Monday, July 30, 2012

Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD.

Pina and I took a detour off I -90 to pay a visit to the "World's Only Corn Palace."

This landmark facility in downtown Mitchell, SD, is covered completely in corn cobs, husks, stalks and maize by-products, and is redecorated along a new theme, each and every year.

Despite the drought in corn-growing regions of the Heartland, city fathers (and mothers) in Mitchell clearly anticipated the weather, and set aside enough raw material to create another gorgeous, stunning and iconic attraction for visitors like the Hoyts.

Thank you, Mitchell !

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poppy Hangs with Jay Walljasper.

My former work buddy Jay Walljasper and I got together today for coffee to remember good, old times together at Utne Reader Magazine.

After Jay's mug of tea, and too many shots of sublime espresso for Old Poppy, we persuaded the barista Nicole to snap a shot of the boys.

Jay does visionary work as fellow and editor for On The Commons.  I've read his "field guide to the Commons," All That we Share, and urge everyone following Poppy's Velo Ventures to check out Jay's website -- -- and learn more about Jay's important work at

2 Bricks Shy of a Velo Load.

With apologies and credit to the original photographer, I received this today as an e-mail attachment.

Don't know where the brick mason was headed, or how he possibly managed to balance those nearly 75 bricks on his bike, but, as my Mom used to say: where there's a will, there's a way.

Any of you readers know the story behind the picture?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Crystal Bay P.O. Branch to Close?

Don't want to be the starter of rumors around here regarding plans to close U.S. Postal Service neighborhood branches, but ....

Check out the size of this adorable little P.O. branch serving Crystal Bay, MN. 

You can imagine how few rental boxes line the walls, how little daily dollar volume is done in stamps, money orders, and Express Mail services.

My retail P.O. branch in Long Lake is easily 5 times the size of this cutie. So it makes me wonder -- plus, worry about the quality of future service my neighbors in Crystal Bay will be getting.

By the way, I rode my bike along the Dakota Regional Trail from Wayzata to Crystal Bay, then headed north on Willow Drive and eventually back east along Hwy 6 to Tamarack.

It was in the mid-90's this afternoon, but what a helluva day for a ride!

Boom Times, Wayzata, MN Edition.

What used to be an anonymous, funky indoor mall shopping experience in Wayzata, is in the throes of transformation into a brand-new, grand-new residential and retail extravaganza.

Pile drivers are driving ... diesel engines are belching diesel fumes ... the noise of progress is noisily progressive.

This project is a big deal for our neck of the woods.

These are boom times in the construction biz, and I'm pretty eager to watch the progress.

What we used to call sidewalk superintendents.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reality is the Leading Cause of Stress.

Let Something Go
Jane Wagner

I made some studies,
and reality is the leading cause of stress
amongst those in touch with it.
I can take it in small doses,
but as a lifestyle I found it
too confining.
It was just too needful;
it expected me to be there
for it all the time,
and with all I have to do--
I had to let something go.

Source: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bike Nite Tatts.

Minnesota Institute of Art "Bike Nite" sure did turn out the cutting edge cycle crowd.

Check out Natalia from Freewheel Bike here in the 'Cities.

In another post here on Poppy's Blog you'll see a bike from Whole Foods where pedal power churns up gelato -- yumm!

And a couple of ladies who created acrylic paint art by pedaling a stationery bike like crazy -- and won a $10.00 prize courtesy of ... well, me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Depot Coffee House: Riders Welcome.

The old Hopkins railroad station is home now to Depot Coffee House, a bike-friendly watering hole at Excelsior Blvd. + Hwy. 169.

The counter boasts a massive jug of iced cold water -- on the house, the barista told me. The Depot has no plastic water bottles or cups for sale.

Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies are for sale, however; I bought one of each to take home for dessert.

Next stop: Glen Lake Regional Trail, barely five paces out the door. I hopped on my Giant Expressway "foldy," rode west for twenty minutes or so, then twenty minutes back to The Depot, where I'd parked the KIA and stashed the cookies!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bad news for American Democracy.

One third of Americans can't name even one of the three branches of government and another third can name only one of them. Not only do the citizens not know very much, but they don't care either: the U.S. ranks 120th out of 169 democracies in the world in voter turnout. Add to this the Citizen United decision, which allows billionaires to spend millions of dollars on attack ads aimed at a very uninformed and unengaged electorate, and this probably does not augur well for the future of democracy in America unless something is done.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Planet Bike Says 105-degrees in Shade!

Of course it was too damned hot today to take ride. So, I did it anyway.

Couldn't wait, actually, to slather on the Coppertone, fit the helmet, glasses and gloves and head to town to run some errands.

There was a pretty stiff breeze blowing from the West.  It's been hotter than an oven out here for weeks, it seems: high humidity, powerful sun, little in the way of relief.

When my Planet Bike Computer registered 105-degrees F. at 3:08 PM, CDT, July 16, 2012, and the bike was out of the direct sunlight, I said: Man, this is too damned hot today to take a ride.

So, I did it anyway.

P.O. Boxes Line Wall of Wayzata P.O.

There's a symmetry and discipline to these mail boxes that pleases and satisfies my need for order and structure.  I'm a little schizzo that way -- half of me comfortable in chaos and anarchy; the other half craves cool, calm, collected and predictable.

When I stopped at the P.O. to take pictures I was the only customer in the joint (window is closed on Sunday!) Couldn't help but be curious: what postal treasures lurk inside those boxes? Just waiting for the customer to insert and turn his key and, WHOA! POW! WOW and Voila!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Be True to Your School.

A bunch of us guys from the Class of 1961 at what is now Choate Rosemary Hall have slapped the distinctive CRH oval bumper sticker on our family vehicles.

The Yukon with California plates, above, and the magnificent "Dakota" standing guard, belong to Russ Ayres and his wife Hallis.

What's up with the be-true-to-your-school nostalgia?  Well, we celebrated a most memorable 50th high school reunion last summer, and are getting ready, already, for the 55th.

Bumper sticker pride is only part of the momentum.

Talk About Income Inequality.

As Income Inequality Widens, Rich Presidential Candidates Dominate

In 1987, Michael Dukakis made four times as much as the average American. In 2011, Mitt Romney made 400 times more.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

St. Anthony Main does Spanish Steps.

Such a pretty shot. Right off St. Anthony Main, along the Mississippi River, between old mill buildings, covered w/ivy, and up the steps toward University Avenue. And to think I didn't have to fly to Italy to snap the shutter!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sky + Mer: BFF. Then + now.

Just received this classic B + W iPhone pic from Sky + her friend Mary Ann (Mer).

These two go back a long way -- old Poppy remembers toddler steps, Madame Alexander dolls, swimming lessons, tennis matches, beach outings ... then off to college, marriage, kids, and now, as though time stands still, the two gals are reunited for summer fun, seaside.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fortuna Farm, 9:00 PM, 7/7/12.

About the loveliest 40 acres you've seen in a long time.  Expressive clouds courtesy of the polarizing filter recently acquired from National Camera in Golden Valley.

Polarizing Lens for Canon G 10.

Snapped this shot today on Grand Ave. in St. Paul.  I'd bought a polarizing accessory for my G 10 at National Camera earlier this week, and wanted to check out the performance.

Hazy, hot skies and indistinct clouds seemed to turn out better defined.  And the paint on the wall mural pops a bit more than w/o the polarizer.

Or, does it?  What do you think?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

105 in the Shade.

We hit record high temps in much of Minnesota on the 4th of July.  Here in Long Lake, as attested by the local bank, the mercury got to 105-degrees.  I took this pic with my iPhone around 5:30 yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Old Tire Snake Pit?

They're yours for the taking-- if you dare stick your arms into the old tire snake pit!

Saw this telling story outside the back door of Sunrise Cycles on Lake Street in Mpls. I've bought from Sunrise before (never tires) but this is only trade-in residue patch I've seen.

Wise man, Pablo Casals.

Borderless Love
Pablo Casals

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tour de France as Inspiration.

Meet my new cycling friends (we connected this morning at Dunn Bros. in Plymouth when we were off-bike and on-iced lattes!). They have an inspirational tale to tell; I want to pass it on.

Ms. Cyclist (wish I'd asked her name) gushed how she loved the Tour de France.  Not only do she and hubby (did not catch his name either) watch as much of the Tour telecast as they can  but they ride their bikes every day the Tour is underway.

Last year a friend of the couple decided he'd do them one better.  Not only did he pedal around the West Metro each day the Tour was being contested in France, but the old guy committed to logging in half the distance the pros did.

"How's your buddy doing," I asked?  "He's still standing," was the reply. "But he never quite recovered from his exhausting performance last year. The hills nearly killed him."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lamprey Pass Master Craftsmen.

My cousin Richard Brown is a Master Craftsman and Cabinet Maker.  His old world-style shop, Lamprey Pass, is located in downtown Minneapolis, and is full of remarkable projects for discerning and imaginative clients.

What looks like a massive picture frame leaning up against the post is actually one of three sliding panels made of reclaimed Doug Fir Richard will be installing in a loft under construction overlooking the Mississippt River.

The 12' dory hanging from the ceiling in the background awaits attention from the skilled seaman, but our man Richard has been too busy lately to get out on the water.

There's an old English-style man's bike hanging in aother part of the shop; Richard rides that home to St. Paul on regular basis.

This guy is an extraordinary artist/craftsman.  You should check out his shop sometime soon.

Another Terman Original.

You've seen the work of my Boulder artist pal James Terman displayed here on the Poppy Blog.  Here's the latest effort -- Red Tractor -- water colors barely dry as Carolyn and James pack their bags and head to DIA for their flight to Europe.  I'll report regulalry as I have new Terman work to show  :)