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March 31, 2009

2009 Golden Ticket Update -- NEW!!

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O.k. now we're getting somewhere. We have three clues. Let's go list them in order:

Starting from the teflon roof, heading west would be a goof.

Get out and search and use those legs, but to the north there's just goose eggs

Further south of the second City the golden ticket shines so pretty

So we know the golden ticket is east and south of the Metrodome, and is located south of the second City.

Another key clue that is in the rules is that the ticket is located in Ramsey or Hennepin County. Which in this case is important.

So question, what exact is the 2nd City? Is it St. Paul because it's second in population to Minneapolis or is it Minneapolis because St. Paul is the capital. What makes this really important is that St. Paul is the southern most City in Ramsey County, so if the ticket is further south of St. Paul, that leaves very little room. Also given the fact that the Metrodome is in the east part of Minneapolis, there isn't a whole lot of place south and east of the Metrodome in Hennepin County either.

Look at a metro area map. Right now based on those clues I am focusing on Fort Snelling State Park area.

What do you think, am I missing something here? Hopefully Wednesday's clue helps then I'm going to start searching. Discuss in the comments.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE

Today's clue is killing me:

If you like your breakfast food, this path will get you in the mood

So we are looking for a trail that has a name related to breakfast food. Somewhere in the south east metro but in Ramsey or Hennepin County.

Right now I am stumped. Who knows a trail with a name like cereal, eggs, etc. I would go look by General Mills but that first clue says heading west of the dome would be a goof. Any thoughts, we need a trail name.

March 30, 2009

My Favorite Things -- Barbara Lukermann

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If you been involved in urban planning in the Twin Cities over the past 25 years you undoubtedly came across Barbara Lukermann. As a Senior Fellow and teacher at the Humphrey Institute, Barbara Lukermann was one of those teachers who greatly cared for her students and was truly interested in how they did inside and outside the classroom. Not only was she a great teacher she was a pretty damn good urban planner and provided years of service to the Twin Cities area as it tackled many issues of regional governance.

One of my great regrets in not finishing my Master Degree was that I disappointed Barbara Lukermann. Even up to a couple of years ago, she would see me and say "it's not too late, we can always figure something out." Now I left the Master program in 1990 so we're talking almost 20 years here. But that's how she was, she didn't forget any of her students and wanted what was best for them.

Barbara Lukermann died last week of cancer at the age of 79. A memorial service will be held at the Humphrey Institute on Tuesday at 4:00. She will be greatly missed.

March 29, 2009

2009 Twins Golden Ticket

It's time for the Twins Golden Ticket once again. Having been in the exact park 2 of the last three years on the day it was found has only made me that much more obsessed with finding the dang thing. I don't care about the 40 free Twins tickets or free vacation. I just want to find the get the golden ticket before someone else does.

Sunday's clue tells us which direction:

Starting from the teflon roof, heading west would be a goof.

O.k. It's east of the dome. From past years, the word goof doesn't play into the clue, but I will keep it in the back of my mind. I don't think we will have a good locational clue until about Tuesday.

Remember the ticket is only in Ramsey or Hennepin Counties. It was in Ramsey County last year and I was hoping it was in Hennepin this year since that is where I live, but right now probably St. Paul area again.

March 27, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Why didn't someone tell me that Memphis can't play defense? I need major help to even be a player now. When does the baseball season start? I need a top 10:

1. Bluest Eyes in Texas -- Nina Persons
2. Dust Bowl Blues -- Woody Guthrie
3. I Believe in the Man in the Sky -- Elvis Presley
4. Southern Man -- Neil Young
5. Serve the Servants -- Nirvana
6. Smothered in Hugs -- Guided By Voices
7. Dope Smokin' Moron -- The Replacements
8. Dying to Try This -- Guided By Voices
9. The Woman with the Tatooed Hands -- Atmosphere
10. Turn Turn Turn -- The Byrds

Bonus: I'm Going to Make You Mine -- Shadows of Night

Not the greatest list of all time. Has the obligatory double shot from GBV. What's your top 10?

March 26, 2009

The Sweet 16 Rocks!

There's been some discussion this week that the lack of upsets has made for a boring NCAA tournament and that this year's Sweet 16 is boring because it consists of all 1s, 2s, 3s, and two of the 4 seeds. The Strib's Myron Medcalf stated that casual fans have no rooting interest in the remaining teams.

