Saturday, August 2, 2014

JNS BLOG FIRST AMENDMENT FORK IN THE ROAD EDITORIAL: Welcome To The New And Temporarily NON-CONTROVERSIAL Adventures of Johnny Northside! It Is The Long Hot Summer Of 2014 In "Murderapolis" But This Blog Is Chilled, Chilled Like A Chili Dog...

It is an unspeaking stone face. Note how he does not speak. Note how the flowers are closed and not in bloom except one flower, which is past blooming. Let us contemplate this image. 

I've Been Searching My Soul 

I never watched or followed the television series "Ally McBeal," which (so I hear) was about a young lawyer trying to find her way in the world. Yet the show had an impact on my life, sort of. 

Somehow I came into possession of a CD with the movie soundtrack, and I liked it so much I would play it over and over until I about wore it out. The songs, all the songs, became a part of me. And I especially liked the Ally McBeal theme song by Vonda Shepard, which was so pretty it still gives me the shivers...

I've been down this road walkin' the line
That's painted by pride
And I have made mistakes in my life
That I just can't hide...

So like I announced some days ago in a passing mention, I have been "searching my soul" and I'm making an announcement about a new direction this blog will go, temporarily. When I say "temporarily" I mean two weeks at least, and maybe longer. 

Could be months. Could be YEARS. It just depends. 

And when I say "new direction," I mean this blogger will...

Not be writing anything controversial for a while. 

This Is Not A Joke, This Is Not A Drill, This Is First Amendment CHILL   

Hard to believe, isn't it? 

Dear readers, let me tell you why. Back in 2008 I started "The Adventures of Johnny Northside" as a personal blog. I was a single dad determined to live near my young son and be part of his life. In fact, I was so determined I bought a cheap house in the worst block of the worst neighborhood in the state and I hunkered down. 

I'd been writing columns for the Minnesota Daily, my third gig as a columnist on a campus newspaper, and I've been an expressive writer for as long as I can remember...

Detour! Detour Down The Hazy Halls Of Childhood Memory! 

Oh, my, let's just take a sudden detour down memory lane to where it all began, shall we? It was the early 1970s and I attended Lincoln Elementary School in Alexandria, Minnesota. I was in (I think it was) third grade. My father worked in Minneapolis as a cab driver for "Blue and White," and there was a Guild Of Taxi Drivers strike which became so intense the Minnesota governor called out the National Guard. My father, who would sojourn in the Twin Cities and see us kids every other weekend and holidays and all summer (no, my parents weren't divorced, my father just went a long ways to find WORK) was right in the middle of the violent cab strike. 

Somehow, it became known at my school that my father was a driver for Blue and White and involved in the strike. A teacher's aide asked me to write a story for a little student newspaper, produced on carbon paper, and known as the Peppermint Press. (This was right before Christmas so, you know, holiday theme) The story I wrote about my father being willing to "scab" but then changing his mind and going over to the union...

It wasn't published. In fact, it was a source of controversy that I'd even been encouraged to WRITE such a thing. There were fears my little handwritten, copied-to-carbon-paper account of the impact of the Guild strike upon my family would, somehow, bring down...


Yes, CONTROVERSY upon Lincoln Elementary School and our little Peppermint Press!!!! 

Somehow (I'm not sure how) I won a prize for my piece of writing. I recall there was a candy cane stuck to the prize, in keeping with the "peppermint" theme. I was assured, over and over, my piece of writing was GOOD. Somehow (and here was the great contradiction, so hard to explain to a child) it was so GOOD that it couldn't be PUBLISHED. 

I do recall doing a little dramatic reading for some teachers in the mysterious and heretofore FORBIDDEN teacher's lounge; teachers who applauded. One had tears in her eyes. Why would she have tears? Must have allergies, I thought.  

My word, they had a COKE MACHINE in there. The rest of the school didn't have a Coke machine. Would I like a Coke? Yes, please, I would like one...well, can I have a Dr. Pepper? Why, yes, I could. 

Without even trying to make a roaring sound in the world, somehow I had roared. 

But the roar echoed back and reverberated inside me. It made me want to roar MORE. To speak and be heard and have an impact. When you are so poor your family doesn't have indoor plumbing, IN AMERICA, to be HEARD is a transforming thing. 

I was hooked. I became addicted to free expression and the First Amendment. By the time I was 16, I was wearing a faded old army jacket with dreams of being (get this!!!) a combat journalist. 

I was writing poetry and short stories and trying to get these published, sometimes even succeeding. But one day I walked into a court room, on a lark, just to see if I might observe a dramatic court proceeding...

