Tuesday, February 27, 2007
However, in the past 12 years I have allowed one exception to my self-imposed “star struck” rule.
It was 1996 when blonde bombshell Mindy McCready burst onto the country music scene as a 20-year old. She immediately hit the top of the country charts with hit songs such as “Ten Thousand Angels” and “Guys Do It All The Time.” While I enjoyed the music, I admittedly became smitten with young Mindy.
One evening, in May of 1998, I was on my way home from work when I heard she would be at the Mall of America. Local country station K102 was sponsoring the appearance. I quickly got home, changed into a nice shirt and slacks, splashed on extra after shave and grabbed my Ten Thousand Angels CD.
Upon entering the mall, I saw what appeared to be a mile-long line. In line in front of me was a woman and her ten year old daughter. In making small talk, I asked the young girl if she had been a fan for long. She said she had been for about two years. I then asked if she was excited to get an autograph. She enthusiastically nodded yes. The girl’s mom then asked me if I was a big fan. I said “Not only am I a big fan of her work but I’m thinking of proposing marriage!” By this time, the horrified mother had whisked away her daughter as if I had just sprouted horns and a tail. As I soon learned, I was in line to meet Tara Lipinski, the 15-year old figure skater who had won gold at the recent Olympics. Whoops!!
Thankfully, Mindy’s line was much shorter. I was thinking of the perfect pick-up line as I came ever closer to the woman of my dreams. My self image was strong enough at the time where I believed I could have swept her off her feet. (Oh you go ahead and laugh. But answer me this. Do the names Chris Henchy and Dan Moder ring a bell? No? Today, you know them better as Mr. Brooke Shields and Mr. Julia Roberts, respectively.).
Finally, it was my turn!! As I approached Mindy, I said “This has been a long time in coming!! I’ve been waiting two years to meet you!!” She replied, “Well, thank you. Do you have something you want me to sign?” As I handed her the CD, her hand brushed mine! As she was autographing the liner (see said liner below), I boldly told her how we were made for each other and that we even come from similar backgrounds (She too grew up in a single parent household). She then looked up, gave me a great big hug and said “You’re so sweet! But I’m spoken for.” Dejected, I learned she was engaged to actor Dean Cain, who played Superman in the 90s TV series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"
I tell that light-hearted tale because I’d prefer to remember Mindy as the young, free-spirit who seemed to have it all. Sadly, her life has been in a downward spiral over the past few years. From addictions to painkillers to abusive relationships to a suicide attempt while pregnant, it appears Mindy McCready had too much too soon.
As it turns out, Mindy did me the greatest favor by turning me down (Like I even had a shot!). I would meet my wife-to-be just two months after that playful exchange with Mindy.
And in a stark contrast to Mindy McCready, my life has only gotten better each and every year since.
One of my first major assignments will be to travel to Philadelphia the week of March 12. For some reason, that date rang a bell in my head (either that, or it was the Nyquil hangover). Sure enough, my wife’s school is out that week due to Spring Break. We had hoped to take a couple of days off together, maybe even get outta town. I sheepishly broke the news to my wife, thinking she would be hurt. Instead, I got “Oh goodie!! Now I can go ahead and rent the Rug Doctor to finally get the carpets cleaned!” Rather hurt by her adulation of me being gone, I said “What, you’re not going to miss me?” She replied, “Of course I will. But it’s OK. My brother-in law will help me move the furniture.”
I guess I deserved that one. After all, she had to endure me not showering or shaving all weekend.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
This past week I am happy to report that Dad’s prostate cancer has recessed. The concern is that it may return within a few years but we’re ecstatic it has at least “slowed down.” But the better news is that the chemo for his leukemia has been successful and that the cancer is in remission!!
Praise the Lord!!
One of the things my wife has done to entice her Dad to continue fighting the cancer(s) is telling him that he has to live to see his granddaughter. My sister-in law has two sons and is done having kids. And since my wife is the only other offspring, I guess the onus is with us.
As always, I’ll keep you posted!
Yes, for the first time in a long time, I am sick.
And I’m sick of being sick.
And my wife is sick of me being sick of being sick.
Nevertheless, my gal epitomizes the vows of “To have and to hold, in SICKNESS and in health.” As I write this, she is out in the treacherous winter wonderland seeking medication for my sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy head-fever like symptoms.
In a somewhat cruel irony, I am scheduled to start a new job tomorrow morning. In the three years at my previous employer I missed exactly one day due to illness. If I am not any better tomorrow, I will have equaled that mark on my first day at a new job.
For now, it’s time to eat lunch.
Yes dear, I’d like another glass of 7-UP with my Ibuprofen.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
McCain suffers in polls despite criticism of Iraq
From that phrase we are to surmise that Senator John McCain, who is vying for the 2008 GOP nomination, should have experienced an increase in popularity due to his criticism of the Iraq war.
But the story itself indicates that McCain’s recent drop in the polls was due to his support of the President’s deployment of additional troops.
Last month the Arizona senator came out strongly in favor of George W. Bush's "new way forward in Iraq", which involves sending another 21,500 US troops into the field. Since then, his poll numbers among registered Republican voters and among the US public at large have fallen sharply.
Of course, that’s just an assertion to say McCain’s numbers have tanked because he supported the President’s troop surge. Another GOP contender, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, has become the early front runner for the nomination. Giuliani has certainly been a stronger advocate for President Bush’s Iraq policy than has McCain.
Just yesterday, Public Opinion Strategies released poll results regarding specific questions surrounding the Iraq war.
- By a 53 percent - 46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said that "Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq."
- By identical 57 percent - 41 percent margins, voters agreed with these two statements: "I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security" and "the Iraqi war is a key part of the global war on terrorism."
- Also, by a 56 percent - 43 percent margin, voters agreed that "even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war."
- While the survey shows voters believe (60 percent- 34 percent) that Iraq will never become a stable democracy, they still disagree that victory in Iraq ("creating a young, but stable democracy and reducing the threat of terrorism at home") is no longer possible. Fifty-three percent say it's still possible, while 43 percent disagree.
- By a wide 74 percent - 25 percent margin, voters disagree with the notion that "I don't really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home."
The aforementioned poll numbers seem to provide solid evidence to debunk MSNBC’s story. If anything, McCain supporting the surge would have served to enhance his candidacy amongst registered Republicans.
I guess the
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I have always enjoyed Rushin’s weekly musings in SI. His self-deprecating humor always made for a couple LOL moments per article.
One of my favorite stories is how Rushin met his wife, former UConn All-American and WNBA star Rebecca Lobo. Around the late 90s, Rushin had written how he had slept with 10,000 women one night. He was referring to a WNBA game he watched and subsequently fell asleep. Rushin recalled how Lobo confronted him after reading that story.
She asked if I was the scribe who once mocked, in Sports Illustrated, women's professional basketball. Reluctantly, I said that I was. She asked how many games I'd actually attended. I hung my head and said, "None." And so Rebecca Lobo invited me to watch her team, the New York Liberty, play at Madison Square Garden. We both reeked of secondhand Camels. (And, quite possibly, of secondhand camels: It was that kind of a dive.) But my insult had been forgiven. It was -- for me, anyway -- love at first slight.
Steve took quite a fancy to Ms. Lobo, even to the point of trying to determine what they had in common.
I ate Frosted Flakes right out of the box, and she was on boxes of Frosted Flakes. I am ludicrous, and she was name-dropped in a rap by Ludacris. We were, I thought, made for each other.
Today, Steve & Rebecca are still married and have two young children.
Here’s hoping that Steve Rushin lands on his feet somewhere as a sports writer. I know he’ll still have at least one loyal reader here in the Twin Cities.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Not surprisingly, many engaged couples are looking to this coming July to begin their new lives together.
Lois Fritz can't remember this much ado about "I do."
On the first Saturday in July, a month that's never a top choice for Minnesota marriages, Fritz, co-owner of the Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul, will hit the jackpot: She has nearly 80 weddings -- twice her normal number. "There's a lot of excitement about it," she said.
That's because that Saturday is July 7. As in 07/07/07, what some might consider the luckiest date in the century.
Well, July 7 in 2007 may be considered lucky. But July 7 any other year?
Jennifer Johnson, owner of Heartstrings Wedding and Event Planning in Hopkins, got married on 07/07/01. "It was the only date left," she said. "It was, like, 95 degrees in the church with no air conditioning. My husband wanted to kill me."
My wife and I were married the year before, on 7/7/2000. It was a Friday evening, which meant the weather was somewhat tolerable. However, the day time was a different matter. We had tornadoes touch down all over the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin as well as severe hail in most other areas. My cousin Dawn, on her way home from work earlier that evening, had the right passenger window of her car get shattered due to the winds and hail. We also had a handful of other guests who did not even attend due to damage sustained to their homes and vehicles.
