the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: st. paul

The Best Places to Go in Saint Paul, Minnesota

I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not know the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I will not, however, let that stop me from telling you what the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota are.

(Please remember this: Vanity and humility are at constant war within any written piece.)

The Saint Paul Bagelry: The first, best place in Saint Paul is not IN Saint Paul, however, it is NAMED the Saint Paul Bagelry. It is also named Maui Wowi Smoothies. You’re not reading that wrong. It has two names. (You may, at this point, be questioning my competence. And for that I applaud you.)

Know this: The Saint Paul Bagelry not ONLY cooks their delicious bagels daily, they not ONLY whip their own cream cheese, they not ONLY blend a lip-smacking array of smoothie and coffee drinks (the likes of which Jamba Juice could not, in a thousand pear-lives of juicing, come close to touching), BUT they ALSO play real, vinyl records. They play shit I hate: Joni Mitchell (sorry), they play shit I love: James Brown (sorry). Most importantly, they play all this shit on actual records. Their bagel sandwiches, should you care about the menu, include The Al Green (egg and veggie – a personal favorite), The Luther Vandross (bacon, ham, sausage, egg and more) and the Isaac Hayes Hot-Buttered Soul (bacon, egg and cheese).

And so you may find yourself one Sunday, mid-morning, at the very time a more pious family would be attending church, sitting in a Roseville, Minnesota strip mall at a restaurant named after a municipality in which it does not even do business, listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers on vinyl over the loudspeakers, eating an Al Green sandwich on a toasted salt bagel, drinking a Kona Hawaiian coffee and sipping a brain-freezing Black Lava Beach smoothie.

It is due to this perfect combination of insanities that the Bagelry earns the listenerd’s highest recommendation.

Swede Hollow Cafe: Located in the Dayton’s Bluff area of Saint Paul, Swede Hollow Cafe is notable for the following things (in order of importance):

-Delicious mochas and cubanos, each complemented by a delightful little cigarette-sized lagniappe of chocolate
-An inviting ambience made extra cozy by the limited seating
-No fewer than TWO kinds of cobbler on weekends
-An outstanding French toast that requires no additional syrup
-Inadequate hours of operation
-An awesome painting of a lady with raven-black hair and a red skirt that I would like to someday purchase (the painting, not the skirt).

Swede Hollow Cafe is closed on Sundays. Go for brunch on a Saturday, sit outside if it’s warm enough. Order one dish and split it. Do not buy that painting (it is mine).

Choo-Choo Bob’s: I would expect that Choo-Choo Bob’s holds the greatest concentration of cooties in the Twin Cities metro area, if not the entire Midwest. The absolute PINNACLE of toddler train culture, CCB sells toy and model trains, from the highly commercialized Thomases and Berties holding down the back wall to the adult electrics enticing passersby out front. They also peddle tiny trees, faceless little men and cows, anomalous outbuildings and pretty much anything else it would take for a certifiably crazy person to recreate a realistic miniature landscape whose sole purpose is for a tiny train to repeatedly drive past it.

The play tables in the back of the store sometimes host birthday parties and they regularly draw armies of children, snot-nosed and entranced – each seemingly with a thousand germ-laden hands (think Sleipnir, but with mucus) – to come, play, move freight, and buy.

The Midway Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site: It is only if you have never BEEN to the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site that you would question that such a place deserves its spot on this list. The RCYWRS has EARNED this praise. And I spit upon you for thinking otherwise.

Do you have yard waste? Great. Take it to the RCYWRS and dump it there in a stinking heap. Empty your bag and drive away with the satisfied air of a person who has simply left his problems for someone else to clean up. (You must be a resident of Ramsey county to take a dump here; if you are not a resident, though, I still encourage you to do a ridealong.)

Here, at the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site, you will see the largest leaf pile you have ever laid eyes upon. Here, you will witness an ORDERLY procession of civic-minded Ramsey-county citizens pulling up their cars, trucks and trailers to an ENORMOUS pile of yard waste, wearily getting out of those vehicles, SLOWLY dumping out their sticks, leaves, branches, clods of dirt and the occasional, accidental hunk of dog feces and then nearly backing into someone as they hastily attempt to leave the facility.

