Out of Characters

Then there's the occasional chirp of rubber when a car pulls out onto University. Not a long peal, mind, just a sedate little chirp. It's like a rare birdcall for these people. Clothes weren't much back then. Or hundred-dollar athletic shoes. You could get a car for that.

Roger Swardson, May 4, 1994

 

Council Holds Firm: No Basilica Buyout

by Kevin Ducksoup

Rocked by its Target Center battles, the Minneapolis City Council sent a message on Thursday. And they hope it's loud and clear enough to be heard all the way to Rome.

"We aren't buying the Basilica, and that's it," said council president Jackie Cherryhomes, following a short, terse meeting with Vatican attorneys. "We very much want Catholicism to stay in Minneapolis and Minnesota, but if market forces aren't enough to ensure their viability here, maybe they're better off moving.

 

Lunchtime Lynching?

St. Paul eyes public hanging to bring 'em back downtown

by Jill Hodgekins

If St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman has his way, Holidazzle will seem like Holifizzle. The Aquatennial Parade will look all wet. If Coleman's vision becomes reality, St. Paul may have hit on the granddaddy of downtown promotional schemes: open-air public executions.

staff, Star Tribuneparody, March 30, 1994

 

Now Vlad is part of all their daily routines. Mornings, Kathleen wakes up and greets them both. While Dale and Vlad eat breakfast, she feeds the goats and the cats. Then she and Dale cuddle on the couch to watch the shows she's recorded the night before, late-night TV fare about UFO sightings, channeling, anything to do with the paranormal. Vlad puts in his two cents about the shows--his five centuries' experience on the other side is time enough to accumulate knowledge to rival any tabloid TV producer.

Sharing the same body, Dale and Vlad have fallen into an easy intimacy, a friendship close enough to let them share Kathleen without tension or jealousy. It's hard, anymore, for any one of them to imagine life without the other two.

Joseph Hart, November 23, 1994

I've driven by [Minneapolis's Zuhrah Temple] hundreds of times, always wondering. Certainly I wanted to go there, to eat there. So did lots of other people I know. But no one ever did. Maybe it was something about the Shriners, a lingering perplexity. They'd show up in my childhood town every year on the Fourth of July, exotic, bizarre, over-the-top oddballs amidst the usual display of wholesome Midwestern pomp and dignity. Grown men in bloomers, sunglasses, red fezzes, and odd shoes, playing banjos or bagpipes, wielding swords, or roaring crazily down Main Street on motorcycles, in go-carts, in miniature helicopters. And the wackos threw big circuses to boot. How the hell, you wondered, do I join?

Brad Zellar, January 25, 1995

 

Consider this: On an average day of getting to work, doing eight hours, hitting the supermarket, and maybe going out to a club, a straight guy may cross paths with perhaps 50 women; if he isn't too preoccupied (and I'll testify to this) he might imagine--if only for the most fleeting second or two--fucking, sucking, and/or tweaking 20 of them into a delirium. And we're not talking just about the overimaginative here, or those who aren't getting it at home....I don't think this state of desire is bad. It just is. Sometimes, I admit, it's tiring, annoying, even painful. Sometimes it's just amusing, our psychobiology doing its thing. Sometimes it's totally absurd.

Will Hermes, March 15, 1995

 

"When the Americans and the leaders flee," says Xai Bee Moua, "the news came out that those who worked for the CIA would be hunted down and killed." In November 1975, when he and some other men were outside the village, the Pathet Lao entered and found 29 people there, including Moua's mother, his brother, and his brother's family. "And from a distance I watched my mother and members of my family killed, pounded by sticks."

The current [welfare] reform bill would cut payments to Xai Bee Moua and what family he has left. "They just want the Hmong soldiers to do slave labor," Moua says, and for the first time in his narrative, his voice cracks a little. "I would like to plead to the American public to acknowledge the dignity of our friendship we gave to them; that we were once by their sides."

Britt Robson, April 19, 1995

 

Ray Crump is in the middle of one of his Redd Foxx stories when he does an agitated little hop to his left and throws a jab at one of the hundreds of signed photographs on the wall. "Dolly Parton," he says. "I took her to Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Brad Zellar, June 21, 1995

 

"My fire," Rochelle Greengard starts in--naming it, like a possession--"happened on a windy day like this." [The 11-year-old has been] a regular at camp since her fire three years ago on Labor Day weekend. "Somebody poured gas on it," she says, still not wanting to tell, after all these years, who was there...."I can't say who," Rochelle goes on, "but it was five or so in the afternoon, and the wind blew it up. I caught fire when the gas got on my clothes. I went running as fast as I could for the lake. Then my brother tackled me and rolled me in the sandbox until the flames went out of me.

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