Sunday, April 30, 2006

Keep a knockin' but you can't come in.

I was prepared, but no Democrats came knocking on my door this past weekend.

The Democratic National Committee had volunteers in all 50 states go door-to-door on Saturday, April 29 in an effort "to share the Democratic Party's bold vision for America and begin a series of conversations with the American people about the upcoming elections."

So if some young gal in a VW Beetle with a “Keep you laws off my body” bumper sticker affixed had come to my door, this is what she would have witnessed:
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Then again, some Democrats may have shown up. However, they thought twice before ringing the doorbell.

Disclaimer: This blog post was made in humor. No Democrats were (nor will be) harmed in the depiction and illustration of these events.

Twins torched; Fire Sale next?

I have been a fan of the Minnesota Twins since 1978.

Before they would win two World Series titles (in 1987 & 1991), I witnessed some pretty pathetic baseball. From a 102 loss season in 1982 to the team nearly relocating to Tampa, FL prior to 1984, this franchise went through some dark times before reaching the proverbial Promised Land in ’87 &’91.

However, shortly after capturing a second championship, the Twins fell into an abyss of eight consecutive losing seasons (1993-2000).

Yup, in my time as a Twins fan I have seen some pretty porous baseball.

And then, there was this past weekend in Detroit.

(See that big red button with the word “PANIC” engraved on it? Don’t just press it; STEP ON IT!!!!).

Whatever delusions the Twins had to making the playoffs this season have officially been imploded; obliterated; blown to smithereens. Much like the pitching offered up this past weekend by the trio of Brad Radke (2 1/3 innings pitched, 9 hits, 6 earned runs), Carlos Silva (2 2/3 IP, 9 H, 9 ER) and Kyle Lohse (5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). What was supposed to be the strength of the team (starting pitching) has become its’ Achilles heel.

How low are the expectations for this ’06 Twins club? Twins TV announcer Dick Bremer on Friday, after Radke gave up a run on three hits in the first inning, proclaimed “All in all, not a bad first inning.”

After being outscored by the Detroit Tigers in three games by a whopping 33-1 (yes that’s THIRTY THREE to ONE!!!), how will manager Ron Gardenhire say with a straight face “We battled our tails off”? After all, that’s Gardy’s usual pithy explanation for every tough stretch this team has gone through in his four-year tenure.

OK, Gardy. Let’s say for argument’s sake that the guys did “battle their tails off” this past weekend. Heck, the game was scoreless all the way until the fifth inning in today’s contest. If this is the best you can hope for from your current crop of players when they give their all, what chance do you have for a winning season?

Torii Hunter (making $10.75 million this year), Radke ($9 million), Shannon Stewart ($6.5 million) and Lohse ($3.95 million) are all in the final year of their contracts. All (with the exception of Stewart) have had an absolutely dreadful month of April. I say, cut your losses now. None of those four players will be back next season anyways. Why not have the July “fire sale” a few months early? Just go ahead and trade that collection of veterans. You might even receive in return some promising prospects who can get a year or two more of seasoning in the minor leagues.

That way when the new ballpark opens in April 2010 the Minnesota Twins might actually have a credible franchise once again.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Still crazy after all these years.

The National Football League draft is this weekend.

This annual event is so over-hyped that it has NFL rubes (like me) waking up at the crack of 11:00 am on a Saturday to tune in to the coverage on ESPN.

Have I told you how much I miss former Vikings coach Dennis Green? It wasn’t for his porous clock management or dismal playoff record. No, it was the nonsensical rhetoric spewed by ol’ Denny which made for some classic soundbites.

In this his third season as Arizona Cardinals head coach, Green was commenting today on where their #10 draft pick, USC quarterback Matt Leinart, will fit in the Cards’ QB rotation.

“Kurt Warner is coming in at number one and Leinart will battle John Navarre for the #2 spot. Whoever wins that will be #2 and the other guy will be #3.”

One thing is for certain: Denny has not lost his grasp on the obvious.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Making up for lost time.

On my daily commute to my workplace, my driving route includes a stretch of Hwy 169 from 93rd Ave in Brooklyn Park to the Hwy 94/694 West exit, approximately 3 ½ miles.

Within the first mile or so on 169, there is typically bumper-to-bumper traffic due to there being traffic lights in that area. Inevitably, I’ll scan the cars surrounding me while waiting for a light to turn green. I usually don’t have search too strenuously to find a woman applying makeup on her face while stopped in traffic. In fact, the application normally continues when traffic initially moves forward.

