Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Bike To Work Week May 17 – 21

Did you know that this coming week May 17 – 21 is Bike to Work Week and May 21 is Bike to Work Day?

I had forgotten, but luckily Bicycling sent me a reminder email filled with some great resources.

Cyclists vs. Drivers – How to Share the Road Better
Bicycling’s 2010 List of Amercia’s “Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities”

·         To view our full rankings and see where your city placed, click here. (If interested, a full PDF of the article is also available)

  • Or, check out 8 ideas that cyclists can push for to make their city more bike-friendly here.
  • And, see which foreign cities are the most bike-friendly.
From the Editors – Facts and Tips on Bike Commuting
  • Bicycling editors are available to share tips and facts on bike commuting and bike trends. For example:
  • The average American drives 29 miles per day. If you substitute one day’s worth of driving with riding per week, in a year you’ll burn enough calories to lose 19 pounds. You’ll also reduce auto emissions by 1,248 pounds of CO2, and save more than $800 on gas and maintenance.

Additionally I had the opportunity to speak with Bicycling.com editor Christine Mattheis about various biking topics, including the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities which as you know Minneapolis ranked #1.

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Have you always been a biker? At what age did you begin?
I learned to bike when I was a kid, like most kids, but really got into it in college when I bought a road bike.

Are you still an avid biker?
Yeah, I bike commute year around. Probably not as much as I should. I try for three days a week.

I see you were involved with the “top 50 Bike Friendly Cities”? in which Minneapolis placed #1, What was were the main factors in ranking?
There were many studies we used in our research and we talked to leading bicycle advocates. I suggest you check out PeoplePoweredMovement.org and the book Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., 2010 Benchmarking Report is a great resource.

How many of the cities have you biked? Several including Minneapolis, between myself and the other editors that worked on the best biking feature we biked all of the 50 cities.

What is your favorite ride?
Currently I am riding my Specialized Ruby Expert most, but I also own an older Gary Fisher mountain bike and a Giant full suspension. I’m looking at buying a Orbea

Of the bikes you’ve tested in the last year what is been your favorite?

I really liked the Breezer. It’s a great commuter bike for a beginner and has everything someone needs to get started.

You may or may not be aware of this, but Minneapolis and Portland (top 50 #2) kind of have an ongoing competition about quality of life. What was the big separator that put Minneapolis as #1?

*laughs* I wasn’t aware of that… I must have missed something. One thing that really separated Minneapolis was it’s growth and it’s extensive network of trails. You can really get from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with much traffic. Also, Portland doesn’t really have the 4 months of extreme winter.

[In Your FACE Portland!]

Biking seems to be making a comeback, how do you see the future of biking unfolding over the next ten years?
I don’t think it’s a fad. It’s a growing trend. People are more concerned with health and when the price of gasoline spiked a few years ago it made a lot of people take notice. Also, city planners and politicians are taking note. It’s a chicken and egg thing, are they taking note because there are more bikers or are there more bikers because they are taking note and building more trails, either way, biking is definantly a growth market.

What is your take on women in biking?
It’s definantly a growing interest. Over the last 10 years women have been given more attention by the major bike manufacturers in everything from the bikes to the equipment. 10 years ago that just didn’t exist, also more women have been interested in triathalon which has exposed them to biking.

Did you hear about or participate in 30 days of biking?
I heard about it, but did not participate. I think it’s a great thing, anything that can get people on their bikes is a positive for their health and the environment.

If you could give any advice to a new biker what would it be?
Get a bike that fits your body, comfort is important and so is avoiding injury. You can go inexpensive as long as it fits you’ll enjoy riding it. Avoid the cheap used bikes as you’ll end up investing money in them on repairs or replacement and way. Go to your local bike shop and have them help.

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Thanks to Christine for the great conversation on biking a Bicycling.com for the reminder and resources. Remember people, get out there and bike!

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Going up the escalator at the Guthrie in Minneapolis

( Image uploaded on December 16, 2009
by manyhighways
)

I don’t know what it is about pictures of stairs that fascinate, but there seems to always be more than meets the eye. For me the figure at the top of this escalator almost gives a Hitchcockian vibe to this pic, my compliments to the chef.

What is it with stairs?

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Confessions of a Christmas Music Addict

Christmas Music Savant, that’s what my friends call me. Maybe it was from my mum’s extensive vinyl collection and the fact that we sat around the piano singing every holiday or that I worked 20 years of retail or that I am a fine Welsh lass and my people are well known for our love of singing, but I love, L-O-V-E holiday tunes, all of them. 

Well, maybe not all of them.  No offense, but I would be happy if I never heard “Feliz Navidad“, especially the Jose Feliciano version,ever again.  But that one song aside, I start listening to Christmas music and holiday tunes at the start of November and stop after the twelve days of Christmas are over on January 5th (where do you think “Twelfth Night” came from folks?).

My moniker came from my days working at Dayton’s/Field’s/Macy’s and every time a song came on the Muzak I could name not only the song but singer in just a few notes, Bill Cullen would be proud.

I can tell the difference between Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Perry Como singing the exact same song.  Now with all the modern & country singers jumping into the holiday music pool it has become more difficult and my skills have begun to wane, especially since I no longer work retail, but my holiday music collection will still rival many.

Brady Bunch Xmas cover

Combined cassette, vinyl and CD there are over 200 albums in the collection. Perhaps the most prized is the “Merry Christmas with the Brady Bunch” Original Vinyl (we three sisters wore similar robes). You haven’t heard anything until you have heard Cindy Brady sing “Frosty the Snowman” with a lisp.

Fred WaringThen there is the Fred Waring Singers with Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby 12 Songs of Christmas with my favorites “Go tell it on the Mountain” & a fantastic duet “We wish you the Merriest” with Frank & Bing.  Then there is the Columbia Records “Magic of Christmas” 3- record boxed set which I loved,  and all the Dean Martin Christmas albums, those are mum’s, but we kept the old Soundesign stereo turntable just so we could still play them.  And get this, we even still have a Bing Crosby White Christmas 8-Track somewhere! Christmas LP

 

 

 

 

As for modern CD’s I think I like the Barenaked Ladies “Bare Naked for the Holidays” (includes some Hanukkah songs) and Harry Connick Jr’s “Harry for the Holidays” or his more recent “”What a Night.”  Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Boogie Woogie Christmas” or “Dig that Crazy Christmas” are the two I own but he has also released several more including a live two CD set “Christmas Extravaganza.”

Leonard Slatkin Conducted Minnesota Orchestra Nutcracker Suite

Leonard Slatkin Conducted Minnesota Orchestra Nutcracker Suite

No Holidays would be complete without a Nutcracker Suite recording. Mum bought my sisters & me the Leonard Slatkin-conducted Minnesota Orchestra Tchaikovsky classic album when she worked there and it is wonderful (it also includes Swan Lake).

I also like some modern rock Christmas tunes like No Doubt’s “Oi to the World” and “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses as well, and they are always part of my circulation.  No Christmas is complete for me without Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town” either.  I always used to use it for my answering machine message the week before Christmas and can help but smile whenever I hear it!

I don’t think November is too early for Christmas or holiday music. You only get an opportunity to listen to it for such a short period of time and sing along like a freak for less than two months a year, so why not enjoy the spirit while you can?

And for those that don’t appreciate the “Christian” message of the Christmas music there are plenty of options.  The Barenaked Ladies have a few wonderful Hanukkah tunes on their CD and Minnesota’s own Peter Himmelman helped with a multi-performer CD called “Festival of Light” In addition songs like “Let it Snow” “Winter Wonderland” “Sleigh Ride” “Baby its Cold Outside” and even “Jingle Bells” have nothing to do with a religious saviour or holiday but rather the gloriousness of the winter season.

Maybe I like Christmas and holiday music so much because I enjoy winter and snow so much. Or maybe it is because I’m a geek and I like singing along with all the songs like I did when I was a child before I knew what all the words meant and Political Correctness had taken over the world.  But chances are when I’m in the house between November and January or at my desk, I’m cranking Dean, or Bing or Perry or anyone singing of the Holiday spirit and I’m singing along too (or in my head if I’m in an office).  Yes, My name is Fiona and I’m a Christmas Music Addict (or savant).

