Skip to Content

President Biden Really Botched the Suspicious Pardoning of ‘Swiftie’ MN Turkeys

Plus MN politicians do the Dew, Twin Cities gift card deals, and pumpkin smashing at the zoo in today's Flyover news roundup.

Mana5280 via Unsplash|

That’s not Bell or Liberty—we don’t have AP photo access. Thank you to this turkey for standing in.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Minnesota: Land of 1,000 Lakes

Liberty and Bell, the Willmar, Minnesota-raised turkeys pardoned by president Joe Biden at the White House today, are many things. According to Christopher Vondracek's story yesterday in the Star Tribune, Jennie-O Turkey Store CEO Steve Lykken called the turkeys "Swifties" who "enjoy some Prince" during their Sunday debut. (Apparently birds raised in the company's "presidential flock" are allowed to listen to music during their short bird lives.) They're "kind of Minnesota nice," the CEO added, though it's not entirely clear what he means by that. Perhaps Liberty and Bell quietly shit-talked turkeys in neighboring pens—we have no way of knowing.

President Biden continued the turkeys' world-building during an error-riddled address today in which he said Liberty and Bell love Honeycrisp apples and ice hockey ("I sure as hell would like to see them play ice hockey"), as well as Minnesota's "thousand lakes" and the Mall of America. Good try, bud, but Minnesota is famously the land of 10,000 lakes! The prez also said the big ol' birds were raised on a family farm in Minnesota, which they weren't—we followed up with Vondracek at the Strib, who confirmed they were raised on a Jenny-O farm, and Jenny-O has been part of Hormel Foods Corporation since the '80s.

Biden also made a confusing remark about Britney's Renaissance tour in Brazil, which we can only assume was meant to reference Taylor Swift's Eras Tour (currently in Brazil) or Beyoncé's Renaissance Tour (which concluded in October). One thing we know for sure is that Liberty and Bell are lucky birds. Their pardon means they'll retire to the care of the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, where they'll live out the rest of their numbered days—turkeys like this only make it a few months to a year, Vondracek tells us. The birds Gov. Tim Walz will likely pardon this week? It's best not to think about what happens to them.

What Is it with Walz, Other MN Legislators and Mountain Dew?

You may recall a classic Racket story in which we drank, and were not thrilled by, State Auditor Julie Blaha's signature drink—a combination of coffee and Mountain Dew. Cursed stuff. But it wasn't until odd chili aficionado Gov. Tim Walz tweeted a link to that story and added, "Why ruin a perfectly good cup of morning Dew by adding coffee?!" that we realized how deep the love affair MN Dems have with Mountain Dew really is. Walz drank it while approving direct assistance for small businesses during the pandemic; it was on his Thanksgiving table in 2020. And then, last week, Walz quote-tweeted a (fake) photo of Mountain Dew "Dew Relish," adding, "Don’t knock it until you've tried it."

The love that the guv and other DFL politicians have for Mountain Dew... is it real? Is it a bit? What's going on here? We reached out to Axios's Torey Van Oot, who formerly covered state government for the Star Tribune and who noted Walz's Dew obsession as early as 2019, if she could explain the phenomenon, but even she remains baffled. "As someone who is #notfromhere, I have no idea why so many Minnesota Democrats Do the Dew so dang hard," Van Oot says.

Gift Card Bonus Roundup

Every holiday season, Minnesota Monthly food dude Jason DeRusha does a bang-up job tracking down all the "buy a gift card, get a little something extra for yourself" deals around the Twin Cities. The result is this handy and lengthy list of all the local restaurants, restaurant groups, and national chains where that stocking stuffer you buy for a friend/loved one/coworker/mail delivery person/teacher gets you a bonus gift card to spend on yourself later (or gift to a different friend/loved one/coworker/mail delivery person/teacher).

The best bang for your buck is at places like Barrio or Blue Door Pub or the Lexington, where a $100 gift card buy gets you a $25 gift card back, but you don't have to drop a Benjamin to take advantage. Plenty of places, like Maverick's Real Roast Beef and El Burrito Mercado (and even Hooters), offer $5 back deals on cards as low as $25. Don't care about cash? There are other fun rewards, too—a $25 spend at Francis gets you a free T-shirt, or at Lela, spend $100 and get a one-night stay at Sheraton Bloomington.

Pumpkin Smash!!!

Well this has been a rather unserious edition of the Flyover, hasn't it, folks? Let's round things out with the details of this year's Pumpkin Smash schedule at Como Zoo, as highlighted by Frederick Melo in the Pioneer Press. Halloween has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is nearly behind us, which means pumpkin decor is out. Trader Joe’s and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum aren't tossing theirs, though—they've donated them to Como, where each hour on Tuesday a different group of animals will get to enjoy the meaty orange remains:

  • 10 to 11 a.m.: Gorillas, orangutans, large cats.
  • 11 to 12 p.m.: Giraffe, zebra, bison, dall sheep, nyala.
  • 12 to 1 p.m.: Wolves, tamarins, spider monkeys and patas monkeys.
  • 1 to 2 p.m.: Polar bears, penguins, puffins, seals and sea lions.
  • 2 to 3 p.m.: Tropical Encounters rainforest exhibit.

As always, the St. Paul zoo is free to visit, and is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday. And seasonal decorations be damned: Please feel free to leave your 12-foot skeletons up all year long.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Racket

Sniveling, Debased Sycophant Kisses Ring of Man Who Mocked Him: ‘1 in 100-Year Leader’

Plus commentary on fraud, SD invades MN, and more Zorbaz debate in today's Flyover news roundup.

July 17, 2024

‘Everyone Knows Puppetry Lives Here’: Why is Minneapolis Such a Puppet Town?

From the founding of the Twin Cities Puppeteers Guild to the rise of new groups like Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop, this town sure loves its puppets.

Big Court Win for Gun-Toting Minnesotans Who Are Too Young to Rent Cars

Plus libraries after dark, Icehouse finds financial footing, and picturing old schools in today's Flyover news roundup.

We Tried MN’s Zorbaz, Alleged Top 15 Worldwide Pizza Destination

The New York Times curiously hyped a peanut butter/pep/jalapeño delicacy from the chain of North Woods party bars.