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May 4, 2006

Random thoughts

• First of all, I must apologize for the problems I'm sure you've been having getting to this site. As you probably know, the site is hosted by the UThink blog server at the U of M. UThink as a whole has been seeing increased traffic in recent days on a number of blogs, so much traffic in fact that it is bringing the server to its knees. Usually, increased traffic on a site would be a good thing. However, it has caused me nothing but problems.

So, today we are working on upgrading the server. This hopefully will fix the problems for good. Thanks for your patience.

• You know, yesterday I was joking around when I called T-Paw: Tim "Scooby Doo Where Are You" Pawlenty. But it is absolutely amazing how appropriate the Scooby Doo theme song is for our silent governor. Check this out:

T-Paw! Don't make Goldy cry!
T-Paw Doo, Where Are You?

T-Paw, T-Paw Doo, Where Are You?
We got some work to do now.
T-Paw T-Paw Doo, Where Are You?
We need some help from you now.

Come on T-Paw Doo, I see you... pretending you got a sliver
But you're not fooling me, cause I can see, the way you shake and shiver.

You know we got a mystery to solve,
So T-Paw Doo be ready for your act.
Don't hold back!
And T-Paw Doo if you come through
you're going to have yourself a T-Paw snack!
That's a fact!

T-Paw, T-Paw Doo, here Are You.
You're ready and you're willing.
If we can count on you T-Paw Doo,
I know you'll catch that villian.

Well, as you can see, the only place where this new theme song falls through is the ending line ... unless you consider Steve Kelley to be a villain. But you may not. Anyone got any suggestions for the last stanza?

• Here are some links for you to enjoy.

• Because of the problems this site has been having, and to celebrate another end to the class I teach at St. Kate's, I went out for pie last night:


I love French Silk pie. Yummy! What is your favorite dessert and where do you get it?

Posted by snackeru at May 4, 2006 7:06 AM | Links of the day | Stadiums 2006 | UThink


The Governor has Sue Jeffers nipping at his heels about the tax increase.

If the Governor had wanted the bill without the referendum, he would have had to do as Arne Carlson did at a similar times - twisted arms, and been out in the media selling this thing. Instead, he left it to Mike Opat. Opat took the political hit on this.

Meanwhile, it turns out the Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases and Opat have different stories about what agreements Pawlenty made with Hennepin County.

I'd suggest this to get the Governor's support, do a sports memorobilia and ticket tax, and call it the "sports impact fee".

Craig Westover hits the nail on the head:

Hey, if 3 cents on $20 dollars is okay for (Democrat) Hennepin County residents, then certainly a mere 10 cents on $20 is okay if the base is wider and the tax pain is shared across 7-county metro (i.e. the Republican burbs). The House gets its ballpark and the Senate gets its trains (and taxpayers get the shaft).

No link because I don't want to anger the spam catcher - but if you go to his site, you'll see it - it's craigwestover.blogspot.com.

Mark Stenglein is going to pay dearly for this. His opponent, Greg Gray told me he would have voted against the stadium boondoggle.

Meanwhile, with this boneheaded move, Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases has alienated western Hennepin County.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 4, 2006 12:08 AM

From the movie theater article:

Theaters around the country -- from the funky University Mall Theatres in Fairfax, Va., to the luxurious ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood -- are doing some major rethinking. The University Mall has Kid Packs (candy, soda, popcorn and small toy) and a company that acts out cult films. For those willing to pay a slighter higher admission price ($11 to $14), movies at the ArcLight come with reserved seating and the promise of no commercials.

Give the customers what they want ... for an even further premium price. Yeah, that's gonna work.

I thought the article was actually going to make it to completion without scapegoating piracy. Thought wrong:

Teens, Hollywood's most reliable audience, are not going to the movies like they once did. Instead, they are spending more time on computer games and MP3 players, and, though it's illegal, some are downloading pirated movies off the Internet.

I just love how the theater owners' organization is called NATO. They should be able to scramble cell phones in that case!

Posted by: bjhess at May 4, 2006 7:08 AM

Oh, and I'm guessing you could theoretically afford a used Jetta TDI from the previous model type. It gets better mileage than the new ones, too. In fact, I think the list you linked to quotes the Jetta TDI 5-speed mileage ratings and my automatic is rated higher than what's quoted.

Posted by: bjhess at May 4, 2006 7:10 AM

Thanks for the comments bjhess. I found myself scratching my head over the movie article too. I don't think any of these "improvements" will make me go to more movies.

And I've always wanted a Jetta. What kind of gas mileage do you get per gallon?

