Archive for the 'minneapolis' Category

Are you kidding me?

Ok… I know it has been a long time since I last posted but I am making a conscious effort to start blogging again.  What has got me so fired up?  Idiotic driving!  A few days ago I was making my usual morning trek across the Twin Cities.  As I approached the 494 & 35W junction (one of the busiest in the area) I made the mistake of looking over at the traffic merging and what did I see?  A woman merging into my lane of traffic while she was looking in the mirror applying her hairspray!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Granted I have seen plenty of crazy things on my morning commute, including: drivers eating a bowl of cereal, applying make-up, and reading books and newspapers but this was by far the most reckless in my opinion.  What is this world coming to?  Are we so time starved the we would risk our lives (and the lives of others – me) so we can squeeze in an extra couple of minutes?  Am I crazy or is this just the new normal?

Liquid or Gas? Or, Just Damn Cold.

It has been -20 degrees Fahrenheit for a week here in Minneapolis.  And, to prove it, this lady instantly turns water into vapor:

Death Knell for Print News

There is a lot of hand wringing about the decline and fall of print newspapers.  I canceled my subscription to the Minneapolis Star Tribune over a year ago because good writers and local content were harder and harder to find (not to mention the dearth of international news).  But instead of giving up on print entirely, I subscribed to the NYTimes whose $660 annual subscription is feeling a bit too luxurious in these times.  

Meanwhile, I spend way too much time reading news online.  I love to get local news from MinnPost (where most of the good writers from the Strib went anyhow), the NYTimes online edition (nicely formatted on my iPhone for reading on the train), Slate, the Economist, Time, and myriad other blogs whose RSS feeds crowd my Google home page (not to mention podcasts).  Is $660 really worth the tactile joy of opening the paper over a cup of coffee, when I’m overwhelmed with up to the minute news at my desk?

It’s no wonder people are writing the obituary of print news (to read it you’ll have to go to  Craigslist and Monster took away the want ads, advertisers are less and less interested in the demographic that still subscribes to papers, and worst of all good writing is hard to find.

As Jack Shafer points out in Slate, they did see it coming but tried to create walled gardens of content which required subscriptions.  Alas, this too has failed.  The last bastion of hope is the sports section. Mark Cuban writes in his blog that pro sports teams should come to the rescue of local papers.  Even though the Internet has infinite shelf space, the quality of local sports coverage is poor.  Maybe the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press should ask the Vikings, Twins, Wild, Timberwolves, and Gophers for a little help. 

Potential Fight Club selection: Pablo J. Boczkowski’s 2004 book, Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers.  Also, check out this interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google “Eric Schmidt wishes Google could save newspapers“.

Jan 13 update: Interesting chart from eMarketer on where people get their news:


Minneapolis Snow

I’m playing with the Google Earth app on my iPhone.  Its “swoop navigation” feature allows you to fly in and see the landscape from various perspectives (the accelerometer on the iPhone tilts the view as you move it in your hand).

But, what’s even more cool, is that I discovered this geo-tagged photo (via Panoramio) called Minneapolis Snow created by Don McCrae.  It’s a photograph that he converted into a water color using photo-editing software that he doesn’t reveal.  This photo has been viewed close to 2,000 times with comments from people in France and the Netherlands.

It’s currently 1 degree Fahrenheit in sunny Minneapolis, with a beautiful coat of snow that this picture captures perfectly.  Thank you Don McCrae.


Fear and Loathing in Minneapolis

Maybe it’s just November (I actually recited My November Guest to my buddies at the bar the other night) or maybe the economy is in the tank and my 401k is approaching 50% of what it was just 6 months ago.  Anyhow, I feel low down.

Tamar Lewin of the NYT recently pointed out that in times like these hemlines fall, crime rates go up and people prefer songs like “‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’. In better times, it’s more likely to be faster, upbeat songs like ‘Macarena.’ ”   So, I cehcked what’s topping the charts today – it’s T.I. – “Live Your Life” which instructs us to “make the most of the life you’ve got.”  What’s more depressing than that is even “Playboy bunnies are beginning to look more mature – older, heavier, more reassuring.” 

Oy vey.

Darth Vader does the Brass Monkey

Hilarious!  Minneapolis’ very own Spricket24 does the Running Man and Gene Kelly with a light saber.

Black Ink

Eric Black is one of the reasons I no longer subscribe to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  His departure, along with about 50 others from the Strib newsroom, has left the Strib a hollow shell.

Eric is now writing for  which happens to be edited and published by Joel Kramer, former editor and publisher of the Strib.  And, with writers like Eric Black, the news at MinnPost is just as good as the Strib and you don’t have to deal with all those pesky ads.

 obama-clinton.jpgobama-clinton.jpgThe Space Between

One of Eric’s recent posts is about how little separates Obama from Clinton.  Black links us to Congressional Quarterly where Dan Nather writes that their voting records are nearly indistinguishable.  With near parity in voting records, endorsements, even “anti-Bushiness,” what’s a Democratic primary voter to do?  Eric leave us with this:

Perhaps it tells us more about why the campaign between them is being waged on the basis or abstractions, like “change” and “experience,” or on the subliminal question of which race/gender barrier you feel more motivated to break.

Because you’re mine, I walk the line

Conceptual artist Marcus Young has drawn a 2 mile line from the MCAD Gallery through Minneapolis to the Mississippi River.. The work of art is titled “From Here To There And Beyond”.  Click here to see a video of the line.

By following the line out of the MCAD Gallery, you’re confronted with questions such as: where am I going? How far is this line going to take me?  How far am I willing to go? Is this a path, an idea, a trail? His two mile line connects to the 2,300 mile line that is the Mississippi. 

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same,  

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back.       

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920

“No one has ever thrown down here”

There’s another group of beer drinkers and book readers out there.  According to this morning’s Strib, Books and Bars (or B&B as they refer to themselves) meets at Bryant Lake Bowl on a monthly basis to discuss books.  But, unlike Fight Club, they never throw down – pussies.  Besides what kind of sissy book club calls themselves B&B? 

However, they do have several things going for them:

  • An MC, Jeff Kamin, a former stand up comedian who “works the room.” 
  • They have a “John Hughes slow clap” when anyone utters something tedious such as “As an English major. … ” or “the second time I read this book.”  I suggest we employ said slow clap when Matt H. refers to his other Fight Club.
  • Sponsorship from a bar, Magers & Quinn bookstore and the Onion

Breastplate of Righteousness

The airport in our fair city suffers the ignominy of a US Senator soliciting sex in the men’s bathroom.  Apparently, there are certain bathrooms in the airport that if someone actually goes in there for a good honest shit, it’s like a breath of fresh air. 

The author of ‘God Is Not Great’ (future Fight Club selection?), Christopher Hitchens, writes an eloquent summary of Senator Craig’s predicament in this article in Slate.


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