Category Archives: Baboon Achievers

Getting Dumb and Dumber?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

According to an article I found on BBC.com, it looks like our IQs are starting to recede, or at least not continue upwards as they have been doing.

Intelligence tests (IQ tests) were invented a little more than a century ago and since that time, our scores have been increasing at a steady rate. According to studies “even the average person today would have been considered a genius compared to someone born in 1919”.  (Unless you’re comparing yourself to Albert Einstein (born 1879), then all bets are off.)  This steady increase in IQ is known as the Flynn Effect.

But now scientists have uncovered evidence that this trend may be slowing down and perhaps even reversing. Does this mean we’ve peaked as a species?

Of course the cause of the Flynn Effect has never been agreed upon by the scientific community; most seem to think that multiple environmental factors are involved (increased health, increased food availability, increased access to education, removing lead from gasoline), but nobody really knows for sure. It’s my guess that if there is a decline of our collective IQ on the horizon, no one will understand that either.

Who is the smartest person you know? Or what smart person would you LIKE to know?

Decade on the Trail – Pictorial

Today’s post is Part Two from Barbara in Rivertown

Today we have a pictorial history to go with Tuesday’s written one. Thanks to all baboons who sent me photos – I’ve used only those that have two or more baboons in them.

I think this is the earliest one in my collection – taken with Dale Connelly at the MPR booth at the State Fair (in 2009? 2010?) Not all in it became baboons, but I do see Sherrilee, Beth-Anne, and Linda in the middle row, and Jim and thigh (that guy in the hat) in the back.
The above is a smaller group in the Seed Art room, maybe 2011
Below was taken at our first meeting, at a picnic table in Wabun Park, by Minnehaha Falls in S. Mpls. BiR, Jacque, and Anna in the background. Also present were Sherrilee, Linda, and Steve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know whose idea it was to start going to museums – the first one I attended was, I think, the Russian Art Museum in S. Mpls – Anna, tim, Joanne, BiR, VS
Then there was the Swedish Museum circa 2012… extra points if you can remember what the exhibit was. VS, tim, Linda, Lisa, BiR, PJ
There have been gardening adventures – at PJ’s yard.  The group shows Bill, Robin, Lisa, Krista, PJ in back; ljb (Edith), BiR, Linda, VS

 

…. and in PJ’s kitchen, where Lisa modeled her prom dress
At Steve’s – well, at Steve’s we took down a tree limb in the back yard of his darling bungalow.
Chain Saw Gan – madislandgirl and S&H(son & heir), Lisa, tim, YA (VS’ young adult), Bill, Robin, BiR, Linda, Michael, and Ben!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had Steve’s surprise birthday party, also at Wabun Park – tim managed to get him there after some ball game, I think. VS, Steve, tim
There have been several trips to Rock Bend Folk Festival. Here’s City Mouse, with the Morning Show’s producer Mike Pengra on the drums.
It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it… And admission is still FREE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda, BiR, Krista, and I think Holly, at Rock Bend – not sure which year…?

There have been a number of events that didn’t get photographed: PJ organized a Guthrie outing for, was it? H.M.S. Pinafore? There have been game nights at tim’s, a painting party at Steve’s before he moved, Pi Day at Sherrilee’s.

But we do have one of a Solstice Parties at Sherrilee’s – Steve, Linda, tim
A few made a weekend trip to Steve’s cabin, up by Cornucopia, WI: Linda, Steve, tim, Krista, Jacque

 

 

 

 

 

 

and a few went south to Donna’s cabin at Spirit Lake, IA – but no photo!

North Dakota Renee made it to a BBC at tim’s when she was in town, of which we have no photo. But Steve provided one of her and husband Chris, taken when they were visiting near Steve’s place in Portland.

There have also been sad times… not only the ending of The Late Great Morning Show, but also the memorial after

Jim Ed Poole’s (aka Tom Keith) death in 2011. This proves that you can get baboons to smile for anything: TGith?, PJ, tim, Joanne, Anna, mig’s S&H in back; Linda, VS, madislandgirl.
A quick meet-up of Barbara and Joanne of Big Lake after the 100-Mile Garage Sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I didn’t have my camera back in April when I met another baboon Linda at baboon Chris’ book signing at the lovely Fair Trade Books in Red Wing. But here’s a photo taken at another of Chris’ signings:
And here is from Chris’ FIRST book signing!

And we even had a congratulations gathering when Beth Ann won the Kemps State Fair Ice Cream contest

No baboons in this shot, but here are the fixins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s been your favorite Baboon gathering or outing? What/who got left out here? (I’m sure I’ve left out some baboons…)

What field trip shall we do next??

A Decade on the Trail

This is Part 1 of a two part trip down memory lane from Barbara in River Town.

We’ve been blogging here for (are you ready?) 10 years. For anyone new to the Trail, this group started when we were still listening to a beloved (Minnesota Public Radio) Morning Show that aired from 6 – 9 a.m. in the 80s, 90s and aughts (2000s). It was an eclectic music extravaganza peppered with cleaver (see Glossary above) ads, zany characters and radio plays put together by Dale Connelly (a master of parody and verse) and Jim Ed Pool (aka Tom Keith, the super sound effects guy for Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion). When Jim Ed retired at end of 2008, Dale stayed on, and the program morphed into an online streaming station called Radio Heartland https://www.thecurrent.org/heartland/ . Dale also created a blog in early 2009 called the Trial Balloon, in which he’d write an introductory piece about anything under the sun, talk about it on the radio, and ask a question at the end to get an online conversation going.

Dale, our Alpha Baboon, hung in there posting 6 days a week for most of the next 5 years. By the time he decided it was time for a sabbatical, he had written 1,166 of the 1,397 posts (231 of them being guest posts provided by the Baboon Congress when he was away). Here is his June 3, 2015 entry:   https://trailbaboon.com/2015/06/03/five-year-plan/  at the end of that phase.

The Baboons rose to the challenge, and kept the blog going with a wide-ranging collection of guest posts for the next 18 months or so, with Dale chiming in from time to time with a post. In early 2017, Dale “cut the umbilical cord”, and we got our own url: www.trailbaboon.com/ , with Verily Sherrilee and Renee in North Dakota taking the reins of the blog, on alternating months. (This statement doesn’t begin to cover the work and commitment involved – I don’t even know how to describe it – and how grateful we are that they’ve taken this on.) Other baboons provide guest posts that we send to them by email (though not as often as we should).

At some point early on, we started also gathering in the space-and-time realm… I believe the first book club meeting was in June of 2010. (Go to above left under Blogroll: Blevens’ Book Club – there are even minutes to the first meetings!) And we started doing “field trips” – anyone know what year the Russian Art Museum trip was?

Over the years various baboons have come and gone, and occasionally come back – life happens, and some months or years work better for blogging than others. A core group of us are still here, several of whom have been posting and commenting almost from the beginning. Old-timers check in occasionally, and we love it when they do. We’ve found we just enjoy connecting most mornings (and sometimes late in the evening) in this mysterious place in cyberspace, to exchange thoughts, experiences, recipes, songs, book/movie recommendations, health info, travel or garden tips, musings on the English language…

What’s the strangest group you’ve ever hung out with? (…besides this one)

Crunching the Numbers

Two years ago this month we hit 5,000 followers on the Trail. So I thought I do some stat updates:

Followers: 7,892
Total # of views: 858,848
Total # of comments: 146,681
Most active recent day: March 22, 2019 (That Ole Devil Moon – VS)
Most active day and time: Tuesday, 8 a.m.
Most viewed post:   R.I.P. Tom Keith – November 1, 2011
Most commented posts:
Chores & the Great Depression (182) – Jacque’s
Finding the Back Roads (180) – BiR’s
Banished Words (180) – also BiR’s
Top recent commenters: PJ, BiR, tim, Renee, VS, Linda, Steve
Today we have folks viewing from: US, India, Netherlands, UK, UAE, Canada, Kenya, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Nothing earthshaking, I just thought this was all very interesting.

Anybody have a question to go with our stats?

May Day

I read a couple of advice columns every day – makes me feel better about my life choices. A couple of days ago, the advice seeker was complaining about how much work his wife was putting into preparing their kids’ lunches.  She has cookie cutters for decorating their sandwiches, debates with the kids about which items goes in which lunch box compartment, includes little notes.  The writer thinks this is a complete waste of her time.

I am that woman. When YA was little I usually had wheat bread and light wheat so that I could use cookie cutters to make dual-toned sandwiches.  Until she was about 11 we had some seriously over-engineered birthday parties with themed games, food and goodie bags.  (Child enjoyed these very much at the time although she says she doesn’t remember them well.)  I make little treats for my office mates on various holidays, send mountains of greeting cards; those of you in book club know that I can’t stay away from bringing a potluck item themed to the book we’ve read.  Can we say Pi Day?

This is not competition. In fact, when I meet someone who also likes to celebrate like I do, we usually end up comparing notes and collaborating.  I met a woman about 4 years ago who can outdo me with one arm tied behind her and she gave me a great tip.  Whenever you get a new stamp set or die, you have to make at least 4 cards with it before you’re allowed to put it away.  Life changing for me.  I sent her a thank you card.

So all of this is to say that today, about the time that today’s blog was being posted to the trail, I was sneaking around my neighborhood in the dark, delivering May Day baskets!

What would you like in your May basket (size is no object today)?

Up Up & Away

Found this video clip online today. Apparently this took place a few days ago, in celebration of the last super moon of 2019.  I’m pretty sure I would have thought it was a meteor or meteoroid (apparently there is a serious difference in the scientific world) if I had seen it live.  Glad to know the police had been forewarned.

But seriously, jump out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet? Obviously the jumpers could breathe at this altitude, since Mount Everest is a lot higher, but still….jump out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet?  Gives me the wilies.

I’ve done two really scary things in my life. Both of them within 3 days of each other.  When YA was just a year old, I was offered the trip of a lifetime to Kenya and Tanzania.  We started in Nairobi and traveled around for 8 days, staying at a different lodge every night.  We had early morning and late afternoon safari runs, entertainment and massive amounts of great food.

I knew prior to the trip that an option hot-air balloon ride would be offered and I convinced my boss that I should be allowed to expense it. If you had asked me before this if I would EVER get in a hot air balloon, the answer would have been an unequivocal “no”.  When faced with this option however, I couldn’t get past the idea that I would be sorry to let an opportunity like this pass me by.  I was correct – it was fabulous and nothing like I expected.  We even had a wonderful breakfast cooked for us in the bush after we came down, complete with champagne.

Two days later, the group met a pilot who was doing open-air biplane tourist flights around Mount Kenya. He came and spoke to our group at a cocktail reception and at the end of his talk, he mentioned that the group leader had said there would be time for one flight in the morning before we left; was anyone interested?  I had my hand up so fast that I almost pulled my arm out of my socket.  Again – fabulous, complete with leather jackets and silk scarves and Out of Africa music playing in our headphones. I felt like Dennis Finch Hatton.

So I’ve overcome my fear twice for experiences that were over the top. But I’m still fairly sure no one will ever convince me to bungee jump.  Or fling myself out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet.

What scary things have you done?

Straight River

The sun was thinking about poking out of the clouds as tim and I drove down to the Central Park Coffee Shop in Owatonna for the launch of Straight River by our own Chris in Owatonna.  There was a nice crowd to welcome Chris’ new book, which is a “prequel” (is that truly a real word?) to his first book Castle Danger. Chris read a chapter from the book and also introduced the head of his local Big Brother/Big Sister organization.  A portion of Chris’ proceeds goes to support BB/BS, a group he has volunteered with for years.

It’s been three years of hard work for Chris, re-working, editing, sending the book to beta readers, re-working some more and editing some more. It was a nice launch for the book (cookies and lemonade too) and I’m looking forward to reading it.  Maybe this summer it can be one of our Blevin’s Book Club titles.  (It’s available already on Amazon in kindle format and Chris has links on his website to other ways to purchase it.)

Congratulations Chris – hope the third book in the trilogy comes a little easier!

You’ve just written a book.  Describe your main character!