Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: Field trip!
RN: Look, Ma, we’re on public transit, and we’re loving every minute.
CP: The LRT Green Line has a monster at either end, one horrifying, one spectacular.
RN: There are so many architectural possibilities here.
CP: I refer to the new Vikings stadium in the west, which no enlightened observer can describe as beautiful, and the spiffed-up State Capitol in the east.
RN: The Green Line offers some pretty spectacular moving-sidewalk-superintendent views of Fleet Farm Field. That’s my hoped-for name for the Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium, anyway. Scarily, its sinister scale recalls The Machine from the 1997 Jodie Foster sci-fi flick “Contact.” As for the House of Cass Gilbert in St. Paul, Hello, gorgeous.
CP: Now that they’ve been power-washed, the big white Georgia marble blocks of the Capitol glow like a no-makeup Keira Knightley. And then we enter downtown St. Paul along Cedar.
RN: Dreadful. The 1960s and ’70s were not kind to the Saintly City streetscape. As we pass by the Soviet-style mishaps that are Town Square and the former Macy’s, my eyes are screaming, “It burns! It burns!”
CP: There are great parts here — such as the parks Rice and Mears — but they aren’t visible from the railcar route. Speaking of Cass Gilbert …
RN: … we just whizzed past Mr. G’s gracious Endicott Building. Forget this Green Line nonsense — this billion-dollar baby should have been christened the Gilbert Line.
CP: The architectural glamour spots are more or less overwhelmed, however, by long stretches of University Avenue dotted with one-story pawnshops, nondescript bars, one-man insurance agencies, Thai restaurants, storefront churches and at least 15 tire shops. OMG, what happened to that Embers where I met my first gaggle of after-bar drag queens?
RN: It has been renovated beyond recognition. Every so often a gem pops out on University. There’s the fabulous art deco Old Home Foods building at Western Avenue, and the Louis Sullivan-like Chittenden and Eastman building at Raymond Avenue. Both are living second lives as housing. How great is that?
CP: For every diamond, there are roughs. Like the Kelly green Spruce Tree Centre at Snelling and University. That thing is ugly enough that it’s bound to have Docomomo leap to its defense should it face the wrecking ball.
RN: Agreed. How about this ride? It’s as smooth as a shave with a Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor. So unlike the lurch-fest that is the commuter bus I recently started taking to the office.
CP: Here we are, whizzing past Minnesota Public Radio on the specially rubberized rails, so as not to rattle “Morning Edition.”
RN: Shhhhhh, you’ll interrupt Cathy Wurzer. Should we lunch at the ultra-fabulous Surly? It’s a few blocks off the Westgate stop.
CP: Are you kidding? Two pints of draft Furious is my idea of a perfect way to start an afternoon back at the office. (Bosses: Kidding.)
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib