Harmon Killebrew

Harmon Killebrew
Photo: Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew at bat

I was so sad to hear that Harmon Killebrew is entering hospice care after losing his fight to esophageal cancer. A good friend of mine died of it; it’s nasty.

My first memory of Harmon Killebrew is my first iconic boyhood memory: It was my first ballgame with my father at the old Met Stadium. The Twins were hosting the Baltimore Orioles. We went with a neighbor and our seats were along the third base line, so our neighbor kept telling me to keep an eye on the great Orioles third baseman of the time, Brooks Robinson.

I remember fat men standing around on the concourse drinking beer and the smell of their thick cigar smoke. I remember Tony Oliva breaking a bat by pounding it on home plate after disagreeing with the umpire’s called third strike.

In the bottom of the ninth the Twins were behind by a run. Harmon, in his last years as a Twin and relegated to DH duty, stepped up to bat to the thundering feet of the crowd, stomping in expectation.

Crack. The ball arched high across the sky down the third base line and settled into the upper-deck stands…just foul. Harmon ended up striking out and the Twins lost but I was astonished that a human being could hit the ball so hard and so far.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Harmon Killebrew but from afar he always came off as a kind and gentle man. Thank you, Harmon.

Sharing A Body: An Inspiring Story From Carver County

Sharing A Body: An Inspiring Story From Carver County

This is a remarkable story: Abigail “Abby” Loraine Hensel and Brittany “Britty” Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990, Carver County, Minnesota), are highly symmetric dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins. Each controls and senses her corresponding arm and leg. They were raised in New Germany, Minnesota and attended Lutheran High School affiliated with the Missouri Synod in Mayer, Minnesota. Found at YouTube from worldswonders.

Minnesota Author: Ethan Rutherford

HL Hunley Confederate Submarine
HL Hunley Confederate Submarine

Reading the author bios at the end of The Best American Short Stories 2009 gave me a Minnesota angle to discuss the collection: Ethan Rutherford.

Ethan Rutherford is a fiction writer who lives in Minneapolis and teaches writing and literature at Macalester College. His short story, “Peripatetic Coffin,” was included in the 2009 Best American Short Stories collection.

The subject of the story, Ward Lumpkin, is a confederate soldier serving on the H.L. Hunley, the infamous Civil War-era submarine deployed by the rebels to break the Union blockade of Charleston.

“The question I struggled with, the question that kept me interested, was what gets someone–voluntarily–aboard an invention like this? Another friend told me about the bombardment of the city, and it was the relentlessness of this bombardment that allowed me into the story,” Rutherford writes about his story.

What makes “Peripatetic Coffin” equally compelling and jarring is the modern tone with which Rutherford writes the story. The dialogue feels right at home in a collection of stories from 2009 yet provides a strange counterpoint to the era during which the story takes place. Somehow, Rutherford makes it work.

The collection is edited by author Alice Sebold and includes stories from authors such as Alice Fulton, Richard Powers, and Annie Proulx.

All in all, they were a great read.

Joe Mauer Mocks Troy Polamalu

Joe Mauer Mocks Troy Polamalu

Love it! Twins catcher Joe Mauer makes fun of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu over his high voice and his Head & Shoulders commercials…in this Head & Shoulders commercial. Mauer ought not quit his day job; he’s a far better hitter than he is an actor. Found at YouTube from headandshoulders.

Surfing In Duluth

Surfing In Duluth

This may surprise you, but people actually do surf in Duluth. Perfect Duluth Day posted this video of people doing just that. It would’ve been a surprise to me, too, if I didn’t known Graeme Thickens, who, in addition to being the guy who knows everything you’d ever want to know about Minnesota start-up businesses, he’s also the go-to guy about surfing in Minnesota.

I know: who knew?

Check out Graeme’s Tech Surf Blog and you can find him on Twitter here: @GraemeThickins. Found at YouTube From CBS News.

Jared Allen’s Gettin’ Antsy Over Brett Favre

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen visits the Vikings camp and talks with Brad Childress and an antsy Jared Allen, who told him:

“I do hope Brett comes back, but in fairness to the team and in fairness to Tarvaris — hey, we’re done with camp now — let’s move things forward. Tarvaris has an opportunity to take this team over … I think you have to have confidence in the quarterback. I think the quarterback has to be the leader of the team, especially the offense and, again, I think stability at the position is key as hell…All I’m saying — and I have a pretty good relationship with Brett — I think this is the last year we want do the flip-flop thing.” Found at ESPN.