What would Tinklenberg vs. Bachmann look like in the Shire?

Elwyn Tinklenberg has assembled a fellowship of campaign contributors to combat the Dark Lord Bachmann

When we last left our noble Hobbit, Elwyn Tinklenberg, he had received $1.3 million—roughly 19 pouches of gold pieces—from inhabitants of Middle Earth who wanted to fund his attack on the Dark Lord Bachmann.

His campaign spokesdwarf, John Wodele the Stout, says the majority of the money will be spent on television advertisements, and not, unfortunately, on a lightweight shirt of chainmail.

"It goes fast," says Wodele. "But we had a plan in place before Bachmann stepped in it and caused this avalanche of fundraising for us."

Brave Wodele adds that their small cadre of campaign supporters, including the heir to the throne of Gondor, continues to grow. Before the Bachmann gaffe it was just Wodele and Kate the Elvin Princess working communications at campaign headquarters in the Shire. Now, they have at least five knights working as volunteers.

As for City Pages comparing the Tinklenberg campaign to The Lord of the Rings, Wodele showed dwarven good humor. "I've been a consultant to many campaigns and have been doing this since 1973. I would say if your campaign stops having fun you're not going to win." —Bradley Campbell

Ditto—except for the racist part

Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Deborah Hedlund's campaign is backpedaling after news broke last week that she responded favorably to a racist email sent to her by Matt Look, owner of Look Signs in Ramsey.

With the subject line, "Can Muslims Be Good Americans?" the email included allegations that followers of Islam must "submit to the mullahs, who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America" and that "Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim...refuses to pledge allegiance to the United States or put his hand over his heart when the national anthem is played...."

In response, Hedlund wrote: "Matt, we speak the same language. And I still need to let voters know they have a choice to 'Seek Justice, Vote for Experience' for the Minnesota Supreme Court."

Hedlund claims she was responding to an earlier message from Look about sign prices and only replied to that particular email because it was the highest up in her inbox.

When she responded to Look's message, she hastily pressed "Reply All." Unfortunately, one of the recipients was her opponent's husband.

"I never even read it," she says of the forwarded message that is tarnishing her campaign. "I've never talked to him about anything except for the prices of signs, when they can be available, how big, how much, and what color. At this point I wouldn't order a sign from him at all." —Beth Walton

Grave robber

Just in time for Halloween, a man who sold illegally obtained body parts to Minneapolis-based Medtronic has been sentenced to 25-58 years in prison.

Michael Mastromarino, the funeral-home robber, made $4.6 million in a scam in which bodies were carved up without families' permission and without medical tests to ensure that they wouldn't spread diseases such as HIV.

Mastromarino sold the parts to companies for implants or other procedures. The case gained national attention after it was discovered that Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke's body parts were sold in the fraud.

Medtronic unknowingly received some of the illegal body parts for bone transplants. The parts were used in disc replacements, knee operations, and dental implants.

Medtronic spokeswoman Marybeth Thorsgaard says recipients might be living with stolen parts, but they are disease-free. All the bone distributed by the company was properly sterilized, she said. "The incubation period for each of the diseases in question is six months at the longest and this time has passed for those who received the recalled tissue." —Emily Kaiser

Cop blocker

For cyclists, riding down Hennepin Avenue can be like traversing an obstacle course, and it's not getting any easier.

Minneapolis police continue to park their squad cars in the bike lane, blocking bicycle traffic in both directions.

There isn't a policy in place to prevent the officers from parking in the lane, as the city is more concerned with having fast response times.

"It's really not intended to inconvenience the bicyclists," says Minneapolis police spokesman Jesse Garcia. "It's not a common practice. But I know it does happen."

Alternative options listed by Garcia include parking squad cars on the curb, or driving down the block to park.

But even if the squad cars somehow find another place to park, riders will still have to contend with piles of horse crap left in the lane from the mounted police.

"It's a horse," says Garcia with a laugh. "When it has to go, it has to go." —Bradley Campbell

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