Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday Trivia

Hey, it's trivia time at TPWK. Today's trivia question is a doozy, so put your thinking caps on, people...

No Steve, there is no such thing a thinking cap... Look, let's just try to have fun here, nobody needs a cynic...

Oh, real classy Steve. Should I tell your mother you said that. She's be really... Don't give me the finger... You deserve the finger. You deserve two fingers.

I know that wouldn't mean the same thing, Steve. Okay, why don't you just leave. Obviously, you're not into trivia and you just want to ruin it for everyone else. Why don't you go home and play with your ninjas. Name them or something...

Without any further...

No, Steve, you're not taking the Doritos. I brought those for trivia day. Put them back down. Oh great, now whose going to clean that... Again with the middle finger! Your a piece of work, pal.

Here's todays trivia question.

Who invented the Cotton Gin?

See the comments for the answer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Musings

How many other states have their Indian summer in April? Is "Indian summer" a racist term? Probably, but I'm from the midwest, so I'm simply playing to type. Let's muse.

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In another case of "do as I say (on my blog), not do as I do", I waited 20 minutes for a table at Broder's Pasta Bar. To be fair, Broders has an earned reputation for being worth the wait, and they do allow call aheads to reduce wait time (those who did not call ahead were looking at a 90 minute stand). That said, I couldn't help but experiencing a crisis of conscience.

Then we saw Baby Mama. I am unleashing my inner suburbanite, people. Hide your John Mayer albums and croquet mallets. I've already tapped the box of Franzia.

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Rev. Wright made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, earning praise for his wit and understanding. Evoking a familiar narrative, Sojourners (the left-wing's answer to the Christian Coalition) Diana Butler Bass offers a condescending defense of Rev. Wright:

In recent events, some Americans dismissed Wright as deficient because he is not white and did not adhere to the norms of polite discourse. They used fear of difference as a political tool to divide people.
Gotta love the cheap "some Americans" reference here, as it renders her argument unassailable (some Americans drink their own pee, but what of it?) while allowing her to make a rather incendiary statement. MOST Americans dismissed Wright because his commentary was outrageous. Contextualizing a comment that the American government invented AIDS to eliminate black people does nothing to shade it's ignorance. Res Ipsa Loquitor.

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As many of you have read, three New York Police Officers were acquitted of charges stemming from the shooting of Sean Bell, who was killed the night before his wedding. The gist of the matter is that Bell and some friends were brawling outside of a strip club at 4 in the morning. The fiancee describes the acquittal as a miscarriage of justice. But let's face it, men who brawl with former felons at strip clubs the day before their wedding are not marriage material.

This man had no respect for women, for the law or for himself.Irrespective of their guilt (you can probably guess where I fall on that question) the cops did his fiancee, Nicole Paltre, a favor.

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If you don't have the new Gnarls Barkley album, you should get it. "Whose Gonna Save my Soul" is alone worth the price of admission. No shaggy haired skinny acoustic boyz or ironic keyboard twiddling here, which makes you wonder how the album got made in the first place.









Friday, April 25, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Worst Restaurants

What fun is blogging the best if you can’t grind your heel into the worst? Without any further adieu, ladies and gents, the worst restaurants in the Twin Cities. Feel free to chime in with your least favorites.

Worst Restaurant: Uptown Thai

At some point, the uptown Sawatbees decided to dispense with branding altogether, adopting the hyper-literal moniker “Uptown Thai”. The generic motif extends to both the ambience (was this once a Baker’s Square?) and the food. The Tom Kha Kai might as well be cream of mushroom soup, the curries are greasy, and the appetizers are ordinary at best. The servers manage to pull off the difficult task of simultaneously not knowing English AND not knowing anything about the menu.

Least Romantic Restaurant: Uptown Diner

Diners can be quite romantic. Unpretentious food. Something for everyone. Ostensibly, the Uptown Diner fits the model. But the shakes suck, the emphasis is on curing hangovers, the service is hissy, and the whole restaurant is populate by Uptown people. I liked this place better when it was a Burger King.

