Friday, April 14, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXLVIII

- The Minnesota State Fair is perhaps the most renown state fair in the country. And if one were to ask fair goers their favorite foods, I would guess a substantial majority surveyed would say Cheese Curds are in their personal top 5 (they're definitely tops in my book).

As such, I was shocked to hear the news that the Cheese Curds building on Dan Patch Ave. will be no more.

But (co-owner Dick) Mueller can tell you that now that he has reached 80 years old, he and his co-owners are ready to hang it up. "We just decided our health isn't going to let us do this," Mueller said. "You're talking 16-18 hours a day and at that age it just had to be done. I just had to be done."

But certainly some enterprising younger folks could have assumed the reins, correct?

Mueller didn't want his retirement to mean the end of the business.

"I think we're part of the history and you want to continue it with your family if you can," Mueller said.

He had hoped his son could take it over, but State Fair administrators told him it wasn't an option.

Jim Sinclair, deputy general manager for the Minnesota State Fair, says there have been times when food stand operators have been allowed to transfer their business to others, but he says it has been rare in recent years.

Dunno why an exception couldn't be made here given the rich tradition of this legendary food at that locale. After all, it's not like MN State Fair officials haven't been willing to let other questionable transactions slide.

No surprise given the state fair brass can't even gin up political diversity in the "seed art" submissions.

- English author/columnist Christopher Hitchens (who died in December 2011) would have turned 68 years old this past Thursday. To commemorate his birthday, someone posted on Twitter a video of a talk he gave concerning radical Islam, religious "tolerance" and multi-culturalism.

It was hauntingly prescient.

Hitchens often used the term "resist" in the excerpt of this speech. That word carries a lot more weight in the context he used it than when certain thumb-sucking proggies spew it while throwing a tantrum over that meanie Donald Trump.

- Last December, ailing Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew received a heart & kidney transplant. Then last month Carew had the unique opportunity to meet the family of the young man who donated the organs. Konrad Reuland, who had a brief stint in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, died of aneurysm a mere four days before Carew was the recipient of his donated organs.

What makes the story even more poignant is how a young Konrad once met Carew in person.

Mary Reuland, Konrad’s mom, told the American Heart Association that her oldest son first met Carew when he was 11 or so attending a California middle school. Carew's children attended the same school.

“All he talked about for the rest of that day was, `I met Rod Carew!’” Mary said.

The moment that would forever bind the two, however, came about a year ago in the Reuland kitchen. Konrad was filling out a driver’s license renewal form when he asked his mom whether he should become an organ donor. She said it was a personal choice, but added she was signed up to be a donor. So he did too.

On March 2, Rod and his wife Rhonda met the Reuland family.

“You’re a part of our family now,” Mary Reuland, Konrad’s mom, told them.

“Yes,” Rod said. “Forever.”

In September 2015, the 71-year-old Carew suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Following complications, doctors determined he needed a new heart.

The American Heart Association believes this to be the first such transplant involving pro athletes.

I have yet to sign up to be an organ donor. A saga such as this makes me wonder why I'm hesitating to do so.


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