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April 30, 2010

Friday Random Top 10

Drill Baby Drill becomes spill baby spill which then becomes burn baby burn, then finally clean baby clean. Hey President Obama, here's some advice: If the Republicans are proposing something, run away fast in the opposite direction. Here's a top 10:

1. Mannequin's Complaint - Guided By Voices
2. Brown Sugar -- Rolling Stones
3. Stupid Bells -- The Handsome Family
4. I'll Cry Alone -- Flamin' Groovies
5. Anglepoise Lamp -- The Soft Boys
6. Shit From an Old Notebook -- Minutemen
7. If You See Her Say Hello -- Bob Dylan
8. Fuck Everything -- Jack Logan
9. I Think I'm Down -- The Harbinger Complex
10. Johnny B. Goode -- Buck Owens

Bonus: Acid Tongue -- Jenny Lewis

ah, Brown Sugar -- one of the rockingest, raunchiest songs from the Stones rocking and raunchy era. Gotta love Dylan following The Minutemen too. What's your top 10?

April 28, 2010

Vikings Stadium Update

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Ford Field -- Detroit, MI

With only three weeks left in the Minnesota Legislative session, we were promised details of a Vikings bill sometime soon. Given the late date, extra-ordinary parliamentary procedures will be needed to get a Vikings bill on the floor of the Senate and House for a vote. The public has not seen any bill details whatsoever. There has been no public debate. As a reminder, 4 years ago when the Twins ballpark bill was approved, the details of the financing plan had been made public for 13 months, there were numerous public hearings about the details and anyone who was interested knew how the ballpark would be financed. Just sayin'.

My prediction is that there won't be a Vikings stadium bill this year, it's too late. However the work that is being done and the bill promised will set the groundwork for a bill next year. That way we will have the 13 month review process, public airings, etc, that the Twins bill was afforded.

Right now the Vikings are publically promoting a $670M open air stadium. The Vikings have said that they would pay for 1/3 of the cost. Also a retractable roof is projected to cost another $200M and the Vikings have stated that they wouldn't pay for that as a roof would be a state resource, and unneeded for the Vikings. But why do we need a retractable roof? A movable roof, while kind of cool, is a lot more expensive than a fixed roof, and given the record of retractable roofs in baseball and football, the roof is usually closed unless there is absolutely glorious weather. Plus a retractable roof takes up more real estate.

Below is a chart of some recently built stadiums, including roof, year built, and cost. Now of course different stadiums have different amenities attached and inflation on half-billion projects adds up fast, but still it is interesting:

Dallas - 2009, Retractable Roof, $1.3B
Indianapolis - 2008, Retractable Roof, $720M
Arizona - 2006, Retractable Roof, $455M
Detroit - 2002, Fixed Roof, $430M
Seattle - 2002, No Roof, $430M
Houston - 2002, Retractable Roof, $352M

The last two stadiums in Dallas and Indianapolis were a lot more expensive than the previous stadiums. Now the Dallas stadium is huge and has many amenities but I think the Indianapolis stadium is a good benchmark. Compare that to the fixed roof stadium in Detroit. Granted it opened 6 years earlier, but inflation was relatively modest during this time period. Ford Field in Detroit has been give relatively good reviews. Why can't we build something like that for around $600M? See if we can get the Wilf's to pitch in 250M and that leaves "only" $350M to raise publically. That's similar to what the Twins got from the public and is easily digestible.

What do you think?

UPDATE:
Here's a pretty good article from the SPP. Based on this article I don't see a Vikings bill happening this session. Not enough details worked out and too little time.

April 26, 2010

Video -- Charlie Pickett and the Eggs

Charlie Pickett actually came by and left a comment from an album review I did last summer. Thanks for stopping by Charlie! So here's a video from a concert he did a couple of years ago. When's the stop in Minneapolis?

Enjoy.

