Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Westerberg's Sister Profiled in Star-Tribune

Deborah Caulfield Rybak, Star Tribune
Last update: October 22, 2005 at 6:44 PM
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Mary Lucia kicks back at Java Jack’s.

Known for her velvety voice, Mary Lucia does national commercials for Purina Dog Chow’s Beneful line.

Ah, the exciting life that alternative music queen Mary Lucia must live when she's not on the air at the Current (89.3 FM), the eclectic, noncommercial radio station that's taken the Twin Cities by storm. The concerts, the parties, the musicians, the 24/7 lifestyle. ...

The glam fantasy sets off the trademark Lucia laugh, a warm, deep chuckle utterly familiar to a devoted fan base that wouldn't think of missing her personality-filled music show from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

"Actually, I don't get out much," she confessed. "I have a friend who lovingly refers to me as 'Anne Frank.' I work a ton and then I come home. I love my house. I love my books and I love my three cats. I aspire to be that cat woman."

Lucia, 36, had agreed to forsake her felines for a few hours on a brilliant fall morning. As she sat basking in the sun at Java Jack's, a south Minneapolis hangout, the witty brunette reviewed - with no small amount of humor - a career that now has her perched in the catbird seat at a station backed by the considerable resources of Minnesota Public Radio. Unlike the commercial alternative music stations where she previously worked, the late, much lamented Rev 105 and, later, Zone 105, the Current appears to have some staying power.

The Minnesotan was studying theater at New York University in the mid-'90s when she first heard about plans to start Rev 105 in the Twin Cities. She was ready for a change. "I just hated actors so much - all they ever talk about is Acting - and all I wanted to do was go to a rock concert."

She moved back to town and miraculously persuaded Rev's program director to hire her, although she had no radio experience. "It really was magic. Everyone had the exact same goal: to have a ball, make really good radio and support local community and music."

Lucia's easygoing radio personality, intelligence and musical taste brought her instant attention, not only from listeners, but from local ad agencies. They snapped up her dulcet tones for voiceover work, which continues to support her comfortably.

"I'm the voice of Purina Dog Chow's Beneful," she said, intoning as proof, "Helpful, flavorful Beneful, now in a Ziploc pouch. ... "

After the Rev's demise, she worked at Zone 105 as a morning host with Brian Oake. "Normally, the shtick is that the woman is an idiot and the man takes advantage of her," Lucia said. "But Brian is one of the most enlightened men on the planet, so it was like coming into work every day to talk to my best friend, read the newspaper and get paid."

But Zone tanked in 2001, and for the next three years, Lucia contented herself writing a monthly column for the Rake magazine, doing voiceover work and a little acting (she played a lawyer in a local indie film, "The Last Word").

"I figured I was done in radio. I'd rather drive a railroad spike through my head than play the Grateful Dead ... sorry."

Her attitude changed when she heard about the Current. "I shot [program director] Steve Nelson an e-mail that said, 'Dude, you know I'm not dead and I'm not under a bridge drinking Scope - yet.' "

When the station was launched in January, the music library consisted of "13 CDs on a shelf, and two of them were Johnny Cash. So we all came from home with armloads of our own stuff and that's how we went on the air."

The station's personality-driven format is especially welcome to her. "I love that you can turn on the radio and know who's on, based on the sound. I really love to rock. I enjoy glam rock and odd pop rock that I think a lot of people would be incredibly embarrassed to say they like. But I don't care if it's music from the Partridge Family, it will sound really fresh when I put it next to something brand new."

You won't find her playing "electronic music, alt country or 'baby woman' music - an adult woman singing like an infant."

The Current's active online use has been a challenge. "That community is so strong you're literally being critiqued as you go. In what other job can you say something dumb and immediately 50 people write, 'She's so stupid'? I played Foghat's 'Slow Ride' the other day because I thought it needed to be heard, and people were immediately stirred up."

Lucia grinned.

"It's one song. Go make a sandwich and come back; you'll love it in five minutes."

Deborah Caulfield Rybak • 612-673-4996

Live Sex on CNN!!!

As usual, I had trouble sleeping the other night so I turned on CNN (an awesome antidote to this problem. I was drifting off once again when I heard a CNN reporter yelling about people fornicating behind him. I looked up, and this is what I saw (this is not a work of Photoshop).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pam Homan, Get Out of Town!!!

I realize that there are few more thankless jobs than school superintendent. There’s just no way to satisfy many people. One the one hand, there’s a (growing) number of folks who would love to see the curriculum and budget return to pre-1950’s standards. (Case in point - there used to be this minister who was a talk-show fixture who always complained about property taxes. Yet, as one school board member pointed out, the fact that he had eleven children go through the school system meant that he had more than received his money’s worth.)
On the other hand, there are people with a bit of a pie-in-the-sky outlook who believe that money is no object, and our schools should have nothing but the best.
They key to any school superintendent is to balance these opposing views, and create a school system that’s the best it can be given the financial and curriculum limitations.
For the longest time, I didn’t have any problem with our current superintendent, Pam Homan. I had no problem with the fact that she lived outside of the school system that she was to govern. However, she agreed to find a home in the city, and it was recently revealed that after two full years she had yet to fulfill that promise.
In normal circumstances that would be a forgivable situation. And I also sort of admired her for standing up to the morons at KLEM-Land for not giving in to their repeated questions about the silly Roosevelt oral sex controversy. I’m sure that she legally could not comment on the specifics of the case, or the names of the people involved. Their feeble attempts at rephrasing the question over and over (and then airing it) made them look like complete fools.
But I can no longer stand up for Ms. Homan. A couple of weeks ago, a handful of parents began making the media rounds complaining about a new middle-school sex education curriculum that was set to be put into use later this year. Their complaints – they didn’t like the program’s definition of abstinence, and the teacher’s materials included information on oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation. Never mind that our schools were not going to use these chapters. The controversy resulted in complaints from 18 parents.
That’s right…18 parents out of thousands. I would guess that at least 15 of those 18 would complain about any sex education program. After all, sex is a sin.
What did this Ms. Homan do? She pulled the program. She then held a public meeting where only the complainants could speak. How fair is that?
As Clean Cut Kid recently wrote on his website, “Pam, you’re falling for what is probably the biggest game these fundamentalists play on society. These people are not mainstream. They are on the fringe…why are you falling for the prudish agenda of these fringe fundies?”
This is the society we live in today. The FCC goes after television and radio personalities based on the complaints of a handful of letter-writers with no lives. The moral minority labels anybody who has opinions other than their own as unpatriotic or lacking morals. Now it’s hitting close to home, as the so-called morality of a handful of people are affecting the education of thousands.
As I stated last week, open discussions involving sex are probably more important in these times than in any period of history, and even what some may see as taboo topics can be done in a way that’s not advocating the practices. Maybe this sort of teaching could have prevented the Roosevelt bus travesty. For those who disagree with me, I have one question – would you rather your children learn about sex from trained educators, or from other sources such as their friends, the internet, Skinemax, or your own (supposedly) hidden collections of porn? After all, we know that most of you fundamentalists have a dark side that would put us heathens to shame.

More on Tommy Stinson With Soul Asylum

Concert review: A revitalized Soul Asylum is all there in spirit -- and then some
Jon Bream, Star Tribune

You say "replacement," I say "renewal."

"Replacement" was on everybody's mind as Soul Asylum returned to the stage Monday night at First Avenue for the first time since founding bassist Karl Mueller died of cancer in June. Indeed, Tommy Stinson of Replacements fame made his debut Monday night with Minneapolis' biggest band of the '90s.

After a mere three days of rehearsal, Soul Asylum sounded renewed and revitalized. It was partly because the 80-minute set included several new songs from a CD recorded with Mueller that is slated for a winter release. It was partly because lead singer Dave Pirner and lead guitarist Danny Murphy are finally ready to move on. And it was partly because Stinson and powerhouse drummer Michael Bland, who'd signed on a year ago, kicked the butts of Pirner and Murphy, who have been rocking together since 1981.

"How 'bout this bleeping rhythm section?" Pirner asked the nearly 500 fans. "I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have these guys with us tonight."

That was an understatement. The arrival of Stinson, whose rock 'n' roll personality disguises what an underrated pro he is, and Bland, the diesel that drives this runaway rock 'n' roll train, has transformed Soul Asylum from a good band to a potentially great one. It's also an historic quartet, featuring members of three of the Twin Cities most famous rock acts -- Prince, the Replacements and Soul Asylum.

There were some amazing moments on Monday, especially a piledriving rendition of "Somebody To Shove" which brought visions of Stinson in vintage Replacements, Bland in his Prince days and Pirner and Murphy in their full punk-pop f ury. Some new numbers also stood out, notably the edgy, intense "Bus Named Desire" and the night's final tune, a surging, full-throttle rocker about weapons of mass destruction.

A couple of the new tunes raised a skeptical eyebrow, namely the acoustic-driven heartland rocker "Standing Water" and loud, Brit-like "Oxygen." But to see Pirner, 41, carrying on with the joy of a 20-something punk was as reassuring as it was exciting. He was clearly having a wonderful time, egged on by the fun-loving spirit of Stinson, who isn't one to just stand there and stoically play bass like Mueller did. The rooster-haired Stinson -- the Los Angeles resident who still ranks as one of Minneapolis' great rock characters ("I know I don't have to introduce him," Pirner said before introducing him) -- carried on like the rock star he is. He windmilledhis right arm, climbed on Bland's drum kit, seized the mike to declare that one tune "was very nice" and jammed face-to-face and back-to-back with Pirner like they were a couple of kids playing their first rock show.

Despite the fun, Pirner did get emotional at one point. He said he wanted to dedicate this show -- and every show -- to a "friend who is here in spirit." He then led a chant of "Kar-rul, Kar-rul" before easing into "Crazy Mixed Up World," a quieter, tuneful new piece that was sentimental and questioning at the same time.

The historic evening, a tuneup for gigs this week in New York and Memphis, got off to a crazy, mixedup start. The band was supposed to have performed at the tiny, sold-out 7th Street Entry, where new bands typically start out. But there were problems with the sound system during the opening act's set, so shortly before Soul Asylum was slated to take the stage, the show was moved next door to the more spacious First Avenue. That the band, without a soundcheck, was able to quickly adapt to the situation without any hitches was further testament to Soul Asylum's spirit and will to move on.
City Pages

Soul Asylum's return to the stage
"Thank you; thanks," Dave Pirner told a half-full First Avenue Monday
night; "(I've) been saying that a lot lately."

Pirner has been through the sort of year that forces a guy to either
quit or count his blessings. June saw the death of his friend, Soul
Asylum bass player Karl Mueller, and August saw the probable
destruction of Pirner's home in New Orleans. He will see the damage
first-hand next week, but first he and the revamped Soul Asylum took
to the stage for the first time since Mueller's death.

In November of 2001, Mueller told the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Our
first show was Friday, Oct. 13, 1981. It was in the old (7th St.)
Entry. The old layout. We opened for Husker Du. I was 18 years old,
wasn't even old enough to be in the bar, and I was playin', and it
was really fun, and (the Huskers) were in their early glory."

I suggested to Mueller that Soul Asylum might be like the Ramones,
who named one of their albums "Too Tough To Die." This is what he
"I think it might be that we're more stubborn than tough. It's
something that we all got comfortable with at some point. That took
over 10 years, probably. We just enjoy it. There are a lot worse ways
to make a living, and we've been lucky."

Soul Asylum showed their stubborn streak Monday, playing a 80-minute
set that incorporated new songs from a forthcoming album with old
hits, including an especially poignant "Runaway Train" and "Closer To
The Stars." On bass was Tommy Stinson, the former Replacement; on
drums was Michael Bland, and on guitar was Dan Murphy.

Missing was Mueller, and everyone in the place felt it--even though
Pirner gamely tried to conjure him with a chant of "Karl, Karl," and
suggested that his spirit was alive and well and in the house. But it
was Murphy's body language that reflected the gig's surreal nature,
which caromed between survivor's guilt and workmanlike epiphany.

While Pirner and the animated Stinson did their best to whip up
energy, goof around, and go on with the show, Murphy spent much of
the night with his eyes shut tight, concentrating on his playing, and
avoiding eye contact with his bandmates and the audience. Near the
end, Murphy tried to muster some enthusiasm by climbing on top of his
amp riser and bouncing to the front of the stage, but it was clear
that he dearly missed his friend.

He wasn't alone. Even though the band in question would blow away
most comers, and even though Karl was buried months ago, many found
themselves saying goodbye-to both Mueller and the band he started-
because on that stage last night there was a hole in the Soul.

Posted by Jim Walsh at October 25, 2005 09:15 AM

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Childhood Hero Dies

--The Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee- An icon in professional wrestling circles who was considered a man of the people because of his blue-collar Milwaukee roots, Reggie "The Crusher" Lisowski has died, losing his final bout to a non-cancerous brain tumor, his son said. Lisowski, 79, died Saturday night, having never fully recovered from surgeries to remove the tumor at the base of his brain stem, David Lisowski said Sunday.

The two surgeries affected The Crusher's ability to swallow and left him partially paralyzed. The brawny brawler had to be fed through a feeding tube for several months.

But the operations never crushed Lisowski's spirit, David Lisowski said.

Through it all, the Crusher kept on working out.

"He worked out on his last day. That's how he wanted to go," said David Lisowski, of Delafield. "He did concentration curls and triceps work. He just had to work out every day. . . . In his mind, he never thought he was old."

Lisowski, who played fullback for South Milwaukee High School, learned to wrestle while in the Army in Germany during World War II, old newspaper stories about him say.

The Crusher came back from the war and played semi-pro football, his son said.

Then one night, Lisowski, went to a carnival in town. There, someone had set up a ring and was urging people to step up. If you could beat the guy in the ring, you would get a $1.

"Well, he stepped into the ring and beat him, and he got a buck," David Lisowski said. "He did this for a couple of days and beat everybody. That's how he got interested in wrestling."

From there, he learned that some wrestlers worked out at the Eagles Club, so he joined. Eventually, he hooked up with a Chicago promoter, who got Lisowski matches at a small armory in Chicago, where the wrestler earned $5 a night.

In Chicago, Lisowski drew the attention of a promoter who booked wrestlers from all over the nation. That promoter, according the news reports, put Lisowski on national television and took him on the road. At one point, according to a 1952 news article, Lisowski drew 8,000 people to a bout in Buffalo, N.Y.

Lisowski and his family lived for a time in Canada and in Texas while he pursued wrestling full time, David Lisowski said. Eventually, they returned to the Midwest and Wisconsin, where the cigar-chomping, beer-drinking Crusher quickly became the people's favorite.

"The Crusher was a mainstay in professional wrestling for so long," promoter Frank DeFalco said of Lisowski's more than 30-year career, which spanned from the 1950s to the 1970s. "He sold out the Milwaukee Auditorium and Arena on a number of occasions."

A promoter along the way once said of Lisowski that the wrestler "just crushes everybody," David Lisowski noted, and that's how the name "The Crusher" began.

Though he began his career as a bad guy, people took to the barrel-chested wrestler. "He never really changed his style. He was a villain, but for some reason people started liking him more," David Lisowski said.

DeFalco says that was because The Crusher was just a good "old-fashioned wrestler."

In 1985, a reporter asked The Crusher why he was so popular in Milwaukee. "I think the working people identify with me, because years ago I worked when I wrestled, too. I worked in a packing house. I worked at Ladish, Drop Forge, Cudahy Packing House. I was a bricklayer. But finally, I got away from punching the clock," he said.

The flamboyant American Wrestling Association brawler became known as "the wrestler who made Milwaukee famous."

Some of the ads promoting wrestling, might have helped, too. DeFalco remembers one in which The Crusher had a barrel of beer on his shoulder and said he was going to kick "The Weasel's" butt all over Milwaukee and then "we'll have a party, take all the dollies down Wisconsin Avenue and go dancing." The Crusher was referring to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

In another commercial, The Crusher bent a tire in half. "Not many people can do that," David Lisowski said.

The Crusher teamed up with William "Dick The Bruiser" Afflis and won a number of tag-team titles.

Lisowski also participated in what people said was the first cage match ever, in which The Crusher took on Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon. At one point, Vachon was kicking The Crusher, and "some woman was climbing the cage to save The Crusher," DeFalco said.

David Lisowski said his dad won the battle - Mad Dog ended up in the hospital, but The Crusher was a mess, too. "He came out really beat up. His head was cut up. He had a busted eardrum. The whole right side of his body was bruised. But the next day, he went to Green Bay to wrestle," David Lisowski said.

In 1985, The Crusher, still a favorite son, battled seven others for a different title - best amateur conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Billed as the "Battle of the Batons," The Crusher took third.

Although flamboyant, The Crusher took professional wrestling seriously.

In 2001, after fellow wrestler Jack Wilson died, a Wisconsin Public Television reporter wanted Lisowski's number to interview the wrestler for a special on professional wrestling.

The Crusher wanted no part of it.

"People make a joke out of it," he said of wrestling. "But it wasn't a joke to me. It was a living."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thursday Night Riverwalk Jams

Musicians: Looking for a place to express your talents, play with other musicians, make new friends and, in the words of the immortal Howlin' Wolf, "pitch a Wang Dang Doodle?"

The Riverwalk Café, in conjunction with Urban Blues Development, are hosting an open jam starting Thursday, Oct. 20 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The jam is scheduled to run every Thursday in the same time slot.

So dust off your guitar, sax, drumsticks or whatever instrument you play. The jam is centered around blues and jazz, but rock 'n' roll, country or other musical styles are welcome.

"All good music is welcome," said Urban Blues Development guitarist Jess Christen. "Come on down and play some tunes."

The jam provides a chance for musicians to network, show off their chops, pick up gigs and - most importantly - have a good time.

Audience members will be treated to an unpredictable and exciting listening experience. James Luther, Riverwalk proprietor, said the open jam is way to show his "establishment's commitment to local artists."

"The Riverwalk promotes local music," he said. "Our main goal is to provide a space for local musicians to play."

So if you're tired of playing at home or singing karaoke, come out and play with some real musicians. And unlike other so-called jams, attending musicians will get a chance to play, not just sit and watch.

There will be a P.A., drum kit and drum and bass amp available at the club. Fussy musicians might want to bring a favorite amp; the Riverwalk isn't a huge venue, so amplifier stacks probably won't be needed.

So don't spend Thursday on the couch watching T.V. or in some boring bar, come on over to the Riverwalk and play some tunes, or just enjoy the good sounds.

For more information go to

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Roosevelt Bus Incident, and the History of "Get Out of Town"

Before I launch this week’s rant, I’ve got a little personal business to address. For those that have never met me, or are not familiar with my past, I thought I should explain the history of “Get Out of Town”.
During the glory days of the Tempest, one of my favorite issues was a special edition that included a cover story entitled “Ten People Who Should Get Out of Town”. Besides the actual article, the meetings that decided which victims would be featured was always a drunken blowout. While there were at times some hurt feelings, such as the heated debate over whether the head of the Washington Pavilion should be included (I prevailed but lost a friendship), these gatherings generally were the highlights of the year.
The resulting issue was always the most popular of the year. Quite often, they were hard to find after the first couple of days. As for the “victims”…well, many had a pretty good humor about it while others made all sorts of legal (and not so legal) threats.
When the magazine was sold in the late 90’s, both the special issue and the camaraderie disappeared. I finally threw in the towel a couple of years later, and the magazine eventually folded. A couple of years ago, my good buddy Cade asked me to revive the topic for my weekly appearance on KRRO. Since then, I’ve included the text of these rants on the web, first on my website ( and now on this blog.
Why have I included this history lesson this morning? In recent weeks, I have received a number of comments on this blog and also personal emails that have consisted of nothing but personal attacks full of obscene language. It’s not that the language bothers me…I could give a shit. It’s the fact that nobody tries to prove me wrong. They just scream that I’m this or that simply because they don’t agree with my opinion. And that’s all it is – an opinion; one that I was asked to author.
I don’t claim to know everything. Hell, I don’t claim to know much about anything. But I am admittedly an extremely opinionated person...but not one who lives in a bubble. I write this material to provoke a dialogue – to make people think a little. I invite people to correct me if I’m wrong, or if you don’t agree with me. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dialogue. Just a few weeks ago my opinion of a county commissioner changed because of a flurry of emails back and forth. But just screaming that I’m an f-ing this or that does nothing but reinforce my opinion.
Let’s move on to this week’s topic. I’m going to tread a little lightly here, as the last time I addressed a situation involving high school students I was dragged into the general manager’s office. I don’t have time for that sort of hassle.
By now you’ve probably all heard about the controversy involving students at Roosevelt High School. On a bus trip returning home after a game in Rapid City, there was an incident involving sexual contact between a male and female student. While nobody’s speaking on the record, the most often-mentioned rumor involves an adult-age male, a younger female, oral sex, and a camera phone. That’s all I’ll say here…and that’s more than the local media can say.
Not that this hasn’t stopped them from turning the same two sentence story into a nightly lead story. All three stations should be embarrassed by their behavior. They have filmed Roosevelt buses traveling to another game; they’ve asked school board members the same question over and over and over; they’ve interviewed students in silhouette that have had nothing to say other than they’re upset that their school is looking bad. Each of these stories have been prefaced with an intro by a concerned-looking anchor that the upcoming story is a “parent’s nightmare”.
Come on – this is not a story that deserves such coverage. I could understand the first story, and then one more after authorities had turned over the matter to the county (or counties) where the incident occurred. But that’s it. Anything more adds nothing to the story, and makes our reporters and anchors appear like Greta Van Sustern and her hard-on for the story involving the young woman who disappeared in Aruba.
It’s also not an indictment against young people (I should say teens, as KELO likes to use that term when young adults get into trouble). This was an isolated incident that happened on an extremely boring bus ride in the middle of the night. It was stupid, they were caught, and now the legal system will decide if a crime occurred.
On the other hand, let’s be real about this. Young people are having sex, and if there’s any lesson to come out of this incident, it’s the need for parents and children to have honest conversations about the topic. Just saying “don’t do it” and having your kids sign abstinence pledges isn’t enough. You need to have a running dialogue with your children, or you could very easily end up a grandparent a few years before you’re ready.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wal-Mart Narcs


Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

But that's what happened on September 20.

Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights," she says. One student "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's-down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."

According to Jarvis, the student, who remains anonymous, was just doing his assignment, illustrating the right to dissent. But over at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where the student took his film to be developed, this right is evidently suspect.

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service. On Tuesday, September 20, the Secret Service came to Currituck High.

"At 1:35, the student came to me and told me that the Secret Service had taken his poster," Jarvis says. "I didn't believe him at first. But they had come into my room when I wasn't there and had taken his poster, which was in a stack with all the others."

She says the student was upset. "He was nervous, he was scared, and his parents were out of town on business," says Jarvis. She, too, had to talk to the Secret Service.

"Halfway through my afternoon class, the assistant principal got me out of class and took me to the office conference room," she says. "Two men from the Secret Service were there. They asked me what I knew about the student. I told them he was a great kid, that he was in the homecoming court, and that he'd never been in any trouble."

Then they got down to his poster.

"They asked me, didn't I think that it was suspicious," she recalls. "I said no, it was a Bill of Rights project!"

At the end of the meeting, they told her the incident "would be interpreted by the U.S. attorney, who would decide whether the student could be indicted," she says.

The student was not indicted, and the Secret Service did not pursue the case further.

"I blame Wal-Mart more than anybody," she says. "I was really disgusted with them. But everyone was using poor judgment, from Wal-Mart up to the Secret Service."

When contacted, an employee in the photo department at the Wal-Mart in Kitty Hawk said, "You have to call either the home office or the authorities to get any information about that."

Jacquie Young, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart at company headquarters, did not provide comment within a 24-hour period.

Sharon Davenport of the Kitty Hawk Police Department said, "We just handed it over" to the Secret Service. "No investigative report was filed." Jonathan Scherry, spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., said, "We certainly respect artistic freedom, but we also have the responsibility to look into incidents when necessary. In this case, it was brought to our attention from a private citizen, a photo lab employee."

Jarvis uses one word to describe the whole incident: "ridiculous."

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fake Names, Fake Letters, Fake Opinions

In the past few weeks, you may have noticed a number of letters to the Argus Leader regarding Stephanie Herseth and her supposed abandonment of the Democratic Party. Although each of these letters were signed by a different name, they were all extremely similar in not only the basic opinion but in writing style, language, and main talking points.
Clean Cut Kid also noticed these letters, and did a little investigating. These letters were “signed” by people with the names Jack R. Thompson, Mark L. Chandler, and Justin R. Sanders. CCK performed internet searches on these names, looked them up in various phone books, and even checked voter registration records of both parties. This last search was, in his opinion, most interesting. He wrote on his blog, “these writers seem to be politically aware – they note specific legislation…one would think they would take the time to register to vote to make sure their opinion is counted on Election Day”.
CCK’s conclusion was that it was possible that Republicans were behind a conspiracy to create an “impression that Democrats aren’t behind Representative Herseth and weaken her”. While it certainly sound absurd, at first I had no reason to doubt this possibility, as this is an era where there really are no limits as to what either party is willing to do to strengthen their own side.
It turns out that CCK was partly right. The letters were fake, but they didn’t come from Republicans. In his October 9th editorial, Argus head honcho Randall Beck acknowledged that the paper had been hoodwinked. Spurred by a call from Herseth’s office, which was probably spurred by CCK’s post, the Argus did an investigation of their own.
The letters in question all came from the same apartment on Kiwanis Avenue, and they all shared the same phone number. When the Argus contacted the phone number last week, they came into contact with a person who identified himself as Kurt Woodard, who also had a letter recently printed. Woodard claimed the other names were of roommates, who conveniently were not around at the time of the call. How could they? They don’t exist.
Funny thing is that the only real person of the whole sad saga, Mr. Woodard, is not a Republican. He’s the state coordinator for an organization called Progressive Democrats of America, an organization that’s known for being extremely liberal.
Obviously, Mr. Woodard’s anger with Herseth is real. And, truthfully, there are quite a few people out there who are not happy with some of her decisions – particularly her vote for the bankruptcy bill, the silly flag burning law, and the extremely scary so-called “obscenity bill”. But if one is to publicly complain about a public official, one cannot bend the rules to create an impression that there’s a bigger groundswell of discontent then there really is.
Furthermore, the fact that he utilized pseudonyms to preach his opinion showcases a lack of guts. It’s pretty easy to attack others when there’s no opportunity to fight back. The same goes to those on the internet that hide behind silly fake names (or no names at all). While I allow these sorts of comments not only on this blog but on my message board, I don’t take too much credence in what these people have to say. I’ll always put my money where my mouth is, and I’m more than willing to take the hits that I’m bound to receive on a daily basis for my silly rants. But why would I pay any attention to hateful, yet generally poorly-written, name-calling from somebody who refuses to sign their own name? Neither should anybody else, including the daily paper.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Chuck Luden Poetry Reading


This Saturday (OCT 15) long-time Rodeo Clown and Scientist, Charles Luden, will be splattering the audience with his self-styled/Chinese restuarant/goodtimes, heartfelt poetry.

The jazz act, Kind of Blue, will be accompying him.

Tom Foster will be helping out with the breaks.

I will be waiting tables and smacking Argus Leader food critics.

Come. Get Drunk. Have Sex. EAT BORSCHT!

Thank You
Scott L. E.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Melismatics at Mad Rock on Saturday

I've been told that I don't do enough to publicize upcoming shows, so here's a plug for the Melismatics, a great Minneapolis band that will be at the Mad Rock on Saturday, April 8. They've just released a new EP, Turn It On, which is currently blasting up the CMJ charts. Check out "Group Think", one of the tracks from that release.

Separated at Birth?

Which mythical character most resembles Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers -Strangers With Candy character Jerri Blank or the Star Wars guy? I pick Jerri Blank.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sioux Falls Canaries - Get Out of Town!!!

As many people know, I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with our local semi-pro – I mean minor league – sports teams. On one hand, I’ve always enjoyed myself at games featuring our baseball, football, basketball, and hockey teams. There’s not a lot to do in this town, so they certainly are a positive presence.
But I’ve always been troubled by the majority of these team’s self-importance. They quite often forget that for the most part they are a part of extremely small leagues at the bottom of their sport’s totem polls. Sure, the CBA was once the second best basketball league in the world, but with the rise of the NBA’s rookie league, along with other professional leagues in not only America but Europe, the CBA has dropped down quite a few notches.
It doesn’t help that our local media buys into the hype. They treat these teams with more reverence than they do the real major leagues. The worst was the radio shows featured across the hall from this studio – I used to get so pissed when Tony Kornheiser was interrupted for an hour of the most overused sports clichés.
My biggest conflict, and the winner of the worst radio show, is with the Canaries. Sure, there’s nothing better than to sit outside with a few beers on warm summer nights, but at least half the time I don’t even pay attention to the game. Between the beer, food, babes, and babbling who cares about the game?
The problem is that the team has always believed they were the New York Yankees, but played like the Milwaukee Brewers. Year after year we hear the same stories – this is the year we make some noise, but year after year they finish at or near the basement.
This sort of babbling was at it’s peak around five or six years ago when they played the card used by almost every major league team – they would move without improvements to their ballpark. They fed us a line that they were losing player after player because our stadium was below the levels of the rest of the league.
As usual, we bent over and did exactly what they wanted. Thankfully, Mayor Munson wasn’t in charge or we’d probably have the minor league’s only retractable roof. We made the improvements…and the team got worse. In fact, they’ve been as bad in the years after the stadium work as they were in the years before. Meanwhile, the very teams that supposedly were stealing our players were pointing to our stadium as a reason THEY needed a new stadium.
Now the team has an ingenious method to improve their record – they’re pulling out of the Northern League. Great move, guys. Of course, it’s not about the quality of play. They just weren’t having fun anymore. If that’s the case, why not fire the Director of Fun?
I’ve got a few questions for the brain surgeons who came up with this idea. Are ticket prices going down? Are they going to have a schedule that doesn’t book the same three or four teams seemingly every weekend? Are they paying back their share of the stadium improvements? If the answers to any of these questions is no, then it’s time for them to pack their bags and let the local amateur teams use the facility. And a quick note to the local media – why don’t you ask these clowns some tough questions from time to time? It’s embarrassing to see you guys suck up to this plan.

College Reunion

I'm not a very nostalgic person, but I must admit that I had a great weekend with my old college friends. Well, some of my college friends...mainly of the female persuasion (which is fine with me). For some reason, most of the dudes I hung out with back in the day were too busy to attend. And the ones who did show up in town obviously don't wear the pants in their family, as they felt it was all right to forget about their old buddies and return to their hotels (I'm talking to you, Mr. Hanson).
So I spent the entire weekend in the presence of women. The story begins a couple of weeks ago when the beautiful Morgan sends me an email stating that I was having a party on Friday night. Uh, ok. That works for me, I guess.
Yes, it did work for me. Besides Morgan, I was graced by the presence of Kelly, Jen, Janet, Jan, Amy, Michelle, Kim, and Kauline (although Jen's husband did show up later). Plenty of whiskey, wine, beer, and pizza were consumed...and I must admit it was like we'd all seen each other last week.
I opted to skip the silly parade the next morning in favor of sleep. In fact, I had some thoughts of skipping the entire day (wouldn't that be a typical Hudson move?). After hearing the pleas of a couple of pals, I decided that I would attend.
Again, another pleasant surprise. After a few minutes of feeling slightly uncomfortable (and a Windsor/Coke or two), I was babbling to anybody and everybody.
There were quite a few surprises - seeing the DeSpiegler family, Keith (Head) Hanson's monster of a five-month old baby, the sexier than ever Deb Peterson.
When the Minerva's get-together concluded, everybody was separated. Instead of my friends from Friday, I found myself hanging out with Kayla, Beth, and Sena. We wandered up and down Phillips, hitting every bar at least once (Stogies was one we ventured into twice). We also convinced a hotel bar to let us in after hours for a couple of beers and shots. I finally grabbed a cab around 3 o'clock.
The big surprise was the emptiness of Skelly's. Once one of the crown jewels of the downtown drinking scene, the bar was almost completely empty at 11 o'clock on a Saturday night. What happened to this place? Every other bar was close to capacity.
It was a great night, and I hope it leads to more good times with old (and new) friends.

Quote of the Day

PTI host Tony Kornheiser, after hearing President Bush tell Tim Russert that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers's "athleticism" was one of the attributes that led to her nomination: "Why doesn't he just nominate Barry Bonds?"

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Real Rocky

This guy's my hero.

Oprah Is Evil

This past weekend, I got in trouble more than once by making the above proclamation. I stand by my statement. I hate everything about her - the self-importance, the fake accents depending on the ethnicity of her guests, her studio audience's near orgasms over the most minor gifts or guests. Plus she forced that phony Dr. Phil on us. And we must add in the allegations of behind-the-scenes manipulation when other shows would rise in the ratings.

Today I found an ally in my hatred of this woman - Raymi the Minx. Here's her brilliant post:

i hate the stigma attached to stay-at-home-moms like they are unable to do anything other than making beds and lasagna. like on oprah today it's about this chick who wrote some songs and faith hill decided to use them on her album and oprah is all THIS STAY AT HOME MOM DID IT like stay at home moms are mentally retarded and she can't get over that this woman is able to write songs and then she is all ok RIGHT NOW you are on NATIONAL TELEVISION can you BELIEVE that this would EVER HAPPEN to YOU!?

oprah said STAY AT HOME MOM at least 20 times.

how about, WOMAN WHO HAS NO IDENTITY oprah?


oprah is such a fascist.

way to go there, keep on making women feel incapable and such tasks as writing songs seem impossible oprah and then have a whole hour segment about about how your dog isn't sociable.