And my life goals took another interesting turn. But that's another story. Let us return to blogging...

Blogging Is Hazardous To Your Health 

I started with a goal of documenting my adventures and trying to make my neighborhood better. Yes, I hoped to have an impact, but even I was shocked how quickly I had an impact and how things snowballed. It didn't take me long to realize I could have more impact by providing alternative media coverage instead of blogging about my own personal narrative, though somehow the personal aspect and the stories were intertwined from the start. 

Something about the expressive aspects of my blog worked like a secret sauce. It also made me enemies. So let's reckon up what blogging has gotten me.

* I've been sued, repeatedly, by a sicko sex offender frivolous litigant.

* I've also been sued for defamation. I beat the defamation rap, then won the appeal and received news coverage all over the country. My word, the story was reported in FRANCE. But the cost in time, money and frustration was enormous. 

* I get threatened. Hardly a week goes by without a threat of some kind. These are usually anonymous threats submitted via comment function which I don't bother to publish. 

* I get trashed by other blogs and websites who oppose my point of view and I must read their atrocious spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

* Periodically I've been treated to badly photoshopped images featuring my head or face as a drunk, a serial killer...

* I get defamed, repeatedly, by people who aren't worth suing for defamation. (This is actually a conundrum that interests me, the eternal maddening problem of the "judgment proof" tortfeasor. I'm fooling around, intellectually, with some theoretical solutions but I just haven't made the big creative leap, not quite yet)

* Once, I even had my tires slashed. Not sure if it was the blogging or calling 911 on crime and chaos, though. It worked out pretty well that I was living a few blocks from a tire shop and could roll there, bumpedy bumpedy bumpedy.  

Ah, But The Rewards Of Blogging (Sarcasm Font)

Clearly, I must be getting SOMETHING if I endure all this and yet keep blogging for more than six years and some 4,000 articles. 

City Councilman Don Samuels told me a story once about an incident that happened while he was attending a vigil for yet another shooting victim. Some big guy said, in a darkly hinting way, "I hear you are kind of a snitch. Aren't you afraid you'll get hurt?" 

To which Samuels replied, "Let us suppose I did get hurt. Let's suppose I got shot in the spine. And I was laid up in the hospital for months. Well, on the day I got out of the hospital you know what I would do? I would roll on my little wheelchair, I would roll down to the corner, and I would take out my phone...and I would call 911 on the drug dealing." 

There are few rewards to blogging like there are few rewards to calling 911. (I actually called 911 while drafting this piece of writing and even now I can hear sirens responding to what sounded like five gunshots) But there is a compulsion. It is virtually impossible to stop. The roar inside sweeps you up and carries you along like a tidal wave. It's like the young character in Guardians Of The Galaxy who got in a fistfight because he witnessed the injustice of a little frog being squashed. I blog because I see something wrong in the world and I can't stop myself from trying to make it right. 

Or can I? Can I stop myself?

Yes I Can! (Well, At Least Temporarily) 

From the very beginning, this blog has been dedicated to my son. It started because I wanted to be near my son, and in the meantime I decided to make my neighborhood better. One day my son might inherit my house, which is already free and clear. My son could build a workshop in the detached garage and design those robots he loves so much. He could attend the University of Minnesota. In any case, the neighborhood was in tough shape and I wanted it better. If, for no other reason, I wanted the neighborhood to be safe when my child VISITED.

So what happens when blogging interferes with my goals for my son? I have a goal of moving my professional life forward and paying for my son's college. And now I am squarely faced with the fact that First Amendment free expression is rebounding back at me and interfering with my overarching goal and primary purpose for living: 


I thought I had a right to vigorous First Amendment free expression. I thought I had a right to comment upon "matters of public concern." 

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe members of, let us say, well-paid and respectable Profession X don't really have that kind of leeway for free expression. If I write about "matters of public concern" and give offense, perhaps I will be (as my old soldier father used to say) "called on the carpet" and made to answer professionally and even punished. 

Gee, that's going to make it hard to pay for sonny boy's college, now isn't it? 

When it comes to my First Amendment expression, to which I am quite accustomed as fish are accustomed to water, suddenly I am as chilled as a chili dog. 

Stepping Away From The Keyboard And Putting My Hands Up

It has become tactically necessary, "for the duration" as Americans say in hard times and moments of emergency, to voluntarily give up my First Amendment right to say controversial things and to make the record I am doing so. 

Oh, I won't be SILENT of course. I have a lot of things I can still write about. Here are some.

* Cuisine. I can totally write about local cuisine, as long as I only say positive things.

