Thursday, April 29, 2010

Live from the MN GOP state convention

I will be sending out live updates while at the convention this weekend.

I will be utilizing Facebook and Twitter.

Hope to hear from you!!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baseball trivia time

What a month of April it has been for Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. He threw a no hitter against the Atlanta Braves on April 17 and then last night won his fifth game of the season.

Only one other pitcher in MLB history has won five games and thrown a no hitter in the month of April. Can you name him?


ANSWER: Jack Morris (Detroit Tigers, 1984).


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emmer chooses running mate

Minnesota GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer selects Annette Meeks as his running mate.

You can click here for audio of my immediate reaction.

Seriously, can anyone even name the current Lieutenant Governor? The fact of the matter is the Lt. Governor candidate has rarely made a positive impact in a gubernatorial candidate's campaign. If anything, said candidate can be a drag on the ticket (see Judi Dutcher, 2006).

Put it this way: Emmer's selection does not change my endorsement of his candidacy.

Now, on to the state convention, which begins Thursday!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Old "News" still fresh!

From the time I was in middle school through my college years, my room was a veritable shrine to Huey Lewis and the News. If there was a TV show or national radio program featuring Huey, I was sure to tune in. I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent watching MTV, ready to hit the record button on the VCR. To this day, I still have my collection of Huey Lewis music videos on VHS.

This past Saturday evening at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, I saw Huey and the boys in concert for the first time since 1991. Despite the fact that Huey will turn sixty years old this July, he gave no indication that his musical prowess had diminished. While the faces have changed somewhat with the retirements of original members Chris Hayes (guitar) and Mario Cipollina (bass), the band's sound remains just as distinctive as it did in the '80s.

The set began with four or five soulful tunes from an album which is currently in the works. While HLN hit the mainstream in the 80s with a general pop sound, Huey's roots (and heart for that matter) lie in the blues/soul genre. While the crowd politely applauded this set, Huey ascertained that the oldies (still not comfortable referring to '80s tunes as "oldies") were in demand. The next set began with He Don't Know, a modest hit on 1991's Hard at Play. But then the crowd really got into it when the guys launched into I Want a New Drug from their most successful album to date, the multi-platinum Sports. The band also covered the tunes Heart and Soul and The Heart of Rock & Roll from that same album.

After whipping the crowd into a frenzy, the band covered So Much in Love a capella, and did a mighty fine rendition of it! After a couple more songs, Huey and the gang walked off the stage for the evening. Of course, an encore was in order. Huey knew full well he couldn't end a show without singing The Power of Love from the Back to the Future soundtrack. The guys then wrapped up with Do You Believe in Love and Workin' for a Livin', both from 1982's Picture This.

All in all, Huey Lewis and the News put on a great show on Saturday. And given the lackluster performances recently put forth by 60-something rockers (The Who at the Super Bowl comes to mind) it was a treat to indulge in such a stellar performance.


Friday, April 23, 2010

The all-time NFL Pickle-named team

QB - Jimmy Clausen
QB - Mark Vlasic (backup)
QB - Steve Dils (third string)
RB - Felix Jones
RB - Tony Nathan
WR - Don Hermann
WR - Nathan Poole (sorry Vikings rubes)
TE - Chris Gedney
OL - Scott Dill
OL - Dick Farman
OL - Al Steinfeld
DE - Paul Kruger
DT - Dick Klein
DT - Bob Heinz
LB - Ralph Ortega
DB - Nathan Vasher


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reunited, and it feels so good!!

With some utter craziness enveloping my work place, I was grateful to have a little break from the action at the end of this past week.

On Thursday we attended our first regular season Twins game at the new Target Field. Naturally I was ecstatic that the Twins trounced the Boston Red Sox, 8-0!

The view from our seats in the Home Run Terrace

But even better was the fact I got to enjoy the game with my lovely bride, my sister, her husband (whom I hadn't met in the 4-1/2 years they've been married) and my youngest brother Ben. The last time I saw Ben was September 1998 when he was a 22-year old Marine about to be married. Unfortunately, the marriage endeavor lasted only 16 months. Nevertheless, it was great to see my "little" bro (I say "little", but he's actually 6'5"!!) after so many years.

Look who's here!!!! It's my little bro!

As an added bonus, I had also learned that my long-time buddy Jon (along with his wife Amy) would be in attendance at Thursday's game. That too was a long overdue reunion, given that I hadn't seen them since their wedding day in March 1998. And if Jon ever told his wife about Spring Break 1991 in Fort Myers, FL (along with two other of our good buddies), she may have balked at such a reunion.

Me (far right) with my three best buds back in June of 1991

Me and my good buddy Jon. We've hardly changed a bit in 19 years, eh?

To top off the end of the week, I was proud to host a sibling reunion at our home Friday evening! There have been several occasions where there have been three out of the four sibs together. But all four of us have not been in the same room since December 1989 when our beloved grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

From left to right: Carly, Eric, Ben and Brad. Celebrating Grandma & Grandpa Carlson's 50th anniversary in December 1989.

