John Freivalds New Book  Ramblin' Man is here!!  Click here for more details

 Freivalds: Minnesotan winters influence our

casual attire


Published 3/14/2017

Lakeshore Weekly News

Minneapolis, MN


When those thousands of visitors came to town to see the Super Bowl, they were shocked by the Bold North — shocked not only by the subzero weather but how Minnesotan’s dress.

There we were in grimy, faded down jackets, ragged shawls, facemasks, boots and galoshes covered with salt stains, mismatched gloves and salt dust all over our sweatpants with catalog designs from brushing up next to our dented salt spray-covered SUVs. But we were warm. And the hardiest of us were sitting out on frozen lake ice fishing. Survival!

Au contraire! The visitors came in what they considered their temperate winter wear, and it quickly proved inadequate.

I met a fashionably dressed woman from Los Angeles standing in the lobby of Hotel Landings, new in Wayzata. She was dressed to the nines and was waiting for the hotel limo to take her one block away to a restaurant: “No way am I going out in that.”

Big deal. It was only 5 below.

I believe that our beyond frumpy winter garb spills over to influence of our dress the rest of the year. I grew up in Washington, D.C., where you had restaurants that would not let you do any paperwork on the dining tables and you were handed a tie to put on if you weren’t wearing one.

And at The University Club “members and guests staying at the club’s overnight accommodations are asked to pass quickly through the lobby when not wearing appropriate clothes … if you plan to visit the club only to use the athletic facility and you are not dressed in accordance with the dress code, a convenient casual entrance is at the rear of the clubhouse.” Translation: next to the garbage cans by the back door.

And at Georgetown University where I went school, guys had to wear coats and ties to class and dresses were a must for the ladies — who were not allowed to sit on the grass. But on weekends you were allowed to dress “properly dishevelled” on campus. And in Lexington, Virginia, where I used to live, students and teachers have to wear uniforms at VMI.

Now living in the Twin Cites off and on for 40 years, I have only seen one instance of a dress code being enforced in a public restaurant. A bunch of Green Bay Packers fans were staying at the Nicollet Island Inn and came into the dining room wearing those ubiquitous soiled baseball hats. The maître’d told them no hats are allowed in the dining room.

OK, we do have private clubs like the Minneapolis Club for the power elite and the county clubs where dress codes are enforced. And for those wishing for the good ol’ days, we have the dance clubs where black tie (meaning tux) and gowns are required. One invitation-only social club meets at Minikhada in September, Woodhill in December and at Interlachen in May. And many of the cruises Minnesotans vacation on offer formal evenings.

A professor at Notre Dame teaches a course called “Nation of Slobs.” I think we Minnesotans lead the way. Even our president wears a baseball cap. The professor states “there has to be a happy medium between wearing a burka and running round half-naked.”

She adds “that style moved toward simplicity and eventually slipped into stupidity.”

I mean, during the Super Bowl, women thought it was fashionable to parade down Lake Street wearing jeans that looked like they were ripped apart by Godzilla. And men get their fashion hints from outdoor stores whose headquarters are near the Nebraska-Wyoming border. Enough said.

So I bet my wife that in the Twin Cities there is not a public venue where I would be turned away if I wore only cutoffs, floppy sandals, a stained T-shirt and a grimy baseball hat — with the brim turned backward, of course. In Minnesota we really have only one dress code restriction:

No shoes. No shirt. No service.

John Freivalds is an author, commodities broker and opinion columnist. He lives with Linda his wife, a flock of turkeys, a herd of deer, a family of foxes, many raccoons, two mallards, two pheasants and innumerable songbirds.



Trump's tariffs: Not good for Iowa (or anyone else)


President Donald Trump said trade wars were "good," expressing defiance amid global criticism of his plan to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

By John Freivalds

Published March 2nd, 2018

Des Moines Register

trumphand.jpgIowa finds itself smack in the midst of the heated debate over free trade.  And we consumers want Wal-Mart’s mantra — goods at low prices, and so what if they are imported?

Now Trump wants tariffs on steel and aluminum, which means China will retaliate by putting tariffs on Iowa soybeans. And the trade wars have begun.

The Trump administration, for political reasons, has started the tariff wars by levying tariffs on solar panels and washing machines and now steel and aluminum. He threatens more to come.

 The Right to Bear Muskets (1791) and Bear Machine Guns ?(2018)


Muskets of 1791 a far cry from firepower of today


By John Freivalds

Duluth News Tribune/Minneapolis Sun Sailor

Published 3/1/2018 and 3/22/2018

john.jpgHunters in northern Minnesota need to bear some facts in mind when it comes to firearms.

The Second Amendment was passed in 1791, giving the right for ordinary citizens to bear arms. This is the argument that strict conservatives and the NRA use to justify anyone having a weapon — no question asked.

Actually, when I went to Cabela's to buy a hunting rifle, I was given a form to fill out — with a question: "Are you are convicted felon?" I answered "no" and walked out of the store with my stainless-steel, Martin, single-shot, muzzleloader that can fire 14 rounds of .22-caliber ammo. It has an arduous reload process, by the way.

