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December 4, 2007

Boston looks to acquire another Minnesota sports icon

First David Ortiz, then Randy Moss, then Kevin Garnett, and now it appears, Johan Santana. With the New York Yankees having made it quite evident that their offer is no longer on the table, it seems quite imminent that the Boston Red Sox will snag Santana, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, although nothing has been made official. The possibility that Santana is a member of the Red Sox and is reunited with Big Papi, aka David Ortiz by the time I finish this post is very possible. Jon Heyman at Sports Illustrated concurs with Stark's reporting, as he says that "The Yankees self-imposed deadline has been met." As I wrote before, I don't mind the trade from a business standpoint, and Twins fans really need to stop being so emotional. If they feel so lost without their sports heroes, I suggest moving to New England, you'll feel right at home with all the familiar company. (“F@#% Boston,? I secretly mumble underneath my breath)

Minnesotan Cody to appear at Walker for "Juno" screening

"Juno," the film that everyone on the film scene seems to be buzzing about, has a screening at the Walker scheduled on Dec. 13, according to The City Pages. The film, which is being hailed at this year's "Little Miss Sunshine," is a snappy romantic comedy written by local screenwriter (and former City Pages columnist) Diablo Cody and is about a pregnant teenager trying to find the right parents for her child through adoption. Both Cody and the film's star, Ellen Page are receiving Oscar buzz already. Entertainment weekly has an article about the film and writes a lot about Cody's life story, which includes time working as a stripper and a name change. The article made me even more compelled to see the film, and as Cody is scheduled to appear at the Walker screening, maybe I will get in on some Q & A. Tickets are sure to sell-out.

December 2, 2007

It's starting to look a lot like... not Xmas, but car headaches

There really is nothing like the first blissful snow of the winter season, as people can look forward to making snow angels with their daughters and having snowball fights with their sons. Meanwhile, George Fiddler struggles to scrape a thick layer of frozen rain off his windshield after brushing off a foot of snow off of it before that so he can get to work at 5:45 a.m. Sunday morning. It makes me feel a little better to know that a client that he works with just drove from Wisconsin and helped some lady get her Camry out of a ditch, nothing like getting satisfaction out of other people's struggles. Then I read this Strib article and I read about how a woman loves the first snow and really enjoys cozying up by her fireplace and makes me want to throw her in the fire. The Twin Cities weather report reports that only flurries are expected later this week, on Tuesday, which I can find some solace in, but then I glance out the window of my cubicle office and see the sun come up, and think that making snow angels with my daughter might not be so miserable.

I wake up this morning and Santana is still a Twin

Another day passes and star Twins pitcher Johan Santana is still with us, but boy, is he hanging on for his dear Twins-life. After reading this ESPN article I am as anxious as ever regarding the two-time Cy Young award winner's future with my hometown team, for it declares that trade talks have reached "an apex," and that if a trade doesn't occur within 48 hours, all trade offers may be pulled from the table. The site reports that the AL East rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have made their final offers, with the Yankees now willing to add young phenom Phil Hughes to any package for Santana, and The Red Sox staying pat with their offer of centerfielder Coco Crisp, pitcher Jon Lester and two other prospects, refusing to add coveted centerfielder Jacob Ellsbury or prospect Clay Buckholtz, whom the Twins badly want added to the deal. I am reluctant to say whether or not I am anticipating the trade or dreading it, for either way seems to weigh heavily on my emotions. This article, by the Strib's Joe Christensen, makes me sleep a little easier at night, as he says that trading a franchise star has paid dividends for the team in the past, and that it might be wise to get some value for the star while we still can, seeing that we will get nothing when he walks as a free agent next summer.

November 25, 2007

Dylan biopic opens at Uptown Theater

"I'm Not There," the new Todd Haynes-directed Bob Dylan biopic opened on Friday on limited release at the Uptown Theater, according to the website Movies.com. I saw the film this weekend and I was very intrigued, but a popcorn-flick it is not. The whole concept of using six actors to portray one man, although none of the actors are actually named Bob Dylan and only three out of the six have even a little resemblance to the man is what dragged me to the theater, as well as Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Dylan. I am a casual Dylan fan, not a hardcore, and my overall knowledge of Dylan's life and tendencies certainly played a role in how I watched the film. The review at the same site gave it an 'A' and said that it didn't really matter if you are totally familiar with every step in Dylan's life. I don't necessarily agree with that analysis, as I was lost at moments when others in the theater where laughing. The film does not move in the typical type of linear form of narration that you will see in biopics like "Ray," and "Walk the Line," and the choppy style of storytelling is certainly unique and takes some guts to attempt, let alone execute. I have to say that the Blanchett performance was amazing, as her mannerisms, speech and body language were pretty much dead on, but then again I am not the biggest Dylan-historian there is. I recommend seeing this film, but I do warn non-Dylan fans and those who need linear transgression to be prepared for a few scratches of the head and to be partly blowin’ in the wind.

