Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm asking, so do tell

Last week, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a 1993 statute which prevented homosexuals from openly serving in the military.

Overall, I have little problem with this new law. Since this country has an all volunteer military, I find it a stretch that a gay guy would enlist merely to watch other guys shower.

When I was a teen, I asked my great-uncle Lester, a WWII vet, what he thought of gays serving in the military. Never one to mince words, Lester said "As long as they don't try to make a move on me, what do I care?" Without giving the issue a whole lot of thought, that became my thought process, shallow as it was.

But what struck me was a line of questioning at the White House press conference after the President signed the new law. ABC TV's Jake Tapper's question included the following inquiry:

...is it intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?

The short answer? Yes.

Marriage is a religious exercise. Remember that whole first amendment thing where it indicates "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?" When our soldiers put their lives on the line to uphold our freedoms, essentially the tenants outlined in our Constitution, they are doing so voluntarily.

The vast majority of religions cite the Bible as their standard on how to live a Godly life. As such, marriage is biblically defined as a union between a man and a woman. Now if there is some rogue religion out there which chooses to acknowledge same sex marriage, so be it. I will exercise my freedom not to worship there.

I guess the question I have (which has yet to be answered to my satisfaction) is why aren't Civil Unions sufficient for the needs of gay couples? This is a contract with the state which allows all couples to essentially have the same rights and privileges as those who are married. Seems to me the ideal setup for two people who love each other yet don't want to declare their covenant under any religious purview.

Back to my query. Please explain why "marriage" is so vital when Civil Unions would appear to supply the majority of relationship needs.

I have my own rationale but I thought I would open the floor to others.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

......it's ticking away with my sanity

I'll say one thing about being unemployed: one can get quite familiar with some pretty bad TV.

As I am in the midst of a third week of sitting on the sidelines, I happened to be flipping around the myriad of channels while taking a break from laundry and washing dishes (Don't worry, I'm not emasculated; merely "domesticized").

Anyhow, I came across a show called Yes, Dear. I've never seen one millisecond of the show prior to yesterday so I paused for a bit. The episode in question featured the main male characters lamenting the fact their wives wanted babies and thus would not have sex with them unless the gals were....um......in prime baby making phase (y'know, that other "O" word).

The following dialogue commenced between the two characters:

Jimmy: I don't know man. Me not thinking about sex is like asking Tiger Woods not to think about sex.
Greg: You mean golf.
Jimmy: What did I say?
Greg: You said 'sex.'

Now keep in mind that this episode originally aired in November 2005, long before the general public became keenly aware of Tiger's sordid private life.

Leave it to a mediocre sitcom to be strangely prescient.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


It's official: This Monday's NFL game featuring the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Chicago Bears will not take place at the Vikes' home stadium of The Metrodome Mall of America Field.

Barring some unforeseen difficulties (which, let's face it, has been the norm for the 2010 Vikings), TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus will be ready to host Monday Night Football in four days.

Today, while flipping around the various sports radio talk shows, I heard an interesting alternative had "The Bank" not been a sufficient option: Green Bay's own Lambeau Field. To be honest, I was actually receptive to the idea.

The biggest squawk amongst Vikings players, coaches and officials regarding last week's relocation to Detroit was that the Vikes, despite being the home team, had virtually no home field advantage. But in a matchup featuring the Bears and Vikings (both being the Packers' hated rivals), it would benefit the Pack more if which team got beat? The Bears of course. So don't you think the Packer fans would come out in droves to root against the hated Bears, even if it meant cheering on the Vikes? It would make it even easier in that the cheeseheads would not even have to pull for Brett Favre, who is all but assured to be inactive for a second consecutive game.

Let's just say I wouldn't pull that option (playing at Lambeau that is) off the table just yet.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Great Outdoors

WCCO sports anchor Mark Rosen is reporting that next week's Monday Night Football game with the Vikings hosting the Chicago Bears will be moved to TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus!

That's right! On the 29th anniversary of the Vikings last outdoor home game (where I was live and in person), they will test their mettle in Minnesota's winter wonderland. And how fitting is it that on Sunday before, the 50 greatest Vikings will be paraded around at a gala in downtown Minneapolis. I'm sure it will warm the hearts of the likes of Alan Page, Jim Marshall and Fran Tarkenton seeing their once proud franchise being listed as a home team in an outdoor December game.

Unfortunately, this year's Vikings club is a pale imitation of Bud Grant's legendary squads of the 1970s. Oh well, the Vikes offense can't be any more inept than their effort at indoor Ford Field this past week. How much worse can it be in the bitter cold and/or snow?

As a long time fan of the Vikings, it brings back memories of how I used to get all bundled up in anticipation of three-plus hours at Met Stadium.

I'm convinced the producers of the movie A Christmas Story used me as an inspiration for the character of Ralphie's little brother.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Detroit: Bench city

If we are to believe Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, his shoulder injury is so serious that he would not have played yesterday in their matchup with the New York Giants. This is big news, given the fact Favre has started 297 consecutive NFL games (321 including the postseason). However, he has been given a 30-hour reprieve, thanks to the Twin Cities weather wreaking havoc on the Metrodome. With the game being rescheduled for this evening at Detroit's Ford Field, this also means an extra 30 hours of Favre playing up the drama, as he is wont to do. There have been reports that he has texted former coach Steve Mariucci indicating he is unlikely to play Monday, while Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier maintains Favre's status is a "game time decision." Of course, it would be vintage Favre to defy all logic and actually come out and play despite an ailment medical experts deem a "3-4 week injury." It would also play in to Favre's narcissistic tendencies for fans to marvel at his ability to overcome all obstacles.

But I digress.

If Favre does indeed sit this one out, it would bring to an end the most impressive iron man streak ever seen in pro sports. And if the streak has to end, how bizarre would it be for his first benching in 20 years to occur in Detroit. You see, that is the very city where, in May 1939, New York Yankees legend Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig took a seat on the bench. Gehrig had not missed a baseball game in fourteen years, a streak of 2,130 games which was the all-time record for nearly six decades.

To this day it's hard to fathom that a city know for manufacturing Mustangs would be the resting place for an Iron Horse.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XIX

-In a somewhat stunning display of bipartisanship, President Barack Obama agreed to renew the "Bush tax cuts" for another two years. In exchange, Congressional Republicans must cede to a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

Naturally, the spin has been how the President agreed to cut taxes when in actuality he merely agreed to keep tax rates the same. And while lower taxes is a good thing for the American people and the economy, it's not a cure all for our current economic woes. Over the past ten years, Republicans (with President Bush being the biggest culprit) loved touting lower taxes while being obstinate in cutting spending. This will be the biggest challenge for the newly elected Tea Party Republicans in Congress. That is, remain steadfast in their pledge to cut spending, which is the only true way to deficit reduction.

-Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Presidential candidate John Edwards (D-NC), passed away Tuesday morning after a long bout with cancer. She was only 61 years old.

It goes without saying that I pretty much disagreed with nearly everything Mrs. Edwards espoused politically. But not even I could deny the grace and dignity with which she handled any and every adversity which came her way over the past several years. In addition to being diagnosed with cancer, Mrs. Edwards lost her teenage son Wade to an auto accident in 1996 then endured the public humiliation of learning her husband had fathered a child with another woman while on the Presidential campaign trail in 2007. Yet through all that, she never portrayed herself as a victim to the point of shunning any sympathy. In fact, there was a story in People magazine a couple of years ago detailing an account of how she accompanied her husband while he visit the daughter he had with former mistress Rielle Hunter. Despite the unfathomable betrayal she must have felt, Mrs. Edwards was able to focus her attention upon an innocent child who was hardly at fault for events which lead to her birth.

