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Minneapolis Skyway: #1

September 21, 2017

Minneapolis Skyway: #1

I work downtown Minneapolis and every day I try and make it a point to go for a walk through the skyway system. These “Minneapolis Skyway” entries are some of the things I see and hear and think.

This found conversation occurred this morning as I slowed down behind two women as we’re all walking down the five steps between the Canadian Pacific Plaza and the Rand Tower. I arrive in the middle of the conversation as the woman on the left says, “…and I’m really glad he didn’t go down there or I never would have gotten to sleep last night.”

 

The Minneapolis skyway system is a 9 mile above ground pedestrian walkway that connects nearly every downtown Minneapolis building over nearly 70 blocks. The skyways are climate controlled so they’re generally not too hot and not too cold and they’re filled with many small businesses. From restaurants and coffee shops to clothing stores and flower shops, from boutiques and dry cleaners and tailors, to a medical clinic and a physical therapy office. You’ll find chair massages, beauty and barber shops, hotels, jewelers, liquor stores, grocery stores, some art galleries, theaters and at least two museums and, if you’re lucky, a talented busker, all while walking through some of Minneapolis’ most historic buildings. And if that’s not enough, you can do it all while being safe from the insanity that makes up downtown drivers. Not to mention while being safe from the rain and the snow we sometimes get in Minneapolis. Despite the convoluted grumblings of some folks to remove all the skyways in order bring energy back to the streets and shoppers back into downtown retail, I personally hope they stay right where they are and continue to branch out.

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How ’bout those Twins, eh?

September 20, 2017

I was talking with someone this morning about the Minnesota Twins’ poor performances in their last two games in New York and the guy wondered aloud why, when we go to New York, Joe Mauer can’t give the team a pep talk. I don’t necessarily disagree, but Joe Mauer isn’t, and never has been, that type of player. And while I’m fairly certain there’s someone else on the team who is, I’m not sure if a pep talk is what’s needed.

I won’t say the Twins have had a bad season, but when you look at our record this year against the Yankees, Cleveland, Boston, Houston and the Dodgers, all teams on the golden path to and through the post-season, we’re a combined 11-26 (.297), and with that record against the top teams, I don’t think our performance against the Yankees is an aberration, or that it’s a locker room pep talk that we need. These guys need to be roused into upping their game, this is their game.

I believe the issues with this team go well beyond a locker room pep talk or player determination or talent and speak to management’s approach to fielding a team.

This is the team that was, by design, assembled during the off season and during Spring Training and took the field on Opening Day and, with a few exceptions, are the guys we’re watching in September. The team was assembled, I believe, with just one goal: the ability to play competitive baseball (translation: a .500 team) in order to keep fan interest as high as possible for as long as possible. This is big money we’re talking about and interested fans buy tickets and food and merchandise; and ticket, food and merchandise sales is what pays the bills and makes the owner and his family richer. I don’t believe it was ever management’s intent to field a team with a legitimate chance at contending for the post-season or the World Series, but to just make money this summer for as long as possible.

So these guys are playing at their level (or above their level if you listen to most of the local sports commentators) – which is right around .500 – so I don’t know where pep talks are going to make a difference. With all due respect to the team, the reality of the 2017 Twins is that we’re a mediocre team that’s managed by an inexperienced (and maybe not so good?) manager, and because we play in the AL Central – a perennially weak division – we find ourselves in the postseason picture. None of that is bad, even the mediocre part, and I’ve certainly enjoyed this season as much as the next fan, but our position in the standings on September 20th isn’t, in my opinion, necessarily a reason to get all giddy over the post-season potential in front of us. Yeah, it’s fun, but I don’t think it’s anything to be excited about for anyone other than bandwagon jumpers and fair-weather fans.

And not to end on a total downer, considering we finish out the season with three against Cleveland and seven against Detroit (another team we’ve posted a losing record against this year) after today’s Yankees finale, there’s really no guarantee that we won’t get passed by KC and drop to 3rd in the division.

Powerball

September 20, 2017

In a world with relentlessly depressing – and oftentimes disturbing – news, I’m always on the lookout for something positive and, if I’m lucky, something that goes beyond test missiles, and hurricanes and earthquakes, and racism, and gun violence, and sexism, and discrimination, and lack of respect for other cultures, and the religious right, and fake this, and alternative that, and false political promises, and a certain shade of the color orange. I’m just looking for something simple and real and that speaks to me about the important things in life.

