October 2008 Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobHere are the columns from October, 2008. The frost has come and the garden is done, however some of the wheat field are still not harvested because of untimely rains. The soy beans are suffering the same fate. Trapper is bringing hay home, a train of trailers pulled behind the Little Deere 4x4 tractor.   

If you don't understand all the terms, the lexicon is on the Home page.

Home About Rob Contact Rob Southwest Angle Column Rainbow Picture My Viewpoint Columns Related (or not so) Links

Click on the month for the archived columns
January February March April May June
July August September October November December

October 3, 2008

Ms Toyota is getting geared up for Trapping season. Actually, the preparations for taking off in the space shuttle are dwarfed by her trapping season run-up. First, she has been practicing by trapping mice at the hunting shack. One morning, she came by morning coffee at Roseen’s Corner with a coffee can half full of dead mice. Now, she is starting to live trap out the skunks. We’re hoping she doesn’t bring a skunk with her to the coffee table like she did the mice. She probably won’t risk the Missus’ wrath and do that, the Missus is known for an exquisite sense of smell and can tell a skunk about a half mile away.

Theatre enthusiast Barb Larson stopped by the office the other day and I asked her what her favorite Musical was, thinking it might be Music Man because of Marian the Librarian.

Her reply was, “Guys and Dolls, I played a bag lady in that one!”

I told her I hadn’t seen that classic, no comment about the bag lady part of it.

The next time Management was at the library, Librarian Barb gave her a video of “Guys and Dolls” and now the Little Girls are trying to wear it out. Dad did spend Sunday evening watching it with the family. At least, most of the family. Management gave me the night off from dishwashing but she ducked in to watch the interesting parts as she flitted around the kitchen doing things. Not much can compare with a classic Musical.
Saturday mornings we take the Little Girls to play soccer at Roseau. For some reason, they are all able to practice and play together from 10 am to 11 am so we don’t have to spend three hours there like we did last year, not that spending three hours watching the kids play soccer is a problem.

Management and I had to pick up some staples and refill my asthma medication so we dropped the girls off and did our chores. We picked the girls up and had only one task on the list left: pants for the middle child.  Katelyn does not have a classic female figure at this point in her development and is growing at a terrific rate so it seems like her pants shrink at an alarming rate. With the addition of a tool-belt, she would look ready to join the plumber’s union at times, you know what I mean.

Anyway, Management directed me to Twice the Charm, a charming little store in downtown Roseau that sells garments on consignment. We spent nearly an hour in the store, my four ladies and I. Katelyn tried on nearly every pair of pants on the rack that looked like it would fit. Her favorite was a pair of hockey warm-up pants, we bought that and a couple of others that looked like they had some growing room. Alyssa tried on a couple of nice Columbia jackets and the more reasonable priced one was selected. Valeri tried on some jeans and we bought one for her also.

The store is very nice. Saleslady Kylie was friendly and interested in her customers. Where 50 bucks will buy about one and a half pair of women’s jeans at the department store, it goes lots farther here and the garments are in very nice shape. If you haven’t been there, try it out.

On Sunday the family made it over to the Warroad Community Church to listen to Gus Booth and watch the numerous media at work for his John McCain endorsement sermon. Whether you agree with him or not, his gutsy campaign to change the way the IRS does things has garnered national attention.

We enjoyed participating in the Praise service and the people were very friendly. The kids loved the playground afterwards and had to be dragged away, but not kicking and screaming.

Monday morning Trapper twisted my arm so I rode with him down into the Beltrami Forest to see a couple of projects he’s been helping with. He’s a member of the Beltrami Forest Restoration Society and they’ve been busy this fall on some projects. The first stop was at the Penturan Church. I had been planning on going to a service there with the Bethel Covenant people a couple of weeks ago, but had to bail because of other things on the schedule. It was neat to visit this quaint little chapel. church in the woods

Trapper tried to get me lost by taking a different way out. Actually I was 90 degrees off when he asked what direction we were traveling but it was cloudy out so I’ll give myself a break on that one.  We ended up at Winner Silo where they had just put up a picnic shelter. There’s lots of history in the area since there were many homesteads here at one time. Now, it appears that only a cement silo and the church along with some graveyards are left. The policy of the DNR in years past was to demolish old houses and barns so not much else remains. It looks like excellent country for snowmobiling and four-wheeling. We’ll have to try it out sometime, hopefully soon.

Monday night, just minutes before I left work, I started having an asthma attack. My asthmatic condition has been pretty good for the last year and a half, but this attack landed me in the LifeCare ER at about 4 am. The nurses and Doc Spelz nursed me back to some semblance of health by about 8 am. Management drove into Roseau and met me for breakfast at the Roseau Diner. That was nice. Later, Trapper said it looked like I was a candidate for the bait pile, that really worries me.

I went to the Heritage Pharmacy to fill the handful of prescriptions the Doc had written for me and pharmacist Jean Erickson took care of me. I admired the scale model of a steam tractor on display and she said that her husband had built the working model. Another neat thing for the annals of Roseau County

 October 10, 2008

    Sometimes it is more interesting to watch the antics of those who cover the events than to watch the event itself. That was probably the case for some of the observers when Senator Norm Coleman came to Roseau this week.

     It was a long wait for the assembled since the notice said the Monday visit started at 2 pm, but that ended up being the time his plane set down on the Roseau runway. I'd gone to the airport but no one was there a few minutes before 2, so ended back at the Courtly Commons site along with all the rest of the expectant folks.

     DJ Terry Olson had arrived at the old Courthouse about the same time I did and we stood in the hallway chatting. I introduced Terry to everyone who came through the door, most of whom knew him better than they knew me. He soon wisely moved on from newsmenthe rookie reporter to more important contacts. 

     The senator's aide shooed most of the people upstairs but a couple of us didn't go up. I had only a few minutes before I left for work, so wanted to get at least one good picture of the Senator.

     There was one other member of the press and another guy who soon identified himself as the Mayor of Roseau left in the lower hallway of the old Courthouse. You might know the member of the press as Jeff Olsen, I just call him The Gurgle since I hear the gurgle of a 12 oz beer every other time I read a sentence authored by him.  

    Slouched in a chair in the foyer, he'd announced to the gathered a little previously that he was there to provide balance since Terry Olson and The Old Crowe were there. My thought was that he might not be able to balance himself when he got out of his chair, but he actually did OK once he stood up.

     He lowered himself to speak to me a little bit, asking my age and where I came from. He mentioned that he'd seen my daughters at school and said that I was pretty old to have such young girls. I told him that my oldest was 28.

     "All from the same woman?" he barked. He must have figured he had me then. I imagine he was thinking, "Right wing, religious and divorced . Another hypocrite."  His beady eyes glistened with triumph.

     I replied, "I lost my first wife."

     "I'm sorry to hear that."  The Gurgle said quickly and changed the subject.

     He happened to know a couple of the Grand Rapids wrestling coaches and mentioned some of them to me. Then, unsurprisingly, The Gurgle quickly got to his favorite subject, drinking. He mentioned admiringly of how the father of one of the Grand Rapids coaches had pulled a .30 and survived it. I questioned whether it had been a .3 or a .03 and The Gurgle and the Mayor agreed that it had been a .30. Evidently I was surrounded by experts on the subject so I said nothing more.

     The Gurgle's next statement was a sneer, "I suppose you had a beer for your confirmation party and haven't had any since!"

     I replied, "I didn't even have any then."  Actually, my folks didn't attend a church that did confirmation when I was of the age, but The Gurgle didn't need to know that. Even if they had, they had better sense than to allow their teenager to drink alcohol, as would, I hope, all the readers of this missive. They were the best example. While my dad had been a drinker while in the military, he’d quit while I was young.  The only time I ever saw him drink alcohol was to sample some homemade wine that an aunt had made, mostly just to please her.

     Now, I've heard that Roseau County has a bit of an underage consumption problem, but I wasn't aware that it is an established custom for confirmands to have a beer at confirmation time.  If that was a custom in the Olsen family some 50 years ago, it might explain some of The Gurgle's problem.

     The Senator arrived shortly. The aide took the Mayor outside to greet the Senator, then the entourage came through the door. Some of the local Republican officers came down the stairs along with some other press people and the two groups converged in the lower hallway.

     The Gurgle was quick to demand a picture of the senator. He picked the beauteous Jean Hamness and the attractive Kim Drown coleman and ladiesto bracket Senator Coleman and pulled his little camera out. He must have a problem with strong women, at least, good looking strong Republican women since he fumbled with his camera for quite some time. I just held my ancient Sony Mavica up over his shoulder and snapped a picture before he got this picture taken. The Gurgle seemed a little upset.

