Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Facts

Hey guys. Normally, I don't do this, but Barack Obama has asked Bloggers around the country to disseminate information about swine flu. I feel like this is an important enough issue, and it's the least I can do, so here goes.

- Swine flu symptoms include headache, nausea, shortness of breath and dreams. If you experience any of the aforementioned, simply assume you have swine flu without consulting a primary care physician.

- If you do contract swine flu, vigorously wash your hands with soap and water. That usually takes care of it.

- Val Kilmer has developed a cure for swine flu, but he won't share with anyone cause he's being an ass right now. Hear me Val? You can't stay locked in your attic forever! I want my Gin Blossoms CD back.

- Whatever you do, don't panic. Swine flu can smell fear.

- The only way to get rid of swine flu is to have sex with a virgin, or says my shaman.

- There is no correlation between religious faith and the occurrence of swine flu. So keep on doin' what you're doin', Episcopalian church.

- Swine flu is entirely the fault of the Bush administration.

- If your pet develops swine flu, drop it off at the Northside pet recycling facility, aka Brookdale Center. It will fulfill the mall's destiny of becoming a repository for diseased cats.

- Don't eat at Denny's.

- If you contract bird flu at any point during the next three months, be sure to appreciate the irony.

- Avoid eating pork products. When it is explained to you that it is impossible to contract swine flu via pork consumption, respond by saying you know that, but you still feel kinda weird about it and have been reading the Old Testament lately and feeling kinda convicted, and might start on the Maker's diet, because embracing arbitrary fads for specious reasons is exactly what God wants Christians to do.

- Swine flu's gonna gitcha.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baby, I Am Swine Flu

Hey look. It's me. A pig. Believe it.

I got the flu. You know what that means right? What with me also being a pig?

I am swine flu. I am positively riddled with disease.

People, this is my now. I hold all the cards. It's time to ride the swine. Feel me? Bring me a chalice!

You think Conficker is scary? Well, just you wait. I probably have that, too.

What do I want? Oh, nothin', just a chance to nuzzle you. Nuzzle, nuzzle, nuzzle. You see why I am so divisive.

What? You think this is gonna be like Monkeypox? A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll? Think again, probably.

Um, this is clearly a goblet and not a chalice. Also, it isn't filled with anything. Do you think I am playing swine games? I just barfed in a maternity ward!

I don't care what you fill it with, just bring it to me. Actually, fill it with Pabst. You still have some in your fridge right? Yes you do, we bought a twelve pack, you can't have finished... Oh, yeah, that's right. I forgot Gary came over. Just put some of that egg salad in there...

No, not in the goblet. I said... You know what, screw it. I'm gonna go have swine flu somewhere else.

Seriously, you people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Musings

The day is thick with ennui. Let's muse.

Hey, it isn't just the city of Minneapolis doing their able best to kick homeowners in the teeth. The state legislature is getting into the act. The Minnesota House passed a bill that would eliminate the tax deduction for mortgage interest. Nothing like a tax hike that specifically targets first time homebuyers to stimulate the housing market, eh Democrats?

Let's see, add this to Rybak's new property taxes, new sidewalk inspections, and city voters' egregious decision to dump $60 million into the Minneapolis educational abyss, and it will cost me an extra $200 per month for the simple privilege of living here. This is why I vote Republican, people.


State Sen. Steve Murphy offered this flimsy defense of a similar bill advanced by the Senate. "This is a tough vote for everyone. Let's just make it happen."

I've seen quite a bit of this attitude among liberals, both privately and publicly. Instead of defending policies on the merits, they simply default to defending it's inevitability. We saw this with Pelosi and her "we got elected, we wrote the bill" statement.

Part of this stems from the natural inclination among those who consider themselves to represent a collective to simply ignore dissent. I get that. It's a bit fascistic, but I get it.

But part of it stems from being out of power for so long. For the last eight years, if you challenged a Democrat on, say, wasteful spending in education, they could simply respond by saying "Bush tortured black orphans in New Orleans by sending them to Hurricane Iraq."


Nice effort, Pistons... Ugh...


Switching gears, let's talk food. I wish I had visited Gandhi Mahal (on Lake, just East of Hiawatha) prior to handing out my yearly awards. It's recognition by the City Pages as best Indian Restaurant was well earned. I particularly recommend the tikka masala and the yellow dal soup. Between Gandhi Mahal and Great India in Brooklyn Center, good Indian food should never be more than ten minutes away for Minneapolis residents who can still afford to dine after the tax hikes.