Hunter leaves Twins for lots of cash

Torii Hunter officially became an ex-Twin on Thursday when he signed a five-year contract worth $90 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, according to The Star Tribune. Talk about a having a lot to be thankful for on a Thanksgiving that Hunter and his family will be giving thanks for for many Thanksgivings to come. The Twins' offer of three years and $45 million didn't even end up being in the vicinity of what Hunter got, and like the paper emphasized, I am shocked he got that much money. The Angels are now on the books to owe Hunter upwards of $18 million for his services in 2012 when he will be 38 and surely to have had his physical capabilites substantially diminished. $18 million for a gimpy center fielder with moderate power numbers is quite pricey, and the paper made more of a deal about how the Twins organization cannot be blamed for not coughing up that much dough than how much he will be missed. ESPN actually has more coverage on its website regarding what the Twins will do now with their other high profile star, Johan Santana. The coverage is on the front of the MLB section on the website, that can be seen here. I would not be surprised to see Santana go, and I agree with ESPN, when they say that the Twins should get what value they can for him now through a trade, than later when he will sign for a number that completely obliterates Hunter's gigantic contract.

November 18, 2007

Report finds most homicides in Twin Cities committed with guns

The Pioneer Press published a story this week that caught my eye for no other reason than that it was sad, and sad because it was not surprising. The paper reports that a vast majority of the people who died in Minneapolis homicides last year were killed with guns, which was according to a new report by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The report showed that the Minneapolis homicide rate decreased significantly in 2006 from 2005, but more than three-fourths of those murders were committed with a gun. The article used a lot of statistics, and they did a good job citing the unfortunate news. I was studying another report online entitled Death by Murder and it reported that Minneapolis was neither one of the most dangerous cities, nor one of the safest. Washington D.C. was listed as the region with the highest rate of murders by guns, and Maine was listed as the state with smallest rate. I was not surprised by either reports, but every time I come across a gun related article, I just hope it is something positive, something for change; neither was the case here as the mood remains bleak. The Virginia Tech tragedy last year, along with the preposterous annual murder rates should be blaring signs that something needs to be dome about the gun control laws, but I know all too well how large of a battle that issue is to fight. The question remains: How terrible of a crime or staggering of numbers is it going to take for changes to occur?

Twins sign Monroe in hope of pleasing Hunter

The Minnesota Twins traded for Cubs outfielder Craig Monroe Tuesday, according to The Star Tribune. While Monroe is known as a "Twins killer" from his performances against the club when he was the Detroit Tigers, he struggled last year with Detroit before being traded to the Chicago Cubs midseason. To show how a local paper will cater a story towards their audience, the fact that Monroe is friends with longtime Twin Torii Hunter is almost just as big of news as they signing itself in the coverage, as the fact even made the headline in the "Strib." All other national coverage of the trade may have mentioned the fact that the two are friends near the end of the story, as ESPN did, or maybe not even mention it all. The fact that the two are friends is a big deal to locals in the Twin Cities because they can have hope that the acquisition may play a role in the team resigning Hunter, who turned down the team's three-year offer of $45 million. I doubt that the trade will change Hunter's decision at all, as he is looking for the contract that will be the largest of his career and he wants to maximize his intake, which is very much his right to do, despite the fact that fans will be possibly be bitter towards him if he bolts for more money. At least we have Craig Monroe, and we may have hope in signing aging Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Tony Clark, a very typical Twins prospect, a low-cost, low-reward guy.

November 11, 2007

"No Country for Old Men" opens to looooong lines at Uptown Theater

"No Country for Old Men," the latest effort from homegrown auteurs, the Coen brothers, opened in limited theaters Friday. Limited release is what "indie" films typically open to a solid month prior to widespread release so film buffs can see the film first and go crazy writing about it all over the internet while their hero Wes Anderson awaits them on their screen savers. This film, which opened at the Uptown theater and only the Uptown theater on Friday, had lines wrapped around Hennepin Avenue all the way down to the Lunds grocery store over a block away on Humboldt Avenue for the Saturday 7:00 p.m. showing that I witnessed on first-hand account. If "The Rake" publication ever wanted such implicit publicity, they should have been around this line, for if there was ever a target audience, this was it. The high-brow magazine actually wrote about this film at their website and they surely raved away, as they should have. Simply put, this film, careful not to use the term "movie," was superb. It is their best film, smarter than and actually just as witty as cult classic "The Big Lebowski," and more aesthetically pleasing than anything they have done, including "Fargo." The suspense, landscape of scenery and casting were basically flawless, and it certainly took them a long time to create a film of this stature, as "The Ladykillers" is a distant memory. It makes "American Gangster," another movie about money and drugs look like "American Wankster," to quote the enigma of all enigmas, 50 cent. More about the film can be read at the film's website.

November 5, 2007

Peterson runs wild all over Chargers

Rookie running back Adrian Peterson was at it again Sunday. Just weeks after everyone in the media proclaimed that a day like the one Peterson had versus the Bears happens only once in a lifetime, he went out and obliterated that rushing total, amassing a jaw dropping 296 yards in the much needed Vikings' 35-17 win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday. The number now has me wondering if I could ever rush for that many yards - in Xbox, it is simply that remarkable. In Jim Souhan's interview with Darren Sharper Sharper says "what he did in the second half tells you that he might run for 500 yards some day." First of all, I love the quote, its the type that I like to hear from athletes, who we usually get the standard "He played great, but it was a team effort and we gave 110 percent" line from, but secondly, 500? 500? The fact that we are even considering that a back could amount that total is absurd, but as Sports Illustrated's Andrew Perloff suggests Peterson is not only better than Tomlinson, whom Peterson out rushed by more than 250 yards on Sunday, but he may be the most exciting since Barry Sanders. It is incredible to fathom what is happening, teams are stacking 8 in the box, knowing that the Vikings are going to run the ball, for their passing game is the most anemic in the league, and he still tramples all over the opposition. Eric Dickerson's all-time single season rushing record that he set in 1984 is not out of reach...

October 15, 2007

'U' students being polled over Facebook profiling

Everyone seemingly has a couple of them on their profile, if not an overwhelming ton of them, but it is fairly common to see photos of students with alcoholic beverages in their hands, and quite possibly, in the their systems as well. These photos, that are posted by the owner of the profile, or by their friends, may be one of the things potential employers will look at when assessing the candidacy of a perspective employee. I know I have erased about 20 photos and cleaned up my page of all the rap music propaganda. The University of Dayton reports that 40% of people polled said that they would check a possible employee's profile for background research. The MyU link on the University of Minnesota website has a poll where approximately 72% of people polled say that is unethical to do this type of research, but who know how biased that number is, given that the vast majority of people polled are probably students.
I know that seeing pictures of potential employees passed out with bottles of liquor surrounding them may be a little unsettling given that the person has to show up to work in the morning five days a week, but to an extent, college students will behave like college students and that may not correlate to how they behave in professional life.

The sources would be physical authority and online authority.

Vikings defeat Bears thanks to Longwell, Peterson

Week six is typically a bit soon to declare a game a "must win," but if the Vikings plan on making a playoff push this season, Sunday's game versus Chicago was certainly a must win, and the team prevailed with a 34-31 victory. Kicker Ryan Longwell nailed a career long 55-yard field goal as time expired to give the Vikings the win, after Chicago built a comeback that would have left the team deflated had they completed it. Had the team lost after rookie running back Adrian Peterson's breakout game, I don't know if the team would have recovered, but lose they did not, and Peterson should be given most of the credit for the win, compiling the 3rd most total yards in NFL history, and rushing for the most yards a player has ever rushed for in a Vikings uniform.
If you watched the Kansas City game a few weeks back and fast forward to Sunday's game it would almost appear as though it was a completely different team in a completely different league, as Sunday provided fireworks that would be expected from the team the entire season. Scout Ken Moll, of Scouts Inc. noted that Peterson was excellent, but that some unheralded teammates deserved some of the credit as well. "Excellent zone blocking up front and great vision, balance and instincts by rookie RB Adrian Peterson controlled the tempo of the game," Moll said. Now, hopefully, this momentum can translate to more great victories similar to Sunday's.