Worst Asian Food: Rainbow

My judgment of this restaurant had been impaired by the presence of a spicy scallop dish that tickled my fancy. It’s no longer on the menu, and that leaves me to sample their overpriced noodle soups and otherwise mundane offerings. The restaurant also absurdly features valet parking. This is Eat Street, right? Side note: Every time I mention this restaurant in public, some Eagan resident thinks I’m joking about getting Chinese food at Rainbow. I am thusly credited with a really lame joke.

Worst Restaurant I’ve Never Been Too: The Sample Room

And why haven’t I been there? They don’t take reservations, which means that you get to wait 45 minutes to, um, sample their wares. The room is very small, and the restaurant has been the recipient of unspectacular reviews. I have too much pride to wait around for the opportunity to spend money at your restaurant, especially when Psycho Suzi’s is down the road.

Worst Bar: Williams Bar

The beer selection is impressive, but I prefer a tight selection that is more affordably priced. Williams Bar is a charmless bar, which makes it difficult to appreciate the heavy price tag for beer, pool etc… For many Uptown dwellers, the Williams Bar is a precursor to the Uptown Diner, which should give you an idea of what I think about the clientele. People complain about all the condos in uptown, but frankly, condos and Uptown deserve each other.

Worst Chain: Chipotle

Middle America is bitter, and when middle America is bitter, it clings to comforts like SUVs, vinyl siding, and horrible Mexican food. You know a chain sucks when your helping generate positive buzz for Baja Sol, of all places. Fortunately, people are starting to catch on to the fact that these nutritional monstrosities aren’t worth it. That Pineda #2 closed while this place still slings it’s filth is God’s judgment on our sin.

Worst Middle Eastern Restaurant: Jerusalem

This place used to be halfway decent, but is in desperate need of an update. The food is mediocre, and the ambience has gotten downright depressing. Located at the butt end of Eat Street, one could argue that this restaurant has been a victim of neglect. Sad, given that decent Mediterranean food is almost impossible to come by in this city as it is.

Worst Victim of Minnesotan Ignorance: Midtown Global Market

The global market does everything it can to make its wares palatable to Eaganheads. Vendors are happy to chat about their products. Restaurants offer free samples, and guide white people through difficult ordering decisions by indicating spiciness levels, and comparing items to those found at Don Pablos. The place is a cornucopia of stuff white people like.

And it’s empty. Not even a whiff from the Uptowners, who could easily bike down the massive greenway our tax dollars built for them. Of course, why would they leave Uptown when there is a Chipotle in the neighborhood? Ugh.

Worst Food: Brit’s Pub

Lawnbowling aside, I do not understand the appeal of this place. I suppose one could argue that the food is authentically British, but it is profoundly bad. How do you mess up bangers and mash? And it’s expensive to boot. The Local is down the road, so unless you are interested in perpetuating an ancient national-identity grudge, there really is no decision here.

Worst Parking: Mairin’s Table

This otherwise pleasant Northeast café is completely impenetrable. The website touts “free parking” which consists of about three spots in a shared parking lot. If Surdyk’s is having it’s wine sale, forget about it. If you are within walking distance, however, I heartily recommend you visit frequently.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Carter Can't

Against the wishes of his own government, former President Jimmy Carter flew to the Middle East to meet with Hamas, Palestine's terrorist regime du jour.

During his visit, Carter saw the sights, laying a wreath on the grave of Yassir Arafat and delivering letters to the families of Israelis held hostage. Let's stop to consider the fact that Jimmy Carter can, at any given time, simply head to Palestine and receive the royal treatment from terrorists. Any time he wants. It's like having the world's most awesome timeshare.

Ah, but all the wining and dining paid off. Carter was able to negotiate a peace agreement! Israel cedes land (re-instating the much-vaunted 1967 boundary) and Palestine offers peace. Peace! Everything is wonderful!

For ten years, that is. After that point, Hamas may resume murdering innocent civilians and leveraging their various public relations arms (BBC, al Jazeera) to paint any retaliation as an act of aggressive warfare.

