Crystal Castle(s)

Ladies and Gentleman,

In honor of Crystal Castles' show at the Triple Rock on Thursday night, I present
She Ra's Crystal Castle episode:

Crystal Castles, the band, is named after She Ra's castle, which is brilliant and rad.

My best friend when I was kid, Jenny, had the She Ra toy Crystal Castle, along with all the fun stuff that came with the castle...even the fancy She Ra bed. Her broham, Jeremy, had all the He Man and Skeletor stuff, so we did a lot of battling for the Power of Grayskull.

If you can't remember, this commercial will prolly remind you:

[where: 55454, Triple Rock, Minneapolis, Crystal Castle]

Edible Awesomeness

Back on Valentine's Day of 2008, I was busy working away when I overheard a delivery guy asking the gal up front for directions to my office.

The front desk directed him to my desk, and he popped in carrying one of these:
Edible Arrangement!

"Hey! That's fun!" I exclaimed. "Thank you!"

"The best part about delivering these are people's's fun seeing people's faces when they get one of these," he commented to the front desk as he left.

I skipped lunch and ate fruit all day, and the next day, and shared, and still had leftovers (it's a lot of fruit).

While it's not organic, the fruit was fresh, juicy, and tasty; and some of it was dipped in chocolate!

Fortunately for the kota-dog, I was feeling especially fruitloopy that day, or I might have choked him after arriving home to discover that he had eaten 1/3 of our wedding favors, scattering the wrappers all over the house. Man's best friend? Yes. Woman's? ...We're working on it.

There are several nearby business that make and deliver scads of unusual and cheery Edible Arrangements:

5824 Lincoln Drive
Edina, MN 55436 Phone: 952-935-2852

13712 Grove Drive
Maple Grove, MN 55311 Phone: 763-420-3115

1400 County Road 101 North
Unit K
Plymouth, MN 55447 Phone: 763-231-6650

3169 Wellner Drive NE
Suite D
Rochester, MN 55906 Phone: 507-536-7273

1755 Lexington Ave N
Roseville, MN 55113 Phone: 651-488-4500

PS - Thanks for the edible awesomeness gerg!

[where: 55436, 55113, 55906, 55447, 55311 , Valentine's Day, Minneapolis ]

Zorbalas - a Different Sort of Class Act

I know for a fact I wasn't the only person who got a lil' fired up after reading Jonathan Kaminsky's piece on The Slumlord of South Minneapolis, Spiros Zorbalas.

After reading about Spiros Zorbalas' exploitation of low income residents in rental properties in my neighborhood, I contacted Sara Hagestad at Family and Children's Services to learn more about her efforts to clean up Zorbalas' act, once and for all.

She recently emailed me an update of their activities regarding Zorbalas:

I wanted to give you an update! The meeting on Feb. 14 with Bryan Tyner (Mpls Fire Marshal) sounded like it went well. He seems very eager to help out, get inspections done promptly, and deal with some of the matters personally. His demeanor is nice, approachable, and cooperative. Since I was out of town, I was not at the meeting. My intern has the notes and I will get them from her tomorrow and then send everyone those so they know what went on.

We are still working towards a possible class action lawsuit regarding the move out fees that are assessed to damage deposits resulting in tenants not usually getting much if any of their deposits back. I’ve got a couple legal entities that we are in communication with about this.

I’ve been talking with a few tenants about the possibility of a public rally or something on the steps of City Hall to demand that City Officials start taking this seriously and doing something about it.[...].
there has to come a time when the situation is so special that more urgent courses of action need to be considered.

So, that’s the update for now. If I haven’t already done so, I might direct you to the
UPi tenants’ website. They created this as a way to publicize news and updates as well as have it be a resource for tenants’ rights information. Here is the site:

The faster and further we can continue to spread the word about what’s going on, the better, so I appreciate it [the blog post]. Thanks much and I’ll be in touch!

Sara Hagestad, MSW, LGSW

Community Organizer

Family and Children's Service

I like the idea of a public rally...I wonder if other Longfellons and E Lake Street neighbors would participate.

[where: Minneapolis, E. Lake St., Longfellow 55406]

Uncle Franky's - Original Art Spot

I'm not too proud to say I love eating a good turkey sammich.

And if you're not too proud to say that you love a Chicago dog, hot Italian beef, or a chili cheeseburger, then you'd probably dig Uncle Franky's, winner of CityPages Best Hot Dog in 2007.

While it doesn't boast sustainable practices, the menu boasts steamed dogs that are natural cased 6/lb Vienna Beef. You can even order your dog fried, if that's your thing. Malts, phosphates, and my favorite, the Nordeaster, are major menu bonuses. For $5.50, the Nordeaster gives you 6oz of turkey, grilled onions, and mild giardinara peppers all grilled on sub roll, topped with melted swiss. The Nordeaster packs a little punch in terms of heat. I WANT ONE NOW.

Sure, they've got sandwiches, but did you know Uncle Franky's is also an art spot? True dat! The Nordeast Uncle Franky's has a special secret hanging on the wall, and I'm not talking about the Scooby Doo lights or the Vienna Beef ads. Imagine our surprise to discover something unique while we were grubbing on Chicago-style eats.

(Photo taken with phone at Nordeast Uncle Franky's)

The piece above is an original pen and ink entitled "North Shore" by the bizarre Chicago artist Wesley Willis; it is almost identical to another Willis piece, "The Shore Line".

Known more for his preposterous music ("Rock n Roll McDonalds", "My Rhymes Rhyme") than his ink pen art, Willis was artistically prolific, even if the art was somewhat berserk.

Willis' homage to the Chicago skyline ponies up Uncle Franky's chicago-style street cred.

