They also asked me whether I was bringing food into the USA. I replied, 'only dark chocolate-covered almonds', and they waved those aside. So Canadians, let it be known you can bring those in.
In Fargo, I found what might be the best Barnes & Noble I've seen yet in terms of emphasis of their space and type of book selection: they had a large proportion given over to children, to home-schoolers' and other parents' education materials, to Christian living and theology and Bibles, and to history. In the history department, the types of books featured a nice mix between classic texts, well-regarded serious history, and some of the pop stuff. Quality declined in the military history (too much garish material) and biography (too much celebrity/movie actor material). They also had a kiosk of Penguin classic literature. Someone in that store makes some excellent choices.
But unfortunately, one book I sought they don't have at all because it's a Canada-specific text and Barnes & Noble has no stores in Canada. So I'll have to either get it online or from Canadian friends meeting me at a conference in September.
After that, excellent services Wednesday and Thursday in western Minnesota. In one meeting particularly, very Scandinavian church, so instead of 'Amen', we all say 'Uff-da'.
One ex-pastor-wife said, ‘I was told that Uff-da wasn't nice to say when we pastored in MN.’ Well, one pastor used it in an email with me. Another pastor's wife said it has very many meanings (apparently like 'ach' and 'zug' in German). The ex-pastor-wife responded, ‘I think the older saints were just sensitive, or maybe they were joking & we couldn't tell, not being from MN. Ourselves.’ One sarcastic man said, ‘I have never heard any negative comments about using that word. Our word for visitors from the land of Lincoln is "offensive" but not uffda.’ One sweet-hearted lady said, ‘I married a Minnesota Swede—and uff-da seemed to mean what ever you wanted it to. "Yaa, Yaa, ever' ting". After 14 years, I still miss him!’
At a Chinese restaurant before church yesterday, as we were leaving, I stopped by a table where a mom and her kids were eating. I SHOULD have said, 'These restaurant people have not seen your cat, so stop asking. Try the chicken. It's purrr-fect.' I forgot to include that, but instead just said, 'when you break open your fortune cookie, the little paper will say, "That wasn't chicken."' She pealed out gales of laughter. And the church is really tremendous—I very much love the people. 'Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah' (a typical Scandinavian-American expression, at least for mid-Minnesota). As the sweet elderly lady who was married to a Swede says, ‘Yah, Yah—I tink I tink so too!’
But when you check out from your hotel room and the very Swedish-looking front desk lady hasn't heard the song 'My name is Yon Yohnson, I live in Wisconsin, I work in the lumber mill there....' or the verse to 'McNamara's Band' that says, 'By Yiminy, I'm the only Swede in McNamara's band', then you know that truly the apocalypse is upon us.
Music experts, your advice please:
please define some of the music genres below: What IS...
'urban' ('rap', 'hiphop' and some others I've heard aren't in this list),
'rhythmic' (I'm guessing this isn't what the Gershwins meant by 'I've Got Rhythm'),
'alternative' (is this a catch-all phrase for everything that doesn't fit in other categories?),
'active rock' (is this rock that dons sportswear and jogs or works out, or is it rock that volunteers in soup kitchens and free medical clinics?),
'adult rock' (does the 'adult' refer to age of the people probably liking the music, or age of the musicians, or like 'adult' entertainment mean a euphemism for morally questionable content? I realize some of these categories can overlap, as in the Rolling Stones).
Speaking of 'adult', what are...
'adult contemporary' (do 'pop standards' fit here?),
'urban adult contemporary' ('deadheads? Jerry Garcia fans? aging 60s hippies?).
'hot adult contemporary' (aging beach bums in tropical climates cultivating skin cancers while ingesting or injecting controlled substances? Or does this category mean that the OTHER, presumably not-hot adult contemporary, is the 'cool' adult contemporary?--all of this reminds me of a Julie Andrews (of all people) song about wanting jazz 'hot' rather than 'cool', but having spent enough of my life in hot places, I'm ready for cool)
The ones I think I know what they mean:
'Top 40' means the tunes that get the most spins on radio, right?
'Country' and 'Christian' and 'Latin' I understand, although some complainer criticized a title on a Youtube video I posted a while back because at that time it said 'Country Music?'—the person thought it was an insult, which is a fabrication from his/her own imagination—dreaming up gripes where none exist, somewhat like today's media. In reality, the artist and I were simply discussing what defines country music, so we were asking the opinion of other people, as I'm also asking above regarding these genres/types/classifications.
In another church I visited in Minnesota, since the pastor can play the trumpet, bass trumpet, flugelhorn, sousaphone, alto saxophone and soprano saxophone, I figured it was only right to tell him in the restaurant the story of Tubby the Tuba (complete from sound effects from the album I heard as a kindergartner in my mother's mother's house). He is also quite quick to anticipate the puns coming when I'm speaking. Smart man.
Doctors and/or nurses ask, 'How would you rate this pain on a scale of 1 to 10?' My response, 'In comparison with what? Disembowelment? A poke in the eye with a sharp stick? A tiddlywink lodged under a thumbnail?' She says, 'With the worst pain you can imagine being 10.' I say, 'OK, 7. But John Rambo would probably call it a 2.' She smiles.
The sweet, elderly lady responds, ‘You had an owie? Take heart! From one who has lived 85 years, they don't come along very often, and they always leave.’
Another friend says, ‘My dad made several trips to the Dr, ER and hospital towards the end of his life. He'd always sigh and kind of roll his eyes and shrug when they'd ask him that question. He'd like your response.’