A more mixed review for Sen Yei Sen Lek, on Central in Minneapolis. My party mostly stuck to the basics (noodle dishes and tom yum), which were average. As per usual in Minneapolis, the place just gets Thai soup wrong. I did enjoy my papaya salad (I am fast becoming an expert on papaya salad; the next step on the road to unemployability), and there were quite a few options off the beaten path, but the path itself was unspectacular.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Top Ten Fridays: Restaurants 2009

It’s that time of year again, time for the TPWK foodie awards. It was a boffo year for dining in spite of the economic downturn. The City Pages has had its say, and now it’s my turn.

Restaurant of the Year – Café Heidi

You know your food is good when you can open at the precipice of a recession and pack out a room on a weekday, in spite of uninspired service and cold (!) red wine. I’ll wait for my wine to warm up if it means I don’t have to pay even $20 for the best entrees in town. Of course, you’ll want to hit up the appetizers as well, and my wine was still pretty good for $5. So far the “let’s contrast with the City Pages” thing is off to an inauspicious start. But this one is kind of a no-brainer.

Runner up: 112 Eatery

Best Vietnamese – Jasmine 26

Jasmine Deli + Cool room = splendid restaurant. The coconut hot pot is the best think to happen to coconut milk since curry, and the food is uniformly excellent.

Runner Up: Quang

Best Happy Hour – Café Vincent

Home of the best burger in town, Vincent apparently uses the thing as a loss leader during their happy hour. Add to that a list of credible wines for $3, and excellent cheap eats, all in the coolest spot on Nicollet Mall, and this particular cheap bastard is sold. Consider this. There are hundreds of happy hours and this town, and everyone agrees this is the best. That’s hard to do.

Runner Up: Conga Latin Bistro

Best Restaurant Nobody Knows About – Café Bonxai

Tucked away on University and Snelling, next to a Fantasy Gifts, and across the street from the American Bank Building (aka WTF plaza), Bonxai is a true underdog. Fortunately, they know their way around dense, creamy, spicy Thai fusion. If you have to wait a bit for your food, you then have ample opportunity to count the aquamarine tiles across University.

Runner Up: Gangchen

Best Restaurant Everyone Knows About – 112 Eatery

What could I tell you that you can’t already Google? Go hither.

Runner Up: Town Talk Diner

Best restaurant in a suburb – Bahn Thai Cuisine

I’ve said it once (four times actually), and I’ll say it again, this is the best Thai food in the Twin Cities. Want cosmos and lo mein? Go to Uptown. Want Tom Kha Kai? Go to New Hope.

Runner Up: Jun Bo

Best Date Restaurant – Chai’s Thai

Most famous for its innovative evocation of the underutilized (in Minnesota) BYO option, Chai’s transports you to a much more romantic place in a much bigger city. From the slanted, sliver-thin room to the understated décor to the catchy (albeit preening) name, Chai’s is the perfect place for two. And only two. Oh, and they do some lovely work with baby bok choi.

Runner Up: Duplex

Best American – Be’Wiched

America invented the sandwich. Be’Wiched pulled a Sony and perfected it. Want to know if a place serves good sandwiches? Order the same thing twice. If the meat, bread, condiments etc… occupy exactly the same space in each plating, you have found a good sandwich.

Runner Up: Blue Door Pub

Best Bar – Saffron

I’m a sucker for bars with little tables and seats, especially if you can score the corner spot and sort of use the wall as a chair. Little table or high table, the bar at Saffron restaurant features excellent ambiance and excellent drinks. The bartenders serve innovative and compelling Middle Eastern interpretations of standard cocktails like the Bloody Mary and White Russian. During happy hour, their meatballs and mini-burgers are to die for.

Runner Up: Moto-i

Best Restaurant that Needs a Minneapolis Satellite – Blue Door Pub

Not just another spin on Minnesota’s own Juicy Lucy, the Blucy, which features bleu cheese and garlic stuffed in the middle in lieu of American Cheddar, has created a sort of hysteria in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul. So much so, in fact, that it has become nearly impossible to find a seat in the tiny room. A second location would thrive in Northeast, or even the Victory Memorial neighborhood. Bring it on.

