Not quite a Nativity scene on display on public sidewalk. Brilliant!

Not quite a Nativity scene at Tiny's Not quite a Nativity scene at Tiny's Looks like Tim Sellars has figured a way to legally have a Nativity scene display on the sidewalk in front of Tiny’s. There’s no baby Jesus there so it’s not really religious, just a display of a bunch of Palestinian figurines hanging around, waiting expectantly for the hot dogs to be served.

Update 12/3, 6:15 am: The Palestinians evidently have not been waiting for hotdogs. New photo taken this morning on the right.

What we need now are some other not quite religious displays downtown. Ideas, anyone?


  1. How about dressing a hot dog up as Baby Jesus, but don’t tell anyone who it’s supposed to be…kinda like livin with the Taliban, except they don’t have hot dogs.

    December 2, 2009
  2. Marie Fischer said:

    YES. Bright, I agree. When I saw this, I was fully expecting to see a plastic, glowing hot dog in the center.

    December 2, 2009
  3. John George said:

    Hot dog Jesus, huhmmm? I’m not sure anyone would relish the idea, depending upon what the hot dog is made of.

    December 2, 2009
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    My bad. The Palestinians evidently have not been waiting for hotdogs. See the new photo above.

    December 3, 2009
  5. John S. Thomas said:

    I was just getting online to ping you on this… It was pretty interesting seeing that as the big bus went by this morning.

    Pretty funny!

    December 3, 2009
  6. John S. Thomas said:


    Check your WA File Upload e-mail. Great photo upload. Global Warming hits Northfield in time for Winter Walk. 😎

    Have a good day!

    December 3, 2009
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    An emailer just pointed out that the arrival of a Casper-like being does not rule out the possibility of food and drink.

    Who woulda thunk that it would be Palestinians taking advantage of the City’s sidewalk dining ordinance?

    December 3, 2009
  8. Kathie Galotti said:

    As of this morning, Casper was gone. I am unsure of the religious significance of this change.

    December 4, 2009
  9. kiffi summa said:

    Casper gone? the possibly ‘Holy Ghost’ abducted?
    I don’t know what the religious implication might be , Kathy… but I bet Brendon Etter could come up with one, or two, … or even three!

    December 4, 2009
  10. Patrick Enders said:

    Clearly, the holy ghost has ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the left hand of his father.

    December 4, 2009
  11. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: Did you catch the ascension Patrick mentions in your 300+ shots of Winter Walk?
    Can one of your fabulous cameras ZOOM all the way to “heaven’?

    I think there’s a “turn to the right; a little white light” … oh wait, that was “My Blue Heaven” …

    December 4, 2009
  12. Kathie Galotti said:


    It’s been a long while since I attended Catholic school (as in, decades), but I’m pretty sure it’s a little early in the liturgical year for any ascensions….

    December 4, 2009
  13. Andrea Een said:

    We have to wait for the end of Advent for the Babe to appear. Oh, have faith, all ye coffee addicts. To quote one of my favorite films, if “the Dude abides” so can the Babe. The Ghost of Halloween Past was only a messenger, sort of like John the Baptist if I remember my Lutheran Sunday School.

    December 4, 2009
  14. I am sorry to have to report that that wasn’t the Holy Ghost, It was just a late Halloweiner who just got back from the Coast.

    December 4, 2009
  15. Griff Wigley said:

    The King has appeared!

    Elvis in the manger at Tiny's

    I blogged this last year but it’s worth repeating here, given the significance of this, um, appearance.

    yolb_paperback jesus-elvis

    Most bibliophiles know A.J. Jacobs by his best-seller, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.

    Lesser known is his 1994 book, The Two Kings: Jesus & Elvis, (which I first read about in an Utne Reader ‘back page’ in the mid-90s) in which he deftly notes the eerie parallels between the two superstars.

    Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22:39).
    Elvis said, "Don’t Be Cruel" (RCA, 1956).

    Jesus H. Christ has 12 letters.
    Elvis Presley has 12 letters.

    Jesus is the Lord’s shepherd.
    Elvis dated Cybill Shepherd.

    Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone" (Matthew 4:4).
    Elvis loved his sandwiches with peanut butter and bananas.

    "Then they took up stones to cast at [Jesus]" (John 8:59).
    Elvis was often stoned.

    Jesus was the Lamb of God.
    Elvis had mutton chops.

    Jesus was part of a Trinity.
    Elvis’ first band was a trio.

    Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:25).
    Elvis surfed (Blue Hawaii, Paramount, 1965).

    Jesus was a carpenter.
    Elvis majored in woodshop/industrial arts in high school.

    Jesus lived in a state of grace in a Near Eastern land.
    Elvis lived in Graceland in a nearly eastern state.

    Jesus wore the crown of thorns.
    Elvis wore Royal Crown hair styler.

    Jesus’ entourage, the Apostles, had 12 members.
    Elvis’ entourage, the Memphis Mafia, had 12 members.

    Jesus as wine (sacramental wine).
    Elvis as wine (Always Elvis wine by Frantenac).

    A major woman in Jesus’ life (Mary) had an immaculate conception.
    A major woman in Elvis’ life (Priscilla) went to Immaculate Conception high school.

    Jesus was resurrected.
    Elvis had the famous comeback special in 1968.

    Son of God.
    Sun Studios.

    Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink"  (John 7:37).
    Elvis said, "Drinks on me!" (Jailhouse Rock, MGM, 1957).

    Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights.
    Elvis had irregular eating habits (e.g., five banana splits for  breakfast).

    Jesus is a Capricorn (Dec. 25).
    Elvis is a Capricorn (Jan. 8).

    Jesus biography by Matthew (Gospel according to Matthew).
    Elvis biography by Neal Matthews (Elvis: A Golden Tribute).

    "[Jesus’] countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow"  (Matthew 28:3).
    Elvis’ trademarks were a lightning bolt and snow-white jumpsuits.

    Jesus was Jewish.
    Elvis was part Jewish (from his maternal great-grandmother, Martha  Tackett Mansell).

    Jesus’ purple robe.
    Elvis’ pink Cadillac.

    Jesus’ father is everywhere.
    Elvis’ father, Vernon, was a drifter and moved around quite a bit.

    Doubting Thomas.
    "Suspicious Minds."

    There is much confusion about Jesus’ middle name – what does the "H"  stand for?
    There is much confusion about Elvis’ middle name – was it Aron or Aaron?

    Jesus made rocks roll away from his tomb.
    Elvis was a rock and roll singer.

    December 8, 2009
  16. Griff Wigley said:

    So Andrea, you said we’d have to wait till the end of Advent for the King/Babe to appear. What do you make of this latest development?

    December 8, 2009
  17. Seriously, Griff, I fear your soul is going STRAIGHT to hell…

    December 8, 2009
  18. kiffi summa said:

    Ah, Kathie… the road to hell is seldom “straight”…

    December 8, 2009
  19. john george said:

    Kiffi- You are correct. Matt. 7:13:

    for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

    I suppose a person can meander around quite a bit on a wide, broad path.

    December 8, 2009
  20. Ross Currier said:

    Hey Griff –

    Just having coffee with a nice couple from out-of-town, Joe and Mary, trying to find out what brought them to Northfield and offer some downtown shopping suggestions.

    December 9, 2009
  21. Griff Wigley said:

    Now appearing in the sidewalk manger at Tiny’s, wrapped in a swaddling bun:


    (A tip-of-the-blogger hat to Andrea Een.)

    December 10, 2009
  22. Kathie Galotti said:

    Apparently, then, the Palestinians WERE waiting for hot dogs, as you originally thought?

    December 10, 2009
  23. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m not only a minister, Kathie. I’m a prophet.

    December 12, 2009
  24. Griff Wigley said:

    Alas, I must confess (heh): I stole that original bit about Palestinians from Andrea Een.

    December 12, 2009
  25. Griff Wigley said:

    I guess if the Obamas can have a creche in the East Room of the White House, Tim should be able to display the baby Jesus on the sidewalk in front of Tiny’s.

    Christopher Hitchens, however, begs to differ in this Washington Post column: It’s not the White Christmas House (heavily edited version here in today’s Strib):

    The White House is, as some recent interlopers have again proved, public property. And its East Room is one of the parts of it that are not reserved for the First Family’s private life. So the Constitutional question – should taxpayer-funded space be used for the affirmation of any faith? – is as real there, if not indeed more so, as it is anywhere else.

    And for a little bit of biblical history, he adds:

    I never cease to be amazed by how little the Bible-believing Protestants, who constitute most of the soldiery in the Christmas wars, know about their own tradition. Under the rule of the Puritan Revolution in the England of Oliver Cromwell (ancestor in many ways of the Pilgrim Fathers) the celebration of Christmas was banned outright. This was for three reasons: the December fiesta was actually the honoring of Paganism in disguise, and a descendant of the old rites of the Winter Solstice. Then, it was also a manifestation of Popery and superstition (the “Christ-Mass”). Finally, it was an excuse for the riff-raff to get drunk and over-indulge in general. Only the last part seems to have truly survived into our present day.

    It isn’t especially hard to see why. None of the four gospels gives any notion of what time of year (let alone in what year) the supposed Nativity occurred. Only two gospels mention the virginity of Mary and only one has any mention of a “manger”. Nowhere is there any record of a “stable”. Wise men and shepherds are likewise very unevenly distributed throughout the discrepant accounts. So that the placement of a creche surrounded by a motley crew of humans and animals has no more Scriptural warrant than does “The Life of Brian.” Moreover, the erection of this exhibit near the turn of the year is actually a placation of the old Norse gods of the winter solstice – or “Yule” as the pre-Christians sometimes called it.

    December 12, 2009
  26. Griff Wigley said:

    Nfld News Managing Editor Suzy Rook thinks that Tiny’s Nativity scene was indicative of a pattern of inconsistent ordinance enforcement. In a column titled If Lee Lansing had to move his trees…, she wrote:

    When it comes to businesses which use city right-of-way to display merchandise, flowers pots and the like, everyone should be treated fairly.

    Shops which serve guests on city sidewalks must be properly permitted, while those whose display racks come out during business hours and go back in at night or set up an illuminated Nativity scene complete with Elvis as the baby Jesus, don’t have to.

    City Administrator Joel Walinski said enforcement is complaint based; that the city doesn’t have enough staff to scour the town for offenders, instead relying on residents to bring them to its attention. My question: How lenient should the city be? And if it doesn’t have the manpower to enforce the ordinance uniformly, how fair is that?

    December 30, 2009

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