* Yard work. I have dozens of pictures of a major cleanup project after my spectacular willow tree fell from the major storm on June 21, 2013, and I never got around to writing that story. I'm thinking I will write about The Death Of The Warnke Willow, Parts One Through (What?) Six, maybe.

Oh, it's going to be good! Readers who have been fed a steady distressing diet of North Minneapolis murder will want to stay tuned for the therapeutic six part series about the tree which fell down in my yard. 

In fact, my new blogging philosophy ("FOR THE DURATION") will perform a 180 degree turn. I used to say, "If it bleeds, it leads." Now I say, "If it bleeds, it better bleed somewhere else."

So no murder. Certainly no jail roster. (I ceased doing that a few months ago, when the chilly First Amendment cold spell began) No commentary on people running for public office, as I so often commented before. No publication of criminal complaint documents and linking those incidents to local addresses. Roughly 97 percent of the stuff I wrote about before I won't be writing about "FOR THE DURATION." 

* Time, at last, for Facebook! I have so many family photos I need to upload. Of course, my privacy settings are pretty high because of all the sicko stalkers, so only a limited number of friends will see those photos...oh, well. I'll still get a tiny First Amendment fix from posting pictures of my son, my son, my magnificent son Alexander and our many road trips.

* I may write some nice book reviews. I just finished The Sands Of Dunkirk. You know what's nice? Owning your own home where you can keep all your books (I think I own a couple thousand) and reading one of those books. 

Guest Authors? Can THEY Still Write Freely? 

Hosting guest author Jordan North doesn't seem to be a problem, though heaven knows I seem to be "called on the carpet" for things written by that darn Jeff Skrenes, the Hawthorne Hawkman. Such a trouble maker! 

So while Johnny Northside himself won't write about murder, Jordan North can write all she wants. Until somebody makes ME answer professionally for her controversial writing, that is, and then I will CUT HER OFF AT THE BAR. 

Commenters? Can THEY Still Comment Freely?

I'm not sure how to handle comments submitted to this blog. See, often I'll publish a comment but I'll point out the comment is "reprehensible" and I don't agree with it. How can I publish the comments of others while restricting my own right to comment on the comments? 

I guess I'll just handle comments as usual, with new exceptions. Clearly, some comments won't make the cut; not because these comments do not fulfill my usual criteria of being "substantive," but because I will refuse to publish "reprehensible" comments while restricting my own right to comment on the comments.

And hey...with all the profanity and vigorous free speech in the thousands of anonymous comments published on this blog, these little missives are just trouble waiting to happen. 

Professional trouble. For me. And baby needs college.

Making The Record 

FOR THE DURATION, all the stories I write while "chilled" will have a little parenthetical designation in the headline, like so:

(Temporary Non-Controversial Blogging Restriction In Place) Here Insert Hopefully Inoffensive Headline

I know, for a fact, at least a couple passionate First Amendment legal advocates are watching these developments. JNS blog did not seek a First Amendment battle in Moore v. Hoff, but a battle was thrust upon this blog. I do not seek a battle now. 

But I am putting myself in a tactical defensive posture, as best I can, to the degree I can figure out how to act in these amazing and unprecedented circumstances.  

WHAT circumstances, you might ask?

I can't even really, you know, say much about that. Let us simply say...

This might be the greatest Adventure of Johnny Northside...


(Live links not inserted upon initial publication, live links may follow later) 


Anonymous said...

Good job Johnny! As we both know I can't tell you what to do but this is my go to source for hood news, I would still like to see stories here

Anonymous said...

I noticed you left something important out of the post. A sincere public apology. Just saying you need to step back shows a lack of remorse since you don't appear to know why you are facing your past now and have to answer for it. Rid yourself of the shame you face by at least attempting to save... your own face. Humility. Look it up sometime. OK?

Johnny Northside! said...

Regarding the idea of an "apology," due to being chilled in my exercise of the First Amendment I am making no response to your comment.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does he need to apologize for?

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that in order for you to fulfil your personal or professional goal, you have to temper one of your rights as a citizen. I understand but am disappointed. I don't always agree with you, however, I keep coming back because I value the fact you tell it like it is. When we avoid the truth because we're afraid it's not PC, then we give up a piece of our Right. Your writing isn't hateful, it's about hateful people. Some of us can recognize the difference.

Anonymous said...

If it's not too much trouble, could you do a piece on Bauer Brothers Salvage? Man oh Shevitts! That place is interesting and I'd like to get your thoughts on it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see that you are stepping back from controversy John. I think it is very important that the various evil-doers continue to be exposed. It is terribly unfortunate that you are feeling threatened and must step back for a time. I hope the time is short. I feel you are one of the few true advocates for change in Nomi. Without you looking over the shoulder of the asshats I fear they will become even more bold.