Fiona’s Holiday Favourites:

Classics:
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Let it Snow – Dean Martin
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Judy Garland
Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
Frosty the Snowman – Burl Ives
Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee or Dean Martin
I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Bing Crosby
Blue Christmas – Elvis
The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
Christmas Walz – The Carpenters
Jingle Bells – Perry Como
Don’t Forget to Feed the Reindeer – Peggy Lee
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth – Bing Crosby/David Bowie
Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
Baby Its Cold Outside – Dean Martin
12 Days of Christmas – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
Here We Come a Caroling – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
The Holly & The Ivy – Westminster Boys Choir
Modern Pop/Rock
Santa Claus is Comin to Town – Bruce Springsteen
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah- Barenaked Ladies
Dredyl Song – Another Man Down
Hanukkah Rocks – The LeeVees
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Merry Christmas I dont Want to Fight – The Ramones
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – The Smithereens
Big Bad VooDoo Daddy – Mr. HeatMiser
Jingle Bells – Barenaked Ladies
Deck the Halls – Peter Cetera/Allison Krause or Twisted Sister
Jinga Bell Rock/Christmas Time – BoDeans
It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
Last Christmas – Wham
Little Drummer Boy – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Red over White – Siouxie & the Banshees
Winter Wonderland – Cocteau Twins
Please Come Home for Christmas – Bon Jovi
Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – SR-71
Santa Claus is Back in Town – Johnny Lang
Father Christmas – The Kinks
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Sarah McLachlan
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Enya
We Three Kings – Fuel
Christmas Dont Be Late – Powder
Oi to the World – No Doubt
2000 Miles – The Pretenders
I Saw Three Ships – Sting
12 Days of Christmas – Relient K
All that I Want – The Weepies
Silent Night – LifeHouse
Peace on Earth – The Automatics
Sleigh Ride – Harry Connick, Jr
Zat You Santa Claus? – Brian Setzer Orchestra
Grown up Christmas List – Michael Bublé
What are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Vonda Shephard
[Edit]12 Days of Christmas – The Muppets & John Denver
 

Recommended website for pop/rock Holiday music is Mistletunes, an encyclopedia of anything and everything there is to know about modern holiday releases. 

If you want to listen to Holiday tunes at work but your collection pales in comparison to mine, AccuRadio’s AccuHolidays has multiple channels to please everyone’s tastes including a channel of just songs about Santa & his elves, Channel O’ (Oh Holy Night, O Tannenbaum, O Come All Ye Faithful, etc) and a channel called Chestnuts, just different versions of “The Christmas Song”; you can even customize your own channel. Great way to stream the holidays, and it is all FREE!  If you have Comcast Digital cable you can also tune to channel 832,which is Sounds of the Season. 

To prove what a holiday music nut I am, I will send a holiday CD to the first person who enters in the comments below the name of the horse in the winter classic “Jingle Bells”?  Yes,  the horse has a name.  Go ahead, sing it, it will come to you!

ADDENDUM:

Amazon is offering 25 free MP3 Downloads of Holiday Music, one a day until Christmas! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/feature/-/1000453281

Minnesota Football? Minnesota Football!

If you like Football you’ve heard of the Two Jet Aggie Spread Right

I like football.

And beer.

Best Day Ever sends the Internet some beer

Best Day Ever sends the Internet some beer

I asked for some beer pics yesterday and @Best_day_ever decided to play along.

It’s good to see some people still like to have fun on the Internet, drink beer, and steal a football win within the last seconds of the game. TD!

Cheers.

Football!!!!!

SurlyFest and pumpkins from the garden.

SurlyFest and pumpkins from the garden.

Did I break the Internet? (Coachella Queries. )

Do you ever wonder that?

I mean locally, of course, not at Coachella or someplace totally way more awesome than SxSWhatnot or Seattle.

That is, do you know somone at Coachella? You know, someone local? Or, have you heard about any Coachella acts that you really, really, really, want to roll through the T.C.?