     I asked for a picture of the Senator before I had to head off to work at the Blue Star. The organizers agreed so Senator Coleman stood with Jean's husband, Chris Hamness, for the picture on the front page of the Pioneer. The entourage then all headed up the stairs, the Gurgle in the rear, still fuming at me because I'd taken "his" picture.  Like I said, sometimes the antics of the news people, myself included, are pretty interesting.

See you next week!

October 17, 2008

    I apologize for having to devote extensive coverage in this column to The Gurgle last week, but it was something that had to be done.

     On to better things. Ms Toyota makes her debut as a reporter in this issue of the Pioneer. I saw her in the yard one day and she told me she was going to a seminar on handling cattle so I told her to take lots of pictures and notes. She did and when she told me later about what they were teaching the cattleman about handling cows, I became excited because it is much the same as I have been doing for years. 


     Management, the Little Girls and I went over to Middle River a while back to the Goosefest Celebration. It being Sunday, we first took in the Community Church service. We had been planning on listening to Bob Ludwig at the Grace Evangelical Church in Strathcona, but the parking lot was empty when we got there. Management had brought along the Goosefest schedule of event so directed us to the community service. We later found out that all the folks from the Strathcona church were there.

      It was very nice. We were early, for once, and when we came into the empty sanctuary of the church, it looked like a makeshift choir was practicing up front. Since I knew the song, I walked up and asked to sing along. Over the next half hour, the group sang many of the old time hymns. At 10:00, the choir director thanked us, we all sat down and the service began. What I’d thought was just a practice was the concert of the (impromptu) Middle River Community Choir. It was neat.

     The service featured several pastors and many singers and groups of singers. The bulletin noted that the Beito Family would be singing. I half expected to see my co-worker Jack Beito from the Blue Star up singing with his cousins, but was disappointed. He said later that he was helping out at the Horse Show, maybe next year.

    We enjoyed the service and the musicians were all good. The last musician to perform looked familiar. As he was adjusting the mike, etc, I happened to look at his shoes and was able to place him. Odd, but it works. Last year, after Management flew my pickup into a ditch bank, I had taken her and Alyssa to the clinic to get checked out. The attending physician was wearing special shoes with dr timspring heels. The singer was the physician, Dr. Timothy Rittenour. He sang one song of his own composition and another of the old greats, both well done.

     After the service, it was coffee and cookies in the basement. The folks were friendly. Middle River is the home of the singing group Lois and Lois, who were both there. For those that don’t know, Lois plays acoustic Guitar and sings and Lois plays acoustic Bass and sings. They are fixtures at local events. I heard them sing at the fair and also at the Strathcona Threshing Bee. They are very good and also compose some of their own music.

     Our real reason for coming to Middle River was to participate in the Tractor Pull. We left the church and went over to the grain elevator parking lot where they had carved a track out for the event. I went in and registered and Management took the little girls over to the town proper to find some food and see the sights. Evidently the only things going were the flea market and the food booths which suited them. Management brought me back a half-priced brat that was pretty good and The Little Girls spent all their money on various trinkets over the course of the afternoon.

    I enjoyed the Pull. I took second out of three in the Out of Field 5500 lb class and second to last in the improved 5500 lb class. The legendary Don Dufner came by and gave me some tips on how to set up my hitch for future pulls. Since this is the last one for the year, I’ve got some time to fabricate my hitch in time for next year’s Roseau County Fair…

     wheels upThe best pull of the day was actually a second place effort in the improved 9500 lb class. The elevator operator, Darryl Jarshaw, had the front wheels up on his hard pulling John Deere R for the last hundred feet or so of the pull. He pulled straight and true down the track until he spun out.

     Don’s son Dan came home from China to participate in the pull and took first in a couple of the lower weight classes. Dave Perkerewicz of Manvel, ND, had the most exotic tractor there, an immaculate Farmall M with aluminum side covers to hide whatever he’s done to the engine of the tractor. It is a hard puller, winning two out of three of the events it entered. The only one to beat it was Don Dufner on his “Big Daddy” John Deere D in the improved 5500 lb class, the one I was second to last in. Makes me feel good to pull with the big boys, albeit 80 ft in arrears. I took lots of pictures and will have them and a summary up on my southwestangle.com website.

   See you next week!

 October 24, 2008

I’ve had a good time wandering around the northland. Friday last I took a field trip down to TRF to see Sarah Palin’s husband Todd and his racing partner Scott Davis at the Arctic Cat factory. If you don’t know who Sarah Palin is, I don’t know where you’ve been.

Trapper said if I’d been going to see Sarah, he’d have ridden along. He stayed home to do stuff around the farm and watch Abby the dog for me.

I like it when I can mix politics and motorsports. Todd and Scott won the 2007 Tesoro Iron Dog race up in Alaska, a nearly 2000 mile snowmobile race. The folks at Arctic Cat put on a racing-themed event for the visit.

Todd PalinThe Arctic Cat publicity guy seemed pretty unimpressed when I mentioned that I worked at the Blue Star. He didn’t even seem too interested when I told him about my Pole-Cat Panther. Go figure.

Todd Palin presented himself well. His racing buddy Scott is from the Grand Rapids area so I had that angle to play when I got my chance to talk to the two. My request to Todd was to ask him to tell me about Sarah. He asked me who I was, and after I told him I was editor of the Pioneer and chatted to Scott about being from Grand Rapids, Todd said, “Sarah is an Alaskan girl and she had a natural instinct for her past jobs of governor and mayor. I’m very proud of her.”

I found out later that a fellow from the Twin Cities had been dogging the caravan for the two day trip, trying to get close to Todd to ask some “gotcha” questions. The guy works for a website that calls itself a news service, but the website has minimal ads and publishes only hit pieces on Republican candidates. Fortunately, he was never able to get close to Todd.

In an encounter with the so-called reporter outside the factory, I found out that he lives in a pretty small world. He complained about having to drive through northern Minnesota as if it were the end of the world. I’m thinking that someone who makes a loop through Minnesota during the colorful fall season and doesn’t have anything good to say doesn’t have a life. He thought Polaris only made snowmobiles and that our economy was in shambles. I told him that we were only working a little less overtime now with the economic slowdown. He also thought Marvin Windows was Andersen Windows so I also corrected that notion.  

He’d just interviewed Kathy Marvin and put some of her quotes in his article. Kathy did a nice job articulating her views. The reporter had absolutely no idea who he was talking to and evidently hadn’t made any attempt to find out.


Ms Toyota has sequestered herself. She’s working feverishly to get the paperwork in for a patent on her new technique for tenderizing beef. She claims it came about quite by accident but some of us think otherwise considering the circumstances. It’s not just anyone who can dump four beef halves out the back of a Toyota pickup, y’ know.

Trapper related the story to me. It seems that they had three animals to butcher and the customers were going to cut up the meat themselves. They had Napper come over to do the initial part of the job but had to weigh the carcasses for the sale. It was left to Ms Toyota to take the halves of beef up to the scale at the intersection of the Summer Road and County 13 to weigh them.  

The first trip went without incident. She made one trip to weigh the empty Toyota, then made a round with 2 halves of beef and drove back without incident. The second trip was different. They loaded four halves into the little pickup and she drove the three miles to the scale, but on the trip back, as she was making the turn onto County 13, she managed to dump the halves all in a neat row out the open tailgate onto the pavement. How she could get that much acceleration out of the Toy is anyone’s guess, but she did it.

Trapper says, “We had a plastic sheet in the back of the pickup that the beef was lying on. It was misting out so it was a little slippery in there. Ms Toyota called us after she had her mishap so the Missus and I went up there. We forgot the camera. The beef was too heavy and slippery to lift them in by hand even though we had several guys there. Del Santl brought his tractor and loader over and reloaded the beef halves.”

Trapper said that she shut the tailgate this time. They got back to Roseen’s Corner and hosed off the beef. It wasn’t damaged so was deemed well enough to use. When she heard about it, Management said that the price should increase since they had just been tenderized but the deal had already been made. We’ll keep you posted on whether Ms Toyota is successful in getting her patent.



pulling twoGerry Reed is considering starting up a rural towing service. One Saturday evening a couple of guys showed up and asked for a tow. One of them had been out hunting and gotten his truck stuck. He asked his buddy to come and pull him out and the buddy got stuck. This process was continued for two more rounds until the score was Roseau County Mud- 4, Hunters-0. For the record, two Fords, One Chev and one Dodge were strewn around the area.


