Christmas Letter 2010!!

Hello to All!

Well, here it is again. Another year has passed and my yearly and beloved Christmas letter is at-hand! I hope this finds you all blessed by the gods you love the most and more importantly the gods who love you the most!  We’ve had one heck of a year here at the Soiseth Ranch!

Olivia (6) started school at La Etoile du Nord (no idea what that means), the French immersion school here in St. Paul, and was immediately propelled to the front of her class (she sits right near the door). She’s learning math, science, civics and all the rest – and all teaching is in French! We’re not sure what she’ll learn in English, but we hope that the French are the nice ones and not the ones who hate the English for that class. We’re pretty certain she’s doing great! But are struggling reading to her and helping her with any homework as we don’t have any idea what in Gay Paris any of it means!

She still struggles, as does her little brother Ben (3), with simple English phrases like “Eat what’s on your plate”, “Clean your room”, “Stop hitting”, “Stop biting”, “Stop stabbing” and “For the love of God, Kid, Think!!” They’re simple phrases so we’re certain both will soon cotton to them and stop killing one another slowly, with their hands, toys, lamps, sculpture and, well, anything else in our lovely and warm home her on good old Como Place.

Ben is doing great also. He’s in pre-school at North Como Pre-School, which is housed in North Como Presbyterian Church, and while we’re both worried he’ll be brainwashed by all the hooky religion business, we’re also hoping some of that old fire and brimstone, you’ll burn in hell, Old Testament bible will rub off on him. “The kid’s got spunk” is what we like to say. That, and “Ritalin’s not too far away”, we figure. We had a teacher conference recently (imagine that! Teacher conference for a three-year-old!) and the teacher, Miss Lisa, held our hands and told us just how much she appreciated all we did and that she was thinking about us pretty much every hour he wasn’t in school. She said she spent that time focused on him! He’s getting extra special attention! The best and brightest always do! She wept a bit and led us to the door. It was quite a meeting. Sad news: Miss Lisa recently had to quit to “explore other opportunities”. We wish her well in the new year!

Jana’s wonderful as well. She’s gotten sooo good at pointing out when I forget what she tells me! And although her uncle, Denny, pointed out that she might be doing that even when she never said a thing to slowly break me down and eventually play me like a marionette to do her bidding until the day I die, I’m pretty sure that’s not true! Or, at least, Jana told me that I forgot that he said, “Just kidding!”  right after that. He probably did. I probably forgot.

Me? Oh, who cares? Okay, I still love Budweiser as much as anything else and my Man Cave is really coming along! I pretty much spend every waking hour that I’m not at work down here! Sure, I can hear the screaming and fighting upstairs, the dishes crashing and the feet stomping, the fire detector going off and that hiss of the extinguisher, but if I crank up my tunes, it all goes away! So, I’ll crank it up, crack open another Bud and toast all of you – those I love the most – more even than all my Facebook friends, all 187 of whom I truly adore. Here’s my toast: May the new year bring more of the same!

Merry Christmas!


cowards and cranks

Here’s what’s crazy. Okay, so we’re hardwired to think we’re special. Got it. If we didn’t think that we’d never procreate. What’s the point of another me if i’m not certifiably awesome? And we’re able to look beyond – or better yet incapable of fathoming – the fact that there are 6,000,000,000 other equally awesome beings on this planet. We are in the best sense of science tiny inconsequential things on a small speck of a ball floating in a universe beyond our comprehension. T’were it we were able to comprehend that, we just might end it all right now. (Or invent religions.) So why am I so fucking awesome? No idea. But I most certainly am.

So that’s a huge intro to wondering how we got so cranky. My 47 years have shown me many, many cranks. The old dude in the house a few doors down who mostly just yelled at us kids when we veered on to his lawn or made a bit of noise after dark. The cranks. The angry few. They had their reasons, whatever they happened to be.

But what of today? Who are these cowards who go online and comment on articles and posts and anything else in an absolutely petulant, angry, and offensive manner. I use offensive in both the ‘I’m on the offensive’ and ‘that’s fucking offensive’ manner. They hide behind sad little monikers that further emasculate them, and then attack like angry chihuahuas barking, yipping and yapping at one another safe within their cages bathed in computer blue. Do they thrive on the anger or hope for some win that can’t happen in the never ending blogosphere? Or, and this is what scares me, do they get their energy from the anger itself? Do they sit anonymously at their computer and feel some sense of anger/power that’s new to our world? (Newspapers would never print your rant unless you had the guts to use your name.)

This is more of a problem than we think, I think. These are no cranks as we once knew them. The guy who shouted from his front porch or wrote the fuming letter to his local paper. He was not anonymous and had to live up and stand up to his anger and whatever response he compelled. These are true cowards – tiny unabombers –  who hide behind silly names with no repercussions for what they write, but feeling awesome in their anger.

File that under pointless rants. But my name is Luke, and I approve this rant.

the nits?

I find it beautiful that our world is as big as it is. We can go through life – me, born in 63, now 47, and hear a band begat in 74 that is as good as any band i’ve ever heard. The Nits. Really? Where on earth have they been? Where on earth have I been?

holy one

Holy guacamone, eno returns, as good, better, always better, than before. Everything he does, did, will do, outdoes the last. I just thought “This” was the greatest eno song since that “Here He Comes” – again upon return. God, man. Here he is. Best.

Small Craft on a Milk Sea

Friday, July 7, 1911

Deconstructing our old kitchen to make for new, we found in the wall of our 1911 home, a Friday, July 7, 1911 St. Paul Daily News couple of spreads, crinkled and desiccated over time, yellowed, but we could nab some cool shit…check this out…


When I was a kid, pretty much the entire Aquatennial Celebration – milk carton boat races, sandcastle contest, hydroplane races! – all took place on Lake Calhoun and I happened to live right on top of it. Fucking A! That was choice!! Fucking hydroplanes! I saw one crash – flip over and over and over and stop miraculously just short of the east shore filled with people standing around and watching. The world descended upon our front yard for two weeks every year – vendors, gawkers, airplanes dragging banners shouting “It’s the real thing!”

But hydroplanes. I so wanted a hydroplane. And there was one – just for me – I saw at the boat show – on which I fixated for years. The Bumble Bee.


cloning carpenters

There’s a lot of talk about cloning and whether or not it should ever extend to humans, which we all know will eventually happen somewhere by someone and the seal will be broken. If those people lead good lives (clones, mind you), the practice will have to be accepted lest we discriminate against clones. They have as much right to live as you do, they have as much right to be brought in to this world as you do. So it’s a done deal and even if you have deep reservations about it, I’d ask you to think about one thing: What if instead of just cloning, we cloned Karen Carpenter? You can’t possibly disagree with that! Karen died way too young and how sweet would it be if you could go into any crappy little lounge with a singer and it was a Karen Carpenter? Clone Carpenter, of course. How sweet would that be?! I would argue that I get the original, the flagship clone, as it were, because it was my idea. I would enslave her like an ipod and she would hang out with me and sing upon request. Karen Carpenter. We all miss you, everyone.

I don’t believe in heaven, except for Karen Carpenter. It makes perfect sense that she would be there, live, in full angelic voice. The rest of you, no chance.

More Karen is better than one.

D.B. Who?

Many years ago in high school, some friends and I stole some keys to a paddle boat on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis and then stole the paddle boat. One problem: Lake Harriet has no inlets or outlets. It’s really more like a very large pond. So stole is really a misnomer and stupid comes to mind. Especially considering it was about midnight and that after about 20 minutes and a Miller beer or two, bright police searchlights blasted from three different directions and the three or four of us all jumped ship and swam for shore.

I was reminded of this particular proud moment reading the tale of Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant, who berated a plane full of travelers, grabbed a beer, opened the emergency door and slid down the emergency slide. At first blush, it has potential to be a rather gutsy little move. That is until you realize that he slid down onto the tarmac of a major airport – one of the most secure places around. I can’t imagine what he did when he got to the bottom. Just walked off into the horizon? Yeah, no. D.B. Cooper, he ain’t.

How is any of this surprising?

All from one week, Health & Science, of The Weekgreat mag for staying dialed in…

Postpartum perfectionism

“New mothers who are overly concerned about being the ‘perfect parent’ may be more at risk for postpartum depression…”

Yeah, the reality of a baby quickly destroys any notion of perfectionism, and if you depended on that, you’re going to be depressed. .

For giraffes, length matters

“…some researchers now suggest that the long necks actually have more to do with sex…”


Addicted to love

“If you’re having a really hard time getting over a broken romance, it could be because you’re literally addicted to love…”

That, religion, and TV are the true opiates of the masses.

Health scare of the week
Kids die in hot cars

Can happen, but I stayed in a 73 Oldsmobile station wagon for some time outside stores without any negative effect. Other than I know waiting in a car for a long time for someone is fucking boring.