Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Seven Pounds

The gal and I took in a movie this New Years Eve. Seven Pounds is a story of an IRS agent looking for redemption by impacting the lives of seven strangers. Utilizing his powers as an employee of the IRS, Ben Thomas (wonderfully portrayed by Will Smith) looks into the lives of others to determine if they are worthy of his kindness.

Without giving too much away, Thomas is not everything he appears to be. As the film progresses, we learn bits and pieces about his life and what led him on his journey to literally give himself to others.

Overall we enjoyed this movie very much, with the conclusion resulting in a lot of sniffles throughout the theater.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

The new AM1500 morning show

All I'll say is that Hubbard Broadcasting must be preparing for the Fairness Doctrine to be reinstated.



I have exciting news to share with you this morning about the new host of the morning show on AM1500 KSTP.

He has more to talk about than what a couple segments have allowed and many have told me that they tune in specifically just to hear him.

Starting Monday, January 12, you will get Patrick Reusse the entire show each morning well beyond a singular sports focus. "Somewhere between wacky and MPR, there's a morning radio show to be done, and that's what I hope to be part of Monday through Friday on KSTP,'' Reusse said. "The goal is for us to put together a morning show that I would listen to.''

Here is the full news release that is being distributed later today.

Patrick has been a strong element of AM1500 and I am excited about him being the steward of the early-morning program each weekday and providing a companion to your daily commute.

Cheers,

Steve Konrad
Program Director
am1500 KSTP


Personally, I like Reusse. I have been reading his columns since the 70s when he was with the St Paul Pioneer Press. Obviously I'm able to overlook his leftist political leanings, which he has a tendency to inject in his daily sports updates as well as his newspaper column. But his 25 year run with Joe Soucheray on Saturday Sports Talk can be quite fun given the duo's witty banter combined with a curmudgeon's look at life.

Reusse will team with Jay Kolls, who seems to be somewhat right of center. We'll see if they can generate an effective "point-counterpoint" format. I'll give 'em a shot.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another NFL regular season in the books.

Some general observations as the NFL regular season ends.

- What happened to the Brett Favre mystique in winter months? He has thrown thirteen interceptions in his past eight December games. And that doesn’t include the costly pick he threw in the NFC championship game last January.

- Speaking of rotten Decembers, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo has a 27-12 career record in the regular season ---but is only 5-8 in December.

- Bill Parcells is the modern day King Midas. The year before he arrived in New England as their head coach, the Patriots were 2-14. Four seasons later they were AFC champions. The New York Jets were a combined 4-28 in 1995 & 1996. Parcells arrived in 1997 and led them to the AFC title game in 1998. Then as Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Miami Dolphins, his club goes from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 and AFC East champions this season.

- Two rookie quarterbacks (Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan) have guided their respective teams to the playoffs this year. So much for the philosophy that QBs should sit the bench for at least two seasons before seeing taking the helm.

- The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson became the fifth player in league history to reach 3,000 yards rushing in his first two years, joining Eric Dickerson (Rams), Edgerrin James (Colts), Earl Campbell (Oilers) and Clinton Portis (Broncos).

- The New England Patriots finished the regular season with a record of 11-5….but missed the playoffs. That ties a record for most victories while missing the postseason, originally set by the 1985 Denver Broncos.

- Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb was ridiculed when he stated last month that he wasn’t aware NFL regular season games could end in a tie. Well thanks to the Eagles tying the Cincinnati Bengals on November 16, it gave them the edge record wise (9-6-1) over the Cowboys, Bears and Bucs (all finishing 9-7), thus giving Philly the final NFC playoff berth.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kudos to Chris Wallace!

The attached clip is of Bill O'Reilly interviewing Fox News colleague Chris Wallace earlier this month. Here Wallace recounts how he eviscerated the "straw man" set up by liberal movie director Ron Howard.

Howard apparently equated Nixon's abuse of power during the Watergate scandal to President Bush and his policies implemented in fighting the war on terror.



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To you and yours.....





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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This clinch is no cinch.

Now I understand why the Green Bay Packers are 5-10 this season.

The Pack had a golden opportunity to help my Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North division by beating an average Chicago Bears squad on Monday Night Football. But as is the M.O. of this year’s Packer club they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a 20-17 overtime loss.

Oh well. It’s not the worst thing in the world for the Vikings to have to beat the defending Super Bowl champions to win their division. But if the Vikes lose at home to the New York Giants on Sunday they can still win the NFC North with a Bears loss at Houston.

Now here’s a scenario I’ve had dancing through my head. Since the Bears and Vikings both have Noon starts on Sunday, it’s possible both games will end almost simultaneously. So if the Bears lose to Houston (thus giving the division to the Vikes) and the Vikings are trailing, say, 28-17 with thirty seconds left in their game, do they still dump the Gatorade bucket on coach Brad Childress?

