Sunday, June 24, 2007

Open Thread #30

I'll be gone for the next couple of days so an open thread will have to do. Have fun.

76 comments:

JoshTee! said...

He's gone. Let's use swear words.

GrandForksGuy said...

Haha...that's funny, josh. Actually, I won't be leaving until this evening. I'll be back towards the end of the week. I'm gonna put up one more post before I go...

Anonymous said...

I have a bitch.
Why can't movie theatres clean the seats?....I took my family to see Evan Almighty (nice film) and sitting in those seats was like seating on a pile of someones dirty laundry...it was gross (and I used to work in a movie theatre in HS...this was nasty)

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Carmike by anymeans, but I will admit that I do like the new digital projection. It is crystal clean and always perfectly in focus and in frame. I used to be a projectionist for Midco (back in the day) and I was very picky about how a film got focused and framed. Now I don't have those gripes when some idiot doesn't know how to frame or focus a film.

Anonymous said...

I worked for the Plaza Twin Theatres...doorman....bank in the day..our seats weren't dirty, unless you turned on the lights...

Firefall McFaine said...

every thing in the carmike ten is dirty. HI have yet to see a movie in the theater in a while however when i have i too think the seats and every thing in there is not as good as it once was. its like it has gone to shit in the last few yrs. What ever happened to when they said they were gonna do some construction? Whas that the new digital screens?

Anonymous said...

I know this will not be a popular opinion but, I see issues like this as barometers of a failing local economy.

dale said...

I see issues like this as barometers of a failing local economy.

Dirty seats? Wow, I'm glad you're not on the Fed! Greenspan would be rolling over in his figurative grave :-)

I see issues like this as a sign that there's a national company with a local monopoly, but little regard for the small market Grand Forks represents. And a population that puts up with it, because they either don't care, or lack choices. The additional theatres that are going into EGF should impact that.

My theatre complaint is the "pre-show". At Evan Almighty on Friday, there were 20 minutes of ads, previews and about a dozen promotions of their new "digital projection". For a 90 minute movie, that's, what, 22% of the show? (Okay, 20 / (90 + 20) = 18%) Either way, it's more than television, even though it's all front ended.

I'm gonna start showing up at 7:15 for a 7:00 show.

-- dale (Google login sux)

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with Dale. I go to a locally owned theater in the Twin Cities and occasionally see the owner there. (He has about 6 theaters scattered throughout the Twin Cities.) He does a lot to make sure he stays ahead of the competition. A larger chain started putting in some really big screen options (72 feet wide) so he went bigger (80 feet). And took the opportunity to put in all new seats in the theater we go to (21 screens now). This is in a theater that's not as old as the Carmike/Midco 10.

I know when I come up to GF to visit (I'll be there next week...if you see someone cruising around in a big, mid-70's Cadillac Convertible, wave hi) that I won't even consider going and seeing a movie at the Carmike. When they get the one up on the East Side running, I'll probably go there to check it out, but until they do something new if GF, I'm not watching anything there.

So I think it's just complacency on Carmike's part. They have no competition so why do much to the theater. People are going to come anyways.

BTW-for an older theater with stadium seating, digital sound, modern projectors, all with a '50s feel, look at http://www.riverviewtheater.com/ - I haven't been there, but will definitely go there one day to watch cheap movies. This theater had stadium seating back in 1949...

GJB

Anonymous said...

I shared the same experience at Evan Almighty....it was like "alright already, start the #$&%-ing movie"

filthy theatres, $2.90 for a small pop??? $23 bucks for my wife and boys to see an afternoon show...there were 10 people in the theatre...

it was gross...
I can own the DVD for way cheaper...and my house is way cleaner and I can drink beer rather than expensive flat pop with toooo much ice....

Carmike sux

Anonymous said...

