Today marks the one-year anniversary of Fish Wrap.  In that year, Fish Wrap writers have written 257 posts and the blog has received 16,031 views.  Our most popular post, with 1,145 views, is 9/11 Conspiracy Theory – Zeitgeist by Brooke Trout.  The day that received the most hits was Tuesday, June 24, 2008.  That was the day that Gordon Wheeler, Sr., held county commissioners hostage at the Morrison County Courthouse.  The two posts that caused the flurry of hits were Outrage (232 hits) and Sanity in the Courts (40 hits).

While those popular posts dealt with serious topics, one of my favorite posts, written by Suckerlip Blenny, is a humorous post that hasn’t had nearly enough hits in this fish’s humble opinion (a mere 10).  It’s called Bat Boy Moonlighting in Morrison County and it’s got pictures.  Bat Boy is a cultural hero, having been spawned in the pages of the Weekly World News.  We’re pleased he’s decided to make his home in Morrison County.

On that note, we’d like to thank our readers for checking in with us over the year and wish Fish Wrap a happy anniversary.

Bubbling happily in the pond,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel


The following is a report from Fish Wrap Correspondent Black Molly:


On Friday, July 11, 2008, the Morrison County government and citizens bade a fond farewell to County Administrator Tim Houle.  Tim has served the county since 1994, first as County Coordinator and then, when the county narrowly approved the redefinition of the position, as County Administrator.  Houle is leaving Morrison County in order to serve as the new Crow Wing County Administrator, a position he was a candidate for in 2000.

The afternoon event was filled with gratitude for the work Houle has done for the county and region from such dignitaries as Representative Al Doty, the Morrison County Commissioners, former Representative Steve Wenzel, and several commissioners from adjoining counties.  One of the Crow Wing County Commissioners spoke at the event, saying that Houle had induced a rare unanimous vote among Crow Wing’s Commissioners when the decision was made to hire him.

Senator Paul Koering had attended the event earlier in the afternoon, but was unable to stay to present Houle with a plaque of appreciation.  This, along with other plaques and gifts, was presented through the course of the afternoon.

Along with expressing thanks for his work and sharing congratulatory remarks, county staff gave Houle a bit of a roasting.  Perhaps toasting would be a more appropriate word, but not toasting in the sense of raising a glass.  Instead, employees of Morrison County Public Health presented Houle with a golden toaster, a symbol of Houle having banned the use of a toaster in the Public Health office after several incidents of burnt toast set off fire alarms in the Government Center.

Further, Houle was presented with a Superman “S” to wear on his chest after making public remarks about the fact that he was an ordinary guy who didn’t have a big red “S” underneath his shirt.  Several comments were also made about the reflectiveness of Houle’s head and how Nathan Richardson, one of the county’s founders, and Houle were rivals in the head size department.

The presentation ended with Houle saying that he had played only a small part in the county’s accomplishments and that everyone, from the front-line county workers dealing with the public on up to the County Commissioners, was responsible for how well the county is being run.

In this fish’s opinion, Houle’s modesty is sincere, but he most assuredly deserves credit for the leadership he has brought to Morrison County and his use of that leadership to inspire those in the county to provide friendly and efficient service to Morrison County’s citizens.

We’re going to miss you, Tim.  Thanks for your dedication and service.

Your Fish Wrap Correspondent,

Black Molly

A warning for all you fishies out there:  Watch your tail fins.  It’s the season of Lent and Friday Fish Fries are all the rage.

Darting madly about the pond,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

In this week’s issue of the Morrison County Record, there is a long article on page 12 of section A about preventing identity theft.  There’s some good advice in the article, although in some instances of identity theft, I’m not sure how people can really protect themselves more than they already are.  I mean, if the State Department of Motor Vehicles is allowed to sell our names and addresses and an identity thief gets hold of one of these lists, there’s not much we can do about that now, can we?

Anyway, I made it through to the end of the article and discovered these final words:

“For more information, go to”

That’s it.  Empty space.  Nowhere to go to.  Apparently, identity thieves have stolen the end of the sentence and don’t want us to learn any more about their tricks.

Where did I put my eel-skin wallet?

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

P.S.  The identity thieves didn’t get to the online version of the story, where the sentence comes to this conclusion:  “the Minnesota Attorney General’s Web site at”

Al Franken made a campaign stop in Little Falls, Minnesota, today.  Our special Fish Wrap correspondent Black Molly was on the scene to get the story.  Here is her report.



Al Franken in Little Falls, MN  Fish Wrap card with Al Franken’s signature 

Photo on the left:  Al Franken greeting voters at the Royal Cafe in Little Falls, MN.  The woman seated facing the camera is Cathy Adamek.

Photo on the right:  An official Fish Wrap postcard signed by Al Franken.

Click on photos for a larger view.


Let me say right out of the starting gate that Al Franken is punctual.  His website said that he would be in Little Falls, MN, at the Royal Cafe at 11:30 p.m. and, by golly, he was.  Al is running as a Democratic candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate.  He greeted sixty-plus Morrison County residents personally at today’s event – literally.  As soon as he arrived, he systematically made his way around the room and shook hands with each person.  Even looked us in the eye, he did.

Once Al was through with hand-shaking, Bob Keeton, chair of the Morrison County DFL, formally introduced Al to the crowd.  When Al started speaking, the room was a-hush with people hanging on every word.  Al started his speech by talking about Mrs. Molin, his 4th grade teacher who has appeared in one of his television ads.  He said that the ad has gone viral, with people calling campaign headquarters trying to find her.  He told those assembled, “If Mrs. Molin plays her cards right, she’ll be a very wealthy woman,” because of the ad.

Al then proceeded to state his beliefs and the things he’ll work to accomplish when he becomes the next U.S. Senator from Minnesota.  (Notice that I didn’t use the word “if.”  This guy’s going all the way.)  He did this in a refreshingly concise, clear, and logical manner, covering a lot of issues in a fairly short time, and throwing in his signature satire to boot.  (I’m playing straight-man here because there’s not a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks that I’ll be able to communicate his humor.)

Al believes that No Child Left Behind and the large sizes of classes in schools have prevented teachers from teaching.  He wants to emphasize education during his time in the Senate because he believes a good education will allow us to compete in the global economy and help us to solve sticky societal problems.  He also wants to work on making college affordable again, saying that Pell grants used to cover 86% of the cost of a college education, whereas today, Pell grants only cover around 40%.

He said that if you want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, “First you’ve got to have the boots.”  Government should assist people in getting those boots.

Al believes in the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms – which is a huge issue in Morrison County.

He wants to work for universal health care and cited these statistics from the World Health Organization:  The United States is ranked 37th among the nations of the world for the quality of our health care system and dead last for preventative medicine.  We can do better than that.

Al discussed how the current White House administration has been anti-science.  He will work to pass a law that states that the administration can’t change scientific reports without first getting the approval of scientists.  This topic morphed into a discussion on global warming, alternative energy sources, and green transportation.  Al believes in wind turbines, rail all over the state and electric cars.

Al is anti-torture and anti-invading-other-countries-for-no-good-reason.  He’s for our constitutional rights.

He wants us out of Iraq, but he wants us out in a thoughtful and responsible way.  He wants our foreign policy to be proactive and based on diplomacy.

Al said that this election, this period of time, is our Sputnik moment – a moment of truth in which we can turn this country around, undo what the current administration has done, and move on to better things.  He wants the United States to be the greatest country in the world once again.

I think Al Franken is well on his way to that goal.  After having lived with continually decreasing amounts of hope over this last seven or so years, Al Franken has given me something to be hopeful about again.   For that, he’s getting my vote.  (The punctuality doesn’t hurt either.)

Your Fish Wrap Correspondent,

Black Molly

 Wearing Slippers on Sunday,

Brooke Trout

The donkey has been stolen from the manger scene on display at Lindbergh Elementary School in Little Falls, MN. So reports the Morrison County Record in its December 23, 2007, edition. The baby Jesus has been stolen twice before, so the Lindbergh Lions, who sponsor and take care of the display, didn’t bother to put him out this year. What good is a manger scene without the Christ child?

Some might condemn me for finding this incredibly humorous. What lends humor to the situation is the ransom note left behind by the “twisted sisters,” who want a million dollars in Monopoly money, three live chickens, “7 maids a milken, and a pare tree,” and for “sexy to be brought back,” whatever that means. Oh, and they want some smokes, too. A pack of Marlboro Red 100s.

What the “twisted sisters” don’t realize is that they may have hit upon a solution to all the enmity caused by displaying Christian scenes and symbols on public property. If pranksters start stealing the symbols and scenes, people will think twice before displaying them.

While I take no issue with religious organizations displaying items of faith on private property (their own, or that of consenting property owners), I do take issue with the display of religious items on public property when the displays favor one religion over the others. This is what we have come to in America today. Christianity has become the de facto public religion and if anyone complains about it, well they’re just too sensitive and they should just get over it.

Since when has it become illegal in the United States to practice a religion other than Christianity? Have Christians forgotten their history? (Did some of them ever know it?) At one time, their religion was the repressed one and they were persecuted. Now some Christians are attempting to turn the tables in a land where religious plurality is supposed to be the rule. Be careful of wishing for a totalitarian state of any kind. You just might get it.

Oh, and “twisted sisters?” Pony up the donkey. Stealing is not nice, although you do get a few kudos for a creative ransom note.

Happy Holidays to Fish Wrap readers of all faiths, and to agnostics and atheists everywhere.

From my pond to yours,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

Next Page »