That is a bunch of garbage. This weekend's games are destined to be classics. If you aren't looking forward to Duke v. Villanova or UConn v. Purdue, then you don't like basketball. Tomorrow's Michigan State V. Kansas promises to be a war, and I can't wait to watch. Who wants to see Butler lose by 18 to Pitt when they can have a strong Xavier team instead. Also of some of the teams that were left out of the tournament like Creighton or St. Mary's, they couldn't even get to the NIT finals, I doubt they'd still be playing this weekend.

This looks to be one of most exciting final rounds in years and frankly I can't wait for the games to begin. I have 15 of 16 teams still alive in my bracket but I do have some worrisome games. I have Xavier over Pitt, Villanova over Duke, UConn over Purdue and Memphis over Missouri tonight. MSU over Kansas, Gonzaga over UNC, Oklahoma over Syracuse, and Louisville over Arizona. About 5 of those are locks.

March 25, 2009

The Decemberists Perform a Rock Opera

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Fans of The Decemberists probably know that the band has recently released a new album, The Hazards of Love, which is being billed as a “Rock Opera.” No surprise coming from The Decemberists who have been evolving toward prog rock for a number of years now. It’s really a logical next step for the band. Basically the story is about a pair of doomed lovers cavorting in the woods and the troubles they run into with a forest queen and some other bad dude/creature. Very Decemberists.

Now of course something like this could be real cool or just plan awful, there is probably be no middle ground here. So I was interested when I heard that the Decemberists were going to play the entire album at South x Southwest last week. Knowing I wasn’t heading off to Austin, I did the next best thing and checked out the podcast of their show from NPR.

[Aside, have you checked out the NPR live concert podcasts? It rocks! There is a ton of good stuff they have available, including a ton from SxSW. Besides recent shows there is a Leonard Cohen show, Radiohead, a bunch of others, I’ll be back to see what else is there. Here’s the link.]
The thing with rock operas is that you need the words in front of you to get what the story is about so I was at a disadvantage right there. The Who’s Tommy is classic because it was recorded at that time when we all listened to albums. You could sit in your room with headphones going over the lyrics as the song played. (and yes if you lit a candle while listening to Tommy you would see your future). So I really can’t tell you how the story turns out in The Hazards of Love.

I can tell you however, that there are some cool songs here (some kinda of draggy ones too). It starts off slow but about a third of the way in, the band just connects. There are a couple of female vocals that are just wailers and one song where apparently there are 6 percussionists. Truly some heavy stuff here. The crowd, it appears is slow to warm up to what’s being presented to them, but by the end you can tell they were blown away.

I’m definitely going to look for the lyrics so that I can follow along because there appears to be some interesting music going on here. If you’re a Decemberists fan, there are some individual songs that you will undoubtedly like, rock opera or not. This however, will not be a big breakthrough effort by the band. But an interesting piece nonetheless.

March 23, 2009

My Favorite Things -- March Madness

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What could be better than 48 college basketball games in the span of 80 hours, all televised or available for viewing on your internet connection? How about the fact that everyone has a bracket, predicting the results so that everyone is invested in the outcome? They don't call it March Madness for nothing, and this year's version has been just a good as advertised.

I'm not a big rube for upsets as I would rather have the top seeds win and then play each other. I do recognize that upsets do happen and nothing warms my heart like seeing a Cleveland State take it to an over-confident Wake Forest, even if it caused a tremor in my bracket. I do like that all the Sweet 16 includes all the 1s, 2s, and 3s, and two of the 4 seeds.

The best part of March Madness isn't the upsets, it's when two good teams go at each other like a couple of heavyweights, each landing thundering punches but unable to knock the other out. The Michigan State-USC game was like that yesterday with each team going after each other and neither backing down until Michigan State pulls slightly ahead at the end. But what makes March Madness that much greater is that at the same time, Missouri and Marquette are going at as well and it comes down to a Marquette player accidentally stepping over the line on an inbounds pass with 5.5 seconds left. There were numerous games where it came down to the last few seconds, not a lot of buzzer beaters, but plenty of games that were in doubt until the very end.

I have 15 teams remaining in the Sweet 16 and am sitting pretty for a good run. When Gonzaga beats NC and 'Nova beats Duke, not only will the haughty ACC have no teams left, most brackets will be blown up and I will be sitting pretty with Memphis well on its way to a National Championship. That's why March Madness is one of my favorite things.

How's your bracket doing?

