Saturday, December 30, 2006


The orange fence
Orange border fencing

The warm weather,foggy dew and scarce ice fishermen on the lake create a Samuel Beckett “Waiting for Godot” backdrop - without a bench.
Pools of water speckle the diffused grey lakescape and an occasional premordial ice house sets in solitary protest.
The conceptual artist Christo created “The Walking Fence”. It was an airy wandering fence heavy on public and private financing, light on functionality. On Lake Minnetonka bright orange border fencing runs along stretches of blackened ice and broken areas of shoreline. The fence is moderately functional. It protects marina owners from lawsuits. Occassionally it deters a wanderer.
Orange border fencing

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two roads crossing- two paths crossing

Along Minnetonka Boulevard
Along Minnetonka Boulevard.

Highway 101 runs South to Shakopee where it joins Highway 169 and follows the Minnesota River through southern Minnesota. Historically this North/South route was traveled by Native Americans during hunting migrations and during battles. Chowen’s Corner-Deephaven, rests at the edge of this Indian trail. Early Chowen's Corner settlers tell of watching long lines of warriors pass, sometimes for a full day, as they headed north to Lake Mill Lacs and other points. Highway 101 touches the Eastern side of Lake Minnetonka, and today crosses over a bridge at Grays Bay. The road is expanding for heavier traffic.

A mile further south, Minnetonka Boulevard crosses Highway 101. This 2-lane ”boulevard” roughly follows Minnehaha Creek, whose source is Lake Minnetonka. Minnehaha Creek empties into the Mississippi River at legendary Minnehaha Falls. The mighty Mississippi river empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and then to the oceans of the world. Minnetonka boulevard is a small restless road that changes directions sharply and always moves west, like the early settlers.

Henry W. Longfellow wrote 'The Song of Hiawatha', a heroic poem of the triumph of “The Noble Savage” (a popular 19th century theme). The poem mentions the lake, the stream and the waterfall. It was published in 1861. The poem brought about a frenzy of interest in Lake Minnetonka and hastened the Lake’s “Guilded Age". A time of European-style opulence and class distinction.

The two roads cross in the city of Minnetonka. It is an unseemly intersection of 2 cultures, with a dangling 3 color semifore.

This intersection is under construction until fall of 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa In A Sack

Santa in a sack

OK, I am going to let him out one more time, to fly about delivering gift packages and moooching free food. I hope Minnetonkascenes readers have a wonderfu holiday.

I have been a little remiss in my writing, but I plan a year in review. My favorites from the first full year....

By the way, the snow finally arrived in a dreadful, 32 degree slush and snow combination.
Appointed rounds

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bring It On! Snow that is.

Yee haa!

My lights are up. I have purchased my quatities of coal for the stockings. We have sucessfully kept Rudolf out of the Reindeer games again this year. He loses the nose and he is back in.

But we have no snow! I walked out the door to let the dogs out and was greeted with pelts of frozen rain. No snow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Biella in Excelsior

Biella's Italian Cuisine

I get more Google searches about “Biellas” in Excelsior (and its sister restaurant Ravellos in Long Lake) than any other topics. I have eaten at both restaurants and have nothing but praise for the food, attentive service and the sincere Italian dining ambience. Hey,- I lived in New Jersey for 2 years, where I was exposed to ambience. Clams Cassino anyone? ....I once walked into an Italian restaurant in new Brunswick as the fiery owner threw a steaming calzone at the refrigerator while shouting angrily "we don’t deliver small pizzas!” into the phone receiver (black, wall mounted style telephone).
They made best calzones I have ever had.

Biella and 52

Back to Biella; The owner of both Biella and Ravello restaurants, Mark Nazigian, is the type of guy who is not averse to standing in the July heat, over a smoking Italian Grill on Excelsior’s main street serving customers hot Italian sausage and peppers panninis. His jovial smile is broad and unnaffected.

The evening menu is a little more Piedmonte:

These selections as listed from the street, on Biella's window-posted menu;

Truffle Gnocci with oven roasted tomatoes, asparagus and baby artichokes.
$6/12 (hors du oevres/entree)

Wild Mushroom Rissotto with scallions and chive oil

Spinach Raviolli with pumpkin puree,
buttermilk blue cheese and shrimp nutmeg brown butter


Procuitto wrapped tuna with peanut red cabbage slaw
finished with pomegranate syrup

New Zealand rack of lamb
with conift potatoes, sauteed brocollini,
finished with Cherve topped with balsamic syrup

Plum braised short ribs wuth golden baby potatoes
and glazed baby carrots

Salmon Wellington with Foi Gras,
finshed with red wine and mushroom demiglace

Many more items... these just selected samples. Hungry...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Minnetonka Grey

The colors are so subtle. The lake is alone. A coating of water covers dark ice. Warm weather has scattered the ice fishermen, skiers and skaters.


