Sunday, December 31, 2006

Closing the book on 2006.

The following is a rather fitting way to wrap up the blogging year of 2006.

Actually, I got this “survey” from Katie who got it from Mitch who received it via Red.

1.Was 2006 a good year for you?
Yes, for a whole host of reasons which are too many to list.

2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?
Being able to help a stranger financially and witnessing his tearful appreciation when receiving the money.

Michele Bachmann winning a seat in the US House, shutting up the frothing-at-the-mouth leftist kooks!

3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?
The Minnesota Twins going belly-up in the first round of the playoffs after a brilliant regular season.

4. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
I played a board game called “Settlers of Cataan.” I stuck my nose in the air at first but now I am hooked!

5. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any for 2006. I will make one for sure in 2007. I am going to drop 20 pounds and actually KEEP IT OFF!

6. Where were you when 2006 began?
My wife & I rang in 2006 at Trevor and Noel’s home in NE Minneapolis.

7. Who were you with?
My wife as well as Trevor, Noel, Josh, Lindsay, Greg, Todd and a friend of Lindsay’s whose name I don’t recall.

8. Where will you be when 2006 ends?
As of this blog post, I’m planning to be home.

9. Who will you be with when 2006 ends?
My wife and our three cats.

10. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Dawn gave birth to a girl, Isabelle Joy. Our friend Noel also welcomed a daughter, Annabeth Noel.

11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2006?
Thankfully, no.

12. Who did you miss?
December 25, 2006 was the third Christmas without Grandma Johnson. I still miss her a lot since she was a part of almost every Christmas of mine from 1969 thru 2003.

13. Who was the best new person you met in 2006?
A young man by the name of Shadrach. I first met him at work and then discovered he attends the same church as my wife and I. He is originally from Liberia and he recently started a charitable organization which provides food to the orphanages in his native land.

14. What was your favorite month of 2006?
June. The Summer began and the Minnesota Twins had a terrific month of baseball.

15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2006?

16. How many different states did you travel to in 2006?
Let’s see: North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin….is that it? Four, I guess.

17. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A significant leap in income.

18. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 25th. About eleven hours at the Minnesota State Fair with all of the food, politics, various exhibits, etc.

19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I never once called in sick to work!

20. What was your biggest failure?
I let too many weekends pass by without being productive in important areas of my life.

21. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Praise the Lord, I did not!!

22. What was the best thing you bought?
Our above-the-range microwave!!

23. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My nephews, Nathan and Aaron. Despite some incredibly difficult domestic issues, they were still very good students in school and are all-around great kids!

24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Sister-in law.

25. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and charitable organizations.

26. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The prospects of a new job. I got a call last week from this prospective new employer, with the first interview coming on Friday. I’ll keep you posted!

27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2006?
By my standards, yes. I drank what amounted to be a case of beer. That’s a lot for someone like me who averages two cans of beer per year.

28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2006?
Does Advil count?

29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2006?
I sure hope not.

30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2006?
My Dad.

31. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? Unfortunately, fatter.
iii. richer or poorer? Fortunately, richer!

32. What do you wish you'd done more of in 2006?
More trips to the Health Club.

33. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Less trips to the refrigerator.

34. Did you fall in love in 2006?
I fell in love with a certain gal back in 1998 and haven’t ever fallen out!

35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

36. What song will always remind you of 2006?
“Our Country” by John Mellencamp

37. How many concerts did you see in 2006?

38. Did you have a favorite concert in 2006?

39. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I won an I-pod at our company’s Holiday party. Now I run on the treadmill to the sound of my favorite 80s tunes.

40. What was the best book you read?
“Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen.

41. What was your favorite film of this year?
United 93”.

42. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
In the morning I woke up and blogged about Jason Lewis returning to MN. My co-workers then took me to Applebee’s for lunch. In the evening I had a nice dinner with my wife. I was 37 on May 24.

43. What did you want and get?
A nice, quiet evening with my gal!

44. What did you want and not get?
A Twins win. They were thumped by Cleveland, 11-0.

45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Hearing my Dad say “I’m Sorry.”

46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Less beige, much to my wife’s delight!!

47. What kept you sane?

48. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Patricia Heaton: Small, cute and a strong conservative voice in the liberal bastion of Hollywood. Sounds a lot like my wife except change “Hollywood” to “the public school system.”

49. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
In the immortal words of Yoda, “Do or Do Not. There is no TRY!”

50. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin' 'Don't blame me'
They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat
Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Chronicles of NARN.

Pictured (from left to right): Captain Ed Morrissey, me, Mitch Berg.

Saturday was the final 2006 installment of one of my favorite talk radio shows on The Patriot. Volume 2 of The Northern Alliance Radio Network was broadcasting live at the White Bear Lake Superstore.

Yep, I had the best seat in the house!

If Rush Limbaugh is the fastest three hours in media then I would venture to say Mitch Berg and Captain Ed Morrissey are the quickest two hours. Amongst the hot topics discussed were the execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the death of President Gerald Ford and a brief review of some other noteworthy events of ’06.

My favorite moment of Saturday’s program was when the tranquil Paul Rubin, President/Owner of WBL superstore, referred to Saddam as an S.O.B. (and no, he didn’t just use the letters) live on the air. Hearing that coming from such a laid back character was quite amusing.

Given that I’m a radio show rube, I was honored when Mitch mentioned my name at the conclusion of the program. He said something to the effect of “Our thanks to Brad Carlson, who provided security.”

Glad I could help!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Goodbye, Saddam.

As we await word of Saddam Hussein’s execution, I feel this quote attributed to an Iraqi man is rather fitting:

"All these people who run around wearing the black turbans [i.e. the Mahdi Army] - where were they when Saddam was here? They weren't here. They were in Great Britain or Iran. Only Baqir* stayed and faced Saddam. Now, thanks to what you Americans have done, they are free to come back, and for this these (S.O.B.s) call you 'occupiers!'"

(*The Ayatollah Baqir Al-Sadr (uncle of Muqtada Al-Sadr), who was supposedly tortured and assassinated by Saddam Hussein in 1980.)

Via Kelly (a/k/a The Patriette).

UPDATE: It's official! Saddam Hussein has been executed. As the news came to America, Iraqi-Americans seemed to have mixed emotions: Joy & Happiness.

A Look Back: Remember this little parody prior to the invasion of Iraq?

The Johan Santana Farewell Tour.

Fans of the Minnesota Twins, listen up!! The 2007 season may be your last opportunity to see Johan Santana in a Twins uniform.

Granted, Santana’s contract is not even due to expire until after the 2008 season. However, it’s looking less likely that he’ll even finish said contract as a Minnesota Twin after another pitcher broke the bank yesterday.

Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants reached a preliminary agreement on the largest pitcher contract in baseball history, a $126 million, seven-year deal.

Like Santana, Zito is also a left-handed starting pitcher. Given Zito’s durability and performance over his seven-year career, the Giants saw fit to reward him with a free agent contract which will average $18 million per season!

That said, what will Santana command on the open market when his contract is up after the ’08 campaign? The Twins were interested in extending Santana’s current deal but he decided to wait on what the market would bear. In retrospect, that move has made him millions!

Let’s look at it from a shear numbers standpoint. From 2004-06, Zito has a won-loss record of 41-34 with a 4.05 ERA.

Santana in the same time frame: 55-19 with a 2.75 ERA and two AL Cy Young awards.

It would stand to reason that it would take $20 million per year MINIMUM just to keep Santana in a Twins uniform. Sadly, I don’t see that happening.

If the Twins were to be out of contention for the playoffs by the All-Star break this coming July, Santana could possibly be dealt then. With CF Torii Hunter also likely to be gone after ’07, there is definitely a sense of urgency for the Twins to get to the World Series this year.