Needless to say, a smarmy jackass like John Edwards hardly deserved to be married to a woman with that kind of indomitable character.

-Well, the University of Minnesota football team finally moved in for the Kill. Jerry Kill, that is.

Kill went 23-16 and led the Huskies to bowls in all three of his seasons there. Northern Illinois went 10-3 this season, including a 34-23 victory at Minnesota that laid the groundwork for Gophers coach Tim Brewster to be fired.

Naturally, this move didn't exactly excite Gopher Nation. I surmised that many were pining for a bigger name like former Texas Teach coach Mike Leach, a hire which would have instantly increased the season ticket base. But with the hire of Kill, it's clear that Athletic Director Joel Maturi et al are taking a long-term approach to the football program.

Personally, I refuse to give a knee-jerk reaction and thus will assess this hire once the new coach has had ample opportunity to put his own stamp on the program. However, I am somewhat encouraged that Kill was able to lead his Northern Illinois program into the AP Top 25 this season, his third year at the school.



Monday, December 06, 2010

Two thumbs down

I've never much cared for film critic Roger Ebert. No, I don't know the man personally. But I've watched his shtick on TV since he was doling out movie reviews on the syndicated program Sneak Previews in the 1970s. And I've always sensed this pomposity emanating from him, as if he had some sort of extra sensory gift which made his film critiques the gospel, so we dare not question his insights.

The fact the Rog is a political liberal doesn't bother me in the least (Heck, I bet he was practically fondling himself when reviewing such films as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Charlie Wilson's War). These days when one criticizes print media journalists for being leftists, it's a rather tedious exercise. What's the point really?

But what I have sensed from Ebert is that he is such an unhinged lefty that his political analysis contains zero nuance, to the point of being humorous. When Scott Brown shocked the world in January 2010 by becoming the first GOP Senator in Massachusetts in over thirty years, Rog pitched a fit. On his Twitter page on the night of the Massachusetts special election, Ebert's "tweet" insinuated that the Democrats and other supporters of health care (the golden issue in Sen. Ted Kennedy's political career) had some sort of birthright to that Senate seat:

Massachusetts to Teddy: "F--k you."

What, no insights on how the Massachusetts citizens delivered a repudiation of President Obama's health care plan with this vote? No analysis on how Brown's opponent Martha Coakley was utterly inept? Easier to deliver a two-word invective I guess.

But Ebert's latest foray into political commentary was to weigh in on Senator John McCain's opposition to repealing the military policy on homosexuals serving in the armed forces (a/k/a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.") Again, with zero rational dissent, Ebert gave his perspective:

McCain's redesign of Marine flag: Reword "Don't Tread on Me" to read, "Get Off My Lawn, Faggots!"

Of course, this could just be another lesson for Senator McCain. Remember how he was the liberal establishments' favorite Republican because of his willingness to "stand up to his obstructionist party" by "reaching across the aisle"? It just goes to show that leftists admire one's convictions, but only if said beliefs falls in line with their own.

But I digress.

I get the feeling that Ebert can't distinguish between simple analysis of movies from commentary of any other ilk. Real life issues are a lot more complicated and nuanced than to merely assign them a hand gesture.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XVIII

-It's pretty much a forgone conclusion that Mark Dayton will be Minnesota's next governor. With Dayton having nearly a 9,000 vote lead after the election results were certified, the recount of those votes has not dramatically altered his lead over Republican opponent Tom Emmer.

With a Republican controlled House and Senate here in Minnesota, much of Governor Dayton's agenda will be dead on arrival once he occupies the St. Paul mansion on Summit Avenue. And given the fact Dayton isn't the most mentally stable person around, how will he handle the scrutiny when, as a veritably neutered leader, he has to make public statements? During the campaign, he was often reluctant to acknowledge tough (but fair) media questions.

Get anyone say "Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon?" We just may be uttering that phrase within a year or two.

-There is a strong possibility that there will be no NFL football come September 2011. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has strongly suggested that players bank their salaries from the final three games of this season in the event NFL owners lock out the players next season.

As an NFL connoisseur, I will definitely miss indulging in the sport if indeed a lockout comes to fruition. But I believe I can bridge the gap from the end of baseball's World Series until NCAA basketball's March Madness if and only if Ricky Rubio finally joins the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season. That would make the Wolves watchable from when the regular season starts (which is typically late October/early November) until the aforementioned March Madness.

Either that, or I can actually rediscover reading books.

-For the first time ever, I caught a snippet of the reality show Jersey Shore the other night.

Sorry, I still don't understand the appeal.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving memories

My wife and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple ten years ago. The tradition back then was everyone would gather at Jen's parents.

Upon waking up that morning at my in-law's home, I had some toast, bacon and eggs for breakfast. I then proceeded to the living room when I cracked open my first beer at about 9:30 a.m.

The following verbal exchange ensued:

Wife: Why are you drinking a beer at 9:30?
Me: It's Thanksgiving
Wife: But it's only 9:30
Me: But it's Thanksgiving

A couple of hours (and a few brewskis) later, the Detroit Lions were hosting the New England Patriots in the first NFL game of Thanksgiving Day. The Lions ended up throttling the Pats 34-9, dropping New England to 3-9 on the 2000 season. Coincidentally, Bill Belichick was in his first season as Patriots head coach. I recall pondering what the appeal was for Belichick. After all, his head coaching experience consisted of five pedestrian seasons with the Cleveland Browns. I figured that was all he'd bring to New England as well.

The Belchick-led Pats would go on to win three Super Bowls over the next four seasons.

Remember, I'm the guy who thought Walter Mondale would carry a second state.

Oh well, Happy Thanksgiving all.


Monday, November 22, 2010

A tale of two coaches

December 23, 2001: Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green coached his final home game. The Vikes were obliterated by the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-3 in a game where there was very little (if any) intensity put forth by the home team. Green was fired twelve days later.

November 21, 2010: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress coached his final home game. The Vikes were obliterated by the Green Bay Packers 31-3 in a game where there was very little (if any) intensity put forth by the home team. Childress was fired the next day.

The other common denominator? I was live and in person at the Metrodome for both those contests.

Lucky me!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XVII

-Did you catch this bit where President Barack Obama channels "Baghdad Bob?"

Members of Organizing for America – the president’s former campaign committee – received a text message today asking them to call 888-206-1431 “to hear a special message from President Obama.”

In the recorded message, the president says, “Thank you for the tireless work, you guys organized the single largest midterm election effort in this history of our party…You turned ‘Yes We Can’ into ‘Yes We Did.’”

“You didn’t sit this one out even when all the pundits said it was hopeless and because of that we are stronger,” the president said.

Considering that President Obama himself called the election “a shellacking,” with Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives, six Senate seats, 20 state legislatures, one might be forgiven for wondering exactly he thinks his volunteers did – other than valiantly trying but failing to get enough voters to the polls.

Can the man be any more delusional? What's next? Probably something about how he can sympathize with airline travelers enduring "pat-downs" despite the fact a President never has to fly commercial.

-Week 11 of the NFL season features the 100th meeting all-time between the Green Bay Packers and my Minnesota Vikings. The series has been remarkably even, with the Pack holding a slight advantage with a 50-48-1 record. Since I have no delusions that the Vikings will be making the playoffs this season, this contest is essentially the Vikings fan's postseason.

And guess who will be attending the festivities at Mall of America field!!

Given that Thanksgiving will be the following Thursday, that'll make two days within a one-week span where I will be indulging in adult beverages before Noon.

