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.