Tag Archives: minnesota

Wait. WHAT?

10 Dec

Take a look at this truck and tell me what’s wrong with it. If you answered nothing, you are so wrong I can’t even fathom how you have the brain functions to breathe. If you said EVERYTHING! MY GOD, WHY THE FUCK WOULD SOMEONE WASTE ACTUAL MONEY ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!? then you are correct. This, good people, is how to waste said gobs of money. (Also, this truck is about an inch off the ground and it’s winter in Minnesota. I know it has air suspension, but come on, this is just grotesque.)

Truck Monstrosity

Truck Monstrosity

Truck Monstrosity

Truck Monstrosity

Truck Monstrosity

Truck Monstrosity

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One of Them Fun, Long Weekends Where Lots of Stuff Happens and Money is Spent Freely

10 Jan

This weekend flew by, but in a good way. I ended up going to First Avenue twice (once unexpectedly) and also checked out a rare car.

7th Street Bathroom

7th Street Bathroom

If you’ve never been to First Ave, here is what the bathroom at the 7th Street entry looks like. Why did I take this picture? I’m willing to bet you can guess my state of mind at that point of the night. Regardless of how drunk I may or may not have been, at least it’s interesting. I mean, the stainless steel urinal is pretty sweet.

And here is a picture of some act playing music. I have no clue who it is, what they were playing or if they were good or bad. But there ya go. I never got to find out who these people were (which isn’t a big deal) because we ended up going to the 7th Street entry to watch karaoke. Well, I watched. Two of my coworkers decided to let loose their pipes and get up on stage. The picture below is one of my coworkers. The other would not allow me to publish his picture. Decide for yourself what that could possibly mean. And that was all on Friday night. Saturday night I ended up right back at the same place for Too Much Love, a Twin Cities dj dance night. I did not intend to show up there, but thanks to alcohol, I did. It was actually pretty fun and even if you don’t care to dance, you can get so much enjoyment from watching other people attempt to shake their ass while totally inebriated.

First Avenue Band

First Avenue Band

7th Street Entry Karaoke

7th Street Entry Karaoke

First Avenue Too Much Love Dancefloor

First Avenue Too Much Love Dancefloor

And then the car. This is a Tesla. It is carbon fiber, based on the Lotus Elise and is completely, 100% electric. This is one of four in Minnesota and costs $158,000. It is extremely cramped inside, hard to get in and out of, has about a 200 mile range on full charge, but looks really good. Plus, the steering wheel is really tiny and fits in my hands really well. I would never want one though as I need to hear the noise of the vehicle for it to offer any excitement for me. I can’t get behind the electric car for this reason. And pumping in fake noise is just wrong. Also, there is no room for golf clubs, and that is a big no no in my book.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster Interior

Tesla Roadster Interior

Tesla Roadster Interior

Tesla Roadster Interior

The Lakewood Cemetery

12 May

At the intersection of 36th and Hennepin Ave a traveler can go in four equally distinct directions. In one direction, down 36th, a person will run into Lake Calhoun, and the masses of people who crowd around it on pretty much every day of the week during the summer. In the other direction on the same road, one will find the Interstate, which can lead them to anywhere in the Continental United States, if they should so choose. Hennepin poses a whole different, yet equally different scenario. Travel north on the avenue, and you will first run into the hip and trendy Uptown portion of Minneapolis, before actually diving directly into the heart of the beast. But on this blustery, cool and overcast day, I chose to turn south on Hennepin and enter into Lakewood Cemetery.

Lakewood is home to some of the most famous names in Minnesota business, industry and entertainment. The cemetery was founded in 1871 and features a park-like atmosphere that was designed to resemble the popular cemeteries popping up on the East Coast that featured these rural and country appearances. It has long been revered as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country and the chapel on the premises is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the beautiful landscaping, art and architecture, one will find a bevvy of famous dead people, including Charles Lindbergh, congressman and father of the aviation pioneer of the same name, Franklin Mars, creator of the Milky Way candy bar, and Tiny Tim, the falsetto-voiced entertainer of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” fame. Luckily, without even knowing it, I happened to stumble upon many of these famous tombs and graves and have a collection of pictures to prove it.

With the sun trying to burst through the ever present grayness of the day and the wind turning Lake Calhoun into a white-capped expanse, I secured my bike at the entrance and, with my backpack slung over my shoulders, I started to trek into the unknown at around 1:30. I would have loved to have taken my bicycle into the cemetery so that I could get around faster, but they are prohibited from being ridden around. No matter. I knew this going in and had on my trainers for just that reason. From simply walking past the place down by the lake, I knew where I wanted to go first. So I took off to the right, following one of the many snaking roadways throughout the grounds and proceeded to the farthest corner and the big plot that was over there. Directly in the corner of the cemetery, overlooking the lake for all eternity, was the former owner of the Minnesota Twins, Carl Pohlad and his wife. The man had a vast, vast fortune and never felt the need to shell out for a decent free agent to upgrade the roster, but he was also the man responsible for keeping the Twins in town, so was both a loved and hated figure at the same time.

The Pohlad Headstone

The Pohlad Headstone

To his immediate and forever left (at least looking at the gravestones from my perspective) – go figure – was the grave site of the Wellstone Family. Paul Wellstone was a beloved Democratic Senator from the state and was died in a plane crash in 2002.

The Wellstone Head... uh, stone

The Wellstone Head... uh, stone

As you can see from this picture here, his undead corpse must have recently escaped, only to have been driven back to the world of the dead. His freshly sodded grave stands as a testament that even when zombies do rise from the grave, a swift decapitation is all it takes to make them truly rest for all eternity.

Where Zombie Wellstone Tried Escaping

Where Zombie Wellstone Tried Escaping

Next to the Wellstone grave someone I had never heard of, but they seemed to be pretty famous. Not only did this Joseph Francis found and invent many invaluable services and items, he was even knighted by the crowned heads of Europe! This man, whom I had never before heard of, was quite the person when alive and someone who more people should probably find out about (and I include myself in that group as well).

Joseph Francis Grave

Joseph Francis Grave

Joseph Francis Accomplishments

Joseph Francis Accomplishments

The next headstone to grab my attention was that of a Mr. John Shaw and his wife Frances. The reason that this grabbed my attention was two-fold. First, the date. He was born in 1795 and his wife in 1804. Not only were they one of the oldest graves I found, but Mr. Shaw actually died before the cemetery was founded. And his wife died three years after the founding, making this, probably, one of the oldest grave sites in the cemetery. I have to wonder whether John’s body is actually buried here, meaning he was dug up from another cemetery, or if he is just here in spirit and his body is elsewhere. Of course, what I really hope happened is that his body was buried here before the cemetery existed, and that they built the place around him. Now that would be a story to tell.

John Shaw Headstone

John Shaw Headstone

This next towering tombstone features a name that will be familiar to anyone who has ever been to the grocery store and needed to buy some soft, doughy crescent rolls. Plus, their mascot, the Doughboy, has shown up in numerous TV shows, including The Simpsons. The Pillsburys founded their company in 1872 and because their product required shipping all over the country, they also helped to fund railroads in Minnesota. Here you can see where the family and their descendents are buried. It is a massive monument in their honor, and they no doubt have the money and fame to get away with it.

The Pillsbury Monument

The Pillsbury Monument

Pillsbury Grave

Pillsbury Grave

This grave got me. As I was wandering about the place, I came upon a grave that simply said “Lindberg” and I thought to myself that there was no way this grave could be that of the famous aviator. And I was correct. This grave happens to belong to someone who just happens to share the same name as the famous aviator, but spells his last name without the h at the end. So close, but so far. Plus, this grave is a little plain for a family this well known in Minnesota.

Charles Lindberg Grave

Charles Lindberg Grave

Here is another one that got me going. This is Grant’s Tomb. But not exactly. This is because it is the tombstone for a Ulysses S. Grant… you know, like the former President of these United States! But obviously, it is not for that one. It is another case of people being named like other, more famous people. Also, if you are ever asked who is in Grant’s Tomb, you can honestly say that his wife, Avis, is. Because here is the proof.

Grant's Tomb

Grant's Tomb

This next one is very recent, but still has history behind it. This is the grave of Master Gin Foon Mark. He was a 5th Generation Master of the Kung Fu style called Southern Praying Mantis. I love his gravestone. Not only does it stand out from all the others thanks to the lions at the side and the black color, but it also includes his logo with the praying mantis in it! This was an unexpected find and one of the better headstones from that day.

Master Gin Foon Mark

Master Gin Foon Mark

Southern Praying Mantis Style

Southern Praying Mantis Style

Another teaser. This is not the same one who invented Morse Code.

Samuel Morse Grave

Samuel Morse Grave

There is more to this cemetery and I spent about four hours wandering throughout the grounds. I think that my next post is going to be some of the interesting headstones that I found and some of the larger mausoleums that entomb the dead. Obviously there are a lot of people buried here and my goal is to find some of the more famous among them, including the real Charles Lindbergh and Tiny Tim. However, because this place takes up so much space, I am going to need to find a map so that I can better figure out a way around. It is a beautiful place to be on any day of the week, but I must be going back when the weather is a little less cold and the sun is shining instead of simply peaking. Truly a wonderful excursion and excuse to get out of the apartment.