Since there was no emergency, Gerry told them he’d go over to pull them out in the morning. After sunrise, he took the big Case-IH with triples all around out to even the score. He spent a couple of hours pulling various singles and combinations of 4wd pickups all the way out to the township road. Another one for the annals of Roseau County.


See you next week!

 October 31, 2008

The election season is finally coming to a close after two years. What a relief. I’ll devote this column to relating my thoughts about this election and then I can go back to just relating the important things that happen in the Southwest Angle.

This particular cycle started the day after the last election with all the major candidates for president declaring early and often their intentions. The Democrat party set up their strategy of trying to trash the economy and lose the Iraq war. They figured that, with their conspirator friends in the press, they could hang it on the Republicans. The war is pretty much won, but they’ve been pretty successful in trashing the economy and hanging it on the Republicans.  Management says, “Notice that no individual in government is on trial or the center of congressional hearings with respect to the economy issues. If there were truly a Republican at fault, you’d know about it.”

 I’ll keep this simple. I’ve counted John McCain out before and been surprised. I don’t agree with him all the time, but he has been in the public eye long enough for all of us to know pretty much who he is and what he does. He is an honorable man, something that is not certain about Barack Obama, a Chicago politician with associations the press is unwilling to investigate. There are too many questions about how close he was to  unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and what dealings he had with convicted felon Tony Rezco. He has voted against second amendment rights and has a deplorable record on protecting unborn children. He did his best to make the U.S. lose the war in Iraq. I don’t want his type of “Change”. He is undeserving of my vote.

 As for the VP’s, I know Joe Biden is lying when I see his lips moving. He wasn’t particularly reliable before this but has raised his ability to lie to the Clintonesque level. Sarah Palin has been a breath of fresh air to this particular race. While she has only been a governor a short time, she has really cleaned house in her home state. She is obviously a quick study. About the clothes issue, I’ll be far less wordy than my friend Terry Olson. She looks like a million bucks, the $150,000 is a paltry price to pay. She is articulate and graceful in the face of downright nasty and stupid allegations. Go Sarah!

Al Franken does not deserve anyone’s consideration for a vote. This pick by the  Democrat party shows how far they have fallen in their vacuous worship of celebrity candidates. While I have had disagreements with Norm Coleman’s stand on some issues, he is a statesman in comparison to the coarse and vulgar Al Franken.

For the Congressional 7th race, Colin Peterson is a hard one to run against. He positions himself well on the issues and often crosses party lines to vote. The only drawback is that he has a certain allegiance to the ultra liberal Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. I expect him to continue to vote for the district. While Glenn Menze is probably a solid candidate, Peterson is firmly entrenched. This won’t stop me from voting my conscience, but of the Democrats on the ballots, Peterson is the most conservative on many issues.

For Minnesota House 1A, it appears to be a real battle between Dave Olin and Steve Lillestol. I commend Dave for running a successful campaign and serving his district for the last 2 years, however I’ve been disappointed with his communications with his constituents. He regularly he sends out letters to the editors of the area newspapers that are carbon copies of the ones that Loren Sloberg, (D), 3B representative, sends to the newspapers of his area. The letters are essentially Democrat propaganda, all obviously generated by the political arm of the Democrat caucus. I expect better from a representative of either party.

Lillestol is a newcomer on the political scene. He has run a clean campaign. He is a good advocate. Many of the political views between Lillestol and Olin are similar. Lillestol is a fiscal conservative but Olin voted for raising taxes on nearly every occasion over the past two years. I think Lillestol deserves your consideration.

At the recent Warroad Pioneer/KQ-92 Candidate Forum, most of the local candidates showed up to participate. For county commissioner, both candidates up for election were invited but Jack Swanson said he had another meeting and Russ Walker said he had to work. While both were unopposed, I was disappointing that neither changed their schedule for the chance to connect with the voters.

If you didn’t attend, you missed the premier opportunity to see and hear the candidates. All of the candidates for District #690 School Board, Warroad Mayor and Warroad City Council presented themselves well and most were very knowledgeable. There were a couple of absences due to illness and work. I can’t vote on these so I won’t state any preferences. You’re on your own.

Whatever the case, either vote absentee ASAP or get to the polls next Tuesday and vote your choice.

See you next week!