Monday, June 28, 2004

My Saint Paul Props

Hi All!

By way of introduction:

I have lived in Falcon Heights, home of the U of M "Saint Paul" campus and the
State Fair (which considers itself the Vatican City of Minnesota, but it counts
on the map) since 1988.

I was born at Miller Hospital but have had many more visits to St Joe's where I
can see my birthplace, now occupied by the History Center.

I am a product of the "Catholic Pipeline" which ran thru St Luke's, Nativity, St
Mark's, Cretin and the College of St Thomas. Married to Laura in and have had 3
urchins baptized during our 25-year membership in St Agnes, from which I will be
buried eventually. Kneelers, real Altar Boys, Altar against the wall. 10
o'clock Latin Mass with professional orchestra and chorus, incense, and a cheap
trip to Austria to visit a rococco church.

Grew up mostly in Merriam Park, close to T&C Club where I played grade-school
sports at Aldine and Merriam Park.

Biked everywhere and thru magnet tied to a string down bottle cap catchers to
fill up the Vikings and Twins sheets that could be cashed in for trinkets at the
Pepsi plant across the old, scary Wabasha bridge. The Lake Street bridge was
even scarier. The High Bridge wasn't too comfortable either.

Got my first Letter to the Editor published at 8 years of age. Had my most
recent one published last Thursday.

Hoping that the whole Metro will go smoke-free except for Falcon Heights. which
has exactly two on-sale licenses at Ciattis and Chin's. Will be good for
business! Just kidding with faux parochialism.

I do like it here, though. Small town amongst big cities. Laura is going on 10
years of City Council service and I took a couple of shots at the House of Reps
until we got redistricted into impervious Alice Hausman/Ellen Anderson-ville.
Geez, with McGuire and Marty, one could make it close at least.

I've rambled too long. Gotta do that "book" some day, but I promise it won't be
the size of a phonebook like Clinton's.



Sunday, June 20, 2004


Hi All!

With the Street Rod Show in my back yard this weekend, I am recalled of the recent annual Twin Cities Volkswagen Club gathering. And here is what I writ about my dearly beloved "bug" which can be viewed at :-)

Brief History of This Car

Purchased 3/72 by my dad, Frank Kuettel

I was 15, and learned to drive in this car --- mostly by waking up at 5am and stealing away to the Fairgrounds, getting it back before dad left for work.

Of course, he taught me how to drive it as it was his second Beetle since he had a '’61 for a few years.

But I never got caught practicing as a 15-year-old miscreant.

Y'’know, I think HE knew.

Dad got a new job with a company car, so the beetle kind of was handed down to me in the autumn of '72.

I was one of the few guys at Cretin High that had my own “ride” at that age, and if I started to tell the adventures from then on, you would need to purchase a book that I might write someday.

It was a year-round daily driver until about 1985, when I had the body restored and painted by a barn shed moonlighter in SW Minnesota. He spent a year on it, and the bill was over what my dad paid for it.

But he did a great job. The car'’s appearance has held up.

Yes, it is not in any way concours, but it the chassis, drive train and engine and worn out interior is original.

Hope to find a kind (and reasonable) mechanic to do all the “routine and extended maintenance” which has been ignored for a few years.

I am here with my offspring, Alex, Drew and Catie, 16, 14 and 12.

If you see them, ask them about dad'’s "“Beetle Stories".
Have a fun BUG In!


Friday, June 18, 2004

Small Package, Big Product

Hi All!

To reverse what "Comic Book Guy" on "The Simpsons" would say:

Best Concert EVER!

I called an old acquaintance at the Wild office to try to finagle a parking cheat.

Got a pretty good one, but it will go to the grave with me. A donation thru might pry the info out of me.

Not gonna go into detail just now, but reserve right to comment further in future.

Suffice it to say, I was in the white-est, smoke, drug and alcohol free crowd I have ever been a part of in my 30-odd years of heavy concert going.

My family had an absolute BLAST!

Brought tears to my eyes to see my 12-year-old baby girl and the 14-16 big brothers on their feet, stomping, yelling, clapping as I sat contentedly on my lard ass just enjoying things.

The fact that my kids recognized most of the songs, and that my son recognized opening band, The Time w/Morris Day, is the stuff that makes life satisfying.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Prince. OK, I'm Going With the Whole Family

Hi All!

First of all, I am a pentultimate "homer." I love to see successful folks come from this frozen tundra of The Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Secondly, I have been "crazy" about the little purple fellow since my bride and me took in an early showing of "Purple Rain" at a 4(?) plex (help me people) oh yeah, I think it was called the Skyway and I think we were the only white people there.

Had to buy the back catalog after that movie exerience an am proud to say I have a good proportion of Vinyl and CD output.

Not a fanatic, but a fan. Kinks? Mott and Hunter/Ronson? Get out. I'm insane about those acts. Crawl over broken glass, etc.

First and most recent time I saw the diminutive genius was at the late but not lamented (except by me, who saw so many great rock shows there) St Paul Civic Center. It was the "Nude Tour" stop of 5/6/90 and we had "awesome" $20 behind-stage seats. He crawled up the catwalk a couple of times to say hi, but mostly saw his ass at front stage center.