-Congratulations to Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who last week was named 2010 American League Manager of the Year after guiding his club to a 94-68 record. With several second place finishes for the top managerial award in his first eight seasons as Twins skipper, Gardy finally broke through that threshold in his ninth year. For my money, the 2010 season may have been the best managing job he's ever done. With All-Star closer Joe Nathan missing the entire year due to injury and All-Star first baseman (as well as arguably the top AL offensive player the first half of 2010) Justin Morneau not playing a single game the last three months of the season, Gardy often had to mix and match his roster. Amazingly, the results were often positive as the Twins went 53-28 in the inaugural season of Target Field.

Now if Gardy's squad can just get over that postseason hump against the New York Yankees....


Monday, November 15, 2010

Hooked on a feeling

Remember the uproar brought forth by leftists and the ACLU over President George W. Bush's Terrorist Surveillance Program? The common demagoguery was that the Bush administration was "spying on Americans" with "illegal wiretaps." IT'S AN INVASION OF PRIVACY I TELL YOU!!!!

My only question now is where is the outrage from the aforementioned parties regarding the airport screening process of the Transportation Security Administration? You mean to tell me that full body scans and/or groping American citizens isn't an "invasion of privacy" in the left's perverted world?

In response to a video of a California man's dispute with airport security officials, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday it tries to be sensitive to individuals, but everyone getting on a flight must be screened.

The video, in which software engineer John Tyner refuses an X-ray scan at the San Diego, California, airport, has sparked a debate over screening procedures.

Tyner told CNN on Sunday that he was surprised to see so many people take an interest in his refusal and the dispute with airport screeners that followed it. But he said he hoped the video will focus attention on what he calls a government invasion of privacy.

"Obviously, everybody has their own perspective about their personal screening," TSA administrator John Pistole told CNN. "The question is, how do we best address those issues ... while providing the best possible security?"

Tyner, 31, said his hunting trip to South Dakota was cut short before it even started Saturday morning -- when TSA agents asked him to go through an X-ray machine.

"I don't think that the government has any business seeing me naked as a condition of traveling about the country," Tyner said.

Pistole said the agency is "trying to be sensitive to individuals issues and concerns," but added, "the bottom line is, everybody who gets on that flight has been properly screened."

The cell phone video Tyner recorded of his arguments with security screeners over the scan and pat-down they proposed had garnered than 200,000 hits on YouTube by Monday afternoon.

Tyner said that after he declined the body scan, a TSA agent told him he could have a pat-down instead. Once the procedure was described, Tyner said he responded, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."

But you don't understand, Mr. Tyner. If the TSA can't touch your genitalia, it means the terrorists have won.

The truth is, the terrorist surveillance program (which President Barack Obama has maintained, by the way) has been far more effective at thwarting terrorism than has any TSA methods.

In fact, the only good thing to come of this unfortunate incident with Mr. Tyner is the spawning of some potential TSA slogans (via Twitter).

"I'm not a doctor but I play one on CCTV."

"Feds with benefits."

"You can't see London, you can't see France unless we see your underpants."


It'll be "Chilly" in Minnesota for the rest of the year

With a 3-6 record, the Minnesota Vikings, mathematically, still have a chance to reach the NFL playoffs. But to say it's unlikely the Vikings will reach the postseason is the equivalent of saying it might not reach 80 degrees in Minnesota this December.

Naturally, the Vikings faithful has turned their venom towards head coach Brad Childress. Yes, the cries of "Fire Chilly" have resurfaced with a bullet after an uninspired display in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. While I have never been the most staunch defender of Childress, a coaching change in mid-season rarely (if ever) results in a team making a Lazarus type resurrection. And if you believe the Vikings ownership group, Childress is not going anywhere. Nor should he.

Let's look at this with some rational thought, shall we? We're supposed to believe that a 3-6 team like the Vikings can turn it around with merely a coaching change? Let's say, for the sake of argument, Chilly is fired. Does that mean Brett Favre will discover the fountain of youth? Do we also surmise that the defensive line will suddenly put more pressure on the opposing quarterback? Will the defense as a unit promptly become more prolific in forcing turnovers?

The temptation many Vikings fans may have is to look at the 1-7 Dallas Cowboys dismissing head coach Wade Phillips. With newly hired interim coach Jason Garrett at the helm Sunday, Dallas stomped the New York Giants on the road. It's as if the Cowboys had been given a spark by firing their head coach. But again, one game does not a season make. Or two, for that matter. The 2008 St Louis Rams started the season 0-4, resulting in the firing of head coach Scott Linehan. Assistant coach Jim Haslett took over and promptly won the next two games. As a result, the NFL pundits and Rams faithful alike called for Haslett to be given the job permanently.....that is, until St. Louis went on to lose the final ten games of the season.

So like the 2010 Dallas Cowboys and the 2008 St. Louis Rams, the Vikings' issue this season boils down to one simple fact: they just aren't that good. And a change in field boss is not going alleviate that.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XVI

-With a recount of the votes cast in the Minnesota gubernatorial election looming, Mark Dayton holds approximately a 9,000 vote lead over Tom Emmer. Given that margin in less than 0.5%, an automatic recount is in order. As I write this, all indications are that Emmer will forgo the option of conceding and move forward with the recount. Now I have no delusions that a recount will yield the desired result for the Emmer camp. But given the snafu in Hennepin County on election night, which falsely gave Dayton a 60,000 vote cushion, I say move forward. There was an utter lack of transparency by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office back in the 2008. This time around, you can bet Mark Ritchie et al will have their feet held to the fire.

-With a stirring comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings may have saved their season. I remain cautious for the simple reason that the Vikings have not won a road game since November 1 of last season. This Sunday, the Vikings travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears, who now feature DE Julius Peppers. You'll recall that it was December of last year when Peppers, then a member of the Carolina Panthers, toyed with Vikings offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and had QB Brett Favre on the run all night. With Favre even less mobile these days, let's hope the Vikings coaches started their game plan to block Peppers the minute Ryan Longwell's game-winning kick sailed through the uprights.

-I'm not one to wish my life away since nobody is promised tomorrow. But I will not try to make time stand still as November 30th approaches. The significance of that date is that will be my last day at my current job. After about five hours worth of meetings on Monday, if I ever see a mahogany conference room table again, it'll be too soon.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Something to add to my list of accomplishments

So, how many of you have ever criticized a Hall of Fame quarterback which in turn elicited a response from said legend?

{Brad raises his hand}

While browsing Twitter today, I came across a "tweet" posted by one Francis Asbury "Fran" Tarkenton.

It went as follows:

I wonder why the New York Times would call Brett Favre a “serial narcissist?”


The article went on to talk about how the Vikings' issues go much deeper than the botched trade for Randy Moss, more specifically the drama brought on by Favre in his 1-1/2 seasons with the club.

Anyhow, I interpreted Tark's tweet as a rhetorical question, as if he endorsed the description of Favre's personality. It wasn't such a stretch for me to believe such a thing given Fran's scathing criticism of Favre over the past couple of years.

And while I don't disagree that Favre is a narcissist, Fran himself was pretty self-assured in his playing days. As such, I took the liberty of sharing my opinion.

C'mon, Fran. You were pretty egomaniacal as a player.

Would you believe I received a response from Fran himself?

My friend, obviously u didn't know me then & u don't know me now. I have no such tendencies. BTW, I didn't make the statement!

What do you think? A case of "thou protesteth too much?"

Besides, I don't mind if my favorite QBs are egomaniacs. It's pretty tough to carve out a prestigious NFL career unless one has a strong belief in one's own abilities.

Whatever the case, I was honored that one of my childhood heroes even acknowledged my existence!


Election 2010: The racist teabagger vote

Yes, those angry racists in the Tea Party movement have hijacked the 2010 midterm elections. So now the votes have been cast and the Tea Party has spoken. As I write this, the GOP has gained 55 seats in the US House and six seats in the US Senate. Also, the states which were considered "swing states" in the 2008 Presidential election, Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all elected Republican governors!

