The June 30 Star Tribune carried a delightful essay by novelist Curtis Sittenfeld (whose first name hornswoggled me until I gleaned the fact that she is female) regarding marriage for all. She appears to be a fan of inclusiveness, as am I.
However, in a moment of frolic and detour, she brought up the seemingly eternal Toilet Seat Debate, stating, “I’ve never been sure why men are more obligated to leave the seat lowered than women are to leave it raised.”
Living, as I have for so many years, in a world populated by men, women and toilet seats, I have had the time and the inclination to ponder this question, and thus I long ago arrived at a most rational and appropriate conclusion: Since women always need the seat down for two toileting functions and men need it down for one of two functions, the toilet seat needs to be down for three out of four functions for both genders. Hence, the obligation attaches itself to the male sex.
Furthermore, having grown up in a household with a father and three brothers who always put the seat down, I gamely ventured out into other venues that quickly apprised me of the fact that not all males are so thoughtful.
I have to assume (luckily for her) that Ms. Sittenfeld has never had occasion to sleepily amble into a darkened bathroom and tried to sit on a toilet only to discover too late that the seat was left up.
If she had ever had this experience, her lack of certainty would have immediately dissolved into cold, wet shock, and she would have been baptized into the undying conviction that men should always leave the toilet seat down.
On behalf of women everywhere, thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain it to you and to the legions of clueless males who still populate this great land of ours.
Theresa J. Lippert, St. Paul
‘Hangs on,’ but hard to see how stadium entanglement helps
The CEO of U.S. Bank asserts that he wants shareholders to focus on future revenue growth so that he will not have to lay off employees in order to increase quarterly earnings growth (“U.S. Bank hangs on as rates stay low,” June 28). Yet he makes the decision to pay $11 million per year for 20 years to have the name of the bank on the Vikings stadium with no assurance that this long-term expenditure of the funds of shareholders and customers will increase revenue.
If given a say in the decision, the shareholders and customers may have preferred to have their funds invested in underserved communities in which U.S. Bank is located, such as north Minneapolis. Such a use of their funds would have a much greater likelihood of increasing future revenue, preserving the jobs of employees and serving the community.
Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Basketball coach’s salary strikes me as being sunk costs
I have put off writing this for several weeks, but it still bothers me. In question is a June 11 article stating that University of Minnesota basketball coach Richard Pitino will receive a $400,000 increase in salary next year. Wow — what business would give a raise to anyone after such a subpar performance the previous year? And the university’s athletic department is under federal investigation over a Title IX complaint at the same time. It makes no sense, especially since it seems to have been the result of an apparent article stating that the University of Alabama was interested in hiring Pitino as its basketball coach. He would not even be here at the U if his name was not Pitino. Plus, if he is a good coach, he will probably be the successor at the University of Louisville to his father, who was given a raise to $5 million this year. We can’t compete with that — not many can. But if he is really good, he is gone anyway, to one of the many opportunities that open up each year.
He shows good potential, but let him prove it first.
Terry Thomas, Minnetonka
Stuck on men’s sports, with the ‘one day’ wishes that entails
There was a lot of hoopla over the Timberwolves trading for Tyus Jones in the NBA draft recently. For three days, the front page of the sports section gushed over this choice and the No. 1 draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns. The front-page story of the June 28 sports section rehashed the NBA and NHL draft picks — again.
Over this same period, the Minnesota Lynx rallied to overcome an 18-point deficit, their biggest comeback ever on the road, to beat Seattle, a Page 3 story. They also beat Phoenix — story on Page 9. The U.S. women’s soccer team made it to the semifinals of the World Cup for the seventh time in a row, and the U.S.A. is the only country to reach the final four of every Women’s World Cup. This news made it to Page 2 of the sports section.
How many NBA championships have the Timberwolves won since they were founded in 1989? Uh, none. How many WNBA championships have the Minnesota Lynx won since they were founded in 1999? Two. How many times has the U.S. men’s soccer team won the World Cup championship? Uh, none, but they managed to place third one year. How many times has the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup championship? Two. They also had a second-place finish and three third-place finishes.
The Minnesota Lynx have won as many national championships as the Twins, Wild, North Stars, Timberwolves and Vikings combined.
When it comes to sports coverage in Minnesota, women’s teams that win will be allotted some meager coverage, but by golly, we aren’t going to give them the attention we give all of our losing men’s teams. Let’s hope the future win-loss records of the Wolves and Wild will be worthy of the hype the media is publishing today.
Tracy Blodgett, Woodbury
Visit to parks in southwestern Minnesota was illuminating
I recently visited two wonderful parks in southwestern Minnesota — Blue Mounds and Pipestone National Monument — with my family. The experience was marred by the fact that the waters in both parks have been ruined by farm runoff and animal waste. It’s tragic if we can’t use our public lands and waters due to farms not wanting to mitigate toxic runoff. Really made Steve Sack’s June 28 cartoon hit home and made Gov. Mark Dayton’s buffer initiative seem very timely.
John Munson, Lino Lakes
State’s AG is on the case, and Minnesotans should be grateful
You have to hand it to our courageous Minnesota attorney general, Lori Swanson, for suing a Florida company called Student Aid Center Inc. for taking money from gullible students of for-profit colleges who already owe thousands of dollars in tuition fees (“Swanson sues firm over loan debt ‘forgiveness,’ ” July 2). Apparently there are no lengths to which a crooked business or person will take advantage of a desperate public. It was a shock to read that Minnesota was fifth in the nation in student loan debt, with borrowers owing on average of $30,894, according to 2013 data from the institute of College Access and Success, a research nonprofit.
In the midst of constructing this letter, I received a long-distance call from a so-called computer programmer telling me there is something wrong with my Windows 7. Do I believe him? I got his phone number and told him I will call him back.
Who can you trust? Here’s a hint: When you are in a financial crisis, you become vulnerable. Always be aware of being approached or solicited. Tell family and friends about your next move. Swanson’s consumer-protection lawsuit is just one more reminder about the pitfalls of believing that others want to help you out of a crisis. Minnesota is fortunate to have such a dedicated and diligent warrior for the public good. Kudos to you, Ms. Swanson!
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover