Handsome Work

I’ve been thinking about spaghetti sauce a lot lately. I grew up in a very busy household with parents who didn’t have a lot of time to cook, so the sauce on our noodles was always of the canned variety. Not knowing the different between canned and fresh, we kids slurped it right up—the soggy […]

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School of Not-So-Hard Knocks

Never take a self-defense class with your sisters. Especially if the class is called Training for Life, in which you learn techniques that, unlike traditional martial arts, are designed not to inflict permanent or even semi-permanent harm upon an attacker, but instead rely on a series of intensely painful, twisted pinches. Three sisters, six hands, […]

Tea for Two

Tea is a crop we could grow in Minnesota, but the end product would be so foul that no one with working taste buds would go near it. The mountainous soils of Nepal, though, produce some damn fine chai, as they call it. Swadesh Shrestha and his brother Saujanya serve it at their Uptown Minneapolis […]

Swingers’ Party

It was like a scene from a mobster film set in the Prohibition era. An overcast day on tired Minnehaha Avenue in South Minneapolis. I pulled up to the nondescript, red brick building that bears a sign reading “Tapestry Folkdance Center.” From the outside, it was quiet, barely a soul in sight. I figured the […]

Joshing Around

On a recent Wednesday evening, hundreds of overdressed teenage girls gathered outside Southdale’s MegaStar movie theater. Squeezed into their tightest jeans and tiniest tees, they hummed with excitement as they waited for Josh Hartnett, the movie star and Minnesota native, to arrive. Hartnett was making a rare appearance to raise money for a local charity […]

Excellent References

The next time you wake up at three in the morning, sweating and shaking and befuddled by what the appearance of Barbara Flanagan’s bustier in your dream could possibly symbolize, don’t just make yourself a glass of warm milk, roll over, and try to forget about it. Oh no—that’s what someone in Andrew Carnegie’s day […]

Barely United Nations

Diplomacy, to judge by recent efforts of our not-so-diplomatic commander in chief, is not an easy job. It requires holding your tongue and curbing your temper. First and foremost, however, it requires landing the job, which has always been tough and is just getting tougher. Despite current troubles, or perhaps because of them, interest in […]

The Postmodern Itinerant

Mark Backman is an infuriatingly calm 25-year-old whose life has direction, financial stability, and purpose. Yet he has no home, nor does he have any idea where he’s going to be next February. His line of work can be dangerous and frequently takes him to distant states and lands. He embarks on fascinating adventures and […]

Faster, Pussycat! Date! Date!

Benjamin has been looking for Erin for about four months. He met her at a party in August, and she hit his car two weeks later. But it wasn’t like that. There were no damages. Rather, Ben had a crush on Erin. The number he put into his cell phone never saved. He searched the […]

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Daring Do

Most everyone who has stepped into The Purple Onion coffee shop in Dinkytown has noticed William “Bill” Grimes IV, a regular for nearly a decade who whiles away the hours sipping mochas, reading Kierkegaard and science fiction, and “flapping with cats.” You can’t miss him: Grimes is a 6’3”, 170-pound man in his early 30s […]