Given the tea party is so "lily white", you can imagine the types of candidates they elected Tuesday evening, right?

Tim Scott

Susana Martinez

Nikki Haley

Marco Rubio

Allen West


Election Night 2010

In case you weren’t aware, Chris Matthews is an insufferable jackass. Tuesday evening was just a microcosm of that. During MSNBC’s election night coverage, Matthews interviewed Congresswoman Michele Bachmann shortly before she clinched a third term in Congress.

Matthews started right out of the gate misconstruing comments Bachmann made in an interview with him two years earlier.

”(Two years ago) you said on my program to me that you want to see the Democratic members of Congress investigated by the media, you put it that way.”

Actually, no, she didn’t. Read the actual transcript and read what she said. Never once did Congresswoman Bachmann use the word “investigate.”

From said transcript, here is what Congresswoman Bachmann said:

”…….what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that.”

I saw this particular excerpt of the interview and Bachmann’s insinuation was clear. The media was so hell bent on investigating “Joe the Plumber” as well as the pregnant daughter of GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, it shouldn’t seem totally insignificant that a Presidential candidate had associations with a Pentagon bomber like Bill Ayers.

Matthews’ blithering idiocy continued:

”You wanted (the media) to investigate the Democrats for un-American attitudes. I just want to ask you, do you stick with that plan? Do you want us to do it or will you do it with the subpoena power? Who do you want to investigate the Democratic members of Congress for un-American thinking?”

Ah, but Bachmann was as cool as a cucumber, as she swatted away that stupid question as if it were an annoying housefly. She even took a shot at Matthews himself.

"I think people are thrilling tonight, I imagine that thrill is maybe not quite so tingly on your leg anymore, I'm not sure anymore," Rep. Bachmann told Matthews.

This of course was in reference to Matthews’ comment in 2008 that he gets ”this thrill up my leg” whenever Barack Obama speaks. Matthews was clearly annoyed by that comment as well as a sign in the background which inquired ”How’s the tingle, Chris?”. Classic!

By the way, various MSNBC hosts have taken jabs at the Fox News Channel’s slogan of “Fair and Balanced.” Yet if you watched the election coverage on both networks, one could say that MSNBC’s coverage was about as balanced as Michael Moore and Lindsay Lohan on a teeter tauter. Their panel consisted of Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Eugene Robinson and Matthews. It’s pretty damning when Matthews is probably the most “conservative” of that bunch. Meanwhile, the Fox News coverage included Karl Rove (former George W. Bush Chief of Staff), Joe Trippi (former Howard Dean staffer), Brit Hume (right of center commentator) and Juan Williams (left of center commentator).

Stay classy, MSNBC.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XV

-Hey, have you heard? It's Election Day!! I arrived at my polling place at 6:50 this morning to five other cars in the parking lot. However, they all remained in their vehicles to stay warm while I jumped at the opportunity to be first in line! As I left my polling place, there literally was not a parking space to be had! I live in a predominantly conservative district, so the enthusiasm to vote GOP this election is indeed not a fallacy if my area is any indication.

-I've never been a huge critic of Vikings head coach Brad Childress. Granted, I don't put him on par with the greatest Vikings coach ever in Bud Grant, but he's hardly a Les Steckel either. But for those who are outraged over Childress's handling of the Randy Moss situation, it wasn't like this was a new thing for Chilly. In fact, he demonstrated in his first season as head coach how hypersensitive he is to criticism. Now, am I defending Moss and his antics after Sunday's game? Absolutely not. But did the Vikings organization honestly think Moss had become more congenial upon trading away a third round draft choice to acquire him? If so, then Zygi Wilf & Co. got exactly what they deserved for being so foolish.

-My Dad has lived in the San Francisco Bay area for almost forty years now. As such, his allegiance to the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, the NBA's Golden State Warriors and MLB's San Francisco Giants has been an ongoing thing for over three decades. I'm certain he was thrilled last evening when the Giants franchise clinched their first World Series in the 50-plus seasons they've played in that city by the Bay.

Since I last spoke with my Dad four months ago, my sister and her husband divorced, my youngest brother has become involved in a serious relationship and is thinking of adopting the gal's kids and my former stepmother (Dad's second of three wives) was in intensive care for almost a month due to complications from stomach surgery. In that time frame, I had attempted to call or text Dad on several occasions but never heard back. So when I finally do here from him, what is the content of the message? A texted picture of him wearing a Giants cap and jersey.

Yep, our family still puts the "fun" in dysfunctional.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Uncharted waters

In a perfect world, the residents of MN Congressional District 4 (THIS MEANS YOU, MOM!!!) would wake up and say "My goodness, Betty McCollum is a lousy representative. Thank God for a candidate like Teresa Collett, for whom we can cast a vote." Of course, in a perfect world, Betty would have never been elected to Congress in the first place.

But I digress.

Even in an election year that is heavily leaning Republican, CD4 will be a tough nut to crack. But if it's ever going to happen, this year is the best opportunity we've had in a long, long time. Entrenched Democrat candidates like McCollum and Jim Oberstar have never really had to participate in a serious campaign. It's pretty obvious that Oberstar, an 18-term Congressman, is in the fight of his life against GOP upstart Chip Cravaack. And if Oberstar's body language is any indication, he's rather annoyed that he has to work so hard this time around.

Then there's McCollum, who agreed to debate Collett last week. Given that Betty hasn't had to participate in many debates over her 10-year Congressional career, it's apparent she needs to hone her skills in that department.

To wit:

A typical political gaffe is when a candidate or politician accidentally tells the truth about how they feel. I have no doubt McCollum actually believes that Al-Qaeda is no longer a threat. But I guess it's now up to the voters in CD4 to decide how important that is to them.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Have a seat, Brett

In case you haven’t noticed, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has been besieged from all areas of his life over the past two weeks. The investigation into the “sexting” scandal is ongoing, with Favre having met with NFL security last week and his accuser, former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger, considering a meeting with the league to give her version of the saga. Then last Sunday, Favre was utterly inept in the stadium where he was revered for sixteen seasons, resulting in his head coach throwing him under the bus.

But the one reliable aspect of Favre’s career, his never missing a start under any circumstances (injuries, family tragedy, etc.), may come to an ignominious end this Sunday. After Favre fractured his left ankle in last Sunday’s games against the Green Bay Packers, there is serious doubt he will be allowed to continue his incomprehensible streak, which stands at 315 consecutive games (including playoffs).

It’s quite obvious that Favre’s on-field play has already been a detriment. He’s had two games this season where he has thrown three interceptions, both four-point losses (Week 2 to the Miami Dolphins and last week versus the Packers). You can also look at the game against the Jets on Monday Night Football a few weeks ago. With the Vikings trailing 22-20 in the fourth quarter, Favre overthrew a wide open Percy Harvin on a screen pass on third and short yardage. Had that play been successful, Harvin might have scored, or at least got the Vikes into field goal range.

A common retort would be that the Vikings wouldn’t have even been that close in any of those three games had Tarvaris Jackson been the starting quarterback. That’s a fair point. But who knows? Jackson has only had a total of nineteen career starts in his 4-1/2 NFL seasons. That’s barely more than one full season’s worth, which is hardly a fair gauge of the guy’s potential.

So am I saying it’s time to usher in the T-Jack era? Yes, at least in this Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. It’s painfully obvious that Favre has been a liability thus far, and only the stigma of “the streak” has allowed him to continue playing when it’s plain to see that he is showing every day of his 41 years. Plus, Jackson is coach Brad Childress’s guy. Remember when Chilly was so insistent that the Vikes trade up to the second round of the 2006 draft just to land Jackson, even though few other teams projected him as high as the third round? The head coach must have seen something in Jackson to warrant such a move, so it’s high time Childress go with the courage of his convictions and finally give Jackson the start.

