May 09, 2007

SHITTY RICH PEOPLE! Not that there's anything wrong with that

Since Nick Coleman may be on the brink of losing his craptacular column, it seems only fair that I fisk his latest Grandpa PoopShoes mopefest:

Minneapolis needs some bigger lakes.

Oh, gawd, here we go. . .

At the pace that the shores in the City of Lakes are being crowded by giant mansions, our "lakes" are beginning to look more like potholes. But please don't call these big shacks "McMansions." There is nothing "Mc" about many of them.

They are the real deal.

Nick would be happier if the shores were crowded with teepees and wigwams.

Take the massive 8,300-square-foot home being built on the south shore of Lake Calhoun by baseball and bank executive Jim Pohlad. Rumored to cost in the neighborhood of $10 million (Pohlad did not return my call), the project at 3811 Sheridan Av. S., which received a building permit just 13 days ago, is well underway behind freshly poured retaining walls on a hill above the lake.

Pohlad did not return Nick's call! The cad! The rich, rich, rich CAD! Gee, if a reporter came calling about my private property, regarding a deck I'm planning to tack on the side of my house, I'd probably duck the dumbass, too. Also, what's with Nick's outrage about the "just 13 days ago?" Is it his contention that $10 million dollar projects should be built at a snail's pace, rather than the rocket pace of Pohlad's house? What does he think this is, a union project?

It looks more like a palace than a lake home; I don't believe such a large residence has been built in Minneapolis since the days of the lumber barons, and maybe not even then.

Nick would prefer a shanty, or possibly a Hoover-ville. You know, the good old days.

This won't look like T.B. Walker built it, however. It will look like Minnesota Meets Malibu. But it will send the same message to passersby:

I Am Richer Than You.

Oh, the horror! Why can't rich people have the common decency to act and build like they're middle class? How dare they spend their money as they wish!

Now watch Nick pull a Seinfeld. . .

I have no problem with that.

You know, aside from penning a whining, pathetic, nonsensical column about it. Jeez, Nick, you only have a few of these puppies left to write, from the sounds of it, so maybe you should choose your topic areas more carefully. You know, go out on a high note, rather than a raspberry.

Pohlad's brother Bill is planning another big house on Lake of the Isles, so maybe we should change the name of the city to Pohladapolis and be done with it.

And the Star-Tribune is looking at oblivion with content like this in its pages? Unthinkable.

It is a tad surprising, however, that the family that owns the Minnesota Twins -- an enterprise that will receive half a billion in public tax revenues over the next 30 years -- should be so indiscreet.

They should, instead, be living in caves, panhandling for spare change. As always, Nick's "logic" would send Spock into convulsions.

Then again, flaunting wealth is the flavor of the month.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time now for the patented "Nick Coleman Interview of a Person Plucked Off the Street for no Particular Reason."

"We're in an era where raping the public seems to be standard," said Norman Berns, a filmmaker who lives across from where Pohlad's Calhoun manor is going up. "Money should be handed to the rich and taken from the poor. It's become quite the thing."

OH, SNAP! It's become quite the thing, this taking money from the poor to hand to the rich. They're calling it "Reverse-Robin-Hood-Ism" in the filmmaker's guild. Personally, I'm mildly amused by all the public raping I've been seeing on the streets lately.

Berns wasn't criticizing Pohlad or his house; he said he isn't familiar enough with Pohlad's plans to object to them.

Wha? So, what's the point of quoting him? Is this a diatribe against big houses, or the Pohlads, or the Twins stadium, or what? As is so often the case with Coleman columns, the reader is left to figure that out on their own, because Nick sure doesn't know what he's going on about.

But the concept of massive homes being built on small city lakes? That's something he opposes. And the Pohlads are not the only ones doing it.

Lousy people, using their money to buy property and then building huge houses that increase surrounding property value. *shakes fist*

"This man is not the only ostentatious man building a house," Berns said. "He's not doing anything our society doesn't condone. Do I dislike the house? No, I don't know enough about it. Do I dislike the concept? Yes."

"Do I dislike the house I know nothing about? No! In fact, if I had the money, I'd probably be doing the same. But, the concept! The concept that someone has that much more money than I do. . . I dislike that concept. I liked it better when my house was one of the nicer ones in the neighborhood, but now, NOW, there are all these homes nicer than mine, constantly reminding me I'm a mediocre, if not outright failed, filmmaker. I can't tell you how much I hate that concept."

