This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Posts about International travel

Minnesotans are EVERYWHERE

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: March 9, 2010 - 2:11 PM

Pleased to be back on the Blog of Things after a brief hiatus; I was bobbing around the Caribbean on a cruise ship, having seven desserts a day, and -

Hey, pal, get to the local angle, you say, or I'm out of here. This isn't Conde Nast Traveller or one of those glossy rags that always has a woman on the cover with a white bikini holding her shoes in one hand on a beach with a big straw hat, okay? Sorry. The all-important local angle is this: there were Minnesotans on board. One was a singer / dancer in the ship's entertainment troupe, and he did stand out: the others were Aussie or Brit and dark-haired, and he was beanpole-tall with a mane of blonde hair. He looked exactly as if he had walked out of a brochure for "Up With People" in 1973 and he was from Anoka. Nice guy, and when he ran the daily trivia game he was a fair but lenient judge. Everyone liked him because the British guy was something of a stickler, which is a trivia-judge term for "Officious little snit who made us lose because we put 'equation' instead of 'theorem.' I was so annoyed by this fellow that I went up after the game to note that he'd made a mistake, thank you very much; when he asked the question "I get a kick from champagne. Who am I?" he was quoting the song lyric incorrectly; it's "I get no kick from champagne. Therefore Cole Porter could not be the answer, having explicitly disavowed the kick-power of champagne in order to set up a contrast with the person who did give him a kick. He looked at me, and thought: "officious little snit." So we're even. 

The other Minnesotans were a nice couple who'd moved down to Austin to golf after they'd retired, spent a few years drumming their fingers on the table in boredom, realized that they could no longer get to the Guthrie in ten minutes, and moved back on the near Northeast side by the new Lunds. That's shipboard life: sitting in a room on the rocking seas outside of Honduras, asking someone if they like the new Lunds. (They did.) 

Also, one of the fellows who gave the shipboard lectures was educated at the U of M, and had great John Barrymore stories to tell. People liked him a lot, much more than Dieter, who gave strange rambling speeches about Mayan fertility rituals that involved cutting open a man's weenus. Folks made for the exits after he hit that slide.

There was also me and my family, which brings the total of Minnesotans and Minnesota-educated people up to seven. Everyone else was from California and Florida.

For more exciting facts about cruising, wait a while; I should have a piece in the travel section soon, including the tale of being laughed at by a dolphin who answered the question "what's it like when a dolphin, er, has a movement right in front of you?" All that and more, en route. 



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