Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blogging the Fair

Here's a neat deal, Would have known about this fair blogger if I read the Pioneer Press on a regular basis. I know - - I should; living in a St. Paul suburb, there's no reason to hang on the the Star Tribune. I actually enjoy buying the Pioneer Press from the newsstand. It's only 25 cents - that's one quarter dollar. Even if all you read are the comics and do the crossword puzzle, that's 25 cents well spent.

The Hobbled family will attend the Fair on Labor Day. It's the last day, so it's kind of sad, but lots of great deals - half price stuff, etc. This will be my 42nd fair. Not bad for a 43 year old guy. My parents took me at age 5+ months for my first visit. I only missed one year - in my mid-twenties - you do a lot of stupid things in your mid-twenties. What a wasted decade that was (hmm - possible blog fodder for later.) Back to the Fair - considering I attended the Fair multiple times some years (as a teen, the obligatory "with parents" followed by "without parents" nighttime visit), I've probably gone 50 times at least.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

For Some Reason, I Feel Mocked

Perhaps it's my own insecurity, but I think someone is mocking "us":

NYTimes has a slideshow of the selection and coronation of Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

Via Kottke.

To hell with them. Long live Princess Kay.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Confessions of a 6 Year Old Coffee Drinker

Lileks defends the occasional visit to McDonalds and Krispy Kreme (his first with daughter):

She was very impressed by the donut. “It was awesome,” she said.

And yes, I am trying to raise a fat kid. Of course! Goes without saying! McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme – that's all she eats. Look: we do McDonald’s once a fortnight, at the most, and she has a cheeseburger. No soda, no juice, no fries; she gets the apples. Occasionally I buy a small fries, and we split that. We never get donuts. But that’s not POLICY, it’s just the way we live. If it’s POLICY then you make the forbidden things alluring and attractive; if you stigmatize them you undercut your own authority because they see no reason why the items are taboo, and if you make all sorts of heavy food rules whose moral weight exceeds that of the Ten Commandments then the kid's going to have food isssues. Make the fun stuff part of a rotating sequence of balanced indulgences that roll around with predictable regularity,, and you raise a sane kid. Says me. Get back to me in a decade.

Now, I don't I care what Lileks thinks about me, but I use this to launch into a discussion about how difficult it is to raise "healthy eaters" (the kind of kid that requests tofu over chicken nuggets). Certain family members (you know who you are) think it's easy. Even the Hobbled wife beats herself up about it from time-to-time.

For whatever reason (OK blame me), my kids were never the super-crunchy granola types. They don't like tofu, they eat a limited range of vegetables, but enjoy most fruit. Not bad - overall. I can live with that. When I was their age, I ate from a varied menu of about 6 items. I hardly ever touched vegetables (except carrots) and really wasn't much of a fruit freak. All that came later. As a kid, we had pop in the house (RC Cola was the poison of choice). I grew up drinking pop (soda for those outside the MN area), and coffee (oh yeah, I started the bean at about age 6 -- really.) Today, we rarely if ever have pop in the house - likewise we never were too big into "juice boxes. And neither kid has started coffee - - yet.

Not sure where this is going. Just thought the Lileks thing was good - better to show them how to eat it responsibly than FORBIDDING it altogether. Kids will be exposed to junk food - and worse - as the years go by. Best to use responsibly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hmm - Hadn't Thought of it That Way

Here's a great bit from Jim William's column in today's Star Tribune about birding sewage treatment plants:

If the idea of birding near a sewage treatment plant doesn't appeal to you, I leave you with this thought from John Sterling, an environmental specialist for the state of Oklahoma.

"Just remember," he said, "nearly all the drinking water in the world has been through someone or some animal at least once."

$32.77 - I'd Be There

Sunday (8/21) marked the 40th anniversary of the Beatles performance at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington - about one mile from the Hobbled Runner's "log cabin" birthplace.