Not everyone disapproves. Before Pohlad bought the site, which combined two oversized lots, a developer had been planning to build five houses on the site. Before that, there was talk of condominiums. So a single-family home -- even one as massive as this -- was more attractive to some neighbors.

Wow, there are people who see the property value benefits of NOT having houses packed together like sardines, with little or no lawn or, for that matter, trees. Go figure.

"All I see is positives," said neighbor Dan Anderson. "Everyone would rather have a single-family home."

But calling it a "single-family home" doesn't do it justice.

Well, come on then, Nick. Do it justice. You know you want to.

According to plans on file with the city, Jim Pohlad's home will be more like a compound, built in a serpentine fashion with a main entrance far off the street, behind an electronic gate and walls. Shaped like a backward block-letter C, with a panhandle at one corner, the home will have a front-yard pool above the lake, rooftop gardens and a stair tower 34 feet above the main level.

"A front-yard pool above the lake." What does that even mean? Should be the pool be built BELOW lake level? Perhaps Nick's just indignant the Pohlads won't swim in the lake, like God intended? Also "behind an electronic gate and walls?" How does one go about making electronic walls?

The nontraditional design, which bears no resemblance to the traditional hip-and-gable design of large Minneapolis homes, left city planners scratching their heads.

Care to cite some of those city planners, Nick? No? What a shock. Perhaps you could throw in a quote from your know-nothing, concept-hating filmmaker.

But in the end, the city approved the plans, deciding it met requirements. Despite its size, it appears it also would pass under the terms of a new, more restrictive building code proposed by the Planning Commission.

The new code, intended to outlaw construction of oversized homes on undersized lots, prohibits homes larger than half the square footage of their lots. In other words, if you want to build a 5,000-square-foot house, you need a 10,000-square-foot lot.

So, in other words, Pohlad's house will be entirely legal, except that it upsets Coleman's ridiculously-easy-to-upset sensibilities.

Pohlad's Palace is on a lot three-quarters of an acre in size. Theoretically, it could be twice as large as now planned.

But, it's not going to be that big, so what's the problem?

A mansion that massive, of course, might well be seen from the upper deck in that shiny new Twins stadium.

But. . . IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THAT BIG. IT'S GOING TO BE LESS THAN HALF THAT BIG. Nick said so himself, just a couple sentences earlier. Come on, Nick, it used to be you made an attempt to hide your disengenuous ramblings a bit better. But this, this is just sticking out there like a freshly hammered thumb.

And that, sports fans, might be precisely the point.

No, it might not be. Nick invalidated his entire column, such as it was, when he basically said "Pohlad could have built the house twice as big, but he didn't, but he could have, and because he could have, but didn't, which might be precisely the point. . . I'm just a cranky old fart who doesn't know what he's mad about any more; just ignore me."

Good God, man.

Posted by Ryan at May 9, 2007 09:53 AM | TrackBack

I'm not sad that Coleman's column may go away; I'm sad that you may be left with nothing to fisk.

On to C.J., I say...

Posted by: Bryan at May 10, 2007 06:53 AM

Given the state of the Strib right now, I'd be surprised if CJ keeps a column.

Posted by: Ryan at May 10, 2007 08:23 AM

She should have been gone long ago. What a waste of space.

Although that time she wrote a column about a hairdresser who charged $1,000 for an up-do and then was pissed off when the woman only gave her a $100 tip was totally compelling investigative reporting. Nice to know there's still someone standing up for the little guy, CJ...

Posted by: Bryan at May 10, 2007 09:13 AM

And Greg Sellnow's drivel wouldn't be a good replacement?

Posted by: AlgerHiss at May 15, 2007 07:06 AM

I actually like about 3/4 of Sellnow's columns. As for the the other 1/4, you can't please everyone all the time.

Posted by: Ryan at May 15, 2007 08:18 AM

That is fasinnating!!

Posted by: cheyanne at May 17, 2007 09:44 AM

Not bad at all, but this topic is rather little of interest. Please do not disappoint your readership.

Posted by: HonestMan67 at April 9, 2008 04:28 AM
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