At last, a photo of sex al fresco right here in Northfield

vitamn-sexalfresco-cover-tn sex al fresco in Northfield, MNHidden Valley Park, Northfield

Ever since I first blogged about Sex al fresco in Northfield back in 2007, I’m been waiting to get my own photo of it happening so I didn’t have to keep using’s Summer Love cover image.

A week or so ago, I took the photo of the two bugs going at it on the milkweed pod in the wildflower prairie that surrounds the pond in Hidden Valley Park, right behind our house.

More critter photos from that day:


Sex al fresco redux by the Northfield News: ‘Getting it on in the great outdoors’

Last month, the Northfield News posted this to their Facebook page:

There is something blissfully naughty about getting intimate in public. In high school, we necked in the back seat of our cars on a deserted road because there was no where else to go. Then, we grew up, got married and forgot about the thrill of fooling around under the threat of getting caught. Plenty of studies suggest a little hanky panky in public is a great way to heat up your sex life. But let’s be real, we’re southern Minnesotans. We don’t do that kind of thing.

Or do we? When the mood hits and you’re looking for a change of scenery, where do you take your partner? A local park with secluded trails? A dead end road with a great view of the sunset? A boat in the middle of a quiet lake? Let us know, SoMinn, where do you go to fool around in the great outdoors? We’ll use as many of the locations as we can in our upcoming edition of our A&E publication, SCENE.

I added a comment in response to Faribault Daily News editor and article author Jaci Smith:

Props, Jaci! I did a “sex al fresco in Northfield” blog post back in 2007 on LoGro, based on a article by Alexis McKinnis. Details:

So MN Scene - April cover 2013 So MN Scene - Getting it on in the great outdoors
The April issue of SouthernMinn SCENE is now out in print and online and Jaci Smith’s article, Getting it on in the great outdoors, is on page 42.  She included this reference to VitaMN and LoGro:

Closer to home, about six years ago, the Star Tribune’s took an informal poll and discovered that there was plenty of outdoor sex going on in the Twin Cities, particularly in some of the more isolated areas of the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus.

So, Northfield blogger Griff Wigley did his own informal poll on Locally Grown Northfield, and found out that outdoor sex is alive and well in the city Jesse lames made famous. And Wigley makes a great point, too. Sex al fresco has been going on since the Garden of Eden.

For a look back, see my 2007 blog post Sex al fresco in Northfield and attached comment thread.

VitaMN‘s original story by Alexis McKinnis, Sex … al fresco, is still online.


What is the significance of this strange item on the pedestrian footbridge in downtown Northfield?

DSC08854 DSC08851

There is something significant about this item attached to the railing on the pedestrian footbridge over the Cannon River.

If you can guess or even come up with a plausible explanation, there could be something good that will happen to you, according to those with whom I’m authorized to speak.

Update Mar. 16, 7 am: Here are the details of today’s Celebration, courtesy of Jim O’Bonhnhoff:

St. Patricks Celebration 2013

63. That’s easy to remember.

If you came of age in the 60s in the Twin Cities, then you might know why that phrase is significant to me today.

Updated 9/30:  KDWB, channel 63.

KDWB-AM Position 63 KDWB fab 40 1963

Cart-in camp site #1 at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park: saaaaaweet

Cart-in camp site #1 at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Cart-in camp site #1 at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park shore, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Robbie and I are camping at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park for a few days.  The camping sites are primarily cart-in, which means that you haul your gear  to your campsite with wheelbarrow-type carts.  Advantage: the sites are more secluded. I took the photo in the center from the rocky bluff above our tent.

And since parks are on my mind, see the New Urbanist blog for Kevin Klinkenberg’s recent series on What makes a good park? Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

A backyard campfire: one of my favorite simple pleasures of spring

Outdoor fire pit, Hidden Valley Park  Outdoor fire pit, Hidden Valley Park  
Last night, Robbie and I enjoyed some wine with dinner at our outdoor fire pit in our Valley Pond Townhome Association backyard for the first time this spring. It was a perfect spring evening: warm, clear sky, no wind, no bugs, and a symphony of nature sounds coming from Hidden Valley Park.

Enjoying food and conversation in front of a campfire makes me feel rich, even though it can be done very cheaply.

What are some of your favorite spring-related simple pleasures?  Get some ideas here: 75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day.

The Last Known Whereabouts’ CD cover photo: where is that house?

The Last Known Whereabouts CD DSC07743
Stewart Stroup, the father of Jake Stroup (vocalist & mandolin player for The Last Known Whereabouts) graciously mailed me the group’s CD recently after they performed their reunion show at the Cow.

I thought I recognized the house in the photo on the cover of their Reaching Out for History CD, and shore ’nuff, I spotted it last week.

Do you  know where it is?

Northfield needs more beaches

I tried to keep blogging while away the past 8 days but alas, my motivation gradually eroded due to the constant availability of sandy beaches, rum punches, and stunning sunsets.

Griff, SUP'ing in Vieques Griff and Robbie in Vieques; Robbie broke her wrist while paddleboarding sunset in Esperanza, PR
Ahhh, Vieques.

