Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I run a business that many people think is so important, it alone makes the difference between a community being top tier or second-rate. If my company were to move, a lot of people in the town where I sell my product would feel their quality of life and their standing in the world had been diminished somehow.

This is a very good field to be in.

In fact, this business operates on a field. And the field is surrounded by a building that can hold lots and lots of people. The building needs to be a landmark and a showplace, instantly recognizable to folks everywhere. It has to be an attraction because it is a really a machine that removes money from the pockets of people who come sit in it. And they cheer while it’s happening. They get a little drunk, a little hoarse, and when they leave their wallets are virtually empty. Yet for the most part, they’re kind of happy. As you can imagine, that’s a very sophisticated and expensive sort of building to construct.

I already rent a building that kind of does this magical work, but it’s old and worn and it doesn’t remove as much money from the pockets as I’d like to have. Need to have, I mean. Really, really need to have.

That’s what I’ve asked and asked and asked the community to help me build a newer, more efficient kind of money-sucking building. Or else. Well, it’s not really, definitely “or else”, but possibly “or else”. I don’t want to make threats, but if people in another town built me the kind of cash-hoovering structure I want, I’d pick up and go there because that would make it the sort of building that removes money not only from the pockets of people who are sitting in it, but also from people who aren’t sitting in it and never have any intention of going there, ever.

More magic!

I’m a good businessman and pretty up front about what I’m doing. And yet I am not getting much love and very little satisfaction from the people whose money I covet. Why not?

Sincerely,

Lone Wilf

I told Lone Wilf that there is no accounting for public tastes, but a person who hopes to receive large amounts of money, gratitude and love from millions of strangers might do well to dial back their expectations a bit. No matter how important you are, you are not nearly as important as you think you are. That’s my experience, anyway, and I assume it applies to everyone. It must, because why wouldn’t everyone feel the same way I do? My standard advice applies – moderation in all things, and don’t do anything rash. Sleep on it, buster. Whatever it is.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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79 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building.

    Niccolo Machiavelli

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    1. A philosophical quote first thing in the morning! I feel all wise now, and if I drink the rest of my coffee quickly, the feeling might even last for a while.

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      1. Found it. It’s not that I’m well read – I just like to collect quotes.

        I see, though, that Project Gutenberg has Machiavelli in e-book format for free. Just downloaded.

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        1. Linda, I suspect you’re both well read AND a “collector”. And not only well read, but a thoughtful reader as well. You always have the perfect quote.

          Collecting words and quotes starts so early — our 2 yr old granddaughter likes the word “collection” and has been using it a lot lately. Anytime she has two or more stones in her pocket or worms in her hand, she has a “collection”. Don’t you love to hear a toddler try out the taste of new words on her tongue? Co-LEC-shun! More like an announcement :-) When she’s hopping off furniture she’s not just a frog, she is palaeobatrachus. I guess I’m not too old to learn new words either. The difference is that she remembers them and I’m on the forgetting end of the curve.

          All I can say for Lone Wilf is he has more money than God so what’s he saving it for? Who are these corporate giants who run to the government or the general public with their hands out for public welfare while begrudging a single mother of 4 or a laid off worker food stamps or a measly welfare check to tide them through a rough patch. I’m pretty sure I read that the Vikings only play EIGHT home games each season that only a few attend or even care about? What does that expenditure average out to per game? What a deal! Jacque is right, it’s obscene. Meanwhile our children are out selling candy and magazines door to door to “collect” for their arts and reading programs because the legislature is holding onto money that’s already been voted for school funding.

          My little Zoe will be learning a new definition for “collection” all too soon. And I’m not proud of the grown-ups in the room who are acting like big babies. Dale, you DID ask for our opinions, yes :-)

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        2. Linda, I’m not buying that not well read business either. You may or may not have read what are considered the catalog of books some consider the classics, but I’m pretty certain that you’ve hit more than your fair share of the highlights of modern literature. I’d love to see you list of favorite books.

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  2. Good morning. Dale has it right, Lone Wilf, you are already getting too much attention. You expect too much attention and you are given too much attention. The public, the politicians, and the press are all giving you too much of their time. I know that I am probably far into the minority when I say this, but it wouldn’t mind if everyone would completely ignore you.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Dear LW: I’m getting to an old lady which means I have witnessed a number of these “I want a new facility” contortions. That includes watching the process of the old “field” being financed. In that case as long as the facility was named after Hubert Humphrey who had recently died, anyone could get whatever they wanted. Then the Wolves needed an arena, the Gophers needed their own stadium (which is truly lovely) and the Twins needed a “Real Baseball Field” so they could collapse and play like the Little League. So now it is the Vikings’ turn again.

