N 1st Street

N 1st Street
Image Uploaded on May 3, 2010 by PhotoPatzer who says “These windows were just to good to pass up. I shot the crap out of this place!”

For some reason this image freaks me out, in a good way.


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Let’s judge a book by it’s cover.

You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” words of wisdom that we’ve all ignored at one time or another. And not just with books, right? It’s a great metaphor and it often makes sense, yet I find myself making decisions on “the cover” of things from wine labels to situations.

It appears that Minnesota has found itself in a bit of a “judge a book by it’s cover” situation over a recent appearance by acclaimed author Neil Gaimon over an appearance in Stillwater for Money for Club Book which was paid for by Legacy funds.

Strib reports

Librarians defend use of Legacy funds to inaugurate Club Book series with bestseller Neil Gaiman. The metro-wide program was started to expose suburbia to authors of national acclaim… Fantasy and science fiction writer Neil Gaiman’s speaking fee of $45,000 for a recent four-hour appearance in the metrowide Club Book series has some tongues in the library community wagging in astonishment.

Let’s start with the Legacy Fund, it has been a classic case of judging a book by it’s cover since day 1. Everytime a news article comes up about the Legacy funding being used there is at least a minor kerfuffle. Public money is like that, even when we agree we want money spent we often disagree on how or when it should be spent.

When it comes to the Legacy Fund most of it’s supporters and many of it’s detractors had preconceptions on how the money should be spent.

Now with the Gaimon situation it seems the issue isn’t that money is being spent on a literature series, but rather the amount of money spent on one author with Gaimon’s appearance taking up nearly a third of the fund for the Money for Club Book series.

Personally I understand that some authors will cost more than others and they’ll also have a much bigger draw, but in this situation I have seen estimates of 500 people attending. At $45,000 for the event, that means the fund paid $90 a ticket for the pleasure of Mr.Gaimon’s lecture.

I was going to attend, but I had plans that day. Were you there? If so, what did you think? Either way, let’s judge a book by it’s cover.

I am leaning towards the side of “it’s no big deal”, kudos the the library system for bringing in Mr.Gaimon and kudos to Mr.Gaimon for getting a big pay day. It’s a tough literary world out there and big paydays are a rarity for authors.

Now I’ve read reople generally speak at 150 words per minute and there are 60 minutes in an hour which makes 9,000 words per hour or 36,000 words per the four hour commitment. That’s about 1.25 per word Mr.Gaimon was paid.
Does that mean if he spoke in all 50 cent words he would have been over payed by 75 cents a word?

Just kidding, Neil. Love ya’ man.

Readers decide.



Friends of the rich and infamous.

Have you ever left on vacation and had your friends watch your place? I typically do when we can’t take the pets. Now I don’t know about your friends, but when my friends watch the place they typically consume all the food and booze while making themselves at home. My wife and I encourage it.

I find out today it’s not that way in the lives of the rich and infamous. According to the Strib and court filings, when asked to watch the Hecker residence James Gustafson and his wife Jamie Miller left these items so they’d feel at home.

You really have to read the entire document on the Strib’s site, but here’s a sample:

clothing, lotion dispensers, a dog sweater, artificial plants, artwork, a DVD player, books, DVDs, a toolbox, a chainsaw, mink teddy bears, toilet paper, glassware and the contents of the refrigerators and freezers

I don’t know about you, but for some odd reason I want to party with these people.


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From the Dept. of WTF – Sauna Library Cam

Everything but the people
The pioneerpress reports UMD shuts down library webcam after sauna streams video

University of Minnesota Duluth staff members abruptly shut down a live webcam at the UMD Library on Monday after learning that its images were being streamed over a website for the Duluth Family Sauna.

The Duluth Family Sauna, which is listed on the Worldwide Gay Sauna Guide and advertises free condoms for guests and the availability of private rooms with locks, titled the UMD streaming video “Stalking Local Wildlife at the UMD Library.”

UMD had set up the camera and directed it at a section of the library shortly after it was built so viewers could see the interior, and this is the first reported misuse of it, said Linda Deneen, director of information technology systems and services at UMD.

“We’ve had this webcam up for a long time, and apparently they discovered it and decided they might use it to … I don’t know,” Deneen said.

When the sauna was called a person that claimed to be the manager, but refused to be identified said “It was obviously a joke”

As long as we’re all speculating on why a sauna would show a live stream of a college library I’d like to chime in with “Maybe they are just all Bibliophiles”. FYI the search term “sexually attracted to books” yields some unusual results, if you can believe it.


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Just Another Music Friday – 4/30/2010

This cool photo jónsi – Minneapolis comes to us compliments of TimCarlsonMpls from jónsi @ Pantages Theater – 4.25.10

This week was pretty calm around here, but next week is going to be exciting: I’m launchin a new column, there is going to be a contest with sweet tickets from Goldstar events, and I’m going to expose a major Minnesotan politician as being a heroin junky. OK, two of the three things listed are actually true.

I hope you all have a rocking weekend.

Citypages has a nice roundup of shows to check out.

And there’s North By Midwest in Saint Paul.

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Talking Minnesota – 4/27/10

Photo “into every life some rain must fall” Uploaded on April 26, 2010 by JustACoolCat

Minnesotans have been talking, but I haven’t been listening. Spring has arrived early in the Land of 10,000 lakes and with an early spring comes early allergy symptoms. For me this has included a fever, chills, burning eyes, and plugged up ears to name a couple symptoms. Weeeeeeeeeeeee. Luckily rained all weekend temporarily knocking the pollen out of the air.

In a bit of sad news Gordy, 400-pound gorilla, dies suddenly at Como Zoo, we just saw Gordy a few weekends ago and he was in rare form guarding his territory and chucking clumps of dirt at the onlookers and other goriallas. It’s a shame to see him pass.

Over the last week there’s been much hoopla about how much we trust the government, apparently not very much is the answer.

MPR ran a show and liveblogged Live-blogging Midmorning: The people and their government

A new study by the Pew Center sparks a debate on the role of trust and mistrust in American political life. Less than a quarter of Americans polled say they trust their government. Some experts say people in this country rarely express confidence in Congress and the executive branch. Others note a disturbing trend of increased polarization in government and among voters.

I found this comment interesting and it makes me want to meet the author.

While a doctoral student (management and psychometrics) in the mid-1970’s, I had the opportunity to read many of the management, sociological and behavioural theorists from 1870 on. Much of what I read has come too-much true.

Max Weber: the longer an organization exists, the larger and more complicated it becomes. TRUE! Example: existence of several competing intelligence agencies.

Max Weber: over time, a “bifurcation of interest” develops between an organization and its clients. The organization considers itself more important than its clients, AND what’s good for the organization differs from what’s good for its clients. TRUE! Example: campaign contributors versus voters.

C. Northcote Parkinson: every year, it costs more to perform the same amount of work. TRUE! Example: how much the Federal budget grows (removing natural and financial disasters) every year while income doesn’t.

Lorimer and Lorsch: organizations must maintain the optimal balance of differentiation (territory of task and professional discipline) and integration (pull together as a team). Hyper-differentiation turned territory into fiefdom while hypo-integration never pulls everyone together to work toward a common goal (consistent with Weber). TRUE! Example: Republicans versus Democrats on any topic. Intelligence agencies AGAIN.

We need the wisdom of the past to inform our vision of the future.

Bill J
Posted by Bill Jolitz | April 22, 2010 10:53 AM

Speaking of government, our own Minnesota brings a little bit of the crazy Republicans push for Minnesota sovereignty

Senate Republicans introduced a constitutional amendment Wednesday that would make Minnesota the first state to require a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature to approve federal laws affecting the state. “Minnesotans enjoy inherent, natural, God-given rights,” the bill states, and “Citizens of Minnesota are sovereign individuals, subject to Minnesota law and immune from any federal laws that exceed the federal government’s enumerated constitutional powers.”

Read it. You’ll be shocked to discover that the comments quickly turned to racist undertones.

In a story that could easily have turned totally racist (has it been published somewhere else) Minnpost points us to a new ruling Duluth wins round in lawsuit over casino money

A federal judge has sided with the city of Duluth in a high-stakes legal battle over sharing revenue from slots machine in a downtown casino.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa stopped sharing the money last year and was demanding that the city return $75 million it had shared over the past 25 years.

