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Attention Thrill-Seekers!

September 25, 2008

I’m going to give a plug to a magnificent locale that happens to be just a few hundred yards from where I went to high school:  Blondie’s Sports Bar & Grill

Naturally, one might ask why in the heck I’d suggest an innocently named sports bar as a destination for the steel-nerved.  I mean, it looks like a pretty harmless place, right?  It’s got a nice-looking patio, cash bingo, and even karaoke on Saturdays.  Well, don’t be fooled, daredevils.  You’d better keep your head on a swivel and your running shoes tied tight if you plan on stepping foot in this joint (It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to review Minnesota’s conceal and carry law, either).

For example, just the other day, some poor kid was gunned down in cold blood right there on that patio, and two more of his pals wound up in the hospital:

Family members say Jones was just dropping off a set of keys to his cousin at Blondie’s Sports Bar and Grill at 7495 Brooklyn Boulevard when shots rang out just after midnight Wednesday.
Jones was dead at the scene. The two others were taken to North Memorial with non-life-threatening injuries. One of the injured had a bullet wound, the other was a victim of a related assault.

But I know what you’re thinking.  Surely this was just a one-time fluke incident borne out of too many drinks and machismo.  

On the other hand, ask the guy who went there last year and had his nutsack ripped open by Thor, the establishment’s not-so-friendly barkeep:

Thor Gunderson

“It is not like he was drunk and disorderly. There was a dispute over the time it was going to take for his food. But he decided he didn’t want to pay for it and for that he ends up with these types of serious injuries,” said acting Brooklyn Park Police Chief Greg Roehl.

Investigators say the owner, Thor Gunderson, even tried to stop the man from calling 911 for help. When police got to the bar, they say they found the customer bleeding and on the ground, restrained by Gunderson and a bouncer.

“At the hospital they determined he had an injury which was to his scrotum and that one of his testicles was actually torn loose,” said Roehl.

Yea, um, can you say…check please?

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that there’s no shortage of “activity” at Blondie’s.  In fact, when you look at the history of the place over the last few years, one has to wonder why any reasonable person would ever go there:

City records show Blondie’s, at 7495 Brooklyn Blvd., had 221 calls for service in 2006, 215 in 2007 and 156 so far this year.

That’s nearly 600 visits from the police in under 3 years.  Or if you do the math, you’ve got better than a 50/50 chance that the cops will show up for some reason on any given night.   Here’s the breakdown (pdf) for 242 calls in 2007 (not sure of the reason for the discrepancy).  And keep in mind, Brooklyn Park is a suburb.


Casual dining with a sports flair…
…If you dare.

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38 comments

  1. Hint to the uninformed: never, ever fuck with a guy named Thor Gunderson.


  2. Of course, I thought the same thing.

    This place is only a few miles from my house, as it turns out (I haven’t moved far from where I grew up). It’s been years since I’ve been there; with its close proximity to the high school and on BP’s main drag it was popular back in the day.

    Every once and awhile I’d hear stories about some of my old classmates that still hang out there. I’m thinking; Blondie’s? Are you fuckin kidding me?

    One of these days I’m going to have to go back there and check it out. I just have to grow a lil sack first. Hopefully it won’t get ripped open.


  3. Isn’t Thor running for governor? Bet they don’t get many complaints about the burnt food either, do they General? Heads up Chen – I doubt Thor washes his hands!

    It’s not the only place in the world like that. The entire country is going to hell in a handbasket as far as I’m concerned.

    Down near where I live, last year a Baptist Deacon, who just happened to be an OU alum, ripped the nerts off a guy for wearing a Texas pullover after an argument ensued about who had the best football team. Guess we take our college football pretty seriously down here.

    This looks like bar for Dead Rabbit and da dock workers to sample. How about Rabbit?


  4. And keep in mind, Brooklyn Park is a suburb.

    LOL. Hey, I missed the cheap shot! It may be a suburb Chen, but you missed the most important point. It’s the inbred suburb – your high school district! 🙂


  5. Factoid:

    Jesse Ventura began his political career as mayor of -my hometown- Brooklyn Park.

