15.3.09

***Newsflash Sunday***

Sidewalk Rating: Carpe Via!

Well, after the week from below zero, there's something in the air. I went on a bike ride yesterday through the streets of Saint Paul and it was amazing!

There is something afoot on the Twin City sidewalks this weekend.




Here is my checklist of people seen on Saint Paul sidewalks:
  • Kids on trikes
  • Kids on bikes
  • Kids in wagons
  • Kids playing basketball
  • Kids playing wiffleball
  • Kids playing catch
  • Kids running around
  • Kids wearing costumes
  • People holding hands
  • Parents walking with kids
  • Parents walking without kids
  • Kids walking without parents
  • Joggers in T-shirts
  • Joggers in track suits
  • Joggers in sweat suits
  • Dogs running around with owners
  • Dogs running around without owners
  • Owners chasing dogs running around without owners
  • Cats running around without anyone
  • People on bicycles
  • People on scooters
  • People on motorcycles
  • Cool dude in a convertible with the top down

But mostly, it was:

  • People walking around like zombies without really going anywhere or doing anything

Out there on the sidewalks these days, it's kind of like The Night of the Living Dead. Except you might call it, Day of the People Who Haven't Been Outside in Six Months. But the effect is the same. People are just wandering around aimlessly with blank looks of surprise on their faces. It's kind of amazing. So get out, and join the aimless crowd!


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This ad from Australia for slowing down when you drive through cities is pretty amazing!




Of course, it's absolutely true. I read an article on this just the other day in The Journal of Bio-Social Correlation. I am continually amazed by the sexual liberation gap between the US and the rest of the world!


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In case you missed it, here's a great travelogue of a cross-country Amtrak voyage from the NY Times. It reminds me of my trips the last two summers, except that this guy might have had a few more stories.

I particularly like this description of an Amtrak employee:

Meals on board are white-tableclothed affairs; however, these days the $22 flat iron steaks are served on plastic replicas of Amtrak’s former china. Passengers are seated together. For dinner, I enjoyed my cheese ravioli across from an Amish man from Minnesota who was escorting his wife home from hernia surgery in South Carolina. (Many Amish are uninsured, he told me, and some take trains to Mexico for less costly medical care.)

After he finished, one of the attendants — not the 27-year veteran with eyebrows painted red-and-blue Amtrak stripes and a customized “Amtrak” belt buckle sparkling with bling, but the other — seated a couple from suburban Colorado. He was a retired defense contractor; she, a former Delta flight attendant.


But, its one of the only places I've ever seen where the diverse classes and cultures of this country mingle on a nearly level plane...


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I saw this a while ago, and love the concept. It's a sandal with flower seeds embedded in the rubber so that, as you walk and wear out the shoe, it plants little plants along the sidewalk in random places.

Here's the technical info:
The Johnny Applesandal allows the customer to buy into a cyclical system of conscientious consumption, proactive environmental cleansing, and material reclamation. Phytoremediating seeds are contained within the sandal. As the footwear is used, the soles wear thin exposing seed channels. This allows seeds to slowly escape. Phytoremediating plant species are known to contribute to the environment by breaking down toxic substances and naturally cleansing soil and water. Once the seeds have been sown, and the soles are worn out, the shoes are returned to the manufacturer for disassembly and material reclamation.



It's like Hansel and Gretel, only you are leaving a trail of green life behind you. Years later, you could find all the trees and flowers you'd left behind.


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Three photos for you!

1) Street art in NYC -- h/t Wooster Collective


2) Nicollet Avenue in 1904 -- h/t Stuff about Minneapolis


3) Nicollet Avenue during the last blizzard -- h/t Uptown Mpls Blog

11 comments:

Cavorter said...

While the basic concept of the Johnny Applesandal is really cool I have to wonder about the possibility that any seed that can be useful in that sort of application wouldn't be some sort of invasive species or wouldn't be hardy enough to be viable in enough disparate environments. Just here in Minnesota you'd have to have a pair of switchgrass and a pair of river birch sandals depending on if you were wandering around in a prairie or forest area.

Bill Lindeke said...

yeah, its not practical at all. but its such a fun concept! you could have a different pair of shoes for each ecosystem.

babycapers said...

another thing to add to your list on Grand Avenue:

*a group of young adults sitting on the ground on the patio outside of caribou, lamenting the absence of patio furniture.

Polymander said...

I'm definitely going to start using that gesture with drivers who buzz me on my bike!

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