Here these 14+ years later I am missing getting high with my girlfriend and wife-to be and having to sit in the 49.50 + Ticketbastard $12.00 "convenience fee" nose bleed seats at Excel.

I'm told we can see it all on the video screens. Great.

But I'm not complaining. The man is a genuine talent, unlike, say, 95% of current pop stars, and I am expecting a night to remember...not for the traffic jam (I've got a 'make a move' secret plan)

Paul, Laura, Alex, Drew and Catie will share the experience. I know we won't be disappointed.

If anyone is in a town that is down the road on the Musicology Tour, see if you can get a ticket. The price is outrageous, but par for the Rock Tour Course these days, and you get a free Musicology CD. I already have one, so 5 more will be on eBay shortly.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Kuettels, Kuettels Everywhere

Hi All!

Odd that I really hadn't seriously googled my surname before today.

Turns out that there are a shitload of Kuettels. Some even famous like a Swiss ski jumper and a car racer (the thing that got ME in trouble)

I'm quite sure we are all related to some degree, as my forbearer came from Weggis, Switzerland and all family trees seem to lead there. Wish my GG Grandfather hadn't dodge the draft in the 1870's :-(

Google tip -- if you put in your name and town, or name and zip, it will come up with your address and phone and map.


PK's work in progress site

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Hi All!

Continuing my Baltimore stories.

I was always led to believe that those big, invisible bugs that buzzed every year on hot August days in Minnesota were cicadas.

Last week I learned about the 17-year life cycle cicada. Stepped on my first one in the BWI terminal just after debarking.

If what we have in Minnesota is Cicadas, it must be a different kind, because they come every year and they are bearable.

The Eastern Cicada is intolerable. You have to keep reminding yourself that your ears are not really ringing. Birds are fat as hamsters. Dogs eat a steady diet. Shoes need be checked before entering a civilized residence.

As we left on Tuesday, the din was subsiding and those little pests were dying off after mating the next brood which will not emerge until 2021, thank god.

Just in time for Reagan ceremonies. This great man has timing, even in death!


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

What I Learned About Airport Security

Hi All!

As faithful readers, you know that I recently flew to Baltimore to meet up with a friend to drive his prize Merkur Scorpio to the All Ford Nationals at Carlisle, PA.

You will also be aware of an unfortunate incident involving Law Enforcement, one of the consequences of which was the confiscation of my driver's license, IE, a "current government issued picture identification", which of course, is required for boarding a plane!

I assembled a folder of ID:

Birth certificate;
Expired DL;
Expired Passport;
Color photocopy of surrendered license "courtesy" of St Anthony Police;
Brochure and articles from Legislative campaigns of 1992 and 1994;
House of Representatives ID card from when I worked there in 2003.

Plus, I had my 16-year-old Alex with me, who had ID and could vouch for me.

Used NWA's nifty computer check-in so had our boarding passes preprinted at home. All we had to do was to pass security and proceed to the gate.

I was sweating bullets as I approached the stern ID screener (we got there 2 hours early in case of trouble).

She first asked for my ID. As I nervously fumbled for my folder of stuff, she checked out Alex' DL. I started offering up my materials. The first thing I pulled out was my Legislative ID.

"Proceed to baggage screening and have a nice trip."

I almost fainted.

Now we were in the clear. I had a briefcase full of Merkur auto literature I was hoping to sell, and Alex' case had some small parts and our clothes and necessities.

I thought a fifty pound hardsided briefcase would surely rate a check, but she sailed right out the xray machine.

But the big duffel bag got us pulled aside. All that careful packing... Well, it turns out a lug nut set and a Merkur hood badge had aroused suspicion. When the checker saw all the Merkur stuff in the bag after I had told him we were going to a big car show, he laughed and made a remark to the effect that car collectors are crazy but have a great time.

Now for a tip. There are plastic containers meant to receive your cell phones, laptops, jewelry (?) or basically all valuables that might excite the walk-through sensor. At least 80% of the cowed jerks ahead of us were taking off their shoes. I told Alex that my shoes were not valuable (I bought them at the Disabled American Vets store on University for $2 and that I damned well wasn't going to take them off unless commanded.

So we went through with feet comfortably shod and no one said a thing.

Thus educated we blew through Baltimore's check, which seemed much more strict. All I showed was my Legislative ID, shoes kept on, baggage not checked (sold the lugnuts but the emblem was still in there as well as an aluminum coffee mug I won at the awards banquet.

So when you check in to the airport next time, keep your damned shoes on.


Sorry, but We Need a Baseball Stadium

Hi All!

Back and refreshed from a trip to Carlisle PA for the All Ford Nationals. Alex and I joined over 200 Merkur fanatics and their 150+ fabulous cars.

Very bittersweet, as my new "baby" is now in the indefinite possession of the St Anthony Police, rotting away, waiting to be sold off for pennies on the dollar to someone who won't have any idea what a Merkur is.

