Commenter Clarence Swamptown is here to delight you. As always, his opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Star Tribune or RandBall. In fact, this time they are in direct conflict! Clarence?


* RandBall is Wrong:  The difficult part about writing a weekly guest post on a Tuesday is that when something happens on the weekend, the statute of blog ranting limitations usually expires by Monday night.  So please excuse the following stale and poorly constructed outburst, but I have to get this off my chest:  I can understand why someone would have enjoyed the Super Bowl halftime show. There were Tron Suits and Usher’s sunglasses and Fergie dressed like a bedazzled Cleatus the Fox Football Robot. There was dancing, bright lights and spinning, and the whole thing was like Japanese anime.  My kids loved it and the dog had a seizure. 

That said, the Black Eyed Peas are like strawberry milk – too sugary for my taste, but I can understand why other people like their music. I’ve got terrible taste in music so far be it from me to criticize someone else.  What I don’t understand is why the NFL combined techno-pop hip-hop with a cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine and a washed up Slash.  I’m a big Guns ‘N Roses guy - to me they are like prime rib. You don’t dip prime rib into strawberry milk au jus.  They just don’t mix.  The halftime show should be either sugary pop or meaty rock n’ roll, but don’t try to mix them – it just ruins the whole meal. The NFL’s attempt at cross-promotion failed miserably.  That said, it’s only a halftime show.  The game itself was entertaining, but I can agree with Mr. Rand when he says, “Let us never speak of this season again.” 
* Outstate Diner of the Week:  For the past few months other guest commenters have been asked to provide their Top 5 Country & Western songs of all time.  If they’re not a C& W fan, they are given the option to provide their own favorite outstate diners or bars.  This week, noted commenter flextopia took the offer and provided an enjoyable list of his/her favorite outstate diners. I’m not sure if flextopia is originally from Mountain Lake, or if he/she lives there now.  I’m not even sure if flextopia is male and/or female.  What I do know is that flextopia is the foremost ambiguous expert on Mountain Lake cuisine, and flextopia likes egg rolls:
Via flextopia:  A brief walk-through of all of Mountain Lake’s dining choices.
The Parkside Depot:
What are they famous for? It used to be a Pizza Ranch, the first Pizza Ranch in Minnesota I’ve been told. They also have a delightful train theme: Broasted Chicken, I Choo Choo Choose You.
What are the waitresses like? Non-existent.
How’s the food? Eh.
Do they have a website? No, but I found a picture of the owner.
Are they on twitter? Ha.
The Laker Grill:
What are they famous for? The Mountain Lake high school nickname used to be the Lakers, hence the name. The bar itself used to be The One-Way Cafe since it is located on a one-way street. Before that is was The Jack & Jill Grocery Store.
What are the waitresses like? Fine (no, not like that).
How’s the food? It’s alright; nothing to write home about. Then again, you probably didn’t come to Mountain Lake to eat food that you’ll write home about.
Do they have a website? No, but check out the Parkside Depots owner again.
Are they on twitter? Get out of here.
BB’s Diner:
What are they famous for? It used to be a Dairy Queen on what used to be Highway 60. As you may have noticed, Mountain Lake used to be a town.
The rest of the answers: none, good, no, no.
King Eggroll’s Express:
What are they famous for? King Eggroll makes the most of their 300 square foot space with a place to order food, a grocery section with only obscure Asian ingredients, and a place to trade in gold (or other cash dealings). Yes, really. Perhaps, King Express might also be famous for being one of the few dining options in Mountain Lake that has not undergone a name change.
How’s the food? Awesome eggrolls!
You know the rest. Flex out!
* Country & Western Song of the Week:  North Dakota, by Lyle Lovett. BONUS TRACK: North Dakota, by Chris Knight.  Different songs, same name, both are great.
* Tsuyoshi Nishioka Quote Of The Week, As Reported By The Japanese Media And Ham-Handedly Filtered Through an Online Translator:  With The Pavstache™ shaved and Nick Punto taking his Lilliputian talents to St. Louis, the 2011 Minnesota Twins are lacking for local cultural sensations. Newly acquired infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka is probably best candidate to become the 2011 Minnesota Twins’ Meme of the Year, if only because we just don’t know anything about this guy.  He’s a clean slate.  Maybe he’ll play shortstop dressed like Elvis?  Maybe he’ll roam the locker room wearing nothing but a giant foam cowboy hat?  The safe money says that if Tsuyoshi Nishioka exhibits any type of peculiar tic, it will quickly become the “Smell ‘Em” or “Kirby the Kestrel” of 2011.  With that in mind, exactly what is Tsuyoshi Nishioka saying to the Japanese media about his time in America?  I don’t speak Japanese, so the quotes I find each week will need to be run through Yahoo’s Babelfish translator.  From something called the Mainichi Daily News:
“Happiness is a warm place to come.  From tomorrow start practicing now,” he said with enthusiasm.
Well that was kind of dirty, Tsuyoshi, but I can’t argue with the sentiment.  And I like your enthusiasm.  Good hustle.  You should fit in well.
* Ron Gardenhire Quote Of The Week About Tsuyoshi Nishioka as Reported in English And Then Translated to Japanese And Then Back to English:  Just in case there are any smart-aleck Japanese blog guest posters searching for weekly quotes about Tsuyoshi Nishioka from Ron Gardenhire, I’ll do the heavy lifting.  From the Brainerd Dispatch:
“Complete home theater to get to the third most… I my best he going to talk Japenglish moving the platform to speak to him, trying to steal.”
Mr. Gardenhire, Tsuyoshi Nishioka will not be able to install a stolen home theater system for you. Just suffer through the light-saber noises and call Lew Ford already.
Your thoughts on Cleatus, North Dakota, Mountain Lake dining options, Nishi, and Gardy are welcome in the comments below. Swamp out.

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