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.