A novel idea in Hawaii is to sell a plastic baggie for 25 cents that slips over your seat. Keeps you clean and smell better, than sitting on dirty seats. Also anyone remember the Movie House in EGF called the "WW' we called it wobbly wobbly, but I think the Wong family owned it. Tickets were 5 cents. greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

No matter where you go to the movies, they are REQUIRED to have that pre-show content which includes upcoming movie trailers, commercials, etc. Checkers come regularly to make sure these are showing before the movies. Go ahead and show up later if you want to. Just beware if the movie is selling out, you may not be able to go if you arrive late.

Kelly Clow said...

The anonymous poster above is absolutely right about the requirements for pre-show content before movies. My girlfriend is the projection manager for the Muvico Starlight 20-plex here, and she has to make sure all the annoying crap gets attached to the prints provided by the production companies, or her theatre gets in deep trouble.

Disney recently threatened to completely pull Ratatouille from her theatre because one of her projectionists forgot to put on ONE of the FIFTEEN trailers that came with a sneak preview of the movie last week.

The film production companies have all the blame for the endless amounts of crap that play before movies these days.

What really pisses me off, though, is that now rental DVDs are coming out with commercials on them that have the "chapter forward" option disabled to keep people from fast forwarding through them. (My girlfriend is also a part time night manager at a Hollywood Video down here. God bless her, that girl keeps busy!)

There seems to be no end to the amount of ad-slamming going on in the entertainment biz these days.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody read Kinbury's columns in The Herald?
Does anyone understand the issues with The Alerus Center?
Does anyone understand the bond rating story in The Herald?
Does anyone see the degredation of properties in town?
Does anyone see, and understand, the high amount of vacant commercial properties in town?
Does anyone understand many of these properties are city-owned, or sitting under a tax abatement and not contributing to property taxes? I could go on, you get the picture.

Or, is everyone like Dale and can't draw a connection between the maintenance of a property, it's upkeep, and how it relates to it's economic health?

Also, I didn't know Greenspan was dead.

Jeesh.

forget the movies said...

Last time I checked, the seats at the Empire, Fire Hall, Chester Fritz and Burtness theaters were very clean. The quality of production was great too. Check out our local live theater next time you want to be entertained. Events are posted at culturepulse.org.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Alan Greenspan would be surprised to hear that he's supposed to be dead.

And I know a lot of buildings down here in the Twin Cities that aren't maintained or upkept well, but they're still making lots of money. If you're making money in your current situation why invest more. Wait until less money starts coming in...

GJB

Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, I was in The Empire in February. It was sooo sad. The place was absolutely trashed. The walls, the floors, the bathrooms. The sponsor recognition tags on the seats were ripped off and never replaced. Why?

Cash flow, my friend.

Once again, if the place was rockin', it wouldn't be in that condition.

Sorry, but, I call these issues "barometers". Indictors of reality.

dale said...

Also, I didn't know Greenspan was dead.

Jeesh, indeed...

Dirty seats? Wow, I'm glad you're not on the Fed! Greenspan would be rolling over in his figurative grave :-)

Um... see the word "figurative" up there?

Quick history lesson for the clueless there... Carmike came to town as a result of buying out Midcontinent Communications' theatre division, who built and ran the theatres (thus, "The Midco 10".)

So, national chain buys a chain of screens to "grow their empire." Said chain (based in Atlanta, not Grand Forks,) goes through bankruptcy in 2001. Movie industry is in a slump. Chain realizes that people in markets without competition will go to the movies about the same amount, regardless of whether they charge $3.00 for a small drink, have stinky theatres, or sticky seats.

Why would they spend the money to provide a higher quality experience when they're having money troubles in the first place, and it has no impact here in the second?

Basic supply and demand. As I said, it will likely change once (if) there's competition from the EGF complex. Whether that happens remains to be seen. In the meanwhile, try voting with your feet and avoid the places you don't like.

Or you can ignore the high school level Economics, see conspiracy everywhere, and don your tin foil hat.

Oh, and I agree about the Empire. They need to put on a fund raiser or something to clean the place up.

-- dale (google log in still sux)

ec99 said...

"Why would they spend the money to provide a higher quality experience when they're having money troubles in the first place, and it has no impact here in the second?"

Same can be said for NWA. I have to fly to NYC in a few weeks. From GFK it's $513.60 roundtrip. From MSP it's $280.10. Guess where I'm leaving from.

dale said...

Same can be said for NWA.

Heheh. No one's going to be baiting me into defending Northwest :-)

On the other hand, the time, cost and annoyance of having to drive to Minneapolis makes the extra $200 less of an issue, if I'm just flying by myself. With gas, parking and depreciation, it's about a wash. Makes a lot of sense, though, if there are a number of people flying.

Anonymous said...

sheesh all I said was the seats are dirty and any decent business owner/manager..whatever might take some personal pride and try to clean the sticky goo from under the arm rests once in a while..

Like I stated, I was a doorman way back "in the day" and made about $2.20 per hour...but if a kid pissed or spilled or puked we would clean it up...

I don't give a rip about anybodies economics. I am wondering if the health department would give them a passing grade.

vote with my feet? absolutely..
you can also vote with your blog, with word of mouth etc...

Same problem with the beet plant..GF, on occaision, smells like frickin death....and it is a new kind of death...the smell has evolved over time...it is actually worse than it was 20 years ago...

"it's the smell of money" ...I understand that...I understand the sugar drives the entire economy of the valley....I get it, I understand that Sugar production is vital....

I also understand that every once in a while GF smells B. A. D.

and like the stupid theatre seats, they should try to make it not smell.

"They are trying"

yeah, well, try harder...

dale said...

any decent business owner/manager..whatever might take some personal pride and try to clean the sticky goo from under the arm rests once in a while

Unfortunately, that pre-supposes that the manager IS the owner, or in some other sense cares about how many people come to his theatre, rather than putting poor attendance down to bad movies, not enough marketing or a general slow down. That's not likely the case -- if no one comes to the theatre, no one blames the manager. Not anymore, anyway.

webmasterzero said...

Marcus Theaters has purchased (I think, but don't quote me) all of the Fargo theaters from Carmike in the past year. They've been upgrading them and putting money into them. Generally, each theater went from a 4/10 to an 8/10 in my opinion.

Everything is still expensive, but at least the theaters are clean, and movie selections are getting more diverse, so that's cool. Still too much ice in my damn soda...but eh.

webmasterzero said...

Also, the Ultrascreen at the West Acres 12 is pretty sweet. Really nice seats with tons of leg room. The seat backs recline and have sturdy cupholders.

If you're bored in Fargo someday, check it out...

Anonymous said...

Carmike does not have any theatres in Fargo, now or in the last 15 years. They have theatres in Grand Forks, Minot, Bismarck, Devils Lake, and Dickinson. Isn't it AMC or something in Fargo? Not really sure what movie company or companies they have.

Anonymous said...

I have two wishes:

1. That Ann Coulter was a brunette.

2. Ted Bundy was alive to meet her at a Republican Convention.

Anonymous said...

good wishes.

Anonymous said...

Yup. It's time Coulter was thinned from the herd. She coursens political discourse to the point of name-calling. I haven't heard her say, "I know you are, but what am I?" but it won't be long now.

Anonymous said...

She is Dick Cheneys alter ego....

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised one of the 9-11 widows haven't put a hit out on Ann.... sounds like John Edwards' wife may be next in line after them.

Anonymous said...

Are there any sites for critical analysis of Grand Forks? Or is it all... this is the best place on earth bullshit?

dale said...

Well, there are quite a few "Best Places to Live" lists out there (Places Rated Almanac, as an example,) and Grand Forks ranks high or low, depending on the criteria used. Find one that focuses on what you find important and use that as a guide.

No one, outside real estate agents or the terminally clueless, would consider Grand Forks the best place on Earth, weatherwise, if nothing else. But neither is it the worst place.

My pick for best would be some remote island in the South Pacific (like Bora Bora) and worst would be the nearby Mariana Trench (unless you're a plankton, in which case, it's probably pretty boss.)

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I would love to see more of in Grand Forks and Fargo, that's longform journalism. I love to get down and into a story. When something of interest happens around America, it's great to google New Times and see if they have a paper in that market and then search and see if they covered the story. They do a great job. Rolling Stone also does a good job with this type of reporting, a better job in the past, however.

For example, I would LOVE to read the whole Lou Pearlman story. The Manager of the The Backstreet Boys, and N-Sync, took North Dakota banks for tens, and tens, of millions of dollars. Yes, that much. I want to know the details. I would argue that this would make a great story for Rolling Stone.

If you remember, the previously mentioned bands were two of the first big shows at Alerus Center. Somehow, Lou met the President of the Alerus Commission, and smoked him for the millions. Wouldn't you like to read the story?

The local guy is there, at the show, excitement levels are high. He's on a mission to make some contacts, and show Alerus Financial's board members, employees, and customers that he'll recoup the naming rights financial investment with this fantastic resource. Well, right out of the gates, in the early days of the venue, he meets Lou Pearlman. To make a long story short, Lou plays him, and takes several North Dakota banks for millions. How'd this happen? One can only assume that the local Alerus guy set up the contact with all the banks across the state, and Lou sucked them all in. Some very small town banks were taken for around 14 million each. Alerus Financial, locally, got soaked for five million.

Intrigueing story, don't you think? High stakes, bigtime boy bands, a potential gay love angle. Anyone else interested? Unfortunately, you won't hear anything about it from our local media. Maybe someone should throw the lead to other Regional, and National media. Can you imagine? If the local boy had slipped out of his "luxury suite" to grab some Dunkin' Dots at the faitful time, this big heist may not ever have happened. Instead, the dude got some time playing "I know Lou Pearlman" bigshot, and helped facilitate this massive crime.

I pity the owners of these small banks that got rolled.

Anyone else? Compelling story, you think? Right here in little old Grand Forks.

Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Now that Mr. Pearlman is in custody, and the prosecution has begun, I'd expect the details of this story to come out.

ec99 said...

"Now that Mr. Pearlman is in custody, and the prosecution has begun, I'd expect the details of this story to come out."

Don't expect the Herald to cover it. Its job is to report how everything is great in GF.

dale said...

a potential gay love angle

Gay love? Where did that come from?

Why not email Tu-Uyen Tran (ttran@gfherald.com) at the Herald and see what he has to say? If there's a sensational story, I can't see why he'd ignore it... those are the sorts of stories that can make people's careers.

Failing that, why not research and publish it yourself? There's a handy "Create Blog" link up there to the right, create the "Grand Forks Muckraker" blog and post what you know. Heck, why not just publish it right here in the GFL comments section?

As intriguing as you (assuming there's just one of you, it's all "anonymous",) make it sound, I've yet to see anything other than ambiguous comments that could apply to anyone. Name some names, post some verifiable facts. If things are as rotten as they seem, the world wants to know what the scoop is.

I agree that it's a major bummer that all of these small banks were ripped off. Stranger still is the fact that none of them are publicly ripping into whoever suckered them in. Were it me, I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

Anonymous said...

banks would never be that vocal...if they look stupid...it kills their business...they would be very quiet...they would litigate but not seek massive media attention.

ie...do you want to put your money in a bank that would be dumb enough to get duped like this??

This is when boards of directors say "buh-bye" to CEO's and CFO's....

Anonymous said...

I too have been wondering why there hasn't been more reported about Lou Pearlman fleecing ND banks for millions of dollars. I was talking to a friend in Grand Forks and he had not idea what I was talking about when I brought up this story.

Anonymous said...

"This is when boards of directors say "buh-bye" to CEO's and CFO's...."

That's the problem. No head has rolled over this, and the countless other major blunders regarding the operation of The Alerus Center.

Anonymous said...

What banks were fleeced?

Anonymous said...

You can Google Pearlman and find the banks and dollar amounts. The other victims are First National Banks. Alerus Financial used to be First National. I know, I know, things that make you go hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

Just going from memory, Alerus went down for 5M, Watford City and Dickinson for something like 14M each.

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest... is Al Nipstad of Alerus Bank, they are now private, not a public bank like they use to be. Many scammers as bank officers. Check it out. Ask Al Nipstad at the Bronze Boot how many farmers he has scammed. greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

What's with Grand Forks' Top 40 radio stations? Every time I arrive in Grand Forks, there is XL93 (with the same old repetitve stuff) and 104.3 (which keeps changing their format every month). I long for the days of Magic 96. They went head to head with XL, and the competiton forced each station to play the best music. With no competition, XL just repeats the same songs every 2-3 hours.
No wonder MP3s and satellite radio are so popular.

ben said...

Um...it's a top 40 station...that means that they usually play the top 40 songs on Billboard, which lends itself to repetitive music. The problem of repetition is inherent in the genre of radio station that XL93 is. If you want good variety of new and old, try KJ108 (107.5 fm) they aren't exactly the best in the world, but a little less repetitious than XL
And can we PLEASE be done adding country stations to this marked??

Anonymous said...

96 is still a darned good station.

UND's 90.7 and the station from TRF, 90.1, offers some nice alternatives, too...and especially so on weekends.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the country stations comment. For a small market, this City sure has a lot of country stations.

Anonymous said...

Any comments of Mike Nifong county prosecutor of Dke Rape Case. He now lost his law license and is disgraced for his "intentional prosecutorial misconduct" I hope the Duke players sue him in civil court for millions, plus he can't be charged for his criminal conduct too. False allegations of rape happen all the time, these players had rich parents to fight these charges, most do not. The dancer should be charged too. Maybe our local attorneys and judges will pay attention ! greenglass4.

ben said...

greenglass - if you are referring to the recent dropping of charges against Robbie Bina, get real! Remember, it is often that the kids with the rich parents get off when they are guilty - not when they are innocent.

ec99 said...

Unfortunately, the lesson Bina has learned from his DUI and the Judy's incident is that a UND hockey player in GF is not expected to exhibit any responsibility. Guess it's the same lesson Heatly learned. And probably OJ, too. Sports figures are not subject to the inconvenient social morés the rest of us are.

Anonymous said...

Canadians need to learn how to drive when they come to ND, dont make left handed turns from the far RIGHT LANE. Learn the rules or dont come. Also who in their right mind would apply for a job at the new restaurant in CanadInns-4 something an hour-get real, yeah you get tips, but that just crazy-I thought you atleast had to pay minimum wage?

Anonymous said...

hey their money is kicking ass...they are going to be coming in greater numbers than ever and we should do all we can to welcome them...
I suggest we start offering "left turns from anywhere" (if you are sportin friendly man plates)

also "right on red" anywhere, anytime....

free Molson's if you park outside the lines....

just doing my part to be part of a "destination city"...

Anonymous said...

I think it's country drivers who are more often the perpetrators of violations and quite a few more offenses as well, like drunk driving.

Is that true? I doubt it. But before we villainize Canadians, let's have more than an anecdote or two to back it up.

You're probably from Fargo, trying to drive away Canadian biz?

Anonymous said...

In Grand Forks, worst drivers are Manitobans, followed by Minnesotans, who are mostly from the sticks and dont know how to drive in the big city. But it all means money in the cash registers so who cares as long as they dont kill anyone?

Anonymous said...

There are more idiot American Drivers here than Canadian, you idiot. They bring a lot of money to this economy. I'd like to see you manuvere in Winnipeg.

Anonymous said...

"In Grand Forks, worst drivers are Manitobans, followed by Minnesotans"

Let's see...the worst drivers are from out of town. Now, why would that be? Maybe because they're not used to our streets, signal positions, speed limits, etc. D'OH!

Anonymous said...

To another anonymous....

I work in a Canad Inn restaurant for $4.50/hr. It's the highest paid serving position in Grand Forks. State law says that anyone in a "tipped" work situation can be paid 33% less than minimum wage as long as they make at least $30 a month in tips. With tips, my job is working out to be paying about $12/hr. That's nearly double what I made at my last retail position, and ten times what I made when I was in a salaried position.

Anonymous said...

