NARN Chokes Back As Hard On My Anger…

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is back in the studio, making talk radio great again!

Today on the show:

  • The Star Tribune is shocked, shocked, that the North Loop is prone to violence.
  • The Methodists – fighting the culture war from the other side.

Too much program for two hours?  In the lands of a lesser host, yes, but not me.  Tune in!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson is  on “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part IV: Never Waste A Crisis

Last week, the Strib put out a breathtakingly obtuse editorial about the wave of crime sweeping the North Loop in Minneapolis – even as crime statewide continues a long-term downward trend.

The Strib’s editorial board blamed court for limiting the cops’ ability to arrest drunk and panhandlers – but, mirabile dictu, not a single word about getting the Mayor and City Council to take time off from virtue-signaling, political posturing, and  building exquisitely expensive monuments to their own wisdom.

But now, it’s time for the scapegoating:

There’s another, more intractable problem that Freeman, Segal, Arradondo and others wrestle with: guns. “We as a society have refused to provide law enforcement with the resources and laws needed to reduce the number of guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Freeman said.

Bravo!

Getting guns out of the hands of those who should not have them!   That’s just brilliant!

So the MPD will start focusing on straw buyers, gangs and habitual offenders?

Don’t be silly, fellow peasant; it’s Minneapolis:

Options here are few, especially in light of the strength of the gun lobby.

Let’s make this absolutely clear:  the “Gun Lobby” is the only party to this discussion proposing anything that will actually affect crime; upcharging gun criminals,

Some attempts at municipal restrictions have been struck down. One notable exception is New York City, where carrying a gun requires a special city permit issued by the police commissioner.

And where crime 35 years ago was off the charts – with the same, exact laws they have today.  It was Giuliani and his “stop and frisk” and “broken windows” policies – none of which the government of Minneapolis would ever condone – that actually lowered crime in NYC.   And by the way – have you noticed how crime is trending since DiBlasio reversed Giuliani and Bloomberg’s policies?

Minnesota typically has had strong Second Amendment protections, but it may be time for Minneapolis to explore its own carve-out.

Because of all the carry permittees that are shooting people up in the North Loop?

Because all those north side gang bangers will get permits?

Because holding out bitterly against the rights of the law-abiding citizen has served Chicago so well?

The legislative delegations from Minneapolis and St. Paul, with assists from city leaders, should make their voices heard on resurrecting a gun safety bill that would require criminal background checks for gun sales made at gun shows, privately and online.  These are the same background checks gun shop owners are required to conduct, and a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll last year found strong support for such a measure — 82 percent.

Which only proves that 82 percent of the Strib’s remaining film of readers are idiots.   Criminals don’t take background checks.

No.  The responsibility for the carnage on the North Side and in the North Loop lies precisely in the laps of Mayor Hodges and the pack of virtue-signaling, PC fops that amuse themselves playing “government” at City Hall.  It is they that continue the policies that keep the North Side hopeless, keep the Minneapolis PD busy chasing PC trends, and keep the city as a whole ripe pickings for the criminal class.

Perhaps it’s Minneapolis’ idiot political class that should be taking background checks.

See you

The Deal, Redux

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats ran to the microphone to claim Trump made a deal, he says he didn’t.
This sounds familiar but I can’t find a link.
Didn’t Minnesota democrats do that? Maybe to Pawlenty? Leave a meeting, run out to claim a deal, then when it’s denied, shame Republicans for failing to honor the deal they never made?
Joe Doakes

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part III: Never Never Land

Note:  it’s been a couple of crushingly busy days, and not really in a good way.    This same piece went out in raw-notes form yesterday.  I’m going to re-release it with, y’know, some actual writing. 

In theran an editorial this past week proposing some solutions in the tony, hip North Loop last week, the Strib editorial board pondered what to do about the rising crime rates in the North Loop, whose problems are a result of policies the DFL supports.  On Tuesday, we noted that the problem is falling exactly into line with urban theorist Joel Kotkin’s theories on the subject (cities are turning into donuts – holes full of the very wealthy, surrounded by a doughy ring of poverty warehoused in the neighborhoods for the convenience of the social service bureaucracy.

Today?  After decades of drawing bars to the North Loops, the City Council is shocked, shocked to discover drunkenness:

Police have lost some tools in the past couple of years that in particular appear to have affected quality-of-life issues. Public drunkenness and aggressive panhandling are more than nuisances — they can be threats to safety. Police used to be able to book inebriates who drank in public. But an order issued by then-Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter Cahill in early 2016 quashed that, allowing only ticketing for public drinking.

“Now you see someone with a bottle at 4th and Hennepin and you write a ticket,” Sullivan said. “A half-hour later, they’re at 5th and Hennepin, then 6th and Hennepin. Before, we could interrupt the cycle, get them off the streets and maybe even get them some help.” Hennepin County is the only jurisdiction in the state operating under such an order. Cahill said that his standing order can be changed, but that to his knowledge no such request has been made. It should be, and city officials should make it.

Right.

But the Hodges administration is too busy virtue-signalling against Donald Trump, and the city council – the only group of people in the metro not well-placed to mock Alondra Cano – are too busy building monuiments to themselves and keeping the graft wagon greased to be bothered, apparently.

Other efforts to help those with addictions should continue, but having created a neighborhood, city officials now have an obligation to ensure that public drunkenness is dealt with effectively.

Is it sexy enough for Minneapolis’ juvenile City Council to bother with?

Panhandling is tougher to deal with, since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 — Reed vs. the town of Gilbert — has been widely interpreted as a prohibition on panhandling laws thought to restrict free speech. The high court did not make a specific ruling on that issue, but the Columbia Law Review recently noted that “there is a real danger that virtually all panhandling laws will be invalidated, even though some serve to protect pedestrians and others.”

Isn’t that rich?  Panhandling is better-protected than political dissent from the right in Minneapolis.

Similarly, businesses and patrons alike complain about the large number of young people at night whom some see as intimidating…bars and clubs downtown that lure the 18-and-older set with cover charges that can be cheaper than a movie ticket…Once in, they can party until 2 a.m.

Teenagers and booze mix about as well as politicians and power.  One might think the bars would see a self-interest in curbing packs of drunk teen…

…but then, with a $15/hour minimum wage and mandatory sick time coming up, they have other best interests to see to.

Minneapolis isn’t serious about solving any social problem; the whole city is a vehicle for virtue-signaling.

Tomorrow:  The Same Old Crap About Guns

Downfall

Betsy Hodges’ campaign?

All is not going well:

Among those who have stepped away from the reelection effort are spokesperson Alida Tieberg and adviser Jim Niland, a former city council member who’s held in deep respect within DFL circles.

The news comes just five months after the resignations of Jorge Contreras, Hodges’ first campaign manager, and organizing director Kyrstin Schuette.

The reasons behind the resignations are described as a perfect storm of sorts, according to sources who spoke to City Pages on the condition of anonymity because the don’t want to ruffle feathers within the DFL.

The City Pages answers to the same DFL chain of command that that “whistleblowers” do.

The mayor’s campaign coffers are said to be running on fumes at around $6,000, according to a source who’d spoken with former staff. Hodges’ most recent disclosure from August showed it had a cash balance of about $58,000. However, it also showed the campaign still owed five vendors roughly $25,000.

The only question I have is “will Minneapolis go even further to the left and vote for Ray Dehn.

The State Full Of Sun-Baked “Progressive” Bobbleheads That Doesn’t Learn From History…

Half of Californians say housing prices are making them think about leaving the state, and an awful lot of them think rent control is the answer:

About half of the state’s voters – 48 percent – said they consider the problem of housing affordability “extremely serious.” Concerns are more prevalent in areas seen as ground zero for the crisis, including the Bay Area, where 65 percent of voters described the problem that way.

The issue has led to an intensifying debate over rent control in California. In Los Angeles County, 68 percent of voters said they support stronger limits on rent increases, while 63 percent in the Bay Area said so.

The majority of support for rent control is among renters, who have seen prices grow nearly 4 percent since last year, according to data compiled by the real estate listing service Apartment List. California’s median rent for a one-bedroom is now at $1,750, while a two-bedroom is $2,110, Apartment List found. Among the most expensive cities are San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento.

Of course, being progressives, they don’t bother with history – and I doubt the history of rent-control in places like New York City is covered in the textbooks progressives are allowed to read.

But in New York, it worked a little like this:

  1. Rent controls were established
  2. Their incomes constricted by rent control, landlords fell behind on the little things, like routine repairs.
  3. City officials leaned on the landlords to make the repairs, prices and income be damned, and threw on fines to make the whole mess even less affordable.
  4. Sick to death of being stuck between a regulatory rock and a cost hard place, the landlords tried to sell out.
  5. Local regulations – like the ones Ray Dehn proposes in Minneapolis – make selling a rental property a daunting prospect.   Landlords unloaded properties at firesale prices or, if the neighborhood was bad enough and the debt intractable enough, walked away – creating either gentrification-ready areas of cheap buildings or, for less desirable locations, acres of vacant buildings ready to be turned into crack dens.
  6. Alarmed by the decline in “affordable housing” caused by their own policies, the city’s government ratcheted up the regulations even more; as the saying goes, the beatings will continue until morale improves…

Given the mindless “progressivism” of California government, this will hasten the state’s decline.  The bad news?  It’ll also increase the number of Californians bringing their bobble-headed politics to sane states.

Something Seems To Be Wrong With Our Bloody Destroyers

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Here’s a retired Navy guy who thinks the reason Navy ships keep hitting civilian vessels and running aground is . . . .

The Navy suggests they might have been hacked, or maybe the other ship was, probably by the Russians, since that’s the universal fool-proof excuse for manifest incompetence nowadays.

If I were at the helm and looked out the window to see a tanker that’s 100 feet wide and 50 feet tall bearing down on me, I’d be thinking about taking evasive action.  We need the captain on the bridge for that, the guy at the wheel isn’t smart enough to make that decision?  But I’ll bet every sailor on board completed sexual harassment prevention training, promptly and on time.

Joe Doakes

Perhaps, but God help the 19 year old Seaman Second Class who turns the wheel without an order from the Officer of the Deck.  Who, on the other hand, should have exactly that reaction.

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part II: Kotkin Was Right!

A few years ago, we wrote about an article by urban planner Joel Kotkin.

Kotkin is a left-leaning urban planning type – is there any other kind?   But he’s made himself persona non grata among urban planning wonks by swimming against the current train of thought, which holds that core cities will rise again; the “Creative Class” loves their inner-urban amenities, and the rest will be forced there by Met Council policies.

Kotkin notes that for the past generation, most growth in this country – economic and demographic – is happening in the outer suburbs and exurbs of major and mid-sized cities.  Kotkin also theorizes that cities are rapidly devolving into a demographic donut:

  1. A downtown area full of well-to-do, gentry – businesspeople, technocrats, upper-middle-class empty-nesting retirees, and “the creative class”.
  2. The rest of the city – where the civil service class warehouses the poor.

The progressive political class tries to conceal this by inducing suburbs to increase the amount of “Affordable Housing” – but we’re going astray, here.

Accoridng to the Strib’s editorial last week, it appears that the outer and inner donut rings are getting too close together:

“Downtown has become everything to everybody,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and that’s a problem. Few downtowns, he noted, have two major homeless shelters, along with the myriad social-services and outreach programs that have located downtown over the years.

Five will get you ten that this is followed by a call to move more of these facilities and services to the ‘burbs – so the people in the donut hole don’t have to deal with them.

“That may be something to rethink,” he said.

Huh.

So – for the past sixty years, the DFL has had iron-clad control over Minneapolis.   They created an interventionistic bureaucracy that fed off the welfare state, and created some of the worst income disparitie in the state.

And now they want someone to get the bums out of their perfectly-coiffed hair:

Panhandling is tougher to deal with, since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 — Reed vs. the town of Gilbert — has been widely interpreted as a prohibition on panhandling laws thought to restrict free speech. The high court did not make a specific ruling on that issue, but the Columbia Law Review recently noted that “there is a real danger that virtually all panhandling laws will be invalidated, even though some serve to protect pedestrians and others.” Because of the court’s decision, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the city’s panhandling laws are no longer enforced.

 

Aggressive panhandling is not benign, and it often is committed by individuals with mental-health problems and addictions. There have been reports of panhandlers confronting individuals and demanding money, even chasing them for “donations.” It is possible that more narrowly targeted laws, aimed at harassing behavior or specific locations, such as near ATMs and transit stops, could survive legal scrutiny. Minneapolis officials should undertake a serious effort to craft legally defensible alternatives, rather than leave an apparently unenforceable law on the books.

Or, Minneapolis could continue to shred through low-income jobs like they grow on trees, enforcing unsustainable, job-killing minimum wage laws and making affordable housing a government-controlled racket.

Maybe that’ll work this time.

Tomorrow – Never Never Land,

Virtue Preaching

The Methodists, like the Presbyterian Church in the USA that I grew up in (and, it’d seem much of American Catholicism to boot) is slowly spinning itself into an institution that observes a holy trinity; social justice the mother, political correctness the other mother, and virtue-signaling the spirit.

Witness the United Methodists’ bishop, Dr, Karen Oliveto – herself a virtue signal, as the UMC’s first Lesbian Bishop.

Oliveto was elected with a flurry of virtue-signalling glee a few years ago – and has spent her term basically turning the United Methodists into even more of a pseudo-Unitarian cult than it was before:

“Too many folks want to box Jesus in, carve him in stone, create an idol out of him. But this story cracks the pedestal we’ve put him on. The wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting one, prince of peace, was as human as you and me. Like you and me, he didn’t have his life figured out. He was still growing, maturing, putting the pieces together about who he was and what he was supposed to do. We might think of him as the Rock of Ages, but he was more like a hunk of clay, forming and reforming himself in relation to God.

As one person put it: ‘Jesus wasn’t a know-it-all, he was also learning God’s will like any human being and finally he changed his mind…if Jesus didn’t have to know it all innately, but rather could grow into new and deeper understanding through an openness to God’s people [even those he formerly discounted], maybe if Jesus could change his mind then maybe so can we!”

When it comes to the Christian Trinity, it’s said that Catholics obsess over God the Father, the dealer of punishment and guilt, shorting the whole “Salvation” via the Son and Spirit bit.  Evangelicals, on the other hand, focus on the spirit, sometimes to the detriment of the authority, and often to the shorting of the humanity, of Christ.  And mainline American protestants?  They focus on the Son – the redemption, the forgiveness – sometimes shorting the authority and the spirit.

But other than gutting the traditional understanding of who and what Christ was…

…well, she’s LGBTQ…

Goalposts On Wheels

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The figures are in: median income was up last year.  Everybody made more money.  The Obama Recovery is a complete success.

In completely unrelated news, which in no way detracts from the amazing brilliance of the Light Bringer’s economic miracle, we changed the way we count median income.

Looks as if the numbers are no longer drawn from fake reports, they’re cut from whole cloth right at the DNC headquarters and pasted directly into the newspaper.  If only we had a cadre of trained, professional investigators who could critically examine press releases for believability, much less veracity.

Joe Doakes

If only.

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part I: “Solve The Problem We Helped Create!”

I’m not saying the Star Tribune’s Editorial Board is full of people that want a dictator to solve all our society’s problem.

am saying that if a dictator ever wanted to take over, they’d’ need society to be full of people like the Strib’s editors to have a chance of succeeding.

They ran an editorial this past week proposing some solutions to the problem of crime, violence and their bedfellows social and economic decay.

And it’s a masterpiece of double-talk, deflection, and putting a crisis to political use.

Home to nearly 6,000 businesses, downtown Minneapolis swells daily as more than 160,000 workers head in to the state’s economic hub. Its landscape is dotted with major businesses, banks, hotels and a massive football stadium.

Yep.  The idea of the hub-and-spoke downtown is alive and well, in a city that pretty much depends on the idea being propagated for eternity.

But unlike a generation ago, downtown is also a growing neighborhood, home to nearly 40,000 residents. By design, they tend to be educated, affluent professionals craving an urban lifestyle that includes the excitement of a nightlife powered by bars, theaters and restaurants along Hennepin Avenue and in the bustling North Loop.

“By design”.

Two very loaded words.

A generation ago, when I moved to the Twin Cities, the North Loop was a blighted area, nearly vacant after dark but for the occasional roughneck bar and strip joint.   Just down the road from North Minneapolis – which was just as big a problem to the city’s reputation then as it is today, although people were a lot less reticent to say so, or why, back then – it shared some of the same pathologies, albeit without a resident population.   I wrote about my encounter with the old North Loop 11 years ago.

Somewhere in the nineties, Minneapolis noticed the small groups of young entrepreneurs that were taking advantage of cheap, blighted property and, with the aid of a flood of federal and state tax money, decided to turn the North Loop into a little Brooklyn;  to replace all that urban grit with a hipster/young child-free-couple-friendly version; let’s call it “Urban Grit-land”, like an urban fantasy version of a Disney subdivision.

Not that the redevelopment of the North Loop was a bad thing.   More stuff going on is better than less stuff going on, all other things being equal.   The Strib, of course, supported the redevelopment – partly, one must imagine, because it increased the paper vallue of their property up on Eight Street North, the paper’s former printing shop and now headquarters, which allowed them to sell their old property down on 4th and Portland for a huge profit.

And let’s not forget – the Strib has always been a relentless supporter of the DFL politicians and policies that have left the neighboring North Side a blighted battlezone.

Of course, what they also did was put a big population of soft, wealthy (and, election results would seem to indicate, very unlikely to resist) targets within reach of a whole lot of urban grit that hasn’t yet been sanded and laquered to a fine patina yet:

But downtown also has a stubbornly rising crime rate that threatens all of the effort and investment in making this area vibrant and attractive. Robberies are up significantly. Homeless encampments are becoming more common. Weekends bring regular reports of shots fired. Complaints about aggressive panhandling are up, and some light-rail transit stations have become trouble spots that draw crowds of young people late at night.

You mean, exactly as we warned them they would?

These are the early warning signs that can signal greater trouble in the future. Spiraling crime can scare off prospective residents and employers. Residents of downtown, unlike those in most neighborhoods, tend to be renters, for whom moving is as easy as not renewing a lease. Businesses, too, can vote with their feet if they or their employees become uncomfortable.

The Strib then goes on to prescribe some “solutions” for the problems that – as we’ll see – they helped create.

We’ll be looking at this for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow:  Kotkin Was Right!

Mysteries

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

While we’re pondering the right lessons to learn from the Islamist attack on 9/11, perhaps we could take a moment to ponder the right lessons to learn from the Islamist attack on our consulate in Benghazi?

Maybe unarmed guards and compromised e-mail contributed to the attack?  Maybe lying about the cause and pressuring people to remain silent afterwards hinder us from stopping the next attack?  Maybe this is part of the swamp that needs draining?

Joe Doakes

The idea gets my vote.

Have A Good NARN But Get Out Alive

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is back in the studio, making talk radio great again!

Today on the show:

  • Trump?  Triangulating?  Whaaaaa?
  • The Language Game and Free Speech

Too much program for two hours?  In the lands of a lesser host, yes, but not me.  Tune in!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson is  on “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

For Once, Allahpundit Is The Pollyanna

Some critics say Hillary’s new blame-all autobio includes a “bizarre misreading” of George Orwell’s 1984.  Among them is Allahpundit, from Hot Air.

There are establishmentarians, there are big-government establishmentarians, and then there are people who read Orwell and see a parable about insufficient trust in authority:

Here’s the passage

I say they’re being pollyannaish.

Hillary’s a lot of things – I’ll skip the hour-long session of listing them all – but she’s not stupid, and she’s not illiterate.

We’ve noticed this with not a few figures on the left; they’re pretty much sure they can get away with saying anything; God knows the media will never call them on it. I’ve focused on it in particular as re Second Amendment policy – this blog has  a  large, well-populated tag documenting the Minnesota victim disarmament movement’s serial fabulism – but we’re really just scratching the surface.

My thesis:  Hillary thinks knows she can say anything she wants; the media will never check her; her supporters can’t stop jabbering about their credentials, intelligence and level of information (they watch Rachel Maddow, dammit!) to bother reading the damn book in the first place.

George Barron

When people talk about what is wrong with American education today, at the end of the day most of the answers come back as some variation of “there aren’t more teachers out there like George Barron used to be”.

George Barron was my high school chemistry teacher…sort of.  He passed away late last month.

