Thursday, May 19, 2011


Yes, it is morel season here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I've been spending a lot of hours in the woods.  So far I've found wood ticks and morels in roughly equal numbers.  We've had a long, slow spring, and while there are a lot of mushrooms out there - or so I've heard - I have not been collecting bushels.  More like a few ounces here and there, just enough for a few meals.

Yesterday I was at Byerly's and saw that they had morels for sale.  Three point five ounces of mushrooms so raggedy and dried-out that, had I found them in the woods, I would have left them to rot.  The price?  $19.99.  That's not the per pound price, that's for 3.5 ounces!

So, today, I am going out again, my pant legs soaked with DEET for the ticks, and an optimistic number of bags to be filled.  Wish me luck.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Anoka and Club Book

Mary and I had great time at our final Club Book appearance.  The Lyric Arts Center in Anoka is a lovely venue, and we had a nice audience, thanks to a whole bunch of folks from Edina High School making the journey north.

Anoka used to be a charming little town surrounded by farms.  These days it is still a charming little town, but now it is surrounded by a wasteland of suburban development--much of which is stalled out due to the economic downturn.  Still, the downtown area is vibrant in a "you can get anything you need on Main Street" sort of way.

The only problem we had was Representative Matt Dean, who stood outside the theater the whole time wearing a sandwich sign that read "I hate Neil Gaiman" on one side, and "Reading is for Pencil-Necked Weezles" on the other.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Speaking of Club Book...

Pencil-Necked Little Weasel
Earlier this week, Minnesota Republican House Leader Matt Dean went on a rant against "wasteful" spending.  Here's a quote from an article in the Minneapolis StarTribune:

"Dean also singled out a $45,000 payment of Legacy money that was made last year to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour speaking appearance. Dean said that Gaiman, 'who I hate,' was a 'pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.'"

Neil Gaiman's witty and civilized response is worth reading.  Go, Neil.

Last year, Gaiman was a featured Club Book author, for which he was paid a generous honorarium.  He performed admirably, to a full house, and his talk has been broadcast and rebroadcast more times than I can count.  You can still stream it on MPR.  Bottom line?  The Metropolitan Library Services Agency and the Washington County Library System, who booked and paid for Mr. Gaiman, got their money's worth, and then some.  

This Saturday, when Mary and I do our Club Book event in Anoka, we will be speaking to fewer than 100 people, and our presentation will NOT be featured on MPR.  The Library Foundation will still get its money's worth, but the scale is not the same.  Neil Gaiman had the star power to reach far more people than we will, and he was worth every penny he received.  Which, incidentally, he did not keep for himself.  Not that he didn't deserve it.  Also, I like him because he is a mushroom hunter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Club Book, the Finale

Mary Logue and I are doing our final Club Book event on Saturday, May 7, at 11:00 a.m., at the Lyric Arts Center in Anoka 

Club Book is a series of readings and talks by authors including Walter Mosley, Cathy Wurzer, Mark Doty, Sandra Benitez, Heid Erdrich, and others.  Mary and I are delighted and honored to be part of this amazing series.

Club Book is one of the many remarkable cultural and educational programs made possible by Minnesota's Legacy Amendment.  That's right—if you live in Minnesota, you paid for it with your tax dollars, so you might as well take advantage!

Our plan is to talk about some of our recent books, read a few short excerpts, talk a little, bicker a little, laugh a lot, and and enjoy ourselves

Please stop by if you are able—we'd love to see you there!