Grand forks is "the big city", hmm that's news to me...

Anonymous said...

Canadians suck! In the hotel I work at they are by far the filthiest rooms I have ever seen. Yeah YEah they're staying there gives me a paycheck, blah, blah, blah-they still could not be such pigs-why would you want to stay in a room where you can't even walk because you have so much junk laying around.

Anonymous said...

Just because Canadians boost the economy-they should be able to drive how they want I guess.?

Anonymous said...

No, it means you should drive defensively, realizing that people from out of town (whether that's Brandon or Bismarck) may not be as familiar with our streets and roads.

Anonymous said...

"Canadians suck! In the hotel I work at they are by far the filthiest rooms I have ever seen."


Wow, you must be good! It's amazing that you take note of where all of your guests are from.

Anonymous said...

Yeah its not that hard, there's always magazines/pill bottles or some other item that has there address or something that you can tell if there from Canada or not. Obviously you have never worked in a hotel.

Anonymous said...

Just because someone is not use to our streets, doesnt mean you should make a left hand turn from the far right lane-if you miss your turn go down the road and turn back up at the nearest convience, not turn whereever the hell you please. Have some COMMON SENSE when you drive-because one day they'll probably kill somebody.

Anonymous said...

segue' to a new topic...it is monday night and this entire city smells like a giant pile of warm cow shit!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you are dead wrong about the smell ( it is the smell of money)It has been that way for 50 years and will be like that for next 50. So get use to it and suck it up ! greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

then money smells like a giant pile of warm cow shit...
and that smell has gone through some serious evolution over the past 50 years....

granted sugar drives the entire valley economy...but it still frickin smells like a dung heap...

Anonymous said...

When I hear that the awful smell coming from Crystal Sugar is the smell of money, I can't help to think it is the smell of corporate greed. I am not against business making money but if they are poor corporate/community partners I think we need to pressure them into spending more money to alleviate the smell. If they would be successful it might be a money generator for them by licensing the technology.

Anonymous said...

Do they have a micro-biologist on the payroll? That stink can be managed...you get little "non-stinky" things to go and eat up the "really stinky things" and have the bi-product be non-stinky....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who works at CanadInn is correct that in ND workers who get tips can be paid less than minimun wage [I think that in MN and WI they have to be paid minimum wage and still get tips.] However, I seriously question the statement that at about $12/hr. he/she is earning 10 times what he/she was making at a salaried job [$1.20/hr.?]!

Anonymous said...

"I seriously question the statement that at about $12/hr. he/she is earning 10 times what he/she was making at a salaried job [$1.20/hr.?]!"

$1.20/hr?? That's what you make at Wal-Mart after you pay for your own health care...

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt Wal Mart employees make $48 a week even AFTER paying for health care

GrandForksGuy said...

For those of you who haven't noticed, many of the previous anonymous posts came right after each other and many were likely posted by the same person so take that into consideration when you read them.

Anonymous said...

For those of you that are against the farmer/businessman of the area and the smell of sugar beets, listen up ! Did you ever see a homeless person write you out a paycheck ? The area farmers take risks, work 70 hours a week, etc. So you whiners, suck it up or go to the lake for the weekend ! greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I really did make $1.20-ish an hour in a previous salaried position. I was paid $2,000 over about 10 months in that position and told I'd only be working about 10-20 hours per week. Instead, I worked 40+ hours per week.

And as for the $12/hr statement about working in the restaurant. Think about it like this: I'm paid a base of $4.50/hr. If I have two tables within that hour, each table need only leave $4 to round out my pay to approximately $12/hr.

And no, if I've stated I'm in a serving position, I can't be the one complaining about Canadians in hotel rooms. Servers have no access to the hotel rooms, water park, or hotel guests.

Anonymous said...

OK, anyone see any DAZ hotties?

Matthew said...

Are there any sites for critical analysis of Grand Forks? Or is it all... this is the best place on earth bullshit?

This site is pretty good for that. If you want to see more of a student perspective, www.campusdakota.com usually has some discussion of GFK going on.