Now, imagine if you will, America at war with Mexico. Only, it's not really a war, because that would be an hasta la vista, if you're Mexico. Rather, the Mexican government is sending immigrants, bombs strapped underneath their sombreros, to bomb BBQ shacks and Carrie Underwood concerts in Texas.

Imagine, then, Jacque Chirac, the incompetent former leader of France, negotiating a deal wherein we agree to reinstate the 1835 borders in exchange for ten years of burrito-bomber-free existence. How would you feel about that?

This is precisely what Carter proposes. Israel could easily annihilate the Palestinian people (and would be well within their rights to do so) en masse. As such, they hold the diplomatic cards here, so to craft an agreement requiring permanent concessions in exchange for temporary (and tenuous) "peace" is unreasonable.

But such is the political climate in America that many herald Carter as having made a major stride. In this narrative, Carter is helping to shed light on so many of the gray areas in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You see, Palestinians are angry about stuff, and they don't consider themselves terrorists, so there are two sides to everything.

American liberals, in their relentless quest to find nuanced distinctions in the most lopsided of atrocities, buy into the Carter method. Ask any Democrat (who is less than 50% Jewish) what they think, and you'll get some pragmatic-sounding piffle about the 1967 border. It has become a catch-all for a utopian vision of harmony between Palestine and it's oppressor, so it is understandable that Carter would endeavor to arrive at it by any means necessary.

But, as any real pragmatist (or American who is more than 50% Jewish) will tell you, the 1967 border is fools gold, a mere leap toward the ultimate Palestinian goal of eradicating the Jewish people from "their" land (and, according to Allah, Earth is their land). If this weren't so, an expiration date for a truce would be irrelevant.

But since it is impolitic to publicly advocate the destruction of Israel, unless you are in a dorm of a Private East Coast University (not named Brandeis), we are subjected to equivocal chatter about how someone is finally breaking through the stalemate. I have a better idea for breaking the stalemate, but I'm afraid it would be quite a bit more impolitic.

But, as the passive-aggressive pose of the American left toward Israel is becoming increasingly untenable, so Carter's overtures to peace become more laughable. We can only parse so many shades of gray before we must conclude that one side shines a bit lighter than the other. Palestine has officially promised war in exchange for peace.

Jimmy Carter is not a peacemaker, as he has never been responsible for alleviating armed conflict. To pretend as much is to pretend that Israel has no legitimate right to escape bloodshed. By continuing to ask Israel to compromise, we come perilously close to questioning their right to exist.

The phrase "for or against" may ring abrasive to progressives, but the time has come for them to swallow their anathema. There is a right and wrong here, and it is not uncouth to so. We should unequivocally condemn Carter and his vainglorious pilgrimages to the windmill that has deluded him for decades.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An interview with the sun

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to speak with various newsmakers. Without any further adieu, I would like to welcome the sun, which provides light and heat for all of mankind. Sun, welcome to TPWK.

Sun: Intense heat!

TPWK: Well, I think Minnesotans are certainly glad to finally feel some of the heat. Now that WCCO has gotten rid of Paul Douglas and his weather-sins, maybe our state can begin to see you around a little more often , eh?

Sun: I AM THE ILLUMINATOR OF THE GALAXY!

TPWK: You certainly are. Now, some have criticized you for what they might call discrimination against certain people groups. The Inuit People, along with Russian prisoners have filed complaints.

Sun: Hydrogen, helium and oxygen! Explosions at the rate of millions per second. Feel my man-strength!

TPWK: Your certainly a sight for sore eyes.

Sun: Do not look upon me. I will blind you!

TPWK: Now, don't get carried away.

Sun: BERYLLIUM!!!!

TPWK: No, you were the subject of some controversy several hundred years ago, as many assumed you revolved around the Earth. How did you feel about your involvement in the controversy?

Sun: Uncontrollable flaring! FIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

TPWK: Interesting. Moving to, um, sunnier climate, what do you make of Carter's recent negotiations with Hamas. Will Hamas honor a possible truce, or are they playing him like a fool?