Getting too depressed. Allow me to get on to my topic. We spent a couple of days in Baltimore with a friend who had brought us to the show in his immaculate Merkur. On the way to BWI airport yesterday, we took an hour and a half tour of Camden Yards.

I'm sorry folks, we need one of these babies for the Twins. This baseball park is so fantastic that people line up to pay $5 for a tour of the place. I came skeptical, left converted.

The Dome is still a fine football studio, and I couldn't care less if we continue to drag our heels on that one, even though the Ravens Stadium that is a stone's throw from Camden is mighty impressive.

To me, the way Camden Yards and surrounding redevelopment of the adjoining neighborhood is a perfect model of how it should be done. In St. Paul for sure.

If for no other reason, I hope we have a special session to get this ball rolling!


Friday, June 04, 2004

Speling Be

Hi All!

All packed for Carlisle, but got a hoot out of the coverage of those robotic kids at the National Spelling Bee.

At Saint Mark's School, we always had more boys than girls (later my HS history teacher used to posit that when we got too many boys, it was time for a war ;-(

The girls got to "draft" a couple of ringers, and I was always first pick, unlike my experience in sports where I was always last.

In 1969, we had an All School Bee in the gym, and the guys got to "protect" a couple. So I played with the boys.

I had read every Dr Dolittle Book over the previous summer, so when my first word came up I confidently spelled "I N C H E."

You can probably imagine the way I was treated by my gender-mates after that. The girls won.

Well, at least I spelled it right in the British style.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Goin' to the Car Show

Hi All!

Alex and Me are going to Carlilse for the All Ford Nationals. Rivals the State Fair's Back to the Fifities, but is limited to about 5000 Fords only.

I'm making my 8th trip. Alex hasn't been able to go do to school ending dates since he was 10. He is now 16 and he's gonna have a blast with old dad.

I am still clueless as to links, but if you are adept at copy 'n paste, have a gander at these sites it you care in the least about what crazies like me are up to: (my pride and joy)



Hi All!

Not sure about the legality of cut and pasting this from Peggy Noonan, but with all the recent local kerfuffle about smoking bans, this observation is worth quoting:

"I have come to hate the banners. No, I don't smoke. I just believe in the right of people to be human, to be imperfect and messy and flawed. I don't dislike the banners because they're prissy bullies, though that is reason enough. I dislike them because their work forces us to look at the shift in values in our country in our time. As I watched the NBC report, I actually thought to myself: I want to make sure I understand. If you smoke a cigarette on a beach in modern America you are harming the innocent. If you have a baby scraped from your womb, you are protecting your freedom. If you sell a pack of cigarettes to a 12-year-old boy you can be jailed, fined and sent to Guantanamo Bay with the other killers. If you sell a pack of contraceptives to a 12 year old boy in modern America you are socially responsible citizen.

For reasons that call for an essay of their own, and as we all know, the banners of cigarettes are on and of the left, and the resisters of the banners are on the right. Once the banners of liquor were of the right and its legalizers of the left. The banners of drugs were on the right and the legalizers on the left.

Why did the left change its stance on what it calls personal freedom regarding cigarettes and cigars? What was the logic? And please, if you are on the left, would you answer this question for me? How come the only organ the left insists be chaste is the lung? What is this pulmocentrism? Why are lungs so special? Why can't you endanger your own lungs? Why don't you care as much about livers? Don't the Democrats have a liver lobby?"

Peggy Noonan
Wall Street Journal
3 June 2004

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

We Brung Him Up Right!

Hi All!

My eldest, 16-year-young Alex, went with some of his buddies to "The Day After Tomorrow" a few days ago.

As soon as he got home, he sought me out to tell me that it was beyond question the worst, stupidest movie he ever wasted money on. And that's saying alot, 'cos he's gone to bad, stupid movies before without feeling the need to share his opinion with dad.

To paraphrase Alex' review, the special effects were impressive but most of the movie was a boring endless, poorly acted lecture about the evils of Global Warming caused by the wicked Western World, especially the U.S. of course.

Makes me sick that this movie is gonna make a ton of money, but I will rent it when it hits Blockbuster, just to see for myself how bad it truly is.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Pick Pocketed by Request

Hi All!

One of the results of my short luxury vacation in Ramsey County Adult Detention Center was having tripped on my ill-fitting flipflop footwear and taking a dive into one of the comfy concrete benches that are available throughout the place.

Knee and nose ok, just a lot of blood, but I totally munched my left index finger. Just got news from the doc that it will be 6 months to a year of PT to get the thing working properly again.

I have always kept my wallet in my left rear pocket. If it isn't there, I feel it and often panic until I realize I left it on my desk or somewhere.

In my current state, I can reflexively get it where it belongs, but it is nigh impossible to remove.

At WalMart today, I needed to ask the "guest" behind me in the checkout line to dig it out for me.

So now I can say that a "minority" fellow picked my pocket, much to my relief!

I am consciously trying to remember to use my right ass cheek pocket, but it's still 50/50, so I suppose I will need to utilize the kindness of strangers again.