Posted by: Shane at May 4, 2006 7:34 AM

You write: "so much traffic in fact that it is bringing the server to its knees. Usually, increased traffic on a site would be a good thing. However, it has caused me nothing but problems. So, today we are working on upgrading the server. This hopefully will fix the problems for good."

How much is this upgrade costing the U of M? Are the people that are making this upgrade necessary paying for the privilage of having a high speed server?

As far as your stadium. I suggest raising the ticket prices and cutting the Twins Administrative salaries to cover 1/3 the cost, getting the owner to "invest" 1/3 in his team, and getting the players to "invest" in their future in baseball by using some of their earnings to help fund the stadium for 1/3 the costs.

Posted by: warren at May 4, 2006 7:45 AM

Servers get upgraded all the time here at the U. It is part of a natural life cycle of technology. If you are suggesting that the server shouldn't be upgraded based on the contents of this blog, then you really aren't seeing the big picture. UThink is heavily used by classes, faculty, and grad students here at the U. This blog is a small speck in the overall scheme of things. The bulk of the use on UThink is for classes to encourage discussion.

And if you are suggesting that your tax dollars shouldn't fund a service where people share opinions that differ from your own then why stop with UThink? The University Libraries buys millions of dollars of material, much of which you probably wouldn't agree with. Professors right now are using University purchased equipment to conduct research that you might find offensive or frivilous. Heck, outside of the University senators and representatives are using equipment purchased by the state to write bills and laws that you and I both don't agree with.

Lastly, servers are cheap. I wouldn't sweat it.

And I like your plan for a Twins stadium. Write your representative or senator and suggest it. There isn't much I can do for you. Seriously, I am just a guy that writes about stadium issues because I find the debate interesting. Why do you worry about me?

Posted by: Shane at May 4, 2006 8:12 AM

Has everybody checked out the interview with Sen. Pogemiller from KFAN yet? They really hit him where it hurts.


Posted by: Jimmy at May 4, 2006 8:39 AM


Seriously, on behalf of my Southbound Spouse, I vote for Norske Nook Lemon Meringue.
I, unfortunately, have sworn off making pie crust - along with attempting to prepare rice (over half the world population prepares rice as their dietary staple and every time, mine is either under- or over- cooked; I surrender) - as my mother makes the best pie crust in the universe and there really is no need for me to ever make one again. That was the longest run-on sentence ever.
I'm very superlative today. Perhaps even the most superlative I have ever been, or anyone has ever been.

Posted by: Cheesehead's Wife at May 4, 2006 8:50 AM

great site...

I appreciate you exercising your right to form an opinion and tell the world. I just got done pounding the DFL leadership with emails. They are losing my vote. I think Pawlenty has a great opportunity to step in, show some leadership in this issue, get a deal done, and snatch up many swing votes like mine for his party. I am not confident, however, that he has the vison or the guts to do it.

Keep up the good work... the tide is turning.

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 10:11 AM

zooom, do you live in Minneapolis? Are you in Pogemiller's district? He's listening to his district on this one.

If you look at the polling on this issue (the strib didn't do a Minnesota poll this year - but did last year), more voters oppose the stadium tax than support it. And voters believe there should be a referendum. If there are as many swing voters as you claim that are going to support Governor Pawlenty for this reason, then why be afraid of a referendum?

There are many important issues in the legislature - and do you think the stadium has priority over public safety, transportation, education etc.?

I listened to the KFAN tape. I think Pogemiller is correct on the Sports memorobilia tax and he makes a strong point that what's really happening is selling naming rights - Pogemiller made the point that this is selling naming rights on the cheap.

I did not think they cleaned Pogemiller's clock at all. I thought he defended himself well.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 4, 2006 10:28 AM

I can't cook rice either. I don't know how they do it!

Posted by: spycake at May 4, 2006 10:31 AM

I like french silk pie too Shane! It looks like Eva Young blew another fuse last night.Just when
she appears to be making a cogent argument on something she veers off into a venom laden rant.
Why don't you provide a link to Sid Hartman's excellent article in today's StarTribune. It provides some insight why Steve Sviggum came around on the Ballpark.

Posted by: jimj at May 4, 2006 10:45 AM

Eva, no I am not a Hennepin County resident, and yes, it is easy for me to say "build it" when it is not coming out of my pocket (directly). I also, don't remember being given the opportunity to vote on the tax breaks and bail outs this state gives out to big business. I don't get to vote on money that gets pumped into the arts. My county spends a lot of money on things that I don't necessarily benefit from, but when it benefits others, I don't scream about it. In a nutshell, I personally want a Twins stadium to watch games with my family. It is a great experience. If I thought a statewide tax stood a chance I would definitely support it over a Hennepin only tax. As it is, I think the Hennepin County plan is our last shot. I personally feel the Twins are a positive part of this community and would hate to see them go away. I do respect your right to not care about the Twins. Forgive me for hoping you lose this battle.

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 10:54 AM

Right on Zoooom! Plus I bet you spend $$$ on Hennepin County so you will be supporting the ball park.

As has been discussed on this blog earlier, I think we all would like to see a poll specifically on the Hennepin County plan, I think it would surprise the opponents.

Finally I think most ballpark/gophers stadium supporter don't care how it's financed as long as it gets done. The problem is that the proposals currently on the Senate floor don't have the support of the house or the governor. The Hennepin County/U of MN plans do. So it is extremely disingenuous of folks like Senator Pogemiller to say they've forwarded a bill for a stadium when everyone knows full well those bills wont ever pass.

Finally Eva, but I am sorry, Senator Pogemiller came across as an ill-informed, pompous jerk on KFAN. For anyone who had preconceived notions of how clueless legislators are, they were pretty much confirmed by that interview.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 4, 2006 11:03 AM


I do not see any evidence of the state legislature doing anything of significance in the past 4 years for any of the causes you list in your post. So, exactly how is a stadium bill taking away from these issues? Possibly a bi-partisan soulution to the stadium dilemna might open the doors for future cooperation.... hmmm.... just a pipe dream I guess.

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 11:08 AM

Wow...how ironic that I my mispelling on my last post puts the word "soul" with "bi-partisan". Two words that don't seem to fit with Minnesota politicians eh??

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 11:16 AM

Who cares about this ballpark? Favorite dessert, people! C'mon!

I'll eat just about anything, but if I had to pick a favorite... blueberry softserve ice cream in a plain cone at the local seasonal food shack (on Franklin Ave, Seward neighborhood... can't think of the name of it). Derived from a childhood love of the blueberry sundae at Dairy Queen.

Posted by: spycake at May 4, 2006 1:01 PM

Sour cream and raisin pie from the Norske Nook - outrageous.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 4, 2006 1:06 PM

Favorite dessert (of the future):
Frosty malt with a wooden spoon, after the 7th inning stretch, at the Twins new ballpark.

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 4, 2006 1:18 PM

Thanks for the comments zooom. They made my day!

And my favorite desserts are actually the Apple Pizza dessert at Sidney's and a Snuffy's Chocolate Malt. French Silk is up there, but wouldn't actually be my first choice.

Posted by: Shane at May 4, 2006 1:31 PM

Fav Dessert,

French Silk Pie... remember the Poppin Fresh stand at Valley Fair? Awesome on a hot summer day!!

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 1:35 PM

o.k. Cheesecake at Mufalettas or chocolate ice cream cone from Sebastion Joes

Posted by: freealonzo at May 4, 2006 1:46 PM

I like Jim's idea for favorite dessert.....
Favorite dessert (of the future):
Frosty malt with a wooden spoon, after the 7th inning stretch, at the Twins new ballpark.

Posted by: mpls1934 at May 4, 2006 1:49 PM

I agree with Jim's dessert as well, however, perhaps in a new stadium we will upgrade to french silk pie on a stick!! (served by a Hennepin County resident??) Think of the jobs Eva!! He He!!

Posted by: zooom at May 4, 2006 2:03 PM

I hope you don't mind driving to Vegas to eat your dessert. The Twins will not get a stadium unless there is something more useful attached to it. Personally, I hope the teams leave, but if they add transit, then people like me would not complain.

Posted by: .5% metro tax at May 4, 2006 3:56 PM

After reading this list, I had to laugh when I saw the picture of your dessert, though I'll have to concede that the lighting is adequate and there is definitely more than one bite missing ;-)

Although I am generally a chocolate person, my all-time favorite dessert is totally chocolate free. It's sticky toffee pudding. The description sounds strange, but it tastes like heaven. Dates are the secret ingredient. I'm also quite partial to pineapple upside-down cake.

Posted by: ldfs at May 4, 2006 4:42 PM

All those desserts are great, but you can't beat mom's chocolate chip cookies. Not my mom's, anyway.

Posted by: Jeff A at May 4, 2006 5:05 PM

'Personally, I hope the teams leave'

I don't understand people who make this comment. I can understand being against public funding of the stadium. I disagree, but I understand the arguement. But why do you actually 'hope' that the teams leave? What is it that you gain from that? Do you get some sort of perverse pleasure out of it? How is the state better off economically or otherwise by the Twins and Vikings leaving?

Posted by: David Howe at May 4, 2006 5:17 PM

Despite all the lies that the teams have claimed about the economic benefits, it has been proven in almost every single study that there are NO benefits from having pro sports teams. In St. Paul, the city actually made more money when the Wild weren't playing because of the strike. The economic argument has no merit.