Sun: Seriously, can you believe that guy? I mean, if Mars came up to me and said he'd worked out a deal where Jupiter will let me exist for ten years, I'd be like, screw you Mars.

Mars: Eat it, sun. What've you done for me lately?

Pluto: Seriously, I don't even get to be a planet anymore, thanks to this prick.

Sun: You people had our chance.

TPWK: I'm with Mars on this one.

Sun: FLARIIIIIIIIIING!

TPWK: Great, now my cable's messed up. I wanted to watch hockey.

Mars: You are recklessly out of control, sun.

Mercury: Hey, shut up Mars, at least the sun didn't sleep with Venus after the Nickelback concert.

Saturn: Oh, snap!

Sun: NITROGEEEEEEEEEN!

TPWK: Well, that's all the time we have for today. I'd like to thank the sun for stopping by and adding further credibility to my humble blog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Musings

Sunshine! Let's muse real quick, eh?


JUSTICE TIME!!!!

Richard Garvey, owner of Tri-Minnesota Mortgage has, in a signed statement admitted to mortgage fraud. As a penalty, he is facing a $20,000 fine, and is not allowed to practice in the state of Minnesota. Among other things, he admitted to providing false documentation and deceiving both lenders and homebuyers.

I promised not to blog about this anymore (and if you want to rebuke me, please do so over happy hour) but I will note with pride that the case leading to his punishment was referred to the commerce department by one Kevin Sawyer.

Impressed now, Rich? Best of luck in your future endeavors, which, presumably, will involve use of a mop.
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I could say some far more rebuke-worthy things about my Pistons after their performance last night... And I did.

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I continue to be fascinated by women's fascination with poop. At a retreat this weekend, a basketball game was literally interrupted for the sole purpose of pointing out piles of deer excrement. The game resumed shortly thereafter, of course.

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And look, I managed to go through an entire musings without mentioning Hopeface. Don't take that as an endorsement though.

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Enough of this. TIme to enjoy the sunshine... From the comfort of a windowless room at work.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Restaurants

It’s about time I revisit the Twin Cities Top Ten Restaurants. Instead of ranking, I’ll pull a City Pages and rock this action categorically.

Most Romantic Restaurant: The Duplex

Heavy on the “awwww…” factor, this Uptown joint took over the egregious Pandora’s coffee shop a couple of years back. Splitting the bar and dining establishments by floor is genius, and the whole place screams “let’s have sex very soon”. Oh, and it’s pretty cheap, with entrees ranging from $12-17 and wine starting at $3 per glass. The best part, and I’ll say this until my face is blue, is the great selection of pasta dishes. This restaurant understand women the way old men understand Helen Hunt.

Best Asian Restaurant for White People: Gangchen

The owners of Gangchen play it smart, offering pan-asian dishes that actually possess a personality. Beyond that, I am tempted to name the cranberry curry the best dish in the whole damn city, earning it’s sweet-salty niche without resorting to gimmickry. Oh, and $10 gets you an appetizer and a martini the size of your head. At last, we are seeing life on the butt end of Eat Street.

Best Asian Restaurant: Jun Bo

This place seats like 600 people. It’s absurd. To top it off, each person could order a different dish and nobody would have the same thing. That is not an exaggeration. Plus, they have a special menu for whites, which features lo mein, battered chicken and all that garbage.

Best South of the Border Restaurant: Salsa a la Salsa

Can I take this time to ask a question? Why the hell is soup so expensive? The last soup I had cost me $6. Even Perkins charges a pretty penny for a hearty bowl. SALS, on the other hand, charges $5 for a quart of their incomparable pozole, complete with tortillas. Don’t let the Gringo-appeasing name fool you, the two locations (one on Eat Street, the other in Midtown Global market) are more than happy to serve you cactus with all the fixings. But you can also enjoy a chicken burrito. It’s your call. This place put Taco Morelos (not that bad in itself) out of business.

