Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dandy Warhols -- "Minnesoter" (1997)

I could own her, the crazy loner
If I found my way to Minnesoter

This is the third post in a series about my recent visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with my parents.  Click here if you'd like to read the first post in the series (which featured a song by the young rapper, Mayo).  Click here if you'd like to read the second post in the series (which featured a song by the British group, Clinic).

(Did the penny just drop?)

While driving my parents from our hotel to the Mayo Clinic, I saw this highway sign:

I wonder if Winona Ryder's father saw the same sign 42 years ago, when his wife was great with child.  You see, Winona's parents -- her real last name is Horowitz -- were living in Olmstead County (which includes Rochester) when she was born.  They named her after Winona, which is a town of some 28,000 souls located on the Mississippi River less than an hour's drive east of Rochester.

Winona Laura Horowitz had an interesting family.  She was given her middle name in honor of the wife of Aldous Huxley, who wrote the famous dystopian novel, Brave New World.  Winona's younger brother, Uri, was named for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel into outer space.  

Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in Heathers
Her father once worked as an archivist for the guru of LSD, Dr. Timothy Leary, who was Winona's godfather.  The family was also friendly with "beat" poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and science-fiction novelist Philip K. Dick.  (Winona later starred in A Scanner Darkly, a movie based on the Dick novel of the same name.)

When Winona was seven years old, her family relocated to a commune in Mendocino County, California, where they lived with seven other families without electricity or television.

She read a lot -- Catcher in the Rye was her favorite book -- watched movies on a screen that her mother set up in the commune s barn, and began to take acting lessons in San Francisco when she was 12.

A very young Winona Ryder
Winona adapted the stage name of Ryder because her father was listening to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels when her agent called to ask how she wanted to be identified in the credits of her first movie, Lucas, which was filmed when she was only 14.

Ryder has appeared in just about every kind of movie you can think of.  When I hear her name, I immediately think of oddball characters in oddball movies -- like Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, and Reality Bites -- but she has also appeared in movies based on famous literary works (The Age of Innocence, Little Women, The Crucible), chick flicks (How to Make an American Quilt, Autumn in New York), and science-fiction and horror movies (Dracula, Alien Resurrection, Lost Souls).

One of Ryder's best performances came in the 1999 drama about life in a mental institution, Girl, Interrupted.  That's not surprising because it seems like like Ryder is pretty crazy in real life -- not surprising  given her rather eccentric upbringing.  

That craziness really came to the forefront in 2001, when Ryder was arrested in Beverly Hills after shoplifting $5500 worth of merchandise at a Saks Fifth Avenue store.  (Saks is an expensive store, but $5500 worth of stuff is a lot of stuff -- I'm a little surprised she could carry it all by herself.)  Ryder was also accused of possessing Valium and a couple of pain medications (oxycodone and Vicodin) without valid prescriptions.  

It's possible that Winona's erratic behavior was the result of her recent breakup with Matt Damon.  Or it might go back to her somewhat less recent breakup with Johnny Depp, who ranks just as high on the crazy scale as Winona does.  (Depp got a tattoo reading "Winona Forever" on his arm when they were dating.  After they broke up, he altered it to "Wino Forever.")

Winona Ryder didn't live in Minnesota that long, but I like to think that her years in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" had some influence of her craziness.  

I've written before about the cheery, polite, and utterly clueless residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul.  I still remember taking a walk on a trail that went around one of the numerous small lakes in the Twin Cities on a visit there a couple of years ago.  I noticed that the locals were sunbathing on what appeared to be beaches bordering that lake, but which turned out on closer examination to be 100% unadulterated dirt.  Apparently they didn't know that beaches consist of sand, not dirt.

I saw other evidence of this cluelessness on my more recent visit.  Here's a water fountain I saw in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.  It is specially designed so you can fill up a water bottle.  The water fountain actually counts how many times people use it -- there's a small meter built into the upper right-hand corner of the water fountain that indicates this fountain has filled up 4090 water bottles.  

It makes a big deal about how many plastic water bottles it is keeping out of the local landfills, but I've never had much of a problem filling up a water bottle from a regular water fountain.

Here's a thought -- why not just drink directly from the water fountain until you're not thirsty?  When you get thirsty again, just get up and walk over to the water fountain for another drink.  (I've never taken a water bottle to the airport, and I don't recall it being that inconvenient to stay sufficiently hydrated.)

One more thing -- this water fountain was outside the security checkpoint.  Have you ever tried to take a filled bottle of water through airport security?  (You have?  Care to tell the class what happened when you did?)

Before flying back home at the end of my Mayo Clinic visit, I took a hike through the Minnesota River National Wildlife Refuge in Minneapolis.  I'm sorry, but it was the most unattractive outdoor area I've ever taken a hike in.  

I saw absolutely zero wildlife that morning -- except for this very tame hawk in the visitor center:

Maybe that's because the wildlife refuge is only a few minutes away from the Mall of America (the largest shopping mall in the United States) and the airport.  Planes took off over the refuge every couple of minutes -- if you look closely, you can see one in this photo, which also shows some of the many suburban office buildings and airport hotels visible from the refuge trails:

No wonder there were no birds or other wild critters around.

The entire Danish army appeared to be checking in at a Delta gate in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport that afternoon:

(I can just hear the disappointment in the soldiers' voices when they return to dear ol' Denmark and are asked by their friends and neighbors where they went.  California?  New York?  Florida?  "No," they reply sadly. "Minnesoter.")

I saw some puzzling sights in Rochester as well.  For example, there's a 50,000-gallon water tower that was built to resemble a very large ear of corn just a block east of that Winona highway sign at the beginning of this post:

I'm not sure what use the Snappy Stop burger carryout (which feature "California-style" burgers, whatever those are) puts these critters to:

I dropped into the 63 Club to wet my whistle with good ol' Grain Belt lager a couple of times.  Apparently, dogs are just as welcome as people at this friendly establishment.

I'm not sure why there were hundreds of dollar bills with handwritten messages on the walls and ceiling of the 63 Club.  But I was glad to see that they had a strict dress code:

(It you can't read that sign, it's just as well.  It would probably offend you.)

"Minnesoter" is from the Dandy Warhols' second studio album, The Dandy Warhols Come DownAnother Dandy Warhols song was the 7th song featured on 2 or 3 lines -- we're now well over 500 songs.

Here's "Minnesoter":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment