Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Best Blog Filler

Exiled on Main Street won zero awards in the annual City Pages Best of the Twin Cities issue. But there were no zine awards at all; perhaps no one read zines anymore as everyone's blogging like crazy these days.

And since City Pages has not named a "Best Music Webzine" since 2001, we still hold that belt proudly. It looks good with the mesh hat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

What War On Terror?
"We Do Not Negotiate With Terrorists" Redux

The U.S. has reached a cease-fire with a group that it characterizes as a terrorist group. "During the 1970s, the group was accused in attacks that killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Iran. It reportedly backed the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, but later broke with Iran's government. The group has denied involvement in the killing of U.S. servicemen and says it didn't support the embassy takeover."

Monday, April 28, 2003

“It’s not a party without some pickled herring.”

Pickled herring. Scared to death of it as a child. My dad loves the stuff, he’d always try to get us kids to sample it. No way. “It’s not a party without some pickled herring,” he’d say. Nuh-uh, keep that stuff away from me. Even when I got older and acquired a taste for beer and found the food elements that made good party food (chips, dip, and ummm pretzels, right?), I stayed away from the pickled herring at family parties.

One time circa 1990, I was at a friend’s party and someone’s dad was there. What was he snacking on? Pickled herring. “It’s not a party without some pickled herring,” he said. (I swear.)

Finally, some years back when I was post-thirty and just a little less stubborn, I tried the pickled herring at my dad’s prompting. And it was freaking good! Goes great with beer, you get to have fun stabbing it and loading it into your mouth with a toothpick, and most importantly – you get to ask the folks around you with upturned noses if they want some pickled herring. Hate parties, love the pickled herring. In fact, I’m craving some as I type this, sipping on a Leiny.

And I blame tonight’s pickled herring craving on the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers, who writes that the Finns (!) claim that the stuff cures hangovers. Oh man, the chosen people have spoken. Should I forget about the little jars of pickled herring and just go for the big bucket of it at the store tomorrow?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The Free Booze Myth
An Effective Comeback For The Proudly Antisocial

I hate parties. Why stand in a room full of people I don’t know with nothing I can think of to say to any of them (or even a room full of people I know but see all the time anyway), when I can stay at home with loud rock ‘n’ roll on the stereo or a hockey game on the tube or a nice quiet book to read?

A common ploy used by friends in attempts to get me to attend their parties is to inform me that “there will be free booze.” For instance, a dear friend recently invited me to his wife’s baby shower this coming weekend by saying that the men would be in the basement “drinking free beer.” Aside from the fact that one of the privileges afforded the single male is that he is not required to attend bridal or baby showers, I felt it was my duty to expose Free Booze At Parties for the canard that it is.

Take the friend with the baby shower. Is it truly free to drink his beer? Well, there is no cover charge and he won’t be charging for each bottle of Summit, but what about the cost of getting to his free beer? He lives across town, so I would drive to his house. The round-trip mileage comes out to 9.4 miles. If we take the standard IRS 2003 mileage rate (based on an annual study that calculates the fixed and variable cost of operating an automobile) of $0.36 per mile, we come up with the following calculation:

9.4 miles x $0.36/mile = $3.39

So if I go to my friend’s party and drink one beer or ten beers, it will still cost me $3.39. But let’s assume I’m a responsible citizen and have three beers so that I am able to drive home safely.

Now let’s look at how much it costs to drink purchased beer at home. Let’s say I follow a general pattern and have on stock tasty Leinenkugel’s longnecks. I purchased them for $15.32 a case including tax. The cost breaks out to $0.64 per bottle. (Note: the mileage cost associated with purchasing this beer does not enter the calculation as it is part of my ordinary mileage. Mileage to a party is extraordinary and is hence treated as a cost.) If I have the same amount of three beers that I would have had at my friend’s party, the cost is as follows:

3 beers x $0.64/beer = $1.92

Hmmm – it actually costs less to stay home and drink beer I paid for myself then it is to go to my friend’s and drink “free” beer. In fact, I could stay home, drink two more beers (5 beers = $3.20 total cost), it would still cost me less, and I’d get a killer beer buzz to boot. As my eleventh-grade math teacher once said: “Put that in your calculator and smoke it.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hey Peter Forsberg:

If you’re one of the best players in the world, you should carry yourself as such. I’ve seen better acting in the soap operas on Univision.