So get your tickets ASAP, Twins fans.

The Johan Santana Farewell Tour commenced the moment Zito signed on the dotted line.

John Edwards announces candidacy.

John Edwards was the latest to announce his intentions to be the poor sap who gets thumped by Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama Democratic candidate for President in 2008.

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the presidential race Wednesday, a day earlier than he had planned.

The 53-year-old North Carolina Democrat's campaign website accidentally announced his intentions online. He had planned to announce his presidential bid today using New Orleans as a backdrop.

Making the big announcement at the site of one of the largest US natural disasters in quite some time? A rather inauspicious omen I would say.

Edwards' website features some of his expected campaign themes.

"This campaign is about changing America," the website read, listing five priorities that fit neatly with Edwards' message of economic equality.

Did the website specify which one of the two Americas he plans on changing?

The son of a textile mill worker,….

Whoa, whoa!! His Dad worked in a mill? Why has this never been mentioned before?

……Edwards has been on a fast track most of his life despite his up-by-the-bootstraps roots. A standout law student who became a stunningly successful trial lawyer,….

…who manipulated jurors' emotions by claiming a baby stricken with cerebral palsy spoke through him.

…..Edwards vaulted from nowhere politically into the U.S. Senate and then onto the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket -- all in less than six years.

Edwards launched a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2003 and quickly caught the eye of Democratic strategists. His handsome, youthful appearance also gave him a measure of star quality. Those were among the qualities that led Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 standard bearer, to select Edwards as his running mate.

As Jerry Seinfeld once said: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Where's Waldo Ron Jr.?

I know it’s the holiday season so I’m assuming Non Ron Reagan must be too busy to comment on the latest Keith Ellison saga.

Speaking in Dearborn late Sunday night, the first Muslim elected to Congress told a cheering crowd of Muslims they should remain steadfast in their faith and push for justice.

"You can't back down. You can't chicken out. You can't be afraid. You got to have faith in Allah, and you've got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause.

Many in the crowd replied "Allahu akbar" -- God is great.

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat elected to the U.S. House in November, has been the center of a national debate in recent weeks over Islam and its role in politics. Ellison has said he would take his oath of office on the Quran, the Muslim holy book, igniting a storm of criticism from some commentators.

If you recall it was Ron Jr. in June 2004, during the eulogy of his father (and former President) Ronald Reagan, who warned us of political figures who “wear faith on their sleeves.” Since being elected to the US Congress, Ellison has donned his Muslim faith as if it were a sweat suit.

I’ll give Ronnie Jr., a self-proclaimed atheist, a few days to let this soak in. It would stand to reason that he will remain consistent in his criticism of politicians who vigorously profess their respective faiths, right?


In actuality, I would be shocked to hear Reagan criticize Ellison. The comments Ronnie made in the eulogy of his father were merely a gratuitous shot at President Bush.

If asked about Ellison, Ron Jr. will prove once again, as he did in the ’04 presidential campaign, that he’s nothing more than a lefty political hack.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Here We Go Again.

When Dennis Green was hired as coach of the Minnesota Vikings in January 1992, he declared “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Such a bold declaration was designed to change a culture of apathy which surrounded the franchise. Green led the Vikings to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons. Unfortunately, the Vikes’ playoff run in those seasons lasted one game. It was after an embarrassing 35-18 home playoff loss to the Chicago Bears in 1994 that signified the end of the honeymoon for “The Sheriff”.

Green’s decade-long tenure was marred by such incidents as taking his assistant coaches down to the college “Senior Bowl” in Alabama under the guise of helping the Vikings scout collegiate talent. Green would then unceremoniously dump the unsuspecting coaches upon their arrival.

Green even managed to alienate one the classiest professionals in future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Randall McDaniel. Apparently McDaniel had the audacity to voice his displeasure when the Vikings did not honor a financial commitment made to him in 1998. As a result, Green released McDaniel after the ’99 campaign. Naturally, Denny didn’t have the guts to tell the perennial all-pro in person. A short phone call was the only courtesy extended.

It became very apparent over the years that Denny had acquired quite a penchant for scapegoating.

All that being said, Green did indeed have a free pass for his first three years as Vikes’ boss.

However, current head coach Brad Childress (a/k/a Chili) may have just shattered the record for shortest honeymoon for a Vikings head coach (and yes, I haven’t forgotten Les Steckel).

The Minnesota Vikings have told receiver Marcus Robinson he is being released, Robinson's agent told The Associated Press Sunday.

Agent Ken Sarnoff confirmed a newspaper report that the 10-veteran will be released.

"I'm not surprised," Robinson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday.

Robinson and coach Brad Childress have had a strained relationship. The two never saw eye-to-eye about Robinson's role in the offense. The veteran receiver had been deactivated for several games this season, despite being healthy enough to play and being arguably the Vikings' most consistent receiver.

A Vikings spokesman confirmed that Robinson had been released and said the team would have no further comment Sunday.

Let’s see: A power struggle between coach and player. Coach exercises authority to rid himself of said player who could still contribute to the team. Coach gives no explanation of the move.

This all has an eerily familiar ring to it.

I Bring You Good News!

From Luke 2:8-18:
(Amplified translation)

And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.

For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.

So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child,

And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them.

Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!

I wish you all a blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

No thanks!

I have a very good spam filter for my e-mail.

However, something managed to sneak through yesterday.

The subject line read as follows:

Limited Time Offer: NY Times home delivery at $1 a week!

Couldn’t it have been an offer for something more desirable like, say, a certificate for a free root canal or a vat of acid for me to plunge my head into?

Just a thought.


OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Tonight’s Vikings-Packers tilt could be Brett Favre’s final game in Lambeau Field.

Yeah, whatever.

Look, I know it’s been a rough year for the Pack at Lambeau. Their 2-5 home record is pretty sorry. But does the sports media have to resort to this tired old speculation just to hype what is otherwise a mediocre match-up? Come to think of it, why would anyone outside of Minnesota or Wisconsin care about this game?

The truth is I was more convinced that Favre, 37, would retire after last season than he will at this year’s conclusion. The Packers may stink this season but they have some good, young talent on their squad. Why shouldn’t Favre play at least another year or two? We all know after last season’s charade that the Packers’ brass doesn’t have the guts to cut Favre loose. Brett could become the George Blanda* of the Green Bay Packers, if he so chooses.

As a Vikings fan, I will be curious to see rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson make his first NFL start. He reminds me of Daunte Culpepper except for the fact that Jackson is four inches shorter, 35 pounds lighter, has a solid work ethic and doesn’t have a birth mother in prison.

Anyhow, the Packers are a 3 ½ point favorite.

Look for Green Bay to cover the 3 ½. I’m thinking 21-14, Packers over the Vikings.

*Obscure reference to an NFL player who played until he was 49-years old.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It happened 25 years ago today.

It was 25 years ago today, December 20, 1981, when the Minnesota Vikings played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium --- and I was there!

The temperature was only in single digits but I didn’t care. It was an opportunity to see my favorite Vikes in person. Tommy Kramer was the QB with Ahmad Rashad and Sammy White at wide receiver.

With the Vikings trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 late in the game, Kramer led the Vikings down the field in one last quest for victory. Alas, the Vikes came up short as Kramer’s fourth down pass to TE Joe Senser in the end zone was broken up. My brother, Eric, had brought along a Vikings pennant flag autographed by Rashad. Eric was so disgusted at the outcome that he threw said flag onto the field and exclaimed “VIKINGS SUCK!”

As we were walking to the car, I suddenly began to limp. Within seconds, it felt as though my feet were going to fall off. Yes, it appeared I was stricken with a slight case of frost bite. Of course, being only 12-years old, you would have thought I was shot in the foot with a .357 magnum. A family friend ended up performing the fireman’s carry in order to get me to the car. Picture that. A guy in his late 20s with a kid dressed like Randy (from the movie A Christmas Story) draped over his shoulder.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Weather update.

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
-Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall) in the movie Apocalypse Now.

It’s not just Minnesota where there appears to be above-average warmth in December. Drudge linked to statistical reports citing record highs in San Antonio, TX, Washington, DC and the state of Delaware.

There has also been another report of this record warmth continuing right into January. Yes, the global warming demagoguery will be increasing right along with the temperatures.

Personally, I’m not a fan of cold weather. I’ve lived in Minnesota all of my life and if “global warming” is the cause of the spike in temperatures, so be it.

In the motif of Duvall, I love the smell of greenhouse gasses in the morning.

WARNING: The final two paragraphs in this post may cause dry heaving and frothing at the mouth amongst the radical environmentalist crowd. In the absence of a sense of humor, please do not read the aforementioned paragraphs again and immediately seek professional help.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Brad Radke is calling it quits.

As expected:

The Twins knew Brad Radke was close to announcing his retirement. They just weren't sure when.

Radke plans to make it official Tuesday with a press conference at the Metrodome, ending a 12-year major league career spent entirely with the Twins.

Radke was first called up to the big leagues in 1995. With a team that would go 56-88 in a strike-shortened season, he won 11 games his rookie year. The Twins would finish with a losing record in each of Radke’s first six seasons, a period which saw him win 78 games.

Because Radke was the only consistent performer for what had become a moribund franchise, he was rewarded with a 4-year, $36 million extension in the middle of the 2000 campaign. Radke’s loyalty was rewarded as the Twins had a winning season in 2001, their first since 1992. He was also on the mound for the Twins first playoff victory since 1991, a Game 1 win over Oakland in the 2002 AL Divisional Series. The Twins would go on to win that series, with Radke putting in a stellar performance in the Game 5 clincher.

Despite winning 20 games in 1997, Radke will be most remembered for his final season in 2006. He went 12-9 while pitching with a torn labrum and a stress fracture in the shoulder socket of his pitching arm. What Radke had to endure in the 4-5 days between starts was the stuff of folklore. He literally would not use right arm to pour milk, brush his teeth or comb his hair on the days he didn’t pitch.

With 148 career victories, the baseball Hall of Fame is not likely to beckon. However, given the class, professionalism and grittiness he displayed over 12 seasons, we Twins fans would be fortunate to see his kind around here again.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vitriolic View.

Since Rosie O’Donnell became a member of ABC TV’s “The View”, she has apparently become completely unhinged.

Some examples of O’Donnell’s asinine commentary in her short tenure:

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America..”

"Don't fear the terrorists. They're mothers and fathers."

I found the latter quote rather intriguing. How are we not supposed to fear those “mothers and fathers” when they are willing to strap bombs to their own children in the name of their cause?

Not to be outdone, one of Rosie’s co-hosts decided to join the freakish festivities:

On Thursday's The View, Joy Behar seriously suggested Senator Tim Johnson was the victim of a deliberate act to cause his brain disorder that led to emergency surgery and has left him in critical condition: "Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?" An astounded Elisabeth Hasselbeck wondered: "Why is everything coming from the liberal perspective a conspiracy?" Behar contended, on the ABC daytime show, that the Republican Party is capable of such a nefarious deed: "I know what this, that party is capable of."

Really? That sounds like quite a medical breakthrough, causing a fellow human to suffer a stroke.

But I guess when a political party has the ability to concoct hurricanes as well as have a hand in lowering gas prices prior to an election, we gotta figure that “man-made strokes” is the next logical step up.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Global warmists warmly embrace Pawlenty.

Since Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his plan for Minnesota to start using alternative fuel sources, WCCO TV’s Don Shelby and Paul Douglas have barely been able to contain their joy.

DFL Don’s “In the Know” segment Tuesday evening was introduced this way:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday he wants an aggressive new energy initiative that would lower greenhouse gas emissions and move us toward more renewable energy. Don Shelby said, here's a new breed: a conservative Republican environmentalist.

Meanwhile, Douglas (a/k/a The Goof on the Roof) weighed in on this subject Thursday in the Strib:

Governor Pawlenty, concerned about climate change and energy alternatives? I’m not surprised. The root of the word conservative: conserve. Some would say the essence of conservatism is no-spin, seeing things for what they really are with no attempt to manipulate the truth - let the chips fall where they may – forget politics, what is science telling us?

Now, the last thing I want to do here is engage in a “global warming” debate. I have no doubt that there is significant climate change. However, I have a hard time believing that it is due to human sources. We humans occupy approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface. Based on that, it seems rather arrogant to believe we could significantly damage the environment.

Again, that is an argument for another day.

My point here is what’s this “conservative governor” nonsense?

Does a “conservative” utter campaign rhetoric stating that the “era of limited government is over”?

Does a “conservative” talk about a plan for invoking some sort of Hillary care “Universal” Health Care?

Does a “conservative” mandate increased taxes (which is inevitable given the likelihood of increased farm subsidies) for a poor fuel alternative like ethanol?

DFL Don’s commentary ended with this:

Isn't it interesting that the two most earth-friendly governors in the country are Republicans Schwarzenegger in California and Pawlenty in Minnesota?

What does that say about the modern day Democrats? Apparently, in their eyes, anyone to the right of Ted Kennedy must be a “Conservative”.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Gift of Life.

Everson Walls played twelve seasons as a cornerback in the National Football League. You don’t last that long in the NFL without having some talent.

However, Walls seems best known for his futile attempt in defending San Francisco 49ers WR Dwight Clark. In the 1981 NFC Championship game, Walls (a rookie), is part of a memorable photo from a most memorable game.

Clark’s sensational catch with less than one minute to go gave the 49ers a 28-27 victory and a berth in the Super Bowl.

Walls has had to endure the stigma of being the victim of “The Catch” for about 25 years.

I would guess from this day forward he will be thought of in a much more heroic sense.

Former NFL cornerback Everson Walls is giving an old friend and teammate a gift for life.

The Washington Post reported that Walls has agreed to donate a kidney to former Dallas Cowboys teammate Ron Springs and that surgery is imminent.

Springs' son Shawn Springs, a cornerback with the Washington Redskins, told the newspaper that surgery could take place "any day now."

According to the newspaper, Ron Springs, 50, has diabetes and has been undergoing dialysis to get ready for surgery.

Shawn Springs offered to end his career and donate a kidney, but his father would not allow any of his children to be tested, the newspaper reported.

"Everson Walls is my dad's best friend and somebody who taught me a lot about being a cornerback in the NFL," the younger Springs told the Post.

Walls and Springs were Cowboys teammates between 1981 and 1984.

I saw a TV interview with Walls last evening. He indicated that the surgery will take place sometime in late March.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All grown up (or "Dang, I'm old!").

During my sophomore year of high school (1984-85), I played was a member of the JV basketball team.

We had a Friday evening game one week where our coach, Lee Carlson, had a visitor sitting with him on the bench. Mr. Carlson was a divorcee who saw his daughter every weekend. One of the parents sitting just behind the bench remarked to Mr. Carlson on what a lovely daughter he had. When asked her age, Mr. Carlson replied “8….going on 21.”

Today, that cute little girl is all grown up at 30 years of age.

Her name is Kelly Carlson and she is now a Hollywood actress.

And to think I knew her when she was begging her Dad for money to go buy some cotton candy.

Apology NOT accepted.

