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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                            by Randy Ooney




Although I have never had a great interest in the arts, my wife does, and enjoys occasionally visiting places other than a bowling center, a dome, or Old Country Buffet.  So we recently visited the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts to view the touring exhibit from the Louvre in Paris France.  There was plenty to see in the 5 or 6 gallery rooms set aside for the exhibit.  Masterpieces of art, along with a number of statues carved from stone, some of which dated back 2000 years!  Some of the statues had some damage, legs, noses, or arms missing, but still revealing the talent of the sculptor.  Each had a placard identifying the piece, as well as the time period in which it originated.


During the tour, I couldn’t help but imagine what might be in the building 2000 years from now.  First, I think it would be the same building.  The Art Institute is a massive structure, nestled on 24th Street and Third Avenue in Minneapolis.  Interestingly enough, it sits in a basic residential neighborhood.  It consumes a large city block, and the architecture is somewhere between the Lincoln Memorial or the old US Mint in San Francisco.  I could only imagine the day in 4010 when the Shellum collection arrives on tour for the world to see.  Entering from Third Avenue you will walk past some of the permanent artifacts on display.  Chinese jade figurines, Persian rugs, Japanese porcelain, and the stone sculpture of Tom Petters, with both kneecaps broken and missing his nose.


Moving into the galleries, we find the vast collection of score sheets, primitive bowling equipment, various rings, patches, pins and awards, issued by the ABC and USBC before it became the IBC - Interplanetary Bowling Congress.  There are bowling pins with both a red crown neck and a double red striped neck, made from the wood of maple trees.  The placard tells of the norm before the purple Asian maple sap borer made the tree extinct in the 23rd century.  An entire room is dedicated to the “Zone era”, when the company led by Azone Brunswick and his wife, Zoe, dominated the market with 50 different bowling balls, all named something Zone.  So successful was the venture that they began naming their bowling centers Zones as well.  Upon their death, the company was taken over by their children, End Zone and No Parking Zone.


Shift to the next room for the Storm Display.  From the Sunstorm and Sandstorm caused by El Nino weather patterns, we move through the ages of agents to the Attitude Shift and Virtual Gravity circa 2005.  There’s an awesome display by Morich, with equipment for both the Ntense and the Nsane.


But most notable was a well preserved and little used wrist brace, said to be worn by one of the premier bowlers of the 20th and 21st century.  Although it has not been verified, there’s a faded inscription that reads “Czar” on the inner strap of the device.  Other experts have deemed it to read “Carl”, but the actual history may never be known for sure.


Back in the corner, set apart from the major bowling artifacts of the 21st century, in a small glass enclosure lies an interesting item.  The color combination is said to be of a famous football team, named after invading Norsemen of the 16th Century.  The device was said to be used on bowling bags to pull zippers open, and was issued to those members who had completed 100 posts on a forum known as mnbowling.  It could not be determined the significance of the number 4 next to the device,  No one could remember back that favre.  



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