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Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Packer Nation at my house tonight.

In the thirty years I’ve been passionately following the National Football League, I can count on one hand (and still have a few fingers left over) the number of times I’ve rooted for the Green Bay Packers to win a game.

To be specific, it’s been twice in my life.

December 24, 2000: My beloved Vikings needed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to lose their regular season finale to clinch the NFC Central division title and a first round bye. The Bucs happened to be visiting the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, taking on a Packers team that was already eliminated from postseason play. The Packers led throughout most of the game but the Bucs tied it late on a Martin Gramatica field goal, forcing overtime. However, the Pack prevailed 17-14 as Ryan Longwell booted a 22-yard field goal for the win, giving my club that cherished first round bye!

My Vikings would advance all the way to the NFC Championship but lose to the New York Giants in a game that has since been succinctly referred to as “41-doughnut.”


December 28, 2003: All the 9-6 Vikings had to do in the final game of the ’03 regular season was beat the pathetic Arizona Cardinals, who were 3-12 entering said game. With a win, the Vikes would clinch the NFC North division. But if the Vikings inexplicably lost, they could still win the division title with a Green Bay Packers defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. Nevertheless I was pulling for the Pack to win. My theory was that the Vikings didn’t deserve to go the playoffs as a 9-7 club with four losses to teams who finished 4-12. Therefore I wanted them to earn their way in with a victory.

Sure enough, the Pack destroyed the Broncos 31-3 while the Vikes struggled with Arizona, trailing 6-0 at halftime. But my favorite squad picked it up in the second half, taking a 17-6 lead late in the fourth quarter. With 1:54 remaining, the Cards closed the gap to 17-12 with a TD. The obligatory onside kick came next and sure enough it was recovered by Arizona at their 42-yard line. Five plays into the ensuing drive they got to the Vikings’ nine-yard line. But rookie defensive lineman Kevin Williams came up huge with a couple of sacks, putting the Cards back at the 28. With no timeouts, the Cardinals hurried to get up to the line for one last play. QB Josh McCown took the snap, avoided the rush and rolled to his right. With the clock reading 0:00, McCown heaved the ball towards the end zone. Despite having two Vikings defenders nearby, Arizona receiver Nathan Poole plucked the ball out the air for the game-winning touchdown. Vikes lose 18-17. No division title. No playoffs. No dignity.


So with my Vikings having lost a chance to clinch the NFC North yesterday, a Chicago Bears loss this evening would still hand them the title. The Bears opponent tonight? The Green Bay Packers!! And to commemorate the third ever occasion of my pulling for the Green & Gold, I’ve invited two Packer fans to my house to enjoy the game with me.

But I draw the line at wearing a block of cheese on my head.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Adventures in Winter Driving

The gal and I were on our way to church this morning on the treacherous Highway 10 in the Anoka area. Given the somewhat icy roadways, I was quite cautious, topping out at only 50 MPH. While in the left lane I had a vehicle (a Buick, I think) come flying up behind me, seemingly annoyed at my slower speed. Since the right lane is reserved for slower traffic I decided to oblige the impatient driver behind me and switch lanes. While in the right hand lane I quickly peaked to the left to see the hurried driver. It happened to be a 70-something couple who attends our church. While I was concerned with the potential for an accident, I admired their sense of urgency to ignore the elements in order to get to the house of the Lord.

But heading home from church was where the real adventure took place. This time I had a woman in a Toyota Corolla barrel up behind us in the left lane. Since there was congestion due to slower traffic in both lanes, I didn't have an opportunity to get over to the right. But the woman in the Corolla seemed to be in a massive hurry so she shot between two vehicles in the right lane and cut in front of me in the left. The gal and I sensed that her careless driving would cause her to lose control on the still icy Highway. About a minute later the Corolla driver did indeed spin out and veered off into the ditch off the right shoulder. As we passed her car, we again took a quick peak at the perpetrator. To our absolute disgust, we surmised that she must have been talking on her cell phone the whole time since she was still on it while in the ditch. I guess I would have been curious to get the perspective of whomever she was speaking to as she lost control.


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Saturday, December 20, 2008

A "Separated at Birth" I missed.

It is positively shocking to witness the deterioration of (the Oakland Raiders)......Meanwhile, the all-powerful (Raiders owner Al) Davis has morphed into the hideous character on the cover of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung."
-Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe






















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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Warren warrants respect

Amazing! During the Presidential campaign, the left wasn’t the least bit interested in a certain Pastor with whom Barack Obama associated.

Now?

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a pastor who opposes gay marriage as a speaker at his inauguration, creating a commotion over what inclusiveness will mean for his administration.

Obama chose Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of the southern California megachurch Saddleback, to give the invocation when he takes office in January.

The president-elect on Thursday said that he held views "absolutely contrary" to Warren on gay rights and abortion and described himself as "a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans."

