The Flanagan Memo - Re: Another Minnesota Veep?; downtown parks -- yes, again, and popovers are back.
Tim Pawlenty could become the third Minnesotan in recent years to advance to the job of U.S. Vice President. Walter (Fritz) Mondale served President Jimmy Carter and Hubert Horatio Humphrey was Veep to Lyndon Johnson. And just incidentally, both guys ran for the U.S. presidency and lost.
Pawlenty, who said recently he wasn't interested in the nomination, is a good speaker and a basically "nice guy" type -- that could be his biggest problem. In real life, Pawlenty is a tough, hardnosed hockey player and not enough people know it.
So, here is an idea to those promoting him -- shine a light on his hockey-playing past and also the fact that he still plays the game. Who knows, it might give him a bit of glamour and that's OK, right?
Mitt Romney might like it.
A recent postcard asked the question:
"What's Up With Downtown Parks?"
Well, I don't know and I did not get to last month's Park Board meeting at the downtown library where it was all spelled out. It sounds good.
You see, I've been convinced for about 35 years or so that we are working on it. A group called the Friends of Loring Park certainly saved that green space and now it is our No. 1 "downtown park." The Sculpture Garden across sculptor Siah Armajani's spectacular walking bridge from Loring is a dandy, filled with sculptures from the Walker Art Center's collection. The garden needs some money to spruce up and I believe it is worth it.
There is a new Gold Medal Park on the river by the Guthrie Theater, lots of smaller spaces around downtown and a new team is set to take on the building or rebuilding of the Mississippi River parkway north of the Stone Arch Bridge.
Finally, at the west end of the Hennepin Av. Bridge will be something new -- Gateway Park. Actually, it is not such a new idea. The original Gateway Park was destroyed back in the 1960s when the redo of the riverfront took over. That park, by the way, had a super fountain -- the Phelps, I believe -- and it was moved to the Lake Harriet Rose Garden. May I suggest that the Gateway planners consider moving it back downtown.
Now, one little thing is missing. It is called Peavey Plaza and it is about to be rebuilt. Sadly, those in charge did not invite M. Paul Friedberg to participate in the design. Since he won an award for the original in 1975, it would have been an alert thing to do. Ah, well, Friedberg took it like a gent.
Two items that occasionally sneak into a plan about downtown cause a bit of worry. One is references to "how dreadful our skyways are." Oh, really? Well, most Minnesota winters do not resemble the 2011-2012 delight, so may I suggest you forget it. Our skyways serve us beautifully when needed. OK?
The other bit that troubles some of our city-planning busy-bodies is Augie's, the nightclub that has been holding forth on Hennepin Avenue for an historic number of years. Leave it alone, please. It will go when it goes. So be it.
Getting back to great food, may I remind you that the Oak Grill on the 12th floor at Macy's downtown still serves superb popovers -- with, I think, honey butter. Those popovers have delighted us since they were first offered at the Grill when Macy's was Dayton's. Oh, dear old Dayton's.
Now, here is a happy note -- almost the same popovers with real honey butter are on the menu at the new Bachelor Farmer restaurant at 1st St. and 2nd Av. N. And who owns the Farmer but a couple of kids who grew up eating them. Yes, they are the Dayton brothers, Andrew and Eric, owners of the Farmer. I suspect their Dad, Gov. Mark Dayton, and their granddad Bruce Dayton like those popover treats, too.
Finally, Beatrice Bella Shopp, known as BeBe, Miss America of 1948 from Hopkins, remains in the news. The Boston Globe showed a picture of BeBe, now BeBe Waring, at a speaking engagement in Boston and she had her famous striped swimsuit in which she won the title.
No, she was not wearing it, just holding it. But with that smile, she still looks good.
Poll: Would you let someone turn your yard into an edible landscape?