Youth, sports, and life

It is hard for me to become enamored with sports where the only scoring is penalty kicks or multiple overtimes. But watching what I have of the World Cup has been an education. A lot of people want to guide kids who might play American football into soccer, but the World Cup shows that the image of “safe sport” is an illusion. Not many kids who play American football end their season with cracked vertebrae like the leading scorer for Brazil. I’m sure our football beats the brain up worse than soccer, but the excessive use of the head for ball movement in soccer can’t be particularly good for the brain either. Continue Reading

Lunch at The Rail Station on Minnehaha

Making the second round of Longfellow’s eateries, I had lunch today at the Rail Station, corner of 37th Street and Minnehaha Avenue. Last time I’m pretty sure I had a baked fish dinner. Today, I didn’t want to repeat, so I went through the entire menu to see what appealed to me. I ended up in a section of comfort foods. And in that section I found a meatloaf and gravy dinner. Besides the meatloaf, what attracted me was there was an upgrade adding veggies to the base meal. So I ordered that. Continue Reading

The stress cycle and restaurant noise

I’ve been writing about my experiences when I go somewhere for a meal. More and more, noise has become an important ambience issue. It led a local writer to lash out at places that make one raise one’s voice to be heard. It became part of an ongoing news story: Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Powder puff elections

A lot of comment has been made about how “civilized” this mayoral election has been.  I do think it is progress when personal insults are considered beyond the pale. But there are definitely negative aspects of the history of some candidates that need to be considered in voting. I think pretty much across the board, the local media have backed off from discussing these things.  Just one example is the union endorsement of candidates.  The firemen’s union angrily switch to Mark Andrew when Garry Schiff dropped out. The media could have done a great investigative piece on that. But nothing.  The simple fact is that a large percentage, perhaps the majority, of the endorsing unions are suburban residents.  They want to influence a city they refuse to live in.  I don’t think most voters are conscious of this. Continue Reading

Longfellow eateries: Playing catch up

A while back I had pretty much covered the community when it came to places to eat. Then I took a sabbatical, even venturing into other cities. Meanwhile, some entrepreneurs moved into the west river community. Specifically, Parka Cafe and Blue Door Pub. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | About elections, history, and democracy in Minneapolis

Discussions online and articles in the press have convinced me that there is a serious misunderstanding of the true nature of the conflict among political factions in Minneapolis.  Because of the intrusion of regional forces in our city elections, it becomes important to present the true issues that are at stake.I overheard a couple of city convention delegates discussing “the anti-stadium people”.  I didn’t intervene and ask them to explain how they were using those terms.  But assuming that is really how they saw the forces that are activity in council and mayoral races in Minneapolis, then it shows how naivete and poor political education has distorted the reality of issue conflicts in our city.Mark Andrew had a lot of new people in his camp.  And probably so did a lot of other candidates for city office.  New arrivals from other cities and natives who are only now old enough to participate simply lack the perspective of many years of participation.  If one refers to an old issue like the city takeover of Target Center, it is, at best, an abstraction for them.  They don’t realize that it was due to a failed commercial loan from Midwest Federal (a company out of business in 1991).  They don’t realize our city government took the burden of that facility and put it on city taxpayers. And that has become a model for every sports facility issue after. We who have paid taxes for decades have this as part of our context.  New arrivals and kids assume somehow there is something novel about the Vikings stadium arrangement.  Picking up messes for financiers and sports teams has a long history here in Minneapolis. And the downtown interests have been involved every step of the way.And the real issues are much larger than being for or against sports facilities.  In many cities, the rich take their responsibility seriously. They don’t corrupt city politics to get their way.  In Minneapolis, certain parts of the DFL have willingly served the interests of business and rich suburbanites in such a repetitive fashion, we can’t help thinking “here they go again”.In the United States, by various economic and political processes, the people who live by working, not by investing, have seen their share of the fruits of economic enterprise shrink since the 1980’s. Continue Reading

OPINION | Image politics vs. reality politics

As early as we are in the 2013 election season, I detect a game plan by the status quo forces to try to force this into a campaign of image, not issues.  It is supposed to be “wrong” to bring up misdeeds of present and past officeholders.  What doesn’t matter is justice, just the appearance we give of being a progressive city.  Rybak was media savvy, no doubt, but the city isn’t in need of more of that.  We need to build a city where the inside and outside are congruent.  And this mailed fist in a velvet glove called “we need to remain competitive, to attract young talent” is something they’ve thrown at reform over and over again.  But my question is how “bright” are these talented young people to choose a city on a crafted image, to care nothing about the reality?  Is it more likely they are people who’ve been managing their own image as talented people and want to fit into that environment?  There’s no question that career coaches spread that message, but to create a fake city so we can get fake geniuses is the dumbest thing of all. Continue Reading