I attended a presentation last night at Hamline University sponsored by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi's office entitled, "How We Raise Our Boys. It featured Ted Bunch from the organization A Call to Men, who talked for an hour and a half about the way our male children are brought up and socialized by our society. Much of the content would probably not surprise you. I think most of us are aware of the "Boys don't cry...man up...don't show your emotions" stereotypes that still are taught directly or indirectly. Still, seeing word clouds of terms used to advertise toys to boys vs. girls really brings it home. Looking at the boys' word cloud first, we were asked to guess what it referenced. With words like "Battle," "Power," "Beat," "Heroes," "Stealth," and "Armor" featured prominently on the screen, the obvious answer was "war." But no, it was terminology from ads targeting boys. The girls' cloud featured words like "Love," "Friendship," "Fun," "Magic," and "Mommy." Questions?

What's more subtle and complex are the misogynist messages that come across to our boys in various forms. For example, Bunch suggested that the concept of women/girls as property of men/boys is not something out of the past or isolated to the worlds of prostitution or the sex trade. Too often respect for females comes out of their connection to another male, so even behavior that on the surface seems appropriate stems from inappropriate and sexist attitudes. Bunch presented a lot more to consider and discuss. It's a conversation that is critical. To hear young women in the audience talk about their mistrust of all males, even the "good" ones, gave every male in attendance a blunt and unsettling testament to the urgency of Bunch's cause. While his main focus is on the power of men fixing men, the challenge requires the full attention of all genders working together to set strong expectations for mutual respect.

A lasting image for me was a comment on a campus rape that lead to a not uncommon decision by the college administrators to drive women everywhere after dark for their own protection. Bunch asked why they didn't drive the men everywhere instead. There were fewer men then women on campus, and the women weren't the problem. Why restrict women when nearly 100% of all rapes are committed by males? You could imagine the scenario with campus police, "Sorry, guys, you can't walk to your dorm, we have to drive you." It was one of those prism shifts that, combined with the impact of the shared statements of the frequent discomfort - or worse - felt by wives, daughters and mothers, continues to resonate. What is the world like for these women we love so much and what can we do to change it?

The Foundation's 15th Anniversary Bash is coming up on Friday, Sept. 19, 7-10 at the Urban Growler. Come for the music: Sweet Rhubarb and Lucy Michelle's Field Trip. Come for the fun: District-wide trivia contest with prizes. Come to find out who will win the $15,000 Grant Competition. Come to celebrate $1M in pledges to the endowment fund which will continue to provide support for St. Anthony Park...forever.

So far, the Post Office has not announced plans to close down if the building is sold. There isn't much Annette and the other postal workers can tell you, but Kristal at the Bugle is on the hunt and Congresswoman McCollum's office is checking it out in DC. More when there's news.

Cindy Thrasher from Murray's Pilot Tutoring Program is still looking for some tutors to help out late morning and early afternoon hours. Contact her if you have the time, it's an important and rewarding experience.

Create the Community Meal is looking for volunteers throughout the year, but especially for the Sept. 14 meal itself. That's when a 1/2 mile long table will be set up on Victoria Avenue to host a civic dinner table conversation about food access, food justice and healthy living. Find out more here.

Sign your kids up for hockey this Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6:30-8pm at the Langford Rec Center. Boys and girls welcome! Also, if you have an hour or two a month and want to help maintain one of the finest kids sports programs in the state, sign yourself up for a tour on the Booster Club. You'll meet some great people and help to make sure our kids get to enjoy sports the way they were meant to be played - for fun. For more info contact Scott Hamilton.

Amy Sparks from the Creative Enterprise Zone wants to get the word out about the 
CEZ Block pARTy, this  Saturday, September 6 from 11-4. Experience the creative vibe in the Zone while meeting the artists and entrepreneurs who make the CEZ a vibrant and thriving destination along the Green Line. Can I just say - people on stilts - check it out. For more info click on this#MakeItHere

I know snow is a long way off...isn't it? Let's hope it is, otherwise Steve Townley will be needing a shoveler earlier than he thinks. Steve is wondering if there are any shovelers out there looking for some spending money who would want to shovel his office sidewalk. He's got the sno-blower, he's got the shovels, he might even get you a hot cider if he's just sold a house. Give him a call at 651-308-8827. Tell him you read it here and he might throw in a donut.

There was a car stolen from Raymond Ave but found in SSA and a scooter stolen and not found as far as I know.

Oh, and the fair is over. Record attendance and some things to work on for the ped and bike experience next year. My favorite new food was the blue cheese frits from the Blue Barn. Favorite new dessert - the ice cream sno-ribbons at the Blue Moon Dine-in Theater. Favorite beverage - a malt at the Dairy Barn, not new, but still the best.

That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.