The source would be an expert human source.

October 8, 2007

Sir Ian McKellen to appear at Guthrie

Actor Sir Ian McKellen will becoem arguably the biggest name to appear in a play at the new Guthrie theater when he appears with the Royal Shakespeare Company's production for "King Lear" and "The Seagull," according to The Star Tribune. Minneapolis was chosen as one of three stops for the tour, with New York and Los Angeles being the other cities chosen, so the city should feel honored to be in such select company and regarded as a city that is respected for its arts.

McKellen had not been to the new Guthrie before this week, and upon his tour, he said that he was "very impressed," and that "the best way to perform Shakespeare is on the thrust stage." Buzz has spred quickly as tickets have sold out for the shows, but the box office will be still be open at showtime to see if any tickets become available. McKellen brings star clout to the venue after appearing in such big time blockbuster films in the past five years as X-Men, The Da Vinci Code and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His complete resume of work can be seen at the IMDB website.

The Minnesota Gophers' struggles continue

The Minnesota Gophers football team lost for the fifth time this season in an embarrassing loss at the hands of non-football powerhouse Indiana 40-20 on Saturday.

October 1, 2007

Man drowns in Mississippi River after late night fall

A Twin Cities' college student fell from a bridge over the Mississippi river and was declared deam Sunday after emergency efforts fail to revive him. The man, who has not been identified yet, has been cited as a Milwaukee man and was seen by two onlookers, one of who said that he jumped off the bridge, and the other saying that he fell. Police were called to the scene early Sunday morning and the man's body was found roughly 45 minutes later. It is too soon to tell if alcohol ws invloved in the incident.

Although it isn't known for sure if the man was intoxicated, The Pioneer Press added that exactly a year ago Sunday another man fell and died after falling off a bridge into the Mississippi after a night of drinking. That weekend was also the first in the annual Oktoberfest celebration, which was also this weekend. It is possible that this man died of some freak accident that had nothing to do with alcohol, but if this man was indeed drunk, it should be seriously considered by colleges to take more precautious measures because of these events and require a alcohol related course for all students.

Vikings' struggles continue on Favre's record-setting afternoon

The Minnesota Vikings, like every other game this season, had trouble finding the end zone in a 26-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday. The Vikings' offense, which has only scored four touchdowns through four games, did manage to gain the most yards in a game since Brad Childress became head coach, but the yards did not translate to points. The Star Tribune was quick to talk about the heads that appeared down in the locker room and the uncharacteristic tirade thrown by Childress near the end of the game. Those types of things aren't what you like to see from a team with bigger preseason expectations. ESPN put more emphasis on perhaps the bigger story of the day than the Vikings' problems; Brett Favre entering the history books. Favre, who is in his 17th year, and plays with the exuberance of a rookie, surpassed Dan Marino's 420 touchdowns passes with a first quarter pass to Greg Jennings to become the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes. Favre and the 4-0 Packers surely are the feel good story of the early NFL season.

September 24, 2007

Dirty water from U Stadium site reached Mississippi River

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency inspected the site that is under construction for the new football stadium and concluded that seven violations were filed and that the University may face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The agency visited the site in April and issued an "enforcement letter of warning" because of violations that were effecting the environment, including a "sediment plume with a chemical odor" at the Mississippi river.

The MPCA requires storm water construction permits to prevent dirt and possible contaminants like oil from being flushed into lakes or rivers. Contractors are usually required to install filter fences, sediment traps or sediment ponds. The contractor for this project, Thomas & Sons Construction Inc. didn't have those things in place when the agency paid visit to the site.

Brian Swanson, the university's stadium project coordinator said that he immediately told contractors to pump any discharge water to the sanitary sewer system where it could be treated. That process ended on July 20 when the sewer pipe installation was finished.

It is good that the dirty stream has stopped, but what is unknown is how much damage could have been done from the brief, but consistent flow. This has to be at least a little unsettling for Metro residents, especially after the recent Star Tribune report about the group of men in a rural town dying after drinking dirty water from a well. The town can only hope it is worth the toll it is taking on our environment, for the hope is that the stadium will improve the football team and make it a smart decision to build the stadium, for as seen this weekend, The Gophers are in dire need of help.

