Archive for June, 2009

Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get-Together

This year’s Minnesota State Fair is less than two months away, and we’ve started our Fair preparations with State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get-Together, a collection of photographs by Susan Lambert Miller.

State Fair

Art’s Part

Ok, so why not just go on Flickr and look at pictures of the State Fair? I mean, there are over 12,000 of them. Why should you buy a book of pictures?

Well, let me tell you something. This is a coffee table book. As it’s just like Stephen Colbert said: when you’re moving, you can’t wrap your dishes in a blog. And you can’t set Flickr on your coffee table. Seriously, your coffee table needs this book. I’ll go so far as to say your coffee table is ugly without this book. UGLY.

So, let me tell you about this book. First, the puns. Oh, the puns. A two or three word caption is associated with each picture, and many of them are great puns. My favorite caption in the whole book is for the first picture, on page two. (See? Now you have to pick the book up to see it. Unless you’re a total asshole and just look it up Amazon.)

Ok, so maybe you’re one of these people I’ve heard about who isn’t totally into puns (I know! I didn’t believe it either). But you’re on the internet, so that means you love a good lol. This book (which sits on your coffee table, remember) also has a fair share of genuinely-lol lols. Also, there are some creepy (read: hilarious) chickens as pets/chickens as food and pigs as pets/pigs as food juxtapositions.

Oh yeah, and the pictures are all top-notch.

So, I swear to you, this book will make your ugly coffee table beautiful and it will make the ugly coffee table you think is beautiful actually beautiful. Anecdotal evidence: I don’t even have a coffee table and my sister picked it up and flipped through it when she came over one time.

Emily’s Part

I’m not sure how qualified I am to write about this book. After all, I’m not from here, I’ve only been to the Minnesota State Fair once, and I’ve never even been to the fair in my home state of Wisconsin. (Despite its world famous cream puffs, Wisconsinites seem to prefer Summerfest over their state fair. And while the Summerfest experience is more focused on music than food, both events feature large crowds of women in tube tops they probably shouldn’t be wearing, so let’s try to focus on our similarities rather than our differences, okay?)

Anyway, during my first summer here, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about or why all of my coworkers were asking me whether I’d “been to the fair yet” as if it was a given that I was attending. Because I was most certainly not.

I did make it last year, though I was still a little freaked out by the whole thing. My trepidation even made me express disgust toward bacon, which is totally unlike me.

And while I definitely had a nice day at the fair (other than the fact that the fat content of the food I ate made me want to die later that night), I don’t think I’ll ever really understand or identify with the fair the way native Minnesotans do. I think it’s one of those things you have to grow up with, something you have to do every year for the better part of your childhood, to fully embrace. No amount of Pronto Pups is going to change that.

That being said, I really liked this book. I thought Susan Lambert Miller did a great job of capturing the many sides of the fair, from livestock (cute little piglets!) to food (mmm . . . corn on the cob!) to rides (vomit!) to the just plain bizarre (busts sculpted from butter?) and juxtaposes the images in a way that highlights just how weird the fair really is.

If nothing else, I’d highly recommend the book to first time fairgoers who need a preview of what they’re getting themselves into.

Oh, and there are also puns. But I’m sure the “Punsultant” has already filled you in.

Found on Craigslist: Stinky Chicken Guano Sand – Free!

It’s Christmas in June!….

Stinky Chicken Guano Sand – Free! (Minneapolis)

Combination of sand and chicken guano free to a good home. Twice a year I have to muck out my chicken pen and this stinky stuff is the result. It’s a combo of sandbox sand, chicken poop and chicken feed that they didn’t eat. It stinks really bad and should probably be buried in a compost pile but if you want some I will be happy to tell you where to come and pick it up. I’m sure it is very nutritious for your garden! This is in double contractor bags and they are kind of heavy.