I Got Wite-Out On My Mac Screen

Pursuant to my Neocons post from last week, the estimable Chad Doughty emailed me and pointed out that "most who are labeled (Neocons) are Jewish so the 'Jesus as my savior' line doesn't really fly with them."

Good point - I did not think the Neocon thing through. And it's nice to get correspondence that nicely corrects me instead of the usual insults I get. (A couple of weeks ago, somebody called me a Gore supporter. Sheesh!) I hope Chad checks out my links to the other blogs (like Fraters) and can find commentary that is better thought out.

As for me, maybe I should instead adopt the advice of a comic-strip barfly.

Dear Ladies:

1. It’s called a debit card. You pay for your merchandise with it, and the purchase amount is withdrawn from your checking account. The vendor will give you a receipt which you can than use to LATER record the transaction in your little checking register.
2. They’re called check carbons. When you write a check, you have an instant copy of it in your checkbook which you can than use to LATER record the transaction in your little checking register.
3. It’s called financial software. Instead of carrying around a little check register and logging your check and then calculating your checking balance with your little calculator while in front of me at the convenience store when you have written a check for a $2.87 purchase, you can LATER record the transaction in your financial software and it will automatically do the math for you. Neat, huh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


In the coffee shop, the vaguely punkish coffee girl sporting the midriff that shouldn’t be sported is working. Her boyfriend stops by, he almost always “stops by” while she’s on duty. Greasy hair, goofball wrong-size glasses, polyester brown pants, argyle socks, retro Cons – a true dork. He sits across from me at the table with the chubby, baby-faced, red-haired kid who always wears all black and is almost always here. I jot in my notebook and glance over to see the greasy boyfriend – as usual – studying his girlfriend behind the counter. I end up pretending to stare at the floor while I try to see how long he observes his girl talking to a male customer. I finally glance up to see the girlfriend watching me watch her boyfriend watch her. Creepy.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Good Friday

Jesus Christ walks into a hotel. He hands the innkeeper three nails, and he asks: Can you put me up for the night?

(Courtesy of The Crow.)

What’s The Secret Handshake?

Maybe I’ll turn into a Neocon. It sounds vaguely menacing, vaguely secret-society like. The Neocons. Schools, budget deficits, recessions, unemployment – forget it. If I’m a neocon, all I want to do is kick ass and take names. And come to think of it, forget the teachings of Christ and that Just War Theory rabble I’ve been boning up on lately. If you’re a conservative, all you have to do is lay down enough “Jesus is my personal savior” crap and the wacko fundamentalists will support ya – they’ll find passages in Revelations to prove you to be on Providence’s side. Man, you are good to go.

So yeah, sign me up! And more importantly, who do we go after next?

Iran? I’ve wanted a piece of them for years. Plus, it has a certain Risk-game logic to it – we now have the territories to west and to the east, so why not secure the middle piece and strengthen our position in case Russia to the north or India to the east starts acting up?

Syria? Thugs. Sure, they paid lip service to us post-9/11 and their president has a passing resemblance to Bert Blyleven, but c’mon: they’re thugs. Iran is huge and could be a little trickier to overrun, but Syria is much smaller and we could topple them in a few short weeks. Rattle some sabers for a few months, then make attempts at diplomacy (but constantly raise the bar), then kick things into gear in spring 2004. Come November 2004 we’ll have three regime changes in a non-white, non-Christian part of the world. If the economy is bouncing back, it’s a lock and we’ll get four more years of making the world a safer place. Hey – Buchanan is against us, so we must be on to something!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

State Department's Chilly Statement on Powell's Chile Statement

The State Department recently made an unusual move to distance itself from its top official Colin Powell. Seems Powell, talking about the U.S. government's involvement with a 1973 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected Salvador Allende, said: "It is not a part of American history that we're proud of."

He is of course referring to the United States' actions of cutting off aid and supporting of Allende's opposition during his presidency. Even more sinisterly, what followed was a CIA-supported military coup that brought about the end of an elected government. After that, the Nixon administration sent in Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys to advise on the Chilean economy.

Which does bring to mind Uncle Miltie - what does he have to say about this sorry episode? Well, Friedman actually does call the coup in Chile an "episode." He goes on to say: "Allende's regime ... was going to bring a communist state in through regular political channels, not by revolution. And here, Pinochet overthrew that."

So yeah - fuck the people's choice, because we got this swell guy Pinochet (3,000 people died or disappeared under Pinochet's rule, and after he left office he named himself senator for life in order to escape prosecution) and sure he's not the people's choice, but hey - at least he's not a socialist commie pinko! Funny how Friedman loves free markets in economics but not free choice in politics. I got yer Nobel Prize right here, Miltie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The Good Thief

Bars. Lots of smoking. A hot teenage Russian prostitute. Swarthy guys speaking fractured English, leaving plenty of room for plays on words. A huge dis on Johnny Hallyday and French rock ‘n’ roll. A solid but brief listing of what American rock ‘n’ roll has given the world. Heroin. Crack. Cards. Gambling. Nick Nolte. A fine, fine movie.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Say It, Don't Spray It

The March issue of the excellent Lost Cause magazine used numerous excerpts from Exiled on Main Street #34 for its Say It! feature. As Brad Hamilton once said: "Learn it. Know it. Live it."

Children Should Be Not Seen And Not Heard

College sports are better than pro sports, hands-down. And tonight while watching the Gophers celebrate their hockey championship, I realized another reason why: No annoying children of the players taking part in the celebration. Just players, coaches, and program personnel (y'know the people who actually made the championship happen) whooping it up - no little brats being carried around on the shoulders of players. Sports the way it should be.


Minnesota Wild bandwagon. Gopher hockey bandwagon. I'm gonna hurt myself eventually if I jump on too many bandwagons at once.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Hidden Molotov Cocktails?


Story in Yahoo News:
"I don't like the idea of having the Americans here, but we asked for it," said Tannous Basil, a cardiologist in Sidon, Lebanon. "Why don't we see the Americans going to Finland, for example? They come here because our area is filled with dictatorships like Saddam's."

Potential The Onion headline:

(Thanks to Joel McElhany on this one.)

Yeah, But Did Jack White Invent the Rockman?

"No orchestral instruments or synthesizers were used to create the sounds."
- liner notes from Boston's Third Stage album, 1986

"No computers were used during the writing, recording, mixing or mastering of this record."
- liner notes from The White Stripes' Elephant album, 2003

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Orangemen, Green Billy

I placed second in the annual NCAA hoops pool in which I participate. Forty bucks in winnings – soon to be buying cold pints near you. I did some quick math on my history in the pool:

14 years as participant x $5 per entry = $70 invested
First place winner in 1993 = $100 returned
Second place winner in 2003 = $40 returned

A total of $140 won, which means I’ve doubled my investment. Not bad for a guy who did not watch a minute of college hoops all season and cannot tell you how many time-outs a team gets per half. (It’s twenty, isn’t it? Or at least it feels as such – and by the way, aren’t the last couple minutes of a close hoops game excruciatingly draining … time-out tv commercial foul foul time-out tv commercial time-out tv commercial fout time-out tv commercial foul time-out tv commercial foul time-out tv commercial foul foul fimeout tv commercial somebody wins …)

The operator of the pool told me this: after the first two rounds of play, I pointed out an error on my score that took away two points – the two points that would have secured me first place. But as I had stated to him when reporting the error: the entry fee was five dollars and when mailing him that fiver I stared at a photo of Abraham Lincoln. I simply had to self-report any scoring errors – Honest Abe himself would have it no other way. And soon his friends the Jackson Twins will be treating me to Leinys at the CC. Set 'em up!

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Book Smarts

I recently read Graham Greene's The Third Man. (Oddly, I started it on the same day that I bought the White Stripes' new album, whose artwork is credited to The Third Man.) In this fine book is an interesting vignette in post-WWII Vienna in which an MP from each of the four allied powers is in on an arrest of a girl who has been roused out of bed:

The Russian, you see, refused to leave the room while Anna dressed: the Englishman refused to remain in the room: the American wouldn't leave a girl unprotected with a Russian soldier, and the Frenchman - well I think the Frenchman must have thought it was fun.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Tough Room

Last night at the Twins' home opener, they announced the attendance at 48,617. I told my pal "hey if it wasn't from us, that attendance would have been 48,615!" Not exactly my "A" material, but an oldie-but-goodie. The guy in front of me turned and let me know that the announced attendance is tickets sold, not turnstiles.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

"We should never give him a blank check."

The folk who are trying to convince me that John Edwards is the savior are either unintentionally funny or sad or both. The reasoning behind the Edwards bandwagon is bemusing: JE is from the South, the last three Democrat presidents have been from the South (lessee ... they gave us Vietnam escalation, malaise, and thank you Mister Clinton for your caretaker presidency ...), hence JE is the Man. Well he bothers me - the boring name, the way he has learned to Clinton-like gesture with his thumb up, his Chip Douglas haircut. Oh yeah - and he's one of those spineless senators who helped hand over the constitutional duty to declare war to the president last fall.

My brother is supporting Gary Hart for president, and I've been telling the Edwards people that I support Hart also - mostly just so they'll leave me alone. But if Hart runs, I may have to jump on his bandwagon. There's the Brush With Greatness Factor: I shook Hart's hand - the same hand that would soon do naughty things to Donna Rice - back in '86 in Grand Forks. And I'll be quoting this column from the Denver Post if I do jump on that Hart bandwagon.

Kick Out the Teeshirts

A few weeks ago on "Becker" the cute blonde girl on that show was wearing an MC5 teeshirt. (Actually it was a shirt advertising "A True Testimonial" - a recent MC5 documentary.)

Yesterday I saw an ad for tonight's episode of "Friends" in which Jennifer Aniston is wearing an MC5 teeshirt.

This is too weird. If busty babes in South Minneapolis start wearing Five teeshirts, I'm gonna check myself into the Fergus Falls mental facility.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Olson Memorial Highway, Dude!

In the Sunday OpEx (huh?) page of the Strib, Jay Kiedrowski writes: The superior quality of life that we enjoy and treasure in Minnesota is the product of nearly 150 years of liberal Republican and moderate Democratic governors' fiscal leadership. It’s funny how he dances around saying something naughty and refuses to say “liberal Democrat.” Apparently every governor of the past 150 years has been a centrist. Even funnier is his exclusion of the Farmer-Labor party governors of the thirties: Floyd B. Olson, Hjalmar Petersen, and Elmer A. Benson. (A virtual Murderers Row of Norse names.) Floyd B. Olson guided Minnesota through the dark times of the Great Depression and is remembered for “his unyielding support of people in need.”

My favorite quote of Olson's is this: “If the so-called Depression deepens, I strongly recommend to you, Mr. President, the government take over and operate the key industries of this country … If necessary to relive public suffering the government should not hesitate to conscript wealth.” And Olson did not claim to be a liberal, he declared himself a radical. He was also the most popular governor this state ever had. Move that to the center.