In addition, at home, I have a .38-caliber revolver that seems more like a handheld cannon than a handgun. It holds six rounds and is quickly reloaded.

Even with my tiny legal arsenal, I have more firepower than any patriot had in 1791 when the Second Amendment was passed. Remember that was the era of the front-loaded musket, which had a barrel three and a half feet long. It was not a concealed weapon. With practice, an accomplished marksman of the time could load three rounds per minute. And, Hollywood movies notwithstanding, it was highly inaccurate. This is why soldiers would stand together and let loose barrages of bullets hoping some would hit their target at a rate of three rounds per minute.

The weapon of choice for the Parkland, Fla., school shooter (he had 10 guns at home) was an AR-15, which fires 90 rounds per minute as a semiautomatic and 800 rounds per minute when modified as a full automatic. A knowledgeable gunsmith can easily make the modification.

During the Vietnam War, the M16, the forerunner of the AR-15, was the weapon issued to American GIs. In non-automatic use, it fired at a rate of 65 rounds per minute.

Let's repeat that: The weapons soldiers used in Vietnam fired at a slower rate than the AR-15 you can buy now at a Cabela's store.

The AR-15 is more reliable, too, for the M16 had a "failure to extract" malfunction. Spent cartridges would get stuck in the chamber due to faulty gunpowder. Some military types I know said we could have won the Vietnam War with weapons as reliable as the modern-day AR-15.

There are about 150 gun manufacturers in the U.S., some started by veterans of the Vietnam War who personally saw the defects in the M16.

One big manufacturer is the Freedom Group, which also produces the Bushmaster hunting rifle, sold with the motto to "reach out and touch someone."

Another manufacturer is H&R, which sold firearms to the German military back in 1956. "Since then (H&R) has produced the most famous and reliable battle rifles of the world, most notably the MP5 and HK416 (the rifle used to kill Osama Bin Laden)," according to the Shooter's Hog website. H&R also produced the top-of-the line AR-15, the MR55641, which retails in the U.S. for $2,500. You can buy a DPMS AR-15 semiautomatic with a six-position adjustable stock in the U.S. at Cabela's for $499.99.

To summarize, in 1791, you could get a musket that you could load and fire at three rounds per minute. Today you can get an AR-15 that shoots 90 rounds per minute and can be modified to 800 rounds per minute and is better than the rifle used by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War.

And to get an AR-15, all you need to do is to remember to write "no," in the right spot on the gun-shop questionnaire.

John Freivalds of Wayzata, Minn., is a writer and the author of six books. His latest is "Ramblin' Man." His website is

Here is what the people are saying!!

Duluth News Tribune

I just read your opinion piece in the Duluth news tribune. I would love to know how you are getting the number of rounds per minute one semi auto can fire compared to another. Claiming an AR-15 can fire 90 rounds per minute while an M16 can only fire 65 per minute is just downright shady. You are intentionally misreporting a number that is unquantifiable. One shooter will fire at a faster or slower rate compared to another. Saying a semi auto can fire at any given rate is ridiculous. 

You also stated that "a knowledgeable gunsmith can easily make the modification" in regards to making an AR-15 full auto. You completely failed to mention that it is highly illegal to do so. Automatics are highly regulated, to far so to go into in one email. 

Finally in the beginning of your opinion piece you state that the 2nd amendment was passed in 1791 to give ordinary citizens the rights to bear arms. The full 2nd amendment Is "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" 

This was written with the intent for the people to have a check on the government.  In case the new government did the same thing as the last. Supreme Court justices have ruled that it was intended to give the citizen access to what the government has and uses. Nowhere in there does it come close to mentioning hunting. 

John Clark

Minneapolis Sun Sailor

macdon31us Mar 4, 2018 10:36pm

a tyrannical government won't be coming for citizens guns with muskets!


COLUMN: Reflections from the ‘Schmooze Bowl’ in Minneapolis

Minnetonka, Hopkins, Plymouth, Wayzata, St. Louis Park, Deephaven, Excelsior, Medicine Lake, Tonka Bay, Shorewood, Greenwood



By John Freivalds

Published 2/13/2018

Sun Sailor-Wayzata, MN

Guest Columnist

Did you go to Super Bowl LII? No? Neither did I, but I did go to a number of schmoozing events which is really why Super Bowls exist in the first place. C’mon, who besides the people of South Lobster, Massachusetts, and Philly Cheese Steaklandia cared about the game? The purpose is for corporations to treat their clients to a fun weekend of wining, dining and, in the end, a game. Oh yeah, neat ads get shown off on TV. The Super Bowl has become a national rite of passage like the Fourth of July.

Reflections from the Schmooze Bowl in Minneapolis



By John Freivalds

Published 2/4/18

Did you go to Super Bowl LII?  No? Neither did I but I did go to a number of schmoozing events which is really why Super Bowls exist in the first place.  C'mon, who besides the people of South Lobster, Massachusetts and Philly Cheese Steaklandia care about the game?  The purpose is for corporations to treat their clients to a fun weekend of wining, dining and, in the end, a game.  Oh yeah, neat ads get shown off on TV. The super bowl has become a national rite of passage like the  4th of July.