May 2008 Archives

Friday Random Top 10

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It's summer and what best to kick it off with a random top 10:

1. TV II - Ministry
2. Soft Ground - Mott the Hoople
3. A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall - Pete Seeger
4. Pulling Teeth
5. Opportunity - Elvis Costello
6. Keep the Car Running - The Arcade Fire
7. A Dream That Must Last - Neil Young
8. I Love You - Nat King Cole
9. Uptown - Roy Orbison
10. Any Colour You Like - Pink Floyd

How many times to you see Ministry, Mott the Hoople, Nat King Cole, and Pink Floyd together in one place? Probably one of my most random lists ever. What's your top 10?

Construction Week - New Twins Ballpark

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We wrap up construction week by taking a look at the new Twins ballpark. The ballpark, slated to open in time for opening day 2010, will cost over $500 million and is being paid for through sales taxes in Hennepin County and by the Pohlad family, owner of the Twins. The Pohlad's are contributing about 1/3 of the price which is about average for these kind of deals.

Just a week ago, I provided some links to good ballpark pics so I won't add a lot here, but I do suggest, if interested, to check out those sites. In fact I will only provide 2 pics but from a vantage point not seen much.

Click on the photo to see a larger pic.

First, the site May 23, 2007
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Now the site May 28, 2008.
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Shows what $100M and 12 months can do. Can't wait to see what May 2009 and May 2010 bring.

Construction Week - I-35 Bridge

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Construction week at LFAD continues as we look at the I-35W bridge that is being rebuilt after collapsing August 1, 2007, killing 13 people.

The $275 million bridge is almost all funded by the feds and is on budget and ahead of schedule. The fact that it will now be done before the Republican National Convention is a coincidence. Really. Well that's what the Governor's office says. The piers are built and the workers are starting to span the river, hopefully later in the summer I'll have more pics of the span. Click on picture to see a larger version.

Here is the east side pier
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Here is the west side pier (you can see they are just starting the span)
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They are also building the span to ahead of time (photo isn't that great, but go to 7 corners to see this)
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Well that's it. Like I said, I may revisit soon once the span is looking more interesting. Next in Construction Week is the new Twins ballpark and a couple of rare photos. Come back to check them out!

Construction Week - TCF Stadium

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This week at LFAD it's Construction Week! That means we will be taking a look at the three major construction projects that are a short lunchtime walk from work. Today TCF Stadium future home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Slated to open in time for the 2009 Football season, TCF Stadium is a $275 million project that will hold 50,000 fans with 55 luxury suites. See video to the right. The stadium can be expanded to 80,000.

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version.

Nice shot of the entire stadium from up high.100_1531.jpg


One of the openings to the stadium emulating the gates of old Memorial stadium.
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Lining the stadium will be the name of each Minnesota County in granite. All 87 of the them. The next couple of shots shows some of those name plates.
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I think the brick work is quite handsome. This brick is called Harvard Mixed Red. It looks like the stadium will be a gem and anchor to the University's growing East Gateway.
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Tomorrow, the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River!

Friday Random Top 10

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Here’s a very funny review of the Wii Fit. The reviewer also hooked up a 12-pac of Heineken to the Wii to see how well it would do. Funny stuff. Here’s your Friday Random Top 10…

1. Skinhead Symphony – Special A.K.A.
2. Featherbed – Cannon’s Jug Stompers
3. Billy Hunt – The Jam
4. Tinfoil – The Handsome Family
5. Diane – Trip Shakespeare
6. Trip Through Your Wires – U2
7. Bell Boy – The Who
8. On the Tundra – Guided by Voices
9. If I had the World to Give – Grateful Dead
10. 5:45 – Gang of Four

Begun with some 2nd wave Ska and ended with Gang of Four. All over the map in between. Somehow it works. What’s your Top 10?

Mark Trail Still Kicks Ass

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Oh yes he does....

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Twins Ballpark - One Year Later

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Well it's been two years since the financing for a new Twins Ballpark has been approved and one year since construction started. So where are we at?

First the ballpark is going up like spades and is on schedule and on budget. Rick over at Twins Ballpark 2010 has literally hundreds of photos of the progress and I urge you to check them out if at all interested. It's pretty amazing and you can start to see the outlines of a ballpark.

Steve Berg over at Minnpost.com got a tour last week and has only good things to say. I especially liked this quote:

"That's what makes this urban-style ballpark the most urban of its generation. There is no pause, no spatial gap between it and its surroundings."

The main reason I supported a new Twins Ballpark wasn't so much that I was worried the Twins would leave, but more that baseball is suppose to be played outside and that there was literally a renaissance going on all around the country in the construction of urban, human-scaled ballparks. It looked like the Twins and Minnesota were missing out. Now, I am thankful it took so long to agree on a ballpark. Because of that delay we missed out on the post-modern, faux-urbanity that mars places like Comerica Park and construction costs went up so much that we couldn't afford a retractable roof that makes places like Miller Park feel more like an upside-down fez than a ballpark.

Sure, the place isn't done yet and I am sure once it is, we will find something to complain about, (like ticket and food prices I am sure). But right now, it's looking like we will have a special, unique, urban place to watch professional baseball.

Worst Concert Experiences

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Last week I listed my most memorable concert experiences. I hope to hear more of your favorite experiences in the comments. In light of fair conversation, below are some of my least favorite concert experiences. This may not be a complete list as I probably forgotten some of the worst experiences.

Styx – Met Sports Center (Summer 1981). This has to be the worst concert I ever went to. It was the Paradise Theater tour and was some sort of concept show. I sat on my seat the whole time with my arms crossed just hating it. I went with a girlfriend (who loved the show) and our relationship was never the same after that, even though she had two very good reasons for us to stay together.

Romeo Void – First Avenue (Fall 1982)
. This was before MTV really took off so I didn’t know that the lead singer of Romeo Void was like 300 pounds. I missed my bus back to the U and got a ride with this girl I was dancing with and her two male companions. The two guys asked if we wanted to have an orgy and, not liking the 3-1 male-to-female ratio, I politely declined and purposely gave the girl a wrong phone number.

Slickee Boys – 7th Street Entry (Summer 1984?)
. Ramped up beach music by a band dressed in outrageously garish clothes (look em up on youtube, it’s positively cringe-worth). I got clubbed in the head by a guy with a cast and needed 5 stitches to close my opened-up eyebrow.

R.E.M. – George Washington University (Summer 1987). The show was decent actually but I went with a girl who I thought I was going to hook up with. She got sick about 3/4 of the way through the show and we had to leave. Never did hook up with her.

Bob Dylan – Harriet Island (Summer 1990?). This was when Dylan was not really putting in effort into his shows and was changing up his songs, etc. You literally couldn’t tell what song he was singing until about midway through when you would pick up a lyric or two. We stood on our folding chairs the whole time feeling underwhelmed.

Throwing Muses – The Cubby Bear (Fall 1992?)
. Me and my friend Timmy B. got tickets to this show in Wrigleyville. We didn’t know it was an early show so as we head to the bar to get inside, everyone was shuffling out, having already experienced the show. Later, in the basement bar, after a lot of alcohol, I was trying to set on fire the sawdust that was spread all over the floor and a waitress ripped us off.

Rifle Sport – 7th Street Entry (February 2005). I was really excited about seeing Rifle Sport back together after many years. Unfortunately I went to a school party beforehand and had a bunch of wine, then went to First Avenue and had a bunch of cheap beer. Wine and beer is not a good mixture for me and the band was ear-bleedingly loud. Being over 40 at the time, this was too much and I had to sit outside and wait for my friend Pete until the show was over. I swear this experience took 3 years off my life.

What are some of your worst concert experiences?

Friday Random Top 10

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First time this year the weather was nice enough I could ride my bike. It was glorious. Social Distortion blasting in my ears, almost got by hit by a car only once, sun shining in my eyes, trees are green. Perfect day.

If you want to read my 8-page paper on the movie Cloverfield and representations of September 11th, click here: Download file.