This doesn’t mean Favre should never start another game this season. But at least when he’s rehabbing his injured ankle in an effort to regain his starting job, he’s doing so for the sole purpose of helping his team and not fortifying his ego to continue an unprecedented record.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Joy-less, Joy-less, we abhor thee

"Kill 'em with kindness" is a motto I've tried to live by for some time now. Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who looks to unseat current Senate majority leader Harry Reid, exemplified that mantra recently. This past Tuesday, The View co-host Joy Behar, who reminds me of a post-menopausal Kathy Griffin, said Angle is "going to hell, this b**ch" after viewing one of her political ads.

Angle's retort?

On Wednesday, there was a large bouquet on (The View's) set. Behar said it came with a note from Angle that claimed the candidate raised $150,000 online Tuesday and added, "Thanks for your help."

And to show she doesn't have a dignified bone in her body, Joyless couldn't help but invoke the "b word" once more.

Behar aimed at Angle again, suggesting the flowers were picked by illegal immigrants and "they're not voting for you, b----."

So Joy is not only caustic but she's also flat out dumb. Illegal immigrants voting? Really?


For the record

I'm picking the Texas Rangers to win the World Series in six games over the San Francisco Giants.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hear that? It's the other shoe falling

It really is about the economy, stupid. That is why the Duluth News Tribune, despite its center-left leanings, is advocating for a new direction in the US House.

Republican Chip Cravaack represents what Congress, including Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, needs at this critical crossroads in American history. A pro-business, fiscally conservative, former Navy captain, with a master’s degree in education, Cravaack has smarts. He is articulate, reasoned and composed. More critically, he has specific and promising strategies to pull the nation out of its financial funk.

“This is clearly unsustainable,” Cravaack said last week of our nation’s mounting debt and free-spending ways. “The best thing to correct the situation is to create a business-friendly environment where the private sector creates jobs.”

This is another hit for incumbent Congressman James Oberstar, who also lost out on an endorsement from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, one which has served him well in a socially conservative district.

Upon learning of the DNT's nod for Cravaack, Oberstar stated he was “Disappointed but not surprised.” Yeah, I'm not surprised either, Congressman Oberstar. When one votes for health care legislation allowing federal funding for abortions or an environmental bill which would cripple the mining industry so prevalent in one's congressional district, I can't imagine how you could be stunned.

Ah, but look on the bright side. You no longer have to continue with the charade that you actually maintain a residence within Congressional District 8. Maryland is pretty nice year round, isn't it?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XIV

-Meghan McCain is a vapid twit. Many of you politicos probably know that. What's sad is she's basically become a stooge of the liberal media because she professes to being a Republican while criticizing the "extreme right wing" of the GOP (Must have learned that from her dear ol' Dad, Senator John McCain). She also has anointed herself as the voice of the next generation of Republicans, even though there doesn't seem to be many young people proclaiming Meg as their standard bearer.

Many criticize young Ms. McCain because she really has accomplished little yet proclaims herself as an astute political pundit. However, when one criticizes Meg for her analysis, she claims it's because she's not taken seriously due to her....ahem...."top shelf."

Brittany Cohan of Red State weighs in:

Today, this came up in my Twitter feed and I about fell out of my chair. Meghan McCain had the nerve to attack Christine O’Donnell on (ABC TV's) This Week claiming she was making a mockery of running for office because she has “no real history, no real success in any kind of business”, and then claim that the backlash that came as a result of this absurd statement from someone with no real history and no success in any kind of business is because of the size of her chest? My message to Meghan: grow up.

Definitely read the entire post. I'm not certain which is better: the post itself or the title of Meghan McCain (D-Cup).

-As a Minnesota Twins fan, I'm still reeling from their having been swept away once again in the division series of the MLB playoffs. The more I think about the current state of professional Minnesota sports, the more queasy I become. As utterly dreadful and pathetic the NBA's Timberwolves have been over the past six seasons, they've actually won a playoff series more recently (2004) than either the Twins (2002) or the NHL's Minnesota Wild (2003).

-We saw some incredibly vicious hits in Sunday's NFL action, resulting in missed game action for Philadelphia Eagles' WR DeSean Jackson and Cleveland Browns' receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. As a result, the NFL is exploring the real possibility of suspending players who use their helmets as a weapon when making tackles. On the other hand, the league still looks to expand the regular season to eighteen games. If that happens, this great sport is definitely going to be watered down quite a bit because more games will merely increase the chances for additional serious injuries. As a result, the NFL is slowly attaining a reputation as an entity which looks to enhance its revenues but at the risk of the players' health which they insist is of grave concern to them.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

You had your time, you had the power, you've yet to have your finest hour

With Brian "Saint Paul" Ward and John "The Rocketman" Hinderaker out on assignment today, Derek Brigham and myself will be given the reins of The First Team broadcast of the Northern Alliance Radio Network.

With T-minus 17 days until Election Day, choosing show topics is the equivalent of shooting fish in the proverbial barrel.

In the 11:00 hour we will be joined in studio by local blogger Sheila Kihne. Sheila has rolled up her sleeves and performed the dirty work which the local mainstream media has been unwilling to do. That is, tell us about the real Mark Dayton, his somewhat bizarre past and how it could impact Minnesota's future. Check out Sheila's post from True North earlier this week.

In the Noon hour we will be joined by Ben Zierke, who is the Deputy Campaign Manager for Republican Congressional candidate Randy Demmer. Demmer is opposing incumbent Congressman Tim Walz in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District. We'll put Walz's record under the microscope, including the fact that 97% of his votes are in line with that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

We've also got a doozy for the weekly feature "Loon of the Week."

The festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. Central, and you can keep up with the broadcast in a myriad of ways.

-1280 on your AM dial.

-Stream it online at the AM 1280 The Patriot web site.

-Check out the official Northern Alliance Radio Network page on Facebook. We'll also set up our own hash tag on Twitter (#narn1).

-You can also be a part of the program by giving us a call at 651-289-4488.

Ah, but the fun doesn't stop there, as Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey immediately follow Derek and I at 1:00 for the Headliners edition of the NARN.

And for those who prefer constitutional talk to be about as subtle as a chainsaw, Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan are on from 3-5 with Sons of Liberty.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Evacuatin' Dayton still scurrying

Someone once said that if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton has taken that to the extreme.

It all started six years ago while serving in the U.S. Senate, when Dayton feared for the safety of himself and his staff upon receiving a top secret intelligence report. As such, Dayton decided to close his D.C. senate office for the following few weeks. Never mind that the 99 other Senators didn't see fit to follow suit despite having access to the very same intelligence report. Dayton was a lone wolf in his insistence that evacuation was the proper strategy, yet never gave a coherent explanation as to why.

Now, in light of the former Senator's behavior over the past few weeks, that so-called isolated incident in 2004 appears to have been the beginning of a bizarre trend of ducking serious inquiries.

It started last month after the completion of a gubernatorial debate with fellow candidates Tom Emmer and Tom Horner. Upon the debate's conclusion, Sioux Falls, SD news station KSFY was granted permission to speak with each of the candidates. KSFY informed each campaign that they would inquire about illegal immigration as well as Minnesota's budget shortfall. Emmer and Horner complied. But for some unexplained reason, the Dayton camp did not cooperate. This made ZERO sense. I mean, it's not like KSFY was going to ask about Dayton's unexplained erratic behavior or the gaps in his resume. I mean, illegal immigration and state budgets are pesky little things called pertinent questions, especially when asked of a man who yearns to be chief executive of an entire state.