"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about. That's part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated," he said.

"He selected someone who actively worked to eliminate the rights of me and millions of others," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California and a leader in the fight against Prop 8, which is in effect while it is challenged in court.

The choice was "appalling" he added. "If that's Obama's idea of a new day, we are in a lot of trouble."


Ah, I guess Mr. Obama’s supporters felt that “change” meant “fall in line behind the liberal agenda.” The fact of the matter is no one’s rights were “eliminated” since marriage itself is not a “right.” Of course, that is a whole other discussion for another day.

On the flip side is Pastor Warren’s willingness to give the invocation. If he was anything like the caricatured Christians the left paints, Warren would have declined Obama’s invitation due to the President-elect’s radical left stances on moral issues. To me, Pastor Warren epitomizes a Christian individual by showing unconditional love and compassion for those who would mock God’s commandments.

So-called “liberals” could learn a thing or two about tolerance from a man of God like Rick Warren.

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Willie Clark gone

From an AM 1500 KSTP memo:

Effective today, Willie Clark and Jeremy Kienitz are no longer with AM1500 KSTP.

We are appreciative of each of their efforts and hard work. We wish them only the best.

In the coming days, expect an announcement of a freshly re-structured morning-drive show, including who will be sharing the airwaves with Jay Kolls, Kenny, Bergie and Patrick Hammer as soon as some external details get wrapped up.


Actually, I'll admit the firing of Kienitz (aka Kodiak) is a mild surprise. I felt his dry sense of humor added a little flair to what was a moribund morning show. But I never understood the placing of Clark in that time slot, who came to KSTP from a small market in Iowa back in January 2006. It often seemed as though his brain was working faster than his mouth whenever he had a point to make.

I once asked a well placed source what Clark's appeal was. Apparently Clark's incessant love of Major League Baseball is what kept him on the air the past two years. With AM 1500 having been the radio the home of the Minnesota Twins since the 2007 season, the folks at Hubbard Broadcasting may have felt Clark would be an asset when talking baseball. But even a MLB nut like myself wouldn't listen to 3-1/2 hours of baseball talk. Thus Clark's overall value was limited. Combine that with the fact that KQ92 Morning Show has more than a 20 share, it would have taken much more than a radio lightweight from Sioux City, Iowa to make a dent in those ratings.

Farewell, Kodiak and Willie.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Triumph out of Tragedy.

More than 27 years ago, John and Reve Walsh endured a parent’s worst nightmare: burying their child.

What’s worse for the Walshes was the horrific manner in which their son Adam’s life was taken from them.


Adam disappeared from a Hollywood mall on July 27, 1981. Two weeks later, fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away. The rest of his body was never found


No one would have faulted John & Reve if they had withdrawn from public life altogether. But instead of isolation, John took the proverbial bull by the horns. America’s Most Wanted, a television series hosted by John Walsh, debuted seven years after Adam’s death. The focus of the program is to bring America’s attention to the most dangerous criminals out there. Due to the exposure on AMW, more than 1,000 fugitives have been apprehended during the show's 20-year run! In addition, Walsh has been a big-time advocate in proposing major pieces of child protection legislation. As a result he has been honored by each of the past four Presidents.

While he wasn’t able to save his own child, Walsh’s program and tireless advocacy has ensured that other people’s kids would not suffer the same fate. Naturally, there is a keen ambivalence. While I have no doubt that Walsh is pleased with the results of his work, it came at an incredibly steep price.

Then on Tuesday, the Walsh family received the news that they have been awaiting for 27 ½ years.

The investigation into the 1981 murder of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" anchor John Walsh, is finally closed.

Hollywood, Fla., Police Chief Chad Wagner announced Tuesday that the department had concluded that Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in jail in 1996, was the man who kidnapped and decapitated the young boy.

The announcement brought to a close a case that had angered the Walsh family for more than two decades, inspired the television show about the nation's most notorious criminals and triggered changes in how authorities search for missing children.

"Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?" an emotional John Walsh said at Tuesday's news conference. "We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know."


One of my favorite biblical passages is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where it says ”give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. While the Walsh family is not thankful for their situation, they realized that in their circumstance they can make a positive impact in the lives of others.

And there are many, many families who can give thanks for that.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14, 2003: US learns of Saddam capture.

On this day five years ago it was a Sunday when our phone rang at 5:30 am. It was my sister-in law calling. Naturally, my mind assumed the worst. Were my in-laws sick? Did something happen to our nephews?

Instead, she told me that Saddam Hussein had been captured. Since I was awaken about two hours earlier than I had planned, I let it sink in. "OK, thanks for letting us know", I said. I hung up the phone when my gal asked what the call was about. "It was Donna. She called to let us know that Saddam Hussein had been found and captured." Literally three seconds passed when the gal and I leaped out of bed and headed downstairs to the TV. Sure enough, the haggled and disheveled Iraqi leader was in custody.