.My friend mellowlee says “Now playing at #Coachella ; #Calexico Check it out at http://music.att.net #webcast ♫ http://blip.fm/~4k9ap

 and stephenhero just can’t catch a break  “Glasvegas cancelled. Bullshit! I feel like a Gypsy homosexual in 1939 Poland.” #coachella

Do tell.

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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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Happy Hockey Day!

Just a friendly reminder it’s Hockey Day in Mn.

Hockey Wilderness has the schedule.

Who loves hockey?

WE DO!

Who loves hockey?

WE DO!

I have some video and pics coming up.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday. Peace. Word.

Minnesota Gets A New Giant Pumpkin Record (and all we get is this lousy pseudo religion)

It’s a giant pumpkin. And when I say giant I mean so-giant-that-it’s-bordering-on-getting-a-new-religion kind of giant, like John Lennon. Or Lenin. Or Linen. Seriously, who hasn’t prayed for 1200 thread count sheets at some point or another? I digress.

As the Strib reports in In search of the Giant Pumpkin, a state record emerges

A science teacher from New London shattered the Minnesota record for giant pumpkins on Saturday. It registered a whopping 1,427.5 pounds at the 4th annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off in downtown Stillwater. 

I, for one, welcome our new Great Pumpkin overlords. Matter of fact, I take partial responsibility. I like to believe the pumpkins I grow contribute energy to the spiritual harmonics of these peaceful squash. Metaphysical,I tell you.

Well, metaphysical, and a whole lot of fertilizer.

The stuff I use is organic.

Now I can’t decide whether I should post pictures of my personal pumpkin patch, make a video, or build an alter.

I mean, Did you see the size of that thing?

Big congratulations to Chad Reivier of Spicer, MN. I hope you like pie.

Andy Driscoll Commentary on Archbishop’s Cancellation of Church’s Gay Pride Celebration

Andy Driscoll is the host of KFAI’s Truth to Tell, a show I have come to love and a must-listen for anyone who is curious about the issues we face in the Twin Cities metro. While something about Andy’s voice vaguely creeps me out, dude has been around a long time, knows his stuff, and knows all the players.

Apparently Archbishop John Nienstedt’s cancellation of St. Joan of Arc‘s Pride celebration got Andy’s dander up. This commentary is included in the show notes. I’ve not yet listened to the 6/25/08 episode of TTT (“Sexual Violence and Offenders” is the topic), but I presume he read it on air as well.

A Question for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Let us digress for a moment to ask this question of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: what in God’s name is going on with you people that you feel compelled to impose some Neanderthal view of sexuality and sexual orientation as if Jesus Christ himself would condemn all who don’t reproduce, never mind their deep devotion to their Lord and their church? What earthly, let alone, heavenly, harm – other than Archbishop John Nienstadt’s personal and professional disgust with gays and Lesbians, could possibly be driving this idiotic intervention over St. Joan of Arc’s annual celebration and worship of Gay Pride week in the Twin Cities? Is the Church so insulated from public view that it doesn’t sense the rank hypocrisy of this unwarranted authoritarian exercise in light of its own clergy’s sexual history?

Now, I haven’t practiced pure Catholicism in 50 years, but I’ve watched my former faith take ten steps backward recently for every inch gained in behalf of the seriously wanting human condition over those years and cannot help but wonder if Christ himself isn’t turning over in his heavenly home over this prehistoric return to religious fascism.

St. Joan of Arc has been a model of Vatican II principles, providing an overarching cover for all Catholics, including the disaffected, welcoming all of God’s children under its large umbrella. That congregation and others of similar bent are getting hammered into submission by a theoretically celibate male hierarchy which apparently believes that a return to the catacombs is the only way to maintain its iron-fisted authority over purely personal choices to somehow stave off the devil’s entrapment.

What nonsense. And a truly sad commentary on a religious government that was showing such promise that it could live up to its name: Catholic. The name literally means universal, all-encompassing. Universal includes everyone exercising their free will under the teachings and example of their Lord himself. So. Since when did a few men with robes assume the authority to define that term for their own narrow application?

Shame on you, Your Excellency. This will backfire big time, as it has for so many years in other arenas of dicta, driving many Catholics into exile and cynicism.

©2008 Andy Driscoll

Amen, Andy!

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