Personally I don't think watching million-dollar thugs have orgies helps this metro area. The teams do nothing except encourage people to sit around watching their "heroes" exercise while they get fatter and absorb the steady stream of advertisements. These are not sports, they are businesses, but they are not businesses that operate under the free market system, rather they are so poorly run and the athletes so greedy that they continually beg for welfare to pay for their palaces.

You should learn about politics, to get something you want, you have to offer those who oppose you something they want, too. If they state pays for transit and stadiums then I think there would be a balance between the necessary and the fun stuff (I say fun based on YOUR enjoyment, personally I have no desire to watch either team).

Posted by: .5 cent metro tax at May 4, 2006 5:52 PM

Wow. There is so much to disagree with their I don't know where to begin. The argument that professional sports have NO economic impact on the state or community is just wrong. I personally spend hundreds of dollars every year attending games in the metro area. It is the only reason I go there, and I would NOT spend that money in the metro area if the Twins left. And I know for a fact that I'm not only one. ESPECIALLY the Twins and Vikings draw a lot of people from ND, SD and IA. These people would not come spend this money in MN if the teams were gone. The Twins, Vikings and their opponents pay in excess of $10 million per year in state income taxes. We can argue all day about the LEVEL of the positive impact, but the idea that it has NO impact is wrong. The idea that St. Paul was better off when the Wild did not play is ridiculous. Tell that to any business owner downtown.

It is true that with professional athletes you have to take the good with the bad. But this is true of college athletics and entertainers too. I agree the Love Boat was embarrassing. But did you actually witness the orgy as you imply? What exactly have the Twins done in recent years to embarrass the state? Any minor thing you can find it clearly outweighed by things like the Twins Community Fund and the Twins Winter Caravan.

What does the transit have to do with the Twins stadium? The Twins are not offering to fund metro transit projects in exchange for a stadium, so how are they 'giving something to get something.' What they are giving is the $130 million dollars towards the stadium, but the transit has nothing to do with it. I don't live in the Metro and I could give a rip if you want to pass a .5% increase to fund your transit projects. I'll gladly pay it on the money I spend there, but I don't want this horrible idea to be the reason the Twins leave the state.

Posted by: David Howe at May 4, 2006 6:11 PM

Well, it's true that there is no study claiming a net positive impact is made in these stadium deals. There have been studies that hoped to prove that point, but ultimately they came down on the other side of the issue. The rest is just anecdotal.

And I've always wanted a Jetta. What kind of gas mileage do you get per gallon?

I have an automatic Jetta diesel. I get around 40 mpg including all my driving, town and highway/interstate. I've never figured out the splits. I've heard those that drive 5-speeds get somewhere between 45 and 48. And of course, you could go extreme and outfit your Jetta with a cooking oil filter/converter and get free used cooking oil from a restaurant. Google it - tons of stuff out there. Probably not best for Minnesota winters, though.

Jetta TDI's are fairly difficult to obtain though. We drove ours for a year and put around 15-20k miles on it and the blue book value still matches what we paid for it.

Posted by: bjhess at May 4, 2006 10:34 PM

BTW - Hanlon's Razor has made it into the lexicon at work here. I'm spreading it wide and far.

Posted by: bjhess at May 5, 2006 9:30 AM

If you are talking about a venom laden rant, then please quote from what you are referring to.

Pogemiller scored several points - one was when he said that he knew something about how legislation works - and he doesn't know how sports talk radio works..... Those two radio shock jocks sounded ill informed and single issue.

The Sierra Club has just put out an action alert urging people to write in urging their legislators to contact their state senators about the Metro Sales tax plan.

If you take a look at the letters to the editor in the strib and the pioneer press - the majority are in opposition to the Hennepin County plan.

You have to remember that the referendum requirement was a unanamous vote by the tax committee. Senator Ortman signed the Taxpayer League pledge - that pledge says to vote in opposition to all efforts to increase taxes - it doesn't say it's ok to raise taxes on Hennepin County.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 5, 2006 11:15 PM

Banana Cream Pie. Just love it.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 5, 2006 11:32 PM

Seen this new website?


very funny

Posted by: Dan Kosednar at May 9, 2006 4:23 PM

The desert is look yummy! My mouth has start watering. And by the way thanks for so many interesting links. Some r funny and some r informative.

Posted by: john at May 13, 2006 5:57 AM

So increased traffic creates problem for u. I think by now u must have upgraded your server and fixed the problem. Ya i enjoyed the links! My favorite desert is choclate but i love to eat all.

Posted by: emma at May 15, 2006 11:33 PM

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