In the Minnesota Valley

Today, Caren and I toured the Minnesota River valley with a special focus on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

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We visited the Lower Sioux Agency site, where the war started when local U.S. government agents refused to give over annuity payments and food due to the tribe members. We also visited the Battle of Birch Coulee, bloodiest and longest (1.5 day camp siege) battle of the war. As someone who is used to the size of Civil War battles, these sites seem tiny, but when you consider the population and density of Minnesota in the 1860s, these actions were huge earth-shattering occurrences. The prairie was certainly on fire.

The end result was the Dakota reservations being dissolved, the native people being exiled to other states, and (most infamously) the hanging of 38 natives in downtown Mankato in December 1862. It still the largest execution ever ordered by the US Government.

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More happily, we also hit the Starkeller in New Ulm for some sour beers and viewed the bizarrely huge Hermann Monument. A good birthday weekend.

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“A Little Honey” and more

Missed another blog post, but I can’t help but feel it resulted in some good long-term accomplishments. Besides the podcast, other things are in the works, my actual paying job does demand some time, and I can’t help but be excited about our upcoming trip to Mexico City. I hope you like pictures of tacos and pyramids.

So here comes some random selections from the past few days:

I’m loving Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats right now:

I think I’m going to use the old WGN “Family Classics” theme song as my podcast intro music:

Finally, what do you call those towns that exist purely for touristic use. They usually include antiques, fudge and mediocre restaurants, as well as a bookstore and perhaps some middling outdoor or historic attraction. Sometimes they have a theme in their architecture. Examples include:

  • Stillwater, MN
  • Gatlinburg, TN
  • Helen, GA
  • Leland, MI (Fishtown!)
  • Berea, KY
  • Harpers Ferry, WV
  • Grand Marais, MN

I’m sure there are more. I don’t count places like Wall Drug or South of the Border in this list, as they are singular attractions. So does this phenomenon have a name?

Hoarding Checks

I’ve been a full-time accountant for over 3 years now, and I am still amazed how many people hoard, lose and/or don’t bother to cash large checks sent to them.

With the rise of electronic payments this has become less of a problem, but in some cases a check just works better and then people sit on them. For months in many cases.

This personal anecdote plus the annual “average savings rate” statistics are sobering realities. I can only tell you to set up automatic transactions that force you to save. And if you are lucky enough to have a 401k with matching, please take advantage. Otherwise, you are throwing away free money.