To me, this yard waste facility is the essence of America. I just don’t know why. (It is a HUGE pile of AWESOME waste. That is why.)

[Please note: I will write one or two additional posts in the upcoming week to complete this list. Included: The Blue Door, The Black Dog, Micawbers and more.]

Links for 11.10.10: A day that will live in infamy

*Note: I don’t know how to say this politely, so I’m just going to say it: I’m tumblring over here.

*Business: Umair Haque – of Havas Media Lab – talks about how Strategy Can Do Better – “hen you read between the lines, companies that can do the above don’t just create McJobs, they create fulfilling work; they don’t just churn out more toxic junk to be mutely crammed down the throats of “consumers,” but meaningfully “good” goods; they don’t just earn a “profit” — they begin to create authentic, enduring value.”

*Music: John Roderick of the Long Winters (who is EXCELLENT on Twitter), is writing a column for Seattle Weekly. This one is on booze and drugs, of all things.

*Local: On the way to reading about One on One, the coffee-cum-bicycle shop I stop at nearly every morning, I accidentally ran across this article claiming that the Twin Cities are a unicycling mecca. I may take this up once I master home carbonation.

*Shows: Danzig was scheduled to perform in town yesterday, but apparently cancelled his show. Remember that video of Danzig getting hit by that guy from the North Side Kings? That may have been the first viral video I ever ran across. (I didn’t even know what was going on.)

*Visits: Obama was in India this week. “Indeed, Obama is placed in a unique position for an American president, a position that he appears to comprehend, though his opponents in the US do not. Power today begins in the acceptance of the limits upon it.”

*Reading: Watching the original Henry Rollins vs. Hipsters video depressed me, but Nitsuh Abebe’s blow-by-blow account of it for Vulture was actually invigorating.

*Today’s links: F.

Links for 6.27.10: Summertime, and the abs are not so easily obtained

*Anatomy: Rasputin’s penis has its own Wikipedia entry. Entry. Heh. [via]

*Religion: Dudes. The Swedenborgian national convention was held here last week. Please read up on Swedenborgianism, as there is no other religion in existence (not even Zoroastrianism) that is more fun to say aloud.

*Blogging: Of the book publishing industry and bloggers – Are readers the new mommies? (I write that sentence not with relish, but with sadness.)

*Covers: Watch this video (poor in quality) of Jeff Tweedy doing a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” [vulture]

*Reading: “The Importance of Tweet Cred” from The National. The piece briefly outlines the usual Shirkian versus anti-Shirkian factions.

*Social media: If you’re still using Facebook, you may run into Neil Young. Making comments, liking statuses, and, I have to assume, poking people.

*Brands: Here’s an image of Mickey Mouse made out of bugs. It’s not as disgusting as it sounds. [neatorama]

*Cities: Is it possible to design your way toward more pleasant urban noise?

*Pride: Has everyone seen the album cover for the Scissor Sisters’ latest, “Night Work“?

*Twitter: Read these four links. Also, Mary Karr and Gary Louris are both tweeting. I guess.

*Note: I don’t really know where I’m going with the abs advice thing either.

*Today’s links: F.

Anne Frank’s sewing machine for sale in St. Paul (HUH?)

Unfortunately, the foot pedal and power cord were stolen by the Nazis. WHAT?

This must be somebody’s incredibly tacky idea of a joke. My mind is boggling.

Links for 9.3.09: Let the wild rumpus BEGIN, for god’s sake

*First and foremost: The climactic line from “Where the Wild Things Are” should not be “Let the wild rumpus start.”

Again, you do not LET things START, even if you are some kid. Even my 2-year-old little dude knows that if you’re letting, you are beginning. He’s two. This is obvious. You’re seven or eight? It’s not even a question. Don’t try to pawn this off on the ignorance of youth.

FurtherMORE, you can’t argue that “start” is “crisp,” and therefore makes the line sound better at the same time you argue that it’s something that a KID would say. They’re mutually exclusive arguments. Pick one. They’re both wrong. (This is not exactly a wild rumpus, but it’s the NYT‘s Spike Jonze profile.) Goodbye forever.

*Update: Watching a trailer, it appears that “start” is what’s in the movie. Thanks for riling me up for nothing. FURTHER UPDATE: In Eggers’ novelized version of the story, it is “begin.” AS IT SHOULD BE. Goodbye.

*Race relations: This article from Chicago magazine, “A Mugging on Lake Street,” will depress you. Fuck.

*Reading: The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy weighs in on David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” as a part of the reading project “Infinite Summer.” I always avoided the longer works of Wallace due to their length. And the do-rag, of course. [shorties]

*Local: Did you know we have hip-hop in St. Paul? It’s a fact. Well, kinda. Here’s Labratz talking Pig’s Eye geography. I take the 61 bus to work. For your information. [mnspeak]

*Twitter: The twitter user @ShitMyDadySays got a book deal. TWOOK. It is coined. If it wasn’t already. I can’t bring myself to look.

*Statuses: Read these four things.

Links for 6.7.09: Written in the style of a Larry King USA Today column

Saw “Synechdoche, New York” this weekend. Was it just me, or did that movie make you feel like you’d dropped a twelve different kinds of acid? Still, that Hope Davis – what a knockout … Have you seen that Star Wars film? With Harrison Ford? (My wife is telling me it was a trilogy.) Then you’ll love Hot Chicks with Stormtroopers. (Some of them didn’t seem all that hot to me.) [spincity] … In 65 years in the business world, I’ve learned one thing: Never wear a beard to an interview. Regarldless, here’s a beardfolio. [notcot] … I’m reading Walter Isaacson‘s biography of Ben Franklin right now. Man, was that guy pithy! … Everybody hates an uncomfortable interview. Unless it’s really uncomfortable – like these 6 awful interviews with musicians [mental floss] … Singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson died of a freak fall in his St. Paul on Friday. He was 31. Mortality fucking sucks … You know that thing that Oprah does? Twittering? Tweetering? Anyway, I’ve decided that this is my favorite tweet ever … Speaking of Twitter, Stephen Johnson wrote a much-linked-to Time magazine article about how Twitter will change the world … Mae West is a LOCK for a Tony Award tonight! … I swear I’ll never do this again.

Links for 6.3.09: Sexy uglies, wild dog commuters, Seeking Seekins, pudding…

*Cork: Is it art or is it cork? This reminds me, I have several cases of wine that need drinking. Boxed wine. But I will be wearing cork pants while drinking it. [bits]

*Twitter: Two interesting tidbits from this post from Economix (a highly recommended blog from the NYT) about Twitter – 1) The median number of lifetime tweets among all twitter users is one. 2) Men are 15% more likely to follow men on twitter than they are to follow women. Also, Kirstie Alley may have found her medium. I don’t know what that says about her. Or the medium.

*Music covers: The 20 personality traits of record and CD covers. They’re not exactly personality traits, but they do point out some of the form’s shorthand. [presurfer]

*Trailers: The video for the Beatles Rock Band game is lovely and amazing and animated and lovely and nice. Bollocks.

*Food: Ice cream that turns into pudding? What will they think of next? Beer that turns into martinis? OMG, BRB. [lowindustrial]

*Humans: Nerve puts out its own list of the 20 Sexiest Ugly People. Biz Markie at #15 is an inspired choice. Additionally, and for the record, my looks have been compared to John Malkovich’s on a number of occasions. And now I’m crying. Crying into my cupped hands. While typing this. [urlesque]

*States: In Nate Silver’s (is he Sir Nate Silver yet?) most recent article for Esquire, he points out that Minnesotans are happier with the state they live in than Hawaiians, and are near the top of the happy meter among states. (The article doesn’t appear to be online yet.)

*Local: I saw Minneapolis artist and man-about-town Scott Seekins yesterday and promptly reported him to SeekingSeekins. (I used the name JOSH in this report and may have exaggerated some portions of the encounter/sighting. Don’t hate me because I’m stupid. Or because I look like John Malkovich.)