Anonymous said...

This blog was the only place I could get information & truth about North Minneapolis. I do want you to be able to devote yourself to your son. I must say that Jordan North should start her own blog if she thinks it's acceptable to request donations. 1/3 of my hard earned income already supports folks who won't provide for themselves.

Johnny Northside! said...

Please all of you keep making your points. I do not feel in a position to comment further.

Anonymous said...

Can you please quit pretending this has anything to do with anything other than you trying to get accepted into the Oklahoma bar? Now that they are asking people about all of the slander and inaccuracies in your "reporting" you want to talk about cuisine? Do you even live in Minneapolis anymore?

Jordan North said...

Your blog has always been a kind of inconvenient truth. If what you have written is truth, you owe no one and apology! The truth still needs to be told or people will walk around with blinders on. All the best on your new adventure!

You are referencing a post that was roughly, 27 posts ago. Perhaps you should move on, since you've already moved. If you don't have the disposable income to donate to a HARDWORKING family then its real simple to not click on the link. I'm staying right here.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of other interesting features of the Northside to write about. I enjoy reading your blog.
Take a break from writing about the the basket cases that also live on the Northside. Changing the subject matter will make your blog more dynamic.
I enjoy your writing, but get tired of reading about subhumans.

Johnny Northside! said...

Clarify what you mean about "subhuman." Are you talking about bad behavior and bad content of character or are you talking about something else?

Anonymous said...

I'm talking about bad behavior and bad content of character.

Lion News said...

Johnny Northside (of Oklahoma?) I had a really good laugh reading your latest blog post, didn't I? All I heard was that the wolf was putting a sheep mask on until he could get his (Oklahoma, right?) law license, wasn't it? Once you have that in hand you will rip the sheep mask off, won't you? And then wolfy Johnny will wreak havoc on the world again, right? Too bad that so many people have a tight hold on your muzzle, isn't it? Just another petty dictator topped off his self-appointed pedestal, right? Posting pictures of Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek's son, Ryan's felony destruction of 3 Rivers park property would be a form of redemption for you, wouldn't it? But, as said before why would Johnny wolf want to redeem himself, right? Johnny wolf is just biding his time, right?

MP3 said...

Sorry John, this is too little too late. You do honestly believe that it is your 1st amendment right to harass and intimidate people, and you have been doing it for over 20 years.
If you were going to change your ways and learn from your past experiences you should have done that long ago if you expect anyone to believe your sincerity.

This sudden change is not going to fool anyone. You are doing it at the last minute, as a last ditch effort to save your career.

You have hurt,harmed,defamed,and victimized too many people to expect us to believe that you are magically going to change.

Your behavioral and emotional characteristics are so ingrained in your personality that it is inconceivable that you have the ability to change your ways without long term therapy.

If you were really truly sincere, you would have simply deleted this blog, rather than announce your change of heart.

You don't even have the guts to issue a public apology to those you have victimized.

You are beyond pathetic.

Johnny Northside said...

In regard to this comment:

"Posting pictures of Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek's son, Ryan's felony destruction of 3 Rivers park property would be a form of redemption for you, wouldn't it?"

Please explain that to me. I don't exactly follow. How would I be "redeeming" myself by responding to repeated requests by Lion News that I say what Lion News wants me to say about Sheriff Stanek's son?

Anonymous said...

Will you appeal if your application is denied?

Lion News said...

Wolfy Johnny snarled: "Please explain that to me. I don't exactly follow. How would I be "redeeming" myself by responding to repeated requests by Lion News that I say what Lion News wants me to say about Sheriff Stanek's son?" Playing dumb and a mis-characterization from Wolfy Johnny (of Oklahoma), huh? No surprise, huh? Wolfy Johnny loves to rail about the symptoms of the problems of society, doesn't he? However, Wolfy Johnny doesn't want to talk about the causes of the problems of society, does he? The problem is an unjust system in which corrupt people like Wolfy Johnny are given positions of power, correct? When corrupt people like Wolfy Johnny have positions of power then you ultimately have two different sets of laws, correct? (One for those who know how to use commas and the another set for those who don't, right Wolfy Johnny?) Case in point: Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek's son, Ryan is not arrested for causing over $5,000.00 worth of damage to public property, correct? I have an example of a teenage female, Angela Marie Tadych, who was arrested on the spot for causing about half the damage, don't I? Second, 2.5 months pass before felony charged as supposedly filed against Ryan, correct? Angela Marie Tadych charged immediately for a felony immediately (Case No. 34-JV-13-199), wasn't she? There are more comparisons that I could make but they would fall on the dear ears of Wolfy Johnny, wouldn't they? Wolfy Johnny knows that he can makes more money being part of the corrupt systems, then opposing the corrupt system, doesn't he? Oh, lest I forget, Wolfy Johnny is only now concerned about what? Oh yeah, college! College means that Wolfy Johnny no longer needs to support his former wife and child, correct? Wolfy Johnny is only really concerned about Johnny, proper placement of commas and money, isn't he?

