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3 definitions by Hernand Poncho

 
1.
Minnesota: an upper MidWest state, populated by Nordic descendants (hence the Vikings NFL team) and Native Americans. Located on the edge of the flat and seemingly endless praire, the state gets blast-chilled by polar winds for most of the year. The bulk of the people live in the Twin Cities (hence the MN Twins MLB team) and the surrounding cookie-cutter sprawl, while the rest of the state is scattered with God-forsaken iron mining towns (up north) or small, Lutheranesque farming communities that produce wheat and soybeans, which later get moved around by unsightly, rectangular barges down the Mississippi river or shipped to far-away places from the Duluth harbor. The state is characterized by high taxes, high welfare levels (possibly Scandinavian influences), strong economy (scores of large co.'s are HQed here, incl. Gen Mills that made the cereal you are for breakfast, 3M that made your lint roller, Medtronic that made your grandpa's pacemaker, Hormel that makes the Spam you grew up on, Polaris that made your uncle Duffy's snowmobile, Target, whose repulsive target-eye dog seems to be everywhere, etc.), changing demographics (growing Latino, Somali and Hmong enclaves), changing politics (a pronounced shift to the right). Vacationing generally means "goin' to the cabin up Nort'" for fishing and boating, while the winter is spent is super-luxurious ice fishing shacks with TVs and bunk beds, drinking the local Grain Belt beer. The people are overall Minnesotah-nice, meaning that anything that they disapprove of is glossed over as "oh, that's different". The state's public radio service (recently renamed AMerican Public Media) produces some of the most popular national programs, such as Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, Speaking of Faith, St Paul Sunday, Futuretense, etc. Quite a feat for a semi-frozen swath of land that has about 5 mil people in it.
Minnesota frequently makes it on the last page of your daily hometown paper as the coldest place in the nation.
by Hernand Poncho January 22, 2005
 
2.
"Trabi" (the word means satellite) is one of the hidden marvels of German engineering. East Germany ("DDR")had very limited resources after WWII, in addition to some pretty weird manufacturing restriction, such as no 4-cycle engines and limits on steel production. Hence the Trabi was born with a 26-hp, air-cooled, two-cycle engine and a body made out of a cellulose composite (not metal!) rendering it a bit unsafe in crashes. The car is very simple: the gas tank is at the highest point under the hood, and the fuel is gravity-fed to the carburator (no fuel pump), the engine is air-cooled (no need for radiator, antifreeze or waterpump), and it has a direct ignition system (no need for distributor cap/rotor, etc.). The inside is very cramped and its dashboard has a profound simplicity: a speedometer, a digital vacuum gauge and a few switches. Max speed is 60 mph (more than enough for the bad roads in E Europe). Some of the trickier things about running one are adding oil to the fuel manually (like the old lawnmowers). The car also has a cute dipstick with liter-marks that one can dip in the gas tank to see how much gas there is, since there is no fuel gage. The gravity-fed fuel line has a manual shut-off that one has to use after parking not to flood the enginge. The shifter is a column-mounted, L-shaped, 4 speed thing with a black plastic handle. The design of the car is distinctive but simple. Round bug-type headlights, two doors and vertical stoplights complement some pretty odd color choices, such as diarrhea brown or traffic-light green.
Parts for trabis are hard to find because the car has been out of production since 1989 or so.
by Hernand Poncho January 22, 2005
 
3.
TC is a major misnomer. The term implies that the physically merging Minneapolis and St Paul are more or less twins (ie alike), when they are not. Minneapolis is a major metropolitan city (with everything that goes with it), while St Paul is an overgrown cow-town that no one has heard of. Minneapolis is just like any major city: rectangular blocks with neatly numbered streets, active cultural and social life, ghetto areas, ritz, pizzazz, panache, gravitas, fluff, you get the picture. St Paul (about 8 miles to the east) looks and feels significantly dumpier. The streets make no sense whatsoever, there is much less going on (the city even has a website to promote its 'culture'), except for a few festivals, like the Ice Palace (not exactly a good marketing scheme for a state already burdened by significant cold-related image issues). The town, despite being the state capital and all, has the down-home feel of a ruffled diner serving huge pancakes and diluted coffee.
As some stickers say "Is St Paul really necessary?"
by Hernand Poncho January 22, 2005