Best South of the Border Restaurant to Freak out White People: Los Andes

Just for fun, take your favorite Burnsville-residing acquaintance to Los Andes. The are itself will cause fits. Dirty buildings, projects, even a K-Mart. They should be openly weeping by the time they walk into this décor-free hole-in-the-wall, which inexplicably features numerous flat screen TVs (no volume, no captioning) all set to Spanish-language music videos. Be sure to point out the goat stew option on the menu. Never fear. The restaurant has a $2 wine feature, the best appetizer in the city (cheese or meat empanadas drizzled with sugar), and there are plenty of options that are literally meat and potatoes. And they can go back south of the river and tell all their friends about this restaurant run by strange dark people that serves goat.

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Erte

Café Zander died before I even had a chance to see if it lived up to the hype. With that, I admonish you not to ignore Erte, which delivers on all cylinders at astonishingly low prices. Recently, I ordered a duck breast ensemble for $20. Any restaurant could have simply thrown one duck breast in a heap of syrupy malaise and called it a day. Hell, I probably would have smiled. Erte throws two duck breasts in an effervescent sauce on top of some tasty mashed potatoes. I took it as a love note. Oh, and the dry-aged steaks are impossibly cheap in addition to being delicious.

Best Cheap Eats: Wasabi

I am convinced that Wasabi is simply a front for drug trade, given that the fish seems to be sold at cost, and delivered by a wait-staff that is as likely to spill your drink on your crotch as in your cup. But hey, take it while you can. $10 for a sushi lunch in a city where it is not at all difficult to drop $100? Enjoy it while it lasts. I assure you it won’t.

Best bar: Sandy’s Tavern

Remember when you were in high school, and you had the one friend with a really cool basement, so you hung out in that basement a lot? That’s Sandy’s, one of the last working-class burger bars in the city. Nothing ironic about this dive-bar. You even have to come in the back door. Tucked between a Brueggers and, well, nothing, this Penn Ave. joint reminds us that Richfield is a step above it’s banal suburban brethren. And find me another place that serves an olive burger and cheese curds?

Best Restaurant I haven’t been to: La Belle Vie

It’s true. As a food snob, I have yet to partake of what everyone knows is the best restaurant in Minneapolis. At this point, it’s like the hot girl in school. Maybe it’s just better to love her from afar. Or maybe I just haven’t done a good enough job convincing my wife that spending $150 on dinner is what life is about.

Best Restaurant Nobody knows about: Walkin Dog

Did you know Minneapolis has an honest-to-goodness hot dog stand? If you work downtown, you owe it to yourself to hit up the hot dog joint where the owner himself is happy to serve you.

Best restaurant that seems to be failing: Bahn Thai

I will continue to be an evangelist here. If you happen to live near New Hope (specifically, 169 & Rockford) you owe it to yourself to visit and enjoy the best Thai food in town. You won’t find $13 Pad Thai that tastes like crayon here. Neither, sadly, will you find a packed house. But when it comes to the good stuff, Bahn delivers in spades. The currys are rich and intoxicating, the Thom Kha Kai aloof and glorious, and the noodle dishes are an astounding guilty pleasure. The hell with the posers, Bahn Thai Cuisine is the real deal.

Best Restaurant: Ristorante Luci

There is nothing on their menu that is anything short of divine. This restaurant could win any number of categories. How can a woman not feel like a classy dame downing top-tier pasta in a candle-lit setting? The modest portions will terrify an obese white person, who is accustomed to sucking pasta by the gallon at Applebees. It has all the hominess and familiarity of the (albeit affluent) neighborhood in which it resides. But it wins simply by virtue of having phenomenal food. A knockout.

Other awards

Best Pizza- Pizza Luce
Best ironic dive bar - Psycho Suzi's
Best restaurant in a hotel - Chez Daniel
Best Happy Hour - Rudolphs
Best Man joint - Buffalo Wild Wings
Best Italian - Giuseppes
Best restaurant with terrible parking -Quang

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hopeface McPrig

Barack Obama is in hot water again. Or, rather, should be but isn’t, since apparently nobody actually cares how the man thinks or acts.

