Archive for March, 2008

It’s 2008, so let’s dump phonebooks

When was the last time you used a printed phonebook for its intended use?

When was the last time you bought a phonebook? The last time you called your phone company and requested one be dropped on your front step?

Odds are, since you’re reading a “blog” right now, you haven’t done any of these three things in the last couple of years, at least.

According to the Strib:

“…85 percent of the telephone directories are dumped into the regular trash, even though it has been illegal to do so since 1992. State pollution officials call it one of Minnesota’s biggest solid-waste problems…. A 1992 Minnesota law prohibits putting phone directories in landfills or incinerators, and requires directory publishers to provide and publicize drop-off collection bins, make arrangements with recycling firms and report annually on recycling rates.”

I think the bigger issue is what’s causing the trash build-up — phone book spam.

The article goes on to talk about proposed legislation that would require each telephone directory publisher to establish a “do not receive registry,” but shouldn’t it be the other way around? The new generation isn’t ever going to use printed phonebooks that are outdated before they leave the publisher’s warehouse.

Fear not, dear readers, I have the solution…

The Internet.

Phone numbers, addresses and business directories can all be found on the Internet. It’s faster than flipping pages, can sort populated data in all sorts of format and if you have Skype, you click on the number and are connected instantly. Try to see dead trees mimic that sweet technology.

Of course, everyone has tables in need of leveling, toddlers for propping up and fireplaces that need kindling, but unless you’ve crown accustomed to your annual phonebook spam, may I suggest we dump phonebooks for good?

(photo from funkeemunkeeland’s Flickr stream)

Chilly spring afternoon? Read comics!

My friend Marty and I are heading over to Big Brain Comics in a couple of hours to attend the release party for a couple of local graphic novel creators. Lars Martinson will be doing an early release of his book, Tonoharu Part One, just prior to heading to Japan for a gig researching calligraphy. Tim Sievert will be on hand with his graphic novel, That Salty Air.

I have to admit, I’m not familiar with either of these local artists, but I saw the release listed in first the Star Tribune (who had a huge typo for Martinson’s book, both in print and on their website), and then on the Pioneer Press’s website. Checking out their websites, I’m sure I’ll buy both books while I’m there. I’ll have a review afterwards at my comics blog.


I love how ex-UnitedHealth CEO William McGuire can’t even build a park without pulling some shady shit.

Trash Lady chimes in again on the Minneapolis Public Issues Forum to tell you everything you need to know about what to do with your plastic garbage bags. The next time I go to Ikea I’m totally buying one of those giant blue bags and then stashing it in my car.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Robert Lilligren says the reopening of Nicollet at Lake Street is a question of when, not if.

The natives are getting restless over municipal wi-fi.’s Minneapolis/St. Paul site appears to have a new guide (i.e., person who writes it). Anybody have any idea who Clara James is? Looks like a redesign in the last few months, too (it’s now web 2.0-ish). I had noticed as of the end of last year it hadn’t been updated in about a month. If you want to placeblog for pay, that was an opportunity, but I have to say that writing for carries little to no street cred with me (and I hate myself a little bit for using the word “placeblog”). Just sayin’.

It’s A Beautiful World comes to Minneapolis

Scion’s National Art Tour – INSTALLATION 4: It’s A Beautiful World – opens in Minneapolis on April 4.

The tour launched its fourth installment last July and features diverse artists from around the world. The theme, “It’s a Beautiful World,” was interpreted by each artist, in one of four mediums: painting, photography, sculpture and collage.

This year seems to be less commercial than year’s past, which were focused more on Scion xA, xB and tC artwork.

The tour opens April 4 at Rogue Buddha Gallery and runs through April 19. The opening reception is April 4 from 7 – 11 P.M. with music from DJ Kool Akiem and DJ Jonathan Ackerman.

Lake Street Exhibit Now on Display at Midtown Global Market

It seems the “Right on Lake Street” exhibit created by Macalester students in conjunction with the Minnesota Historical Society has moved from the Minnesota History Center and is now at the Midtown Global Market!

I wish I had known. I wouldn’t have spent the $10 to see it at the History Center. It was cramped together in a room that was kind of hard to find.

The exhibit itself is pretty cool. Lots of paper-mache and cardboard and paint and stuff. It’s a history/art project. I bet it views a helluva lot better at the MGM. And, you know, you’re actually right there on Lake Street. There’s an interactive exhibit online as well, but the real thing is much cooler.

So pop over to the MGM to see it. And to eat.