Johnny Northside said...

So I should chose content for my blog not based upon what I want to write about, but based upon what Lion News thinks I should write about? Even though Lion News is already writing about the topic?

Lion News said...

Wolfy Johnny tries in vain to deflect away from the real issue by saying: "So I should chose content for my blog not based upon what I want to write about, but based upon what Lion News thinks I should write about? Even though Lion News is already writing about the topic?" The real issue is that Wolfy Johnny is part of the problem – not a part of the solution, correct? That is why Wolfy Johnny is in the situation he is in, correct? Wolfy Johnny has burned all the bridges to his sinking island, correct? The reality is Wolfy Johnny wouldn't act like Wolfy Johnny if he lived the Bible instead of just thumping on the Bible, isn't it? So now Wolfy Johnny is reaping what he has sown, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Hey Lion News,
How about you end your cutesy commentary. All Hoff is trying to do is paint himself as a victim. And you are feeding into his games big time. Hoff is approving comments that he has been rejecting for months. He is even approving comments that say he's an absentee landlord renting out his Minneapolis house without a license while living in OK.
He just wants people to believe his sob stories and feel sorry for him.
The best thing you can do is ignore him and stop your comments.

Just like a crying baby he'll stop eventually, when he's all cried out.

Anonymous said...

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Am I the only one that HATES Lion News style of writing? All that crap of making an opinionated statement and then adding a comma and a word to turn it into a question at the end. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG THATISSOEFFINGANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't it??? (hahahha couldn't resist)

Anonymous said...

For those of you that will be unable to get your northside news here, Just go the the North Talk Facebook page for up to the minute info.
That's where Hoff gets most of his news anyway since he moved to Oklahoma like a year ago.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for Johnny to tell us if he will appeal if denied?

Johnny Northside! said...

False that I've moved but you know what...

Do that. Go to North Vent. That's where all the good info is. The comment must have meant North VENT not North Talk.

Lion News said...

Remember Wolfy Johnny Northside (of Oklahoma?) has a so-called "right" to victimize his prey, hasn't he?

Aggressiveness: The Tantrum Trap … aggressive people are insistent on standing up for their own rights while ignoring and violating the rights of others. Contacts: Communicating Interpersonally, by Teri Kwal Gamble & Michael Gamble, page 351.

And Wolfy Johnny has a so-called "right" to expand his hunting territory by joining your club, group, organization, etc., right? Why? Wolfy Johnny's wild and outrageous claims are that Wolf Johnny will be a so-called "asset" to that community, right?

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Acts 20:29 KJV.

You'd have to be pretty stupid to buy into Wolfy Johnny's phony tears, whines and whimpers, wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

False that you haven't been living in Oklahoma for over a year? Absolute lie.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Northside, I'm sorry about whatever is taking place with your team of bloggers. My nephew was murdered a year ago and you gave good information regarding the shooters background. Your blog tells it like it is and that is very rewarding to the good citizens that are law abiding. If I had the money I would definitely give your blog a donation. I hope you keep up the work!

Anonymous said...

So what's up you bogus self serving bitch? When the going get's tough the tough get going? Have a hard time telling the truth do you? Use your son as an excuse? Seattle, Grand Forks and ,as Greyhound used to cry...all points in between?
Take your fake ass down the road and hope the Gomez family doesn't slit your throat or any other family that you have bitch punked. So Long pussy.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Fight Club.

Jill Clark, just one more personality, not separate? Will Tyler Durden return?

Johnny Northside! said...

Live link has been added to the words about my father going over to the union.

Johnny Northside! said...

The strike in question was not a "Blue and White Cab Strike" per se but rather involved the Guild of Taxi Drivers and Associated Workers.

My memory, as is clear in the article, was a childhood memory and my father did indeed drive for Blue and White but the cab strike has not been known as the "Blue and White Cab Strike." It was bigger and involved more cab companies.

I have corrected the blog post give a more correct name to the strike in question.