The Two Kings: Jesus & Elvis


A favorite Christmas book of mine: The Two Kings: Jesus & Elvis, by  A.J. Jacobs. The author deftly notes the eerie parallels between the two superstars:

Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor” (Matthew 22:39).
Elvis said, “Don’t Be Cruel” (RCA, 1956).

Jesus H. Christ has 12 letters.
Elvis Presley has 12 letters.

Jesus is the Lord’s shepherd.
Elvis dated Cybill Shepherd.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).
Elvis loved his sandwiches with peanut butter and bananas.

“Then they took up stones to cast at [Jesus]” (John 8:59).
Elvis was often stoned.

Jesus was the Lamb of God.
Elvis had mutton chops.

Jesus was part of a Trinity.
Elvis’ first band was a trio.

Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:25).
Elvis surfed (Blue Hawaii, Paramount, 1965).

Jesus was a carpenter.
Elvis majored in woodshop/industrial arts in high school.

Jesus lived in a state of grace in a Near Eastern land.
Elvis lived in Graceland in a nearly eastern state.

Jesus wore the crown of thorns.
Elvis wore Royal Crown hair styler.

Jesus’ entourage, the Apostles, had 12 members.
Elvis’ entourage, the Memphis Mafia, had 12 members.

Jesus as wine (sacramental wine).
Elvis as wine (Always Elvis wine by Frantenac).

A major woman in Jesus’ life (Mary) had an immaculate conception.
A major woman in Elvis’ life (Priscilla) went to Immaculate Conception high school.

Jesus was resurrected.
Elvis had the famous comeback special in 1968.

Son of God.
Sun Studios.

Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”  (John 7:37).
Elvis said, “Drinks on me!” (Jailhouse Rock, MGM, 1957).

Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights.
Elvis had irregular eating habits (e.g., five banana splits for  breakfast).

Jesus is a Capricorn (Dec. 25).
Elvis is a Capricorn (Jan. 8).

Jesus biography by Matthew (Gospel according to Matthew).
Elvis biography by Neal Matthews (Elvis: A Golden Tribute).

“[Jesus’] countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow”  (Matthew 28:3).
Elvis’ trademarks were a lightning bolt and snow-white jumpsuits.

Jesus was Jewish.
Elvis was part Jewish (from his maternal great-grandmother, Martha  Tackett Mansell).

Jesus’ purple robe.
Elvis’ pink Cadillac.

Jesus’ father is everywhere.
Elvis’ father, Vernon, was a drifter and moved around quite a bit.

Doubting Thomas.
“Suspicious Minds.”

There is much confusion about Jesus’ middle name – what does the “H”  stand for?
There is much confusion about Elvis’ middle name – was it Aron or Aaron?

Jesus made rocks roll away from his tomb.
Elvis was a rock and roll singer.

Lost red Nikon Coolpix camera: $300 reward

Lost red Nikon Coolpix camera: $300 rewardI saw this flyer on the wall of the Goodbye Blue Monday and nearly gasped, I felt so bad for Allison. 

It’s always best to transfer/copy photos from your camera’s media card ASAP to someplace else (computer, online storage, etc) but it’s a common mistake, just like not backing up one’s hard drive regularly.  And most of us have made one or both mistakes.

Do you read to your kids at bedtime? Know someone who does? Then go the fuck to the Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore and get this book

I heard about the book Go the Fuck to Sleep back in May and asked Monkey See Monkey Read blogger and Northfield bookstore proprietor Jerry Bilek if he carried it. Ever on top of things book-related, he wrote back:

I’ve got them on order. It should be released June 14. It’s getting a lot of buzz. I’ll send you a blog post about it as soon as I have copies.

Jerry now has the book in stock. See his blog post on it for more. Here’s a sample:

Go The Fuck To SleepThe cats nestle close to their kittens now.

The lambs have laid down with the sheep.

You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear

Please go the fuck to sleep.

From the Wikipedia on Go the Fuck to Sleep:

Go the Fuck to Sleep is a book written by American author Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés. Described as a "children’s book for adults", it reached number 1 on’s bestseller list a month before its release, thanks to an unintended viral marketing campaign during which booksellers forwarded PDF copies of the book by email.

The book is available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

Another reason to love the Carleton Arb

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot. - John CageWhile Northfield awaits the installation of poems by the 2011 Sidewalk Poetry Contest winners, inspiration can be found in the Upper Arb in the form of this tastefully constructed bit of cardboard strung between two trees with a John Cage quote.

Fluff redux 2011: how did this mama Mallard end up with 24 ducklings?

mama Mallard and 24 ducklings mama Mallard and 24 ducklings 
This mama Mallard and 24 ducklings are waddling around the Hidden Valley Park / Valley Pond Townhouse Association neighborhood this week. According to the Wikipedia entry on the Mallard:

The clutch is 8–13 eggs, which are incubated for 27–28 days to hatching with 50–60 days to fledgling. The ducklings are precocial and fully capable of swimming as soon as they hatch.

So how did this lady end up with 24? Adoption?

(I’ve not done a fluff piece on ducks since 2007 so Bruce and Curt, shut up. And John George, that headline is for you.)

April 15: cruel as ever

April 15 snow in Northfield, MN April 15 snow in Northfield, MN
Tax Day is April 18th this year instead of the 15th. But as if to compensate, Mother Nature inflicted a measure of cruelty on us Minnesotans today.  A cold, wet windy day ended with a heavy wet snow. I took these photos in my front yard about 11:30 PM. On April 15, 1983, we had 13.6 inches so be grateful.

Northfield police: Jesus hasn’t saved you from a parking ticket, however…

IMG_20110129_085127-85 IMG_20110129_085141 85 IMG_20110129_085112 85
I saw this car on Jefferson Road this morning. 

Back window: "JESUS HAS SAVED ME"

Side window: "HELL AIN’T FUN"


Heh. Our Northfield cops sure are funny.

Video: surprise serenade at Northfield’s Caribou Coffee

I got this email from Northfielder and Happy to be from Iowa blogger Margaret Colangelo:

Merry Christmas Griff! Thought you’d enjoy this local “flash mob”. On Wednesday 12/22 my daughter Jean arranged a surprise serenade for her Secret Santa at Northfield’s Caribou Coffee – Mgr Amanda George. The guys involved are some members of the NHS group BCG. From the left they are Dan Remes, Connor Fink, Peter Duba, Cole Harding, Steven Carson, Sullie Ojala-Hembolt, and Theo Hofrenning. Customers there were so happy they were able to witness this! I was able to film the whole thing.

Wikileaks spreads …

Our investigative reporters, always titillated by stories that mix sex, espionage and secret facilities, have tracked down the new doubleplussecret facility serving up Wikileaks information.

Behind this innocent door, hardly different from the doors in any industrial facility, lies the powerful system serving files under the wikileaks URL.

Doubleplussecret entrance to the facility

The door of shame ... Doubleplussecret entrance to the facility

The brain box ... the smartest thing in the room

Behind which we see the powerful, state-of-the-art, 486-class tower system with an astounding 64M of memory.

Goodbye Blue Monday’s annual doughnut sale is today

Northfield Police Sergeants  A, B, CThree of Northfield’s finest were first in line today at 6 am for the Goodbye Blue Monday annual doughnut sale.

Out of respect for Homeland Security guidelines and Quality Bakery, I’ve only identified them as Northfield Police Sergeants  A, B, C.

A quadricycle built for 3

Seen on Division St. this aft, a quadricycle (quadracycle) pulling a trailer.


(Posted from my G2 Android phone and later edited.)

Fluff lives

In the annals of LoGro wildlife fluff (beaver, ducks, owls, etc  ), I can now add a snapping turtle to my collection. I took these photos last night on the Mill Towns Trail near Sechlar Park.

FYI, I’m on a jury for a civil trial in federal court in St. Paul. Day 4. Great experience so far. Judge, attorneys, court staff all excellent. No wifi but I’m able to use my new G2 Google phone with the WordPress app to post this.

Happy Birthday to Mr. Northfield Entertainment Guide

Birthday party at Chapati for Rob Schanilec Rob Schanilec, Felicia Crosby, Birthday party at Chapati for Rob Schanilec
Friends and family of Rob Schanilec gave him a surprise birthday party at Chapati last night. Rob owns By All Means Graphics and publishes, among other things, the Northfield Entertainment Guide (NEG). I think he’s 60 years-old but I could be wrong.

Horse trailers pack Babcock Park for ?

horse trailers in Babcock ParkAt 9 am this morning, I noticed that Babcock Park was full of horse trailers, but not a person around.

Anyone know what’s going on?

June 24, 8 am update: They put up a sign, just in time for departure: it’s the Friendship Wagon Train, part of an effort to raise money for Camp Winnebago. Friendship Wagon Train in Northfield Friendship Wagon Train

Guess what this image is?

Mystery image
This is a new version of a familiar image in Northfield.

What is it?

And what does it remind you of?

Guess what this curious item is?

A curious item A sharp-eyed Dean Kjerland, AKA Mr. Riverwalk Market Fair, alerted me to this item strapped to a sign at the entrance to the Just Food Co-op parking lot.

What is it?

And when that question is answered to my satisfaction, what else could it be if one’s imagination is left to run rampant?

Sidewalk salonistas wonder: Where in the world is Eric Johnson?

Sidewalk salonistas, 2010 The 6 am Tuesday gang of sidewalk salonistas at the Goodbye Blue Monday were floundering a bit this week.  Anchor Eric Johnson was out of town.

I’ve heard occasional objections over the past 5 years to my use of the term ‘salonistas.’ It’s a bit obscure, I admit, since the Urban Dictionary defines a salonista as “A person who wrote/worked for the online magazine, especially during its heyday in the 1990s.”  It also has a more generic meaning: anyone who regularly attends a conversation salon AKA a literary salon.

I’m not sure what term they’d prefer. Gasbag geezers?

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