Archive for April, 2011

Bob Newhart

When I was growing up there was a contingency of authentic actors who regularly made a living doing fantastic work.  Newhart’s memoir; I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This confirms he one of those people.  He’s actually who you think he might be; hard-working, a decent family man and someone who left television on his terms..his presence on television is akin to a comfortable chair.  He got his driver’s license late in life, never expected to sell any of his work, decided a career in law was not for him and Don Rickles is his best friend.  This book will make you laugh if you’re already a fan of a legend.  LA Carlson

Writers’ & Artists’ Hideouts

My primary hideout is usually in plain view of the dog, the kids and involves wearing headphones.  But when you need to physically get away this reference guide divides the US into regions.  Many of these places in Writers’ & Artists’ are beautiful inns, cottages, and historic hotels which will feed an artist’s need to be creative.  While the places listed for Minnesota are mostly smaller towns, I don’t believe there’s any greater getaway  here than the North Shore.  Specifically, Grand Marais.  It’ French for “grand refuge or marsh.”  The draw here is endless amounts of fresh air, waves hitting the beautiful shoreline, home cooked food and the romance of simplicity.  Just thinking about it soothes the heart.  LA Carlson

This is who we are….

Audrey Hull.  This University of Minnesota student lost to the world while riding her bike in a preventable accident was creative, intelligent and driven.  She taught English in Japan for a year, won first place in a university film contest and was set to graduate with a double major; she was only 25.  Forget reality television this is who we are…please take a moment and remember a name you don’t know, slow down when you’re behind the wheel and probably most importantly remember there are two families who will never be the same; the driver and Audrey’s family.  LA Carlson

The stories…

Although, I was never a fan of Clint Eastwood’s acting roles I’m finding when he wears his directorial hat he is simply masterful and I’m smitten.  Probably because he sums it up best when he says it’s all about the story.  Translation:  it’s really all about the writing.  His latest directorial debut, Hereafter, is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s the story of tragedy, death and love.  While Matt Damon is always excellent, the french actress Cecile De France gives him a run for his money.  LA Carlson

In Defense of Greg Mortenson

I have not met Greg Mortenson and regrettably I’ve missed opportunities to hear him speak.  Recently 60 minutes did a profile on Three Cups of Tea author.  Mortenson builds schools primarily directed at educating young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  His work has been nothing short of extraordinary.  The reporting was unbalanced and did not offer stories on how Mortenson has made a difference.  Greg and the Board of CAI have issued their responses to questions being asked.  I believe many people are quick to assess a story based on a few bits of information taken out of context. Before you throw this gifted, generous gentleman to the sharks do your own research, the financials are available on the CAI website.  The bulk of finances are kept in a CD and 91% of contributions come from individuals.  Mortenson did not take a salary for many years and has donated money to CAI.  Non-profits are allowed to pay salaries and make money.  Read the book, it’s one of the best stories of starting from nothing and making a difference.   Mortenson’s extensive travel schedule is dedicated to raising awareness of his cause and is directly related to what CAI does.  Without Mortenson there would be no CAI.  The assertion that his publisher, Viking, is reviewing his book-published in 2007-makes me wonder what they did before it was published?  I believe Mortenson’s integrity is beyond reproach.  LA Carlson

War Letters

As another Minnesota soldier is lost in war (Spc. Joseph A. Kennedy-25 yrs. old) I am reminded of the power of remembering. Andrew Carroll’s powerful book War Letters documents 200 letters from soldiers covering the Civil War,  WWI, WWII, Korean and Cold Wars, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Somalia and Bosnia wars.  Perhaps just as important it started an impressive idea to preserve these priceless letters in the Legacy Project.  LA Carlson

Sunday Morning

The host of CBS Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood, reminds me of my own father.  He has a remarkable and intellectual voice; he feels like someone who is trustworthy.  This show has a wonderful pulse that provides a great variety of stories on a lazy Sunday morning.  Stories which we relish, remember and most of resonate with who we are.  As a kid growing up in the 80’s it’s heartwarming to see a story of someone who didn’t go down the normal path of destruction.  Molly Ringwald’s transformation into adulthood only confirms how wise she has always been.  LA Carlson