Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


MinnPost Picks: on the cult of Casey’s, ‘Sleng Teng’ riddim and the case for writing longhand

Our weekly roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

Casey’s General Store, Yankton, South Dakota
Casey’s General Store, Yankton, South Dakota

The Cult of Casey’s: How Gas Stations Became Essential to American Culture, Men Yell At Me

Tanner CurlI grew up on a farm in Iowa, and no part of the state’s culture has stayed with me more strongly than my devotion to the pizza from Casey’s, a chain of gas stations that started in Iowa over 50 years ago. This Substack piece from Lyz Lenz is about more than pizza, though. Gas stations, including other chains, have become central hubs of convenience in a lot of small towns. Sometimes they’re the only places you can get basic supplies (or delicious pizza), which is one reason they’ve inspired so much loyalty and play such a central role in their communities. (And FWIW, Casey’s are fairly common in Minnesota, including various Twin Cities suburbs, and you would be doing yourself a favor by giving their taco or breakfast pizza a try.)
—Tanner Curl, executive director

Okuda Hiroko: The Casio Employee Behind the “Sleng Teng” Riddim that Revolutionized Reggae,

“Under Mi Sleng Teng,” written by Jamaican singer Wayne Smith and his friend Noel Davey, was released in 1985 and became an instant dancehall classic. The song was made using a Casio electronic keyboard, and since then, the “Sleng Teng” riddim has inspired as many as 450 different songs. Hashino Yukinori interviews Okuda Hiroko, who, as a young developer in her first year at Casio, created the preset track on a Casiotone MT-40 that came to revolutionize reggae music in the mid-1980s.
—Corey Anderson, creative director

Article continues after advertisement

The Case for Writing Longhand: ‘It’s About Trying to Create That Little Space of Freedom,’ New York Times

I cannot imagine hand-writing drafts of MinnPost stories. I actually don’t think I’ve written more than a few hundred words at a time in my untidy, by-hand scrawl in quite a while. Yet, some reporters apparently write entire drafts of stories by hand, and this short New York Times piece talks to them about why and how they do it.
—Greta Kaul, data reporter

Those Who Know​: Exterminate All the Brutes and the Limits of Rewriting the Narrative, The Drift

Nick Martin reviewed the documentary series “Exterminate All the Brutes,” and in doing so wrote about how, in spite of the series’ attempts to speak about the past more faithfully, it glides quickly over the “balance between past complexities and present context,” avoiding possible ways to reckon with histories.
—Jonathan Stegall, user-experience engineer