Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Posts about Food and drink

Thursday (middle school football coach fired for Hooters party) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: November 7, 2013 - 9:18 AM

It's pretty hard to mess up a post-season middle school football party, one would think. Find some parents with a nice big house and see if they can host? Check out a local arcade or bowling alley, giving everyone a built-in activity? Or even just go out for pizza after the final game.

Or, if you coach at Corbett Middle School in Oregon, you take the kids to Hooters.

And you lose your job. Per the Oregonian:

Corbett Middle School football coach Randy Burbach, who planned an end-of-the-year team party at Hooters, said Tuesday that he believes he, his brother and his son won’t be allowed back as coaches.

Burbach, a volunteer, said he considers himself and his assistants fired after the district athletic director sent parents a letter Monday telling them that the end-of-season party at Hooters was not condoned by school administrators. Athletic director J.P. Soulagnet wrote parents that he “cannot further support them in coaching roles here at Corbett based on the unwillingness to change the location of this event to a more appropriate spot.”

Burbach said he has no plans to cancel the party but will support players and families who opt not to attend. Those who objected -- some parents have said they won't let their children attend an event at the chain restaurant, where waitresses serve chicken wings and other pub food while wearing tight tank tops -- haven't contacted him, he said.

“I still do not feel what has been done is wrong,” he said. “I feel the restaurant, in my opinion, is an OK venue.

Having once been a middle schooler, we can say unequivocally that the party would have been AWESOME. That said, now as an adult, we unfortunately know the difference between awesome and inappropriate. And let's face it, having a bunch of 12-14 year-old boys out to a restaurant that is few pieces of orange fabric away from being a strip club is just not the best idea.

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.

Weekend Links with Jon Marthaler: April Fools, soccer, sandwiches, swimsuit models

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 31, 2012 - 10:13 AM


Commenter Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every week. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?


Tomorrow is April Fools' Day. If you're the type of person who loves the first of April, I'm going to ask you a favor: please stop. Just stop. Whatever you're planning for tomorrow, it's not going to be funny - in fact, it's probably going to be anti-funny. It will be un-satirical, non-humorous, and mirth-hindering.

About 26 years ago, the great George Plimpton invented Sidd Finch for Sports Illustrated, in what one ranking has dubbed the second greatest April Fool's Day hoax of all time. It's hard not to like the story of Siddharta Finch, but that's mostly because Plimpton wrote it; his other writing carries the same sense of wonderment. Ultimately, the only fun April Fools' Day hoaxes are those that are simply tongue-in-cheek or whimsical. Like Finch, or Terry Jones and the colony of flying penguins, they exist to make us laugh, not to make us believe.

So tomorrow, if you're thinking about promulgating a hoax or pulling a prank, ask yourself - who am I trying to entertain, today? If you're trying to make the world laugh, then you'll probably fail, but okay. But if you're only trying to make yourself laugh, if you're trying to make yourself the only smart one in a room of confused people, then congratulations - you're joining the long list of otherwise talented people who, like drunks trying to scale a curb at a Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade, fall on their faces in the attempt to be funny on April Fool's Day.

On with the links:

*We lead off this week with a twenty-year-old piece about minor-league baseball, because that's how we live, here in the Weekend Links. Miami Herald humorist Dave Barry made the trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, to then-Marlins affiliate the Erie Sailors. Things have changed in the past two decades, and perhaps today minor league baseball is not run quite so casually. Still, though, a thousand monkeys banging on a thousand typewriters about the thousand glories of baseball couldn't capture them any better than Barry does.

*Earlier this year, I wrote about why female athletes posing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue didn't seem right to me. The Freakonomics blog highlighted some interesting new research on the same topic.

*I love both sandwiches and soccer, so I can hardly describe my excitement at this article that involves both: an examination of how the term "prawn sandwich eaters" became a pejorative among English soccer fans.

*While we're on the subject of soccer, the English newspaper the Guardian wrote a nice piece on the Independent Supporters' Council that promotes fan welfare in Major League Soccer

*And finally, there are two ways to respond to the latest local-sportswriter kerfuffle. Craig Calcaterra at the Hardball Talk blog posted a rumination on the dangers of access a few weeks before the latest blowup. I would call this the "measured" way of thinking about the issue. On the flip side, the great Stu responded at Twinkie Town with hilarity, and disdain for all parties. This may be less measured, but it's far, far funnier, and if you didn't read it yesterday go read it now.

Friday (Your go-to breakfast) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 21, 2011 - 10:39 AM

If you know us at all, you know we love breakfast. We've posted about go-to spots for breakfast in the past. Today -- the Friday of MEA week, when our large blog-reading teacher constituency has headed for meetings a four-day weekend -- we offer a different post: the go-to breakfast that YOU MAKE YOURSELF.

Personally, we have two variations: healthy (above -- Dannon vanilla yogurt, raspberries, a cut up banana and Cascadian Farm granola, and yes the brands matter) and not-as-healthy (below). We enjoyed the healthy version today. The main drawback to the healthy version is that it is also the pug's go-to breakfast when it comes to trying to steal a taste.

For a less-health breakfast, we require a few things: eggs, potatoes, some sort of meat and some sort of heat. The concoction below is a perfect example: three eggs, spicy Cajun chicken sausage, red potatoes, green peppers, jalapenos and Frank's hot sauce, along with an English muffin.

Now that you are sufficiently hungry and thinking about food, we want to hear about your go-to homemade breakfast. And don't tell us you hate breakfast. Because that would send us into a hate-filled rage.


Friday (What defines a great breakfast place?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 18, 2011 - 9:27 AM

We're not sure if Minnesotans, as a whole, love breakfast more than their counterparts in other states.

What we do know is this: Folks around here (including us) take their breakfast VERY seriously, and at least in the metro area we are blessed with countless awesome options when we choose to dine out in the morning (or early afternoon, as it were).

This was reinforced this morning, when we threw out a couple of off-the-cuff tweets about our preferred breakfast establishments in the Twin Cities. If you read our top 10 list, you can see we skew toward diners, for the most part. Taste is our number one priority; creativity is big; relative value plays a role.

Judging by the responses to those tweets, if you want to engage a local reader, talk about morning food.

As such, it's Friday morning. It's not time to talk NCAA tourney yet. The Gophers athletic programs? Well, this guy thinks it might be as bad as ever over at Bierman. We'll drown in Twins talk if we get too deep this early. NFL, Wolves, Wild ... nope, nope and nope.

So let's throw out an early breakfast talker with a few questions:

1) What are your top three spots to get breakfast? Metro or non-metro, we don't care. We're always looking for a great new place.

2) Do you think Minnesotans have a greater love of breakfast than folks elsewhere?

3) What defines a great breakfast or brunch spot? That is to say, what are YOU looking for when you seek out a spot for your first meal of the day?

Clearance Clarence: Special bonus -- Outstate Diner of the Week

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 1, 2011 - 12:07 PM

Commenter Clarence Swamptown is here to delight you. As always, his opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Star Tribune or RandBall. Clarence?


*Outstate Bar of the Week:  The Corral Supper Club & Saloon, Nelson, Minnesota.

What is the bar famous for?  The Corral Supper Club & Saloon is one of two bars located in downtown Nelson, approximately 5 minutes east of Alexandria.  It’s a relatively large bar and they have a Saturday night prime rib special that’s pretty awesome, but the main attraction is their “Shoot the Minnow” promotion.  On Friday nights during the summer if you can drink a shot with a minnow in it, you win a free t-shirt.  I’ve done worse for less.
Can I watch the game there?  I think so. Truthfully, I don’t remember. I was shooting the minnow (not a euphemism).
Can I watch the NASCAR race there?  I have to imagine that you can. Pretty sure there was a Bud Light NASCAR hood hanging on the wall.  Or I might have been sleeping in the parking lot.
Do they have a website?  No.
What bar games are available?  I recall that they have a separate game room with darts and a pool table that may or may not spin in a circle.
* Country & Western Song of the Week:  In an effort to combine Randball’s terrific Page 2 Top 5 segment, the award-winning “Today’s Unimpeachably Great Song (TUGS)” on randballsstu’s Twitter account, and the decidedly average Clearance Clarence Country & Western Song of the Week, I have been asking various commenters to provide their Top 5 C & W songs of all time.  This week we feature darlosity, the Ron Wood of South Dakota:
Via darlosity: Truth be told, I'm far from the biggest country and/or western music fan out there. I considered putting my own spin on the list by providing my favorite covers of country songs by non-country artists solely to pay homage to The White Stripes' rendition of Jolene, but, as someone with a limited knowledge of the history of country music, reverted to a more typical list. Here goes:
5) Misery Loves Company by Porter Wagoner. If you're thinking "Porter Wagoner? Porter [redacted] Wagoner?", then my answer is only "Yes, Porter Wagoner." I don't know why I have an affinity for this guy's music, but I do. I'm pretty sure it came from seeing those "Classic Country Collection"-type infomercials as a kid, played between the syndicated episodes of Batman and Gilligan's Island that I watched after Little League baseball practice as a kid. That has to be it. There is no other reason for this. Also, fans of Porter Wagoner will note that his suit in this video is safe for work.
4) Workin' Man's Blues by Merle Haggard. There was once a time when country musicians wrote songs about being down and out, about how hard life was, and about their wild times because they lived it, not because it sold albums. I mention this because, though I can't name many of them, today's country stars give me the feeling that they work out and go tanning in order to impress the ladies and get their pictures to appear in many a magazine. Not Merle. When he wasn't digging ditches, he was spending his time in prison. And, apparently, he had some time in the pen to practice his musical chops, as well. I think it paid off.
3) Wichita Lineman written by Jimmy Webb, but performed by Glen Campbell. Among the archives of Glen Campbell's body of work, I'm sure you could find plenty of other songs that sound "more country," but I'm including this one for two reasons: 1) It's awesome, and; 2) as someone who tinkers around with music myself and totally geeks out over guitars, I'd like to point out that, in the linked video (a performance on the Smothers Brothers show), Campbell is playing a Fender Bass VI, a kind of hybrid electric guitar that plays bass tones but has 6 strings and a tremolo (or "whammy") bar. That's worth a click right there.
2) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams.  In addition to hard livin' (see Merle Haggard), good ol' fashioned country music often carries its fair share of heartbreak. Hank crammed a divorce, personal and family health problems and struggles with drugs and booze into 29 short years; however, he was never married to Nicole Kidman nor starred in a Corona commercial. As it is, we have this song. 
1) Orange Blossom Special by Johnny Cash.  Folks have made justifications for their choices in past editions of the "Top 5" but (and I'm sure I'll get killed by Rocket for this) I'm in agreement with Stu's statement that you could pull the name of any Johnny Cash song out of a hat and you'd have the greatest country music song ever written. Stu named The Ballad of Ira Hayes and Fasolamatt named two Cash compositions, Tennessee Flat Top Box and Folsom Prison Blues. In our drawing today we have ... drum roll, please [reaches into hat] ...Orange Blossom Special.
*Outstate Diner of the Week:  The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe, Lanesboro, Minnesota.
What are they famous for? Located approximately 45 minutes southeast of Rochester, Lanesboro is a quaint Bed & Breakfast town nestled in the heart of Minnesota’s limestone bluff country. The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe mirrors the town’s character.  If you don’t know it’s there, you might drive right by.  It only has seating for the few lucky dozen and it’s always packed with locals.  Don’t let the name fool you - apparently they make terrific pastries, but I wouldn’t know.  Their meat and potato lunches are the answer.  There are no menus because the food options change daily based on the will and whimsy of the backroom chef.  You never know what’s being served until you walk in the door and look at the chalkboard.  Sometimes he makes chicken, sometimes it’s pork, and sometimes it’s lobster rolls (!), but it’s always good.  They also have the free wi-fi for us fancy-pants 612ers.
What are the waitresses like?  Considering that the menu is constantly changing, the waitresses need to be sharp and on their toes.  They are.
How’s the food? Incredible. Possibly the best food in southeastern Minnesota. 
Do they have a website?  Nope.
Are they on Twitter?  No.
Anything else I should know?  My Aunt Pam is an incredible cook in the classical farm-wife sense.  Historically farms throughout the Midwest utilized what my German ancestors called der sommerküche (the summer kitchen), essentially the lesser known cousin of a southern outdoor barbeque. Cooking inside the main house in the summer heat was unbearable, so the wood stove was moved to a small outbuilding that served as the farm’s kitchen, dining room, and cannery during the summer months.  The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe reminds me of Aunt Pam’s sommerküche.  It’s small and smells incredible and as my Uncle Dave would say: Don’t worry about what’s for dinner son, it will be good.  Sit down, shut up, and eat. The dinner table is for eating, not talking. People talk too {redacted} much yapping about this or that when they ought to be eating, working, or sleeping. In 1953 I punched a goat. The chickadee should be the state bird.  (Uncle Dave was prone to the occasional crazy rant). Anyway, the Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe has really good food and Lanesboro is a rock-solid day trip destination if you get the chance.
Your thoughts on Shooting the Minnow, darlosity’s terrific list, and lobster rolls are welcome in the comments below.


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