The ripple effects of Senator John Kerry’s “botched joke” don’t seem to end. As Captain Ed reported yesterday, if Kerry decides to run for President in 2008, he may not even have the support of fellow Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy.

Our good friend Leo, who has a son serving in Iraq, recently voiced his displeasure with Senator Kerry’s “botched joke” via e-mail.

You can imagine Leo’s surprise when he received a reply from Kerry.

However, Leo has decided not to accept the Senator’s apology.

Mr. Kerry, until this past year, never in my life would I have thought that I would live to see the day when elected officials would, during wartime, so cavalierly, publicly and seditiously go out of their way to speak ill of our soldiers' mission; while in the same vile sentences have the unmitigated gall to proclaim that they "support the troops."

Freedom of Political Speech, a gift given us not only by our Founding Fathers, but by the lifeblood of every Soldier, Sailor and Marine since the founding of our Nation, is a multi-edged sword that can cut in varying directions. A prudent, judicious American will recognize that with such an awesome freedom, comes an equally awesome responsibility to use it wisely. You sir, have wielded it with a reckless abandon befitting not a statesman, but a brigand.

Once again, Senator Kerry, at the very least, I wish to thank you for taking the time to respond to my correspondence. But accept your apology?

Thanks, but no thanks.

Check out Senator Kerry’s e-mail and Leo’s entire response here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weekend at Franken's!

Al Franken was supposed to be the huge attraction to lib radio network ”Dead Air” Air America. Now his show will not even be heard live in the city where he broadcasts said show.

Local affiliate KTNF (950 AM) will carry liberal commentator Ed Schultz's show during Franken's 11 a.m.-2 p.m. slot while Franken will move to Shultz's slot (2-5 p.m.)

Franken had no comment on the change, but "we're not horribly offended," said his executive producer. "They're free to do whatever they like."

A spokesman for the station said the change might be only temporary, while Franken goes on a USO tour to Iraq and his show will broadcast reruns. However, if Franken decides to run for the U.S. Senate, his show probably would cease production.

Cease production? Who would be able to tell the difference?

Continuing production on the Franken show is analogous to Weekend at Bernie’s. Certainly you all remember that late 80s classic. Two guys dress up their dead boss as if he were alive.

My sympathies go to those who attempt to make the Franken show seem alive on a daily basis.

"Meowy" Christmas.

Our cat, Macbeth, just couldn't wait until Christmas to start opening gifts.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Will Iverson be "The Answer" in Minnesota?

As I mentioned in my blog bio, my interest in the NBA is almost non-existent. Admittedly, that could change if the Minnesota Timberwolves put together a club which actually had a chance to win it all.

Something like this would certainly pique my interest!

Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers appear headed toward a bitter parting.

Iverson is talking about bolting Philly -- and the Sixers might finally be ready to show their franchise player the door.

"We're going to trade him," Sixers chairman Ed Snider said Friday night.

"At a certain point, you have to come to grips with the fact that it's not working. He wants out and we're ready to accommodate him."

The possibility of Iverson being traded to Minnesota boosted
Kevin Garnett's spirits just minutes after a big win over Utah.

"Bring it on, I love 'The Answer," Garnett said. "We welcome A.I. with open arms. Where's Kevin McHale?"

McHale, vice president of basketball operations, would not comment on rumors that Iverson would end up in Minnesota. But his star player went so far as to look into a local television camera and make a plea to Iverson.

"Come on, boy," Garnett said. "I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want to play with him."

The question is what will the Sixers ask in return for Iverson? He is currently 31-years old, which would seem to indicate that his best days are behind him. However, he is averaging over 31 points per game, which is the most when comparing him to other NBA point guards. That would seem to command a pretty high price. But I do think it is very telling that Philadelphia has no posture whatsoever. It has been made quite clear that both Iverson and the Sixers want to part ways. That would seem to indicate a strong buyer’s market when it comes to potential suitors.

Given that Garnett is also a thirtysomething, the sense of urgency is palpable when it comes to winning a championship. Even though Garnett has been one of the top NBA all-stars throughout his career, he has never been much of a 4th quarter “go-to” guy. That is where a Garnett-Iverson tandem would be most beneficial since A.I. has never been shy about taking any shots at any point of the game.

A bigger question is, what do the Wolves have to offer? They seem to have put together a nice core of young players like Rashad McCants, Randy Foye and Craig Smith. Would it be worth mortgaging the future for maybe an above average chance at wining a title? Best case scenario is that the Sixers are so desperate to sever ties with Iverson that they would be willing to take on dead weight like Troy Hudson, Trenton Hassell and Marko Jaric. Combine that with the fact that the Target Center has only been 70-75% capacity during Wolves home games this season.

A trade for Iverson might be good for basketball but for sure it would be great for ticket revenue!

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Hed" games.

Mitch Hedberg, comedian, died over a year ago at age 37. I vaguely knew Mitch. We attended the same High School, he being a year older than I.

Not surprisingly, he was voted “Class Clown” in Harding’s class of 1986. He also fashioned a mullet which bore an uncanny resemblance to that of Dee Snider of the 80s heavy metal band Twisted Sister.

Around 1985, a lot of kids in our high school were abuzz over the Emilio Estevez movie just released, entitled That Was Then, This Is Now. The film had been shot right in St Paul with Mitch himself having a cameo appearance. It was at that moment when many of us felt he was on the verge of something big.

Last evening, I came across a clip on YouTube which featured one of Mitch’s several appearances on David Letterman’s show.

This 5-minute clip gives as good an indication as any of Mitch Hedberg’s off-the-wall humor.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Keep the memories alive!

In December 2004, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting the World War II memorial in Washington, DC.

A simple phrase of “HERE WE MARK THE PRICE OF FREEDOM” is etched in stone in front of a wall of 4,000 gold stars. Each star represents approximately 100 soldiers killed in action. Think about that! 400,000 soldiers lost their lives in an effort to preserve the precious liberty we have enjoyed for over sixty years!

Two of my maternal grandmother’s brothers, Robert & Richard, actually fought in World War II. Uncle Bob died last year around Thanksgiving. Uncle Dick passed away in 2000.

As other members of our greatest generation pass on, so too do their memories of courage and sacrifice. Given the fact that their bravery has allowed us to live in the greatest country in the world for so long, many citizens today don’t understand what went in to establishing the freedoms and liberties we currently enjoy.

So on this 65th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, my prayer is that the sacrifices made by our American military will never be in vain.

Like the generation of WWII, may we never lose our passion in preserving freedom.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Doogie wonderland.

Since I’m an aspiring radio personality, I always enjoy reading Strib reporter Judd Zulgad’s Friday column on “Broadcast Sports.” I saw an interesting tidbit in today’s report regarding probably one of the worst sports anchors this town has seen since Russell Shimooka. That would be KMSP channel 9 sports guy Jim Rich. At least Shimooka was entertainingly awful. Rich, on the other hand, is about as exciting as dietary fiber.

Anyhow, it appears Rich will be traveling to Sweden later this month for the World Junior Hockey Championships. So who will man the sports anchor desk while Jimmy is gone?

KFAN's Darren (Doogie) Wolfson will sub for Rich on KMSP for several nights during his absence.

Doogie??!!! The impudent pipsqueak on Chad Hartman’s KFAN show? The same kid with the head that looks like a dirty tennis ball and the voice which sounds like Kermit the Frog with a Nordic Minnesota accent?

Believe it or not, I may have to tune in to Channel 9 later this month. It’s kind of like the proverbial train wreck: It looks and sounds pretty ugly but you just can’t turn away.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scary Kerry.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” recently to explain his “botched joke” which appeared to have denigrated our military.