    In those days, Ventura would sit alongside city council members in his tie-dyed t-shirts and exude his signature flair. I’ll never forget attending one of those meetings. Everyone else was in suits and ties. lol

    From an old MPR post:

    Dick Gunderson owns Blondie’s, a sportsbar on Brooklyn Boulevard he built as a Mister Steak in 1969. He says Ventura’s “shaking up” made the city finally deal with problems it ignored before – like crime – and he may have the same effect as governor.

    Gunderson: “He called attention to the problems, made us come together and start working on those problems, and I believe that’s what he brings. I doubt he thinks he has the answers as a self-anointed savior for everything, but I believe he’s passionate about what he thinks is wrong and has a feel for the goal he’s trying to achieve.”

    One has to assume that Dick Gunderson is Thor’s dad.


  6. “On the other hand, ask the guy who went there last year and had his nutsack ripped open by Thor, the establishment’s not-so-friendly barkeep”

    that cracked me up for like 5 minutes.

    Is Thor Icelandic? I was stationed in Iceland and almost had my own nuts ripped of by various Thor’s during my year and half tour of doodie.


  7. Hey Chen, I hope you don’t mind that I emailed a link of the Chamber to the address at the Blondies web site…

    Looks like mountain oysters will be back on the menu soon at Blondies…

    I guess, once this goes down, Chen’s sexist blogs about Palin will subsist…


  8. Perhaps, Rabbit. We’re the home of the Vikings, after all.


  9. rabbit-

    I guess, once this goes down, Chen’s sexist blogs about Palin will subsist…

    I was wondering when you’d play that card.


  10. So who’s cashing the bribe checks within the local government ? Ma. and RI have had bars and clubs shut down with like two incidences.


  11. The founding fathers never imagined dictatorial powers to be given to the Treasury. Besides, we were told the bail out of Bear Sterns et al was supposed to stop this from happening. I’ve learned a ton about the economy over the last month. I learned that the Feds can’t manipulate an artificial interest rate in order to engineer a faux American dream. Clinton and Carter got their way: a semi-socialization of the finance world. Bush stood by and rode the pyramid scam out, loving the 3 dollar bill consumer driven market. This bail out may not even work. This is the biggest larceny in American history.

    I rode my own near financial collapse out like a man. My own Dad pleaded with me to take some cash, and I told him I couldn’t. Not because of pride, but I knew it was time to do the right thing. I was prepared to do what I had to do, to the point of going back into the military, working a second job and, for the first time in my life, saving money for the things I want. Simple as that. I never was bailed out, nor did I ask for one.

    I am severely disappointed McCain doesn’t see the light on this one. I normally can get over disagreeing on certain issues with a candidate of my choice. But this is unprecedented in American history. I admire McCain more then any candidate in my life time. I also love the guy’s personality. But at this point, I am withdrawing my support for McCain.

    How ironic that on the day I learn the news of Gkhan’s endorsement, another person I’ve had long respect for, is the day I realize I can’t vote for McCain anymore.

    I keep thinking to myself, am I being some kind of flake? What kid of flake peels Veterans for McCain bumper sticker off his truck after arguing for McCain over the span of two years? I’ve contributed to the campaign.

    I’m a flake until I read the number. 700,000,000,000.

    Looks like I’m sitting this one out.

    p.s. Detroit auto will be dead in two weeks.

    God Speed.


  12. i wrote this in an email..ignore the part about gkhan


  13. Chen, I wish there was a way to edit our posts….


  14. Rabbit,

    Before you sit this one out, perhaps you should watch this video – because sitting this one out may not be in your best interests or your kids bests interests. And you may gain a matter of respect for the things McCain tried to do:


  15. That video sums it up pretty damn much, if you ask me. However, I’m still having problems becoming a socialist country over night. Doesn’t that bother you Tex?


  16. Yea, it bothers me Rabbit. I stand to lose a bunch (at least to me it’s a bunch), but yes I think we should simply let the market forces work their magic. But I think what people are forgetting is your going to take your lumps one way or another.

