Archive for December, 2007

Jello Salads – Tradition or Tragedy?

jellopict3.jpgForget the traditional ham, turkey or pumpkin pie — my family has a different kind of Midwest Christmas Tradition…jello salads.

Definition: Jell-O salad, or congealed salad is the common name for a molded salad made with flavored gelatin, fruit and sometimes grated carrots or, more rarely, vegetables. Other ingredients may include cottage cheese, cream cheese, marshmallows, nuts or pretzels.

Seeing as how I’m from Iowa — the former Jello capital of the world (seriously, look it up) — it’s no surprise every traditional family meal contains at least one jello-based dish.

It’s a huge joke with my coworkers: “Greg, what kind of jello salad did your grandma make this year?”

Well, I’ll beat you to the punch. This year we had the following “salads” over two days across four family meals: Orange jello topped with marshmallows, Green whipped jello with whipped cream, Red jello with cranberries, and Orange jello with mandarin oranges topped with sour and whipped cream served in fancy wine glasses.

For the record, I didn’t eat a single bite of any of the above dishes. Blech.

I’m pretty burnt out on jello after more than a quarter century being forced fed flavored cow bone dust with random fruit and veggies mixed in. Who determined gelatin + fruit = salad, anyway?

Does your family loooove the jello salad? Any other gross food traditions you shared this holiday?

Happy Holidays!

We’re celebrating our 2000th post with contraband photography!


Originally uploaded by manyhighways.

“One of the few shots I managed to squeeze off on Thursday afternoon in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court before security asked me to stop.”

But We Didn’t Have That Much Weather


Originally uploaded by Aaron Landry.

Because after all that snowfall yesterday, the streets look mostly like they did on Saturday.

In an act of prudence and perhaps Xmas cheer, the city of Minneapolis is canceling the snow emergency as of 5pm tonight (Monday). All parking restrictions are lifted as of this evening and through tomorrow.

Also, make sure you’re getting the snow emergency alerts. There are hotlines, broadcasts, phone calls, emails and text messages, and Plow Pals (i.e., friendly neighbors).

(via Aaron)

We Had Weather

SnowflakeI talked to my mom who lives in Michigan on Saturday and she asked if we were getting snow. She had heard we were getting dumped on. At that point, we had pretty much nothing, and I would know because I spent half of Saturday afternoon outside at Coldwater Spring. I supposed it could have been snowing in other parts of the region.

Well it all came down yesterday. But for all the snow we got all day long, it didn’t seem there was actually that much on the ground when I finally ventured out of the house at 6:30pm. Though it was pretty slippery and my little Saturn wasn’t navigating that well.

(After a full day at home, I was a little stir crazy and needing to do some last minute shopping, so I headed over to Eden Prairie Center, which I was pleased to find was pretty dead.)

This morning the sun is out in full force, reflecting right off all that freshly fallen snow. Remember your sunglasses, people!

Our Urban Status Symbols

From the Creative Class Exchange:

Business Week says subways are the new global “urban status symbol”… Well thank god, it’s not humongous stadiums. And if they are, why isn’t the ever status conscious United States building more of them?

Stadiums are totally urban status symbols. Probably not so much in the rest of the world, but clearly they are in the U.S. Because of course no professional sports team could possibly perform in a subpar stadium and no fan could possibly enjoy the game without their time in the stadium being an “experience.” If your city boasts a professional sports team, it boasts (if it has) a high quality venue for them to play in.

There’s been just as much arguing in the Twin Cities over stadiums as over rail/transit. Over the last three years: new stadiums = 2, new rail line = 1. So which do we value more?

Put the knife in your own pants and see how you like it, assholes.

Michael Puhalla and Russell Baumgardner cut a woman's underwear off with a knife in a bar as a 'joke'.
Michael Puhalla and Russell Baumgardner. Photo courtesy of WCCO.

Michael Puhalla, 39, of Sartell, and Russell Baumgardner, 40, of Sauk Rapids… are accused of holding [a] woman down against the bar and cutting off her underwear with a pocketknife and placing it on a fan in the bar. Puhalla and Baumgardner both told authorities they viewed the incident as a joke…

As Bixby said at MNspeak, WTF?! To put it mildly.

More from WCCO…

The complaint said the woman yelled for help several times and asked the bartender to intervene, but he said, “I can’t or they will make things worse for me.” There were as many as six other men in the bar and none of them came to her aid, either, she said.

Just as guilty! Spineless bastards.

Puhalla told police he and Baumgardner were joking around when the topic of underwear came up. Referring to the incident, he said it was time for the woman “to take one for the team.”

What does that even mean?

Baumgardner told police that he has participated in similar acts in the past as a joke. He said everyone in the bar was watching and laughing at the time. He said he tried to apologize to the woman, but she would not talk to him.

OF COURSE she wouldn’t talk to you! You just violated her and humiliated her in front of a bunch of people for your amusement.

Castration, I say. Assholes.

Vote Now for Twin Cities Grinch of the Year

Thanks for all the Twin Cities Grinch of the Year nominations! Here’s the poll. Vote away! One vote per computer, so if you feel strongly, vote from work and from home.

Voting will remain open through Thursday, December 27. We’ll announce the winner on Friday, December 28.

After the jump, a brief summary of the nominees.
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MinnPost Usability Issues

I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I’m mostly enjoying what MinnPost has been publishing. I’m picking up what they’re putting down (except for this, ugh).

Ed Kohler has already talked about issues he sees with MinnPost, mostly regarding their RSS feeds [1] [2]. I’ll add to that list that I hate their comment registration.

They require you to register to leave comments. Which is fine. But there are a few flaws.
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The “must-see” Minneapolis Christmas Light Display


Those of you lucky enough to catch the 2006 Holiday Light Show of the Year at 32nd St E and 41st Ave S are in luck.

Troy Lykken’s Christmas-lights-set-to-music house is back this year — and it’s better than ever. With 40,000 LED lights wrapping his little home in Minneapolis and two songs (yes, including Trans Siberian Orchestra) rotating on 97.9 FM, you have at least one time-killer to escape the family this holiday season.

Jason DeRusha posted this video on his videoblog, including an interview with across-the-street neighbor Aaron Landry talking about what it’s like to live near the holiday spectacle (also says it’s a great place to park and make-out, fyi).

Better yet, Landry’s quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal talking about his newfound exhibitionism opportunities.

Aaron Landry, an Internet technology manager in Minneapolis, won’t be putting up any holiday decorations either. The reason isn’t just environmentally driven: His whole house glows anyway as a result of his neighbors lights, he says.

The display across the street includes 17 trees and thousands of lights that blink in sync to Christmas tunes and songs by Italian singer Andrea Bocelli. Limousines and buses will often linger on the street. But Mr. Landry wasn’t used to the lack of privacy.

“A couple of times I was changing, and then I saw four people parked in front of my house, and I thought, ‘Oh I should probably close the shade,'” he says.

Here’s some footage from WCCO and of course, YouTube:

If you do make it out to the display this year, be sure to wave hello to Aaron as he sits in his PJ’s watchin’ TV across the street. Also, making-out is optional.

The Skeptical Diner: A Brief Thought on Service

I responded to a recent comment on my Red Stag post with a rather testy and defensive reply affirming my God-given right to tee off on the service of a newly-opened restaurant.

Upon further consideration, I was neither sufficiently testy nor defensive enough. If a restaurant opened with half-finished walls and paint rollers strewn around the aisles, or poorly executed food, or a policy of charging people to split appetizers, you’d want to know about it. You’d be right as a customer to feel that you were being poorly served, and I’d be right as a critic to mention it in the context of an overall evaluation.
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