This begs the obvious question: Isn’t it a lot easier to do that in front of a mirror at home?

Now, let me emphasize one thing. I am not making this inquiry out of anger or frustration towards women who apply their cosmetics in traffic. If the truth be told, I’m quite impressed with the precision of the application while trying to maneuver your standard size vehicle.

All of that said, I would like to take a very non-scientific survey.

Why is it that women choose to put on their makeup in the car?

You overslept?

Too busy getting the kids (and husband) ready so they can get out the door on time?

For you single gals, maybe it’s a spontaneous thing as you see a nice-looking gentleman in the next car.

Please respond in the comments section of this blog post.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

He was no Manic Monday.

On this date, thirty years ago……

Rick Monday never tires of answering questions about that memorable day 30 years ago, when he performed his own Patriot Act and unwittingly became an icon to millions of American war heroes and their loved ones.

Monday was playing center field for the Chicago Cubs on April 25, 1976, at Dodger Stadium when he noticed two protesters kneeling on the grass in left-center, intending to burn the American flag. He immediately bolted toward them and snatched it away.

I would venture to say that if a similar incident took place today the attempted flag burners would sue, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights.

"I was angry when I saw them start to do something to the flag, and I'm glad that I happened to be geographically close enough to do something about it," said Monday, now in his 13th season as a Dodgers broadcaster.

"What those people were doing, and their concept of what they were trying to do was wrong. That feeling was very strongly reinforced by six years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. I still think it's wrong to do that."

In 1976 we were only a few short years removed from Vietnam. You think anti-Americanism is prevalent today? Most people would have responded with pride to being called “unpatriotic.” Thankfully, Rick Monday was not "most people."

"I know the people were very pleased to see Monday take the flag away from those guys," recalled Manny Mota, Monday's teammate that season and now a Dodgers coach. "I know Rick has done a lot of good things as a player and as a person. But what he did for his country, he will be remembered for the rest of his life as an American hero."

Now if we could just convince Monday to attend some of these pro-illegal immigration rallies.

Worthy of an Oscar?

I’m just finishing up lunch so I thought I would make a quick post.

I had trouble sleeping last night so I decided to flip on the TV to see if there was anything on that might sedate me. That's when I came across the 1993 movie “The Firm”, starring Tom Cruise, on Bravo.

It was near the beginning of the movie when Cruise’s character is hired at a prestigious law firm in Memphis, TN. He exclaims to his wife something like “Did you ever believe in your wildest dreams I’d be making $96,000 a year??!!!”

My immediate reaction was to wonder how many takes it required for Cruise to utter that line conveying such excitement. I mean, come on. $96,000 a year?

I bet he spent at least that amount on his banquet honoring his promotion to Operating Thetan Level 7 in the church of Scientology.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

This morning at our home church, Emmanuel Christian Center, we had a guest speaker in the person of Dr. Gordon Anderson, president of North Central University in Minneapolis.

Dr. Anderson had a powerful message, talking about the Christian faith and how it has become more and more unpopular with each passing day. He even alluded to an incident that took place this past Monday at the North Central campus. An activist group called “Soulforce Equality Riders” paid a visit to the school.

The 33 activists, who are traveling by bus to 19 U.S. colleges with religion-based policies opposed to homosexuality, were locked out of school buildings when they arrived at North Central, which is owned by the Assemblies of God.

They responded by sitting in front of the doors for most of the afternoon. "There was no open mind or heart for us there," said Haven Herrin, 23, of Dallas. "A few students spoke to us, but it was sad to me that most didn't seem to question why we were locked out."

For rider David Coleman, 23, of Delano, the North Central stop was especially resonant. Last year, he was asked to leave the college when he revealed that he was gay.

"I'm afraid that North Central is at the very beginning of the process for thinking through change," he said.

Jacob Reitan, 24, of Eden Prairie, who organized the tour, said the colleges they are visiting "equate homosexuality with sickness and sin. It's time to have a conversation instead of defaming our humanity."

The Christian bible clearly condemns the homosexuality, calling it sin. Mind you, our Heavenly Father still loves us and claims us as His. But He abhors our sin.

So why is it whenever a certain person or entity (in this case, North Central U) upholds biblical truths or takes a moral stance, they’re supposedly “defaming humanity?”

The first amendment of the US Constitution contains the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

It appears to me that Soulforce is not only attempting to coerce these 19 colleges into denying what’s in God’s Word but also to surrender their Constitutional rights.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Only the wealthy find April 15 truly "taxing".

