Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Wild Frightened by Tame Social Justice Gesture
It's famously easy to jump through the Pride hoop. The rainbow-washing of corporate America is well-documented, and it's simple to explain: Appearing friendly to a historically marginalized group, one that gained broad social acceptance decades ago, costs you almost nothing. But that PR layup was apparently too much for the Minnesota Wild, whose players opted to not wear rainbow warmup jerseys Tuesday during the second annual Pride Night at Xcel Energy Center. Michael Russo of The Athletic was told the abrupt no-show of LGBTQ allyship was "an organizational decision." Making matters messier: Local paralyzed hockey hero Jack Jablonski, who came out of the closet last fall, participated in Pride Night and was wearing the rejected jerseys, Russo told KFAN this afternoon; Russo suggested that concerns over Russian anti-gay laws factored into the team's decision, considering star player Kirill Kaprizov is a Russian national.
"The way this is being handled by the Wild so far—quietly, deleting web pages with no announcement—is shady at best," writes Cyd Zeigler of Outsports, adding that Philadelphia Flyer Ivan Provorov refused to wear similar warmup attire in January. When we last checked in on Wild theme nights, the team was feverishly scrubbing a Blue Lives Matter T-shirt giveaway from its website. Seems like the NHL's six-year-old "Hockey Is For Everyone" initiative is doing a bang-up job! (Years ago, the Wild caught shit snubbing the LGBTQ community entirely during a "HIFE"-themed night.) Revisit our feature on actual efforts to make hockey more inclusive in Minnesota.
Why Does Jon Cheng Write Like That?
We at Racket love stylish writing with a distinctive, individual voice. And that kind of expressiveness can be especially welcome at a daily newspaper, which, by its nature, favors a plainspoken presentation of facts. But honestly, whenever we read one of Strib food critic Jon Cheng’s reviews, adorned as they are with curlicued irrelevancies, moments of curiously phrased off-ness, and elaborately winding comparisons that turn out to be cul de sacs, we get whiplash. (And no, we're not just holding his Jucy Lucy opinions against him.)
Cheng tends to begin his reviews with a flourish that may not have much to do with what will follow. “Scoff all you want, but know this: Like Birkenstocks, steakhouses have remarkable staying power,” Cheng once wrote, before explaining for the rest of a paragraph what steakhouses are and why they exist, but not who is scoffing at them or who thinks steakhouses do not have staying power. (No one is. No one does.) At the start of his glowing review of St. Paul's Thai Café, Cheng approaches the place with bizarrely overstated trepidation because its decor isn’t fancy enough, as though any pro critic hasn’t had great food in an unfussy setting. “You wonder how a restaurant can exist in a space no bigger than a Subway joint,” Cheng writes. But no, you don’t, not just because many good restaurants are not huge, but also because “a Subway joint” isn’t particularly small. (Also, Subway is a restaurant.) But Peak Chen is his review of Chef Daniel del Prado’s Macanda, which begins with an extensive discussion of the powers wielded by the X-Men’s Mystique for reasons you are welcome to share with us if you can figure them out.
While Cheng’s latest doesn’t quite rise to that level of “huh? what?” it still offers plenty of passages that committed Cheng observers will cherish. Here’s how it starts:
The once-raucous crowds have not dwindled much at Asia Mall, the Eden Prairie food mecca that took the place of hunting and fishing retailer Gander Outdoors. It still draws a healthy one, three months after its soft opening.
For all the good reasons.
Okay, so the crowds have not dwindled much but they are no longer raucous? Why would you phrase it like that? Does “healthy one” refer back to the crowds, and if so why not “ones”? And finally, are there bad reasons for a food court to draw a crowd? Elsewhere, there’s at least one dangling participle worth savoring (“Approaching the mall, the smell of grease draws you in.”) But truly the most Chengian bit here is when he refers to “clams the size of discs.” Maybe you thought discs came in many sizes. Jon Cheng knows differently.
Hackers Demand $1M From MPS Like It Has That Kind of Money
When Minneapolis Public Schools canceled parent-teacher conferences last month the only explanation given from officials was that they were experiencing technical difficulties. Now, we have more details: MPS is suffering from a full-blown ransomware hack, according to an update sent out last night to staff, parents, and students. “We want you to know that the threat actor who has claimed responsibility for MPS’s recent encryption event has apparently posted online some of the data they accessed from MPS,” the email warns.
So, what does that mean? Right now, there’s a 51-minute public video on Vimeo showing the “threat actor” opening up all kinds of files, reports, and spreadsheets, including student disciplinary info, resumes from job applicants, and lists of children’s names and home addresses. And, according to a report from Axios, the cyber-attackers want a cool million to take the info down. MPS says it has contacted law enforcement, asked Vimeo to remove the content off its site, and is “working with IT specialists."
Pedestrian Mall Coming to Loring Corners?
You know that neat old-school alleyway behind Loring Corners, the 112-year-old office complex beside Loring Park? The building's property manager, Alex Heller, tells Melody Hoffmann at SW Voices that he believes the quaint stretch could become a four-season, European-style pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants. “It’s been an idea of mine my whole life," Heller says. Problem is, the city owns the alley, and converting it into something useful would be fraught with logistics. But Hoffmann reports the city is open to giving Heller control of the space, and the parties will soon meet to discuss what that'd look like. Heller says, in addition to the vision, he has the cash: "When the dreams hit, I am able to finance that." A test tenant, Fawkes Alley Coffee, is set to open in an (apparently) non-contentious portion of the alley this spring.
Update: A previous version of this headline omitted the words "appear to."