The ‘U’, Part I [And Welcome to the 500th Post!!!]

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9-1-07Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and household pets of all ages, welcome to this august (meaning venerable, not time of year) milestone of the blog’s 500th posting.  There were naysayers at its inception predicting it would never crack the 100-post barrier, at least not without a heat shield.  But nevertheless, it is what it is, a blog that began in January 2011, and now after almost three years has averaged, by my Minnesota ‘rithmetic, a new post every other day.  If you haven’t read all 500 postings yet, well you probably had better things to do.  I understand.  Life’s short, dance naked in the street . . . .

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It seems somehow appropriate that the 500th posting would be about the ‘U’, a/k/a, the University of Minnesota.  Absent my matriculation there almost five decades ago, I likely wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to retire early and spend the rest of my time writing foolishness about fun things.  Which reminds me . . . the supervisor wants me to go to the doctor for a check-up, because I’m old.  I always felt it strange that I should take up valuable medical staff time when I feel perfectly fine?  Shouldn’t they be tending to the sick and the injured . . . and the uninsured?  I’ll return anon after being poked and prodded . . .

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[OK, I passed the physical.  Woo-woo!  But, back to our story.  As you recall from reading the previous post (right?), this was a women’s hockey weekend in the Cities.  After the Alex game in Mound Westonka, we headed to The Commons on the ‘U’ campus.  You may recall this as the old (relatively) Radisson, within two blocks of The Bank, Williams Arena, and Mariucci.  A great location, soon to be served by light rail.  Well my travel agent supervisor got a great deal here (I think I’d stay here anyway rather than a cheaper suburban motel) – so we could just park the car and walk everywhere we wanted to go on Saturday and Sunday.  The Commons did a one-year makeover on the whole hotel, and we found it quite luscious.  As we trend toward our not-so-golden years, the supervisor is developing a real taste for cruise ships and upscale hotels.  🙂 ]

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[The supervisor doing the white glove test.]

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[Hey, Bruce Olson, how ’bout them oars?  😉  (Bathroom photo)]

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[This photo was taken under orders.]

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[OK, from the other way.]

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[The campus multi-story gymnasium/natatorium was right outside our window . . .]

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[As was the McNamara Alumni Center.]

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[Nice lobby!  🙂 ]

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[Aaahhhh, the reason we were there.  This is the Princeton women’s hockey team.  They were playing the Gophers.  We chatted with their coach, Jeff Kampersal.  He knew Alex – because all hockey coaches know the cities in Minnesota!  Ha!  He had two Minnesotans on the Tigers and said he had coached some of the Gophers in national U-18 events.  BTW, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team was staying here, too – they were playing the Gophers in the opener of the new Big Ten hockey conference.  Our Gophers won all 4 games.]

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[Hi, I love opulence!  😉 ]

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[The deer “lost” its glasses over the weekend.  Staff said it’s happened before.  😦 ]

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[Waiting to go to the last ever Holidazzle parade on the Nicollet Avenue mall.]

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[Thank you.  It looks better without the flash.]

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[So, the hotel shuttle took us to downtown Minneapolis.  WCCO was televising the parade.]

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[We got there just as the parade was starting.]

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[The supervisor searches for a prime viewing location for the late arrivers.]

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[She found a short concrete wall behind the front row mob for us to stand on.  🙂 ]

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[Yo, Pinocchio!]

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[Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus . . .  The parade lasts for a half hour, but is held over several nights.  This was its last year.  They’re working on a substitute.]

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[After the parade, we met Cam and Karen at Masa Restaurant (Mexican) on the mall.  It’s one of their favorite places, and we liked it.  Then we had our photo taken with Frida!  🙂  Frida, I believe, is Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican artist from the early-to-mid 1900’s.]

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[Then we all went to The Commons for an après-dinner whatever . . .]

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[Enjoying our “whatevers.”]

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[The ‘U’ campus out our morning window.]

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[Time for breakfast . . .]

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[Waiting for something good!]

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[Cam arrived and the three of us commenced our campus walking tour.]

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[Ooops, sorry!  First back upstairs for a shot of the Alumni Center.  And, of course, forgot to pay the place a visit.]

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[Now we’re on the campus – our mall.  Beautiful in the fall!]

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[Cam and the supervisor cross a pedestrian bridge over Washington Avenue.  Our first destination was the Weisman Art Gallery (just to Ruthie’s left in the background).  None of us had been there before.  It was a bit early in the morning, so there was a chill in the air.]

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[The Weisman on the left, the Minneapolis skyline in the distance, and Washington Avenue in the process of being converted to a light rail track.]

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[The tour guide pointing out his city (well, he was born there but the facility in which he was born no longer exists so he can’t prove it) from his campus.]

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[Cam photos the tour guide.]

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[Looking back along Washington Avenue toward our hotel.]

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[Hey, idiots at “Travel + Leisure,” does Duke have a campus view like this, does Stanford, does anyone?  Editor’s note:  For some unknown reason, “Travel + Leisure” magazine recently selected the ‘U”s Minneapolis campus as one of the nation’s ugliest.  I think they forgot to consider urban center v. bucolic pastoral features.  To be fair, thebestcolleges.org includes the ‘U’ on its beautiful campuses list.]

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[Coffman Memorial Union, a/k/a, the student center]

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[The Weisman from Coffman.]

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[The mall, with Northrop Auditorium at the far end, from Coffman.]

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[Well known campus rodent.]

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[Tour guide with said rodent.]

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[Oh, I have such fun!]

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[Into Coffman . . .]

And out the back door to Part II where will go inside the Weisman and visit more of the campus.

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