Another Public Poetry Contest

Sponsored by The Southwest Journal:

The Southwest Journal will include its quarterly poetry section in the April 21 edition. This is the second year the Journal has published poems by neighborhood poets for the Southwest Poetry Project. Look for the poems in the Focus section. If you’re interested in submitting a poem for possible inclusion in the Journal, e-mail our contributing poetry editor Doug Wilhide at The deadline is March 31.

Not so permanent as St Paul’s Sidewalk Poetry project, but this one doesn’t cost you anything to enter.

Andrew Zimmern does Bizarre Minnesota Food

Last night’s episode of Andrew Zimmern‘s Bizarre Foods show on The Travel Channel was all about Minnesota.

He visited Ingebretsen’s, Olsen Fish Company, and the annual lutefisk dinner in Cyrus, MN (with visiting German polka band).

Of course you can’t talk about MN without talking about the State Fair with its elk burgers, cheese curds, stuff on a stick, dairy products, and Marjorie Johnson (man, she can talk).

He made the restaurant scene sound pretty good for about 10 seconds, and then he went to the Rail Station for a meat raffle. Next up was Heartland and Lenny Russo’s locally-sourced, determined-daily menu. I’m going to eat there for the first time next week.

Okay, I stopped watching after that. His next stops were the White Earth Indian Reservation and Grand Marais.

The beginning of the show kind of read like any Minnesota 8th grader’s history project (except maybe the meat raffle part). We’re all a little self-conscious about looking like rubes to folks in other states, but I had to admit that he didn’t show anything that wasn’t completely true. You just won’t find me in Cyrus, MN.

Celebrate Spring (and life) on Two Wheels

I hate to admit this, but I packed away my bike for the winter. Maybe next year I’ll be tough enough to pedal through the pain. I’m going to start preparing by participating in my first Critical Mass ride.

Date: Friday March 28, 2008
Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Meet at Loring Park in Minneapolis at 5 p.m. to ride at about 5:30.

In case you are pondering, yes, there were some issues during previous rides–all the more reason to participate, and remind the public that cyclist are traffic.

This is the perfect weekend to make your presence known. There is also a ride for Ghost Bike Minneapolis:

Ghost Bike Minneapolis will host a short memorial ride on March 30th, 2008 in remembrance of Ed Gorecki, a cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver on December 11th, 2007. A white bicycle will be placed in Northeast Minneapolis at the intersection of Quincy and Broadway as a memorial and a reminder to ride and drive safely.

The Ghost Bike Project is a nationwide effort to increase awareness of the dangers bicyclists face, and to encourage cyclists and drivers to share the road. More information can be found at (please be patient with the website as we
are having technical difficulties).

The memorial ride will begin at 1:30 on March 30th, at the east end of the Stone Arch Bridge. Attendees are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes early. There will be a short ride to the intersection of Quincy and Broadway, followed by the installation of a ghost bike and a moment of silence. Members of the public are welcome to attend.


LifeCamp Twin Cities: What are you doing with your life?

It’s hard to believe it has already been three months since the first LifeCamp was announced. Yet, it is already time for LifeCamp Quarter1.

From the upcoming page:

LifeCamp is a BarCamp-style yet intimate (perhaps that makes it more FooCamp-style ;) discussion/gathering that focuses on the question:

What are you doing with your life?

This will be a chance to connect and reflect and celebrate your successes and opportunities for improvement.

The format of LifeCamp is open and collaborative, with participants helping to lead sessions on topics that connect with personal interests, expertise, or enthusiasm.

Please visit the wiki for more info, and to begin planning.

Interested in starting your own LifeCamp? Read more on the LifeCamp wiki:

I would love to meet any of you who could still use a little help ‘hacking’ your life into a productive glow, or have your own tips to share.

Jeopardy! Contestant from Chanhassen

Jeopardy!Meredith Johnson, a student at the U originally from Chanhassen, will be competing in the Jeopardy! College Championship. The competition will tape at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in early April.

What I didn’t know was that everyone that makes it to the College Championship takes home a little money. So Meredith is guaranteed at least $5,000 even if she goes out in the first round.

Sign up for mobile alerts from Jeopardy! so you don’t miss it.

Man, I used to watch Jeopardy! on the daily. These days I’m usually not home or else I’m busy when it’s on. I’m not inclined to just veg in front of the tv for no real reason, either. Jeopardy! is not one of those shows you can just have on in the background. You have to pay attention.

Does anyone else that does not qualify for AARP membership still watch it?


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