*Commuting: Wild dogs take the commuter trains from the suburbs to the city in Russia. Fucking freeloaders. [treehugger]

*Local: A short story in the fiction issue of the New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen takes place in our beloved St. Paul. This local blogger was contacted by a NYer fact checker about the story.

Also, Heavy Table names the city’s two worst cups of coffee. AND I AGREE. (Also, Nina’s has pretty nasty coffee. Java Train also pours a terrible cup. Great train, though.) [brauer]

*AN OPEN LETTER TO HARPER’S: Open up your RSS feed. Make your page somewhat readable. Good content; please let me see access it without such pain. Thank you.

Boring and local: Minneapolis and St. Paul Twitter users

Local: After very little deliberation, I’ve decided to embark on a HIGHLY UNSCIENTIFIC examination of the content quality of Twin Cities Twitter users. I’ve checked out the Twitterholic lists of Minneapolis users, the Twitter Grader things, The Deets‘ F/U formula and all the commentary around them, Minneapolis’ tag on WeFollow and poked around on LocalTweeps. All kinda interesting; some drier than others.

The bottom line is: a qualitative assessment seems in order. The usual caveats apply, of course – to a painfully boring degree.

“There’s no one way to use twitter.” (There are people out there, believe it or not, who believe in “retweeting.” WHAT THE EFFING EFF??)

“There’s no one way to describe twitter.”

“Taste is subjective.”

But REALLY. There is such a thing as smart and slacking, as interesting and boring, as funny and tired. And it seems the sheer volume of the former, the former and the former can overwhelm.

Additionally: I am normally nonplussed by “the local.” The oh-so-holy local. And that’s being charitable. If there’s one “next” frontier of the internet that’s been jammed down my throat like an entire canister of taste-free Saltines, it’s the nebulous and oh-so-effing-righteous idea of the “local” and its incredible power. I swear it’s a conspiracy to get me to read much more really boring shit than I want to, or else to feel guilty when I’m not reading it. Because I should be reading it. Because it’s local.

NONETHELESS: I get, of course, that there’s some inherent value baked into listening to and exchanging ideas with those who share your space and can share your experiences. And, in fact, I follow (and usually, frankly, work with) some Twin Citizens who are brilliant, witty, wise and worth giving some small portion of my media attention to. And hence this thing.

A few ground rules:
-I am operating under the assumption that there is such a thing as good.
-Anyone who mentions Ruby on Rails goes back to start and must work very hard to become interesting again.
-I don’t like James Lileks, but I’m trying to keep an open mind here. You never know.
-I find bacon, coffee and punk to be tired. Hobos are on the edge; tread lightly.
-My opinion should mean very little to anyone.

Anyway, if I find anyone who is any good, I’ll report the results.

Quick links for 4.6.09: The Half-Assing Edition

*Digital music: Check out the Tone Matrix. But first “Please install latest flashplayer.” Also, I am an idiot.

*Albums: Bearded Iron & Wine singer-songwriter-maniac Sam Beam is putting out an album of rarities called “Around the Well” on June 1st. What are the odds he will include an idiosyncratic-but-charming podcast on that album? 0%.

*Cooking: Kate Moss has a cookbook coming out. Somewhat related: Blueberry is Minnesota’s state muffin. I’m a cranberry/white chocolate man. But you knew that already. And I’m not talking about muffins. (WHAT?)

*Beef: If you love beef, you will love Toby Keith vs. Ethan Hawke. There are no losers in this beef. Because there are no winners in this beef. And I hate Ethan Hawke.

*Heroes: Browse this gallery of Mexican Superheroes. [lyrical_miracle]

*Work: The Workaholic Suit is padded so you won’t hurt yourself if you keel over. They couldn’t have at least made the tie striped? I mean…

*Local: A Minneapolis bike company hired a local writer to compose a series of 17 fictional posts as a way to build traffic and brand recognition.

This dovetails with something I’ve been wondering. For any localites (or non-Twin Citizens, I suppose) reading this: Are there any qualitatively good twitterers from Minneapolis or St. Paul that I should know about? I don’t care about numbers of followers. I do care about signal vs. noise (I’m for the former), entertainment or insight (I’m for either), and generally low volume (not, like, 20 a day). Any suggestions appreciated (it’s complicated, ok?). I may not follow your advice.

*Today’s links: F. Never half-ass it.

Links for 11.17.08: Hank Jr. hits politics, Last.fm data vizzies, Rihanna’s tats…

*Vizzies: Holy. This Last.fm data visualization makes me wish I still used Last.fm. Except for it messing with all my shit and being a total pain in the ass. And embarrassing me with my own bad taste. [duke listens]

*Politics: Hank Williams, Jr. is ready to run for U.S. Senate as a Republican. Say what you want about the guy’s politics, fashion sense, singing, and choice of eyewear — he has a great beard. Or at least he did at one point. [9513]

*Rap: Eminem’s new album, “Relapse” will be released in early 2009. For me, Eminem will always be equated with Dave Chappelle’s chant of “Spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti.” [daily swarm]

*Grooming: Sean Combs comments on his genital grooming, “I shave and groom my private areas. It’s a better presentation for me.” Pretty sure one of Moses’ laws was “Thou Shalt Not Present to Thyself.”

*Enigmas: Prince is anti-gay. And spells things his own way. But some people still want to have soup with him. Of his knocking on doors as a Jehovah’s Witness, he says “Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they’re really cool about it.”

*Tats: Rihanna has the word “Shhh…” tattooed prominently on one of her fingers. It seems ill-advised, though I have myself been considering getting a chicken wearing a birthday hat and holding a cane on my deltoid for the past 1.5 years.

*Ideas: The Boston Glob‘s [sic] Ideas section, if I remember correctly, was the only part of the paper really worth reading. Here’s a recent exploration of what Depression 2.0 might look like. [waxy]

*Tech: Jerry Yang will step down as Yahoo’s CEO as soon as the company’s board can replace him. In punctuation style, Jerry was the lowercase yang to Kanye’s capped YIN.

*Politics: Hillary to accept Obama’s offer of Secretary of State post, according to the Guardian. Who do I think I am? C-fucking-N-N? [huff po]

*Kids: In an out-of-touch article by Joan Acocella, the New Yorker posits that there’s an overparenting epidemic in America. Working mothers, of course, are to blame. The Wall Street Journal‘s The Juggle has extensive commenting on the matter. [Who do I think I am? Dr. Fucking Spock?]

*Maps: Old maps of human brains. We didn’t know shit about not knowing shit back then.

*Hey, look: It’s Bon Iver at the Turf Club! [s4xton]

Links for 11.3.08: Def Jam’s loss, AC/DC’s Wal-mart, Bono’s stall…

*Obits: The head of Def Jam records, Shakir Stewart, killed himself. He was 34. I’m 34. Ugh.

*Retail: This is where I will be spending the next four years if the election goes badly. “At 12:01 A.M. on October 20th, Wal-Mart opened a temporary 3,000-square-foot store on Hollywood Boulevard devoted entirely to AC/DC’s new album, Black Ice.” It is what they call “all in,” motherfuckers. [licensing plate]

*Bono: The U2 Tower, a dockside development in Dublin that includes a recording studio and some sort of edifice, has been put on hold due to the worldwide economic meltdown. The tower, as it was known, was to have been built to resemble Bono’s sunglasses.

*Money: MTV will soon offer rights holders an option: They can have copyright-protected materials that are user-uploaded removed OR they can have revenue-generated ads placed around those videos.

*Automotive: I blogged previously about Neil Young trying to take his car clean tech. More on his efforts at Linc Volt, via Venture Beat. If anyone wants to steal my grease for biodiesel, I’d appreciate being informed ahead of time. And THAT IS a euphemism.

*Sleep: The Boston Globe offers up a diagram full of hints on napping. I notice there is no mention of Benjamin Franklin’s cold-air bath. Disappointingzzzzzzz. [swiss miss]

*Fashion: Converse will roll out Black Sabbath-brandend shoes in time for the holiday season. Because who doesn’t appreciate the gift of satanic footwear?

