Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, Dec. 19, 3:04pm – The absence of open water matches that of geese, ducks, and gulls from Lake Calhoun today. 23º with low, dark-gray clouds portending snow. The snowed-over pedestrian path means that walkers, runners, skaters, and cyclists share the vehicular path in both directions – with signs telling all but walkers to yield. A lone, hatless fool skis Nordic style across the ice (“fool” being relative viz brisk walkers on solid ground). Rifle volleys somewhere west in St. Louis Park suggest military honors, but whoever heard of a 33-gun salute? If not a funeral, then an odd place to practice. A mind trick of Minnesota winters: bulky-attired runners retain allure and sex appeal. Some of them, anyway. Two, in particular. Wind bites only while rounding the southeast bend. Two women bundled as in burqas (with only eye slits), descend steps at the 32d Street Beach talking excitedly about prospects for some kind of Bush Foundation grant. North of the beach, two clumsy skaters collide, kiss, and continue out to where the ice does not yet support snow. One hopes not to reach Christmas Day news items of divers searching for bodies. A windboarder tows his sailboard toward two companions waiting just offshore from the boat launch. Frozen pavement amplifies the sound of Lake Street traffic between lakes Calhoun and Isles. Nonbermed areas sound like Daytona Speedway, relatively.

Sunday, Dec. 20, 12:09am – Spent a great evening with Chari, friend of 43 years, at Medina Entertainment Center to see and visit with Dennis, friend of 42 years and member of the Rockin’ Hollywoods band!

Monday, Dec. 21, 4:35pm – Solstice. 17º. Two days’ snowfall blankets all. Seven walkers, five runners, two cyclists, and no partridges in trees – nor other aviators. Optimists: nine canoes and kayaks still chained in place on north shore of lake. So very Calhoun quiet save for occasional vehicle on parkway or plane above clouds.

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 10:31pm – So, the new, late-20-something guy next door moved here from Texas with his family in October to assist his elderly uncle and manage the apartment building. He never saw snow before last week. As we completed our second shovel-out of today, he was horrified to hear that it could snow for four more months. Told him: “If this doesn’t send you back to Texas, nothing will!”

Thursday, Dec. 24, 11:31am – Tonight: Christmas Eve Services at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral – religious service, cultural ritual, artistic production. 10pm – Be seated to insure a place. 10:30pm – Congregation/audience caroling. 11pm-12:45am – Midnight Mass with choir, organ, brass.

Saturday, Dec. 26, 11:01am – The Young Victoria is a perfectly lovely film. The best line in a preview trailer was spoken by Chrisopher Plummer’s character to Helen Mirren’s, in The Last Station: “You don’t need a husband, you need a Greek chorus!”

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 12:54pm – Back! The crash-and-burn by MinnesotaPlaylist.com, a primo-must-have for Minnesota theater, is fixed! Check ’em out!

Thursday, Dec. 31, 9:24am – Minnesota Public Radio reports that the mood is jubilant as fireworks welcomed the new year over the harbour and opera house in Sydney, Australia – folks happy to leave 2009 behind. My Facebook Live Feed reports that not everyone has cause for jubilation today. Nonetheless, as the bitter matches the sweet, a blessed 2010 to all!

Thursday, Dec. 31, 10:53am – The Nuclear Cowboyz present a motorcycle ballet – a motocross spectacle – in 15-city tour. http://tinyurl.com/ydoxy4v

Thursday, Dec. 31, 11:36am – Happy New Year wishes to the four fabulous artistic founders of Live Action Set!

Friday, Jan. 1, 1:50pm – The 189-seat Commonweal Theater in tiny Lanesboro, Minnesota, drew 20,283 in 2009. With great work, others can too! http://tinyurl.com/yjpbwr7

Friday, Jan. 1, 2:04pm – Where I-35W enters downtown Minneapolis, across from Central Lutheran Church and one block from Convention Center (and five blocks from home), Hilton Garden Inn offers neighborhood discounts on breakfast buffet, seven days a week (hours vary). Today, that discount was 32%. The discount for evenings is 25%. It’s off the beaten track but appears to be a quiet wine hang-out for evening.

Friday, Jan. 1, 7:53pm – A waning full moon over Lake Calhoun. Last night, this was the Blue Moon. –1º and clear, with the mildest of breezes at the lake tonight. Two runners moving briskly on their rounds.

Friday, Jan. 1, 11:42pm – Deborah Howell, former editor at Star Tribune and Pioneer Press struck and killed by a car in New Zealand. Husband, C. Peter McGrath (former U of M president), with her at the time. http://tinyurl.com/ydom6wo

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2:20am – “With or without you!” Felt 28 again, closing up the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis, listening to Venus spin 95% real vinyl tunes. Just like 28, however, after thinking I was making eyes with the cute – but wasted – breakdancer, excitement at his approach died as he instead, in slurred manner, asked my partner if he had been his history professor at St. John’s University four years ago! Had to laugh uproariously at all of us!

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