Beyond reflection: Minneapolis artist combines art and ecology

As the old saying goes—art _reflects_ life. In Jim Proctor’s world, art and life intersect. When I visited Proctor in 2005, he had recently finished his first buckthorn installation, The Buckthorn Menace (TBM), along the western shore of the Mississippi River Road in Minneapolis. Before TBM, Proctor was more used to creating smaller, hand-held sized compositions from natural materials such as seeds and roots and other materials collected from his travels…and manipulating them in ways that make them look exotic, almost otherworldly. One piece involved Proctor applying catalpa hairs and rose thorns to sugar maple seeds. Continue Reading

At Your Service: A Conversation with St. Paul Public Schools Community Education Service Learning Program Staff

If you’ve seen groups of kids stenciling anti-pollution messages near storm drains or planting native prairie plants along hillsides, chances are good that you may have seen a community service learning project in action. The Saint Paul Schools Community Education Service Learning Program is making waves by helping teachers and students harness the energy, skills, and imagination of youth by sponsoring projects that activate real civic and environmental engagement. St. Paul students in grades K-12 have had the opportunity to become involved in the rich tradition of community service by participating with projects that link academic learning with real projects that respond to a particular problem in their community. Problems addressed by program participants might involve homelessness; others may deal with hunger, intergenerational relationships, or environmental issues like solid waste, watershed or erosion. Continue Reading

Public Service Message for State Fairgoers: Beware of Dangerous Walking Patterns

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the few social phenonmenons that gives typically and discreet Minnesotans permission to overtly study people without feeling ashamed or perverted. It’s the World Series for people watching. While strolling down Dan Patch Avenue, you and everyone around you become instant anthropologists; you are entitled to stare and gawk and ogle at length with reckless abandon. This year, I’ve been studying modes of walking. The fair brings out walking patterns that seem as diverse as songbird species. Continue Reading

Even if your house is a mess: it’s never too late to meet your neighbors

My two kids and I just met our neighbors across the street. Normally this would not be a big deal, except that they moved in last January. Now it’s freaking August already, and we’re so late in introducing ourselves that if nothing happened we’d have avoided meeting them forever since (our thinking is) if you can’t meet people in eight months then obviously they must think that you think they’re not “worth” meeting. Voices: Even if your house is a mess: it’s never too late to meet your neighbors
Eight months! My wife and I have always been impossibly neurotic and shy to the point that our neurosis tends to regenerate and clone itself. Continue Reading

An Open Letter To Britney Spears

We at MassGlobalMegaCorp find it highly regrettable that some in the entertainment media are portraying Britney Spears’ private transformation as a “public breakdown.” We believe that to dismiss Ms. Spears’ recent behaviors simply as the product of an unbalanced or traumatic psychological crisis is to offer the most limited, unimaginative – and perhaps most erroneous – view of her experience. We at MassGlobalMegaCorp would like to gently offer another perception. Because we are not her, we assert no right to do this; however, because we believe that Ms. Spears is presently undergoing a most unique and urgent change, we respectfully offer our view in the hope that it reflects a sense of accuracy we feel Ms. Spears’ recent changes are going after. We at MassGlobalMegaCorp believe that Ms. Spears is in the midst of a profoundly transformational process. Continue Reading

Robots in the Minnesota legislature should be stopped

Neil Cunningham

Machines might have infiltrated the Minnesota DFL. Decisive action is needed to remedy the situation so that humans do not fall under machine control.

According to Senator Steve Sviggum, machines might have infiltrated the Minnesota DFL. At least that is what he seems to be suggesting in his sublimely fair and evenhanded critique (Star Tribune, May 30) of the DFL’s “tax machine.”

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