    The point I was trying to make to you is that if there is going to be pointing fingers for the financial mess we are in, then I think that video makes it abundantly clear who plays the bigger part.


  17. So, if Thor is the owner, does that mean that he’s called “Blondie”? I dare you …


    • No actually it was named after my grandmother that was nicked named blondie.


  18. Tex-
    You need to take that video with a grain of salt. The number of CRA-covered banks has decreased significantly since 1977. CRA-covered banks only wrote about half of the subprime mortgages, and in the later years wrote around one third of them. Further, the mortgage industry goes beyond banks now, which wasn’t as true when the bill was passed. Also, there were no direct incentives to write subprime and variable-rate mortgages. If you didn’t meet a certain standard, you weren’t allowed to expand. There was no perscription for writing subprimes in particular. Plus, according to the WSJ, 60% of subprime mortgages went to people who could qualify for prime mortgages.

    In other words, CRA-covered banks were responsible for either half or less than half of the shitty mortgages, and lots of the shitty mortgages went to people who could have gotten regular ol’ mortgages.

    Usury laws have also been relaxed, which counts as deregulation. Also, the rise of faulty credit rating systems helped incorrectly price crappy mortgages.


  19. “and in the later years wrote around one third of them.”

    Sorry, this part isn’t true. My mistake. You should look into the rate at which CRA and non-CRA covered institutions wrote the crap loans. They don’t seem to bear out the video’s claims.


  20. Mike,

    Your one excuse for contrary behavior after another. You blather without saying much.

    Here’s the bottom line:

    You’re a good shill for the Dimocratic party and Obama, but that video clearly shows your party is mostly responsible for the bad loans. Contrary to your boilerplated language, the simple fact is that thousands of mortgages were granted to those who should have never received them – some greed; more socialism. Period.

    Come out of the closet – you’re clearly a lib and to pretend to be anything but is not only ludicrous but laughable.

    If you can prove anything incorrect about this video, please direct us to your links because as far as I’m concerned somebody had finally had enough of your ilk’s bullshit and proved you wrong.


  21. Okay, here’s one:
    http://www.traigerlaw.com/index.php

    Click on the one with the words “A Welcome Anomaly”

    Important quote: “Indeed, in each of the 15 most populous MSAs, CRA Banks were less likely than other
    lenders to originate a high cost loan. Overall, CRA Banks were 66 percent less likely than other
    lenders to originate a high cost loan.” In the fifteen cities in the survey, CRA-banks were responsible for only 9.2% of the high cost loans, and around 11% of those given to people with low and moderate incomes.

    And then: “The APR difference on high cost loans originated to LMI[low/moderate income] borrowers was even greater
    than the difference for all loans. Overall, high cost loans made by CRA Banks to LMI borrowers
    were priced 74 basis points lower than high cost loans originated to LMI borrowers by other
    lenders.”

    Not only did they give fewer loans, but their APR’s were lower.

    The problems go far beyond CRA-covered banks. Fed rates below expected inflation, encouraging debt to soothe growing income inequality, and the bullshittery of the credit rating agencies are far more to blame than the small slice of the subprime mess that CRA-covered banks are responsible for.

    Another thing you need to ask yourself: why isn’t McCain talking about this? This should be a slam dunk for him. But nary a peep, to my knowledge.


  22. One last thing. CRA banks were also far more likely to keep the mortgages in their portfolios, instead of securitizing them.


  23. Mike,

    You’re spouting financial technicalities – most not relevant to the video because it is irrelevant to the argument which mortgage institute made the loans. The fact of the matter is, many large financial institutions are culpable.

    What is most relevant is that monies were loosely given to people who had no business receiving loans as pressure was administered by our illustrious gov’t. That in turn, caused housing bubble driving prices up as demonstrated by the video. And most of the pressure to make these loans came from our gov’t and was dictated by the party of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. That is the essence of the video.

    This is not complicated. Most Americans, who received absolutely no benefit from the financial risk, and who had nothing to do with the dilemma, are now being by their Congress to assume the risk of the bad loans. Somebody in Congress owes us an explanation how we got to this point. And the video clearly demonstrates that firms like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in bed with the Dimocratic party.

