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Archive for February, 2008

I had dinner at Ike’s in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday night. Good conversation, good beer and a fantastic plate of garlic mashed potatoes and fish kabobs including white fish and shrimp. Very good indeed.

Ike'sWhile Ike’s just opened a scant five years ago, it feels like it’s been in town since forever. The bar is legendary, running what seems like 50 feet or more (from just inside the front door all the way back to the kitchen. The wood floor and black leather booths give diners the feeling that they’re back in the 40s or 50s.

The menu at Ike’s is just as unusual as the layout of the restaurant. Ike’s specialty includes a “small plate” menu that serves as appetizers or a regular meal depending if you’re willing to share or not.

My kabobs and potatoes had great flavor. My friend had Shrimp Lollipops from the small plate menu and they were equally tasty. The salads were fresh, the salad dressings tasted like mom’s – or at least something made just hours before. The service was fantastic.

At 6 p.m. the place was buzzing with activity, no doubt with diners catching a meal prior to walking to Target Center just two blocks away to see the Lakers hammer the Timberwolves.  But even through the din of the dinner rush, we could easily hear ourselves talk. It’s truly a great atmosphere.

I’ll be back.

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One for The Road

“Everything,” by Alanis Morissette became a favorite road trip song of mine when it was first released. Lots of folks hammer Alanis for “Ironic.” I think it’s ironic that I like cycling and, in fact, their are cyclists in this video (and if someone can name the cycling crew that makes its cameo appearance on the front end of the vid, there’s a prize in it for you). I’d completely forgotten what a kick ass video this is (and she’s much hotter with the short hair!).

Lyrics:

I can be an asshole of the grandest kind
I can withhold like it’s going out of style
I have the bravest heart that you’ve ever seen, and you’ve never met anyone
Who’s as positive as I am sometimes

You see everything, you see every part
You see all my light and you love my dark
You dig everything of which I’m ashamed
There’s not anything to which you can’t relate
And you’re still here

I blame everyone else, not my own partaking
My passive aggressiveness can be devastating
I’m the most gorgeous woman that you’ve ever known
And you’ve never met anyone
Who’s as everything as I am  sometimes.

You see everything, you see every part
You see all my light and you love my dark
You dig everything of which I’m ashamed
There’s not anything to which you can’t relate
And you’re still here

What I resist, persists and speaks louder than I know
What I resist, you love no matter how low or high I go

You see everything, you see every part
You see all my light and you love my dark
You dig everything of which I’m ashamed
There’s not anything to which you can’t relate
And you’re still here

(You see everything, you see every part)
And you’re still here
(You see all my light and you love my dark)
And you’re still here
(You dig everything of which I’m ashamed)
(There’s not anything to which you can’t relate)
And you’re still here…

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A Poem from Minnesota

It’s winter in Minnesota
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love Minnesota
when the snow’s up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I’ll hang around
I could never leave Minnesota
‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground!!

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Time to Fight Fat

Not long ago, a lawmaker in the great State of Mississippi, decided in all his wisdom that the best way to fight obesity in the state would be to give restaurants the ability to decline service to patrons who were, in fact, clearly obese. The story appeared in USA Today on Feb. 5.  Clearly, the Republican legislator who had this braniac idea knew it wouldn’t get far. But, my friends, it’s gotten far.

Far enough to prompt debate in newspapers all around the country, like the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nonpareil. In the editorials and letters to the editor I’ve glanced at, a key point is raised again and again. Should we attack the nation’s fat problem head on or tip toe around obesity like a Minnesota driver who gets cut off on I-494 by someone with out-of-state plates (Minnesota “nice” tells us to just wave that driver on by…with a smile)?

Fat AssGiving restaurant owners/wait staff the ability to not serve a patron based on how far his or her ass hangs off the chair is clearly not the way to go. But c’mon people! What’s the answer here? And why are we dancing around one of the biggest (guffaw) epidemics of the century? The term “morbidly obese” means that someone with this condition could easily die from the problem. Their fat issue will lead to chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes and more – all at a huge cost to our already taxed health care system.  Do we, as intelligent, educated citizens stand by and watch this happen?

I would argue that if it’s OK for us to agree to ban smoking in commercial buildings, restaurants and other public places, ban drugs, and require bar owners to cut off patrons who are obviously drunk and intending to get even more so, then it’s not out of the question to find a way to restrict those who don’t have a “stop” button from eating themselves into further oblivion and even to death. Why is it NOT ok to at least have frank conversations with our neighbors about finding alternatives to that pound of butter and several gallons of Crisco they use to fry a turkey in their garage at Thanksgiving?

The nicey nice attitude toward obesity has to go on the shelf. It’s time to get angry and break out the anti-fat messaging that will ring clear in peoples’ heads once and for all. If not for them, then for their children. Let’s do it before our DNA alters itself and predisposes all of humanity to be obese.

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Even novice triathletes know about the phenomena of brick training. These are back-to-back activities (usually cycling followed by running) that often wreak havoc on the legs.

What does “Brick” stand for? I’ve had this question posed to me on several occasions…and I’m a novice. Truth be told, it doesn’t stand for anything in particular. Some think its origin come from “B”ike and “R”un. Others say the term “brick” only accurately reflects what your legs feel like when you jump off the bike and start running. Still others say the term comes from New Zealand triathlete Mike Brick who perhaps coined the term when he started doing the regimen.

No matter.

What does count is that triathletes test themselves on their ability to move from one aspect of the event to the next – preferably before they’re actually standing in the water waiting for the horn.