Then today it was reported that Dayton settled a lawsuit brought by a former Senate aide who claimed he was fired upon informing then Sen. Dayton he was suffering from a heart condition. Now when it's alleged that the lawsuit was settled with taxpayer money, it's only fair that concerned citizens be given the full story.

But as WCCO-TV political guy Pat Kessler reported, Dayton once again was less than complicit.

And here I thought Democrats were the party of transparency. Sorry. Won't make that mistake again.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gardy's Dozen

Look, I never had any delusion that the Minnesota Twins would rally from a 2 games to nothing deficit and beat the New York Yankees in their ALDS matchup. But I did hold out hope that they would go down with a fight. Alas, that too was overly optimistic of me. The Yankees completed another routine division series beatdown of the Twins with a 6-1 victory Saturday night.

After being swept in their third consecutive division series, the Twins postseason losing streak has now reached a stupefying twelve games (the record is thirteen). What's even more mind boggling is the Twins currently have a ten postseason game losing streak at home (2-11 overall under manager Ron Gardenhire). Now I'm not advocating that Gardy be fired. But something just doesn't compute when the Twins enter the postseason. In his managerial career, Gardenhire has averaged nearly 90 regular season wins per year in nine seasons. But in six postseasons, Gardy's clubs are a paltry 6-21.

But the worst part of losing to Yankees yet again is the vapid screeds on Facebook and Twitter. It's the same bull pucky every time about how the Yankees just buy up all the talent and that why the Twins can't compete. Sure, the Yankees are incredibly talented due in large part to the financial resources they have. But the bottom line is they still have to go out and compete. Nothing is handed to them. And guess what? Other seemingly overmatched teams have held their own against the Bronx Bombers in recent postseason history. The 2005 LA Angels of Anaheim, 2006 Detroit Tigers and 2007 Cleveland Indians all ousted the Yankees in division series. Other than perhaps the Angels, none of those clubs can be considered big money franchises.

One final thing. I recall a fair number of Twins fans suggesting that the club was better off with Michael Cuddyer playing first base and that Justin Morneau should be traded. Funny how that conversation has suddenly quelled now that the Twins have gone 0-6 in the past two postseasons, both of which Morneau missed due to injury.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Uno Mas, Moss

I have to admit that it still hasn’t sunk in yet. Randy Moss is once again a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The main reason that it hasn’t resonated with me is it all happened so quickly. I watched Moss get shutout on Monday Night Football as his New England Patriots thumped the Miami Dolphins. Approximately 36 hours later, Moss is a member of the franchise with whom he spent the first seven seasons of his 12-year career.

When Moss was traded by the Vikings to the Oakland Raiders in early 2005, I endorsed the move. But it wasn’t because I felt Moss’s skills had diminished. No, it was quite apparent that Moss had become a huge distraction by continually undermining his head coach and Pro Bowl quarterback. It also didn’t hurt that then owner Red McCombs was looking to sell the team, so jettisoning the highly paid Moss increased the bottom line for the short-term future.

Another back story is this trade finally pairs Moss with quarterback Brett Favre, who coveted the highly talented wide receiver prior to the 2007 season when Favre was with Green Bay. In fact, many have surmised that’s when the relationship between Favre and Packers General Manager Ted Thompson was irretrievably broken when Green Bay failed to pull the trigger on a trade. Moss ended up in New England that season when the Raiders gave him up for only a fourth round draft pick.

So does this make the Vikings an instant Super Bowl contender? The jury is still out on that. However, the Vegas oddsmakers see it a little differently. Last week, the Vikings were listed as 25-1 odds to win in it all. Today they’re at 16-1.

But I believe one thing is certain: This levels the playing field in the NFC North.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Help the Joel Demos campaign......

.....raise the $6,294 $5,576 $5,534.60 it will take to get this great ad on during the Vikes Monday Night Football game against the Jets!

Donate here.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Providing a voice of reason

While perusing Facebook and Twitter Tuesday evening during another wretched loss by the Minnesota Twins, I came across comments from scores of people who were ready to be placed on suicide watch. You would have never guessed that one week ago the Twins were the first team in the 2010 MLB season to clinch their division.

While I've had the reputation of being an incurable optimist (except when it pertains to the Minnesota Vikings), it doesn't take a "glass half full" outlook to realize there is no reason for the vapors.

So as a public service, I would like address some of the concerns brought forth by Twins Nation.

-The Twins have played with no life since clinching the AL Central. They need to go into the playoffs with some momentum.

Really? The Twins were the hottest team in baseball when they entered the postseason last year, winning 17 of their final 21 regular season games. In 2006, they won 16 of their final 23, culminated by winning the AL Central on the final day. Does anyone recall how the Twins fared in the 2006 and 2009 postseasons? Yep, they were swept in both. In fact, they never once had a lead against Oakland in the '06 American League Division Series. And in last year's ALDS there was only one occasion where the Twins scored runs and the Yankees didn't answer back in the next half inning.

I'd be more concerned if the Twins were losing these games while at full strength. But the fact of the matter is they've played most of the past week without Joe Mauer, Jim Thome and J.J. Hardy, all of whom are nursing nagging injuries. I'd rather play with a AAA caliber lineup than have key guys irritate injuries while playing meaningless September baseball.

Sure, the pitching has been sub par. But the lion's share of the runs allowed have been yielded by pitchers (i.e. Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Jeff Manship, Alex Burnett and Randy Flores) unlikely to be major factor in the playoffs, if not left off the postseason roster altogether.

-The Twins still have a shot at home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. They're blowing it by not winning down the stretch.

Question: In the nine seasons Ron Gardenhire has been Twins manager, what's his home record in the postseason?

Answer: 2-9, including eight consecutive postseason home losses since 2002.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't want them to have home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. Heck, the Twins have adapted well to outdoor baseball as they have the best home record in the A.L thus far. But in the five seasons they've gone to the playoffs under Gardenhire (all while playing at the Metrodome), the Twins averaged 51 home wins during the regular year. For whatever reason, that success didn't translate into the postseason.

And as the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals can attest, just get in the playoffs and see what happens. The Cards won a mere 83 regular season games in '06, never had home field advantage in any playoff series and yet still managed to win the World Series.

-Looks like the Twins will have to play the Yankees again in the Division Series. Yet another "One and Done."

Hard to argue that Gardenhire's record against that Yankees is, to put it mildly, abysmal. Regular season and postseason combined, Gardy has a record of 18-54 versus the Yanks. Extrapolate that record over a 162-game regular season, and you're 40-122, which means you're the 1962 New York Mets.

But if you hold tight to the theory that "Pitching wins championships", then the Twins have a fighting chance in 2010. Outside of C.C. Sabathia, there isn't any other Yankees starting pitcher who strikes fear in the hearts of opponents.

A.J. Burnett, who is supposedly the Yanks' #2 starter, is 10-15 with a 5.33 ERA this season. In his last ten starts, Burnett is 1-6 with a 6.26 ERA (the Yankees are 2-8 in that span).

Veteran starter Andy Pettitte just came off the a two-month stint on the disabled list, so who knows what he'll provide. Last Friday, in only his second start since coming off the D.L., Pettitte allowed six earned runs and 10 hits in 3-1/3 innings against the Red Sox.

Phil Hughes is showing signs of fatigue as he has pitched nearly as many innings this season as the previous three years combined. In fact, Hughes has walked nine batters over his past two starts covering 12-1/3 innings.

Javier Vazquez has been relegated to mop up duty in the bullpen and may not even make the postseason roster.

