The Case of the Pubescent Pugilists
AFTER LOCAL POLICE found a throng of Eagan High students gathered on November 8 to watch an after-school amateur boxing match, the local dailies seized the opportunity to hyperventilate just a tad. "Eagan students attend own version of 'Fight Club,'" the Star Tribune panted over an Associated Press brief. "Fight may have mimicked movie," trumpeted the Pioneer Press over a longer piece. Both stories linked the incident to the recently released R-rated film in which Ed Norton and Brad Pitt protest rampant consumerism by punching each other in the mouth for 90 minutes. Oddly, the Pi Press article stated that the cops "believe the fight was related to the movie," then went on to quote Eagan Police Chief Kent Therkelsen as saying that while he'd heard a few teens at the scene refer to the film, he "would not want to say the movie inspired these kids." Well, is Eagan on the cutting edge of cinema copycatting or isn't it? In an effort to uncover the truth, Off Beat caught up with one of the aspiring fight promoters last week on his way home from school. "Geez," the adolescent agitator shrugged, "I haven't even seen Fight Club yet. We've been doing this for at least a year. It was just a group of my friends who like to box. Maybe someone got a cut lip or a bloody nose or something, but it wasn't like a real fight. We were just doing it for fun. We had referees."
Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Out of the Clubhouse
DESPITE BEING PLAGUED by a slice that has been known to send players on adjacent fairways scurrying for cover, Off Beat has a deep and abiding love for the game of golf, and especially for municipal courses, what with their convenient locations, low greens fees, and all-around unstuffiness. All the more reason we were perturbed at what befell one of our fellow linksmen last week. According to Sgt. Jim Schultz of the Minneapolis Park Police, a 40-year-old golfer was making his way from the first green to the second tee at Theodore Wirth Park when he was approached by two young men. At first he paid no mind to the boys, whom he took for teenagers cutting school in order to soak up the unseasonable rays. Then one of the youths brandished a weapon--a .22 caliber rifle, or possibly a BB gun--demanded cash, and fled. "I don't think Jesse James committed this crime," opines Schultz, who says the robbers' haul amounted to a single dollar bill. "I don't think these people had ever done this before." Though the incident--a felony, despite the minuscule booty--may lead to increased security on and around the course, Schultz says crime on local municipal courses is quite rare. "Years ago kids used to enjoy running out on the green, grabbing balls, and disappearing back into the woods," he reminisces. "I don't even know if they do that anymore."
Great Minds Think Alike
WHICH IS CHEAPER, Home Depot or Menards? Thanks to the November sweeps, we know. And how. On November 4 KARE-TV (Channel 11) aired the results of a months-long investigation into that very matter. Then, last Wednesday, WCCO-TV (Channel 4) chimed in with a strikingly similar report. "We were curious ourselves when we saw that pop up," says KARE news director Tom Lindner. But WCCO reporter Kevyn Burger says she worked on her story for nearly five months, unaware that a competitor was tackling the same burning issue. "People who are really interested will probably watch both," Burger surmises. "People who don't care will probably watch neither." Judging by the ratings, Twin Cities residents wanted to know: On the night KARE ran its home-store story, was tops in its time slot, handily beating its competitors. When WCCO's story aired, it logged equally impressive results.
Maybe Next Week Someone'll Define "Minnesota Wild"
ALONG WITH THE rest of the metro area, no matter where Off Beat turned last week, we couldn't avoid being slobbered on by media reports about the 23-year-old ceiling sprayer from Fridley who hit the jackpot courtesy of a rogue ATM, then returned the bounty to the bank. We particularly liked the TCF honcho who labeled the act "great Minnesota honesty"--which apparently can now be defined as receiving a windfall you're not entitled to, pocketing the cash, having second thoughts and turning it in, getting a chintzy reward for all your trouble, and complaining about it, prompting the rightful owner to cough up something better. Sounds about right.
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