    If you can disprove this political fact, by all means do so.


  24. “most not relevant to the video because it is irrelevant to the argument which mortgage institute made the loans.”

    It is entirely relevant. The video claimed that the CRA mandated banks to give bad loans. The CRA does not cover all banks (the author of the video says this is false in the comments section, but I can’t figure out why he thinks that.) If non-CRA covered banks gave out far more, riskier, and securitized the loans way more often than CRA covered banks, then how is it that CRA caused the crisis?


  25. “This is not complicated. Most Americans, who received absolutely no benefit from the financial risk, and who had nothing to do with the dilemma, are now being by their Congress to assume the risk of the bad loans. Somebody in Congress owes us an explanation how we got to this point. And the video clearly demonstrates that firms like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in bed with the Dimocratic party.”

    I agree with this. However, CRA is a wild goose chase, as far as I can tell.


  26. Crap. Sub ‘lending institution’ or some such for ‘bank.’


  27. […] Debate lead question #1 on the proposed bail out package, I came across an eye popping video on the ChenZhen blog comments section.  Considering that a large amount of talk was devoted to deregulation during […]


  28. Alright, fine. You’ll address the facts. The video says the CRA legislation is repsonsible for the credit crunch. I presented some facts showing the effects were very limited.

    You respond….


  29. And I say your set of “facts” are wrong…

    So tell me genius – exactly what caused the credit bubble then? And be very specific about the who, how and when like the video Mike.

    Was it the George Bush boogey man? WMD? Sarah Palin? Halliburton?

    Because I say starting in 1995, CRA was expanded with the help of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, and in conjunction with corrupt business practices (that would be greed), people started receiving loans who shouldn’t have from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and company which created a housing bubble. It didn’t need to be all banks as you attest because a handful of big powerful financial institutions have created the mess. And your Dimocratic legislature is mostly responsible.

    You say that is bogus. I want you to tell me exactly how we got here then…and be very specific – just like the video.


  30. “Because I say starting in 1995, CRA was expanded with the help of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd”

    Yes, it was expanded. And then it was scaled down again in 2005. But guess what? CRA BANKS WERE STILL NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVEN CLOSE TO HALF OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF SUBPRIME LOANS WRITTEN. That’s a fact, which you cannot deny. Because it’s true. And when they did write them, they kept them in their own portfolios more often, offered lower APR’s, and were more successful. Understand? Non-CRA covered, unregulated banks looking to make quick bucks wrote bad loans more often and then sold them on. This is a crucial fact.

    The wanton securitizing of high-cost loans that were improperly understood to be very risky is to blame. As it turns out, a very small portion of these loans came from CRA-covered lending institutions.

    The problem isn’t the housing bubble caused by crap loans per se. Think about the tech bubble. It popped without far-reaching effects. The reason this housing bubble is really bad is because subprime loans were used to back up all sorts of other instruments (mortgage backed securities), which spread the problem beyond the housing sector. You focus too much on just the housing industry. It’s a system-wide problem.

    The video falsely claims that the CRA is responsible, which is all I ever argued against. There are two main forces at work: the Mac’s contributing to the growth of the secondary market for MBE’s and the mere existence of an unregulated secondary market for MBE’s. Along with that, the risk assessment industry was sitting on its hands. There are your causes. Not CRA.


  31. “And your Dimocratic legislature is mostly responsible.”

    First, they’re not mine. Second, they’re not mostly responsible. They’re responsible, but the problem is larger than you seem to appreciate.


  32. “And I say your set of ‘facts’ are wrong…”

    So CRA banks did write a majority of the loans? Where are you getting that from?


  33. First, they’re not mine. Second, they’re not mostly responsible. They’re responsible, but the problem is larger than you seem to appreciate.

    First the most obvious – you’re a flaming lib and they are yours (the Dims). You’re a stinking member of FearBush. Even Chen admits his liberalism and allegiance; are you denying that too?