Get it here

Just Another Music Friday – 6/26/2009

I guess it isn’t just another music Friday, the King of Pop has passed away and in tribute I will be postponing my Rock and Roll post until next week.

Michael Jackson was the type of star that I believe everyone in the world had an opinion on and most have a memory.

Our own local Max Sparber actually met the man with one glove.

From Secrets of the City;

Off to a Better Neverland

As we’ve seen time and time again many famous people have a Minnesota story and connection. Today one of the greatest,if not the greatest, artists and pop musicians of our time passed away. R.I.P. Michael Jackson What’s the Minnesota connection? Our very own Max Sparber met the King of Pop and has a touching story to tell. Now it turns out many are touched by Max’s tale. Despite a troubled life, I think everyone has a Michael Jackson story where he contributed a bit of magic to their life. What is your story?

Feel free to leave a comment about your Michael Jackson memory.

Or just lighten up with a little Weird Al M.J. parody.

Walker Art Museum Rock the Garden ROCKS!


Walker Art Museum Rock the Garden ROCKS!
submitted by Chichlee
With the following commentary,

big thank you to Catherine for the best birthday present… getting out in the minneapolis summer at the most amazing location & my first beer of the year all surrounded by loved ones and another few thousand harmony aligned souls.
The music was all things good.
Download some of the tunes are free downloads on The Current:
The Decemberists. Solid Gold. Calexico (LOVED them), Yeasayer.

Citypages also has a Decemberists photoset

Were you there?

Tell me about what you thought or link your blog post in the comments.

Explore Minnesota Takes Detour Through Pittsburgh PA

The latest Minnesota Twitter hubub is about the website Explore Minnesota which allegedly has chosen a webfirm from Pittsburgh.

TaulPaul has been tweeting and retweeting.

RT @agencybablyon To @johnfedman & @exploreminn. Did you Explore Minnesota web talent in your agency search? Why Pittsburgh PA?

From the Explore Minnesota website,

Nobody knows more about where to go and what to do in Minnesota than those who have experienced it. Who better to tell you where the best biking trails are, the most picturesque camping spot, and the coolest places to build memories with your kids.
New lists are added all the time.


More information adding to the complaint’s relevance.

The Minnesota Department of Finance has authorized the release of an additional $1 million from the state’s general fund to Explore Minnesota Tourism’s FY 2007 budget….
The work of Explore Minnesota Tourism is key to the state’s economy. Explore Minnesota Tourism promotes travel throughout Minnesota, helping to bring almost 29 million visitors and more than $10 billion to the state annually. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the state, supporting 235,000 jobs.

An investment of $1 in state tourism marketing has been shown to produce $4.60 in new state and local taxes, $20.40 in wages and $53 in gross sales. Currently, tourism produces more than $1 billion annually in state and local taxes.”

Also, in a 2009 funding meeting they talk about gaining more money from our Lottery and/or taxes and one of the reasons is to “Overhaul website content”.

It makes me wonder.

Does an organization about Minnesota that uses our tax money and the promise of creating more jobs in Minnesota as one of it’s main talking points have an obligation to try and hire from within the state?

What do you think?


Taste of Minnesota forces food down your throat

picture-2After some back and forth with David and the @tasteofmn folks on Twitter tonight, I finally jumped on my computer to check out the site and band line-up. Why?

Well, they built their Web site in flash, and it won’t load on my Blackberry Bold, which is my primary surfing device. Strike 1.

And although the band line-up does feature Judas Priest and Whitesnake, they aren’t enough for me to make the trek out of the burbs. Strike 2.

And I discover you have to PAY TO GET IN this year. Strike 3.

That’s it. I’m not going this year.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Taste of Minnesota (see posts from 2006, 2007).

I used to live in downtown St. Paul where I could see the evening fireworks from my balcony. We would walk over every evening, listen to the awesome classic rock bands (Kansas, Deep Purple, Charlie Daniels, Alice Cooper) and get raped on 8-ticket juicy lucys. Some nights my wife and I would split something, spending less than $10 total. But some nights I myself wouldn’t spend any money — instead just enjoying the festival, people and festivities while our friends blew their wallets on fried things and powdered thats and super expensive beer and lemonade. We went every night one year and have gone multiple nights every year.

But this year, going multiple nights will be pricey up front, and despite the recession, my wife and I would have to pay $20 (plus parking and gas, mind you) just to get in the gates. Festival organizers say they need to charge an entrance fee to keep out the riff-raff, justifying it by saying visitors will get $10 in food tickets and they only charge after 3 p.m. If you ask me, 3 p.m. is a looooong time before the 8:30 headliner time.

Personally, I don’t like them forcing you to buy food tickets and think it will severely limit their turnout far beyond the riff-raff their hoping to keep out. That’s too bad for local bands like Quietdrive, The 757s and Throw the Fight (whose lead singer is battling cancer, and I believe this is their first show back).

What do you think? Will a family of four over the age of 12 really shell out $40 just to get in the gates? Will the entrance fee keep you away?

Lowry Bridge is blowing up, blowing up, blowing up

In case you haven’t heard, yesterday the Lowry Bridge was imploded.

Check out this awesome video via Finance and Commerce


WCCO reports

The Lowry Avenue Bridge stood for more than 100 years in northeast Minneapolis. On Sunday, it took just a couple of seconds to send it tumbling down.

The bridge hadn’t been used since April 2008, when it was deemed structurally unsafe

More vid and photos from Best Day Ever


Just Another Music Friday – 6/19/2009

Jason Swardson and the Get Gone

Jason Swardson and the Get Gone

Last week I asked for some local music and Stephenhero answered the call to action.

So we missed BLB’s Mark Mallman show (which rumor has it dared to turn away musical editor and magical dragon Andrea Swensson of Citypages. ((oopsie daisy))) and we hit up The Uptown for John Swardson and the Get Gones

They rocked and the two new songs they played were indeed magic.

John Swardson and the Get Gones, see them live.

What are you listening to?

Stone Arch Festival of the Arts


It’s not too many weekends in the summer where I have some extra time to get away from family events, yard work and other obligations. I found the time this weekend to head to the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts that is taking place this Saturday and Sunday from 10 – 6.

Nestled in the shadow of the Stone Arch Bridge on the North side of the river, the festival seems to have been growing steadily each year it happens. It happens right down on the waterfront by main street and St. Anthony Main.

There are hundreds of artists displaying their work, lots of great live music, a car show and lots of other activities and stuff to do.

Me and the family plan to head down there on Bike which is not too far of a ride from Northeast. Maybe I will see you there.

Check out the full details here –

The much maligned RIAA comes to town.

How’s this for redonk?

Woman ordered to pay $1.92M in music downloading case

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, a Brainerd mother of four, was found liable for downloading and distributing more than 1,700 songs on Kazaa, an Internet file-sharing network.

…a federal jury in Duluth found her liable up to $220,000 for copyright infringement of the 24 songs the RIAA focused on

It appears they are not awarding damages on all 1700 songs, and the 24 songs actually works out to more like 80Kper song.

80k per song. Let that sink in.
Under federal law, the jury could have awarded up to $150,000 per song.


This wasn’t a criminal case, it was civil, and to the best of my knowledge she didn’t distribute the music; only downloaded which should be worth about .99 cents per song.

I get that they found her guilty, but how can they justify 1.9M in damages?

What songs did she download? The Siren Song that attempted to lure Jason and the Argonauts to shore? I kind of doubt the Golden Fleece itself was worth $1.92M.

I say take this one to the Supreme Court, it’s a clear case of Cruel and Unusual Punishment. They say this case is going to set precedent and have national implications.

I ask, has the RIAA and a Federal Jury just handed our country and legal system a Golden Fleecing?

Please, fell free to express your outrage.


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