Friday, October 27, 2006


The friendliness of upper Midwest media escorts should not be underestimated. As their weather is to snow, as their arteries are to cheese clogs, so too are there media escorts to genuine hospitality. Tim picked me up from the airport and shuttled me to eight bookstores over the course of a very busy day. He knew everyone. Made specific small talk with each bookseller regarding their particular lives, even asked one hotel concierge how his recent trip to the Streisand concert was. These guys are good.

The afternoon featured a trip to the studios of radio station WCCO, a station that positions itself as “Your Friendly Neighbor”. They tried going with “Your Creepy Neighbor with Broken Down Cars in the Yard Who May be Holding Satanic Seances or Maybe Amway Meetings and Never Takes the Newspapers off the Windows” but that one didn’t test as well in focus groups. Go figure. My host was Jack Rice, a lawyer and former CIA agent who is now a talk show host, so there’s lots of different ways he can kill you. To my delight, he actually read the book and loved it and had great questions. Also to my delight, he kept mixing up Jeff Gannon (fake reporter/man whore) with Rich Gannon (former Vikings QB/ not man whore).

The hotel I was staying in was preposterous. In a good way. Plasma TV in the bathroom. Just absurd. I loved it.

Minneapolis is delightful, treating older buildings in just the right mix of development and preservation, the way Seattle has never figured out how to. I have no doubt that if I lived there I would revert to that accent within minutes. The Boston accent, meanwhile, is one I could never achieve.

For dinner I met up with dear old friend Spike Booth, who is now a famed Minneapolitan actor and used to be a frustrated grad school actor with me in New Jersey. I got to see his lovely wife Tippy and meet his two robust boys who favor Narnia and the Minnesota Twins. We all ate pancakes.

Later in the night, after a fiasco involving a bookstore I shall never forgive (mitigated by a polite hipster clerk who’s book I signed) (a McSweeney’s based fan, I’m thinking), I met up with Larry, my former neighbor in Seattle and now an ad man in Minneapolis. I’ve romanticized his new city for a long time but he told me to, pretty much, shut up and enjoy Seattle. Outdoor recreation options, great culture, proximity to tremendous variety. Apparently the place I live has a ton of reason to live there. Thanks Larry! The night ended with meeting up once again with Spike at the hotel bar where we had mojitos while a sad lonely drunk woman made a fool of herself.

Thanks Minneapolis!

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