‘Shortened’ season good news, bad news for T’wolves fans

MORNING EDITION

Look at it this way: The Timberwolves will be undefeated through at least the middle of November. NBA Commissioner David Stern announced he is canceling the first two weeks of the season. The AP says:Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season tonight after owners and players were unable to reach a new labor deal and end the lockout. Top negotiators for both sides met for more than seven hours today, returning to bargaining about 14 hours after ending talks Sunday night. Stern said both sides are ‘very far apart on virtually all issues. … We just have a gulf that separates us.’ The cancellation includes all games scheduled to be played through Nov. 14. … With another work stoppage, the NBA risks alienating a fan base that sent the league’s revenues and TV ratings soaring during the 2010-11 season. And the loss of the first two weeks of games — will hurt workers with jobs dependent on pro basketball’s six-month-plus season. A few teams have already trimmed their staffs and more layoffs could be forthcoming.”

The case of the baby girl found floating in the Misissippi with an angel figurine has all the elements of pulp mystery novel. The AP story says: “Authorities in Minnesota say an angel figurine found with a baby girl dumped in the Mississippi River was produced for a Catholic missionary group. The figurine carried a label that said it was made exclusively for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Belleville, Ill. The Belleville News-Democrat reported the ornament was sold through a catalogue in 2000. Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension spokeswoman Jill Oliveira says investigators used a search warrant to get a list of purchasers of the ornament and are following up.”

Not even Cargill’s canny traders could make their usual princely profits off last quarter’s commodities market. Mike Hughlett at the Strib writes: “With its experienced trading desks and deep institutional knowledge of commodity and financial markets, Cargill often profits nicely off of volatility. But the company indicated that its last quarter was marked by particular wildness. Europe, for example, grappled with a debt crisis that seemed to change — and still seems to change — daily. Capital rushed in and out of financial and commodity markets with stunning speed, causing big oscillations — as any stock market investor can attest. While Cargill’s caution was limited to trading, many publicly traded U.S. companies have responded to the volatile environment by piling up cash on their balance sheets, essentially building rainy-day funds instead of investing in new equipment or research.”

Corporations may be sitting on unprecedented levels of cash, but … charitable giving is down significantly in Minnesota. Says Jean Hopfensberger at the Strib: “Individual donations to charities, though still a hefty $3.6 billion, fell 11 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a report by the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Foundations and corporations, meanwhile, reduced their grants to charities and nonprofits by 4 percent during the past fiscal year, ending March 31, 2010, donating $1.4 billion. … The report was based on data from Minnesota’s 100 largest grantmakers, as well as the charitable deductions listed on tax returns of individual Minnesotans in 2008 and 2009.”

Remember last week’s story about the 18-year-old East Bethel girl who said it was her porn addiction that drove her to burglarize a neighbor’s house three times? Well, no less an authority than the Adult Video News website is calling it “bull[bleep].” Says writer Ann Oui (quite possibly a nom de porn): “Sorry, Amanda [Owens]. You look cute (even if the acne is getting the better of you at the moment), but that doesn’t give you the right to pull a Ted Bundy and blame the porn when you know very well that the only think you’re addicted to is Nestle Crunch bars and Dancing with the Stars. First, porn DVDs aren’t exactly the sort of contraband that you procure now and pay for later. For one thing, they only cost about a buck! So at best, some idiot fronted you, what, $30 worth of DVDs? What were they going to do, take your toe ring if you didn’t pay up? Second, there isn’t a teen left in the country who actually pays for porn! If you are the last porn-paying teen left in America, you have far worse problems than a lousy burglary charge. You have no future at all, darling.”

The old Sgt. Preston’s has been made over as The Republic, another tavern restaurant, and Stribber Rick Nelson likes what he sees and tastes: “Craft beer lovers will feel right at home. The bar taps a hefty 32 labels, leaning toward the ever-proliferating number of fine locals, but leaving room for noteworthy nationals and a few Europeans. The average price is a reasonable $5, and a three-pour flight ($10) encourages exploration. But this isn’t just a drinking story, because someone in the kitchen clearly cares about food. His name is George Finn, and while his work isn’t propelling bar food into a new culinary universe, it does quietly demonstrate how basics can taste anew, given care, imagination and first-rate ingredients. That attention-to-detail message comes through loud and clear in the well-executed burgers. They’re made with beef (ultra-lean, wonderfully flavorful meat from grass-fed cows) or turkey (Minnesota-raised, the clean flavor fortified with jalapeño and chive) and grilled to perfection.”

Laura Yuen of MPR does a profile piece on Surly beer’s Omar Ansari: “The 41-year-old Ansari is a fount of charisma, but admits luck and timing have been on his side. St. Paul-based Summit had already been in business for two decades by the time he started his brewery five years ago. Ansari gambled, confident the Twin Cities was ready for a second craft beer. He recruited brewer Todd Haug, a heavy-metal guitarist with a long gray beard who started his career at Summit. The two men agreed their flavors would be bold. ‘We talked about that a lot, the kind of beer that the Cities needed,’ Ansari said. ‘Some of those more assertive flavors are signature of the type of beers we like to drink.’ That decision seemed to awaken a legion of beer drinkers, including home brewer Sam Portz, 24, of Cottage Grove, Minn. ‘They introduce people to something they don’t normally get: really hoppy, really dark, bitter,’ Portz said. ‘They do all the stuff that other brewers seem to be afraid to do.’ Today, Surly has a waiting list of about 500 bars and liquor stores that want to sell its beer but can’t, Ansari said. There’s not enough of it.”

For some reason, I have a hard time imagining “NewsTalk” stations coming anywhere close to a piece on foie gras. But Elizabeth Baier of MPR goes there: “Au Bon Canard, or ‘good duck’ in French, is where Christian Gasset raises ducks to produce a culinary delicacy: foie gras, or fattened duck liver. The Au Bon Canard duck livers — along with breasts, wings and other parts — end up on plates of the most celebrated restaurants in the Upper Midwest. … ‘With foie gras, the really big thing is you can’t have a good product if you’re not treating your ducks well,’ she said. ‘If they’re unhappy, if they’re stressed out, if anything’s wrong with their living conditions, you don’t get a good product.’ But as much as the Gassets try to keep their birds content, how they and other foie gras producers feed ducks makes the product controversial. Animal rights activists say the process used to fatten the ducks’ livers amounts to animal torture. … After living the first few weeks in a temperature-controlled room, they spend another eight weeks or so outdoors, eating a mixture of corn, bugs and grass before going into the barn for controlled feedings. Twice a day for the last two weeks of a duck’s life, Gasset tilts the bird’s head back, inserts an eight-inch funnel into its throat and pours three-quarters of a pound of freshly cooked kettle corn down the duck’s esophagus.”

“Chad” at the conservative Fraters Libertas blog muddles and weaves and displays prevailing conflict over Mitt Romney: “It will take some hard core rationalizing (and bourbon) to get me to the point where I can support Romney, but make no mistake about it I will be able to come around to that position. Eventually. But for now there’s no reason for a conservative to engage in the mental gymnastics and willing suspension of disbelief to jump on the Romney bandwagon. It’s easy to write off the other candidates in the race and accept the depressing reality of Romney. … There will be time a plenty for us to figure out how we’re going to love the one we’re with later if Romney is indeed the nominee. Until then, we need to quit buying into the notion that it’s all but a done deal and we need to start coming together around Romney. That seems to [be] the line that many among the Republican establishment are trying to peddle. Now is the time for good little Republicans to fall in line behind the presumptive nominee. You know, the guy who ‘looks presidential’ and whose ‘turn has come’? I say not so fast. Let’s make sure that we really understand the true strengths and weaknesses of the candidates … Let’s make sure that before we settle for Romney, we don’t look past others who might not only make a better nominee, but a better president if they were elected. The field is still open. Let’s play it a bit more while we can.” All I can say is, “Pal … for the right price and the promise she wouldn’t have to get involved with ‘work-y’ stuff, you could get Sarah Palin back in the game in a heartbeat.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/11/2011 - 06:51 am.

    In basketball, only the playoffs matter anyway.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/11/2011 - 08:16 am.

    After reading the feeding menu and schedule, I thought for sure the French translation of “Au Bon Canard” was “Minnesota State Fair”.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/11/2011 - 08:52 am.

    “That attention-to-detail message comes through loud and clear in the well-executed burgers. ”

    Uuug. I was interested in this place until I read that. Burgers made for people who don’t like burgers… been there done that.

  4. Submitted by Jim Camery on 10/11/2011 - 09:07 am.

    Where’s my Bachmannia update?

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