So I'm out here in Minneapolis, and as the rain dumps and the lightning strikes outside like it never seems to in Seattle, I'm thinking of one of my favorite MLPS rap songs ever. Ali's description of a block with a funeral home on one side and a library on the other exactly reminds me of my old block, Rainier and Alaska, the beginning of Columbia City. One side of Alaska is the library where I checked out tapes (Pixies, Digable Planets, Blackhappy), stupid books (Dean R. Koontz thrillers, Klingon language books), and good books for school reports [Fetal Alcohol Syndrome! Sammy Davis Jr!]. On the other side is the Columbia Funeral Home, whose glowing sign I could see from the third-floor apartment I lived in with my mother. She always said good things about the guy who ran it, as he was a nice and conscientious neighbor. He certainly was a good dude to me when my mother's body made its penultimate stop there some 14 years ago. The last stop, of course, was Venice Beach, my childhood favorite, in whose waters I now feel her presence when I return each summer for my birthday. All this, I think of, just thinking about being here in Minneapolis for the first time.