March 20, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Gophers lose in Basketball and Hockey, Wild and T-wolves will be one of handful of teams that won't make their respective playoffs, Vikings haven't won a playoff game in years, Twins may be o.k. Welcome to Loserville, U.S.A. Time for a Random Top 10:

1. Enter Sandman -- Metallica
2. Time and Time Again -- Counting Crows
3. Peace In the Valley -- Elvis Presley
4. Can't Stand Losing You -- The Police
5. Don't Make Me a Target -- Spoon
6. MLK -- U2
7. If I Give You My Soul -- Johnny Cash
8. Saturday Night is Dead -- Graham Parker
9. The Enemy -- Guided By Voices
10. Hold Me Now -- The Rumors

Bonus: Two of Us -- The Beatles

Not bad at all, what's your top 10?

March 18, 2009

Battlestar Galactica -- Final Episode

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Battlestar Galactica is one of those sci-fi shows that deals with and addresses “big issues” in the guise of a science fiction action drama. Religion, war, human rights, man’s purpose, and Bob Dylan have all been major undercurrents of a show that ostensibly is about a bunch of humans being chased through space by a bunch of robots. Now after 100 plus hours watching the chase, Friday night’s two hour series conclusion promises to tie up all the loose ends.

I am hoping through this blog I can generate a little discussion over the next day or so about BSG, it’s meaning, and how it will end. There are a number of open questions that will be dealt with on Friday and definitely some of what has happened can only be described as confusing. Maybe we can help clarify for all.

A couple of thoughts. First I am a little disappointed how the whole final five cylons thing has played out. Now, except for Anders, there appears to be little role left for the Final Five. They were built up so much and now that we know who they are (and what they are) there’s nothing left for them to do. Do others agree? Am I missing something?

Also I am a little disappointed that the religious aspect has gone been downplayed as well. It was a stroke of genius to have the humans be polytheists and the Cylons be monotheists. Those ideas could have gone a lot further than they ended up going.

Although Season 4.5 has been a little rough, I think I like it. Let’s face it after 4 years of being chased through space and finding Earth as a smoldering heap, people would start to go a little bat shit insane. I thought the show has captured the fracturing of people’s nerves quite nicely. Having said that, last week’s episode was lame. The last 15 minutes should have been the first 15 minutes and gone on from there.

So with Friday’s final episode soon upon us here are some questions:

What/Who is Kara Thrace? (remember last Friday Baltar said she had human blood)
What role does Hera play? Baltar?
After Earth was discovered as inhabitable, why didn’t they go back to New Caprica?
It seems that humans and Cylons are becoming more integrated? Will that continue?
Are the characters on the show our ancestors or our future?
Favorite/Least Favorite Character?

Use the comments section to discuss…

March 16, 2009

My Favorite Things -- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Sure Jon Stewart and the Daily Show got lots of press last week for his "feud" with CNBC, culminating in the interview with Jim Cramer last Thursday, but Jon Stewart has been a 10:00p fixture on my television for over 9 years and besides sports and movies, the only reason I watch television these days.

Thursday's compelling interview is why the Daily Show is so good. Jon Stewart went right at Jim Cramer, using his own words against him, not allowing Cramer to make a statement unchallenged. The last eight years of the Bush Administration have been good for Jon Stewart -- the incompetency of George Bush was easy pickin's for a comedian as deft as Stewart. However, Jon Stewart has been at his best when skewering the media and its approach to politicians than when he has been attacking the latest goof ball offerings of an elected official.

The first 10 minutes of the show is usually the best. That's when Stewart and his team of "news correspondents" react to the daily news and point out the bullshit of what is being said. As with the Cramer interview, there is heavy use of footage from the past that puts into question what is being said today. Again, politicians take the hit, but beneath the surface, it's really the media that is being attacked.

The interview section is usually hit or miss. Sometimes there is a real interesting author or a politician who really engages with Stewart. And Stewart is smart, the interviewee better be prepared, especially if it's a subject that is dear to Jon Stewart's heart. An interview similar to Jim Cramer's was with Douglas Feith, one of the "architects" of the Bush Iraq war policy. There's a reason why Stewart has won Peabody Awards for news reporting on a show that ostensibly is a comedy show.

Many people thought, "oh now with Obama as President, the Daily Show would become irrelevant." One the Cramer interview proved that wrong, two, as mentioned above, The Daily Show is more about the media than politicians (Now if Fox News ever went belly up, Jon Stewart would be hurting), and three, Stewart has gone after Obama a couple of times already and I have a feeling there are no sacred cows for Jon Stewart.