December Mist

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Songs About Walking

Just a few songs about walking, selected lyrics and my commentary. Take a walk!
Walking shoes

1.These Boots are Made for Walking - Nancy Sinatra

“You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin'
and you keep losin' when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin' when you oughta be changin'.
Now what's right is right, but you ain't been right yet.

These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”
Comment: This was the beginning of “power walking”.

2. Walk a Mile in My Shoes- Joe South 1970

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Oh, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes.
Comment: Great song, only #12 in the charts, perhaps a bit preachy.

3. Walk Like a Man - Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons

Oh how you tried to cut me down to size
Telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
said give her up don't bother
The world isn't coming to an end

(he said just)
Walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman's worth
Crawling on the earth
Just walk like a man my son
Comment: Ya, and you can take your crummy Blackberry too - no, wait!

4 The Walk of Life - Dire Straits

Here comes johnny and hell tell you the story
Hand me down my walkin shoes
Here come johnny with the power and the glory
Backbeat the talkin blues
He got the action, he got the motion
Oh yeah, the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day
He do the song about the sweet lovin woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life

Comment; And he run with scissors too.

5. I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
Want the words? - see the movie. Really.

6. Walk on by - Dionne Warwick
When you see me walking down the street
and I start to cry each time we meet
walk on by, walk on by...
Comment: And if you can, run.

7 Just Walk On By - Jimmy Reeves,1950
Just walk on by,
wait on the corner
I love you but we're strangers when we meet.”
I love you but we're strangers when we meet.
Comment:Further instructions included hiding behind a potted plant.

8. Walk Right In - The Rooftop Singers

Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on
Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on
Everybody's talkin' 'bout a new way of walkin'
Do you want to lose your mind?
Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on
Daddy, let your mind roll on

Comment: This early 60s folk song was part of the ‘happenings’ scene. A “new way of walking” involved sitting.

9. Walking to New Orleans - Fats Domino

“You used to be my honey
Till you spent all my money
No use for you to cry
I'll see you bye and bye
Cause I'm walkin' to New Orleans”

Fats Domino. Walking.

10. You Never Walk Alone - From the musical 'A Caroussel'

Hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark.
Walk on,
walk on, with hope in your heart
and you'll never walk alone...

Comment: Schizophrenia theme song.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frozen water discovered on Lake Minnetonka

Carsons Bay, A Frozen Dock

Mars? A short drive down to Carsons Bay and I have discovered frozen water.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Locust Hills

Minnesota Historical Society:

"In 1855, Wayzata had an influx of settlers who built a sawmill, a hotel and a blacksmith shop.  Most early settlers made their living off the land, first by clear cutting the trees to grow corn and wheat.  In 1857, this flourishing economy was nearly terminated by a grasshopper plague.  But then ginseng was discovered in the remaining hard wood forest which had been left standing, these trees being too great a distance from the lake to float down stream to the sawmill."

Locust Hills Development Corporation is in the process of building 44-47 Villa Homes just South of the intersection of 101 and McGinty Road- I have written about this intersections before.

Locust Hills... an historically infamous and unappealing name. How did this developement obtain it's name? This new developement is built near Grays Bay, but not quite on it,- it has its own "lagoon". It is billled as a 'new urbanist' (my name) type developement. The Locust Hills.

More later...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bad movie reviews.-Minnetonkascenes Mojo

In order to reinforce the mainstream media contention that The Blogosphere is irresponsible and unreliable, I will review some holiday movie fare without ever having seen it ... because the movies are so rote that one does not need to see them - really! These are my presumed plots:

1. Rocky IntraVenus - Sylvester Stalone plays a washed up world boxing champion who must fight an apparently invincible "alien child” whose father was born near Area 51, New Mexico in 1947. Balboa is the only man on earth who can withstand the giant's kryptonite laced blows (the Rock's head is lined with lead). Rocky finds he cannot knock out the alien hybrid, but eventually a sunami of sweat splashing from Rocky’s face have a deadly impact on the “green giant”. The World Heavyweight Championship of Boxing is returned to earth!
Rocky uses the Medicaid Program to pay for his recovery. 5 out of 5 stars.

2. Casino Royale Pain- the 6th James Bond (Daniel Craig) has lost all bond to his original 007 identity (even worse than Bewitched’s bland Darin II) Bitter, he doesn’t care if his Martinis come shaken or stirred, just as long as they keep coming. Massive explosions, expensive cars and a cool British accent carry this film. 4 out of 5 stars.

3 Deja Vu- You! An old Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Taylor and Reives song sets the musical tone for a film in which the treadworn “been there, done that” phenomena is fully explored. Denzel Washington plays a government agent caught up (in a role) and a mystery that seems strangely familiar. Surpize cameo from The 5th Dimension! 4 out of 5 stars. - Some time travel,and mild profanity.