Here's a bit about Willis from his wikipedia biography:

"In 1989, Willis began hearing what he called 'demon voices' and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He often mentioned that his demons were named 'Heartbreaker,' 'Nervewrecker,' and 'Meansucker.' He called his psychotic episodes 'hell rides.'

Alternatively, he declared rock and roll to be 'the joy ride music' and Willis often indicated that listening to and performing music helped him battle the voices.

In the early 1990s, Willis became creatively active, selling detailed ink pen drawings of the Chicago cityscape on the street."

Jay Grobstein (formerly of Erte), owner of Uncle Franky's, and 3rd Coast Cafe in Chicago, is a Willis fan.

"I knew him; Wesley used to work right outside of my place in Chicago. He ate with us a lot. I've seen him work on hundreds of pieces, and this one is the best. I had this one hanging at my restaurant in Chicago for a couple of years, and then I moved it to my home. When I opened this place, I added the Willis piece. Out of all the Willis pieces I've seen, this one is the best," explained Jay.

The traveling skyline takes center stage at the Nordeast shop. You can't miss it.

Grobstein was excited to talk about Willis and his work. "Most people come and and think I drew it or's always nice to come across someone who knows Wesley's work. I love talking about Wesley with other people."

It's too cold for flying kites, why not go chow a Chicago dog or Nordeaster at Uncle Franky's, and vibe out on the joyride of some original art by a one-of-a-kind artist?

Uncle Franky's
728 Broadway St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

[where: Nordeast, Minneapolis, Uncle Franky's, Wesley Willis, 55413]

Bite Love on the Butt!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm checking out Love Bites in St. Paul tonight.

Actually, I'm quite fond of love, and harbor no ill will against Valentine's Day.

Additionally, I'm confident that romance and biting can be a package deal.


ps - Happy VD, gerg!

[55101, St. Paul, MN, Valentine's Day]

Dear Jango Fett,

Have you ever sat at a bar on a sunny Saturday afternoon when your friend was stuck bar tending, and you were stuck hanging out with her at the bar, and wondered ...........

Which instruments would the denizens of the Star Wars universe play and why?

Jango Fett
Steinberger Transscale

Something that travels well and can be concealed easily.
Oh, and it's got its head cut off as well.

You know, since I don't play guitar, my opinion is crap, but FOR THE RECORD, if I DID play guitar, I would save my loafer pennies and ROKK a BC RICH WARLOCK.


[where: 55406]

Minneapolis W-9, P-01 Rokks the DFL Caucus

As proud Longfellons (inhabitants of Longfellow), Gerg and I rokked out with our caucus out on Tuesday night at the MINNEAPOLIS W-9, P-01 PRECINCT DFL caucus. Apparently, a bunch of other people had the same idea. Our precinct caucus was raucous .

(click on the image to see a larger version)

Folks filled the slushy parking lots and streets on Tuesday night at the Anne Sullivan School.

At our caucus, we saw one person campaigning for Clinton, and dozens for Obama.

Check out the complete W-9 results. I've summarized the Clinton/Obama results below:


Hillary Rodham Clinton
(390 total)

Barack Obama
(1178 total)

1750 - MINNEAPOLIS W-9 P-01



1755 - MINNEAPOLIS W-9 P-02



1775 - MINNEAPOLIS W-9 P-06



1785 - MINNEAPOLIS W-9 P-08



1790 - MINNEAPOLIS W-9 P-09



Highlight: there were two 18-year-old cheerleader types out front waving signs and yelling.

"YAY!!!! Obama!"

"You'd better vote for Obama! For real!!!"

To some lady: "Hey, are you voting for Obama??? AWESOME!!!"

The types inside were less cheerleadery and more "all business" as they tried to figure out where to go to cast their vote; they ducked and twisted to avoid the sticker and pamphlet legions as they formed lines throughout Anne Sullivan School. Overall, people were smiling and friendly... seemed real happy to be casting their votes for a DFL candidate.

According to Channel 4000, Obama's support doubled that of Clinton throughout MN.

After caucusing, I felt ALIVE, so I checked out Iced Ink at the 400 Bar.

[where: 55406, Minnesota Caucus, Minnesota Ward 9]

St Paul, Disappoints and Delights!

I hate sounding like a scrooge, but to me the 2008 Winter Carnival in St Paul turned out to be a disappointment compared to the fun of the 2007 Winter Carnival.

I heard that funding was lower for the Winter Carnival this year, but I wanted to support the event that had me thrillin' in 2007. With high hopes, I proceeded this year, despite the rumors.

The venue moved to Rice Park in St Paul this year...I had never been to Rice Park, but it didn't seem like an ideal location for a carnival, and parking was impossible and overpriced ($15). The giant snow slide hill was something we were looking forward to, but it obviously couldn't fit in Rice Park. Still wanting to check it out, we drove around Rice Park and the surrounding area to check out the ice sculptures and look for parking, but most of the sculptures had melted and we couldn't find any parking for less than $15.

There was a hot dish tent and a small ice skating rink, but we couldn't see paying $15 for parking just to chow some hot dish.

I hate to sound like a curmudgeon. I'm all about carnivals and festivals, fo sho, and I wanted to reprazent this year for the Winter Carnival. I just couldn't convince myself to pay $15 to park to check out the melted sculptures and eat hot dish, and I couldn't ask gerg to pay that much, even though he was willing to do so.

Perhaps the sculptures were super marvelous before the melt? Perhaps parking was only impossible on the day we tried to go? Perhaps the hot dish is worth a $15 parking fee?

I know it was worth every penny last year, and I won't be giving up on Winter Carnival next year.

Fortunately, St Paul came through on Saturday night. Gerg and I enjoyed a night out on the town this past Saturday with dinner at the new steak joint in St Paul, The Strip Club.

Read all about our night at The Strip Club here.

[where: 55406]