So does my rationale mean a World Series berth in inevitable? Of course not. But save all the angst and hand wringing for meaningful games. You know, like the kind of games the Twins will be playing next week!!!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XIII

This Monday brings the debut of CNN's new show called Parker Spitzer, co-hosted by Kathleen Parker and disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Amid allegations of solicitation of high class hookers, Spitzer resigned as Governor 2-1/2 years ago.

Ironically, many of CNN's talking heads had less than flattering things to say about Spitzer upon the revelation of his sordid affairs. Now many of these people shown in the video below are colleagues of his.

I guess the CNN folks are embracing that old mantra of "He may be an S.O.B. but he's our S.O.B."

-In an interview on Dan Patrick's radio show this morning, former NFL coach (and all-around great guy) Tony Dungy was asked if he would consider coaching at his Alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Not surprisingly, Dungy politely said no.

No word if Dungy also declined to be thrown into a pit with every carnivorous member of the reptile family.

-This sounds like almost as good an investment as some guy named Cris Judd marrying J-Lo.

Golf can be an expensive game. But the putter that netted Jim Furyk an $11.35-million payday at the Tour Championship on Sunday cost him a whopping $39 at a discount golf shop near Boston.

Furyk picked up the used "Yes! Sophia" putter at Joe & Leigh's Discount Golf Pro Shop at Pine Oaks Golf Course in Easton, Mass., earlier this month. He bought it during a quiet visit to the shop after the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, The Enterprise of Brockton first reported.

That same putter was in Furyk's hands when he made a 2-foot putt for par that clinched the $1.35 million Tour Championship and another $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup.

A pretty nice plug for the pro shop, to be sure. Can you imagine the business being taken in at Joe & Leigh's this week? My guess is it might be as crowded there as every time a certain home in Shreveport, LA puts on a garage sale.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's do lunch

Not sure what's on your lunch and dinner menus for today? Let Chili's do the cooking and you can help them help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. For today only (September 27th) all Chili's profits will be donated to St. Jude's. Chili's has pledged to donate $50 million to the hospital over a span of ten years.

Founded in 1962, St. Jude's is the leader in treatment and research of catastrophic children's diseases.


Monday, September 20, 2010

A little bird told me.....(UPDATE)

......that a certain local NFL team may be holding a press conference tomorrow announcing the retirement of one of their employees.

If this certain employee's body language is any indication, I guess we shouldn't be shocked.

That would be a rather anticlimactic way to end an illustrious NFL career, no?

UPDATE: Huh. Guess my "little bird" was mistaken. Perhaps Brett Favre was convinced to stay after the acquisition of Hank Baskett.

UPDATE II: Some Vikings rubes were freaking out when they heard about a big ESPN truck pulling in to Winter Park for the Favre presser. What the rubes didn't realize is Favre has a presser every Wednesday during the season.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XII

-There was much buzz regarding the GOP Senatorial primary in Delaware, where upstart candidate Christine O'Donnell upset Rep. Bob Castle, who has served nine terms in Congress. Since this stunning result, many have opined that the GOP blew it, and that the "moderate" Castle had a greater chance of winning in the general election than a scurrilous tea party candidate like O'Donnell. While I find myself back and forth on that debate, I am heartened by one key aspect of tea party candidates making waves in primaries all across the country. That is good ol' fashioned grassroots efforts can still have an impact in American politics. After it was announced that the National Republican Senatorial Committee would not assist in financing O'Donnell's campaign, Delaware's newest GOP Senate candidate raised $1.31 million dollars in a 48 hour span after her stunning victory.

-Within the next week or so, the Minnesota Twins will clinch their sixth AL Central division title in the nine seasons. What's amazing is the Twins still have an opportunity for best record in the American League (as of Sunday evening, they're only one game behind the Yankees), which would give them home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. However, if they make it all the way to the World Series, the National League club will have home field advantage for the first time since the passing of that moronic rule where the league who wins the All-Star Game in July receives that honor in the Fall Classic. By the way, does anyone recall who was the winning pitcher for the NL in July's All-Star Game? That would be then Washington Nationals hurler (and now current Twins closer) Matt Capps.

-As a die hard (or long-suffering) Minnesota Vikings fan, I am not ready to pack it in for the 2010 season despite my club displaying an utterly inept passing offense through two weeks. Besides, I've always felt the Packers would win the NFC North with 12-13 wins with the Vikes getting in to the playoffs as a wildcard with 10-11 victories. Much of the blame for the first two games has been laid at the feet of QB Brett Favre, and rightly so. Through 11 games last season, Favre had thrown only three interceptions. He already has tossed four picks through the first two games of 2010. Would training camp have alleviated some of these issues? Possibly. But lest we forget, it was the Vikings organization who pinned all of their hopes on Favre returning this season and thus handled his renown waffling with kid gloves. Meanwhile, this past April, Donovan McNabb was available for merely a second round draft pick. Is it fair to say the Vikings made the wrong decision and thus should have pursued McNabb and cut ties with Favre? Not yet. But ripping Favre for not attending training camp (and mandatory mini camp) is an exercise in futility at this point. Zygi Wilf & Co. gave Favre carte blanche from day one, and the Vikings must now live with the consequences of that decision. We as Vikings fans must also, since none of us felt Tarvaris Jackson was ready to take the reins.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Movin' On

I've left jobs before. It was never really a big deal because I never cultivated a lot of close friendships amongst my fellow co-workers. I didn't feel as though I was being snobbish as much as I just didn't have a lot in common with those people.

But this job was different.

As my boss and I mutually agreed this past Friday that I would stay on at my workplace until I find new employment or until November 30 (whichever comes first), I felt a sense of overwhelming relief. It's been a hellish past six weeks for a myriad of reasons, none of which are relevant to this post. But as I broke the news Monday, I realized today how much I'll miss my co-workers.

When I was hired in March 2008, it was almost as if I was meant to work there. In getting to know some of my colleagues, I learned that my co-worker Tammy just weeks earlier married a guy Russ who was in the same class as my brother from Kindergarten thru High School graduation! And despite being stark opposites politically, the I.T. guy Kevin and I could spend literally several consecutive hours discussing the Vikings, the Timberwolves and 80s pop culture.

I've enjoyed some of the frivolous times, like the opportunity to manage the company softball team!

I've also had the sheer joy of welcoming new additions to co-worker's families.

I guess transition (I've come to loathe the word "change") is a part of life. As a person who can be somewhat routine oriented, there is a slight amount of apprehension. But at the same time, I enjoy opportunities to thrive in a brand new setting.

Whatever this new adventure may bring, it is my sincere hope that the friendships of my now temporary office will endure into the future.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A half-year late

This is it! The 2010 NFL season kicks off this evening as my Minnesota Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints, a rematch of that gut-wrenching 2009 NFC title game. Don't think for one second that the Vikings players haven't been thinking about this game 24/7 since the schedule was announced in the Spring.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time the Vikes have opened the season against a team who dashed their postseason hopes just months earlier.

On September 20, 1970, the Vikings hosted the Kansas City Chiefs, the team who throttled the Vikes in Super Bowl IV a mere eight months earlier. Legend has it that prior to that '70 season opener, Vikings coach Bud Grant showed his players video footage of that Super Bowl, specifically the audio bits of Chiefs coach Hank Stram clucking incessantly. It apparently worked as the Vikes stomped Kansas City 27-10.

If you ask any Vikings fan which loss in franchise history was most devastating, a vast majority would retort with the 1998 NFC Championship game loss to the Atlanta Falcons. A 30-27 overtime defeat brought to a bitter end a magical 15-1 season. The following September, the Vikings opened the 1999 regular season in Atlanta. The Vikings were leading 17-14 in the fourth quarter when Atlanta kicker Morten Andersen missed a potential game-tying field goal and the Vikes held on for the win. Rather ironic considering Vikes kicker Gary Anderson missed a field goal in the '98 title game which likely would have clinched a berth in the Super Bowl. But I'm sure we can surmise which was the bigger miss.

