Friday, September 04, 2009

State fair poll continues 

What will King eat at the State Fair to end 22 years of vegetarianism?
Buffalo kebabs
Corn dog
Turkey drumstick
Free polls from
Polling closes at 3pm Saturday -- keep those votes coming! We will purchase the selected item at 4pm and be ready for me to consume at 4:30.

NARN on a Stick continues from the State Fair today 5-7pm, with Mitch Berg and myself, on AM 1280 the Patriot. We're on Dan Patch Blvd just inside the Snelling gate across from the Farmers Union building.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Your State Fair poll -- What does King eat Saturday? 

What will King eat at the State Fair to end 22 years of vegetarianism?
Buffalo kebabs
Corn dog
Turkey drumstick
Free polls from
A number of you have asked why I would do this. Most people know that vegetarians always work towards keeping a balance of proteins, carbs and fat in the diet. I'm kind of naturally inclined towards a high-carb diet, which accounts for my carrying a spare tire around my midsection. Since my gallbladder came out last year, some of the things I used to consume for proteins, in particular eggs, no longer work for me. (You do not want me to explain this.) The diet has, in my mind, gotten worse rather than better. At one time I was vegetarian for ethical reasons, but mostly now it's health and laziness and fear. Like many, I don't want to put weird stuff in my mouth and stomach. Particularly after that surgery.

And that leads me to why I would do it this way. When faced with doing something difficult, making a commitment that's difficult to break can get you over the hump. What could be more embarrassing than me NOT going through with this on my own radio show? It would be rather humiliating. But committing to do something five days later is easier than committing to doing something five minutes later. So I built this up not just to have something humorous for Saturday's show, but to make the cost of backing out higher. It's a bit more than a nudge, but has the same effect.

The most popular choice in comments was the buffalo kebabs, but we'll put this post up for today and repeat it tomorrow, and you can vote as you like.

UPDATE: To be clear about this: This isn't a stunt; I am intending to put small amounts of meat back in my diet for the foreseeable future, and have intended to do so for a few months. It's intention is to make me commit to doing it on a date certain, and to do so in a way that's fun and might get a few more people to listen to the show and stop by the booth. And by small amounts, I mean just leanest meats, just a few times a month, mostly prepared by me at home. For now, Mrs. S and I agree not to cook meat in the home, but on my grill is OK. (I should note, she eats fish, but does not cook it at home because the smell of fish -- and meat -- cooking mostly makes me ill. Neither of my children are vegetarian.)

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What your legislator thinks are high-profile issues 

On Saturday I had had some fun with the Minnesota House of Representatives list of questions that they were asking at the State Fair. An email by my state representative, Larry Haws, indicates that this is not scientific but important anyway:
This year there are 13 questions covering such topics as funding for a Vikings stadium, unallotment, medical marijuana, early voting and budget cuts versus tax increases. ...

Every year more than 6,000 Minnesotans take the House of Representatives State Fair Poll. I encourage you to show up at our booth and cast your ballot. Although this poll is not scientific, the ballot results highlight high-profile issues.

Participating in this poll is a wonderful opportunity for Minnesotans to share their concerns and opinions. Frankly, some of the best ideas come from listening to the suggestions of the people we serve at the State Legislature.
First, isn't it always the ideas of the people you represent that should be the ideas you take to the Legislature, Mr. Haws?

Second, what are these "high-profile issues"?
2. Should Minnesotans be permitted to fish with two rods at once?
3. When a person registers for a driver's license or state identification card, should they automatically be registered to vote?
8. Should speeding violations be placed on a person's driving record if the driver was traveling no more than 10 mph over the speed limit in a 60 mph zone?
9. Should the state lottery be permitted to operate slot machines inside the ticketed area at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, meaning only air travelers with valid tickets could use the machines?
13. When a homeowner prevails in a court action against a contractor or builder to have a warranty enforced, should the homeowner also be entitled to attorney fees and other costs related to the legal action?
That's five of them, Mr. Haws, that I would say you easily not answer for me next year. Hey, your 2010 just got easier! What is important is the budget mess you fellows left behind. And what are you asking about this?
5. Under current law, the governor is permitted to unallot to prevent an anticipated budget deficit. Should he or she have this power?
To use a State Fair metaphor, hasn't that horse left the barn already?
6. Should bill and budget negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders be required to be open to the public?
Really? You guys need more time on camera? What you say in a public room and what you say in a private meeting differ. Meetings on the budget need total candor, and candor and cameras do not mix. And you'll forgive me, sir, if I don't believe that this would be a high-profile issue if not for the fact that the governor currently doesn't wear the dark-blue DFL label.
7. Do you generally support budget cuts as opposed to increasing certain taxes in times of economic distress?
"Certain" taxes? Would you care to be a little more specific? I realize this isn't one of them fancy "scientific polls", as you say sir, but when you pass "certain" taxes in the past, you end up funding crappy arts via a sales tax that can't even pay off the advance you gave it. I'd like to be certain I have enough money after taxes that I can pay my bills, and I'd like to be certain that taxes I pay get used for the things you told me they'd certainly be used for. And I'd like to be certain it's not crap.

So if you don't mind, I'll take budget cuts for $4 billion, Alex, um, I mean, Larry.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Media alert 

I will be on KKMS at 3:30, live from the State Fair, and then Ed Morrissey and I take a turn for NARN on a Stick at the Patriot booth at the Fair from 5-7pm. Please tune in (links to both those stations will include streaming audio.)

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Tomorrow's a Fair Day 

Tomorrow I have first an opportunity to hear some conservative views on the health care debate. See yesterday's note for more, but the short of it is: 9-11am at the St. Cloud Public Library on St. Germain. I will be moderating a panel that will include medical professionals and state Rep. Steve Gottwalt. Our discussion will be more general intended to show alternatives to the plans being discussed at town halls. We are not replicating a town hall; I am using a moderated format for audience participation that I think will promote a good discussion.

Then I'll hop in the SUV and head to the State Fair, as NARN begins in a few minutes with its NARN on a Stick broadcast schedule. Normal Final Word tomorrow, 3-5 pm. guests to include state Rep. Laura Brod. I have a potential surprise guest too that you won't want to miss. Be sure to turn your radio to AM 1280 all day as we start with the David Strom Show at 9am and then six hours of NARN.

I'll be pulling extra NARN on a Stick duties on Monday and Friday next week, 5-7, so if you plan to come to the Fair, please look for us on Dan Patch, about fifty yards inside the Snelling gate. Alternatively, if you're already in the Fairgrounds, come up Dan Patch, walk past the DFL booth and turn right. We'll be there.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Couldn't have said it better myself 

Our friends at Labor Pains went to the Minnesota State Fair and asked some attendees if they would prefer to use an authorization card to vote for Al Franken in lieu of voting. The results are as you might expect, unless you are a union organizer.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

MN State Fair #2 

Yesterday we attended the MN State Fair. For the second year we began our visit in the Miracle of Birth building, open 9 to 9 daily. They have set up viewing areas where people can watch chickens hatch from eggs and pigs, lambs and cows give birth to their young. The place is packed all the time.

Yesterday, we were there when a calf was born, front hooves first, followed by the head, then the whole calf. At least 300 people were around the pen when the mother lay down to give birth. Sometimes the vets help move along the process, other times they let nature take its course. The building has ceiling mounted screens over which they play the current and previous births.

Once the calf emerged, it was greeted with cheers and claps. It was a tearful moment, one many rarely get to see. Both ladies standing next to me had been raised on farms. They shared that every calf is a plus and wanted; than man has been helping this process for millennia.

This particular calf looked a bit weak and the mother did not appear too keen on it. When we left, everything seemed ok. We checked back on our way out of the grounds and discovered that the calf was too big and had lacked oxygen during the birth - it didn't make it. However, this sad result is probably unknown to most who watched the birth and the excitement of watching piglets suckle, chicks hatch, lambs and calves nurse is truly wonderful. If you have not visited this building, please add it to your list of places to go - it truly is miraculous.


State Fair, Standards, Students 

Yesterday we made our annual trek to the Great Minnesota Get Together. While visiting the animal barns and seeing the ribbons won by MN youth, I recalled an article in the Pioneer Press, Sunday, August 26 that told the story of Paul Day, the outgoing superintendent of the State Fair FFA (Future Farmers of American) Show. Mr. Day, a fourth generation farmer, has spent his life teaching American youth as well as farmers as far away as Kenya, Russia and Japan. He is stepping down from his superintendent role this year, a position he held since 1985.

His motto, "Action not promises. Results, not excuses" garnered him critics but the fact that he had standards he enforced taught many students (and teachers) the necessary agricultural industry skills and book learning that make people successful and MN and the US leaders in world food production.

In far too many environments today, it is too easy for adults and youth to all get "blue ribbons", "best in class", etc. Truth is, we're not all blue ribbon in everything we do and we are not all best in class.

Reading about Mr. Day and his application of his standards leads one to believe that his students gained the necessary experience to succeed wherever they choose to go. As I've said before, my first choices for hiring would be those with military experience and those raised on farms. Both groups of youth understand life takes work and can be tough, it is not fair, and it is not risk free. They learn respect. They work. Mr. Day was a key influencer for many of the farm youth of our state.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

A hot day at the Fair 

Here we are again, Michael and me, ready for three more hours of NARN Live at the State Fair. We're here 5-8pm tonight; many guests are expected but unconfirmed, so I'll leave this list blank (Michael updates while we're on, so check to see from his link. I'm busy trying to keep this thing between the ditches.)

Tomorrow, we have John and the Fraters 11-1, Mitch and Ed 1-3, and then we're back 3-5, for our usual NARN turn. Below is video from a food eating contest two years ago created by Saint Paul, featuring Mitch and former Patriot program director Patrick Campion.

So stop by us at the Fair, or listen, on AM 1280 the Patriot.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to the Fair 

I am behind the Patriot booth preparing for NARN Live at the MN State Fair. If you are at the Fair today or tomorrow at 5-8pm, or Saturday 11-5, be sure to stop by the booth on Judson Street, across from the Horticulture Building and say hi. We hope to have Sen. Norm Coleman on with us before he leaves for Iraq tonight, Prof. Larry Jacobs, a pollster at the University of Minnesota, Rep. Marty Seifert, along with Mark Yost, author of , and Sean Broom from MN Publius. He seems nervous, but we promise to treat him well.

If you're not at the Fair, listen in.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

How Mitch does radio 

I have the distinct pleasure of broadcasting from the State Fair again this year, for the fourth year running of the NARN. I find hosting this rather than riffing off Mitch Berg's venerated radio skills hard. I mean, Mitch, you know, he really knows how to do the Fair.

Here, by the way, is the full schedule:
As the Fraters will tell you, there's no finer way to end your summer than with the NARN at the Fair -- at the bleeding edge of freak shows. See you there.

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