July 07, 2006

I haven't Ripped on Nick Coleman Since the last time, so. . .

Today's installment of Nick Coleman can't stick to a point, and basically can't write, either, is brought to you by. . . me.

I've been thrown out of spiffier joints than Toni's Market & Deli in my career.

Do tell.

But I can understand why I got 86'd Thursday from the convenience store at 35th Street and Chicago Avenue S.

People are fed up with people getting shot.

Not me! More death! More carnage! More popcorn! Bring out yer dead!

Toni's is where Minneapolis' 32nd murder victim of the year died, a 21-year-old who was shot outside and staggered into the steel-barred grocery before collapsing on a floor mat, which is now bunched up against a wall beneath a sign saying "No Loitering."

This is what constitutes "irony" for Nick. A "No Loitering" sign! And a 21-year-old died there! Oh the IRONY!

If a dying youth came through the door of my store, I would not be happy. So I wasn't surprised that "Toni," the owner, wouldn't give me the time of day when I introduced myself. People in the neighborhood say Toni is a good guy and runs a clean shop, but murder can give a corner a bad name and he was in no mood to talk.

Now, if it were me doing this "investigative" reporting, I'd respect Toni's right not to talk to me. He's under no obligation, after all. He's not required to talk to any news person, and in fact maybe he has a legitimate reason not to want to see his name or his store splashed inside a newspaper, particularly for a crime that he and his store is not responsible for. But does Nick respect any of this? Of course not! He decided to be a monumental PRICK!

News people should carry bells and wear signs that say, "Unclean." Some of us lepers still think it's important to try to get an idea of what's going on, though, so I make an effort. But I understand when someone doesn't want to talk.

You want to get an idea of what's going on, eh? Then talk to the police, you fucking meathead. Toni just had the misfortune of having a kid die in his store. He's not a detective. He's just a store owner who's having a pretty bad fucking day. So, Nick, maybe you could stop being a smarmy little asshole.

I went to use the cash machine and grab a Pepsi.

In other words, Nick decided to wear out a welcome that was obviously never extended in the first place. This is how Nick operates, using his little soapbox of a column to belittle those "beneath" him. Watch how he repeatedly zings Toni while at the same time disingenuously saying how he "liked" him.

That's when Toni told me to get out of his store or he would call the cops. I enjoy meeting cops, so I just waved and told Toni to do what he had to do.

Don't you just want to beat Nick severely about the neck and face? What a fucking absolute prick. Because Toni doesn't want to talk to the press (not an unusual occurence), Nick's basically treating Toni as if he's somehow guilty by association for the murder of a 21-year-old, and he's using his column to piss on the store owner. This from a guy who routinely speaks about the trials and tribulations of "the little guy."

After I brought a Pepsi to the counter, Toni threw it into a corner. I started to get the idea he was serious.

Oh, really? So, when he wouldn't give you the time of day when you introduced yourself, you just assumed he was being silly? You know what, Nick? Go fuck yourself.

To make a long story short, I avoided arrest and Toni and I worked it out to the point where he agreed to sell me a Pepsi (one that hadn't bounced off a wall).

We said goodbye, and he actually said, "Have a nice day."

What a bunch of sophomoric, juvenile, condescending asshole-ishness. Coleman knows full-well that he's using this column to harm Toni's business. This is nothing but a mean-spirited hatchet job meant to belittle someone who didn't want to talk with the mighty NEWSMAN. Which makes the next line all the more irritating.

I liked Toni.

Don't you just want to rip his teeth out with a pliers?

It must be terrible to witness a murder or feel as if your safety or livelihood is jeopardized by a rising tide of violence in the city.

Yes, it must, so maybe you shouldn't provoke them, you cock-hole.

More people should be like Toni.

Don't you just want to cock-punch Nick?

People should get angry.

At dick-heads like Nick.

The kid who died on Toni's floor was named Joe Rogers and he died at 10:30 in the morning. Only the fact that it was Independence Day prevented his demise from being noticed by children who attend day-care and summer programs at the Pillsbury House, directly across Chicago Avenue.

Only the fact that it was Independence Day, huh? Unless, the day-care and summer programs were held INSIDE Toni's store, I don't imagine the children would have noticed Rogers' demise anyway, Nick.

As it happened, hardly anyone saw him fall. That's the way we prefer it. Out of sight, out of mind.

Yep, most murderers try to conduct their work during a parade, on a float if feasible.

Concern over crime has made many -- including me -- call for more cops, less tolerance of bad behavior and tougher sentencing.

Less tolerance of bad behavior? Care to elaborate on that pretty open-ended concept, Nick?

But enforcement is only part of the answer. Politicians who balanced budgets on the backs of the poor and then passed billion-dollar stadiums should be called to account.

There he goes again, trotting out his most favorite phrase evAr! "Balanced budgets on the back of the poor." And, of course, if politicians hadn't passed the stadium deal (which stinks, but whatever), gang and drug violence would be a thing of our imaginations only.

"It's time to start telling the truth about what's going on," said Tony Wagner, president of Pillsbury United Communities. "Our priorities are all screwed up, and we've developed a hostility toward children. There doesn't seem to be the interest or the resources to help young people build relationships of trust with caring, responsible adults."

We've developed a hostility toward children? WE'VE DEVELOPED A HOSTILITY TOWARD CHILDREN?!!! Uh. . . huh. Just the other day, I was standing next to a nine year old, and just for the heck of it, I back-handed her across the face. God, that felt good.

If that's too touchy-feely for you, Wagner can put it more bluntly:

"If you don't help kids connect to people who care about them, why would you expect anything different than what we're getting?

Sooooo, it's our responsibility to help kids connect to people who care about them? And the job of parents is to do WHAT again?

"You get what you don't pay for."

In recent years, we have seen devastating cuts in youth programs. The results are visible outside Pillsbury House, where a bus shelter promotes the city's beautiful new Guthrie Theater and the ceiling of the shelter is covered with gang graffiti.

Right. See also: the New York City subway system. Graffiti is omnipresent in practically every metropolitan area.

It's a tale of two cities, the gleaming and the gang-ridden. And, in a corner grocery, blood on a floor mat.

And, in the gleaming offices of the Star-Tribune, a petulant, cranky, completely untalented columnist uses his position to belittle a store owner who didn't want to talk to him.

Nick Coleman, go fuck yourself.

Posted by Ryan at July 7, 2006 12:24 AM | TrackBack

35th Street and Chicago Avenue S

My old 'hood.

Well... 12 blocks away from my old house.

Posted by: Rob@L&R at July 7, 2006 05:56 PM
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