Friday, December 30, 2011

The Joy of Sak's

Sak's Sports Bar in Vadnais Heights Thursday evening was the site of 1500 ESPN's final NFL trivia contest of the season. Having participated in a handful of contests this year (and having reached the championship round TWICE without a victory), tonight was my final opportunity to win the coveted $100 cash prize!

There was a record number of participants in the opening round, as 30 people/teams took the opening written quiz, which was worth 19 points. The sixteen best scores were then eligible to face-off in the "Family Feud" style bracket tournament. We were given a pre-contest tip by emcees Tom Pelissero and Phil Mackey to know the history of the Vikings' regular season finales.

As is normally the case, I rolled the opening quiz, thus earning the 5th seed in Thursday's tournament.

To recap:

Round One
Jerry Burns coached his final game as Vikings head coach in 1991. Who was the Vikings' starting QB in that season's final regular season game?

Brad (buzzing in first): Rich Gannon (correct)

Brad wins!!!!!!

Round Two (Best 2 of 3)
Name the QB who has thrown the most Week 17 TD passes since 2000.

Brad (buzzing in first): Brett Favre (correct)

1-0, Brad

Name the last QB who was selected #2 overall in the NFL draft.

Sam (buzzing in first): Jamarcus Russell (incorrect)
Brad: Rick Mirer (incorrect)
Sam: {no guess}
Brad: Ryan Leaf (incorrect)

Correct answer was Donovan McNabb in 1999.

Still 1-0, Brad

Cris Carter caught his final touchdown as Viking from which QB?

Brad (buzzing in first): Todd Bouman (incorrect)
Sam: Brad Johnson (incorrect)
Brad: Daunte Culpepper (CORRECT)

Brad wins, 2-0

FINAL FOUR (best 2 of 3, category questions)
There are currently six players this season who have rushed for at least 1,000 yards in addition to having at least 300 yards receiving. Name them.

Brad (buzzing first): LeSean McCoy (correct)
Jermichaels: Maurice Jones-Drew (correct)
Brad: Arian Foster (correct)
Jermichaels: Steven Jackson (correct)
Brad: Ray Rice (correct)
Jermichaels: Frank Gore (INCORRECT)

Brad leads, 1-0

In the 2010 regular season finale, Vikings QB Joe Webb completed passes to nine different players. Name them.

Brad (buzzing in first): Sidney Rice (INCORRECT)
Jermichaels: Visanthe Shiancoe (correct)

Tied, 1-1

In the 2001 regular season finale, Vikings QB Spergon Wynn completed passes to six different players. Name them.

Brad (buzzing in first): Michael Bennett (correct)
Jermichaels: Randy Moss (correct)
Brad: Jake Reed (correct)
Jermichaels: Cris Carter (correct)
Brad: Doug Chapman (INCORRECT)
Jermichaels (for the win): Jim Kleinsasser (INCORRECT)
Brad: Byron Chamberlain (CORRECT)

BRAD WINS, 2-1!!!!

Championship Round (Best 3 of 5, category questions)
In 2007, RB Adrian Peterson was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Name the other ten running backs taken within the first four rounds.

Nine-time champ Brendan (buzzing in first): Marshawn Lynch (correct)
Brad: Rashard Mendenhall (INCORRECT; drafted in round one in 2008. CLOSE!)

1-0, Brendan

This Sunday, Jim Kleinsasser will play his final NFL game. Kleinsasser was drafted in 1999. Name the other seven players drafted by the Vikings that year.

Brad (buzzing in first): Jay Humphrey (correct)
Brendan: Daunte Culpepper (correct)
Brad: Dimitrius Underwood (correct)
Brendan: {no guess}

1-1 tie

In the 51-year history of the Vikings, there have been seven players who donned the Vikes' uniform whose last name began with 'Y'. Name them.

Brendan (buzzing in first): Albert Young (correct)
Brad: Rickey Young (correct)
Brendan: Ron Yary (correct)
Brad (taking all 15 seconds): Uhh.....Sam Young? (INCORRECT)

2-1, Brendan

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record of 5,084. Other than Marino, name the 10 QBs who have more career passing yardage than Brees.

Brendan (buzzing in first): Peyton Manning (correct)
Brad: Brett Favre (correct)
Brendan: John Elway (correct)
Brad: Fran Tarkenton (correct)
Brendan: Warren Moon (correct)
Brad: Steve Young (INCORRECT)

Brendan wins, 3-1

Yes, one could say that I personify my favorite NFL club in that I get to the big game only to fall short.

Sure, I lost out on the hundred bucks. But I did receive consolation prizes in the form of a black Coors Light t-shirt (got a white one last month) and two tickets to the Traxxas National ISOC Snocross & Freestyle, which will take place next weekend at Canterbury Park.

So there's that.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Lost in emotion

My friend Brittany, who's a staffer at the Republican National Committee, made a very savvy observation a couple of months ago regarding President Obama's reelection prospects in 2012. She basically said the Obama campaign will vie for the emotional vote since the intellectual vote is out of play.

My how Brit's prescience is playing out perfectly.

Let's start with the agreement to end the Iraq war. In less than 24 hours after announcing the draw down of US forces in Iraq by the end of 2011, the Obama reelection team sent out a campaign letter patting themselves on the back for keeping one of their central promises. Of course the emotional component was how all the troops would be home for Christmas, for which Obama et al were quick to accept full credit. But the intellectual aspect of this issue tells us that the exit strategy was agreed upon by the Iraqis and the Bush administration in late 2008. In addition, the withdrawal date was kept only after the Obama administration failed to secure an extended stay in Iraq. The region was still rather unstable, so prominent Pentagon officials advised that there still be a presence. Sadly, with US forces having been gone approximately one week, multiple explosions occurred in Baghdad Thursday, resulting in multiple fatalities.

How about Obamacare? Despite the Supreme Court of the United States blocking out three days in March for hearings on the law's Constitutionality, the Obama administration is touting the supposed wonderful attributes of the new bill, specifically how young adults can remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26. The emotional highlight is that 2.5 million more younger Americans will have healthcare under this new law. That's good, right? Ah, but that darn intellectual component just throws cold water on the whole thing. Such a provision of allowing young adults to remain on Mom and Dad's coverage is already causing premiums to rise. Lest we forget, the major provisions of the bill are not even slated to take effect until 2014. What will that do to healthcare costs???

But the coup de grace of "emotionalism" took place during this whole "payroll tax holiday" debacle. From the beginning, President Obama was looking to extend the payroll tax cut for another year. In exchange for this agreement, the Congressional Republicans attempted to negotiate expedition of a review of the Keystone XL pipeline, which many argue would create thousands of jobs as well as giving us more access to our own source of energy, thus lessening dependence on foreign oil. Yet when the Senate inexplicably passed only a two month extension of the payroll tax (a logistical nightmare to implement according to people familiar with...y' business works) and the GOP-controlled House voted it down because they wanted to pass a one-year pact, what do you suppose the spin was? Yep, according to the President, those awful Republicans are denying tax relief to the middle class....even though they were acquiescing to Obama's wishes of one entire year of maintaining the lower rates. Facts are, the continued lower payroll tax rate means less money going into Social Security, thus perpetuating this absurd practice of deficit spending. That's the argument that should have been made at the outset.

These examples provide a clear-cut strategy to defeat the President in 2012. Now the onus is on Republicans (Presidential and Congressional candidates) to make the intellectual case to voters. As Michelle Malkin noted last month, it's high time somebody offers "Concrete solutions (as opposed) to kick-the-can-down-the-road fecklessness.”


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It happened thirty years ago today

It was 30 years ago today, December 20, 1981, when the Minnesota Vikings played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium --- and I was there!

The temperature was only in single digits but I didn’t care. It was an opportunity to see my favorite Vikes in person. Back then, the purple-helmeted warriors were still coached by the legendary Bud Grant and led by the likes of QB Tommy Kramer and receivers Ahmad Rashad & Sammy White.

With the Vikings trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 late in the game, Kramer led the Vikings down the field in one last quest for victory. Alas, the Vikes came up short as Kramer’s fourth down pass to TE Joe Senser in the end zone was broken up.

My brother Eric had brought along a Vikings pennant flag autographed by Rashad. Eric was so disgusted at the outcome that he threw said flag onto the field and exclaimed “VIKINGS SUCK!”

As we were walking to the car, I suddenly began to limp. Within seconds, it felt as though my feet were going to fall off. Yes, it appeared I was stricken with a slight case of frost bite. Of course, being only 12-years old, you would have thought I was shot in the foot with a .357 magnum. A family friend ended up performing the fireman’s carry in order to get me to the car.

Picture that. A guy in his late 20s with a kid dressed like Randy from the movie A Christmas Story draped over his shoulder.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Mike Jungbauer for Majority Leader

In light of the resignation of MN State Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, my personal State Senator is throwing his proverbial hat in the ring for the leadership position.

I like Mike Jungbauer a lot, and would be hard pressed to name anyone more well spoken on policy.

Give him a listen.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead...

With all the news that has taken place this past week, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring in reinforcements for today's installment of The Closer. So in a fortuitous concatenation of events, I had already booked Jack Tomczak and Benjamin Kruse of the local nightly radio show The Late Debate to appear on the program this afternoon. From 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time on AM 1280 The Patriot, the three of us will delve into several topics on both the local and national levels.

In the first hour, we'll look at the state of the MN GOP. Whether it's scandals regarding caucus leaders or party chair candidates, we'll discuss the fallout as well as the future of the party itself.

In the second hour, we'll check out the national political scene, including the GOP Presidential race and the ending of the Iraq war.

So please give us a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Godspeed, Senator Koch (UPDATE: Whoa!)

I fully admit that I had ZERO clue this was coming.

After just one year on the job, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch suddenly announced she was resigning from the post because she would not seek reelection.

"We cannot afford a lame duck leader in negotiations next session, which is why I am resigning from my position as Majority Leader," she said in a letter.

You can read Senator Koch's entire letter here.

When state Republicans, in November 2010, won control of the Minnesota Senate for the first time since the early '70s, Koch shortly thereafter was named majority leader, becoming the first woman in Minnesota history to hold that title.

At this moment, there is little to go on as to why Sen. Koch will not seek re-election in 2012. Nevertheless, that doesn't preclude people like myself from speculating.

Despite the fact the legislature is in session only half the year, being leader of the majority caucus is literally a full-time (and then some) job. That leaves very little to no time for working to supplement the pittance of a salary earned by legislators, never mind a family life. With a daughter in 10th grade, it's quite possible Senator Koch felt as though she was missing out on too much family time. Since Koch herself is not a career politician, it's also possible she had grown quite weary of the nasty tone levied against her during the government shutdown in July or the fact she's been rather lukewarm on the polarizing issue of a new Vikings stadium.

To me, this might well be the perfect time to step down. In light of the news a couple of weeks ago that the state of Minnesota is looking at a $876 billion budget surplus, all without raising taxes, GOP leaders were able to extract a pledge from Governor Mark Dayton that he would not push for his long sought-after tax increase during the 2012 session. If you can get a liberal Democrat like Dayton to acquiesce to such a thing, your work is done! That, and I believe the interview I conducted with Sen. Koch on December 4 was the last radio guest appearance she conducted as Senate Majority Leader. Again, how does she top that???

But in all seriousness, I wish Senator Koch nothing but the best. She served the state of Minnesota with a tremendous amount of passion and professionalism and was true to her core convictions all the while.

UPDATE: Sen. Koch accused of "inappropriate relationship." Wow, this has been just a banner month for the Minnesota GOP, eh?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XLVI (UPDATE: Sawalich drops out)

-Yes, it's pretty much been established that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a jellyfish. Beyond that, the man makes Droopy Dog sound like General George S. Patton.

Behold Reid's insufferably ignorant statement on the financial status of those who create jobs in America.

"Millionaire job-creators are like unicorns; they're impossible to find and don't exist."

A famous Dennis Miller rant from about 4-1/2 years ago comes to mind when I listen to that clip.

If it’s possible to make Mr. Limpet sound like Demosthenes, Reid does it every time he opens his ashen piehole and haltingly forces out that tremulous pale-gray oratory that sounds like it’s oozing from a stuck caulking gun.

I'll say one thing for Senator Reid and his fellow Democrats. They have definitely provided a veritable trove of sound bites which the Republican National Committee absolutely can (and should) use to their advantage.

-I'll fully admit that I'm not much of an insider when it comes to Minnesota state party politics. So when MN GOP chair Tony Sutton resigned nearly two weeks ago, I didn't really have any strong feelings either way.

Upon Sutton's resignation, it was learned that the party was approximately a half-million dollars in debt. Naturally, the pro-Sutton and anti-Sutton crowds had their say as to whom was most responsible, but the fact is that such petty squabbling wasn't going to alleviate the problem.

So as speculation commenced regarding candidates for the next MN GOP chair, many delegates began to compile a list of qualities they'd like to see in the next party chair. A lot of what I heard from those who consider themselves "grassroots" is they'd prefer to see someone who makes a more concerted effort to reach out to them. In addition, many felt we should focus on someone who possesses a solid business acumen, an attribute which would be of great value in attempting to overcome the party's debt.

The first name I've seen thrown into the fray is Eden Prairie resident Brandon Sawalich, who is the Sr. Vice President at Starkey Hearing Technologies. At first blush, his background is quite impressive. Here's hoping for more superlative candidates as the days go on.

UPDATE: Sawalich drops out, continuing the tremendous run for Minnesota Republicans.

-Collective hearts of Minnesota girls were shattered over the weekend upon the news that Twins catcher Joe Mauer asked girlfriend Maddie Bisanz for her hand in marriage (she said yes).

Mauer was asked if this big change in his life was going to affect his baseball career.

"No. (Maddie's) the one who got me through last year," Mauer said. "If anything, she's going to make me better. We were really close (friends) in '09, too."

I can hear it now. If indeed Mauer has another sub par season in 2012, some Twins fans might actually begin referring to Maddie as "Yoko Bisanz."


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just when things went right doesn't mean they were always wrong......

Assuming my access card to the radio station's entrance still works, I'll be live on the air this afternoon from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time on AM 1280 The Patriot.

Say, you remember how Mitt Romney was the inevitable GOP nominee for President? Well I'll dig in to how Newt Gingrich has long passed the "flavor of the month" status and is in prime position to take the Iowa caucuses. I'll also discuss how Gingrich's improbable ascension over the past several months has the Obama reelection team scrambling.

At 1:30, I will be joined by author Mary Corbett via telephone. Mary's latest book is entitled National Guard 101: A Handbook for Spouses, which provides insight into the military institution that has been around for 375 years!

At 2:00, Jake Loesch of Minnesotans United for All Famillies will join me in studio. MN United is a nonpartisan organization committed to defeating the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, which will be voted on by Minnesotans in November 2012.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, December 09, 2011

NFL Trivia night: Ray J's

After taking a couple of weeks off, I was back in the saddle for NFL Trivia night Thursday at Ray J's in Woodbury. And just like last time I played, I breezed through the first three rounds to get to the finals.

The latter rounds entail buzzing in "Family Feud" style and answering questions by category. The finalists then alternate within one category until someone gets an answer wrong. If there's an odd number of answers, the person who buzzes in first has the advantage if the two contestants run the table. The first to win three categories in the championship round wins the match.

On this particular evening, my opponents in the finals was a duo who called themselves "The Jermichaels."

Question 1: Something along the lines of which QBs have had at least ten 4th quarter comebacks on the road since 1997.

Brad (buzzes in first): Favre (incorrect)
Jermichaels: (for the win) Roethlisberger (correct)

1-0, Jermichaels.

Question 2: Since 1985, the Vikings have drafted 13 different Tight Ends. Name them.

Jermichaels (buzz in first): Kleinsasser (correct)
Brad: Kyle Rudolph (correct)
Jermichaels: Steve Jordan (incorrect)
Brad (for the win; takes nearly all of the allotted 15 seconds and then pulls out of his a**): Carl Hilton (CORRECT)

1-1 tie

Question 3: In the Lions' winless season in 2008, five QBs threw at least one pass for the team. Name them.

Brad (buzzes in first): Dan Orlovsky (correct)
Jermichaels: Daunte Culpepper (correct)
Brad: (take nearly all 15 seconds): Frank Reich (knew it was wrong almost immediately. Reich was 46 in 2008; INCORRECT)
Jermichaels (for the win): Drew Stanton (correct)

2-1, Jermichaels.

Question 4: Name the running backs drafted by the Vikings since 1992.

Jermichaels (buzz in first): Adrian Peterson (correct)
Brad: Robert Smith (correct)
Jermichaels: Onterrio Smith (correct)
Brad: Michael Bennett (correct)
Jermichaels: Mewelde Moore (correct)
Brad: Toby Gerhart (correct)
Jermichaels (taking nearly all 15 seconds): Moe Williams (correct)
Brad: Lorenzo Booker (INCORRECT)

The Jermichaels win the $100.

{sigh} Oh well, there's always next week.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Baldwin bounced

This past Tuesday, actor Alec Baldwin was removed from an American Airlines flight allegedly due to his failure to cooperate with FAA regulations.

Baldwin got into a tiff with a flight attendant and was kicked off a flight Tuesday because, he tweeted, he wouldn't turn off his smartphone while waiting for the plane to take off. He was playing the popular phone game Words With Friends at the time.

"Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving," Baldwin, 53, tweeted, adding the sly hashtag, #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt," referring to American Airlines filing for bankruptcy a few weeks ago.

One could hardly blame the flight crew for their incredulity regarding Baldwin's story. I mean, "Words with Friends?!?!" It would seem hard to believe someone that insufferable actually has friends.

I digress.

Since Baldwin was so public with his criticism of American Airlines, the company took to its Facebook page to give their account of the incident.

Since an extremely vocal customer has publicly identified himself as being removed from an American Airlines flight on Tuesday, Dec. 6, we have elected to provide the actual facts of the matter as well as the FAA regulations which American, and all airlines, must enforce.

Cell phones and electronic devices are allowed to be used while the aircraft is at the gate and the door is open for boarding. When the door is closed for departure and the seat belt light is turned on, all cell phones and electronic devices must be turned off for taxi-out and take-off. This passenger declined to turn off his cell phone when asked to do so at the appropriate time. The passenger ultimately stood up (with the seat belt light still on for departure) and took his phone into the plane’s lavatory. He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed, even with the cockpit door closed and locked. They immediately contacted the cabin crew to check on the situation. The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language
(Oof. I sure hope Baldwin's daughter didn't ignore her Dad's call that day - ed.).

Given the facts above, the passenger was removed from the flight and denied boarding.

Naturally, there was much mocking and ridiculing of Baldwin in light of his claiming to be a victim. Leave it to Dave "Iowahawk" Burge to sum it up so brilliantly:

Alec Baldwin: the Rosa Parks of fat white middle age celebrity millionaire First Class-cabin iPhone douche bags.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Catching up

I haven't had an opportunity to scan a lot of news today, so I was hoping someone could help me out with something. On this the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did Ron Paul enlighten us as to why we had it coming?

Just curious.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Waiting for the other shoe

Upon the suspension of his campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination, Herman Cain had many speculating as to who among the remaining candidates he will support. In fact, there were reports surfacing Monday morning that Cain was all set to endorse Newt Gingrich. Obviously that never happened and likely will not happen in the immediate future, according to Cain himself.

It's been pretty apparent in all of the debate forums that Cain and Gingrich have a mutual admiration for each other. The two even engaged in a very civil one-on-one debate last month. But on top of all that, according to polls taken a little more than a week ago, Gingrich's favorability rating amongst Cain supporters is incredibly high. That is very surprising when you consider that Cain is the antithesis of a Washington insider and that his appeal was largely built upon his being a Beltway outsider with a strong business background. So it's rather curious to me how Cain's supporters would be so willing to then flip a switch and support a candidate like Gingrich, who has been inside the Beltway in some way, shape or form for over thirty years.

I guess it's possible that Cain could upset applecart and endorse someone else. I know he has a very strong ally in Michele Bachmann when it comes to repealing Obamacare and he shares a solid business acumen with Mitt Romney. Given what Cain said a few months ago, the only thing we can say with certitude is that he will not be giving the nod to Rick Perry.


Sunday, December 04, 2011

A time to build up, a time to break down....

It is my goal to have guests each and every Sunday on the radio show so as to not to subject anybody to my rambling for two hours. Once again, I have achieved that goal!

On today's edition of The Closer from 1-3 pm Central, I will be discussing presidential politics, whether it be the ongoing Herman Cain saga, the dings in the inevitable Mitt Romney candidacy or the continued surprise ascension of Newt Gingrich.

At 1:30, I will welcome to the program Meredith Dake. A native of Oklahoma, Meredith is the producer for Larry O'Connor's podcast as well as a contributor to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site.

Then at 2:00, I am honored to welcome Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to the program. We will discuss such issues as Minnesota's surprising budget surplus as well as the major issues to be addressed once the new legislative session begins next month.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Saturday, December 03, 2011

From Silver to Gold

About ten months ago, I shared the story of Frank Sanders, a Godly man whom I've known for more than twenty years.

Frank was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and was given approximately six months to live. Here it is ten months later, and Frank is still with us, though not in the best of health. While he continues to preach when he can at the Woodbury church where he is pastor, Frank is often hampered by the side effects of his illness, thus rendering him the uncomfortable role as spectator.

For now, Frank's family is comforted by the fact the God's perfect will shall be obtained. Either Frank will receive miraculous healing and continue to live on this earth for several more years or he will be called home to be with his Heavenly Father, a place where he'll be made whole once again and have no more physical pain.

Frank's life, eschewing the fortune and fame of a professional hockey player to honor the call to join the ministry, in and of itself is one for the storybooks. In fact, I recently obtained my copy of From Silver to Gold: One Man's Pursuit of the Ultimate Prize, which details Frank's remarkable transformation.

While there's a possibility that Frank's remaining time on this earth may be short, he has ensured his inspirational story of unshakable faith will endure forever.