In a speech given in California in late October, Kerry made the following remarks:

We're here to talk about education, but I want to say something before that. You know, education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework and you make and effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

On King’s show, Kerry once again attempted to clarify his remarks.

But what's important, Larry, is, look, I left out one word, the word "us." They get "us" stuck in Iraq.

Oh, I get it. So the insinuation is that President Bush didn’t make an effort to be smart and as a result got “us” stuck in Iraq. Yes, George W. Bush, Yale graduate with approximately the same grade point average as…um…John F. Kerry.

This blast from the past was no present.

The other night while driving home I was saying to my wife how I have never felt physically or mentally better in my 37 ½ years on this planet. Of course, I had just completed a day where I ate incredibly healthy, had a good workout at the health club and successfully expanded our business into Rochester. Yes, life was good.

But then reality sunk in a little bit when I received this notice via e-mail:

Announcing the Harding Class of 1987, 20 Year Reunion.

Yes, leave it to my High School classmates to knock me off my high horse. It wasn’t bad enough I went through a tremendous amount of teenage angst while at Harding High, I now have to be reminded that it was over 20 friggin’ years ago!!

The good news is I might be eligible for some of those reunion awards. At our ten-year gig they handed out prizes to the classmates who had the oldest child, youngest child, most children, etc.

If the M.O. is the same, I have a great opportunity to capture the “youngest child” award. After all, the reunion is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 22. If my math is right, that’s ten months from now.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Guns, Shmuns.

Given the fact this happened less than three miles from my home, this particular story caught my attention:

Anthony J. Parks, 17, was shot once by Gerald Whaley, 73, who police said was within his rights to defend himself against a burglar who appeared in his bedroom doorway about 11 p.m.

Whaley told police he heard voices as someone broke in through a garage door in his two-story home. Investigators don't know why Parks was there and are seeking two acquaintances of his who may have information about that night, said Anoka County Sheriff's Capt. Robert Aldrich. He said it's not clear whether Parks had accomplices or if there was a getaway vehicle.

Yes, I am a firm believer in the second amendment. This incident in Anoka County, while devastating for the young victim’s parents, demonstrates that thieves and robbers should think twice before partaking in such hobbies.

Ah, but “DFL” Don Shelby of WCCO news had his own spin on the Whaley shooting. DFL Don normally likes to show how magnanimous he is when opining in his nightly “In The Know” commentaries.

He certainly didn’t disappoint Tuesday.

I'm not so sure.

Years ago, I was pretty sure what I would do, with a wife and three daughters to protect. I didn't have a gun, but I did store a big league baseball bat within reach.

Here, Donny placates his DFL bobos by eschewing the notion he would ever stoop to owning a gun.

And one night, there was a noise downstairs. I grabbed the bat, and determined to use it to kill the intruder if necessary.

Nice touch! DFL Don conveys to the viewing audience that he indeed is the alpha male in a household full of women.

In the kitchen, I snuck up behind the man, sized up the room for a full swing and I reared back. He turned around just then, and asked me where he was. An old fellow, with Alzheimer's, completely lost, had found his way into my house.

With the money Don saved on not buying a gun, perhaps he could have invested in a better alarm system.

We sat him down on the sofa and my wife, knowing someone would be looking for him, flagged down an older woman frantically driving the street.

The woman gathered him up, saying she was sorry and this kind of thing happens from time to time. I don't blame the Coon Rapids guy for shooting the intruder,…..

Here comes the “BUT” monkey.

….but I keep thinking, if I had a gun that night, that nice lady would be a widow.

The moral of the story? Gently approach someone robbing your home and ask them if they merely took a wrong turn.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who knew?

I was surprised to read of the latest developments surrounding “Kramer” and his racist diatribe.

Bosses at the Los Angeles comedy club where former Seinfeld star Michael Richards shocked fans with a racist rant have demanded the comedian pay $1 million to charity for every one of the 'N' words he used on stage. Richards has been banned from The Laugh Factory for repeatedly calling two African-American hecklers "n**gers" during a foul-mouthed rant onstage there earlier this month. The comedy club bosses now want him to pay for his ill-advised remarks. The comedian has publicly apologized for his comments and appeared on African-American civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio show Keep Hope Alive on Sunday in an effort to make amends.

I can’t tell you how absolutely appalled I was when reading that story. Of all the outrageous things I’ve ever heard, that has to take the cake. I mean, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has a radio show?

Who knew?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What's next for John Edwards? Exxon gift cards?

Super retailer Wal-Mart has often been the subject of heavy scrutiny by Democratic politicians. The issues often put out by the demagogues are the lack of union employees, poor benefits and low wages. But as was reported earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal, said issues are merely a front to expanding big government.

What Maryland's Delegate James Hubbard, a Democrat from Prince George's County, had to say was revealing of both why he backed his state's "Wal-Mart bill" and what this fight is really about: expanding Medicaid and other taxpayer-funded health-care entitlements.

Let's first understand that the drive to enact anti-Wal-Mart legislation has very little to do with the retail giant except in two respects: dipping into its very deep pockets, and using the controversy surrounding the company to mask the larger agenda of expanding already-bankrupt entitlement programs.

John Edwards, former Senator from North Carolina and VP candidate on the failed Democratic ticket in 2004, has consistently used the issues surrounding Wal-Mart to enhance his potential Presidential run in ’08.

Apparently, the anti Wal-Mart message wasn’t properly conveyed to one of Edwards' lackeys.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that a staff member for former Sen. John Edwards — a vocal critic of the retailer — asked his local Wal-Mart store for help in getting the potential 2008 presidential candidate a Sony PlayStation 3. Edwards said a volunteer did so by mistake.

Edwards told The Associated Press that the volunteer "feels terrible" about seeking the game unit at Wal-Mart a day after his boss criticized the company, saying it doesn't treat its employees fairly.

The press release issued November 16th by Wal-Mart shows the super retailer will not sit idly by when liberals again decide to use them as their whipping boy.

Just like the millions of Americans who turn to their neighborhood Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT - News) for their holiday shopping needs, Wal-Mart announced today that former Sen. John Edwards is seeking to be one of the first to get a Sony PlayStation3, one of the most coveted holiday gift items this Christmas season.

Yesterday, a staff person for former Sen. Edwards contacted a Wal-Mart electronics manager in Raleigh, North Carolina to obtain a Sony PlayStation3 on behalf of the Senator's family. Later that night, Sen. Edwards reportedly re-told a homespun story to participants of a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union-sponsored call about how his son had chided a fellow student for purchasing shoes at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart welcomes Sen. Edwards to visit his local Wal-Mart store and explore the extensive line of home electronics as well as the Metro7 line shoes for men and boys.

The Company noted the PlayStation3 is an extremely popular item this Christmas season, and while the rest of America's working families are waiting patiently in line, Senator Edwards wants to cut to the front. While, we cannot guarantee that Sen. Edwards will be among one of the first to obtain a PlayStation3, we are certain Sen. Edwards will be able to find great gifts for everyone on his Christmas list - many at Wal-Mart's "roll-back prices."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a beautiful Thanksgiving morning this was!

My wife and I went for about a one hour walk starting at 9:30 this morning. I always enjoy these walks with my gal because it gives us uninterrupted time to talk about anything and everything. It also helps pass the 60-90 minutes quickly. Otherwise we’d have to focus on the rigorous pace at which we are walking.

During the conversation, something dawned on me. In all of my time on this planet, I have been through 38 Thanksgiving days. I have been with my Dad on this Holiday only three times. Those years celebrating Turkey Day with Pop were 1969 (the year of my birth), 1970 and ’71. Mom and Dad were on the brink of divorce in 1971 with the dissolution becoming official in October of ’72. Instead of the usual disdain I start to feel for my father, I actually became thankful for all of the Holidays I have now.