Runner Up: The Muddy Pig

Best Pizza: Punch

Minnesota has an undeserved rep as a lousy pizza market because we don't have true "New York Style" pizza. So what? That's what New York is for. We have Punch, which uses about the best ingredients you can find and cooks them in the most intense grill I have ever seen. The service is quick, the restaurant rewards regulars with free stuff, and the wine is cheap.

Runner Up: Pizza Luce

What are your favorites?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's Get Nachos

Hey, it's a nice day. Let's go get some nachos. You know, cheese, olives, maybe some tri-colored chips. No big whoop.

I'm not proposing anything drastic; I just want to sit down and share a reasonably sized plate of nachos. We'll have Diet Cokes, ask for lot's of refills and extra and extra napkins, and leave a 12% tip along with an invitation to our church service.

Afterward, we will sit in my sedan and talk about our favorite 1990s mini-series. Don't you think that sounds like fun?

Yeah, I guess this request would make a lot more sense if it weren't 2:00 in the morning. I respect boundaries.

I just hope you're open to the idea....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Memo to Barb Johnson


Hope the knee surgery went well.

Reverse the sidewalk inspections in the 4th Ward, or I will reverse your political career.


Your soon to be least favorite constituent

UPDATE: Spoke with Barb today. Lots of Minnesota accent. Few answers. Par for the course.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Musings - NBA Playoffs Edition

Cloudy Monday smiles to all of you! Let's Muse.

Had occasion to catch Let The Right One In this weekend. It is one of the most extravagantly haunting films I have ever seen (think Son of Rambow meets the Sixth Sense, directed by Atom Egoyan), and I'd recommend you check it out on DVD, but...

In short, the DVD is a mess. The default setting is badly overdubbed English, which sounds as though it is being performed by Toucan Sam. So you have to go to the main menu and change the settings. If you are the kind of person who refuses to read subtitles, well, this should interest you.

Once you get to the subtitles, you see a compromised version of the film. I'm late to the ball on this internet debate (spoilers in link), but the film's distributor, Magnolia, decided to ditch the film's original subtitles, and go with a cheaper rendition.

To that end, and after issuing a hissy, barely coherent, statement blaming bloggers for making a big deal out of nothing, Magnolia decided to revert copies to the original cinematic format hereinafter.

A black eye for Magnolia, but not for this wonderful film. For what it's worth, so much of the film is visual that even the most incompetent translation would render a great cinematic experience.


In her Christian argument for Christian Taxation, Episcopalian spiritual guru Diana Butler Bass offers her assessment of the joy taxes:

I don’t love parting with the money, but I kinda like it. That check is a bargain — roads, schools, medical care, social security, and the freedom of living in the greatest country in the world. It is patriotism by checkbook. Why should I hate it?

If only Stalin had the Episcopalian church, we'd all be comrades.


Narrowly averted a dining crisis on Saturday. Hiep Thanh of Brooklyn Center is not ready for prime time. For starters, nobody greets you at the door, or otherwise acknowledges your existence. After grabbing menus and seating ourselves, a bedraggled waitress (in shorts and tennis shoes) offered us water.

My wife attempted to order stir fry, and was told that stir fries are only served before 2 pm (?). I asked for a recommendation, and she suggested the roasted duck soup, but noted that they were out of duck (there were roasted ducks hanging in the deli... Apparently, those were just for show). At that point, we decided it was time to move on for greener pastures...


...And greener pastures were found! Sweet Basil of Brooklyn Park is a bit of a gem. The mock duck was excellent, as were the pork dumplings. I ordered my seafood soup and papaya salad spicy, a request which they took VERY seriously. If I'm breaking a sweat, you know it's hot. The dishes were sufficiently nuanced, such that less fiery iterations should have plenty to recommend them.

I was further impressed by the ambiance, which, for a Brooklyn Park strip mall, was surprisingly accommodating.


Over dinner, my wife made the following announcement:

"My mom wanted to let you know she got the peas in from Canada. They're ready to go."

Now, you know how I am about peas, but why do we import them from Canada, and why is this noteworthy?

Always up to surprises, Canada; with respect to peas especially so, I guess.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Party!

CNNs coverage of yesterday's Tea Party in Chicago has been spun about, as Sue Roesgen did this piece of, erm, objective news reporting.

Some ruminations.

1) Roesgen needs to ditch the hair highlight. She looks like the spawn of Nancy Pelosi and the lead Gremlin.