So if 07/07/07 is a lucky date to get married, it seems like the perfect anniversary date for my wife and me. You see, on 07/07/07 we will be celebrating 7 years of marriage.
And if that’s not lucky enough, we also got married in the evening…at 7:00!
Saturday, February 17, 2007
However, the Dems did indeed seize the House and Senate this past November and now are intent on undermining the President’s role as Commander in Chief of our nation’s military.
The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President Bush's decision to deploy more troops to Iraq on Friday, opening an epic confrontation between Congress and commander in chief over an unpopular war that has taken the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.
The vote on the nonbinding measure was 246-182, and within minutes, Democrats said their next move would be to challenge Bush's request for $93 billion in new funds for the Pentagon.
Of course, the Democrats don’t have the guts to actually cut off funding for the war. For almost the entire four years of this war, the Democrats have been voicing their opposition in an effort to appease their most prolific contributors, which are the anti-war kooks. It was easy then because the Dems could merely scream from the cheap seats knowing full well that their lack of power would render it impossible to cease financing the war. Now that they are in the majority? They know full well they would be held as accountable as the President if the troops pulled out of Iraq and disaster in the region ensued.
But for those of us who consistently vote Republican, the most disturbing aspect of the House vote was that 17 GOP members voted for this resolution.
If you see your Congressman listed here, contact their office to voice your displeasure. Their contact telephone numbers are listed on the respective web sites.
Mike Castle (DE)
Howard Coble (NC)
Tom Davis (VA)
John Duncan (TN)
Phil English (PA)
Wayne Gilchrest (MD)
Bob Inglis (SC)
Timothy Johnson (IL)
Walter Jones (NC)
Ric Keller (FL)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Steve LaTourette (OH)
Ron Paul (TX)
Thomas Petri (WI)
Jim Ramstad (MN) (MY CONGRESSMAN!!!! GAH!!!)
Fred Upton (MI)
Jim Walsh (NY)
Incidentally, I called Congressman Ramstad’s Washington, DC office this afternoon. Wouldn’t you know it, his voice mailbox was full. However, I was able to get through to his Minnetonka office. I let Mr. Ramstad know in no uncertain terms my displeasure with his vote. He was also put on notice that we would be considering another Republican candidate for Minnesota CD 3 in the 2008 primaries.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Most recently, Hammond’s financial picture has been questioned by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The folks at CREW allege that Hammond has violated federal tax laws.
Apparently many have taken exception to Hammond’s lifestyle, which includes multiple homes, a Lexus, a Porsche and two motorcycles. Hammond himself offers no apologies for such material wealth.
"I think it's important that I not be embarrassed about the increase the Lord does bring me," Hammond said. "One of the things I think has kept Christianity from being as effective as it could be is the idea that the clergy has to be poor. The Bible doesn't say that."
As result of this story coming out, Star Tribune lefty columnist Doug Grow offered his perspective.
Wealth, the pastor of the massive Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park explained to his flock Sunday, is just another word for "blessing."
If you've got it, flaunt it -- cuz you deserve it.
Yes, another fine example of a liberal conveying disingenuousness when referring to Christian principles. The fact of the matter is Pastor Hammond (or any other man of God) would never utter the phrase “cuz you deserve it.” It is the Lord who through His grace and mercy decided we could be redeemed. Since we are all born into sin, we are unworthy of any blessings that are bestowed upon us. However, it was God sending his son Jesus to die for our sins because He loved us unconditionally. As it says in Romans 8:37, we are made “more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Mr. Grow continued:
The pastor received standing ovations for his explanations of his wealth.
And why not? For those of us who have attained at least some material comfort, Hammond's theology is a lot more assuring than such biblical lines as "it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a liberal cite that passage of scripture, I would have a Porsche, too. I’m not certain what Bible they partake, but it must always seem to end with that verse.
Indeed, Matthew 19:24 does in fact say that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
But Matthew chapter 19 also has a verse 25 and 26, which says “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
If you don’t mind, Mr. Grow, we’ll leave it to the Man upstairs to determine who enters His kingdom.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Paul Simon, while amongst the star-studded ensemble gathered to record "We Are the World."
Personally, I have always been a fan of the late John Denver. His melodious, easy-going lyrics made for some great music.