Our tradition is to have Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws’ home, with my Mom and brother also attending. I suddenly realized today that the five people I’m having dinner with on this day are easily the five most cherished people to me on this earth.

-Mom and Dad Yerger. From the very first day I ever met them (Labor Day, 1998) they have received me and welcomed me into their home. Any parent’s first inclination is to be suspicious of a young man looking to marry their younger daughter. However, they always loved me unconditionally because their daughter did so and they had unshakable faith in their little girl.

-My bro, Eric. As a kid I was an insufferable bully to my brother, who is two years younger than I. I grew up with a lot of misplaced anger, in part because Eric & I didn’t have a man around the house to show us how to be respectable. Thankfully, Eric & I are good buds today, in large part because we empathize with each other in how difficult our growing up years became. That and we always have many good laughs at our Dad’s expense. Hey, I’m not saying we’re being the most dignified by ridiculing the man who abandoned us at ages 3 & 1. But, in this case, laughter is the best medicine.

-My Mom. What can you say about a woman who was thrust into the ranks of single-motherhood at age 30 and yet never displayed her bitterness in front of her young kids? I remember vividly when Eric and I were ages 3 & 5, respectively, and living with Mom in the Highland Park area of St Paul. We could not afford a car at the time and Mom would have to take two MTC buses across town to get to work at 3M. The winters were the worst. We’d get up at 5:30 am and walk to the babysitters in those brutal conditions before Mom would catch her bus. It was dark leaving our house in the morning and going home in the evening. Thankfully, Mom found a two-bedroom apartment in St Paul that summer. It was literally across the street from an elementary school and two miles away from 3M. While we lived in that apartment for 11 long years, Mom always made it feel like a home. She spent all of that time saving every extra penny to someday achieve the dream of living in a home of our own. So in the Summer of 1986 when Mom bought a townhouse, it might as well have been a 10,000 square-foot mansion! Yes, at ages 17 & 15, us kids FINALLY had our own bedrooms!! All of those years of Mom putting her own personal needs aside finally paid off in the blessing of a new home!

-My wife, Jennifer. I could literally take up several pages in a novel writing about my favorite gal. Her gentle, sweet spirit is a great balance for my somewhat temperamental demeanor. In 1997, I compiled a list of the top 20 qualities I would like to see in my ideal woman. I prayed diligently over that list for about a year. It wasn’t until a May 1999 car ride from Green Bay, WI that I realized I had that list in my planner. I read it to my fiancĂ©e, whom I’d been engaged to for three months. Not only did Jen fulfill all twenty desires on that list, she has even more wonderful attributes about her which I adore. It has been the #1 blessing in my life to have a person with whom I can share all the joy and happiness which God has bestowed upon me. Jen & I have a motto for our life together: The Best is Yet to Come! Given that every year in our relationship has been better than the preceding year, we are expecting continued supernatural blessings for our lives!

So on this day which is set aside specifically for giving thanks to all that is good in life, I can say I am truly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scarlett's letter

In the almost six years of his Presidency, George W. Bush has drawn the ire of many of the Hollywood elites.

Indeed, the likes of Rob Reiner, Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn regularly savage President Bush regarding his policies on Iraq, the environment and his handling of Hurricane Katrina. You can now add Bush’s faith to the laundry list of what irks the sanctimonious Hollywood folks.

Scarlett Johansson has slammed President George W. Bush for his staunch conservative views on sex, criticizing the Republican for being too unrealistic in his opinions on the topic. The Lost In Translation star last month boasted about being so "socially aware" she gets tested for HIV twice a year.

And somehow Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were the ones who ended up with the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” Boy, if that description doesn’t fit ol’ Scar, eh?

A staunch Christian, Bush is vehemently anti-abortion and is seeking to have the operation made illegal in all US states. During his time as Governor of Texas, Bush overhauled the state's sex education system and high school students were taught abstinence was the only way to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Johansson says, "We are supposed to be liberated in America but if our President had his way, we wouldn't be educated about sex at all. Every woman would have six children and we wouldn't be able to have abortions."

However, a recent study shows that the teen birth rate is at its lowest point on record. That would mean that young girls are either embracing the abstinence message or having abortions.

The same study also determined an all-time high in out-of-wedlock births.

Unfortunately, that is more a reflection of the Hollywood life than the family message which President Bush advocates.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Juiced (UPDATED).

In January 2005, Joe Buck was the head announcer on FOX TV for an NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. After Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss simulated mooning the Green Bay crowd in the end zone, Buck called it a "disgusting act."

I wonder what Joe has to say about his own network for this particular “disgusting act.”

O.J. Simpson will tell FOX "how he would have committed" the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in an interview to air later this month.
Simpson, who was acquitted of the crimes in a 1994 criminal trial, agreed to an "unrestricted" interview with book publisher Judith Regan. The two-part interview, titled "O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened," will air Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.

"O.J. Simpson, in his own words, tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes," FOX said in a statement. "In the two-part event, Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade."

On a positive note, it’s good to see O.J. has enough energy to put into this TV special. After all, he’s spent the better part of the last 11 years in exhaustive searches for the real killers in the various country clubs all across the globe.

I think Dan Barreiro said it best when referring to FOX’s taste in programming.

The next time somebody at Fox's network level tries to get on their high horse about anything relating to morality, remind them of this: Their network said yes to pond scum.

UPDATE: O.J. TV special gets the juice!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

I have a prediction.

I am actually working on a Saturday but I thought I would take a couple of minutes to check Right now, late in the 2nd quarter, the Gophers football team leads Iowa, 20-17. However, if the Gophs lose, they will fall to 5-7 and will not be bowl eligible.


If indeed the Gophers do not defeat Iowa today, perpetual Gopher apologist Star Trib sports columnist Sid Hartman will no doubt refer us to the U of M’s loss to Penn State earlier this season. That was a game where the Gophers were penalized in the overtime period allowing the Nittany Lions to capture a 28-27 win. In the aftermath, Hartman stated in his column that the Big Ten conference issued the University of Minnesota an apology because the pass interference penalty which was called was an officiating error. Come to find out, the Big Ten did no such thing. However, Sidney took the liberty of conveying that lie because the Big Ten does not comment on such matters. Therefore, Sid felt safe that he would not be refuted.

So if the Minnesota Golden Gophers fall one game shy of a bowl bid, Sid Hartman has the built-in excuse of one official taking that prize away. Look for that to be the essence of his column on Sunday.

UPDATE at 2:21 pm: Gophers win, 34-24. However, Sid may still express his dismay on how the Gophers lost an opportunity at a more high-profile bowl game due to the Penn St loss.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Plenty of drama precedes marquee matchup.

Even if you’re not a fan of college football you have no doubt heard about this weekend’s premier match-up. The #1 Ohio State Buckeyes will host the #2 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon. This promises to be an epic moment in what is college football’s equivalent to the Hatfields and the McCoys. Yes, these two Big Ten stalwarts have been bitter rivals since the early 1900s. It may sound like a clichĂ© to say that won-loss records have never mattered in this long-standing feud, but it’s a fact. However, it’s quite the serendipity that these are the top two teams in the land.

As if there was any doubt where this game ranks in Wolverine-Buckeye lore, Michigan players received a visit this past week from a very prominent figure in this storied rivalry. Bo Schembechler, Michigan’s coach from 1969-89, paid a visit to the team. The intense Schembechler, characterized as a “tyrant” by Minneapolis Star Tribune sports columnist Patrick Reusse, no doubt emphatically conveyed to the players how much Saturday’s game means to him. There was even a rumor that the 77-year old former coach skipped a doctor’s appointment to speak with the team.