Can’t forget this week’s top 10:

1. Shakin’ All Over – The Who
2. Ask – The Smiths
3. Bleed – Jack Logan
4. Judy is a Punk – The Ramones
5. Fight Test – Flaming Lips
6. Do Lord – Johnny Cash
7. Credit in the Straight World – Hole
8. Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White – Hypstrz
9. Let’s Get Married – Al Green
10. I Love Living in the City – Fear

Now that’s what I call a random list. How many times does a gospel song follow the Flaming Lips or Fear follow Al Green? What’s your top 10?

The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother

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In an interview with the official Vatican Newspaper, the Papal Astronomer stated that intelligent beings from other planets is compatible with Christian faith:

Just as a multiplicity of creatures exists on the Earth, so there could be other creatures, even intelligent ones, created by God," the Argentine Jesuit said. "This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot set limits on the creative liberty of God.

Besides having a cool title -- "the Extraterrestrial is my brother" -- this article has gotten a lot of press over the last few days. It should not be a surprise, however.

The Catholic Church has come a long ways since they tortured Galileo 375 years ago because he maintained that the Earth rotated around the sun. The Catholic Church has come out against Creationism, Intelligent Design, and has maintained that the "big bang theory of the universe's origins does not conflict with the biblical account of creation."

What is interesting is that Pope Benedict XVI, who many were worried was too conservative and would try to shut down such discussions, is actually encouraging them. In fact the Pope has made exploring the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy. This view was stressed in the interview where the Papal Astronomer Funes said science, especially astronomy, does not contradict religion.

I have been a strong believer in evolutional, biological, chemical, and physical evidence for the beginning of life and this planet, solar system, universe. That belief has not shaken my faith, in fact has strengthened it. Surely something much larger (God) started these processes that govern life. And there is no reason to believe that these same processes have not happened elsewhere. I am glad that the Catholic Church agrees.

T-Paw Not Getting Any

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Over the weekend, Governor Pawlenty had this to say about his wife Mary:

"I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish. I mean, she will take the lead and ask me to go out fishing, and joyfully comes here. She loves football, she'll go to hockey games, and I jokingly say, 'Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me I'd really have it made.''"

Now T-Paw does and says nothing without thinking of the political ramifications. So what was the reason for calling out his wife on the radio? A couple of thoughts:

1. He's telling other 40-something men who have been married for years and also not getting any that "I'm just like you." Thus generating sympathy and more importantly, votes.

2. Signaling to the Republican elite in Washington, many of who are either having sex with boys or with someone other than their for-show-only wives: "I'm not doing my wife either, if chosen as VP I'll be just like you!"

3. Telling anti-feminist voters: When my wife doesn't put out in the bedroom, I just don't whine about it in private. I whine about it publicly on the radio, because I'm a real man, I don't let women push me around.

UPDATE: Here's a link with a chance to hear the audio:

Favorite Concert Moments

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What’s your favorite concert? It’s actually a hard question. It depends on where you are in your life, who you went with, how you were feeling. Below are my top concert highlights in descending chronological order. Question marks after a date means that I think it happened at that time but I could be wrong. What are some of your favorite concerts?

Green Day – Xcel Energy Center. September 2005. Billy Joe Armstrong introduced Holiday as a “big Fuck You to George W. Bush? and the crowd full of 10-15 year old boys and their parents went nuts. They played this song so aggressively that if Billy Joe had asked the crowd to storm the capitol we would have done it.

Rock for Change – Xcel Energy Center. October 2004. The last song was Rockin’ in the Free World with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, R.E.M., John Forgerty, Conner Obst, and others. Pete Buck’s smile was so big, I could see it from across the arena.

Fred Eaglesmith – St. Peter, MN. September 8, 2001.
Fred was in fine form at a free concert in a park in St. Peter. He played every song you wanted and I heard Big Ass Garage Sale for the first time. He told a story about a Dar Williams making a hit of one of his songs by making it into a lesbian song. At first he was uncomfortable about it but after getting the royalty checks, he was “writing lesbian song after lesbian song.? Three days after this show the world changed.

Jonathan Richman – First Avenue. September 1996(?). We saw Jonathan watching the warm up act and my wife went up to him and said we were celebrating our anniversary and could he sing My Love is a Flower for us. About mid-way through the show Jonathan started one song, stopped a few bars in and said, I am suppose to sing this for Elaine and Dean, celebrating their anniversary. He then sang My Love is a Flower.