But the ruling by U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery says the band must resume sharing its slot-machine revenue with the city of Duluth and provide back payments to the city

Word on the Rez is that this unpopular lawsuit could cost RBC head Karen Diver in the next election.

Citypages has a fascinating report on the behind-the-scenes happenings of the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority
Dave Bicking: How politics ousted the Civilian Review Authority’s loudest member

Let’s wrap it up with some music, Minnesota’s own Spaghetti Western String Co. Live at Orchestra Hall .


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Have a wild weekend

Need something to do this weekend? Get crazy with the wildlife!

How about starting off your Saturday with a visit to check out Buzz and Neil at their new digs?
Although, June 3 – June 6 is the grand opening, rumor has it Buzz and Neil are back in town and maybe you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of what’s to come. Besides, a trip to the Como Zoo is always a good time.
Here’s the vid on the new Polar Bear Exhibit.

Maybe you prefer the quite company of a cold blooded friend. (I know most of my friends are cold blooded) Sunday is the Mn Reptile Show

We have many vendor tables full of animals at every show.There will be REPTILES, REPTILES, and more REPTILES at this show. There might be some small exotic mammals, such as sugar gliders and hedgehogs. There will also be food items at this show such as CRICKETS, MICE and RATS (both live and frozen), Mealworms, Super worms and pelleted food. Did we mention we’ve also got a great variety of supplies–cages, tanks, bedding, toys, and decorative items.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
3 Appletree Square
Bloomington, MN 55425
(Exit 494 and 34th street)
By the Mall of America and the Airport

April 25th, 2010

10 am – 4 pm Sunday Only

Full day pass: $5 / Ages 6-12 $3 / Ages 5 and under free

Phone: 913-422-7489

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Was Jesus an Extraterrestial?

Uploaded on April 19, 2010 by katbaro

I’m not sure where in Minneapolis Katboro snapped this pic, but I am sure that if Jesus were an extraterrestial that movie Battlefield Earth would not have sucked so hard.

Raise your hand if you love weed.

Photo Uploaded on March 26, 2010 by Jack Splifr (who complains that Flickr deleted all his primo pics)

When I awoke this morning at about 6am my phone was already blinking with messages. The first message was from my brother “Happy 420 bro, no baby yet.”, I laughed, he and his special lady friend are expecting and today is the due date.

I could be wrong, but I think my brother may have sampled the green at some point in his life.

According to Citypages my bro wouldn’t be alone as Minneapolis ranked 13th most pot-loving community and with all the pro 4/20 news I’ve seen today I’m almost starting to believe that maybe smoking Mary Jane won’t turn a person into a devil worshipping founder of a healthcare deathpanel.


It’s 4/20, raise your hand if you love weed and I’ll try to overlook your grandma killing deathpanel for just one day.


How Green Was My Garden: The Underground Tapes

You have seen them on the market, seed tapes, they make gardening look so simple, just lay down a row of tape for a perfect row of carrots or onions or other traditional varieties of flowers or vegetables.

But did you know it is relatively simple to make your own seed tapes? I made my own this year for some carrots. In a few easy steps you too can quickly make easy to place seed tapes, no more blowing seeds and you can have perfectly straight rows.

The first step is materials which are just flour, water, toilet paper & seeds.  Because I am an organic gardener I used 100% recycled content toilet paper, brands such as 7th Generation or Marcal Small Steps are good, and organic unbleached flour, which is available at most coops or grocery stores and organic seed, I used Botanical Interests Carnival Blend Carrot Seed.

Start by making a paste with the flour and some water, it should be the consistancy of runny yoghurt. Then pull a stretch of toilet paper in a managable length. Then you are ready to make some seed tape!

Paste & Toilet Paper

Place small dots of paste along the bottom of the toilet paper spaced however far apart your seed packet specifies. Then in each of the dots place a seed.

Seeds on paste dots

While the paste is still wet fold the bottom of the toilet paper up on the dots and press lightly, and fold over once again. The moisture of the paste will seal the toilet paper to form a seed tape. Two or three folds are all that is needed so if you have excess just trim the paper with scissors.