Shockingly, as we learned just today, the iconic former coach will not even see the big tilt.

It won't be the same without him.

Not Saturday. Not ever.

Michigan and Ohio State will play a huge football game Saturday afternoon, but something profound will be missing. Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler will be missing.

One of the very few events that could mitigate the towering anticipation for this matchup between the Wolverines and Buckeyes has stunningly transpired, on the eve of the game. Bo Schembechler has died. Just when it appeared he might stubbornly live forever.

It's a flabbergasting, karmic coincidence -- the Hall of Fame coach dying the day before the biggest of all 103 games in a rivalry he helped enliven. Emotions will be in powerful conflict in Ohio Stadium on Saturday. The game will still be played at a passionate level that Bo would both demand and applaud, but there will be shadows across many hearts in two states.

It's a terribly sad loss for the winningest football school of all time.

In a bizarre side note to all of this, a punk rock group made up of Buckeye faithful has been scheduled for some time now to hold a big concert tonight on the Ohio St campus.

The name of the group? The Dead Schembechlers.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cruise jumped on her couch and now her pride.

The ultimate snub:

Tom Cruise may have famously jumped on Oprah Winfrey's couch to declare his love for fiancee Katie Holmes, but Winfrey won't be attending the couple's wedding in Italy on Saturday. The celebrity couple and their entourage arrived in the European country on Monday and are reportedly getting married in a castle on Lake Bracciano. Winfrey tells US entertainment show Extra, "It's not that I'm not going. It's that they had a limited number of people that they could invite. I was not one of the invitees.”

I think Jimmy Kimmel said it best the other night during the monologue portion of his talk show:

“When you have a guest list of 1,800 people you have to draw the line somewhere. I mean it was either Oprah or the guy who played 'Goose' in Top Gun.”


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Andy Griffith loses in bid for sheriff.

Did you hear? Andy Griffith was running for sheriff of Grant County in Platteville, WI.

A local music store co-owner who changed his name to Andy Griffith to run for sheriff won't be turning Platteville into Mayberry any time soon.

The former William Fenrick finished last among three candidates in Tuesday's race for Grant County sheriff.

He had changed his name earlier this year to that of the actor who portrayed the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s.

As if finishing dead last in the race for sheriff wasn’t bad enough, Andy Griffith now faces a lawsuit brought by…uh…Andy Griffith.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 3 in U.S. District Court in Madison, alleges that William Harold Fenrick, 42, violated trademark and copyright laws as well as the privacy of actor Andy Samuel Griffith when he used his new name -- Andy Griffith -- to promote his candidacy for sheriff in southwestern Wisconsin.

The lawsuit says the former Fenrick changed his name for the "sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's notoriety in an attempt to gain votes" and asks the court to order Fenrick to go back to his original name.

Griffith's suit also asks Fenrick to publish disclaimers and an apology in Grant County newspapers, saying he has no association with the actor. It seeks unspecified damages and court fees.

"Now that the election is over, if Fenrick is willing in some fashion to clear the record, we probably could find a way to resolve it," said Griffith's lawyer, Jim Cole.

Maybe if you just give Fenrick Season 5 of “The Andy Griffith Show” on DVD, he’ll comply with the requests of the suit. One of the best episodes ever, “Opie Flunks Arithmetic”, takes place that season!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Border battle.

Lost in all the political craziness this week was the Minnesota Vikings preparation for their match-up with the Green Bay Packers Sunday at the Metrodome.

This week’s contest is extra special since it may be the final appearance of Packer QB (and future hall of famer) Brett Favre at the Dome. While Favre has certainly been one of the elite quarterbacks of all time, you would never know it by his 4-10 record in the Humpty Dome.

Favre’s personal “House of Horrors” has featured some of the most bizarre moments in the 45-year Vikings-Packers rivalry.

1993: The Pack led 13-12 with under a minute to play when the Vikings found themselves trying to get into field goal range. With the Vikes near midfield and no timeouts, diminutive wide receiver Eric Guliford found himself at the 10-yard line with no Packer defender within 20 yards. QB Jim McMahon lofted a pass to Guliford, who caught it and was knocked out at the 5. Fuad Reveiz booted the winning field goal to give Minnesota a 15-13 triumph.

1994: After throwing an interception which was returned for a touchdown, Favre left the game with an injury. Green Bay backup QB Mark Brunell ran for a TD to give the Pack a 10-7 lead, only to see the Vikings tie at 10 near the end of regulation. Reveiz kicked the game-winning FG in overtime for a 13-10 Vikings win. It was at this point that then Packer coach Mike Holmgren seriously considered pulling the plug on the 2-year Favre experiment and going with the talented Brunell.

1995: With Favre in the midst of an MVP season (his first of three straight), his Packers had the look of a serious playoff contender. However, Favre would also leave this game early due to injury. Backup Ty Detmer played well but was also injured in the second half. Enter third stringer T.J. Rubley. Late in the game, with the scored tied 24-24, Rubley inexplicably audibled out of a quarterback sneak on 3rd down and inches, deciding to go with a pass play instead. The throw was intercepted by Vikes LB Jeff Brady and Reveiz once again came on to kick the game-winning field goal. 27-24, Vikings.

1997: Favre brought the defending Super Bowl champs to the Metrodome on a Monday night and got his first dome win in six tries with a resounding 27-11 Packer victory. While the game was pretty non-descript, it was an off-field incident earlier that morning which captured the biggest headline. An FM radio personality who called himself Cabe (pronounced Kah-Bay) knocked on the door of a hotel room allegedly occupied by Favre. A man sounding like Favre answered the door. In the background radio listeners could also hear the voice of a woman who was not Favre’s wife, Deanna. After the incident was broadcast live on 92 KQRS, word got back to Deanna Favre that Brett was caught with another woman. The whole thing proved to be a hoax since it was not Favre in that hotel room. Cabe was fired and Favre sued the parent company of KQ92. An out-of-court settlement was eventually reached.

2002: Despite his reputation as a consummate professional, Favre had a rare lapse in this season’s contest. After Vikings safety Jack Brewer picked off an errant Favre pass, Brett proceeded to hit him out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard penalty. After the 31-21 defeat, Favre was asked if he deserved the flag. With a half-smile, Favre replied “Yeah”.

2005: In a game which was a microcosm of the 4-12 season registered by Green Bay, they blew a 17-0 halftime lead and lost 23-20 on a 56-yard Paul Edinger field goal at the gun. I never saw Favre with a more stunned look on his face.

If indeed Brett Favre retires at the end of this season, he will not remember his Minnesota visits fondly.

However, all NFL fans will definitely see him again in the Summer of 2012 at a podium in Canton, OH.

That is when he’ll accept his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dems look to have seized Senate also.

The Democrats take over of the Congress looks to be completed.

In the Virginia US Senate race, Republican incumbent George Allen appears to have been ousted by Democratic challenger Jim Webb.

Allen's campaign issued a statement noting that state officials are conducting a canvass of the votes cast in Tuesday's balloting.

"At the conclusion of those efforts, Senator George Allen plans to make a statement regarding the outcome," it said.

As of this post, Webb has approximately a 7,200 vote advantage, which is a 0.30% margin. The law states that a recount can be called for by the runner-up (in this case, Allen) if the deficit is less than 1%.

However, with a 7,200 vote margin, it is highly unlikely that a recount would yield a dramatically different result. Here’s hoping Allen concedes the race so we don’t have to endure another Florida 2000.

By the way, where are all of the folks who were screaming “disenfranchisement” in 2004 when President Bush had a 130,000 vote victory over John Kerry in Ohio?