Johnny Cash – Orpheum Theater. June 1995.
Touring in support of American Recordings, the Orpheum was full of punks, guys in cowboy hats, and old duffers. I went with my dad and we sat in the 9th row. Johnny’s voice was perfect and I was blown away by the songs and the show. Oh the Jayhawks opened with an acoustic set.

Metallica – Target Center. Summer 1991(?). We were in the upper bowl and at one point during the show, the lights illuminated the lower bowl and all you could see were thousands of heads banging in unison, it was an amazing sight.

Meat Puppets – First Avenue Summer 1988(?). The Puppets absolutely jammed! By the end they were playing covers and you couldn’t keep up. They played a version of Rock and Roll that would put Zeppelin to shame (sorry Shane, but it’s true!).

U2 – RFK Stadium. September 1987. I think this was U2’s first big stadium tour but they still were connecting with the audience as if it were a 500 seat theater. They finished with “40? and the crowd kept singing “how long will we sing this song.? We sang it after U2 left the stage, we sang it filing out of the stadium, we sang it in the parking lot, we sang it in the subways and our cars going home. Truly inspirational.

Billy Bragg – 930 Club. Summer 1987. At the height of the controversy over funding the Nicaraguan Contras, Billy Bragg had a very political show in a very political City. Afterward he invited anyone from the audience to come backstage and discuss politics with him.

Ramones – American University. Fall 1986. They played in an old gymnasium with folding chairs. When they came out with the gabba gabba hey signs, they had me. The best I could describe it was the Beach Boys on crack.

Replacements – 7th Street Entry. November 1985.
Part of their 5 night stay to celebrate the release of Tim. At the end of the show as they were being showered with quarters, dimes, and dollar bills, Paul Westerberg uttered the greatest concert closing I ever heard: What’s this shit, we don’t need it, we’re made of the shit. Keep your money, fuck you, good night.

Minutemen – 7th Street Entry. November 1985. They put on an awesome show and D. Boon slipped and fell down dancing in his own puddle of sweat. One month later he was dead in a car accident.

Urban Guerrillas – Williams Pub. New Years Eve 1984(85?). A beer and sex fueled musical party that crossed over two years. I think everyone who went to this show got laid that night.

Black Flag – Duffy’s. Summer 1984. This was the height of Henry Rollins as lead singer of Black Flag and he was in a word powerful. My friend Pete had a religious experience that night (partially thanks to Nigel the bus driver).

Soul Asylum – Whole Music Club. Spring 1984(?). Long before they were famous they were amazing in concert. This show wasn’t my first or last, but was particularly memorable for pure unadulterated rock and roll.

Suburbs – Cabooze. Summer 1983.
Their first show back after a successful California tour. The bassist Michael Halliday came back with a buzz cut which was all the rage with the California punks at the time. They then proceeded to tear the Cabooze apart, with Beej, climbing the lighting scaffolding all over the bar.

Replacements/Husker Du – First Avenue.
Summer 1982. My first show at First Avenue, my first Replacements and Husker Du concert. I went by myself. I was never the same and doubt that I’d even be writing something like this if it wasn’t for this show.


I am sure there are others that I will remember. So check back to see if I add anything.

Friday Random Top 10

Grand Theft Auto 4 sells $500 million worth of video games in a week, Iron Man sells $100 million worth of tickets in a weekend, it's a comic book world we live in. What's your Avatar?

This week's top 10:

1. In the Mouth of a Desert – Pavement
2. 21 Days in Jail – The Blasters
3. Modern Farmer – Young Wu
4. Words Fell – Lucinda Williams
5. Buddy’s Bolden Blues – Jelly Roll Morton
6. Elephant Stone – Stone Roses
7. Drummer Like Me – Trip Shakespeare
8. James Riot – Guided By Voices
9. June Salutes You – Guided By Voices
10. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues – Chris Thomas King

A little something for everyone. Some Pavement and GbV for you indie rockers, some blues, country, and something from Manchester's Factory. Wow!