*New Yorker: Sasha-Frere Jones writes about the rise of country music’s Taylor Swift, visiting St. Paul’s Excel Energy Center in the process. Oh, and he came dangerously close to hating on St. Paul while he was here, too! Weee!

*Notice: Americans, there is an election tomorrow. You know what to do.

Links for 10.2.08: Nintendo’s music machine, Clown calendars, KFC rocks…

*Videogames: A next-gen Nintendo DS that takes pictures and plays music is ready to launch in Japan. I almost bought a DS a couple months ago, but I felt like too much of a 12-year-old girl in doing so.

*The Years: The 2009 Naked Clown Calendar will break your heart if it doesn’t break your eyeballs first. It’s not safe for work. And it’s not safe for posterity. [best week ever]

*Age: Lil Wayne thinks Brett Favre is 3900 years old.

*Product placement: KFC will appear in the Guitar Hero World Tour game with “cameo” appearances. I don’t know what this means, but I do think the Famous Bowl is the most depressingly genius invention of the 21st century.

*Politics: John Hodgman handicaps tonight’s vice presidential debate in a post called ADVANTAGE PALIN. The guy knows how to write a kicker.

*More politics: Obama (iPhone app) vs. Palin (ringtones) [licensing plate and fimoculous]

*Local: Poetry has been embedded in my neighborhood. Originally, we thought it was ambitious graffiti artists, but apparently this is state sanctioned verse. (You will note that the “Advice for Gardeners” poem featured in the above link is an acrostic.)

Notes on Republican National Convention music

Execrable local newspaper the Star Tribune highlights some live music that’ll be playing in and around the Twin Cities during the Republican National Convention. See especially the Take Back Labor Day concert at Harriet Island, which features populism-pimping acts such as Steve Earle, Atmosphere, and The Pharcyde.

Furthermore: Said paper does a Q&A with Spearhead’s Michael Franti, who says, “I want to share my music with Republicans, Democrats, black, white, anyone who wants to hear what I have to say.”

1) Did the Strib really need to cut this interview into multiple pages? They didn’t. And it was a bad decision to do so.

2) I once did security at a Spearhead concert. I was positioned directly in front of the stage, and before the concert started, some sage old stagehand gave me this piece of advice: “If the crowd surges, go over the stage or go under the stage. Don’t try to hold them back.” And that advice is as relevant now, to the Star Tribune, as it was back in the day, to me.

Additionally (and as mentioned previously), on September 2 at the Fitzgerald Theater, the ProVention Concert will feature a lot of local and quasi-local musicians singing for Peace, the Planet and some other “P” I can’t remember. Acts include The Honeydogs, Haley Bonar, and Dan Wilson.

Links for 8.12.08: Mog’s ad network, NIN’s HBO show, Napster’s fall, Snot’s demise…

*Social media: MOG has added Rick Rubin to its board and has also created a music blog ad network. For me, MOG has always been in a weird in-between space that I couldn’t connect to on any level. Not social enough to be a good social media tool, not enough stats to compete with last.fm. I still have found no good reason to log on.

*NIN: Trent Reznor’s Zero may become an HBO series? I think Ian McShane should star.

*Business: Napster subscriptions are down 52,000 subscribers in Q2 over Q1. Tough times. I still think someone will crack subscription music. I can’t stand managing files; it’s a waste of my time. (Though I still have found no better alternative.)

*Local: Snot, of Puke and Snot, has died. One half of the most famous Renaissance Festival pair of all time has passed away at the age of 57. First Bernie Mac, now this. Ugh.

*Celebrities: TMZ has dug up some Ryan Seacrest beefcake photography. BEFORE he was bitten by that shark.

*Toys: The Teddy Bear MP3 player makes it easy to listen to digital music. Even if you are 12-18 months old.

*Local: If you don’t want to go to a Rage Against the Machine concert during the Republican National Convention, you could consider putting up an Unconvention yard sign. [metblog mpls]

*Hello: It’s my brother’s birthday. Happy birthday, Ian. You are almost as old as Jesus.