Since the fall of Baghdad had already occurred, capturing Saddam was merely an exclamation point on what had been, to that point, a resounding success in the Iraqi conflict. Unfortunately, things would take a turn for the worst over the next few years due to the US woefully underestimating the impact of an insurgency. Thankfully things have improved dramatically due to a change in strategy and the installation of Gen. David Petraeus.

Let's hope that Gen. Petraeus and the US military are allowed to finish what was thought to be wrapped up five years ago.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Separated at Birth: Mel Kiper, Jr. & Joe Scarborough


















Mel Kiper, Jr. (left) is the foremost NFL draft expert.

Joe Scarborough is a former US Congressman from Florida. He hosts Morning Joe weekday mornings on MSNBC.




Another SAB??!!! You're just mailin' it in these days, aren't ya?

So what? It's the Holidays!!

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Separated at Birth: Rod Blagojevich & Jack Lord.















Book him, Dan-O!!

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (left) is in hot water for his alleged offer to sell Barack Obama's US Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Actor Jack Lord's most recognizable role was as Det. Steve McGarrett in the 60s & 70s crime drama Hawaii Five-O.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Whew!!

Well, the Vikings 20-16 victory over the hapless Detroit Lions on Sunday was a lot closer than it needed to be. Truth be told, I started to get nervous in the 2nd quarter when the Lions were still hanging around. My thought going in to the game was that if you get up on the kitties by 14 points early they'll roll over and quit.

I have to say, I was impressed by QB Tarvaris Jackson coming in for the injured Gus Frerotte. Jackson completed 8 of 10 passes for 105 yards and the game winning TD to Visanthe Shiancoe. Despite being benched after week 2, Jackson looked as though he stayed well prepared to come in at a moment's notice. Given the punishment the immobile Frerotte has endured this season, I had a feeling T-Jack would get another shot down the road.

But again, we have to keep perspective. This was the Lions after all. And since the Vikings play another the porous Cardinals defense in Arizona next week, I wouldn't mind seeing Jackson get the start. With Pat and Kevin Williams likely to start serving their four game suspensions this week, my expectations are already low for next Sunday's game. So I say give the kid the nod at QB.

Elsewhere in the NFC North, it was no surprise that the Chicago Bears beat the pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars in the Windy City but how in the heck did the Green Bay Packers allow more than 500 yards of offense to the Houston Texans? Even though the 6-6 Bears were only a game behind the Vikings going in to this week, I was more concerned about the 5-7 Packers. With four very winnable games remaining, I figured the Pack had a decent shot at finishing 9-7. After Sunday's performance against the Texans (who allowed Green Bay to stay in the game with four turnovers) I wonder if the now 5-8 Pack can even win another game this season with that sieve-like defense. So for only the third time in my lifetime, I will be rooting for the Packers to win a game when they play the Bears in Chicago on Monday the 22nd.

Ben? Mark? You wanna get together for that Monday night duel? I'll be on your side!!!

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Friday, December 05, 2008

While channel surfing tonight...

I came across some comedian I've heard of before but never saw perform. Tonight, Comedy Central was playing a show of his from 2006. After about ten minutes, I came to this conclusion:

Lewis Black: NOT funny.

That is all.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Separated at Birth: Eric Holder & Stedman Graham


















Eric Holder (left) served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Attorney General. He will serve as Attorney General under President Barack Obama (Again, that's change...how?).

Stedman Graham is the longtime boyfriend of Oprah Winfrey.


(h/t Dennis Miller)
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Coincidence?

I saw this headline on espn.com

Burress rejoins Giants in wake of illegal gun possession charges.


….and then moments later saw this one.

Giants receiver Smith robbed at gunpoint.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Vikes to face toothless Lions next.

The Minnesota Vikings hit the road to face the 0-12 Detroit Lions. And they end up losing 27-24.

Can you see it happening?

Actually I did see it happen because that’s exactly what took place on December 16, 2001.

In Week 14 of the ’01 season, the Vikings looked totally disinterested as it was becoming quite clear that coach Dennis Green was on his way out (he was indeed fired two weeks later). Starting QB Daunte Culpepper was hurt and wide receiver Randy Moss was just a month removed from his asinine declaration of “I play when I wanna play.” It was painfully obvious that the Vikings were looking to move on to the offseason.

This season is quite different. With the Vikes in sole possession of first place in the NFC North division (thanks to Sunday's win against Chicago), they have to maintain that status to reach the postseason. Since there is no way that this division will produce a wild card team, the only way in to the playoffs is to win the North.

So any thoughts of this Sunday’s tilt being a “trap game” should be dismissed. And if defensive linemen Pat Williams and Kevin Williams receive suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy? All bets are off then.

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