I can’t help but notice the stark contrast in styles between the parties. The Democrats lost in 2000, 2002 and 2004 and all we heard was “Voter fraud!!” or “Our message didn’t quite get out.” But when the Republicans were defeated in ‘06, they actually took a look in the mirror and determined “Maybe running to the center is a flawed strategy.”

Commence 2008 campaign!!

UPDATE: Allen concedes!

Side note: This is the 200th post in the first two years of this blog! While it took me 18 months to compile the first 100 posts it has taken only 7 months to accumulate the second hundred.

However, I still have a ways to go before I get into the league of 100 comprehensive posts within two weeks, a la Captain Ed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Morning After.

There’s no way to spin this election cycle. The Congressional Republicans pretty much got what they deserved.

It has been said that the GOP did nothing but play defense during this campaign season. But in the grand scheme of things, what else could they do? The Iraq war has become increasingly difficult with no tangible benchmarks in months. Combine that with President Bush’s approval rating hovering around 35-40% for the past year and you had the perfect scenario for a Democrat onslaught. Despite the fact the Democrats never came out with a discernible agenda, they were able to win by linking Republican incumbent’s voting records to the President’s policies.

I also have to give credit where credit is due. Rahm Emmanuel, who was named Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005, put together an aggressive recruiting strategy. He successfully went into Congressional districts which were considered Republican strongholds and wooed Democratic candidates who were moderate to conservative. If the Democrats learned anything from getting shellacked in 2004 it was that liberalism is widely rejected throughout “fly over” land. For the first time in my lifetime, the Democrats were able to raise funds (thanks mostly to radical left-winger George Soros and dollar-for-dollar with the GOP in ’04….and they still couldn’t get it done.

So the Dems have captured the majority in the House (and, in all likelihood, the Senate, too). Now what? For 12 years, the Democrats have been like the proverbial dog chasing the pick-up truck down the road. Rarely is a dog ever able to catch the vehicle. But I have always wondered what would happen if the dog closes the gap and finally pulls ahead.

That query will be answered emphatically within the next two years.

Election Day/Night recap.

As of this post, the Democrats have gained 24 seats in the US House. It’s been pretty well conceded that the GOP would lose the majority in the House but maintain a razor-thin majority in the Senate. Now, that’s far from a sure thing.

With three key Senate races still up in the air, the Democrats need to win all three in order to take control. It looks as though Claire McCaskill will defeat Republican incumbent Jim Talent in Missouri and Democrat Jon Tester has a solid lead over GOP incumbent Conrad Burns in Montana.

That leaves Virginia.

With 99.6% of the precincts reporting, Incumbent George Allen trails Democrat challenger Jim Webb by a scant 1,800 votes. That is a lead of approximately 0.08%!

After all votes are counted (including absentee ballots) and certified, the runner-up may request a recount if the margin is less than 1%.

In 2000, all eyes were focused on Florida.

In 2004, it was Ohio.

If the results hold in Montana and Missouri, this year the Commonwealth of Virginia will have all eyes on them.

(Sigh) I’m going to get a cold compress for my head and go to bed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Day is here!

There’s something about guys and reminiscing about the crazy things we’ve done as youths.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with two good friends of mine some years ago. My buddy Dave was sharing a tale of when he had a case of road rage on a country road near his home in Hendersonville, TN. Dave proceeded to smash a guy’s headlights with a crow bar. Another friend in the group, Rob, talked about how he tried to flush a man down the toilet because he asked Rob to dance.

After those anecdotes were shared, both guys looked to me for a story in my sordid past. I thought for a second and then told them how I once accidentally shot a kid in the leg with a .32.

Their eyes got as wide as saucers. “No kidding??!!!” they exclaimed.

“No, not really”, I said. “But it’s a lot more interesting than ‘I voted for Dukakis’.”

Yes, you always remember your first time.

The first time you were eligible to vote in an election, that is (Sheesh. Get your minds out of the gutter).

I have stated many times on this blog that I grew up in an environment where my Mom was indifferent and my Dad was a staunch liberal democrat. Add to that my paternal Grandmother believing that Ronald Reagan and the Republicans were evil incarnate, the choice seemed clear when entering the voting booth in November 1988.

Since then, I have learned my values are more in line with the GOP. While I am among many conservatives unhappy with some congressional Republicans and President Bush for abandoning certain conservative principles (i.e. fiscal responsibility, border security), that doesn’t mean I will sit home on election day. If conservatives don’t like the candidates the GOP has to offer this election cycle, then we need to take that up in the primaries in 2008.

For now, we need to grasp the feeling in our collective guts when we ask ourselves “Which candidates will act in this country’s best interest in this unprecedented war we are fighting?”

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dave Roever.

At church this morning we were honored to have Dave Roever as special guest speaker.

Dave’s remarkable story began in 1969 while serving in the Vietnam War. While attempting to throw a grenade with his right hand, the device exploded leaving Dave burned beyond recognition. Fourteen months in the hospital and multiple surgeries later, Dave made a miraculous recovery and has been sharing his story of hope ever since. Not only does Dave speak at churches, he has been to several schools and military bases all around the world.

He has a tremendous speaking ability, one in which he effectively blends humor and passion.

Needless to say, Dave is very concerned about the troops today and the war which is being fought. We are not battling a specific country in this global war on terror, but we are engaged in a conflict against religious fanatics. Dave’s outreach ministry is aimed at those soldiers who not only have lost limbs but are also bearing the burden of emotional scars.

Dave has a phenomenal vision for his ministry. He is looking to mentor those soldiers who are looking to continue their purpose in life of serving others. The brave men and women in our armed forces have courageously served the USA by defending this nation’s liberty. Now, some war veterans look to continue that service by ministering to others in this country. Eagles Summit Ranch, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado, was established in late 2004. This beautiful area will be the location of the mentoring center for military leaders and those who have been seriously wounded in the war on terror and in need of emotional reconstruction. Dave’s goal is to train these young heroes to turn their tragedy to triumph and show to a hurting world the difference Christ can make in life.

Dave also has a vision of mentoring 3,000 wounded soldiers to go out and carry on the awesome legacy he started almost forty years ago. The number 3,000 represents the number of American lives lost in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01.

Oh, and the estimated completion date of Eagles Summit Ranch?

September 11, 2007.


Letter to Doug.

An open letter to commenter Doug.

Since my buddy Mitch Berg has had his comment section down, some vapid, vacuous putz guy named Doug felt the need to go elsewhere with his thoughts.

My wife, Jennifer (who is A LOT nicer than I), has decided to write Doug a letter.

Dear Doug,

Occasionally I get a wild hair, and post something on my husband’s blog. I am not a blogger, so this method of communication is uncomfortable for me. I have something to say to you. It has been bothering me for a while. So here it is.

God loves you. Yes, I know it sounds simple and silly. But sometimes the truth is. I sense from your numerous posts on various blogs that you are angry about something. I just want you to know that God cares about whatever it is that is bothering you. I have a few scriptures to share with you.

God’s word says to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 8 Sometimes it is really hard to hear God, when the enemy is making all that racket. It’s all around us. The news, war, family squabbles, work issues…..I could go on and on. Don’t let the enemy drown out God. We are sinful creatures. We make mistakes. Sometimes we lose our self-control and the enemy ‘devours’ us. Don’t let other peoples errors (big or small) be the reason you listen to the roaring and tune God out.

I think God is sometimes like the wind. It can be fierce and gentle. God doesn’t roar at us. He whispers like a gentle breeze. It can be really easy to miss. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God”. Tune out the roaring, Doug. Be still. God has something to say to you. No, I don’t mean he will speak out loud like a human voice (not that He couldn’t or wouldn’t), but you can actually have some real peace in your life. You are precious to Him. His love for you is inconceivable. You matter.