April 23, 2010

Friday Random Top 10

Very successful opening week of Target Field. Suck on it roof wanters!!! Doing the Iron Man bike ride this week, however I'm only going to do the 65 mile ride. Gotta train up! Here's a top 10:

1. I Can't Dance -- Gram Parson
2. Big Rock Candy Mountain -- Harry McClintock
3. You and Whose Army? -- Radiohead
4. I've Got You Under My Skin -- Frank Sinatra
5. Liar Liar -- The Castaways
6. Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat) -- The Detroit Cobras
7. She Floated Away -- Husker Du
8. Hardcore UFOs -- Guided By Voices
9. April Skies -- The Jesus & Mary Chain
10. All Together Now -- The Beatles

Bonus: Hey Hey Spaceman -- Guided By Voices

Hot Dog -- One of the greatest double entrendre songs ever. Good to see some GBV again. What's your top 10?

April 19, 2010

Sly and the Family Stone

So Sly Stone made a fool of himself again at Coachella over the weekend. It's really too bad as Sly obviously isn't in any shape to perform anymore. The above video is from a time when Sly and his family Stone were the coolest thing in music, enjoy.

Also, if you want to read up on what Sly and the Family Stone meant to late's 60's popular music, check out Griel Marcus' book Mystery Train.

April 16, 2010

Friday Random Top 10

Thank God the Twolves season is over. Talk about a lost season. We knew they were going to be bad but they were supposed t create some hope for the future. They didn't even come close, there's even less hope. Just dreadful. We need a random top 10:

1. Dweller on the Threshold -- Van Morrison
2. Pride (in the name of Love) -- U2
3. Running Off With the Fun City Girls (demo) -- Guided By Voices
4. Iron Road -- Old 97's
5. Factory Girl -- Whiskeytown
6. I am a Pilgrim -- Johnny Cash
7. Born Under Punches (live) -- Talking Heads
8. Whatever Happened to the Girl in Me? -- Ike Reilly Assassination
9. Where the Devil Don't Stay -- Drive By Truckers
10. Dreaming -- Yo La Tengo

Bonus: Wake Up -- Arcade Fire

After a couple of weeks of snoozers, finally hit on all 8 cylinders today. What's your top 10?

April 12, 2010

Opening day at Target Field

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When I first started this blog nearly 4 years ago, Target Field didn't exist (in name or physically). It was only a gleam in our eyes. Sure a ballpark bill had been passed but we didn't quite know what we were going to get, except that we would finally have baseball outside. My 3rd blog post was about the new Twins ballpark and that some people were still complaining about a roof.

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First Pitch At Target Field

As everyone well knows we now have our ballpark and everyone is in love with it. Even the folks who wanted a roof have either been converted or are keeping quiet until a crappy day ruins a game. Sixty-five degrees and party sunny opening days will do that. Don't worry, the haters will be back.

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Harmon Killebrew

I haven't done a lot of talking about the new ballpark lately and what it means because Rick over at Baseball Magic has done such a great job, with wonderful pictures, that anything I would write would be derivative of what he already produced.

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Is this Minneapolis or is this Wrigleyville?

Yesterday was in a nutshell why I was such a huge new outdoor, roofless ballpark rube. The atmosphere in and around the ballpark was electric, bars were full of people and sometimes it felt like downtown Minneapolis would challenge Wrigleyville for urban baseball atmosphere. The game was wonderful as I was sitting in shirtsleeves for most of the game and then put on a long sleeve shirt for the later innings. Sun dappled the field, and funky shadows danced across the outfield as the day went on. Oh and the Twins won.

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Homer Hankie Shirt

For too long we were embarrassed about out baseball stadium. It's Teflon roof, it's antiseptic, plastic atmosphere, its freaky bounces and speakers in play. The Twins deserved better, baseball deserved better, we deserved better. Finally, it is here and I couldn't be happier.

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Late Afternoon Shadows

April 11, 2010

Meat Puppets @ 400 Bar

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I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the Meat Puppets so I headed on down to the 400 Bar this weekend and re-lived some of my 20-something years. I had seen the Meat Puppets twice, once in 1984 at Duffy's when they were still pretty much a punk outfit and then in 1988 (or 1989) when their concerts were face shredding rock shows (here's a downloadable concert from that era). Now some 20 years later, would they still bring the rock or would too many years and too many drugs sap the Meat Puppets of what made them so cool to begin with?

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Curt and Chris Jammin' to Up On the Sun

I am happy to say that the Meat Puppets can still throw down. I was constantly amazed that a three member band could make so much noise. Curt Kirkwood still has those stringy vocals and plays a loud guitar while his brother Chris is just as freaky as ever on the bass. One of my favorite early moments was during Up On the Sun. They start out pretty straight but then at the end it's just wild guitar loops and feedback. Now that was cool enough, but every so often Chris would saunter on over to the mic and yelp. It was amazing and just blew me away.