Look for those politically left of center (koff koff liberals koff) to demagogue these latest findings:

The number of very rich people in the US grew last year at the fastest pace in at least a decade as their moves into international stockmarkets, real estate and alternative investments paid off.

The number of households with $5 million or more in investable assets – excluding the family home – rose by 26 per cent to a record 930,000, according to a study by Spectrem Group. That is the biggest jump since Spectrem began its survey in 1996. The number of millionaires rose by 11 per cent, to a record 8.3 million – the second biggest jump in the decade since they were surveyed.

With tax day recently having come and gone, you had the obligatory protestors decrying the current tax system by claiming the rich don’t pay their “fair share”.

However, the latest IRS statistics on record concern the 2003 tax year. Those findings conclude that the top 50% of wealthiest Americans paid over 96.5% of all income taxes!! That tells me that we are getting ever closer to that “point of no return” when it comes to tax reform. If the current trend continues, it will get to the point where more than 50% of Americans pay ZERO income taxes. Once that happens, no politician will be able to run on the “tax reform” agenda. How will anyone get elected if the platform they run on is to overhaul a system where more than half of the country benefits already?

It would behoove the “super rich” to continue strong growth of their investments.

They’ll need to just to pay their exorbitant tax bill.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sports on Easter.

You can’t go wrong with Church on Easter Sunday:

Ryan Church hit a pair of two-run homers, including a tiebreaking drive in a three-run ninth inning Sunday that led the Washington Nationals over the Florida Marlins 7-5.

In other sports news on the day celebrating Christ’s resurrection:

MATTHEW Brian Meadows (Tampa Bay Devil Rays, MLB) picked up his first victory of the season in Tampa’s 9-5 triumph over the Kansas City Royals.

MARK Bell (Chicago Blackhawks, NHL) scored a goal in his team’s 4-3 win over Columbus.

LUKE Ridnour (Seattle Super Sonics, NBA) scored 17 points in helping his club to a 114-98 win over the L.A. Clippers.

JOHN Lackey (L.A. Angels, MLB) pitched eight strong innings in the Angels’ 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Junk Bonds.

As it turns out, Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record may be safe.

A federal grand jury is considering whether to indict San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds for perjury because of testimony he gave to another grand jury 16 months ago, CNN has learned.

Bonds told the first grand jury in 2003 that he was clean. The new panel has been hearing testimony for a month about whether the baseball superstar lied about his steroid use during the hearing, several sources said.

"This is extremely bad news for Barry Bonds," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin, "because a federal prosecutor doesn't start looking into perjury unless he has a pretty good idea he's going to find perjury at the end of the day."

I have always admired the talent of Bonds. Ever since he won his first National League MVP award in 1990 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, I realized he was something special. He was the catalyst behind the Pirates winning three straight NL East division titles from 1990 thru 1992. In his debut season with the Giants in 1993, he collected his third MVP award in four years. As of this post, he is only 48 home runs away from surpassing Aaron for most career home runs.

However, Bonds has never been the most popular amongst fans, media and even some teammates (koff koff Jeff Kent koff). His cockiness was preceded only by his “kiss my butt” demeanor when dealing with all the adulation he constantly received. He gave the impression that he just wanted to be the best on the field and left alone off of it.

Then came 1998.

Mark McGwire (St Louis Cardinals) and Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) were engaged in a hot pursuit to determine who would be the first to break Roger Maris’ single season home run record of 61. McGwire wound up hitting 70 and Sosa clubbed 66. Bonds had a nice season with 37 home runs and 122 RBI. But those numbers were paltry by comparison in ‘98. And with his Giants not even on the radar screen as a playoff contender, Bonds was persona non grata.

This is the period where Bonds was alleged to have begun steroid use. There is no doubt that he wanted to be the most prolific power hitter the game has ever seen. Steroids may have been the way to give him that competitive advantage. In 2001, just three seasons after McGwire hit a seemingly insurmountable 70 homers, Bonds topped it with 73. Yes, he was back on the front page. And he didn’t seem to shun all of the accolades like he once did. One of the theories bandied about was that he really did like the attention he received. He just didn’t realize such feelings until he no longer had people fawning all over him. Could it have been out of sheer envy that Bonds decided to indulge in such performance enhancers?

The sad fact here was that Barry Bonds already had hall of fame numbers through 1998. With 411 home runs and multiple MVP awards, his stellar accomplishments were unquestioned.

But allegations of steroid use, and his potential lying about it, could deny Bonds the Hall of Fame enshrinement he seemingly had in his grasp.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Burn"about is fair play.