Finished tapes

After you have completed your tapes you are ready to plant them in your garden! Prep your bed as you would if you were direct sowing seeds and just lay the tape down, covering lightly with 1/4 inch of soil, and water lightly.

Planted tape before covering

Follow the instructions on your seed packet before placing in seed tape, meaning if the seeds require any special treatment, like soaking prior to sowing, do that before making your tapes.

Seed Tapes are a great way to ensure straight rows for your crops and to make certain you won’t have to thin your plants after sowing seeds.  For those of you with children in your life making seed tapes can also be a fun activity for the little ones to do to get them involved in the garden, and it wouldn’t even matter if they ate the paste!  And just like in Mission Impossible, the seed tapes will Self Destruct, leaving little evidence but your lovely harvest at the end of the season.

Celebrate Record Store Day at Hymies

(Image courtesy of Hymies)

Do you want to get your Record Store Day on? There’s no better place than Hymies

Our building at 3318 East Lake Street has been home to a record store since James “Hymie” Peterson and Kent Hazen first opened shop in 1987. There have been a lot of changes over the years, but it has always lived up to Hymie’s modest goal: “I’m not interested in making a lot of money,” he is remembered saying. “I’m interested in having a good store, a store people like coming to.”

The rumor is they will be selling records for 25 cents and having live music.
Here’s the line up

11:00 Buffalo Moon

12:15 Adam Marshall of the Humbugs

1:30 Stepped Reckonner

3:00 Martin Devaney

4:00 The Twin Cities Ukulele Orchestra

5:15 Fort Road Five

6:15 Jezebel Jones and her Wicked Ways

In between acts we’ll have DJs spinning all sorts of great stuff, including our friend DJ Ohmz. We’re providing a variety of snacks and beverages, and welcome regulars to bring things they’d like to share, too. We’re also planning on letting everyone explore the building a little and see the whole basement and the apartment.

Check them out, it’s the last day before they close for two weeks and open in a new location just 5 blocks East.

Hymies Records

Saint Paul to lose Bicycle Advisory Board

In a story by the East Side review , Bon voyage, BAB? , it’s reported that Saint Paul’s Bicycle Advisory Board wants to disband and form a new transportation board.

St. Paul Ward 4 City Council member Russ Stark – also a bicycling enthusiast, as well as another onetime board chair of the BAB – presented such a resolution to the full council two weeks ago.

While he desires to dissolve the BAB, Stark’s hope is simply to start fresh with a similar citywide body, one devoted to deliberating and championing not just cycling but all manner of individual and mass transportation. And it appears the rest of the council has backed his move to approve a new transportation committee of the St. Paul Planning Commission, one that can consider transportation issues from the absolute beginning when the city takes a look at zoning, neighborhood issues, or major infrastructure investments.

Stark’s proposal calls for a new committee with eight St. Paulites interested in:

• transit, including bicycle and passenger rail

• pedestrian/walkability issues

• freight and logistics industries, including trucking, rail, and airports

• accessibility representatives or people with disabilities

• commercial corridor representatives, such as business owners

• downtown building or business representatives

When asked about disbanding the board, current head Rob Barbosa stated

“Some of the board members are extremists,” Barbosa says, “and they don’t understand there’s a grass roots process” to getting stuff done.
“I told Russ that I’m all for moving BAB into another organization that has more teeth. I would say that BAB is dysfunctional,”

I’m not certain how a new board with a broader objective would have any more power than the BAB or be more effective in representing bike transportation, but I suppose the devil is in the details.

Video preview of Minnesota Fashion Week

“A preview of Spring 2010 MNfashion Week. Meet some of the event holders and learn why Minnesota fashion is a force to be reckoned with!”

Check out the video here and follow MNfashion on twitter to stay up to date on all of the MNfashion Week happenings!

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A Friday Caption Contest

How about a little poking fun at our government to lighten up your Friday?

GOP stooge and general smart aleck @Kwatt tipped me off to a picture in this post, Pawlenty, teachers at odds over funds.

Original Image courtesy of AreaVoices CapitolChat

So many possibilities.


Miss Me Yet? A redux.

VIA BigBoxCar

You know we kid because we love you @Newscut

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