It's Over!

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After last night’s decisive win in North Carolina and oh so close loss in Indiana, Barack Obama has basically, finally, sewn up the nomination. There really is no way Senator Clinton can win. You heard it in her speech last night, you saw it in Bill and Chelsea’s face. Now word has come out that Clinton has canceled all her public appearances today and that the Clinton’s loaned their campaign another $6.4 million for the North Carolina and Indiana campaigns. Very doubtful more money is going to come in.

As this sinks in I am sure in the next few days we will see more superdelegates pledge support to Obama. I am not sure if we will see a concession this week, but it is coming, What would be really cool is if Clinton was to endorse Obama Barack and then for them both to go on a unity tour of sorts through the remaining primary states, including Michigan and Florida. Their campaigning together would be important for a couple of reasons. It would prove to skeptics that both candidates are devoted to unifying the party against John McCain and it would help soothe over the anti-Barack sentiment among the Clinton supporters. Finally it would allow the last few states the opportunity to see the candidates in person and to build on the excitement this primary has inspired. Maybe Obama could sweeten the deal by using his mega-bucks to retire Clinton’s campaign debt.

That may be wishful thinking especially considering that we are talking about Democrats here but the bottom line is the campaign is over, Obama won, and now it is time to focus on Senator John McCain.

In honor of Obama’s win, here’s a video showing that Barack’s got game. Enjoy!


Book Review: Perfect From Now On

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Guy grows up in a mid-size Midwestern city listening to radio stations that play Journey, Bad Company, and Styx, is introduced to “new? music through U2 and in college discovers such English bands as New Order and Joy Division and later champions “indie? band such as Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, and The Replacements. Finally the guy later discovers Guided By Voices years after their best albums comes out and is infatuated to the point that he collects everything they’ve ever recorded. Big deal, my life story right? Except that it isn’t me, it’s the story of John Sellers and he writes about it in the engaging book: Perfect From Now On, How Indie Rock Saved My Life.

If any of the above sounds familiar to you (and I know it does for many of this blog’s readers) then I suggest you either buy or get this book from the library. Besides being pretty funny, it is nice to read something that you yourself have lived. I remember those days in the 70’s when Styx was the high point of rock, and I knew, just knew, there were better bands out there. Also the excitement of being infatuated with a band that few knew about is downright palpable.

The books also has a number of quirks, like numerous asides in footnotes, including a 10-page(!) footnote, describing what Sellers did to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Ian Curtis’ suicide, numerous lists, a la High Fidelity, and an intricate formula you can use to determine how good a band is.

For me the highlight was the last third of the book where Sellers describes his discovery of Guided By Voices and through dumb luck and strategic friendships, is able to meet the band and Robert Pollard, gets to drink with them, and was able to attend their last shows. Also because he wrote about his experience, was ostracized by the GbV community and almost excommunicated by Pollard. As someone likewise infatuated with GBV, this part of the book was great. In fact I re-read these passages while listening to GBV, I think Sellers would understand.

Falcon Attack!

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This morning a Perigrine Falcon (UPDATE: Apparently is was a Coopers Hawk) attacked and ate a pigeon in our back yard. Now we live in the City, 1/2 mile from an interstate (also 1/2 mile from a bird sanctuary). Not something you see often. The falcon left nothing but bones and feathers and afterward the Wrens came and used the feathers for their nests. Talk about your circle of life. Check out pic below. Click on photo to get a larger shot.

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Friday Random Top 10

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So the kids have started to make movies and put them on youtube.com. This is one of their better efforts.

Also, here’s your random top 10:

1. Wigwam – Bob Dylan
2. Polly – Nirvana
3. Everybody Thinks I am a Raincloud – Guided By Voices
4. Senor – Jerry Garcia
5. High & Dry – Radiohead
6. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
7. Cool Blues/52nd Street – Charlie Parker
8. Drunk by Noon – The Handsome Family
9. Casey Jones – The Grateful Dead
10. Company In My Back – Wilco

I kind of like the vibe of this list. Introspective, quiet, a little slower. Nice way to open a Friday. What’s your top 10?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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