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Thread: What's Fun About Your State?

  1. #51
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    The Mall is ... "interesting", as Minnesotans say.

    I'm surprised to see so many of you have been there at least once. I'm used to thinking of it as a tourist attraction for very specific tourists (the local airline used to offer travel packages from Asia for people to fly in for a long weekend, stay on premises, and shop at the mall [maybe they still do; I stopped looking]).

    The mall has managed to exist for 20 years without sucking the life out of retail in the south metro -- a fear when it was first proposed. It helps that there is a variety of stores that don't exist elsewhere in Minnesota. I visit rarely. Sometimes we've brought visitors there because they want to see it. I've attended a few fundraisers there. The mall has the Apple Store that's closest to me and that, probably more than any other reason, is why I ever go. I just sense this forced "we're gonna have fun here if it kills us" vibe whenever I'm there; one I don't experience at any other mall or shopping center.

    I don't think the Mall will be hit as hard as most places by the changes in retail. For one, it's kind of a one-stop shop. Short of buying a car or really high-end merchandise, there's probably nothing you can't buy there. It takes shopping-as-entertainment to high heights, and there still are plenty of people who want to see (and be seen while they're seeing). Add in the amusement park, the aquarium, the Lego and Crayola stores, events in the Rotunda, and the food places, and there are things to do that are not shopping. There's an IKEA across the parking lot and a wildlife sanctuary maybe a mile or two away. There has been steady turnover of shops in the mall; I think Nordstrom and Macy's may be the only original anchor tenants; there are not vast swaths of empty storefronts. People obviously still want in if people are there shopping.

    It's easy to get to -- a shuttle ride from the airport and a local transit hub. There have been attempts to add a branch of various college-level institutions and a medical clinic. iirc there are hotels now directly attached to the mall and I thought I read about condo or apartment housing they are proposing east of the mall property.

    So I don't see it sitting there, decaying, in ten years. Much as I'm not a fan, many people are and I think it has the critical mass and, frankly, the management foresight, to keep it relevant until the bonds are paid off (maybe later).
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  2. #52
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Fun in Minnesota...

    I think it depends on whether you were born here. People who move here find certain things much funnier than born-and-bred Minnesotans do. Howard Mohr's book, "How To Talk Minnesotan" does an excellent job of covering many of the nuances of interpersonal relationships. I found the book funny to read -- and then much less funny and "oh, for useful!" once I actually arrived in the Twin Cities. Garrison Keillor's monologues about Lake Woebegone covered a lot of that ground, too; also far funnier until I moved here and found out how true they were.

    Otherwise, the fun stuff could include:
    - the Winter Carnival (you live here; you deal with the cold or you get the &$^% out)
    - the State Fair (it's a great state fair and second only to Texas' and that's because theirs runs twice as long)
    - the Mall of America (if your bucket list includes going to an amusement park inside a shopping mall)
    - the World's Largest Ball of Twine (in Darwin)
    - the SPAM Museum in Austin (lending definition to the term "pinkwashing" but entertaining)
    - walking across the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, and
    - probably more super-life-size statues than any locale should have (including Paul Bunyan, the Jolly Green Giant, and lots of fish)

    And, of course, there's ice fishing. How could I forget ice fishing?

    Ahem - Kansas claims the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Fight me. http://www.kansastravel.org/balloftwine.htm
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  3. #53
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckyliz View Post
    Ahem - Kansas claims the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Fight me. http://www.kansastravel.org/balloftwine.htm
    But Weird Al did not write a song about it!

  4. #54
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Becky, I was going to mention that Kansas claims it. I have lived in Kansas twice.

  5. #55
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckyliz View Post
    Ahem - Kansas claims the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Fight me.
    Apparently there is a qualification to the Darwin ball's description: "the home of a the largest Twine Ball in the World made by one man, Francis A. Johnson."

    Apparently Johnson created the ball in 1950 and it weighs 17,400 pounds and it's been a display piece since the 50s. The Kansas ball has been added to by many people over the decades and probably weighs at least 20,000 pounds now (the figure on their Web site dates back to 2013). So the Kansas ball is the biggest ball of twine in the world but the Darwin ball remains the biggest ball of twine that was an individual effort.
    Everybody happy?
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  6. #56
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    But Kansas has thousands of stone fenceposts supporting barbed-wire fences. Where else are you going to find that?
    http://bluestemstoneworks.com/History.htm
    “Land of the Post Rock” is a distinction given to about 3 million acres in North Central Kansas- an area where a single bed of rock (the 8-12” Fencepost bed of the Greenhorn limestone layer) was used so extensively for fence posts during early Kansas settlement days that the posts have become an identifying feature of the landscape.

  7. #57
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Ok, Steve - I'll agree with the qualification! DH and I took a 2 day tour of western Kansas a few years ago and saw some unusual stuff - lots of folklore, a civil war fort (Ft. Harker), including the WLBOT in Cawker City. If you ever get a chance, see The Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS. The gentleman who built all this stuff didn't trust banks, religion, lawyers and especially the government. He used cement to make all kinds of sculptures. His body is in a sealed coffin on the premises and you can look in the little window and say hello to him if you so desire. http://www.gardenofedenlucas.org

    Yes, GeorgeParker - lots of limestone in central and western Kansas. Many buildings made of it, too.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  8. #58
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    But Weird Al did not write a song about it!
    Shame on him!
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  9. #59
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckyliz View Post
    DH and I took a 2 day tour of western Kansas a few years ago and saw some unusual stuff
    There are so many interesting things to see in this country! A couple of years ago DW and I were in the Kansas City area for a funeral and had some time to kill. We planned to go visit the Kansas State campus (been years since my brother and I attended) but decided to stop instead at the Brown vs. Board of Education Historical Site near Topeka. Certainly we knew about the issue, but the museum did an excellent job of putting faces on the history texts. Time well spent.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    the Brown vs. Board of Education Historical Site near Topeka. Certainly we knew about the issue, but the museum did an excellent job of putting faces on the history texts. Time well spent.
    Considering the violent history of "Bleeding Kansas" and the part John Brown (of Harper's Ferry fame) played in that conflict, it's interesting and ironic that Brown vs Board of Education was in Kansas.

    Bleeding Kansas: https://www.britannica.com/event/Ble...States-history

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