So if you don't watch the Daily Show, I strongly encourage you to do so. It's much more entertaining than an old comedy re-run or the crap they pass off as local news. Also the Daily Show has ALL of it's episodes on the web, you can sort by day, subject, or person. The Daily Show has demonstrated that you can have a point of view, be entertaining, and provide actual news analysis and will be reason why you will always find me in front of the television at 10:00p Monday through Thursday.

March 13, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Gophers win and should be dancing next week. The next three weeks is when the wife is mad because "you're watching basketball again." Need a random top ten to prepare:

1. Billy Liar -- The Decemberists
2. Too Much Too Young -- The Specials
3. Generals and Majors -- XTC
4. I Love You So Much it Hurts -- Patsy Cline
5. Mr. Pinnodmys Dilemma -- The Attack
6. Jump in the Climb -- Big Black
7. High Fashion Queen -- Flying Burrito Brothers
8. Don't Let Me Down -- The Beatles
9. The Ways of a Woman in Love -- Johnny Cash
10. Johny Strikes Up the Band -- Warren Zevon

Bonus: I Don't Control You -- Teenage Fanclub

Lots of old school tunes there. What's your top 10?

March 10, 2009

Free Download: Replacements and Meat Puppets Live shows

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Welcome Braublog readers! Replacements Download below. While you're here check out Lost Forest After Dark. Leave a comment or two, bookmark the site and come back if you like what you see.

Some people know that I have on cassette a live taping of a Replacements concert from October 1985 and a Meat Puppets concert that I think is either from 1987 or 1988. I’ve been talking for years that I was going to get them digitized. Well I finally got it done and am willing to share them with the faithful (and not so faithful) readers of Lost Forest After Dark.

The Replacements show is a classic. It’s from October 18, 1985 and I think it was the first show (UPDATE: it was the Friday night show, #4) of a 5 night stand at the 7th Street Entry in support of their first album on a Major Label – Tim. If you never saw the Replacements in concert, this show is a must. It has it all: the classics, goofy covers and mayhem. Don’t worry, it doesn’t disintegrate into a drunken mess, it is top notch from beginning to end. To download or stream, click here.

The Meat Puppets show is from around 1987 or 1988 (Maybe 1989 but I don’t think so) and was recorded at First Avenue. Again a classic. There is a part of the show near the end where it is virtually a face-ripping guitar jam session. Also the coolest cover of The Everly Bros All I Want to do is Dream that I have ever heard can be found in this recording. To download or stream, click here.

Neither of these shows were taped from the board so sonic quality isn’t the greatest, but it is pretty good. There’s a little bit of audience talking but nothing that deters from the shows.

Also, for those who haven’t checked it out, here is a 1984 Urban Guerrillas concert from 1st Avenue as well.

So check out the stream or download, let me know what you think. Also if you have trouble with the download, let me know so that I can try to fix. But most of all enjoy the music!!

March 9, 2009

Favorite Things -- Watchmen

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After much anticipation, I saw Watchmen this weekend. As mentioned last week I decided to see it on the I-max screen to get the full visual effect. Reviews have blown hot and cold all weekend as it seems that either the reviewer loved it or hated it. Put me down in the enjoyed (not loved) it camp.

I've been debating to myself if you need to read the book to "get" the movie and I don't think you do. Obviously it would help with some of the continuity but I think the film makers did a good job of telling the story to newcomers. If you've read the book I think the movie experience will be that much richer as there are literal panel-by-panel re-creations straight from the book seen on the screen. Another controversy is that the film tweaks the ending. The basic idea of the ending is the same, it's how it was implemented that was changed. To me I think the movie ending is better. For one it makes more sense and two it seem quite plausible and is loyal to the story attempting to be told.

Visually the movie is stunning but still "looks" like the real world. I was a little worried as Director Zach Snyder's work sometimes borders on the unworldly (300, ahem). I also liked the use of music, especially the opening credits as Dylan's Times They are a Changin' is playing, we get to see the creation of the Minutemen, their downfall and rise and downfall of the Watchmen. A lot of backstory was presented in a few minutes, with the Dylan providing the backdrop. A brutal murder while Nat King Cole's Unforgettable was playing was also a nice touch. I could have, however, done without the sex scene with Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as the background music, that was a little too much (not the sex scene mind you, just the choice of song).

