The Twin Cities’ controversial light rail line is scheduled to start up next weekend on Saturday, June 26. Both local papers have been running articles on light rail and its historical cousin, the Twin Cities’ famous streetcar system. (Star Trib & Pioneer Press)
Couldn’t help but notice the cheeky write up of a local yo-yo contest in the Star Trib. There but for more compelling interests go I.
Twin Cities alt-rock band Romantica will be playing at the Fine Line tonight. You can get free tickets (PDF) through their web site. They’re an up-and-coming band worth checking out. I’ve thought so since following two-thirds of the band around to dumpy coffee houses in college.
Their new album, It’s Your Weakness That I Want, is tight and catchy, and sounds exceptional, especially for a local band’s debut recording. The only time I saw them live was worth the second-hand smoke, and the set included a few tracks that didn’t make the CD and should have.
A new local music co-op is starting in the Twin Cities, Misplaced Music. They have their own Internet radio station playing local music 24-7. It’s all over the place stylistically, but most everything I’ve heard is quality. They happily invite local musicans to submit music for the radio and consider joining the co-op.
I have an all day computer class today, and it basically amounts to working a real schedule for a day. I had to get up with the alarm and leave before my wife even rolled out of bed.
I rode my bike into downtown St. Paul (17 minute trip, in case you’re counting) — which has to be one of the best commuting experiences — and arrived at the Science Museum in time to see the morning sun lighting up the Mississippi River and the turning leaves. Pretty nice.
During lunch I walked down to the river level and ate in the nature area between the river and the Science Museum. They’re still working on some water-front parks, but it’s still a nice little escape. I always thought Minneapolis had the best riverfront, and although St. Paul can’t touch St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, it’s close.
The Science Museum also has a new National Park Visitor’s Center (where you can pick up a handy Trail Guide for the trails along the Mississippi River). In the lobby there’s a giant aerial photo of the Twin Cities. Very cool.
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.
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.”
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.
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.