At a fundraising shindig in San Francisco, Hopeface declared that he has failed to garner working class support on account of voters clinging to guns, religion and “antipathy to people who are not like them”. In other words, the bigots of Ohio are flocking to Hillary because Jesus told them to, and because she is white. George Bush is to blame, presumably.

If this is what he thinks of moderate Democrats, imagine what he has to say about Republicans.

He later defended his remarks, noting that “everyone” knows them to be true. What does he mean by “everyone”? I happen to think his lack of support might have something to do with the fact that working people fearing a loss of their livelihood might favor experience over rhetoric. If he wanted to be political, he could simply have attributed Hillary’s support to the popularity of her husband amongst so-called Reagan Democrats.

But that’s the sort of thing you say when you know the media is listening. Obama doesn’t believe it, but rather fancies himself a victim of the parochial values of his opponents. In plain terms, he called working class voters dumb.

Conservative commentators have been quick to observe that this is the very animus that motivates Democrats. I’m not sure that is the case. I certainly didn’t get the impression that Bill Clinton (arrogant as he was) held a low view of the working class in particular. He embraced his inner-Michelob, often to his own detriment. So it isn’t some inherent genetic flaw plaguing Democrats.

And yet, I have encountered any number of Democrats, particularly in college, who dismissed entire demographic subsets as belligerent rubes. Some have even gone so far as to lament layovers in states like Utah and Tennessee on their way back to the cozy confines of the chianti class. None of these students struck me as particularly gifted or cultured themselves (I doubt the average college Democrat could tell you the difference between red and white zinfandel, though they will tend to drink the latter… Copiously).

In fact, of my acquaintances who possess extraordinary intelligence, I have yet to hear this sort of petulant talk. Very intelligent people don’t go on rants about how everyone with whom they disagree is racist, or ignorant, or otherwise flawed. Rather, such condescension seems to a plaything of the modestly gifted.

I have a friend who belongs to Mensa, and he was surprised at how few members actually strongly adhere to either prevailing ideology (they tend to lean libertarian), and that the members are very down to earth. They don’t talk amongst themselves about the tragedy of the great unwashed. Why would they? What would they have to prove. Bill Clinton was a profligate scoundrel, but it is impossible to discount his intelligence. Bill Gates is rather known for his humble demeanor.

Those who are very smart tend to be relatively modest about their gifting. Perhaps, they recognize that intelligence can be both a blessing and a curse, and that it is merely one attribute among many. They certainly learn at an early age that nobody is impressed by a proclamation of one’s own intelligence, or superior sensibility. If Barack Obama had not yet learned this lesson, he ought to be learning it now.

Like the nominally bright college kids who swoon over his speeches, Obama seems to find it important to prove his intelligence. In his campaign speeches, he frames predictable rhetoric with peculiar mannerisms that make it seem as though he has just recently considered what he is about to say. Why such an effort to appear thoughtful? And could a genius possibly bring himself to write a book like The Audacity of Hope?

In short, Obama is an intellectual mediocrity. Of course, George W. Bush is no Rhodes Scholar, though he is certainly no dumber than those who hate him so passionately. It takes a mediocre mind to dismiss anyone, much less millions of people simultaneously, without presenting some sort of factual basis for your dismissal. But mediocre minds have occupied, and even thrived in, the Oval Office.

But isn’t his alleged brilliance part and parcel of his appeal? We are told that it isn’t about his ideas, but rather his vision. But if his vision is so damn good, why is he insulting white union employees in advance of the Pennsylvania and Indiana primaries? We are supposed to take his word that he is going to lead America into a post-political paradigm, extricating America from extremely complex crises, when the most compelling thing he has exhibited throughout his campaign is that he can use a four-syllable word in a sentence?

As a product of many generations of working class individuals, I might be bitter, but I’ll reserve my antipathy for those who claim a an intellectual and moral high ground they have not earned. If Barack Obama wishes to discern why factory workers are unmoved by his candidacy, he’d best look inward.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monday Musings

It's Monday (and maybe Tuesday, too)... Let's get back in the action.