    After watching this go down a few times, I have learned that IT JUST DOES NOT MATTER WHAT I THINK ABOUT THIS MATTER. You will get what you want, only the amount you pay and I pay varies.

    I like sports and I think they are good for a community. But really, the money involved here is obscene.

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    1. I got a lecture last week about the horrible income tax implications alone of not having a team play in a money-sucking, income-hoovering facility. Made the whole thing a little more palatable, but like Jacque I’m so used to having these votes go over my head “so many times I’ve got tread marks on my scalp!” Double points for this one.

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  4. So far what I have observed of your behavior, Lone Wilf, is not unlike the small child who threatens to hold their breath until a parent gives in (this inevitably leads, of course, to the child exhaling in a fit of pique and defeat), temper tantrums of the variety that often lead (at least in my house) to a firm reminder of, “when you are ready to be calm, we can talk,” though it appears you have not yet resorted – though it appears you may be close – to the slamming of doors and screeches of “you don’t love me anymore, all the kids have them, and if you loved me you’d get me one, too.” All of this will lead you nowhere, at least with most rational parents. What you need is a good bunch of violets and lily of the valley plucked from the back yard (or the equivalent for your situation) that you can bring into the kitchen grasped firmly in your fist – be sure you have on your most innocent, shy smile, and say, “I picked these for you.” Education partnerships for the youngest in the community might smell as sweet as fresh-picked flowers – it’s worth a shot, anyway.

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    1. I WANT MY NEW BARBIE DREAM STADIUM OR I AM GETTING A NEW MOMMY. followed by a raspberry.

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    2. he would love to move to la. it would increase the value of his net worth by at least 50% so while the child who threatens to hold his breath may be crying an unfeasable threat, the vikings can move and make minnesota the 4th or 5th city to lose a football franchise in the last 20 years. each time the city decides it would lie to have a sports team and pays 50% more for the fix after than it would have cost at the time. baltimore cleveland st louis and houston come to mind for football. all had teams leave all had new ones come back in a while later.

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      1. It would increase his net worth in our make believe financial world, but his real worth would not be any greater.

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  5. Something like this would never fly in ND. You should be grateful for what you get, LW. You would have a vastly scaled back facility if you tried to build it on the other side of the Red River. The State agency for which I work is getting a brand new building this year. Just the building. There will be no money for furniture, shelving, or storage units until the next funding cycle, which will happen in two years. We have to use what we have now in the new building, even if it doesn’t fit. It also means that unless I am content to leave all my books and supplies in cardboard boxes on the floor for two years, I have to purchase my own storage. Imagine if you get your new field but had to use all your old equipment and uniforms for two more years before you got new ones, and even then you wouldn’t get them all at one time. You would have to replace the old stuff, unit by unit, so that the defense players got new stuff before offense. ND has a balanced budget requirement in the constitution, and even when there is money to burn, it is hard to get the government to spend any of it.

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  6. As a card carrying Libertarian, I can’t understand how state and local governments got into the sports entertainment business in the first place. Why sports? Why not movies? Millions of people spend money on movies to entertain them. Why not restaurants? Everyone has to eat, and most of us like to go to a restaurant now and then for the “entertainment value.” Why not state of the art car dealerships and repair facilities? Most adults drive. I say put in luxury suites at the local Ford or Chevy dealer so we can watch the mechanics work on our cars with an big screen HDTV to entertain us as we sip on an appletini or a grande mocha latte while munching on gourmet popcorn.

    Oh but wait, I forget, only a few hundred thousand of us go to these games every year and reap the benefits of watching the action in a billion-dollar facility. That makes sports special, therefore our brilliant lawmakers need to tell us what’s best for our individual lives.

    To me this is all another grand plan for the wealthy to separate the not-so-wealthy from their hard-earned dollars under the guise of making us feel good about the state we live in. Go VIkings! I don’t care where, just go. *Yawn*

    Chris in Owatonna

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  7. I was delighted to read, upon waking this AM, that the stadium had been approved by the House. But I don’t feel this is a wise use of resources, not when we have all the issues needing to be addressed with programs and money. So why was I happy to read about the pro-stadium vote? Every woman who has been a mother should understand. There comes a time when the baby is crying and crying and crying in the dark of the night. You have some good reason for not rushing to comfort the kid because . . . oh, because you are trying to teach it to sleep through the night or maybe you have some good reason for not feeding the kid so soon again. But you lie there while the clock barely ticks from one second to the next, and still the baby howls and howls. God, how much noise can something THAT small make? You are an adult. You are in control here. You can outwait this damned infant. And it yells and yells, its sobbing cries echoing against the bedroom walls. And suddenly you hit the breaking point. You rush in with a bottle, jam it in the kid’s face and howl something like, THERE, dammit! THERE is your damn bottle! Now, for god’s sake, shut up and let me sleep!” Feeling compromised, feeling like the worst mother in the world, you slip back into the warm spot in your bed, curl up and relax. You just lost another round in the boxing match that is motherhood, but the baby is no longer howling and you can now sleep for a few precious hours before it howls again. That’s why.

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  8. There’s a word for Wilt’s technique of getting what he wants: blackmail. Illegal when you or I do it, but somehow when a business does it, it’s just a negotiating technique and boys will be boys. Personally, I’d say that if Wilt can find another sucker to build him a “cash-hoovering structure” he should go right ahead and not let the door hit him on the way out, but this blog and my friends’ living rooms are the only places I’m not in the silenced minority on this issue.

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  9. Don’t you just wish our elected officials would work as hard getting funding for our state’s educational folks and facilities? Maybe some people would (shudder) thinks ‘that’s’ a money-sucking venture, but the benefits of a strong educational foundation would put more into the state than a super bowl title. So there…………….

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    1. Education is NEVER a priority. When the state was awash with cash during the Ventura administration, our elected officials placed higher importance on sending rebates to the taxpayers. They prefer to simply refuse our money rather than to spend it on education.

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  10. Dear LW,
    Money isn’t love. It’s free speech, remember? Anyway, with as much money as you have, you don’t need that kind of love. The good news is that you can have any kind of stadium you want, wherever you want, name it anything you want, without approval of the legislature. Just buy the land and build the stadium with your own resources or take out a mortgage like everyone else. Otherwise, just go away and leave us alone.

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  11. ‘And now, cried Max, let the wild rumpus start!’

    Just read that Maurice Sendak just passed away.

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  12. Well! Well! Are you guys a bunch of commies or something? You mean you don’t want to do whatever it takes to keep a professional football team in Minnesota? I think the FBI will be coming to your homes soon to investigate you for anti-American activities.

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  13. hey lone wolf. the life in the big city is expensive and the number of things i dont want to pay for is mounting and the areas of uninvolvement could go on and on. if you add my areas of non interest and those of my friends on the tea party and fiscally conservative side we could eliminate just about all spending. if we need to vote on each expense as it comes up we can save a lot of money. do we need to pay for a bus programs at the schools? do we need to pay for a lunch program at the schools. couldnt we do a lease program on the buildings we house or government stuff in and set up congress in the old wal mart warehouse in bowling green kentucky and have the senators sleep in a trailer court until the session is over (i’ll bet we could have those trailers paid for in no time) . ill bet that would speed things up a bit. and in reality the education for my kids is not exactly what i want. we could vote on what we want to pay for how much we want to pay for it and then send out a fee structure for the community to pay for this or we could just use the next door neighbors stuff and let him pay for it. drop all this arts stuff and the park stuff is only for people who go outdoors. we build roads so trucks can bring us stuff but these truck companies are making big bucks. shouldnt they have to build the roads to the buildings they want to go to? and stores? and office buildings and business expense. shouldn’t we make them pay for their stuff as they go. then we could pay for the stuff that matters to us. i personally don’t like military so we could stop that. and teaching french seems dumb, so does engineering and science. i don’t like that so let those people pay for their own classrooms. all that stuff is lots more expensive than math and english. my kids play music. do they provide instruments? no way so why should we pay for all those bunson burners in science class anyway? millionaires pay for stadium? they could take it elsewhere if we accept no ownership and the couple of people who subscribe to their deal would be upset i suppose but heck. they can probably watch it while they are visiting a neighboring area getting engineering classes.

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  14. An enthymeme:
    Major premise: Americans have broad general views on education, sports, and public funding either in one camp or the other.
    Minor premise: to not be in one of those two camps puts you at odds with everyone.
    Conclusion: Since my views do not fit in either camp, I must be wrong and will keep silent.

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    1. Not wrong, Clyde, just at odds with everyone. And not even everyone, seems like plenty of baboons don’t fit neatly in either camp.

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    2. Enthymeme. Another great new word for this old brain. Knowing the right words would save me using so many other more mundane words if I could only retain them in the first place.

      How can you be wrong, Clyde? Maybe you don’t quite fit because you’re nuanced. It’s Baboonish and that’s commendable.

      This whole topic today makes me wonder what has happened to the commons? The most good for the most people? Aside from the fact that we all have things on which we’d rather not spend our taxes, most of us would probably agree that there are some services and infrastructure that can only be funded collectively. Defense (within reason), education, public safety, public health, roads, LIBRARIES. . . There are people who actually want to privatize libraries! I guess the disagreements come in when we define “essential” services.