2) Roesgen makes a big deal out of the fact that people are holding signs? It's a protest. What did she expect? Well, teabags, maybe. She also seems bugged out by the fact that this was organized on the Internet. I have no explanation for why that would be, other than the fact that, with all available options the Internet provides, few would choose to look at Roesgen's ugly mug.

3) We live in a bizarre country. Our press treats Islamic protests against cartoons with kid gloves, but goes after men holding babies who oppose centralized government like action cats.

4) Why is the woman at the end able to keep her composure, while Roesgen is not? The reporter is acting like she just got airlifted into an Afghani battlefield while everyone else is just milling about. The guy she interviews raises his voice, but he just seems.

What should Roesgen have done instead, I mean, were she a real reporter? First, find out if there is any literal dumping of tea. Second, identify an organizer to discuss how this was put together. Third, report on the attendance. Then, if there is time, flesh it out with some live interviews, with an eye toward getting the most compelling interviews, rather than the ones that reinforce your own imaginary narratives.

To the organizers of the event, congratulations. Any time a conservative voice can lead the news cycle with something other than their pant suit, that's a good thing. To Sue Roesgen, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is your ceiling. Enjoy your career.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Froggies gonna gitcha!

Well, and it's not my fault that we had to get client signoff... I've been pushing for the automated system.

So anyway Brogan is really riding me on this tele-file issue, and I think there comes a point where... Uh-oh.


Look at this guy.

Smiling frog is on the prowl. What's he doin' here again? Look's like he's gonna gitcha'.

Aw, he's fine. He's just smilin'. No big whoop...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

An Interview With Pirates

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to interview various newsmakers. Today, I am honored to introduce some pirates. Pirates, of course, have made the news recently by hijacking the Maersk Alabama, the latest in a string of attempts to extort princely sums in exchange for hostages. With out any further adieu, pirates, welcome to TPWK.

Pirates: Um, thank you.

TPWK: Now, given your rogue status, we'll be keeping your identity a secret.

Pirates: Right, this is what your producer told me.

TPWK: I guess, the first question is, you are obviously skilled. Why not go out there and get real jobs?

Pirates: Well, some would argue that this is a real job.

TPWK: Okay, I'll be more specific. Why not, say computer programming? Even in this geo-political climate, aren't their companies that could use you?

Pirates: Um, I'd never thought of it that way. But, if you're born to do something, we believe you should do it.

TPWK: Even if you don't do it particularly well.

Pirates: That seems a bit harsh.

TPWK: I'm just saying, once the Americans get involved, it's all over for you.

Pirates: Hey, tell that to Tampa.

TPWK: Oh, so Alabama's not enough, you have to threaten Florida's ships too?

Pirates: They're going down in July.

TPWK: Unbelievable. You heard it here first, a threat to American soil from Somali pirates. You know, if I were in charge, your kind would be walking the plank.

Pirates: Somalia? We play in Pittsburgh.

TPWK: Um, the what now?

Pirates: The Pittsburgh Pirates. I play Center Field.

TPWK: Pittsburgh has a baseball team?

Pirates: Um, yeah. Remember Roberto Clemente?

TPWK: Huh. You know, to be honest I thought Pittsburgh was one of those cities that we lost in the war.

Pirates: That assumption is incorrect on so many levels I don't know where to begin. I'm Nate McLouth, and this is Ryan Doumit, our catcher.

Ryan Doumit: Pleasure...

TPWK: So you are not involved with piracy in any literal way.

Nate McLouth: Nope. It's pretty much just a mascot.

TPWK: That makes more sense, with you being white and all. I was wondering why you guys insisted on meeting in Cincinatti.

Nate: Right... Right...

TPWK: Man, I paid $600,000 for this interview. Leroy is so fired. Have you guys even used steroids or anything.

Ryan: No, sorry.

TPWK: Well, let's go to Dairy Queen then.

Nate: Sound good. Sounds good.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

An Interview With Pabst Blue Ribbon

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to interview various newsmakers. Today, I am honored to introduce Pabst Blue Ribbon, refreshing beverage and co-star of Gran Torino. With out any further adieu, Pabst, welcome to TPWK.

Pabst: Yes. Good, gooooood.

TPWK: Thanks for joining us. Now, I want to address something that I'm sure is on everyone's minds. For which distinction were you honored with a blue ribbon?

Pabst: Well, TPWK, I like to think of it as a sort of lifetime achievement award, for making the world a better place.

TPWK: A better place?

Pabst: Yeah, like Bono or the Pope. I am the Pope of beers.