    Second, why can’t you get it in your head it doesn’t matter how many financial institutions are involved, but who? For instance, Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac provide liquidity to mortgage originators, to enable mortgage companies, savings and loans, commercial banks, credit unions, and a host of other agencies to have funds to lend to home buyers and until recently held almost half the mortgages in America. And the mortgage debt in this country is $12 trillion dollars. And who did they buy the mortgages from Mike?

    Third, Fannie and Freddie were cooking the books by overestimating the worth of the paper. And guess who two of the CEOs were while this was going on? Franklin Raines and James Johnson, two of Obama’s financial advisors – with Raines recently resigning in disgrace.

    Can we agree there was and is a housing bubble and it is having a dramatic impact upon available credit before I go any further in showing your argument bogus?


  34. First off, you’re misunderstanding my argument.

    I am ONLY arguing that CRA is not responsilbe. That’s it. Refer back to my original post. All I wanted to say was that the video misrepresented the problem CRA posed, and all of a sudden I’m a closet lib responsible for the downfall of western society!

    I totally agree with you that the mistaken Democratic belief in the political value of affordable housing plus the artificial size of the Mac’s formed a pool of bum loans. But CRA was not a part of this.

    However, this is only a part of the problem. Many, many loans (in fact most) were not written by federally backed institutions. The Mac’s soaked them up, and that’s the Dem’s fault. They should never have allowed those companies to get so big. However, the problem also extends to deregulated securities and deratives markets, and the use of bum subprime loans in MBE’s, which was largely the fault of the private lending industry. It wasn’t just the Mac’s overestimating the value of subprimes. Just about everyone was doing it.

    The Dem’s are responsible. Criminally incompetent bankers are responsible. Deregulated secondary markets are responsible. The risk assessment industry is responsible. CRA is not. See what I’m saying? My argument is way more limited than I think you think it is.


  35. Let me show you how shallow I think liberal thinking is:

    Think about the tech bubble. It popped without far-reaching effects. The reason this housing bubble is really bad is because subprime loans were used to back up all sorts of other instruments (mortgage backed securities), which spread the problem beyond the housing sector. You focus too much on just the housing industry. It’s a system-wide problem.

    The tech bubble popped without far reaching effects? You are kidding, aren’t you? That is, unless you think about 2-3 trillion dollars not far reaching. Consider:

    NASDAQ
    3/10/2000 at 5,132.52
    9/30/2008 at 2,083.28

    We still haven’t recovered from the effects of the tech bubble. The S&P 500, IMHO the best indicator of the value of the total equity market, just last October made it back to the previous tech-bubble levels. That’s 8 1/2 years of lost capital gains, and that doesn’t even include the time value of money/inflation.

    Here is my point. This is a bubble in the housing industry that undoubtedly everybody but the Dimocratic pols, their lackey organizations, and Wall Street knew was coming. The effects reach anyone affiliated with credit. Now that I know you agree with as previously stated.

    But here is where we disagree – this housing bubble bursting is the cause of virtually every stinking problem with the market right now. People were way overextended with many taking 100% loans. And I say the CRA indirectly (more directly really) is accountable for pushing bad loans to people who had no business getting them because this act encouraged the mortgage industry to do so – and the greedy bastards complied.


  36. Tex-

    First the most obvious – you’re a flaming lib and they are yours (the Dims). You’re a stinking member of FearBush. Even Chen admits his liberalism and allegiance; are you denying that too?

    We had a wide range of views represented on the FearBush message boards. A real wide range, actually, because it was an open forum. If someone was lacking intellectual honesty and making unfair accusations or unsubstantiated assertions, there were people there to call them on it. Mike (Lewis Mumford) was one of the more “call it as he sees it” types, and IIRC I don’t remember very much coming from him that I’d use to describe him as a “flaming lib”. It was a website that started with the prediction (at first) and continued with the premise that the Bush presidency would be a disaster. I’d say that, at this point, there’s a fair amount of moderates who would share that view. We’d discuss and debate that stuff all day long. It was fun.


  37. Chen,

    There may have been a diverse set of people on FearBush.com. And Mike may have been one who you believe “called it as he sees them.” I’m sure you feel the same way about yourself – honest and forthright.

    It still doesn’t change the fact your a flaming lib…



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