Party Like Mock Stars

They got drunk and puffed in nonsmoking rooms, punched holes in the walls, ripped off the toilet paper holder, and pulled out window screens.

Was it Stone Temple Pilots? No, a gang of 40 cleaning-supply salesmen. They trashed AmericInn Lodge & Suites so bad that it required a week to scrub it clean.

"It looked like they just came in and just partied for a little bit and just took off," says general manager Derek Crockett, who kicked the unruly team out in the middle of the night last week.

The hotel did not file charges with the police, but Crockett says that other hotels in the area began calling AmericInn for a description of the culprits. "No one wanted them," he adds.

Even at McClure Blenders, the company that uses the independent contractors to peddle its product, no one would claim responsibility.

"We're not going to apologize for something we didn't do," says company spokesman Michael Smith. "We have no control over those knuckleheads." —Beth Walton

Changing gears

Picking up cycling this summer? You're not alone. Inflated gas prices combined with improved infrastructure are turning Minneapolis into a pedalpalooza. Traffic jams on the greenway are a reality.

Donald Pflaum, a city transportation engineer, expects a huge jump this year in the percentage of commuters who make their way exclusively by bike. "The trend is up," says Pflaum. "And it's up at staggering levels."

In a time of recession, foreclosures, and fuel cresting $4 a gallon, bike stores are in boom times.

"It's our best year ever," says Josh Klauck, sales manager at Freewheel bike shop. "We got everyone from students to 60-year-old ladies looking for a bicycle they can ride to the grocery store coming in." —Bradley Campbell

Al Franken cross-dressing shocker!

U.S. News had a devastating scoop in its article about Al Franken last week: After the girls in his second-grade class performed "this really insipid show, 'I'm a Little Teapot,'" he gathered the boys together and wrote a scathing parody. They dressed in drag to perform it, bringing the girls to tears.

These revelations will only add to the aura of perversion and sexism swirling around Franken's campaign.

We see a dangerous man here, a man hell-bent on bringing second-graders to tears while wearing women's clothing. The last American political figure to enjoy both of these fetishes was J. Edgar Hoover, and we know how that turned out. Why does Al Franken hate children and want to make them cry? America demands answers.

Bloggers and pundits will no doubt seize on this, the latest in a series of damaging items, such as the recent revelation that he made jokes about gays while speaking at a gay fundraising event. You would expect this behavior out of a comedian. Which Franken was. You might even expect it out of a public figure speaking to a group of like-minded people on a political issue. Which Franken was. But you wouldn't expect it out of a man who, in second grade, dressed in drag. Drag, people.

We also know Franken has written for Playboy, which some consider a magazine for adults. In this magazine article, Franken made jokes about sex. Adult sex. Sexy adult sex.

What does it say about his judgment that he dressed in drag to make little girls cry? "Yes," apologists might say, "but he was just a child himself. He was a second-grader, for gosh sakes!" But it's this type of logic that leads us down the slippery slope to Islamofascism. —Jeff Shaw

Doggy No-Style

Just over a week ago, City Pages reported that it had been a ruff month for Police Chief Tim Dolan, who was forced to admit to using the police K-9 kennel to board his civilian pooch. This week, the Star Tribune confirmed it. The Dakota County attorney's office is reviewing the charges.

This case and others alleging that Dolan violated data practice laws while testifying about a black police officer will be investigated by Dakota County, because of a conflict of interest within Hennepin County.

Upshot: Dolan is in the doghouse and his best friend can't be in there with him. —Beth Walton

Full of Win 

Last week, City Pages was honored to receive eight first-place awards from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and 16 awards total.

• Business: Feature First Place "Mall of Amerisize Me," Matt Snyders

• Business: In-depth Third Place "Trials & Stribulations," G.R. Anderson Jr. & Paul Demko

• Business: Spot News Third Place "Newspaper War," Paul Demko

• Editorial and Opinion: Arts & Entertainment Second Place "L.A. Plays Itself," Rob Nelson

• Graphics and Illustrations: Art & Illustration First Place "Bridge collapse," Newsroom

• Graphics and Illustrations: Art & Illustration Third Place "Autoerotic asphyxiation," Newsroom

• Graphics and Illustrations: In-depth Second Place "Rock Atlas," Newsroom

• News and Feature: Spot News Second Place "Banning Desmond Tutu," Matt Snyders

• Package: Best Overall Package Third Place "Artists of the Year," Newsroom

• Package: Best Special Section First Place "Best of the Twin Cities," Staff

• Photojournalism: Sports Third Place "The Boogeyman Drops the Gloves," Nick Vlcek

• Sports: Feature First Place "The Boogeyman Drops the Gloves," Kevin Hoffman

• Sports: Spot News First Place "The Strongest Men in the World," Kevin Hoffman

• News and Feature: Short Feature First Place "The Wedding Crashers," Jeff Severns Guntzel

• Photojournalism: Pictorial First Place "Diablo Cody slideshow," Nick Vlcek

• Web Site: Best Use of Multimedia First Place "Boy, Interrupted," Jeff Shaw & Kevin Hoffman

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