So if that quirky trend continues, the Vikings should beat the Saints tonight. And while it would be nice to open the season with a win, it's not much consolation for what took place in January.


Monday, September 06, 2010

What's with all the outrage?

I've always been an entrepreneurial sort. In chatting with my friend and neighbor Joe, I came to find out that he too has a bug to own his own business. As a West Point grad and someone who has an affinity for guns, Joe suggested we open a gun club.

The next step in the process was to determine a location for said firearms business. Well, as luck would have it, we both have connections in the Denver area. In fact, we were led to Littleton, CO, a suburb just south of Denver. However, people began to raise a stink because we decided to lease building space a mere 2-3 blocks from Columbine High School. Yes, I realize the horrific tragedy which took place there in April of 1999. But the second amendment clearly states "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." So why should the actions of extremists prevent us from exercising our Constitutional rights?

Can someone help me out here?


Saturday, September 04, 2010

For every minute I have to work, I need a minute of play

For the third time this calendar year, I have the distinct pleasure of co-hosting The First Team of the Northern Alliance Radio Network on AM 1280 The Patriot. And for the second time in four months, my friend and colleague Kevin Ecker has graciously agreed to join in the festivities.

The fun and frivolity begins at 11:00 a.m. today LIVE from the great Minnesota get-together, the Minnesota State Fair!

In the first hour we will be joined by MN State Senator Chris Gerlach (R-SD37). Senator Gerlach will discuss his re-election campaign as well as the prevalent issues facing state legislators come next session.

In the Noon hour we will be joined by the GOP endorsed candidate in Congressional District 5, Joel Demos. Joel has the unenviable task of becoming the first Republican in nearly fifty years to represent CD5 in the US House of Representatives. And as illustrated in one of his campaign ads, Joel is keenly aware of the Herculean task he undertakes.

We'll also gloss over other Congressional races around the country and assess the prospects of the GOP regaining the majority in Congress. Will we be partying like it's 1994?

With the vast political news taking place this past week in addition to two great guests, it's an embarrassment of riches for The First Team on this day. Heck, we may not even be able to get to the First Team staples of Loon of the Week and This Week in Gatekeeping, but we'll give it the old college try.

So if you're coming out to the Fair, the AM 1280 booth is located on Dan Patch two doors west of Cosgrove, just inside the Snelling Avenue entrance, next to the O’Gara’s “booth”! (Check out the map here).

In addition to checking out the broadcast on a good old fashioned AM radio dial, you can stream the show via the web here.

I'll also try to engage via Twitter during the broadcast. I'm thinking I'll use hashtag #narn1.

Ah, but the fun doesn't end at 1:00. Be sure to stay tuned for Mitch & Ed on the Headliners edition of the NARN, as they'll be on until 3:00 and then Sons of Liberty from 3-5.

Looking forward to a great show!!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XI

-Bubble-headed hack Nick Coleman is outraged, OUTRAGED that a scurrilous wingnut buh-law-ger is digging into the personal records of twice-divorced gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton. While I'm not a huge fan of such practices, I would advise Nick to cut the self-righteous bullcrap. In 2006, I recall Nick raising exactly ZERO objections to his Star Tribune colleagues drudging up a 1995 domestic abuse arrest of Alan Fine, who was the GOP candidate in MN CD5. What was buried deep in that story was the charge against Fine was eventually expunged from his record, and completely ignored was the fact Fine's ex-wife continued to rack up domestic violence charges.

Thankfully in 2006 my buh-law-ger pal Mitch Berg was kind enough to do the work that Nick and his fellow shills were unwilling to do.

-The Gallup Poll is hardly considered a right-wing spin machine. And that's why the latest Gallup tracking is so shocking.

Republicans lead by 51% to 41% among registered voters in Gallup weekly tracking of 2010 congressional voting preferences. The 10-percentage-point lead is the GOP's largest so far this year and is its largest in Gallup's history of tracking the midterm generic ballot for Congress.

When the the GOP made historic gains in the 1994 election season, I recall President Bill Clinton, who was midway through his first term, basically conceding that he received loud and clear the voters' message. So if Congressional Republicans make similar inroads in two months, I find it incredibly unlikely that the White House's current occupant will show anything resembling humility. Call it a hunch.

-This Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00, Kevin Ecker and myself will be hosting The First Team edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network an AM 1280 The Patriot. We'll be live on location at the Minnesota State Fair, with our booth residing at the corner of Dan Patch Ave. & Cosgrove St., just inside the main entrance off Snelling Avenue. Thus far we've booked as guests Joel Demos, the GOP endorsed candidate who will oppose incumbent Keith Ellison in Congressional District Five, and MN Sen. Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley). Come on out and say hello if you have a chance!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume X

-It's no secret the election years of 2006 and 2008 have been utterly disastrous for Congressional Republicans. Despite that, Rep. Michele Bachmann has emerged victorious in both election cycles, meaning she'll likely be our Congresswoman here in MN CD6 for as long as she desires. Nevertheless, Bachmann's latest DFL sacrificial lamb opponent, Taxin' Tarryl Clark, believes she can garner enough support by having some big names campaign on her behalf. The latest? Former VP Walter Mondale.

Yeah, nothing enhances electability more than a politician who holds the ignominious accomplishment of losing a statewide election in all 50 states.

-There isn't much (if anything) Tom Emmer could do to lose my support for becoming the next Governor of Minnesota. And I thoroughly enjoyed his initial TV ad. Unfortunately, I'm getting a sense that he's doing little more than speaking in platitudes. Granted, I know that's how the White House's current occupant got elected. But I don't see a Republican in Minnesota being able to turn that trick. That's why I am reallllllly looking forward to the debates. Emmer will be in his element and thus forced to convey his strategy for creating jobs, cutting taxes, etc.

-It's official: Tiger Woods and wife Elin have divorced.

The marriage was described in court documents as "irretrievably broken" with no point in trying to reconcile. Terms of the divorce were not disclosed, except that they will "share parenting" of their two children.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: When....ahem....."adult film stars" say Tiger is in to some freaky stuff, there is no way he could ask the mother of his children to engage in such "activities."


Sunday, August 15, 2010

For the first time in my life....

....I am NOT within the borders of the United States of America!

The fetching Mrs. Carlson and I are enjoying ourselves in Niagara Falls this weekend (Belated tenth anniversary getaway)!

Sometimes it's best to let photography do the talking. And since we're visiting one of the Seven Wonders of Canada, this would be no exception.

A view from our top floor suite at the Marriot!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume IX

-I was in line to vote in the MN primary Tuesday before the doors opened at 7:00 a.m. As I approached the teller to give her my name, she asked for my address. However, I merely handed her my driver's license with all the information. She was delighted that I so kindly streamlined the process.

A photo ID check to find out if I'm registered. Hmmmm. There oughta be a law.

-My commute to my workplace is approximately 25 miles one way. Then this past week our CEO informed us we will be relocating our office to an area of Bloomington which will add 10 miles to my morning drive. As a result, I've thrown out not-so-subtle hints about allowing employees to work 2-3 days per month from home, since we can access all the files we need via our company issued laptops.

So when I went into his office for a meeting today, there happened to be a business periodical strategically placed on his conference table. The headline article was titled "The Perils of Flextime."

Talk about subtlety.....

-The one thing about putting in 50-plus hour work weeks this month? I haven't been snacking nearly as much. When I stepped on the scale today I saw I was the same weight as the day I got married ten years ago!