The burning of the American flag (all while citing 1st amendment rights) has been ever the trendy protest in proclaiming opposition to policies of the United States government.

My thought has always been that it is incredibly hypocritical (as well as stupid) for anyone to burn the very symbol of the land which affords you such free demonstration. Needless to say, it is not my protest of choice.

The most prevalent story over the past few weeks has been the attempt to reform immigration, with a heavy emphasis on Mexicans illegally crossing the borders into the U.S. As the matter has been discussed amongst members of Congress, mass protests by Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) have occurred throughout major U.S. cities. Part of the activities taking place has been the seemingly proud raising of Mexico’s flag while at the same time burning America’s.

That has to be the most convoluted message ever sent out. Some Mexicans risk life and limb to get into this country because it affords them a much better way to make a living. Yet they burn our flag in protest of our laws but hail the flag of the country they are fleeing.

I always wondered what would happen if fed up Americans burned the Mexican flag in protest.


Dozens of protestors and counter protestors showed up in front of Tucson, Arizona's Mexican Consulate as a Mexican flag was burned in a heated debate that saw tempers flare.

Border Guardians, a group formed along the Arizona border to speak out against the estimated thousands of illegal immigrants that enter the U.S. every day through the Tucson sector, led the protest.

"Flags are symbols of government, not of people," shouted Roy Warden, as a member of his group, Border Guardians, set fire to the Mexican Flag.

One woman speaking out against the Border Guardians yelled, “This is not a gesture of humanity, this is a gesture that provokes.”

Oh, but if we take exception to the burning of our flag in our country by people who are here illegally, we’re intolerant, oppressive, racist, etc.

The demonstration began before the flag burning as protestors verbally sparred with ACLU members showed up to observe the event.

One man stomped, and danced on the Mexican flag. He also taunted the empty, Mexican Consulate to express the group's view:

"(This protest) is against the Mexican government and the Mexicans that are illegally present in the United States right now," says Laine Lawless, Director of Border Guardians, “I want the American people to know that we're going to stand up for them."

Again, the key word: ILLEGALLY!!! There has never been any exception taken to those Mexicans who have gone through the proper channels to become naturalized citizens.

A half-dozen observers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also showed up. Caroly Trowbidge, an ACLU spokesperson, said, “We are here to make sure that everybody's first amendment rights are respected."

Just so long as nobody was there that day to recognize Palm Sunday.

But I digress.

“I’m picking more on (Mexico’s) government than anything else, because their government promotes their illegal status here," said Lawless.

“Border Guardians” have said they will continue to burn Mexican flags at future protests.

I know I’m going to keep a watchful eye on these events!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Who in his "right" mind would take such a hard "left" turn?

I was thumbing through the latest edition of “People” magazine when I came to a blurb about Katie Couric. It has been well publicized that Couric, after 15 years co-hosting NBC’s “Today” show, will become the new anchor for the “CBS Evening News.”

One of the pictures in said article was of Katie and her alleged new beau, a guy by the name of Jimmy Reyes. Yes, the same Jimmy Reyes who last year at this time was engaged to be married to….

...Laura Ingraham!

Wow, talk about a stark contrast (politically speaking) in women!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking to turn this into a gossip column.

I just thought it was interesting, that’s all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tom "Obi Wan" DeLay.

We all remember the movie “Star Wars” and the climactic light saber duel between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi. Vader tells his nemesis “Your powers are weak, old man.” Obi Wan replies “You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

Moments later, Obi Wan supposedly surrenders and thus allows himself to be slain by Darth Vader. As the movie concludes, we realize his alleged demise was all part of a greater plan. While Obi Wan is no longer present physically he communicates with Luke Skywaker in sort of a “behind-the-scenes” fashion. It is that “omnipresence” that assists Luke in destroying the evil empire’s dreaded “Death Star.”

For over a year now we have heard ad nauseam the alleged ethical problems facing former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). Instead of coming up with an actual agenda, Congressional Democrats have waged a tireless campaign to smear DeLay and have him removed as majority leader. The Democrats were essentially telling DeLay that his powers were weak.

A while back, House Republicans instituted a rule that if their leader is indicted, that leader (in this case, DeLay) would step down immediately. The Democrats did not need proof of an actual crime (since there wasn’t any crime to begin with), they merely needed an indictment. Enter Ronnie Earle, king of fraudulent indictments. DeLay was indicted last year and, as a result, stepped down as majority leader. Then earlier this week, he announced he would not seek re-election in November. It appeared a move of surrender, much like it did with Obi Wan Kenobi.

However, also in the motif of Obi Wan, DeLay actually left on his own terms. It may not have appeared that way to his detractors. But in an interview done yesterday on “The Rush Limbaugh show”, DeLay said he could actually be more effective in other areas.

"I think I could have won (re-election in November), but it struck me that I can fight in another arena and still hold the seat for the Republicans. Now I feel totally liberated. I'm going to be out there talking about the conservative agenda. I'm going to be working very hard to get rid of the federal tax code and replace it with the FairTax. I want to continue my effort to hold the judiciary accountable. There's just a lot of great things I could be speaking out about, and I could not do that. I'm going to work very hard to elect Republicans to carry the conservative cause."

As Luke Skywalker was maneuvering against time to destroy the Death Star, he heard Obi Wan’s voice saying “Use the force, Luke.”

I can absolutely imagine the sound of DeLay’s voice in the head of new majority leader John Boehner (R-OH).

“Abolish the IRS, John”

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Without Frese, Gophers are left in "Deep Freeze."

While her old program seems to be imploding, her current team just won the women’s NCAA basketball championship.

In just her fourth season as head coach at the University of Maryland, Brenda Frese guided her squad to a 78-75 overtime victory over Duke in last evening’s title game.

Frese took over a moribund University of Minnesota women’s program in 2001-02 when she was known as Brenda Oldfield. After one successful season with the Lady Gophers, Frese caught the attention of the entire women’s college basketball world. She took a program which couldn’t fill a 5,800-seat gym to a 22-victory season and a second round appearance in the NCAA tournament. With that kind of resurrection not seen since the days of Lazarus, Frese was lured away to Maryland in hopes she could work that same kind of magic.

It’s interesting to see the stark contrast in the two programs. The Lady Gophers have gone from a Final Four appearance two seasons ago, under Frese’s replacement Pam Borton, to a team who lost 6 of their last 8 games this year and then had to endure four players exiting the program within the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Lady Terps have gone from a 10-18 record in 2002-03 to winning it all three years later.

Yes, Frese once again has pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

Unfortunately for her old program, they’re left with the bunny droppings.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Separated at Birth: Cynthia McKinney and Scary Spice.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), who recently went “Zsa Zsa Gabor” on some Capitol Hill police officer.

Scary Spice (a/k/a Melanie Brown) of the defunct girl band “Spice Girls”.

Favre out of favor?

Will he or won’t he?

The question is quickly becoming “Who cares anymore?”

By continually being granted more time to decide whether or not he’ll play in 2006, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre is giving the appearance of staging a publicity stunt. The future hall of fame QB has reiterated that he still has the desire to play – provided the Packers front office makes enough moves to field a playoff-caliber team.

So what exactly has the Packers organization done to entice Favre to come back?

They’ve added non-descript wide receiver Marc Boerigter via free agency and re-signed WR Rod Gardner as well as running backs William Henderson and Najeh Davenport. They also get back RB Ahman Green, injured most of last season.

On the down side, the Packers lost kicker Ryan Longwell, offensive lineman Mike Flanagan and WR Antonio Chatman to free agency. Worse yet, WR Javon Walker has expressed no interest in playing for the Packers again, potentially leaving Green Bay without a significant downfield threat.

Now, tell me how all of that is going to propel a team that finished 4-12 last season to a playoff berth in 2006. I don’t see it.

It would be an absolute public relations disaster for the Packers front office to just come right out and say “We wish to move in a new direction” and simply let the iconic Favre go. However, GM Ted Thompson and company seem to be making clear that very sentiment. Given the fact that the Packers have had a substantial amount of money under the salary cap and have spent very little to actually upgrade the roster, what does that say? Thompson definitely does not want to be the bad guy here. Therefore, it appears he’s hoping the organization’s non-activity this offseason will force Favre’s hand. The 36-year old Favre has made it perfectly clear he does not want to go through another miserable season like the one he endured in 2005.

What it all boils down to is Favre merely looking for a little love. He dangles out the possibility of retirement in hopes the Packers organization falls all over themselves begging him to return for another year. Obviously, that hasn’t happened.

A word to the wise, Brett: Retire!

In the 14 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, you’ve resurrected a moribund franchise into a perennial contender, including a victory in Super Bowl XXXI. You’re a lock for the Hall of Fame. And given the town of Green Bay has already named a street after since-departed coach Mike Holmgren, what do you think they’ll do to honor you (How does “Favre Township, Wisconsin” sound)?

You want love, Brett? Go ahead and retire with your legacy intact.

I guarantee the state of Wisconsin will shower you with all of the warm fuzzies you seemingly desire.