Archive for October, 2008


The all-Twitter version.

  • The James J Hill Library is on Twitter: @jjhill_library. Blogging, too. Matt the Librarian is doing an awesome job. Interesting insight as to how a business research library works.
  • ThriftyLocalHipster’s website is still not operational, but they are putting all the happy hours and various events that they would post if they had a website on Twitter: @localhipster.
  • You tell me whether @MPRMemberDrive is as annoying to read as it is to listen to. It does have some quirky behind the scenes stuff. I guess I don’t ever think about what it’s like to sit/work inside a radio studio. And official tweeter Jacquie Fuller (On-Air Fundraising Manager at MPR) has a sense of humor.
  • The PiPress folks are using @MNvotes to attract election day votecasting stories. Tweet ’em your tales of polling place folly/woe/appalledness/crowds/whatever. You could probably tell ’em how pleasant and stress-free your early voting experience was, too. Use the hashtag #mnvotes. They’ve got some useful tidbits and factoids, too. And a terrible retweet from @MayorRTRybak (because the original was a terrible tweet).
  • Jason DeRusha turned me on to Second Act, a store in Eden Prairie that sells discounted fancy TVs. I was perusing their website looking at electronicals that I really have no good reason to buy and I noticed that they are twittering at @secondact. That fact alone made it so much more likely that I would personally shop there. They’ve got some small business behind-the-scenes stuff and the occasional deal. And, apparently, their own fantasy football and baseball leagues. Guess what the prizes are….
  • The Link is the latest local non-profit to jump into the social media fray with @thelinkmn. They’re still pretty new (to Twitter), but so far they have some tidbits about non-profits in general, issues specific to their mission (“Our mission is to build a supportive community network that links youth and their families to their inner strength through life skills, education, advocacy, supportive housing, and a dynamic network of social services to transform lives.”), and some things about what people in their organization are actually doing as part of their jobs. If they keep that up, I’d say it’s a great example of helping people to get to know their organization. (via @lisa_ray)
  • Speaking of non-profits, the Nonprofits Assistance Fund (@NAFund) has certainly been a leader in using Twitter and teaching other NPs how to do the same.

Just Another Music Friday – 10/24/2008

What’s in a song? String together a couple of notes, add a tempo, and given the right circumstances a song can move the world.

The wrong song can ruin a moment or dredge up memories we’d like to forget.
The right song can drive people apart, pull them together, incite rebellion, inspire generations, and offer solace.

Last weekend, while in Stillwater Mn,I took this picture of a sweet looking old couple holding hands while sitting on a park bench. I think there’s something awesome about old couples that still enjoy each other’s company. You know they have a song.

I’m not sure what’s in a song that makes music so powerful. Good or bad, I just know it when I hear it.

What’s in your shuffle?

(Here’s a vid I took of a dude singing and playing guitar on the river walk I call him the Seeker.)

Grave Digger sets monster truck record in Minneapolis

Grave Digger makes the biggest jump in monster truck history at the 50 second mark. I can’t figure out the exact date, although it does say 2008.

Monster Jam comes back to Minneapolis on December 6.

Post-Housefire Benefit Event Sunday at Solera

Two local foodie famous people — Tamara Schultz of La Belle Vie and Ryan Ecklund of Capital Grille — lost all of their belongings in a house fire just a few weeks ago. Their restaurant friends are coming together to throw a helluva benefit on their behalf. You know restaurant biz folks are gonna do it up right.

Sunday, October 26
Solera, 2nd floor
$20 suggested donation

Free beer and hors d’oeuvres, DJs, tarot card readings, and a silent auction and prize raffle. Think gift certificates to fine dining establishments and (and!):

Other silent auction and prize raffle items include a night on the town package from Classic Auto & Limo, tickets and merchandise from the St. Paul Saints, donated pieces from local artists, tons of movie and sports memorabilia and yourself as a character in the upcoming sequel to the Iron Chef America video game.

Open to everyone. You don’t even have to know anybody. Have you ever been upstairs at Solera? It’s nice. It’ll be worth it for the food alone.

You can find more info about the fire, how Tamara and Ryan are doing, and make donations at

[facebook event]

Who is that fashion guru?

More on the GOP shopping spree which Erica mentioned.
The Atlantic is reporting it was Jeff Larson that did the shopping for Palin in Sarah Palin’s Personal Shopper.

Does the name Jeff Larson sound familiar? It should. Larson is the Karl Rove protégé who’s a principal in the robocalling firm of FLS Connect (the “FLS” stands for Tony Feather, Jeff Larson, and Tom Syndhorst, all veteran Republican political operatives). Larson’s firm is the same one that launched the scurrilous robocalls against John McCain in 2000, and that McCain has now hired to make robocalls connecting Barack Obama to Bill Ayers. He’s also well known in Minnesota for leasing his basement apartment at a steeply discounted rate to embattled Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Evidently, Larson also has quite the eye for women’s fashion.

Apparently Mr.Larson has a place in Oakdale. Hey Jeff, if you feel like buying someone else suits I’m just down McKnight a piece. Stop on over and we’ll talk hair.

The RNC and Sarah Palin are Helping Minnesota’s Economy

By spending a shit-ton of money on clothes for Sarah Palin.

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

The RNC certainly got more bang for their buck here, with that whole no-sales-tax-on-clothes thing. $75,000 at Neiman Marcus! That’s fancy downtown shopping. Not even at the MOA or the Galleria. Suck it, Bloomington and Edina!

Yes or No?

Have you heard? It’s two weeks until Election Day! I’ve picked who I’m voting for in all of my districts, for senate, and for president. Chances are you have too.

But, there’s another line on the ballot: Yes or No?