This morning I heart a story that spoke to me. Sixty-seven-year-old Judy Finchum of Colorado was on the news this morning because she won a $133 million Powerball jackpot. It wasn’t so much that Judy won the jackpot or that she’s been playing the same exact numbers every week for the last 30 years that spoke to me, it was her 70-year-old husband Mac. While I’m sure Mac is happy that Judy is now going to retire, all he wants of the $133 million is a new set of tires for his ’96 Ford truck. When Judy told him he could have a brand new truck now he said, “I don’t need a new truck, I like my truck. It’s just fine.”

And so, too, Mac, are you.

Thank you Mac Finchum for bringing me a message of simplicity this morning and reminding me of the important things in life. And thank you for putting a smile on my face. To you and Judy, enjoy the money in the best of health.

What Pegman Saw: When You Can’t See the Forest

September 19, 2017

What Pegman Saw is a weekly flash fiction writing prompt hosted by “author, nerd and mom”, K. Rawson. Utilizing Google Maps, she takes us to a new corner of the world every week where our task is to write a story in 150 or fewer words based on what we see at our destination.

This week’s trip takes us to St. Petersburg, Russia.

What Pegman saw:
Can't See the Forest

What I saw:

Can’t See the Forest

The motion was raised at the May 2015 City Council meeting, was seconded and unanimously passed without debate. Construction, to everyone’s surprise, took less than two weeks and citizens were so excited over the new recreation area that none of the residents of Hobbleton questioned why work was only performed at night or thought the absence of trucks and workers unusual.

That November, the Hobbleton council members voted to pass a motion to expand the pathways and two days after Christmas, the work, a myriad of rings within rings interlaced with mysterious designs, was complete and everyone was thrilled.

Including the surviving Kelbrath. The lizard-skinned alien race had been searching for a suitable planet since their own world began dying. The journey that brought them to Terra had taken roughly 300 years but the new landing pads would bring all Kelbrath to their new home. And a planet of food.

150 words.

= = = = = = = =

If you want to travel with Pegman just click HERE.

To hitch a ride with other travelers click on the little blue frog.

A different brand of baseball

September 18, 2017

This is too bad because I miss “old style” baseball where you strategized and used player and managerial skills to create and earn runs. Baseball, for me, as a power sport is not as good or as much fun as baseball as a finesse sport. Sure, home runs are fun, especially when it’s Joe Mauer hitting a Grand Slam like he did yesterday, but I’d much rather watch a game where runs were created by actually playing baseball than a guy throwing as hard as he can to a guy who’s swinging as hard as he can.

“The game has changed. From when I started, there’s a lot less stolen bases, there’s a lot less bunting, there’s a lot less hitting-and-running. You don’t give outs away, and you let guys swing the bat.” – New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi

From Ronald Blum at the Associated Press: “Smashing: MLB home run record set to fall Tuesday “

Quote of the Day: “Normal”

September 12, 2017

Ellen Goodman is Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/columnist who retired some years ago. Personally, I’d like her to come out of retirement and offer thoughts on the current administration but that’s unlikely.

I know this quote is attributed to her but I don’t know if she actually said it or not.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.”

Sea of Purple

September 11, 2017

I went for a walk this morning and this town is a sea of purple. Downtown skyways and streets, purple is everywhere.

The most confusing thing for me is why are people walking around downtown Minneapolis eight hours before a football game starts? And they’re tailgaiting, too. I don’t get it. It’s not like this is a Grateful Dead concert or anything. If only . . .

Oh well.

I’m not a football fan so all I know about the Vikings is what I see on the news and I don’t know anything about any of the other teams. But I can tell you that among New Orleans fans – and based only on the jerseys I saw during my walk – I think a guy named “Brees” is very popular.

In the meantime, the Minnesota Twins have a one game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Los Angeles Angels   California Angels   Anaheim Angels Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with only 19 games left to play. I’m confident, but with three of those 19 games against the Yankees in New York and three of those 19 games in Cleveland against the Indians, I’m not overly confident.

Unfortunately, the Twins aren’t playing tonight so I’ll have to find something else to do. Maybe wrestling? OK, maybe something else.

Here’s something that bothers me: Why, as soon as football season starts, does ESPN have to drop Monday Night Baseball? They have two major channels so why not the NFL on ESPN and MLB on ESPN2 instead of the NFL on ESPN and the NFL in Spanish on ESPN2?

One of life’s mysteries.

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