The movie is insanely brutal and earns every inch of it's R rating. There were a couple of scenes where I had to turn my head. But other than that Watchmen was a fun movie experience, what I wanted to see on the screen some 20 years after I first picked up the graphic novel. Watchmen presents a world that easily could be imagined as "might have been" and gives us characters we care for and sympathize with, even if they are psychopathic vigilantes.

What did you think of Watchmen?

March 6, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

I had a code for the Leonard Cohen presale but tickets were $175 plus fees for 15th row seats so I just couldn't pull the trigger. I'm gonna kick myself from here to eternity but that's just too much $$$ to see a show. I need a random top 10:

1. Killing an Arab -- The Cure
2. Nothing Compares 2 U -- Prince
3. My Heart -- Neil Young
4. UFO -- The Wedding Present
5. Silver Shorts -- The Wedding Present
6. 8th Street -- Bellwether
7. Get on the Snake -- Soundgarden
8. 16 Blue -- The Replacements
9. Can't Help Falling in Love -- Elvis Presley
10. Sister Ray -- Velvet Underground

Bonus: Returning the Screw -- Fugazi.

Ahhh, that felt better. A nice double hit of the Wedding Present. If there was any justice in the world Bellwether would have been just as big as Ryan Adam and the Cardinals and 8th Street would have been their big breakthrough hit. What's your top 10?

March 5, 2009

Jon Stewart Destroys CNBC

If you don't watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart you have to watch the above clip. Steward absolutely pulls the curtain away from CNBC and their so called "business reporting." Probably won't change what CNBC does but man it sure was cathartic.

March 4, 2009

Watchmen are Coming!!!!

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I could easily take these next few days to do a Watchmen count down, expound on The. Greatest. Comic. Book. Ever., discuss my fears for the movie, what I will be looking for, blah, blah, blah. But I won’t. I’ll keep my inner geek at bay. I am going to see the movie this weekend but probably not until Sunday. However I am going to see at the I-max to get the full visual and aural experience. One thing I will say is that the University of Minnesota’s own James Kakalios was a consultant to the movie, making sure that they got the physics right. Or as right as a blockbuster movie can be. There was an interesting article in the Minnesota Daily a month or so ago about his role, I heartedly recommend it.

So who else is geeked out for Watchmen?

March 3, 2009

Obama Kicking Ass and Taking Names

On Saturday during his weekly address, President Obama went through a list of new programs he was touting and afterwards he finished by stating:

“I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: So am I.”
Boy it feels good to have a President not afraid to take these bad boys on and say so publically. For the most part the American public is behind the President, it’s good to see he’s behind us. Now I don’t know if all of what Obama is proposing is going to work. No one knows. The problem is that the 8 years of Republican rule left this country in ruins. Obama’s got to do something and the old way of doing things has got to end. I for one look forward to seeing if it all works.

March 2, 2009

My Favorite Things -- Matt's Bar

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Matt's Bar - Home of the Jucy Lucy. There's a long-standing debate in Minneapolis over what restaurant has the best Jucy Lucy: Matt's or the 5.8 Club. I fall squarely in Matt's Bar camp. For a variety of reasons. One Matt's is an authentic neighborhood bar whereas the 5.8 is more of a restaurant. Also there is only one Jucy Lucy at Matt's and you can order with or without fried onions. The 5.8 has a variety of Jucy Lucy's, with different cheeses etc. Also Matt's fries are awesome and the wait staff, bartender and cook have been the same for years. Matt's even has a decent jukebox, although it isn't used very often.

Matt's plain and simple is a Minneapolis institution. It's home to drunks, hipster dudes, frat boys, Abbott Northwestern nurses, and South Minneapolis families. The Grain Belt Premium flows freely and you can buy a pitcher of Coke for the kids. Prices are right too. A Jucy Lucy is still under $5.00. But the reason you go the Matt's is the Jucy Lucy, there is nothing like piping hot goo of cheese squirting out of your burger and burning your lips as you grab your beer to cool off your mouth. Fried onions and coagulating cheese drip on the fries and the wait staff is that perfect combination of world weary and wise-crackin'. The regulars don't mind that the new-to-the-scene are honing in on their turf and for the most part the rookies are respectful to those who have gone forever.

The best thing about Matt's however is that it is timeless. I have a feeling that it's pretty much the same as it was 40 years ago. In these days where everything has be to New and Improved! (and especially in Minneapolis where everything old seems to have been replaced) its comforting to know that there are still places that are cozy, where it's o.k. to have a burger with oozing cheese washed down with a cold beer. There are too few of those places left in this City and we should celebrate and embrace those that still exist.