While browsing the music section of a local Border’s book store this evening, I came across one of John Denver’s greatest hits CDs. I decided to indulge in such classics as “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, “Annie’s Song”, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, etc.
Upon scanning the CD to listen to a few tracks, I received a rather peculiar audio message:
The preview of the CD you are about hear may contain explicit content. Please continue at your own discretion.
John Denver? Explicit content? Certainly the wrong bar code must have been affixed to the CD.
No sooner had that thought crossed my mind when I suddenly heard Denver’s voice crowing “You fill up my senses like a night in a forest.” No doubt I had the right music choice.
It was then I suddenly remembered Denver’s appearance before the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985. The PMRC wanted to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing offensive material. The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (i.e. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc). Denver's testimony most famously includes describing how his song “Rocky Mountain High” was dropped from radio stations because it was assumed to be about drug use.
So is that the reason for the warning message I heard? Hmm. I find that to be a bit of a stretch.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
So when it came time to build a new house in his home state of North Carolina, it would stand to reason that Edwards would err on the side of modesty, right?
Sitting on 102 secluded acres — surrounded by trees and defended by no-trespassing signs — the 28,000-square-foot estate that Edwards and his family call home has presidential privacy.
A main home has five bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths. It's connected by a covered walkway to a bright red addition known as "The Barn," that includes its own living facilities along with a handball court, an indoor pool and an indoor basketball court with a stage at one end. Nearby, the family has cleared space for a soccer field.
With a current building value of $4.3 million, the unfinished Edwards estate is already about $1 million more expensive than any other house in the county, according to tax records. It sits on land worth about $1.1 million.
Being an unabashed, unapologetic capitalist, I certainly don’t begrudge Edwards one iota for building such a palatial estate. Edwards himself will be the first to tell you that his upbringing was very humble, one which saw his father slave away in a South Carolina textile mill. Based on that, his message should be referring to ONE America. That is the land of opportunity where no matter your upbringing you can be a success in anything through hard, persistent effort. Instead, Edwards, a successful trial lawyer before getting into politics, mysteriously goes with an entitlement message, a veritable “vote for me and you’ll receive all sorts of goodies.”
I hate to throw around the “h” word which liberals are so eager to assign to conservatives who have failings. But liberal hypocrisy seems to work to their benefit. Peter Schweizer, author of the book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, made a very profound statement:
When Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura suffered personal exposure and embarrassment, they took public responsibility for their actions, acknowledging their failures and shortcomings. All three were the first to admit that they had damaged their lives and reputations. They were not better off for having done what they did. But for liberals, the case is quite the opposite. When liberals abandon their principles and engage in hypocrisy, they often improve their lives. What does that tell us about which ideas are superior?
Edwards is arguably most known for his 2003 stump speech where he referred to “two Americas.” According to him, one is composed of the wealthy and privileged, and the other of the hard-working common man. Edwards himself currently resides in the former. With the campaign rhetoric he uses, he seems to have forgotten how he emerged from the latter.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Garnett went up to Wittman, smacked him on the chest and yelled in his ear.
"It was heartfelt, letting him know we'll fight for him every night," Garnett said after scoring 44 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and taking the game by the throat in the fourth quarter.
"We won it more for him and these fans, probably, than we won it for ourselves."
Since that bold declaration, the Wolves have gone 0-4 while averaging 88 points per game.
What I found even more absurd was Wolves TV analyst Jim Petersen’s explanation of the latest debacle, a 105-77 drubbing at the hands of the Houston Rockets Monday evening. I’m paraphrasing but it was something to the effect that the team was still in mourning over the firing of coach Dwane Casey a couple weeks back.
So let’s get this straight: If the Wolves somehow muster an impressive win, it’s because they’d go through a wall for current coach Wittman. If they lose it’s due to the fact they still miss former coach Casey.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I nailed three predictions as a result of the Indianapolis Colts defeating the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI.
-The Colts were seven-point favorites. I said they would cover the seven-point spread.
-I also predicted that Colts QB Peyton Manning would look into the camera and say “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD” after being named Super Bowl MVP.
-Finally, I stated Tony Dungy would be the first African-American head coach to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy. In addition, he would do so with a tremendous amount of class and professionalism.
I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on a message to Bears
A fair warning: It has a tinge of crow aftertaste.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Nevertheless, I decided I wanted to be 195 pounds by my 38th birthday on May 24. That gave me approximately 4 ½ months to lose 23 pounds.
