Archive for January, 2009

Minneapolis Sk8 Scene Appears to Be Getting Better

I don’t really know anything about the MSP skater scene, but I know I’ve been hard on the horrible skating videos I’ve found on YouTube.

But this one is actually quite good, if you’re into that sort of thing:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnHktoYFcRw[/youtube]

It’s a promo for Boondoggle, a Minneapolis skateboard video you can buy for $10.

More Lucy Love

It’s no secret that I love a good Juicy Lucy burger. I’m on a mission to find the best ones in the Twin Cities, and my most recent visit was to the Blue Door Pub in St. Paul. So far, the BDP has made it into my Top 3 (of 6 tested) places to get a Juicy Lucy here in the Twin Cities.

Turns out – the BDP just got even better. According to CityPages’ Teddy Hobbins, the Blue Door ran an online contest to have patrons vote on the next Juicy Blucy offering on their menu.

The winner? The Frenchy Blucy. It’s a French-dip inspired burger, stuffed with Swiss cheese, topped with onions and more cheese, and served with a side of au jus. The review just drools all over itself and I just might have to break my rule about visiting the same place twice in a row to go back for this one…

Hungry?

Blue Door Pub
1811 Selby Ave
St. Paul, MN 55104

10 Worst Economic Stimulus Requests Made by Minnesota Cities

 

There’s a reason everyday Americans who practice personal responsibility are calling it Obama’s Porkulus Bill…here are some local reasons from local talkshow host Chris Baker:

10 Worst Economic Stimulus Requests Made by Minnesota Cities

10

 Shorewood 

 $300,000    

Tennis court improvement and rehab – A backhand shot from a prosperous southwestern suburb that should be vigorously returned by taxpayers.1

 9

 St. Paul

 $2.1 million

Western Avenue reconstruction “including bike facilities, traffic calming elements” and “public art” – An artful attempt to have patrons, a.k.a. taxpayers, underwrite the collaboration of St. Paul public works engineers and artists in creating fun sculptures, playful signs, “traffic calming elements” and bike facilities.2

 8

 Burnsville

 $50,000

Greenhouse gas tracking program – How exactly does a city-run greenhouse gas tracking program stimulate the economy?

 7

 St. Cloud

 $150,000

Street sign upgrade program – The state has mandated that street sign lettering be 150 millimeters for capital letters and 113 millimeters for lower-case letters.3  A case of a city government asking the federal government for funds to comply with a state government mandate to replace signs that were already pointing the right way and doing the job.

 6

 Hanover

 $750,000 

LED streetlight conversion – How many years worth of city electric bills will it take to pay off the $750,000 cost of changing the bulbs in this city with an estimated population of about 2,500?

 5

 St. Louis
 Park

 $3.5 million

New water meters for St. Louis Park residents – The city wants to open the federal tap to give 12,800 water customers new water meters and install remote meter monitoring equipment.

 4

 Roseville

 $1.5 million

New clubhouse and maintenance shop for city golf course – Roseville’s city-run Cedarholm Golf Course, a 9-hole par 3 course, lost over $800,000 between 2000 and 2007 (years inclusive).4  Why should all taxpayers be asked to “chip in” even more money at this losing enterprise?

 3

 Burnsville

 $550,000 

Nicollet Commons water feature rehab  Burnsville expects taxpayers to open the federal floodgates for a $550,000 upgrade for the water fountains and sculptures in its highly touted town square style park.

 2

  Duluth

 $6 million 

Spirit Mountain snowmaking and maintenance facility – This multi-million dollar snow job attracted national media attention to Duluth.

 

 St. Cloud

 $750,000 

Skateboarding Park – Ever since a local entrepreneur closed the doors of his skate park in 2006, enthusiasts in St. Cloud have tried to raise a quarter of a million dollars to start building a huge state-of-the-art skate park “plaza.” The city even agreed to carry donors’ debt for four years, but donations–to use skateboarding terminology–continue to “grind” along well short of their goal.  So the city has done a “kick turn” and asked taxpayers to foot the bill for the entire project.  Taxpayers need to become familiar with another skateboard term and “grab” their wallets.

 

Confessions of a Minnesota air polluter

When I heard that much of Minnesota was under an air pollution advisory today, it came as no surprise. You see, I’m responsible for it happening.  The pollution in our air, which can be harmful to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans with asthma or other lung diseases, is primarily caused by vehicle exhaust. While my car is small and fuel-efficient, it still pumps a witches brew of CO2 and toxic gases and particles into our air, everytime I turn the key.

Of course, I’m not alone on the highways, nor am I solely to blame for today’s air quality alert. But as a spokesperson for the American Lung Association of Minnesota, I know that my decisions contribute to the health of our air.  Could I have taken a bus to work today? Caught a ride with a co-worker? Bought a vehicle that has a less polluting hybrid-electric engine, or could run on less polluting E85 or biodiesel? These thoughts were on my mind today, as I drove into work.

I know that just thinking about the problems isn’t enough. Our world is divided into two different groups: those who talk about problems, and those who act to solve them. So if I really want to make a difference, I have to make some changes. How about you?