I say he was “sort of” my chemistry teacher because it didn’t really go well.  I mention this lest you think that this is going to turn into one of those Pollyanna-ish stories about teachers – Stand and Deliver or Mister Holland’s Opus or Watch Misplaced Teacher Turn The Meth-Heads Into Math-Heads or whatever –  where some plucky teacher triumphs over the recalcitrant kid (and the system that keeps them down, natch) and teaches everyone the Big Lesson by the end of the story.   It’s not.

Well, not directly.  Indirectly, it very much is.  But we’ll come back to that.

A solid generation before I took his chemistry class, George Barron was – or so I was told – a Navy dive-bomber pilot.  He didn’t talk about the war – none of the small group of teachers that were WWII veterans ever did – although he did make sure we knew that, during the war, he trusted his life to a tailgunner not much older than we.  Us, on the other hand?  He didn’t trust us to fetch donuts from the bakery. We had a way to go before we got there.

Judging by old high school annuals, Mr. Barron got out of the Navy, came to Jamestown, and became a chemistry teacher.  I know he was teaching when my father was a student, back in the fifties; he was still there when my dad came back to teach in the mid-sixties, and he was still teaching in 1979 when I was a sophomore in high school.  His legend preceded him; you learned a lot from his classes (Jamestown High School produced an inordinate number of doctors and scientists in those days, all of them alums of Barron’s classes), but he was tough.  .

I was not.  Not academically, at least.  I’d spent 9th and 10th grade bored out of my skull; English was a mind-numbing reiteration of grammar classes; History was taught by football coaches who had read less of the material than I had; but for languages (three years of German), Orchestra and Stage Band, I had pretty well checked out.

Which wasn’t a great start.

Toward the end of my sophomore year, as we were signing up for next year’s classes, we got a mimeographed sheet from Mr. Barron explaining that:

  • People who wanted to go to college took Chemistry.  People who wanted to go to Vocational school took “Practical Chemistry” from Barron’s associate, Mr. Scherbenske.  People who wanted neither, took neither.
  • He was tough, and made no excuses for it.  He had standards, and if you didn’t measure up, you’d get an “F”.

The page included a list of students who’d succeeded, and students who’d dropped the class – which struck me as a little odd at the time.  But I signed up anyway.

Of course, on top of everything else my junior year, Chemistry hit me like a truck.  Oh, Mr. Barron’s class hit everyone like a truck – but I was really, truly not ready for that.   I was disorganized, didn’t really have the math down, and just could not keep up.

I’d love to say there was an inspirational speech, or some moment standing at the blackboard trying to calculate a reaction where I had a blinding flash of epiphany that would be presented in a movie with a montage of late-night studying, slow improvement, and cutaway shots of Mr. Barron’s implacable grimace slowly softening into the hint of a smile.

But that’s Hollywood.  Me?  I cratered.  After my first six-weeks’ grade (a solid “F”), I dropped the class.  No, I didn’t switch to study hall; I managed to talk my way into Latin I; I started seven weeks behind the rest of the class, and caught up by the end of the semester.

My other classes?  I jumped from the C’s and D’s and occasional F’s of my first two years of high school to mostly A’s and B’s.  This was also my first year at the radio station – and I threw myself into that as well, and learned a lot of radio by the end of the year.  Part of it was that I was finally taking classes I cared about, and taking them from teachers who actually cared about the material themselves – my dad’s speech class, writing and a few others in particular.

Part of it was to not only live down, but expunge the stench of “quitting”.

Toward the end of my junior year, a sophomore friend handed me a copy of Mr. Barron’s mimeograph for the next year’s class. My stomach fell down my leg in an icy ball of confusion; I was listed among the kids who’d dropped the class.

My first reaction was to hunt him down and make him eat a bunson burner.  But the girl who’d sat behind me in class – let’s call her Lori – said “he’s just putting you out there as an example of a smart kid who didn’t gel with the class”.  It may have been BS, but I felt a little better.

The main point being, I spent the rest of that year, and the next, living that scarlet “Q” down.  And through four years of college, where I averaged over 20 credits a semester.  And the decades since, where in trial after trial, “don’t quit” has been the only real palatable solution.

And I owe that to Mr. Barron.

His “practical chem” colleague, another former Barron student, and my dad’s chess partner, Mr. Scherbenske, wrote a memorial to Mr. Barron in my hometown paper that sums the man up pretty well.