When I did my first triathlon in 2007, I’d only completed one “brick” workout. A light, easy bike ride followed by a 2.5 mile run. It was a sweltering hot, humid afternoon. Even so, I didn’t really notice my legs churning any differently. In the actual event, however, after swimming and riding, the onset of the run nearly crushed my hopes of finishing. It was all I could do to plant my feet in any form of running stride for the first half of the run. Finally, just as I neared the half-way mark, my quads seemed to loosen and my stride lengthened to something resembling normal. The last quarter mile seemed like a breeze compared to the first three miles.

So train yourself, my friends. Add brick workouts into your training plan and work yourself up to a point where you’re comfortable getting off the bike and entering your stride with relative speed and ease. The payoff will be faster transitions and fewer head games that you have to compensate for as you complete your race.

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Serial Daters

I do not want to be a member of the Serial Dating Club (SDC).

Serial daters really never make progress in relationships. They’re too busy dating multiple people, thus giving those they’re dating the idea that they’re a player, or not able to commit, or secretly wishing that someone better may come along.

In the past 48 hours, I had three dates with three different women. Seriously, I needed my Sunday to relax and recover from being “on” from Friday night through late Saturday evening and it became clearly problematic when I found myself unable to remember what I had told to whom. Fortunately the stories are all the same, but I don’t want a woman to think I’m crazy when I start sounding like a broken record.  So I preface stories with the standard, “Stop me if I told you this already.”

The goal here is to keep it simple and not complicate the dating process. That’s proving to be a hard task to accomplish.

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Here’s a Song for Saturday from Wisconsin native, Justin Vernon who formed Bon Iver. The song, Skinny Love, is from his new album “For Emma, Forever Ago,” available on Feb. 19.  The group starts its tour next week, so watch for them at small venues near you.  The guy’s lyrical ability is pretty amazing.

Lyrics

Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

I tell my love to wreck it all
To cut out all the ropes and let me fall
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Right in this moment this order’s tall

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be kind
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be fine
In the morning I’ll be with you
But it will be a different kind
And I’ll be holding all the tickets
And you’ll be owning all the fines

Come on skinny love what happened here
Suckle on the hope in lite brazziere
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Sullen load is full; so slow on the split

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be better
And I told you to be kind
In the morning I’ll be with you
But it will be a different kind
When you’ll be holding all the tickets
And you’ll be owning all the fines

Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?

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Night Out in St. Paul

Even though I’m a resident of the Twin Cities, there’s a lot I don’t know about either Minneapolis or St. Paul.  It’s my duty to get to know the area better. After all, I live here and from time to time, people ask me about details that I have no clue about.

Tonight I explored St. Paul a little bit.

St. PaulMy first stop was Nina’s Coffee Cafe.  Nina’s sits on a corner in the Catherdral Hill historic area of St. Paul. The St. Paul Cathedral is within eyesight of Nina’s front door, which overlooks the intersection of Selby and Western. Inside Nina’s rests dozens of small tables along with some overstuffed chairs and sofas. At 5 p.m. on a Friday, the place was buzzing with people – students, transients, locals, and professionals ending their day with a latte. I liked Nina’s atmosphere with the sky high ceilings and huge windows facing the street. It’s a great place to people watch.

Just below Nina’s sits Common Sense Books, a bookstore owned by Garrison Keillor. I’m not Keillor’s biggest fan, but if you live in Minnesota, you have to at least try to appreciate his Prairie Home Companion show.  His bookstore, however, is a thing of beauty. It’s located in the basement of a historic, refurbished building (a beautiful location) and the shelves upon shelves of books would make any bibliophile drool.

My last stop of the evening was at the Happy Gnome bar and restaurant.  This privately owned establishment not only has 100s of beers and wines on the menu, they also have a great food menu. I ordered the salmon cake followed by sea scallops and was thoroughly impressed with the food. Enough so, that I’d go back. Soon. Of course the Gnomes are a little freaky, scattered around the restaurant watching patrons eat and drink…smiling as if they know something.

St. Paul, Minnesota – specifically this historic district in old St. Paul – is a great place to spend a Friday evening. Who knew?!!

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What Was Said?

“In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.” –Hans Nouwens

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CNN is reporting that actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. At least that’s what the official New York City medical examiner’s report apparently states.

Accidental overdose.

I could understand an accidental overdose if a three-year-old got his hands on mommy’s diazepam (valium). But how does a 28-year-old, educated man accidentally overdose himself? Perhaps Ledger was a sleepwalker and double or triple-dosed himself without even knowing it. Or maybe there’s more to the story – a conspiracy of the magnitude that still surrounds Marilyn Monroe.

Ooops. I accidentally poured myself another cup of coffee. Call 911.

And as if that’s not a plausible cause for a Hollywood celeb’s death, Mommy Spears is now claiming that her daughter, Britney, has been “controlled” by drugs dispensed by Brit’s manager, Sam Lutfi.  Sam, allegedly, ground up pills and mixed the concoctions into Britney’s food.

The combination of prescription drugs that Britney Spears’ mother claims were ground up in the singer’s food was a risky mix that could cause hysterical outbursts, agitation, creepy hallucinations, even a stroke, medical experts told ABCNEWS.com.

Creepy.

I’m not a fan of Britney Spears, never have been, but if this starlet’s business manager was truly doping her as a way to control her situation, he should be sent to Quantico, jailed and tortured with the members of the Taliban that military forces have managed to capture.

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