I've seen the Inflation Calculator referenced by several blogs lately, and thought I'd give it a spin to determine how much in "today's dollars" the "good seats" for the Beatles show would cost. Turns out to be quite reasonable, $32.77 in 2005 dollars for the good seats - they were $5.50 in 1965.

Sir Paul is scheduled to appear this fall at the Excel Center in St. Paul. He is asking way more than $32.77. In fact, the cheapest I found were $95 each - behind the stage. One could argue that he should charge $8.20 - or one-fourth of $32.77.

Cut to /SNL Transcript Nov. 20, 1976, with George Harrison:

George Harrison: Fine, I'll tell you one thing, you ought to get in straigt in the future, you know..?

Lorne Michaels: If you don't go on tonight, it'll break his heart. You see, I thought that you would understand, you know, that it was $3,000 for four people, that it would just be $750 for each of you. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, I mean, you could have the full $3,000. But the network..

George Harrison: It's pretty chincy..

Lorne Michaels: Well, I'll tell you what. I know there's $250 available for the opening, for the person who says "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night".

George Harrison: [ smiles excitedly, and turns to the camera ] "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Get 'Em While They're Hot

One of the nice things about working in a 24x7 operation is that the folks who work 2:00 - 10:30 p.m. often bring in fresh cookies.

Oh yeah - the peanut-butter ones with chocolate stars!

From: Amy
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 2:09 PM
To: Team
Subject: Cookies near Cube XXXX

There are not very many - I burned the last dozen when I received a phone call this morning!!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Home Alone + 1

Hobbled Wife and Daughter are in Chicago - along with 4 or 5 other mom/daughter pairs at the American Girl "Thing". I don't quite understand it, and neither does M. She is not an American Girl girl - more of a Barbie and Polly Pocket kid.

Dude and I had a busy day yesterday: Roseville Library, Target (birthday presents), then home. Later that afternon, more errands, then Como Park (Conservatory and Zoo), and finally Joe's Crab Shack, where we met two other dad/son refugees of the American Girl weekend. We chose Joes' for the outdoor sandy play area. Highlights of Joe's: Dude successfully navigated the monkey bars, but himself - very exciting. Dad spilled beer on himself, wet shorts, underwear, leg and sandal. Nice! We took a shower together when we got home to rid ourselves of beer and sand.

Today, birthday bowling at noon, then dinner with neighbors tonight. I volunteered to bring the salad - the hostess had suggested bread (typical guy fare) or dessert (probably thought I could buy cookies at SA). She was a little surprised when I offerred up the salad. The only reason I do this is to score "husband points". (Psst - somebody tell the Hobbled wife when she returns.) That - and I feel a need for healthy food after Joe's Crab Shack (where I ate too many fries with my Macademia Mahi - damn good fish for a chain), and the anticipated birthday cake this afternoon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Preschool Graduation

Tonight was the Dude's Preschool Graduation ceremony. It was held at the home of one of the owners of his day-care/pre-school, Lasting Impressions. The evening was pretty low-key: potluck dinner and a cute little ceremony. Lots of chances to take pictures - and I grabbed a lot. Here are just a few. The picture of all the kids and their teacher, Angi.

A interesting shot of parents taking photos. The Hobbled Wife complimented yours truly on the interesting blurring effect. Thank you, thank you very much, but I think I just happened to slip while snapping the shot.

Finally the proud parents, including the Hobbled wife in her very cool sequined shirt - courtesy of Target.

Of Course - you already knew this

The women in my family have known this for years:

When all else fails, there is always the option of common sense. Sleep is quite possibly the most important factor in health, and neither caffeine nor sleeping pills nor adrenaline can substitute for it. “As it looks more and more like some of these processes occur exclusively during sleep and can’t be reproduced while we are awake, the consequences of losing them look more and more terrifying,” says Stickgold. “And that’s the experiment we are all in the middle of, right now.” [emphasis mine]

Link source: Newmark's Door.

Shake It Up Baby Now . . .

I sometimes think the only two things at kept me sane through adolescence were running and the Beatles. Running 40 - 50 miles a week, year-round, helped keep the adolescent hormones in check—for the most part.