(O.k. here's an aside about modern technology. If you are going to go to a concert, zoo, dance recital, baseball game whatever and plan on taking video, make sure your camera is charged up! I was taping the aforementioned song, when 2 minutes into it my camera's batteries died. So I have Up On The Sun taped, but only the mellow first half and not the freaky second half. I was able to coax a few more pictures out of the camera, but there was never enough juice to tape anything. Sorry).

The one great thing about a Meat Puppets concert is that you never know what you are going to get in the later half. Same deal Friday night. Besides all the Meat Puppet favorites we also got How Great Thou Art, A Closer Walk with Thee oh and Greg Norton (late of Husker Du) playing bass on Tomorrow Never Knows. How cool is that?!? There were a few other wacky covers in there too, but my mind is a little foggy from the vodka.

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Yep that's Greg Norton playing bass on Tomorrow Never Knows

All and all a great time, and a great band. I am glad that the Meat Puppets are "too high to die" and still making fun music some 25 years after I first came across them.

April 9, 2010

Friday Random Top 10

Going to see The Meatpuppets at the 400 Bar tonight. As a nod to my age, I actually picked up some earplugs. Here's a random top 10:

1. Another Letter -- Wire
2. King of the Mountain -- Midnight Oil
3. South Australia -- The Pogues
4. Crumbs From Your Table -- U2
5. Working on the Highway -- Bruce Springsteen
6. Baby's Got Sauce -- G. Love and Special Sauce
7. Kamera -- Wilco
8. So You Want to Be A Rock Star? -- The Byrds
9. I Let Him Get To Me -- Beat Happening
10. Mary of the Wild Moor -- Johnny Cash

Bonus: Cemetery Gates -- The Smiths

For the 2nd week in a row, not the greatest list. What's your top 10?

April 8, 2010

Bachmann-Palin-Overdrive

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So what do you get when you combine the former half-term Governor of the State of Alaska and a conservative Congresswoman from central Minnesota who puts the nut into wingnut? (well besides the whitest place in the world)? You get Bachmann-Palin-Overdrive that's what you get. And they're takin' care of business baby (literally, with a $10,000-a-plate fundraiser as part of the agenda).

That's right nearly 11,000 adoring fans somehow got away from their day jobs to come down to a place represented by a black Muslim congressman to get a chance to show their love for Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. By most accounts the tea party crowd did themselves good as no misspelling of the word America showed up on their signs, no use of the "N" word, etc. Must be that publically funded Minnesota education showing through.

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Signs are pre-made to ensure proper spelling

While the message was pretty basic Republican fare: turn back the clock on individual rights, tax breaks for those who can afford $10,000 chicken dinners in a hotel ballroom, and government hands off your government provided Medicare benefits, the fact that it was delivered by two smokin' hot cougar brunettes almost guaranteed universal love. Word of a vibrant black market Viagra trade in the convention center restrooms is pure speculation.

I especially loved the quotes from supporters saying that half-term Governor Palin was a champion of the people and would represent their interests. Sure the gal talks a good game, but look at her record, she has been as big a supporter of business interests (and her own interests) over the little guy since her days of being Mayor of Wasilla (population 12,500).

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I know what you're thinking -- Keep your mind out of the gutter!!

In the end it's all good harmless fun. The Teaparty crowd gets to see their hotties, and blow off a little steam. Better than shooting up a police station or threatening elected officials who disagree with them. The rest of us get to chuckle in amusement and count the days until conservatives are disappointed by their latest "anointed" ones.

April 5, 2010

Live Rust -- Cortez the Killer

Live Rust was probably one of the first "midnight movies" I ever saw and definitely kicked off my life-long love of Neil Young.

A concert film from 1978, Live Rust chronicled a Neil Young at one of his creative peaks. As he still does today, Young included an acoustic set and an electric set, this time with the added gimmick of having the acoustic set played on an extra large set so as to make it appear that Neil was quite small. In addition during some songs, the movie was presented in "rust-o-vision" which meant they put an orange screen over the film. It was a blast.

This particular video is Cortez the Killer, which of course is a great song. I love how members of Crazy Horse surround Neil as he plays, I also love that guitar playing pose Young maintains during the long guitar parts.

If you have the single CD version of Live Rust you may not know it but the CD cuts about 2 minutes from this song in order for the entire show to fit within the 74 minute limitation of a CD. For many years I always thought this song was a little short but only came across the reason why recently. Don't worry, the video above has Cortez the Killer uncut. "Plenty Bad Man."

April 2, 2010

Friday Random Top 10

First outdoor Twins game this afternoon. No secret there. Taking the bus downtown from the U. Then a pre-game All-you-can-eat fish fry at Glueks (it is Good Friday). I especially want to see the flag pole dedication, as one flag pole use to be at the old Met (thanks Rick!). Also Albert Pujols, gotta see that monster. Forecast is for rain but I don't care, even welcome it. Ain't life great? Here's top 10:

1. Hong Kong Garden -- Siouxsie and the Banshees
2. I Zimbra -- Talking Heads
3. Helpless -- Neil Young
4. Tell Mama -- Etta James
5. White Moon -- The White Stripes
6. Red-Eyed and Blue -- Wilco
7. Come Out and Play -- The Offspring
8. White and Lazy -- The Replacements
9. Shrunken Head -- Jack Logan
10. Poor Little Fish -- The Jayhawks

Bonus: Tell Me Why -- The Beatles

Meh, not the greatest list of all time, who cares! Did I tell you I will be watching Twins baseball outside, in Minnesota, today? What's your top 10?

April 1, 2010

Target Field's Unsung Hero

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Tomorrow will be the official opening of Target Field as the Twins play an exhibition game against Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals. I'll be there.

As is typical with any opening of a new ballpark there will be a pre-game ceremony honoring those responsible for making it all happen, including Twins officials and various elected officials. Some are very deserving such as Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat who came up with the financial strategy to pay for the ballpark and Representative Brad Finstad who, a lowly backbencher from the minority party, introduced the bill at the Legislature and saw that it got passed -- even though it wasn't always popular with other more senior legislators (and the Governor), or his constituents back home. Those two men richly deserve to be saluted.

However there is one person who won't be down on the field getting accolades but should be. That person is Shane from the web site Greet Machine. Many people don't realize how instrumental Greet Machine was in getting the ballpark bill passed. The most important thing he did was put together a legislative scorecard of who was supporting the ballpark and who wasn't. Through Shane's work it came to light that most legislators actually supported the ballpark legislation. He listed their names and where they had signaled their support.

Now you wouldn't think this is a big deal but it was huge, and something that lobbyists charge tens of thousands of dollars to produce. But here it was for free for anyone to see. And more importantly it was accurate. If I recall correctly not one legislature denied their place on the list either for the ballpark or against it. It is well documented that this scorecard was used in legislative meetings regarding the ballpark bill and all legislative leaders knew of it.

Not only did Shane develop the legislative scorecard, Greet Machine became THE place on-line to discuss the ins-and-outs of the ballpark legislation, who supported it, the politics, etc. It was a nice place for joe-citizen ballpark supporters to get together and discuss the various ballpark scenarios - this during a time when most of the media was focused on those loud and shrill voices opposed to a ballpark. But more importantly, it became such an important site to the ballpark approval process that elected officials, lawyers, and the landowners started privately feeding Shane information to put on his blog. Many people read Greet Machine during this period: from rubes like me, to politicians, city officials, print/TV journalists, and the surrounding land owners. I truly believe, and I am not alone, that without Greet Machine and Shane's efforts a new Twins ballpark would have never happened when it did.

So when you see the celebration of those responsible for Target Field, remember that one person is missing. Now I'm not surprised, I am sure these days public officials are too embarrassed to admit that a mere blogger played such a key role in getting a $500M ballpark approved -- no way could they acknowledge that now. And Shane is way too modest to demand such recognition or even ask for a t-shirt for his efforts. However to those us who watched the ballpark come together, we know. And I for one will be tipping my hat off to Shane tomorrow afternoon as I will have the distinct pleasure of sitting next to him as the first Twins home baseball game in over 28 years is played outdoors.

Thanks Shane!!

Other Accolades are coming in!

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