowd! Doesn’t even have to be a big one, just fun.

Where are you from, and how long have you lived in Oxford? Vicksburg, been here one year.

In your experience, what is the most common reason to have a drink? Celebration, bad day, pretty much anything.

What’s your favorite drink? Screwdriver made with Cathead vodka—we love Cathead around here.

Where’s your favorite spot to sip in Oxford? Two Stick. I know that sounds silly but if you’re there every day you pretty much have no other options.

What are your specialties? Car Bombs, Lemon Drops, and all of Two Stick’s specialty drinks. So stop by and let me show off my skills—I’m young but I’ve got ‘em!

Early alcohol experience: The drive-thru daiquiri bar at the Daiquiri World, every weekend. Speaking of Daiquiris: come by Two Stick this weekend. I’ve learned how to make traditional homemade daiquiris and will be serving them up Thursday and Friday. Peach, Strawberry and Plum with a raw sugar rim served straight-up, yum yum! And for you old-schoolers, I even know how to make a Hemingway, so named because daiquiris were among his favorites.

Most famous customers you’ve served: John Sinclair (beat poet from the 60s), Joey Lauren Adams, and Eli Manning and family.

Who would you most like to have a drink with? Shea, if and when I can coordinate having a night off and having a babysitter at the same time, I will! (I’m a mother of a very energetic two-year-old!)

What have you been listening to so far this year? Reggae and Jazz—that’s about all my boss lets me play. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok by me.

What band could your ears not live without? Widespread Panic!

Have you bought anything awesome at The End Of All Music yet? Not yet, but whenever I get that day off I keep talking about, I’m headed straight there. I’ve heard it’s AWESOME!

Favorite movie of all time: Almost Famous (“It’s all happening.”)

Favorite sport & team: I like football, Ole Miss obviously, but UT also because my brother is the kicker—I kind of have to out of default.

What mascot would you have picked for Ole Miss? COLONEL REB!

Whatcha been reading this summer? Bartending books. I’m loving being a bartender and want to try to learn as much as possible. (I’ve found out really quickly what kind of money a “professional” bartender can make, and I like!)

What do you like best about living here? The small-town atmosphere.

What would you like to see change in Oxford? Not being pulled over everywhere I go! Also, definitely parking for the Square-this limited parking crap is for sure hurting the Square’s business, especially during the day.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in your bar lately? The cops being called by a customer who did not think they should have to pay for their ticket after a mistake had been made (that was corrected, of course). The police were very annoyed with this man. He also had been drinking our 2-for-1 drafts for a while, hence his unrealistic approach.

Where would you be if you weren’t behind a bar? Waiting tables.

- See more at:

Know Your Bartender: Hugh Jones

From the Local Voice in Oxford, Mississippi:

Know Your Bartender: Hugh Jones

What do you wish people would order more often? Less often?More often: whiskey. Less often: carbombs.

Early alcohol experience: 14 years old, drinking Kokanee and jumping pick-ups over the hills ofHughJonesWhitman County, and pulling a friend on a saucer (device for sled-type activity) through stubble fields. Almost killed Cody Herman.

Most famous customer you’ve ever served: Ben Power

Who would you most like to have a drink with; where and what would you imbibe? Dr. Howard S. Becker; Hunter S. Thompson; Major T.J. “King” Kong, The Bomb.

What have you been listening to this year? Goodnight Girls (new Unwed Teenage Mothers album)

Favorite movie of all timeDr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Favorite sport & team: Idaho Sportsorcity Sportsball Sportcercisers

Who’s your favorite Rebel? Mary Wollstonecraft

Read any good books latelyActs of Resistance, Pierre Bourdieu

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in your bar lately? “He hasn’t even had that much to drink, he just ate six Klonopin.”

Where would you be if you weren’t behind a bar? In my office, or anywhere but a church. The Local Voice Ligature

Events and Happenings at Ernie's on Gull Lake: April 11th comedy

Check out this link to some of the comedy and live music at Ernie's on Gull.

I am looking forward to the live comedy they are bringing to the place.  Ernie's on Gull offers great food and a nightly happy hour. It is a great place to sit by the water and have a tasty bloody mary and the lobster bisque is not to be missed.

Here is some video of the comedians appearing at Ernie's this month:
This is a Tim Harmston on The Late Show:

This is Dan Mogol:

They will be performing at Ernie's on April 11th.  Check the link to their site for more information.

Human Powered Ferris Wheel

This is great exercise but say the least.   I am impressed by the way they incorporate exercise into work in countries like Myanmar:
Check out the video.  They don't make carnival folk like this in the United States:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hotshot Truck DOT Compliant Sleeper Berth pictures

I found a picture of some really cool sleeper berths that are DOT compliant and can be used for one ton or bigger trucks. The company lists them as affordable, but they may be an opinion.  Here is a photo of this company's sleeper option, and some other pictures of hot shot sleeper options.

Check the company website for more information:

Here are some other pictures of hot shot trucking sleeper designs:
 This is an interior view of a sleeper in a one ton hot shot truck.
 I like the design of this truck sleeper combination, as the attention to detail and the matching paint makes it look professional and very nice.
Image result for dodge hotshot stand up sleeper
I would like to know more about his truck, as the size of the sleeper would make it a great choice for longer trips pulling hot shot loads.   I have always liked the looks of cabover trucks, and this one would provide maneuverability and comfort!

This is a picture of a Cowtown sleeper on a Chevy K3500 hotshot rig and another one of the exterior below:

Check out more sleeper options for hotshots with pictures after the jump:

Freelance Writing Jobs and Helpful Links

Here is a link to paid writing gigs:

And a good blog with more information on how to write query letters and other helpful information for freelance writing success: