Gov. Dayton — or Gov. Macy’s if you’re not living in the past — went after Wisconsin’s new tourism ad the other day. “One of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen,” he said. You wish he’d added “and I’ve seen the entire Minnesota Supreme Court blow milk bubbles out their nostrils” for comparison’s sake, but we’ll take him at his word.
At least the spot — an homage to the amusing movie “Airplane” — tries something different. Most tourism ads are interchangeable. Oh look: That state has a lake. And a city! Look: They have a field across from which a small child is running, laughing. And they have a slogan. KANSAS: WHERE AMERICA GOES TO BE IN KANSAS, or something.
Anyway, the gov said he might inscribe his feelings about the ad on a piece of infrastructure and send it to Wisconsin’s governor. In case you didn’t get the reference, the Strib article explained: “Walker wrote ‘Go Packers’ on a piece of Wisconsin steel bound for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.”
This is the most brilliantly evil thing I have heard in years. It was later erased with a power grinder, which suggests that Walker used an industrial laser or — as some critics on the left suspect — slit his finger and drew the words with his corrosive acid blood. The offending words were purged, and the beam went on its way to be installed in the stadium, somewhere.
Erased. So they say.
Let me digress. The doomed Strib World HQ building is right by the stadium, as well as the three blocks of towers going up on S. 4th Street. I’ve watched the area transform from parking lots and the old Metrodome into (hold on, consulting newspaper cliché book … ah) a bustling area bristling with cranes. According to some pieces I read, the project will employ over 3,400 tradesmen.
I expected to see workers swarming over the girders like ants on a honey-covered stick. As far as I can tell, there’s about seven people working on each building.
This is because a) I’m not seeing how many are working, or b) I overestimate the number of people required to build a tall tower, or c) the building is actually constructed at night by leprechauns, and the people who work during the day are fixing the things the leprechauns messed up because they started hitting the jug around 4 a.m.
Yet it rises, week after week.
Lately, I’ve watched the stone cladding go up. It’s tan, as required by the Uniform Bank Building Stone Act of 1989. Takes about four guys to raise and hang a ton of stone. Takes one guy to bring it to the site. In Egyptian times, it would have taken 500 guys to drag it from the river barge and another 500 to hew it from the quarry, while Yul Brynner whipped someone impassively, or something.
The stadium site also seems underpopulated, and it’s possible that on opening day they will say, “We’d like to pay tribute to the workers who built this magnificent edifice. John, Bob, Jake, Hank, Sue, Kris, stand up and take a bow.”
Which brings me back to the Walker Jinx Beam. The idea of putting “GO PACKERS” on a beam for the Vikings stadium is the most magnificent psych-out imaginable. If revealed after the structure was completed, it would spoil it for 87 percent of the fans. They are a superstitious lot, you know — I have to wear my old Fran Tarkenton jersey on game day and eat exactly six Buffalo wings and spill a beer during the opening kickoff BECAUSE THAT’S WHY THEY WON THAT GAME IN ’86.
The notion that a beam above bore words expressing solidarity with the Evil Cheesers would taint the whole shed. And if the Vikings had an unsuccessful season — I know, bear with me, it could happen — there would be grumblings that the place was cursed.
Especially if the Packers won every time and celebrated every touchdown by pointing to a spot on the roof and then crossing themselves in a triangular fashion, as if describing a wedge of cheddar.
But whew! It was scoured off. So they say. If you wanted to cast voodoo on the enemy team, wouldn’t you make a great show of writing a taunting message everyone would see, and then head back into the fabricating shop to inscribe an identical message on another beam and swear everyone to silence in a ceremony that involved pricking fingers and burning a purple jersey?
For heaven’s sake, why is Wisconsin fabricating our beams in the first place? It’s like subcontracting our naval maintenance facilities to V. Putin Inc. If only 10 or 20 people are building the stadium, what are the chances that one is a Wisconsin agent? Or half?
The only way to be sure: loyalty oaths administered with a lie detector. How do you feel about Brett Favre? Oh, a great quarterback. And the needle swings like it’s picking up the San Andreas fault coming apart. Once it’s established that the site has been compromised, we’ll have to tear it down and start again. I don’t see any other option.
For all we know, anti-Minnesota messages are on the beams that make up the Wells Fargo site, too, and that’ll have to come down as well.
I know, I know, it sounds drastic. We’re talking 30 people out of work, at least.