      Also, there are politicians out there lately co-opting the word “freedom” and I don’t see for the life of me how people can be “free” without basic food, shelter and health care. Beyond that, whether anyone wants to pursue money and the lavish life or fish or garden or whittle would depend on their aptitude and choices. The operative word being that they would actually have a choice if they felt secure in the basics. They could follow their bliss :-) — knit a sweater or go to a Vikings game or start a business or do sets and lighting for community theater or take a nap. As for Wilf, I think he’s got the basics covered and he’s asking the rest of us to fund his dream and take on the risks with very little return. Why would someone who has so much, feel so entitled to have even more paid for at the public trough? I think he has a lot of nerve.

      PS — Bill and Linda and I went to Anne Fadiman’s reading last night in Highland Park — a free event sponsored by the St. Paul Public Library (support your local library!). She’s a wonderful speaker, funny, smart, caring, a good person and such an eloquent writer. I’m so grateful that our public libraries here in the Twin Cities provide opportunities like this for our tax dollars.

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      1. I wanted to go, but just can’t get this cough of mine to quiet long enough to go something like that. Sorry that I missed it. Did she have a good crowd?

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        1. I did! They are! But you have to catch them NOW or they get all soft and unpleasant later in the summer.

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  15. Face it, LW, you have much, much more money than the people you are trying to hose. I can’t even afford to enter your old building; nor can most of the teachers around here. How would any of us be able to afford to enter your new building when you’ve thoroughly hoovered our pockets before it’s even built? All of the money you’ve sucked up gives you the amazing right (and responsibility) to decide how to make the world a better place. You seem to think your building will do that, and there are certainly a lot of people who are regularly hoovered who will agree with you. Some of us, however, do not agree with you and would be okay with funding education, health and human resources, natural resources and transportation. Some of us strongly believe that jobs could be created in those sectors, the economy would improve and the future would look brighter for our youngsters. Some of us, LW, would not cry if you went to California – or anywhere.

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  16. My current frustration is that both my current rep (MB Wannabe) and Rep Zellers said that they voted against the stadium because theywere opposed to spending our money, but would have voted for it if the vote were closer or their vote mattered. This seems to be the height of hypocrisy. A vote is vote and you can’t put an asterisk next to it to increase the odds of your re-election.

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    1. From an interview with Terry Gross:

      TG: Can you share some of your favorite comments from readers that you’ve gotten over the years?

      Maurice Sendak: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters – sometimes very hastily – but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

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  17. Greetings! First off, I have a couple questions — what’s wrong with the old building and is it even paid off yet? What happened to the building before that? Still standing and in use? An older, better team in a smaller town with a rabid fan base has had the same stadium for decades but have expanded and updated it over the years. It may not be huge, but it’s always filled. seats are hard to get and tickets in high demand. Make it a more exclusive experience, so you can rightly charge the outrageous ticket prices you already do for a LAME team (Vikings). Of course, I’m referring to the Green Bay Packers — although they are an exception to the rule, as I believe they are owned by the city of Green Bay.

    I agree with so many of the above comments, but particularly the total wrongness of the outrageous notion of sports entertainment being highly subsidized by government — and they’re crying about Minnesota wanting some of the proceeds in return for shelling out front money! Such arrogance …

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  18. Green Bay got it right—but now there is a rule that prevents any other city from doing that. GB has a franchise. MN pays for the franchise owned by a lone Wilf.

    The dice are loaded, the cards are stacked, LW is playing Monopoly but the game is rigged; he wins either way. AND he is the banker.

    This is the football pre-game show, all part of high stake negotiations. Yeah, call his bluff, California has many out of work construction workers but not sure CA has lots of extra money.

    Definitely gives me a headache. I must be a commie.

    “No matter how important you are, you are not nearly as important as you think you are.” Dale, a quotable quote!

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  19. I’d like to thank LW and Dale for giving this opportunity to rant all day. So nice when there is a guy like Ziggy to help us out as a willing villain–money, power, concrete structures, and out-of-control violence and head injuries. All for a mere $970,000,000. It ‘s a bargain.

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  20. Between the passage of the anti-marriage amendment in NC and thoughts of Wilfy getting a ton of public money so that he can make even more for himself, it’s a rather depressing day. And the passing of the wonderful Mr. Sendak just tops it all off.
    The only good thing was that, when I googled Maurice, I found the name of a book I had been trying to remember. He didn’t write it, just illustrated it but I ADORED reading it aloud. “A Very Special House” by Ruth Krauss.

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