Stool Pigeons

First bird flu, now this?

In the days after the I-35W bridge collapse, a slew of possible theories for the disaster emerged, from the predictable (terrorists) to the completely bizarre (Mothman).

But perhaps the most unusual suspect is what has politely been referred to as "pigeon guano" and is more commonly known by the name "bird shit."

According to MnDOT reports, the uric acid in pigeon droppings is highly corrosive and may have contributed to metal fatigue on parts of the bridge.

Yet the question remains: Who sent the pigeons to shit all over America's infrastructure? Were they trained at Jihad Wahl camp in Afghanistan? Is Mothman assembling an army of avian crappers?

It will be months if not years before we know exactly what caused the bridge collapse. In the meantime, to be safe, perhaps we should consider lacing birdseed with Imodium AD. —Rhena Tantisunthorn


News You Can Lose

When Dylan Olson, online video editor for the Minnesota Daily, captured some of the first images of the I-35W bridge disaster, the last thing he expected was to get fired for it.

But after he agreed to do a live interview and share his footage on CNN, he found himself burning a bridge with the student newspaper's editor-in-chief, Emily Banks.

Banks clipped Olson the next day, citing a clause in the employee handbook forbidding staff from republishing material "without the written consent of the editor-in-chief."

"He basically stole footage and gave it away," says Banks, adding that putting the footage on CNN potentially violates a sharing agreement the paper has with the Associated Press.

Olson sees it differently. "This is supposed to be a training ground for journalists, and you're going to fire me for this?" —Matt Snyders


A Millions Little Piercings

As of this month, anyone under the age of 18 has to get permission from mom or dad before getting pierced in Minnesota.

In Minneapolis, it's no big deal, since the city has had a similar ordinance on the books since 2001. But in St. Paul and other municipalities, teens will now have to engage in awkward conversations before getting a Prince Albert.

Chad Chaves, owner of Fluid Ink Tattoos in St. Paul, applauds the new law.

"I support that, like, 500 percent," he says, adding that kids may not be responsible enough to look after infection-prone holes in their eyebrows, navels, and nipples.

Of course, if a mom gives her daughter permission to get her nipple pierced, she may not be responsible enough either. —Jonathan Kaminsky


You are What You drink

A new local online dating service called "Let's Grab a Drink!" matches up singles based on their alcohol of choice.

"Are you always on the lookout for a party? You would most likely be a 'shot,'" reads the company's press release. "Does a quiet and romantic dinner sound appealing? You are definitely a 'fine wine.'"

Allow us to suggest some additional copy: "Are you 16 and desperate to lose your virginity? Then you might be a 'Peppermint Schnapps.' Are you planning to die? You could be a 'Red Bull, Jag, and Sominex.'" —Peter S. Scholtes


Dick Franson Declares War on Blotter

Say what you like about Dick Franson's chances in the upcoming 2008 Senate race that pits him against better-known candidates Norm Coleman, Mike Ciresi, and Al Franken. There's no denying that the man is tenacious.

After we ran a short item last week poking fun at his demand that each of his opponents undergo drug tests to determine their fitness for office, the DFL candidate sent us an angry, hand-scrawled missive that claimed, "City Pages is anti-veteran!"

We'd like to state for the record that we deeply appreciate Franson's service to our country as a soldier in the Vietnam and Korean wars. We do not doubt that he richly deserved each of the 15 medals and ribbons he reminded us he has been awarded, including the Meritorious Service medal he received from President Reagan.

We'd also like to point out (since he reminded us) that Franson has shown himself capable of winning an election to public office. Once. For 12th Ward Alderman. In 1963. —Ward Rubrecht


Three Stooges

After the democratically controlled Congress gave Bush the go-ahead on his spying program last week, the liberal blogosphere exploded with outrage at Democrats who broke ranks. Minnesota saw three of six Congressional Democrats turn to the Dark Side: Senator Amy Klobuchar and representatives Collin Peterson and Tim Walz.

Walz's defection was particularly noteworthy given his previous criticism of Bush on related matters. As recently as April, for example, he gave a speech at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute in which he said, "Since 9/11, Bush administration foreign policy has been myopically focused on national security."

In reconciling this, Walz tells City Pages, "I've stated that the president has sensationalized and, in some cases, politicized public fear and that his foreign policy has threatened our security. I still believe that this is the case. But I think this bill takes a broader view. It's by no means perfect, but it at least gives Congress some oversight."

After all, Congress has never had reason to regret giving the president broad powers before. —Matt Snyders

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