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Mr. Keillor: On a recent

January 31, 2005 |

Mr. Keillor:
On a recent trip to Minneapolis my friends and I got real lost and confused. We just couldn't figure out how they name streets. How many 2nd Streets you wanna bet they have? Well, for starters, we drove through two intersections of 2nd and 2nd on the way to our hotel (4 blocks away was the intersection of North 2nd and 2nd Ave N; 4 more blocks away was North 2nd St and 2nd Ave S). But wait, there's more! About 4 blocks from the Polish restaurant where we ate, is the intersection of 2nd Ave SE and 2nd St SE because at a bend in the river the whole traffic grid gets canted off by 45 degrees. That's just the ones we found. And then there's St. Paul where the whole thing starts all over again!

Would you please use your power to invite someone to rename the streets?

Yours,
Michael Cowan
Torrance, CA

Michael, when you go around in circles, you're going to keep running into 2nd Avenues and 2nd Streets, but if you go in a straight line you'll find 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and so on. That's my advice to you. If you had headed north or south, you'd have followed a perfect consecutive numbering system, and then if you'd headed west, you'd have been in the alphabet of Aldrich, Bryant, Colfax, Dupont, Emerson, Fremont, Girard, Humboldt, Irving, James, Knox, and so forth. (Occasionally on our show we have characters named Emerson Fremont or Irving James Knox.) We can't do better than this. If you venture into northeast Minneapolis, you will need to know your U.S. Presidents in order and if you do, you'll be just fine. St. Paul is another story. We don't have numbered streets in St. Paul, except for a few downtown, because we cherish our privacy. The St. Paul homeowner enjoys a high degree of anonymity, especially when it comes to visitors from Torrance. The fact that you got lost around East Hennepin in Minneapolis, however, is a comment on the state of education today. Did they not teach geography in the Torrance schools? Map-reading? Were you not in Boy Scouts? Perhaps you were in an accelerated program that skipped some of these basics and went straight on to study the cosmos, the theory of relativity, and so forth. In any case, we're quite comfortable with our street system here and feel it's a model for the rest of the nation and are not about to amend it in order to accommodate some visitors from California who — pardon me for being blunt — may have been partying a little hard at the time.

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