CNN pundits weigh in on Coleman/Franken

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos writes:
Minnesotans eat lutefisk, not for its taste, but from a sense of cultural responsibility. After all, the delightful state staple is fish prepared in lye. Who would want to miss “All You Can Eat” night?

“Minnesota Nice,” however, can expose the soft underbelly of the state to self-interested politicians. This year, it may allow comedian Al Franken to walk away with one of the state’s highest public offices and the U.S. Senate might finally gain what it has always lacked: a clown who is a credentialed professional.

Democratic strategist Paul Begala writes:
You know you’re low when you have lower ethical standards than a convicted felon, but that’s where former Sen. Norm Coleman finds himself.

His fellow former senator, Ted Stevens of Alaska, decided not to contest his narrow defeat.

Stevens had little realistic chance of overturning the result, and Alaska needed both its senators as hundreds of billions of dollars were being spent by Congress. Even though he betrayed the public trust, Stevens’ last public act put his state first.

Me? After all of this hurry up and wait, lawsuit upon lawsuit, and punditry galore, I’m considering the implications of just having one senator for another six years.

Some Charitable Thoughts For Charitable Gambling?

Both the St. Cloud Times and KMSP-TV recently reported on the declining fortunes of the state’s charitable gambling industry. While industry insiders are always quick to blame the statewide smoking ban for the decline, they admit that revenues have been declining for years, they are not attracting new, younger customers, and the bad economy hasn’t helped matters. A 2005 report from the Minnesota Legislative Auditor was critical of the charitable gambling industry, noting that only four cents of every dollarspent on pulltabs actually benefited local charities.

What do you think? Does charitable gambling have a future in Minnesota? Is it something you like to do?

Saint Paul Winter Carnival this weekend


I’m a huge fan of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, especially the parades and the ice carving (see 2006, 2007, 2008)

This Saturday, be sure to check out the King Boreas Grande Day Parade, which starts at 2 p.m. at East 4th Street at Broadway. The parade then travels down East 4th Street, turns at Washington Avenue at Rice Park and ends at 5th Street & Cedar Avenue.

Bundle up. Dunn Bros has hot chocolate and a restroom, but be prepared to wait in line for both.

More info on the events here.

Glenn Beck and other BioFools

A number of radio yappers, bloggers and teevee hosts have taken the Bloomington school bus/biodiesel story I discussed here earlier and have run with it, even though most should now know that the initial reports that biodiesel caused the mechanical problems with a few, older buses stored outdoors are not true. Today I see Fox News “personality” Glenn Beck continues to spin out of control with this new offering. Here’s another jaw-dropper, blaming the “Miracle on the Hudson” crash on corn and biofuels!?!. I wrote on the Bloomington biodiesel incident in depth on the Gas 2.0 blog.

Models Models Everywhere and Not a Shot of Steve

It’s Round Two of the MSPMAG Model contest and @mspmag says “Vote for the next round of Real Models. Don’t let it come down to whoever has the biggest Facebook network.and points out Strib blogger gets a little…awkward…over one of the model contestants. Don’t miss “Stu” in the comments.

Stu takes this little blurbie:

 

I have physical attributes that would qualify me to be a real model. I am 5-feet-8-inches tall with a slender build that is toned by fifteen years of competing in the sport of figure skating. My eyes are large, my lips full, my legs long. Many have told me that I should be a model. Some have even told me that I have an exotic, European look. Beyond appearances, I have a natural affinity for expression. Figure skating has trained my body to move in myriad ways—from graceful to athletic—and my face to portray a wide range of emotions.

 

and turns it into, 

I have physical attributes that would qualify me to be a real model a “Before” picture. I am 5-feet-8-inches tall with a slender doughy build that is toned by fifteen years of competing in the sport of figure skating sitting in front of a computer screen. My eyes are large bloodshot, my lips full chapped, my legs long could be mistaken for uncooked bratwurst. Many have Mom has told me that I should be a model move out, maybe talk to a girl. Some have even told me that I have an exotic, European look odor. Beyond appearances, I have a natural affinity for expression yelling at the TV when something on it displeases me. Figure skating A diet of Big Macs and Milwaukee’s Best has trained my body to move in myriad ways—from graceful to athletic— like a ball of chunky peanut butter and bacon fat, rolling slowly downhill, and my face to portray a wide range of emotions life gone completely, utterly to waste.

Now that’s just mean Stu. Mean, but hilarious.

I’m a little sad this little sex pot isn’t in the contest

Have you voted?

 

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ACLU sues TiZA, state education dept.

I was taught that there are two basic ways to consider information:

1) The Source

2) The Content

Both have merits and drawbacks, but I tend to think the second is ultimately more reliable.

Well, often it seems many locals refuse to consider content because of source. Recently potential abuses of the education system by the TiZA school became an issue and were dismissed by much of the local bloggersnotti, mainly because the potential infractions were brought to light by Katherine Kersten.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no love for the K.K. Yet, at the time, it seemed to me that there were some clear violations of Church and State, but hey; I’m no lawyer.

You know who is a bunch of lawyers? The A.C.L.U and they are suing, Calling it a “pervasively Muslim school,” ACLU sues TiZA, state education dept.

So I ask, “How about now?”

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