Story @: 1.http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MN_UMINN_STADIUM_POLLUTION_MNOL-?SITE=SDSIO&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
2. http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1440027.html

Robbinsdale School District receives P.E. grant

It appears that the Robbinsdale School District is concerned enough about the general physical health ; or lack thereof, to institute a new physical education system in its school district. The district received a grant of $314,500 from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, who also granted funds to one other school district in MN, Worthington and about 150 organizations worldwide. The Robbinsdale Are School website states that only 5% of school district applying were approved for the grant.
The funding for Robbinsdale will result in new physical fitness equipment, a program where students can develop individual fitness programs. Also being implemented are Dance Dance Revolution machines, which is a popular electronic game that requires participants to be very active, dancing faster and faster as the levels increase. Odds are that students will have to be put on a waitlist for this particular machine.

It is good that that the School is still allowing there to be "fun" exercises, like the Dance machine, but district swim instructor Kerry Evans says it is more important to engage in conversations with students about the state of physical health. "We've told them this is the first generation of kids where you and I could outlive them if things stay like they are," Evans said. "We're very honest here, but we work it into our activities."

Story @: 1. http://www.startribune.com/west/story/1428256.html
2.http://www.rdale.k12.mn.us/dist/news/story.aspx?id=2189

September 17, 2007

Shot fired at the Target Center

When you go to a World Fighting Championship event, one can assume to expect some violence to occur, but that is from within the fighting ring, not outside of it. Saturday night turned out to be a little more frieghtful than expected at the Target Center, as a gunshot was fired near section 133 of the arena after a small scruffle between patrons broke out. The motive for the incident was unknown, and the gunman and the target both fled the scene proceeding the gunshot before security could identify the man.

Although it was quite a disturbance, the event did go on and only some people left the arena. The section where the fight broke out allegedly had blood all over the floor where it occurred. This was the first time that gunshot has ever been fired at a Target Center event and events will continue as planned for this week.

Story @:http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1425999.html

Chaska city council passes new law regarding party hosts

The Chaska city council finally was able to pass a new law that makes party hosts liable for underage drinking at their homes, even if they didn't provide the alcohol. The law can have possible penalties of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Parents/hosts do have to be knowingly providing the venue for the party to be in violation, as there were concerns that parents could be punsihed if they were out of town and their children threw a party without them knowing. The council had tried to pass the law in the past but was unable to get it passed by the County.

As County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik said, underage drinking is a "cultural thing" and it will continue to occur despite this law, but the hopes are that parents will be more observant about these parties where underage drinking does occur and will try harder to prevent it.

Story @: http://www.startribune.com/west/story/1415671.html

September 10, 2007

Road work sure to induce headaches

The Diamond Lake Road bridge is undergoing construction this weekend to repair its beams and has forced highway I-35W to be closed between downtown and Crosstown highway 62, adding to the traffic and transportation issues that the Twin Cities have been living with lately. The bridge on Diamond Lake Road has been under construction for a few months now and coupled with the bridge collapse earlier last month, it has been quite the season of inconvienence for drivers.

The major sporting events held over the weekend, The Gophers football game on Saturday, and the Vikings game on Sunday, were sure to make transportation even more difficult. Despite all the construction signs and notices throughout the cities, there are still worries regarding safety, and the state has added extra staff to enforce the traffic pace and safety across town.

story @:http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1410025.html

Vikings begin season on a victorious note

The Minnesota Vikings, whose first game of the new NFL season was not even sold out at the Metrodome, put on a stellar show Sunday versus the Atlanta Falcons in spite of the fact, winning by the score of 24-3. The home team relied on it's defense to come away with the win, because as expected, the offense was not exactly clicking on all cylinders, although rookie running back Adrian Peterson did have a nice debut, finishing with 163 total yards and a touchdown. The team's defense accounted for two of the team's three touchdowns and sacked Atlanta quarterback Joey Harrington six times.

The metro area was nearly deprived of the opportunity to see the team perform on Sunday, for the team was some 1,500 seats shy of capacity, but thanks to corporate support, the team was allowed to be aired on television and they didn't dissappoint their fans once given the chance to be seen.

Although the victory was a good start to the new season, it was against a team in the midst of one of the ugliest controversies ever to plague the game, if not all of of sports, with star player Michael Vick's dogfighting case hanging a dark cloud over the Falcons. The team was picked as the worst team in the league by ESPN's website, and is expected to struggle this season.

Story @:http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=270909016