Can I take a moment to apologize for last week's blog entries? Let's see... Go to San Francisco, report on my time their, and offer virtually no personal commentary whatsoever. What am I, Fodors? Armed with substantially more sleep, I plan to do better.

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Brian McLaren, who ranks among the gendarmerie of Democrat Christians who claim not to be, has released an album. Take a listen to a featured "single".

It is horrendous. Trite, maudlin, inexplicably out of tune, it is a train wreck of a song. Worse, it essentially functions as a remix of the Sufjan Stevens I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S track, complete with an arbitrary twiddling cornet.

This from a man who wrote an angry open letter (what is it with liberals and open letters?) to Christian Contemporary Artists at large, faulting them from stealing the beauty away from God's gift of music.

I'd advise Mr. McLaren not to quit his day job but, then, I'd just as soon he did that as well.

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So, I finally caught Atonement. Keira Knightley was fine (all she really had to do was be hot enough for a man to want to have sex with, which isn't hard, especially for her). It possesses an elegiacal quality, reminiscent of The English Patient, and manages to confound the genre sufficiently to hold interest.

It's not great. I can't decide whether the film earns its Wilderesque payoff. But it is worthy, nonetheless.

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I'll have more to say on Barack Obama later, but good grief. Isn't this guy supposed to be the rock star of the whole damned Democratic party? I suppose he could still be considered a rock star, in the emo sense, but... What an ass.

I suppose many of his swooning female supporters have said the same thing, in a different context. A coterie of bimbos puking on the memory of Susan B. Anthony, such women.

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Northwest and Delta are expected to announce their merger today. The new airline will represent that largest in world history. Not to be outdone, marketing teams from both airlines have conceived a new logo going forward.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Travelogue - Day 3-4

The thrilling Conclusion...

Reason #45 why I don’t have a flatscreen TV. There’s a nice big one in my hotel room, and I am just now turning it on. Thanks to Tivo (or, rather, it’s myriad generics) I no longer channel surf. I simply watch what I have recorded for myself. This TV has nothing recorded for me.

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If you really want to know what I’m doing at this conference, you can visit the media relations blog. Please don't leave comments.

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Trade show knick-knacks are absurd. I have a profound number of mints now. I won’t be able to pass a breathalyzer for weeks.

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You know what San Francisco doesn’t have? Sports bars. I have to walk all the way to Chinatown to catch the last half of the NCAA championship (because again, I refuse to simply watch it for free on the flat screen the hotel has provided me).

So I settle into this cozy underground bar, and am subsequently approached by a prostitute. OVERTIME!!!!

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For the game, not the prostitute. I leave the bar.

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While televised sports programming can be difficult to find in SF, It is infrequent to find a block in SF that does not have a sushi bar.

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Contrary to popular belief, San Francisco is a relatively trolley-free environment. Bob Saget is such a liar.

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Oh yeah, so the chocolate sauce. Turns out chocolate topping is on the list of banned substances, or at least the portion that exists solely in the imagination of a $8 per hour employee. So yeah, I lose my chocolate sauce. I should’ve wrapped it in a bomb so I could get it through. Seriously, good thing we got the government to be in charge of this. I feel so safe.

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The Kevman is back in Minnesota. Hide your babies. Seriously. Not from me, though.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Travelogue - Day Two

w00t! Turns out I get a free day in San Francisco. What should I do??? So many choices! A city with such a diversity of activities and things to explore.

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Like a good lemming, I go to the wharf and Pier 39. It’s like I have a microchip implanted in my tourist, white-person brain. It’s the most irresistible tourist trap in the nation, the Mall of America on the sea.

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San Francisco is a hard city to walk around. This has been said, but I’m saying it. On a positive note, there is a corner of Chinatown that makes me feel positively giddy with cosmopolitanality. This is one cultured Republican. I’m going to go huff bok choy and snort sesame wafers.

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I stop at an Italian joint in a district that has lots of them. Penne with marinara, sausage and gorgonzola. One thing I’ve noticed about both meals. They were served hot. Like, I had to wait for them to cool off. How often do you get a hot meal in a Minnesota restaurant? It almost never happens. Lukewarm food with a lukewarm attitude. That’s the Minnesota way.

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Another dinner, and we are yet again driving across this nightmare of a driving town to find a restaurant. After dinner, we head to the ice cream place. I have chocolate ice cream with olive oil and sea salt on it. I order it on the principle that, if it’s unorthodox, there has to be a reason for it to be on the menu. There is no reason for this to be on the menu, from any sort of taste perspective.

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I get some chocolate sauce, which will be important information later.

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If the Westin St. Francis invested half as much into their internet service as they do their chandeliers, I would respect it more as a business hotel. Especially if they’re charging $15 a day.

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Everything, and I mean everything, in San Francisco is tinged with pee smell. Beautiful city, though.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Travelogue - 4/5

Travelogue – Day 1

I’m travelling to the city white people like very, very much. Why? To blog. That’s right, folks, I’m literally getting paid to blog. It’s like Christmas, except you aren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas in S.F.

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No, this blog is not what I’m getting paid for, obviously…

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As part of their endeavor to make life as miserable as possible for travelers, NWA has begun boarding nearly an hour before the plane departs. Of course, once any sort of announcement re: boarding occurs, every single person within earshot anxiously lines up, lest the flight leave 40 minutes early without them.

Why does this matter? I am seated in 40-f. Nonetheless, I chill at the bar as the frenzied passengers fight for their assigned seats.

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Speaking of which, a gruff Asian lady tells some man-student that she is going to sit in his (window) seat, and that he should sit somewhere else. “Where?” He inquires. Why, the middle seat to which she was assigned, of course. Are all SF men this acquiescent? Perhaps I have found a way to exploit my liberal brethren.

Me: Give me your enchilada, jackass.

Patagonia guy: Fine, what do I eat now?

Me: Here’s a pretzel.

Patagonia: It has hair on it.

Me: Shut up and give me a sip of your beer.

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There is one baby on board. Seated in 39-f. The baby is inconsolable, save for when it is making eye contact with me, at which point baby becomes complacent, even joyful. The happiness of the entire section of the plane rests on my debatable charisma.

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Ah yes. Now is the time of the flight wherein I must arbitrarily stow my laptop, lest my Gateway, which can barely manage to format a spreadsheet, monkey with the airplane’s radar system, sending us into a tailspin.

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I meet some friends, and we head across town to a place called Marnee Thai. While I question the logic of driving across town for a restaurant in S.F. (a bit like driving to Apple Valley to see snow), it reminds me of how lovely it is to reside in a city with capable that restaurants. The curry was a bit presumptuous (and, frankly, needed salt), but the spicy chicken wings were an unexpected surprise.

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I briefly considered treating my friends to a dinner at the hotel restaurant to keep things simple. Then I realized the hotel restaurant was Michael Mina. If you know what that is, you know why we didn’t go. Though, for someone like me, it’s like staying at the same hotel as George Clooney. Maybe I’ll make like the bums here and beg for scraps.

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Room service is ridiculously priced. It is a cliché to introduce examples to bolster this conclusion. Nonetheless, a morning mimosa, with tax and service charge, will run you $23 at the Westin St. Francis.

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Boy, the orientals sure love giving massages in this city. At all hours of the day, no less.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Note to the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation

This is why you don't ask a graphic designer to create a logo on his last day of work.






Wednesday, April 02, 2008

T-Wolves Pistons

Yesterday Eve, I made my way to the house McHale built to watch the Pistons (B-squad) gallanty ravish the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thanks to the magic of Craigslist, I was able to score some great seats, so I thought I'd pass along pictures.

Here's Crunch, the erstwhile mascot. He stood on a ladder while fireworks came out of it during the introductions, which was not unreasonable at all for a lottery team.



T-Wolves Point Guard Pooh Richardson.

George Mikan, taking it to the rack!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And look at this bastard.