TPWK: So, you didn't win any sort of contest.

Pabst: No, but I beat out Old English 1800 and Miller High Life in a taste test.

TPWK: Impressive.

Pabst: High Life be stank, which is why it could not compete with Beer Pope.

TPWK: Fair enough. Now, you have generated what some would call negative publicity. It seems that you are encouraging underage college students to drink.

Pabst: This is a popular misconception. Beer doesn't drink beer. People drink beer.

TPWK: I don't follow.

Pabst: Beer Pope. Suck it down.

TPWK: Indeed.

Pabst: That's my new tagline.

TPWK: Does the Pope drink Pabst?

Pabst: Probably, but that's not really relevant.

TPWK: Of course.

Pabst: I said I was the Pope of beers, not that the Pope consumes me.

TPWK: I did not mean to insinuate...

Pabst: Lotta people tryin' to hate on Pabst. The Pope, Dan Aykroyd.

TPWK: Yeah, Aykroyd was really over the line, there.

Pabst: What does he know about my girl, anyway?

TPWK: Of course, you are talking about Tequiza, with whom you have been romantically linked.

Pabst: She understands me.

TPWK: She taste's like crap.

Pabst: That's why she understands me.

TPWK: Any truth to the rumor that you might become the official sponsor of Major League Baseball.

Pabst: I let my agent handle those things.

Miller High Life: Yo, there he is, sir cheats alot!

TPWK: Uh-oh.

Miller High Life: Tell them how you won that taste test.

Pabst: I don't know what you...

Miller High Life: (pulls a gun) Tell 'em, man!

Pabst: I...

Miller High Life: LOUDER M----- F------!!!

TPWK: This interview has taken an interesting turn.

Miller High Life: Shut up, fool. SAY IT!!!

Pabst: I mixed myself with a little bit of Delerium Tremens.

Miller High Life: Little bit? By the time you were done you cost $6.75 a bottle. That's not livin' the high life. I'm about to use that ribbon to string up yo' sorry ass.

TPWK: Um, please stop pistol whipping Pabst.

Pabst: No, it's cool. I deserve it. I deserve it.

TPWK: Well, that's all the time we have for today, I'd like to thank delicious Pabst, the Pope of beers, for stopping by.

Miller High Life: Squeal, punk!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Wanna get high?

Hey, Ty Lawson... Do you alleviate to elevate (and vice versa)? Do you shank the gizmo?

You wanna get high?

Great. I'm glad you're on board with this. Let's head over to Pickle's place. He'll hook us up. We'll suck down some speedballs, huff some asthmatic kid's stolen inhaler and have ourselves a good time, maybe buy a Saturn.

Yeah, no, hop in. Let's try it for a test drive. You know what, it's my treat. Enjoy your new Saturn buddy. I should commemorate this moment with a picture. Where's my iPhone? Say cheese.

What, oh nothing, I'm regularly in correspondence with senior NCAA officials. Tell you what, why don't you head to downtown Birmingham, find an antique store, and act menacing and belligerent for a little while?

I'll meet you over there.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Minneapolis is redeemed

Finally, proof that our leaders care about the future of our city.

Hey, Peter, remember when your house got broken into? That was the best thing that could have happened. See, your old porch was technically considered open and, since you had couches on it, everybody in you neighborhood was deciding to commit crimes.

That won't happen this year. I would leave Bridgette home alone as often as possible.

To parents who are sending their daughters off to the University of Minnesota this year, don't worry! Date rapes will cease. Couches on open-air porches were causing them, it turns out. Now if little Cindy passes out on a couch, it'll be within the safe confines of the basement of Delta Phi.

Unfortunately, Cam Gordon took time off from, I dunno, painting his cat in honor of Earth Day, to oppose the measure. Probably because he likes rapes.

Diane Hofstede, who does not like rapes nearly as much as Cam Gordon, offered this bit of wisdom:
Community groups told her that upholstered furniture and mattresses left outside can grow mold, harbor rodents and catch fire.

Founts of wisdom, community groups. Of course, by this standard, Hofstede should also favor banning Midtown Phillips.

In order to enforce the measure, mayor R.T. Rybak will re-assign the lone officer in charge of monitoring the "Block E" area of Hennepin avenue to identify contraband furniture. Residents are thusly advised to move any sofas or large room furnishings indoors between the hours of 10a-11a on the third Thursday of the month.