The Beatles were another part of it. I listened to all their albums over-and-over, and read all the books - this was circa 1976 - 1980. Considering I hardly ever listen to them anymore, it’s amazing what I retain.

The e-mail exchange with a co-worker below illustrates what is “hogging” all the space on the old “hard-drive”. Scroll to the bottom to start.

From: John Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 2:28 PM
To: Scott
Subject: RE: T&S
I should lend you one of my tapes or DVDs so you can see them in action. T&S is a little confusing. The screaming is Paul - - he's always the screamer - - modeled after (one) of his idols - - Little Richard.

The way it usually works is during the Ahh, Ahh, Ahh "building" part of Twist and Shout, John starts with the first Ahh, then Paul with Ahh number 2, then George with number 3. As you probably recall, the Ahhs continue to build, and it's usually Paul (based on my video observations) who keeps contributing "new" Ahhs. I even saw Ringo join in once, but he usually has his microphone trained on his drum kit, so you don't actually hear him.

Sharing Vocals: John and Paul actually share a lot of vocals - usually for parts of songs. I Saw Her Standing There for example, it's Paul's lead, but John joins in on the "bridge" or whatever they call it - - "Well my heart went blue, when she crossed that room, and I held her hand in mine" - - then Paul takes over, "Well we danced through the night, etc. " Then they sing together on the "And I saw here standing there" part.

Probably more than you needed to know.


From: Scott
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 2:19 PM
To: John
Subject: RE: T&S

Now that is interesting.

I never really cared who had the lead until the other day. At first I thought it was John, and then I thought I heard John's distinctive voice doing back up.

So they don't share any lead vocals?

In addition to thinking I heard John on background, the lead vocals sound like some of Paul's screaming on other songs like I saw her standing there.

From: John (West)
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 2:09 PM
To: Scott
Subject: RE: T&S
I don't know if Paul has ever performed it solo/live. After all, it's a "John Song" - he has the lead.

Twist and Shout was recorded at the end of the Please, Please Me session (their 1st British album). They had already been in the studio about 12 hours, and John who had a cold (listen carefully to Anna on that album - very nasally - even for a Liverpudlian) was losing his voice. Legend has it they did in in one take.

Here's a cool link to information about the song, including "blooper" style trivia.


1:19 * NEW *
In George's solo, he carries one too many strings on the downstroke of the third pass through the riff. I've always liked the chord that this accident makes :)
Careful study of Paul's first "aaah" will show that half way through the pitch flattens slightly.

From: Scott
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 8:33 AM
To: John
Subject: T&S
I was listening to Twist and Shout the other day, and the vocals are pretty impressive.

I wonder if Paul ever performs this any more?


"My" Liquor Store

Cool - the Bleat leads with a photo of "my" liquor store - the one I frequent most often. It's a nice place - very small, good wine selection - in my opinion - but then I enjoy red wine over ice on hot summer days. Oh, and very helpful staff.

It's right on the corner of Raymond and University on the western edge of St. Paul. Very cool signage - love that clock - it really works!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Not a Team Player

No, I did not get the memo. In fact there was no memo. Yet - I was the only one of the management team at last night's work-related St. Paul Saints game/tail-gating party not wearing "the T-shirt".

All Signs Point to . . .

If I believed in these such things, I'd think the universe was trying to tell me something.

First, we have last night's successful (yet) short pain-free run.

Today, two former colleagues I meet in passing, strike up conversations with me. These are two people I usually don't chit-chat with anymore. Number one question from each: "Are you still running?"

Does no one know I'm Hobbled?

Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks I'm hobbled anymore.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Not So Hobbled Runner

Long, busy day. Work was non-stop, but in a good sort of non-stop way.

After work, I attended our department's annual party. This year it was a tail-gating St. Paul Saints game. The rain held off, and the Saints almost pulled it off in the bottom of the 9th.

As the game ended, the skys opened up. I RAN to my car - about 1/2 mile away. I ran fast, and I was drenched - but my knee didn't hurt. Can it be - I wasn't Hobbled? Probably too busy avoiding puddles, pedestrians, and cars to give my brain time to remind my knee that it wasn't supposed to work.

Despite my late arrival at home, no one was asleep. All very tired, but awaiting the arrival of the Hobbled Runner with pipe and slippers, as usual.

Just finished straightening up around the joint, and am trying to unwind online - it never works, so off to bed.

Did I mention that my knee didn't hurt?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Blurry Monarch Caterpillar Photo

Frog-Boy and I are busy posting new material to the Spy Family website. He thought I should post this picture on my site. So here it is. It is a (blurry) shot of a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant taken at Maplewood State Park last weekend.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Wait - Was that the Hobbled Runner?

Several people at last Wednesday's Turtle Races in Perham, Minnesota reported seeing a figure that looked remarkably like the famous blogger, the Hobbled Runner.

Though he tried to hide behind shades and a Padres cap, several locals became suspicious when he was heard to complain loudly, "Why can't you get a decent cup of cappuccino north of St. Cloud anymore?"

When a few blue-haired ladies pointed and screamed, our hero quickly dashed across the street into Bev's Book Nook.

Cabin Adventures

Busy few days at the cabin. Some friends of ours stayed at a resort at a nearby lake, so their two kids were a great source of entertainment for the Hobbled children. Lots of fishing, swimming, turtle racing, and more.

New this time - a visit to Maplewood State Park. We've always been meaning to stop by - it's only about 20 minutes from the cabin, but this time we finally followed through. Took a short hike around a lake. Lots of laughs as the Hobbled Runner and Missy M came up with trail names for the gang. The Dude was dubbed, "He Who Leaps with Joy", as he set off quickly down the path, across a little prairie and into the woods.

Boppa (aka Jake) was named, "He Who Reads Maps", as he he stood for what seemed like an hour at the trailhead, trying to decipher the map we picked up at the park entrance. The man would not move until he had that map down cold.

The kids and I were well into the woods, resting on a tree when He Who Reads Maps finally caught up. Oh -- and he was quite satisfied with himself - since he knew where he was going, and from whence he came. [Remind me to tell you about the time Jake and I put together a swingset. No one had ever read the instructions that carefully - - not even the guy who wrote them.]

Other pics from the park include Maria's attempts to fend off boredom. The result: some surreal shots taken while skipping along the path, a few real cool shot of dead trees in water, and a deer track on gravel road.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Some Like it Hot

Love this stuff, espresso porn.

Totally work safe, though might induce a strong desire to drop everything and head to a coffee shop.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hot Hiking

Whilst Mrs. Hobbled toiled away for the greater good - she went into work to move her own office - fun - the Dad and the kids had a busy Sunday.

First off to Grandma's. She is a very busy woman. Grandma quickly advances up the ladder in the senior high rise political world. She is now vice-chairman of the RAC. Not sure what that stands for but it sounds like some sort of uber-committee, a committee on committee. Bottom line: she must attend 16 different meetings a month. Each month. Ugh!

Next stop, Minnehaha Falls where we hiked from the Falls, following the Minnehaha Creek, to where it runs into the Mississippi River. Hot day (90+) but it was a dry heat. As we all know, it's not the heat it's the humidity. Highlights of the hike: climbing the sandstone (limestone??) cliffs. Throwing rocks into the mighty Missipp, and finding all sorts of very large fish skeletons (and one very smelly muskrat/beaver?? carcass) along the banks of the river. We even enjoyed a little dip in the creek before marching up the 130 steps (yes we counted) from "below" up to street level.

Topped it off with ice cream cones and iced coffee, the former for the kids, the latter for the Hobbled Runner. Little change in the eating accommodations at the Falls. Gone is the concession stand of days-gone-by, and in it's place is a new place, the Sea Salt Eatery.

Obligatory restaurant review follows Sea Salt Eatery - nice, but not your father's old concession stand. Two ice cream cones and iced coffee set us back $12.00. Wow! It was good stuff (Sebastian Joe's ice cream), but my how times have changed. The old concession and souvenier stand sold popcorn, postcards, ice-cream, and pop. $12.00 would have bought two cones, a couple of popcorns, some pop and postcards to send all you guys (pre-blogging). Next time, we hit the Dairy Queen - conveniently located just a block away.

What was nice was the staff didn't seem to mind that EVERYONE was there for ice-cream cones. Perhaps it was the time of day, 3:30, between lunch and dinner. Maybe we all just missed the old concession stand. Another nice thing - BEER. Didn't order any this time, but saw a British family order an entire pitcher of Summit and take it outside to one of the nice little tables. Oh - and the iced coffee was damned good.

Pics to follow.

Bootleg - Nice

Hobbled Wife and I enjoyed a nice dinner out last night. Sat outside at WA Frost. [Caution - link opens with music - yuck!] Went the whole nine yards - appetizers, dinner, and dessert. I know, I know - big deal you say. Those of us with kids take life's simple pleasures where we can. One interesting highlight, the Bootleg - a gin, lemonade, mint combo. Very tasty.

Hope to post later today with cool pics of our recent adventures at Minnehaha Falls. Several attempts to post that last night failed - Blogger problem??

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lean, Mean, Yoga Machine

Oh yeah, study suggests that Yoga helps reduce that mid-life spread:

Middle-aged people of normal weight generally put on pounds over 10 years, but those who did yoga gained less weight than those who didn't practice yoga.

The link between yoga and weight loss has nothing to do with burning calories, said Alan Kristal, one of the researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who co-authored the study.

"Except for very strenuous yoga practices, you don't really burn enough energy to make any difference in terms of weight," said Kristal, who has practiced yoga for 10 years.

Instead, he thinks yoga helps keep people more in tune with their bodies and eating habits and aware of bad habits, such as eating because of stress, boredom or depression.

2008 Blogging

Campaign blogging - thanks to Instapundit, I stumbled across this piece:

IT IS TIME for Democrats to stop moaning about John Roberts and John Bolton and start doing something productive -- such as figuring out how to win elections.

Even though Democrats continue to resist the outcome, George W. Bush won the 2004 presidential contest. His reelection triggered a time-honored cliche: To the victor, go the spoils. Bush selected a Supreme Court nominee and an ambassador to the United Nations who reflect his philosophy. Any Democratic president would do the same.

Good advice, but it still seems to really energize the Democratic base to continue to point out that Bush looks like chimp, or that he “stole” Ohio,

Democrats continue to fight the last campaign, while Republicans are planning for the next two. While the Democrats are busy bashing Bush -- a second-term president who is not running for anything -- the Republicans are working on their strategy for victory in 2006 and 2008. Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, continues the GOP outreach to Latino and African-American voters. Dividing up the Democratic base and conquering even a small piece of it helps Republicans in future elections and hurts Democrats.


Democrats should also do with stem cell research what Republicans did with gay marriage: present the issue for a vote on every possible state ballot. Republican Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader from Tennessee, just demonstrated the power of the issue. Frist's surprise endorsement of a bill that would approve federal funds for new lines of stem cells enraged the right. But Frist knows the political center supports it, and the political center is where a presidential contender wants to be. In stem cell research, Democrats, for once, have an issue that fires up their base and cuts to the center, across diverse demographic groups.

That Frist move really woke me up. What's he doing breaking with the base? Running for President obviously. Just when you thought you could count on Repubs to do the reactionary thing when it came to medical research. Next thing you know, Frist or some other Presidential contender will come out in favor of evolution - or at least against “creation science” or “intelligent design”.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Heat Exhaustion

Got off work early tonight to be the grill-meister for the end-of-season soccer party at our place. The only good thing about grilling in the sun at 90F is that the "regular" weather feels "cool" when you walk away from the grill.

Now I feel queazy, slightly dizzy, and my tongue is tingling?? Better get some fluids and lie down. But not before I post a soccer team picture.


Having just come back from "up north" and driven through Baxter, MN, this headline grabbed my attention, Sprawl of the Wild: Baxterization, beaten paths, and the great riparian land rush of northern Minnesota, by Mike Mosedale in the latest City Pages.

Now Baxter represents something entirely different: not your arrival to the wilderness, but suburbia's arrival to the wilderness. There are few marks to differentiate Baxter's 371 from the commercial frontage roads that line the interstates of Bloomington, Woodbury, or Minnetonka. The development is a monument to the modern face of big-box American commerce. Arriving from the south, the first major retailer a traveler encounters is a newly opened, 207,000 square foot Wal-Mart Superstore.

To be honest, I don't think it's that bad. It is nothing compared to Bloomington, or Woodbury, two suburbs that I spend a fair amount of time driving through or in. In addition to driving through this stretch of Baxter, we spent a few days on this actual piece of 371 in March when we stayed at one of those motel-water parks with the kids. Much fun! By my recollection, there are only three stoplights (I could be wrong) along this stretch of 371. Yes, there is a Walmart, in all it's big-box ugliness, but in March I also visited the Caribou Coffee, Cub Foods, Culvers, and a pizza place in the area. None of these are "high" culture stops the likes of which one would find in the Twin Cities, though I suspect some in Baxter find Caribou a little snooty.

I share the author's other concerns raised in the article: off-road ATV damage, overdevelopment of lakes, the loss of small "cabins" being replaced by larger "lake homes". What "gets my goat" is the knee-jerk "development is bad" argument in the paragraph above - it helps to mention Walmart - the bogeyman of all developments, but there are two sides to every story.

I suspect many rural Minnesotans are excited about Walmart - or at least the opportunity to have access to lots and lots of stuff cheap. If I lived "up north" I think I would begin to resent all those Twin Cities folks who wanted to keep my home (where I live year-round) under some sort of glass bubble, just so they can enjoy the "up-north" experience on weekends and holidays.

Balance - you gotta have balance - that's all I ask.

Besides the neat Rapid River Lodge - located within walking distance of the Caribou, Baxter marks the start of the Paul Bunyan Trail, an innovative reuse of old rail lines. The trail starts at a very cool looking rest-area complete with a big parking lot for those who want to park-and-ride.

Whoa - - where am I going with this?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hummingbird Moth

Went out to get the paper about 5:50 a.m. When I bent down to pick up the paper, something caught my eye. A large moth - looked almost like a hummingbird - was buzzing about the phlox, and sipping nectar (or whatever one finds in phlox). I'd heard of these before but never seen one, most likely a White-Lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth.

Bird Field Guides sometimes reference them, because at first glance they appear to be hummingbirds sipping nectar from flowers. Upon closer inspection, this one appeared greyer (dustier - if that makes sense), and his wings seemed to be flapping slower - I could see the wings better than with a hummingbird - whose wings almost "disappear" they flap so fast.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Stupid Camp Tricks

You pay a fortune to send your children to enriching summer camp experiences and this is what they come home with - the old roll-your-eyes back in your head to expose only the whites trick. Every generation thinks they invented it. It still gives me the willies to see it. Little brother is still an apprentice eye-roller.

Survived the Weekend

Pictures to follow, but just a quick note that I survived 8 under 8. The only pain to report is my very sore shoulders. I was able to swim a great deal (on my own) in the shallow but weedy bay the cabin sits on. Each sport brings its own aches and pains.

Pleasant Lake is the big lake to the east of Hackensack on the map.

Worlds Best - World's Best???

Learned from About Last Night that the Chicago Manual of Style has its own website.

Apparently you can post questions and the editors respond. OGIC from About Last Night read all the archived comments, and posted this one:

Although the sign was incorrect, I’m not sure you should annoy the person who provides the enchiladas.

This brought to mind a co-worker of the Hobbled Wife whose biggest pet-peeve was (is?) business signs with incorrect grammar.