The question, of course, is whether to amend the state constitution to include the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy amendment. This amendment would create a 3/8 of one percent sales tax (38 cents per 100 dollars), all of which would go to the arts and the outdoors (about 2/5 to the arts and 3/5 to the outdoors). That, according to detractors, could be as much as 11 billion dollars over the course of the amendment’s 25-year lifespan. Should I Vote No?

It’s two weeks out, and I’m still undecided on this question.

So, where’s the problem? The two biggest aspects of Minnesota’s astronomical quality of life are our Edenesque lakes, forests, rivers, and prairies, and our “new New York” arts scene (music, visual arts, theater, film, dance, lit, we have it all). Minnesota is the perfect state because of these two things specifically. Surely these things deserve only the cushiest of budgets!

I have two hesitations. But before I get to those, let me totally debunk what both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press have said against this amendment.

The Pioneer Press says,

We cannot see the future and we do not know what challenges Minnesota will face. Locking in spending through the state Constitution, as this proposal does, reduces the state’s ability to respond to those unknown problems.

And the Star Tribune says,

Moving Minnesota toward a system of constitutional amendments to formulate funding would lock legislators and the governor into budgetary decisions that they are elected — and paid — to make. And with an anticipated recession and the resulting revenue shortfall expected over the next biennium, it will be more important than ever for elected officials to make the tough calls.

Should I Vote Yes?This is just dumb. The state budget will be the same if this amendment passes or fails. This amendment includes a tax increase, not a tax diversion; these arguments make it sound like it’s a tax diversion. Your pie will be the same size, and the cuts you make when times get really bad will be no different. It’s not like you’d have had those millions of dollars each year to put somewhere else. This amendment puts extra money aside for just this reason.

But, like I said. I’m still not sure. Here are my two problems: precedent and accountability.

I was not here in 2006 to vote on the transportation amendment. Had I been, I would have voted a very vigorous “No!” because the constitution is the absolute wrong place for that kind of legislation. But it’s in there now. So, some might say the precedent has already been set, that we have, in fact, re-imaged our constitution to be a place where we not only describe the functions of our government and the rights of our people, but our spending priorities as well. This is not exactly the case. Yet. If we vote “Yes” this year, I believe this re-imaging will be locked in place for quite a while, and we can expect to see something come down the line from the education people, the health care people, and who knows, maybe the State Mime Laureate people. (As an aside: Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. But maybe it is.)

The other question is one of accountability. Maybe it’s not much money per person, but this is still tax money we’re talking about. I have not yet seen any mechanism for how this money will be spent accountably. What if, ten years from now, $300 million goes to bulldoze 100 acres of forest to build a large warehouse that will house the world’s first indoor Outdoor Experience? I want an accountable (i.e. elected or appointed by elected officials) advisory committee to say “Hell no! That’s crazy!”

I will leave it at that. I was hoping writing this post would help me sort things out in my mind. It has not. I still really want to pay 3/8 of one cent per dollar I spend on items and have that go to the best parts about the state that I love. I also want it the hell out of the constitution.

Please, in the comments section, convince me!

(And no, I can’t pussy out and abstain. That’s the same as a “No” vote.)

Find Your Sample Ballot, Study Up Now

If you’re anything like me, even if you don’t know who you’re going to vote for yet, you at least know who your options are for president/senator/congressperson, and after that it starts to get a little fuzzy. Suburban mayors and city councils and the bajillions of judges always confuse me.

If you want to do some studying and perhaps make up a cheat sheet before you actually go vote, go look up your sample ballot right now: [Hennepin County] [Ramsey County]

If you didn’t vote in September’s primary and still aren’t sure where to vote, you can find your polling place from there, too.

Minnesota State Bar Association’s Unmarried Couples Task Force

I hate that this even had to happen this way, but I found out about this via Katherine Kersten’s column in today’s Star Tribune:

Paving the way for gay marriage in Minnesota

Below the radar, the groundwork is being laid to change the meaning of marriage in Minnesota.

The new “Rights of Unmarried Couples Task Force” of the Minnesota State Bar Association is the latest step in this process.

Here’s how the Bar Association defined the task force’s mission: “In light of the disparity between legal rights and protections available to same-sex couples as compared to different-sex couples,” the task force will “review the current state of Minnesota law and … make recommendations as to desirable changes, if any, in the law to address this disparity.”

“The task force’s goal is to ensure that Minnesota law treats all people equally and with fairness,” said attorney David Ahlvers, a task force co-chairman. “It is not to make recommendations on equal marriage rights for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.”

I even finished reading it and I do believe my blood pressure did not rise at all. Which is not to say that I agree with her. It’s just that she rehashed an old, tired argument and then drew a ridiculous conclusion. Same ol’, same ol’. Oh, and I avoided all the reader comments.

Looks like the the MSBA assembly voted to create the task force in April of this year and expects to finish staffing it soon as applications to serve on working committees are due today.

There are currently 515 ways in which Minnesota laws discriminate against couples and families (pdf) (start on page 9). Knowing what those are, it’ll be interesting to see what the task force recommends.

Folks are working on it. That makes me feel good.

Return of Frank Sinatra

The Cooper hawk that spends the winter in our yard has returned from wherever it goes for the summer.

We call it Frank Sinatra.


I snapped some pics and took a little video with Cameraphone10000.

Frank was cooly indifferent.

And just continued to sit on the tree above our patio table, chirp, and watch us from about 15 feet away. This lasted a for a good hour.

I swear that bird remember us. Here’s a little video I shot of Frank the Hawk last winter “Bienvenidos Minnesota Bienvenidos Frank Sinatra”

Welcome home Frank.

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