I am happy to report that for the month of January I have gone from 218 lbs. to 209.5!!
I’m well on my way to being below 200 lbs. for the first time since early 1999.
Yes, it’s going to be a great summer!
Friday, February 02, 2007
Brett Favre will return for his 17th NFL season, undeterred by his injuries and hoping to lead the Green Bay Packers back to the playoffs.
"I am so excited about coming back," the 37-year-old quarterback said Friday on the Web site of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. "We have a good nucleus of young players. We were 8-8 last year, and that's encouraging."
Packers general manager Ted Thompson confirmed Favre had told the team he plans to return.
While Favre has made quite a career of torching my beloved Vikings, I must admit I wasn’t quite ready to see him go. After all, Favre is on the verge of eclipsing many of Dan Marino’s passing records. Granted he’s merely keeping them warm for Peyton Manning, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to watch history unfold over the next season or two.
Welcome back, Brett! Once again, it’s like you never left.
Last year, a guy who fancies himself the “Super Bowl Inquisitor” decided to indulge in a Q&A session with yours truly.
Once again, SBI has the questions and I provide the answers.
Q: Your father-in law is a long-time Chicago Bears fan yet you’re rooting for the Indianapolis Colts. Will this cause any strife?
A: Nah. But sending him a box of Kleenex after the Bears lose just might.
Q: What’s your reaction to the fact that it’s a first to have not only one but TWO black head coaches leading their respective teams to the Super Bowl?
A: I’m shocked there’s been no mention of that storyline in the media.
Q: Did you agree with the Cook County judge’s decision to allow Bears DE Tank Johnson to leave the state as he awaits trial on gun possession charges?
A: A guy with an affinity for guns in Miami for a week? Come on, what could possibly happen?
Q: Colts QB Peyton Manning has appeared in TV commercials for such products as Gatorade, MasterCard and Sprint. Any chance people are tired of all that exposure?
A: Hey, let’s all be thankful he didn’t pull a Joe Namath and do an ad for panty hose.
Q: Halftime entertainment: Minnesota’s own Prince. Your thoughts?
A: Finally something that is both Minnesota AND purple in the Super Bowl!
Q: Speaking of Prince, you answered “No” when given a survey of whether or not you’ll watch the Halftime show. Why did you pick “No”?
A: Because “No, I’d rather do a swan dive into a pit with every carnivorous member of the reptile family” was not offered as a choice.
Q: One of your favorite bloggers, Mitch Berg, has been gloating incessantly that his Chicago Bears are going to the big game. Do you have something you want to say to him?
A: The Bears usually lose in the first round. Thus far, they’ve lived to play another week. I would just caution Mitch that an extra two weeks on the bandwagon may cause a few more splinters.
Q: So you’re saying Mitch only follows the Bears when they win?
A: Before the 2005 season, I bet he couldn’t tell you if the Bears head coach was Lovie Smith or Lovey Howell.
Q: Where will you be viewing the big game?
A: For the fourth consecutive year I will be hanging at a good friend’s place in Woodbury.
Q: Which means for the fourth consecutive year you will be mooching someone else’s food, right?
A: Hey, I bring a two liter of Diet Coke every time.
Q: What kind of fine dining will you be enjoying?
A: I have a motto: If it’s green it’s trouble; If it’s fried, make it double!
Q: Last, but not least, the Colts are a 7-point pick to beat the Bears. Your prediction?
A: It looks like another commercial for Peyton Manning, which will be five words long: “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”
Colts 31 Bears 21
Thursday, February 01, 2007
In a critique of the Democratic field, he said of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he told the New York Observer, a weekly. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."
Just reading that excerpt would lead one to believe Biden was implying that it’s a first for a mainstream black man to be so polished. However, I had an opportunity to hear the audio of his comments. It was obvious to me that Biden DID NOT mean anything derogatory. Naturally, the
But I digress.
To me, the biggest issue is the fact Obama being black is even an issue at all. It was obvious that Biden thinks very highly of his fellow Democrat senator. But couldn’t he have conveyed that without the phrase “first mainstream African-American”?
In his six years as Commander-in Chief, President Bush has appointed two African-Americans to his cabinet with very little fanfare. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were given the nod for cabinet posts based solely on their impressive qualifications.
If Obama is elected President in 2008, I would hope it’s because people believe he is qualified for the job.
But him not receiving my vote would be the same reason Biden would not – strictly political.