Commenter Clarence Swamptown will delight you with his borderline inappropriate takes on just about anything in life. As always, his thoughts on sports and life in general do not necessarily reflect those of RandBall or the Star Tribune. Clarence?


After the recent Vikings’ and Gophers’ games, I think sports and I might need some time apart.  We may even need to start seeing other hobbies.  In the meantime, this week’s Clearance Clarence will be completely devoid of sports and especially random. I don’t really know how it’s going to turn out, so I apologize in advance.
*Country & Western Song of the Week:  Up Against the Wall by Jerry Jeff Walker.
I have 3 kids, ages 2, 5, and 7:  During the MEA break I dropped the kids off at my mother’s house.  When I picked them up, I asked how their day was.  The middle child said, “Grandma bought us lots of tadpoles at the restaurant.”  The middle child often says things that are totally disconnected from reality, so I let it go.  But after speaking with the oldest child I discovered that “tadpoles” actually translates to “pull-tabs”, and “restaurant” actually means “VFW."  There are hundreds of parks, museums, and libraries within 30 minutes of my mother’s house.  You can hit the Minnesota Zoo with a well struck 3-wood from her front yard.  Instead, her idea of babysitting is to take the kids gambling with her friends at the local beer hall.  I cannot decide if this is mildly tolerable or absolutely frightening. 
*Famous Living North Dakotans:  Recently we got together with a group of friends from college.  All of us are either from North Dakota or lived in North Dakota at one time.  Somehow the conversation turned to this:  Who is the most famous living North Dakotan?  Our group was split evenly between Josh Duhamel (see photo) and Phil Jackson.  One guy swore that Lawrence Welk was still alive, but despite my great-grandmother’s wishes, I am pretty sure that guy died like 30-years ago.  Anyway, please serve as the tiebreaker, or offer your own candidate in the comments below. 
P.S. 10-years ago we had a college party broken up by the Red River Valley SWAT team busting through the front door in full riot gear.  Now we have dinner parties where we discuss famous living North Dakotans.  It’s {redacted} embarrassing.  Also, not surprisingly, the list of famous living North Dakotans is relatively short.  His humility would never allow him to admit it, but our own proprietor is probably in the Top 30.
P.S.S. The attached photo was allegedly texted from Mr. Duhamel to an unnamed female sideline reporter.  She asked that I keep the photo confidential, but I don’t care.  Apparently pictures like this are page-view gold.
*Outstate Diner of the Week:  Sportsmen’s Cafe, Mora, Minnesota. 
What are they famous for?  Located at the intersection of State Highways 65 and 23, the Sportsmen’s Cafe is relatively large but always busy.  They also share a wall with the bait shop next door. 
What are the waitresses like? They only have 2 waitresses to cover approximately 10 booths, 15 counter stools and a cash register, so you know the gals are salty and no-nonsense.  Also, any diner receives bonus points if their kitchen is fully visible and you can sit at the counter and watch ol’ Mel work the griddle. 
How’s the food?  Wonderful.  When people think of Minnesota cuisine, they typically think of lutefisk, lefse, and/or tater tot hot dish. One terribly overlooked Minnesotan food item is the “Beef Commercial."  It may sound dirty, but I assure you, it is not. The Beef Commercial is an open-faced roast beef sandwich, smothered in mashed potatoes and brown gravy, and often served as the daily lunch special at an outstate diner.  If prepared properly, it far surpasses anything that lutefisk, lefse, or tater tot hot dish can offer.  For far too long the Beef Commercial has been ignored, and I won’t stand for it.  GIVE THE BEEF COMMERCIAL THE {REDACTED} RESPECT IT DESERVES.
Do they have a website?  No.
Are they on Twitter?  No.
Anything else I should know?  My father has worked as a salesman on straight commission for most of my life.  When I was younger, during summer vacation he would drag me along on his sales trips throughout the state. Even as a preschooler he taught me to always use a firm handshake, always look the buyer in the eye, speak clearly, and always say yes-sir/no-sir.   Looking back, I now recognize that he wasn’t trying to teach me life lessons, he was just using my smiling cherubic mug as a sales prop to seal the deal.  I also now realize that my share of the commission was only paid in French toast and chocolate milk at the local cafe.  The Sportsmen’s Cafe is like a snapshot in time of a 1970’s diner from my youth.  The weathered linoleum floors, the old men in cowboy hats, the half-working neon sign.  It’s a terrific old-school diner a solid day-trip destination if you have a few hours to kill on the weekend.
*Outstate Bar of the Week:  Pour Lewey’s, McGregor, Minnesota.
What is the bar famous for?  If you take the day trip to the Sportsmen’s Cafe in Mora, Pour Lewey’s is only another hour north on Highway 65.
Can I watch the game there? They have two separate flat screen televisions and a satellite dish, and the entire bar is roughly the size of a semi-trailer, so you can watch any game from basically anywhere in the building.
Can I watch the NASCAR race there? Of course. 
Do they have a website?  No.
What bar games are available? You can nearly reach out your hands and simultaneously touch the front and back of the bar, so a pool table would split their seating capacity in half.  I think they have an electronic dart board by the women’s bathroom.  The bartenders are especially friendly, so just save your quarters and spend your time catching up on the local gossip. 
Again, I apologize for this 1,000-word sleeping pill.  I am most interested in your suggestions for the best Beef Commercials in the state.  Your thoughts on tadpoles and North Dakotans are also welcome in the comments below.

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