From left to right: Ben, Eric, Carly and Brad. Hopefully we don't have to wait another 20 years for this photo-op

Yes, this past week was yet another reminder of how blessed I am to have the family friends I do.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


With job approval ratings at an all-time low for the Obama administration, a scintilla of good news would be welcome in the White House.

Leave it to the Washington Post to be a seemingly willing accomplice (free subscription log-in required):

The federal deficit is running significantly lower than it did last year, with the budget gap for the first half of fiscal 2010 down 8 percent over the same period a year ago, senior Obama administration officials said Monday.

The officials attributed the results to higher tax revenue and to lower spending than projected on bailing out the financial system. If the trend continues for the rest of the year, it would mean the annual deficit would be $1.3 trillion -- about $300 billion less than the administration's projection two months ago for 2010.

Imagine if you were behind on your mortgage payment when all of a sudden the transmission goes bad on your vehicle. Would you celebrate the fact that instead of paying $2,500 for car repairs, the tab came to "only" $2,000, all the while having so many other financial woes?

Clearly, such celebration of "only" a $1.3 trillion budget deficit is a sign of desperation of by an already foundering Democrat party. And even if a fair portion of the American people buy in to such spin, it could still backfire.

By suggesting the deficit may have peaked, administration officials are taking a political gamble. If the favorable number does not hold up in coming months and the budget shortfall surpasses the $1.4 trillion recorded last year, voters in the November midterm elections could punish the Democrats for offering false hope.

One area where the President has been consistent in his rhetoric is to continuously point out the deficits he inherited, specifically laying blame at the feet of the Bush administration's "tax cuts and two wars." Yet the highest budget deficit under the previous administration was around $450 billion. So the aforementioned Obama administration officials are rejoicing over the fact that if the current trend holds, the annual deficit will only be three times the size of the largest shortfall under George W. Bush.

Forgive me if I'm reluctant to share my exuberance.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Free Enterprise: The Backbone of our Nation

Given the left wing agenda of the current administration occupying the White House, it would be no surprise if some aspiring entrepreneurs were reluctant to start a business in the 21st century. But American history has shown that the human spirit can overcome a lot when it truly yearns to accomplish something great.

Recently the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has organized a video contest for the specific purpose of promoting free enterprise principles. Our pal Katie Kieffer has thrown her proverbial hat in the ring by extolling the virtues of said principles.

It heartens me to hear that Katie still exudes the same enthusiasm and dogged determination she had five years ago while still at the College of St. Thomas!

This country is too great to concede to a European style socialism. I only hope more young people are clinging to the vision Katie is conveying.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

MLB debut at Target Field

Friday, April 2, 2010. A historic date in Minnesota Twins history as they officially christened their new outdoor stadium in downtown Minneapolis with an exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Target Field is definitely a first class ballpark, one which the Twins will call home for many, many years to come. And it also launches the Twins organization into the upper echelon of major league baseball franchises. The new venue significantly enhances revenue streams, evidenced by the 50% increase in payroll over last season. Yes, gone are the days in which the Twins were merely a glorified farm system for players who rose to stardom in their organization but got the really big money elsewhere (see Hunter, Torii; Santana, Johan).

As I sat amongst a festive crowd Friday evening, I couldn't help but think about the fact that twice in the previous 26 years the Minnesota Twins almost ceased to exist.

In 1984, there were rumblings that the Tampa area was looking for an MLB franchise. With notoriously frugal owner Calvin Griffith growing weary of the sudden epidemic of seven-figure annual salaries, he ascertained the fan base in the Twin Cities could not support such a system. As a result, Griffith argued that if fan attendance continued to sag, he could opt out of the Metrodome lease and relocate the franchise. But in an effort to block such an action, local businessman Harvey Mackay organized a ticket buyout program for the simple purpose of inflating attendance figures. There was nothing more surreal than a May game against Toronto where the announced crowd was more than 51,000 despite less than 25% of that total actually present. The following month, another local businessman by the name of Carl Pohlad purchased the Twins from Griffith and agreed to keep the team in Minnesota.

Under Pohlad's ownership, the Twins would win two World Series championships. But shortly after their second title, the Twins franchise foundered. From 1993 through 2000, the club had nary a winning season. But in 2001, led by a solid core of young, home-grown players, the Twins broke through with their first above .500 season in nearly a decade. Their reward? Commissioner Bud Selig suggesting the real possibility that the Twins franchise (along with the then Montreal Expos) would be contracted. Despite such an ominous outlook, they weathered the storm and continued to produce winning seasons (five division titles over the next nine seasons) while still being a low revenue producing club.

Given such an uncertain (and sometimes bizarre) history, Friday evening provided an air of celebration. In fact, one of the more poignant moments of the evening came in the eighth inning of Friday's game. Jacque Jones, one of the young up and coming stars of the Twins resurgence in the 2000s, received a long standing ovation from the crowd of more than 32,000. Jones represented a link to the core players who made the most out of the Twins being a small market club. And because of renewed interest in Twins baseball over the past ten years, a new ballpark suddenly became feasible (and ultimately a reality), a fact we fans wanted to acknowledge.

The 8-4 loss to the Cards was almost an afterthought. For the first time in almost two decades, there is zero question about the long term viability of major league baseball in the Twin Cities. That fact alone is cause for celebration.