Category Archives: Twin Cities

I just bought a pity glass.

How sad is this? The city of St. Paul shut down Mikaela Ziegler, 7, and her 4-year-old sister, Annika’s pop stand because they didn’t have a $60 license. So we can’t have unlicensed lemonade stands on every corner, but these are two kids. C’mon.

Speaking of sad stories (OK, this one’s seriously sad), a plane crash near Grand Marais, Minn. killed the pilot and an adult passenger, but the “passenger’s two young girls – a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old – were found alive near the plane’s wreckage, walking around the scene, several hours after the crash, authorities said” (Star Tribune). I can’t imagine how traumatic that would be.

That was our only burlesque house, Marge!

Minneapolis is getting its own burlesque house. Again. Apparently it’s been 50 years, but burlesque is back. Le Cirque Rogue de Gus will open in the warehouse district in mid-August. And what differentiates the Rogue de Gus from, say, Sex World? Think Moulin Rouge, not Showgirls. “This is the illusion of nudity, not the real thing.” An typical might include “a dancer dressed in a giant fake book that covers her from midchest to top of thigh while she tells a funny story,” said Amy Buchanan, who will do the booking for Rogue de Gus.

Wahoo! Half-naked books telling funny stories! This sounds like a recipe for fun that will require liberal amounts of alcohol. The last sentence of the article really sums it up: “I can’t wait for my grandma to see this,” [Buchanan] said. “She’s really into theater.”

Stupid bug! You go squish now.

I’m a history freak. Somehow I find the most mundane details of history fascinating. Odd little facts entertain me and discovering the history of places I care about is a strange little hobby of mine. There’s something about the passing of time and knowing what something was like long before you. I like to see the connection to today, how the old things have changed and morphed into what we see today. That fascinates me. Yes, I am a dork.

The fact that my house was built in 1910 suddenly kickstarts the history buff in me. I want to know what my street was like. I want to know how long Central Lutheran School across the street has been there. I want to know how old the trees are that line Lexington Avenue. How long have there been trees lining Lexington Avenue. I want to know my house ever stood alone in this neighborhood, or if the houses around me have been torn down and built again. Or are we all living in dinosaurs.

Continue reading Stupid bug! You go squish now.

Demolition of a Landmark

I used to walk past the Minneapolis Public Library twice a day. Now it’s a pile of rubble with one remaining shell that will probably be gone in days. They’re tearing down the old building to put in some new fancy one.

I’ve been able to watch the progress as they go. They spent a lot of time inside the building, ripping everything out. I watched one day as a Bobcat shattered every window on the third floor and then ripped out the window frame. The claw on the end of the Bobcat’s arm would stab through the glass, then turn to rip out the frame. The glass would bubble and then pop when pressure was applied, usually sending most of the shards shattering to the ground. But the claw never hesitated. As soon as it broke through the glass it was reaching around to grab the frame, yank it out, letting any remaining glass fall to the ground. The Bobcat was in position for the next window before the sound of broken glass silenced.

A crane with a large concrete ball toppled most of the building. The concrete ball was probably twice the size of a basketball. A chain went through the ball going up to the crane, and another chain fell below the ball, and then curved back to the crane, allowing them to both drop and swing the concrete ball. A slow, simple swing or drop is what brought down most of the building. They’d raise up the ball, then let it fall, slowly at first, building up speed just before it smashed into the concrete. Most of the time nothing would happen. It would echo, the dust would rise, and a few pieces would fall. But every few swings a large chunk would fall, and a piece of the building would cave away. Often they would just drop the ball in a line, and then swing the ball into the weakened structure, letting an entire section of wall fall away. I watched this happen twice, seeing a 10 foot by 10 foot piece of sheet metal fall six stories.

The most amazing to watch was the dome of the Astronomy wing. They raised the concrete ball and let it fall in the center of the dome. The building shook and the ball bounced, sending reverberations up and down the chain. They raised the ball again and dropped it. Raised it again and dropped it. Again and dropped. Again. I never saw the dome give way.