Monday, March 31, 2008

Separated at Birth: James Carville & Skeletor.

Kudos to Dennis Miller on bringing this to my attention.

While making his weekly appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Miller made this observation about Clinton apologists James Carville and Paul Begala.

I look at Carville's picture there. I'm just shocked when you squint that much you still need glasses.

Listen, the Clintons run with rough guys. Begala, that is the most hateful smile I've ever seen. A big toothy cleaver.

When you're talking about Skeletor here, he plays rough. You better wear a cup.

One thing Carville does have going for him: He married up!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dan's disdain.

Torii Hunter and the Anaheim Angels come to town Monday to take on the Twins in the 2008 season opener for both clubs.

Over the past several seasons with the Twins, Hunter was a regular guest on Dan Barreiro’s KFAN radio show. With Hunter’s departure last November, Barreiro has been one of the more vocal critics of the Twins’ inability (or unwillingness) to re-sign Hunter to a long-term contract. Personally, I believe the Twins made a fair offer of 3 years, $45 million. Hunter and his agent insisted on a five year extension, which they eventually received from the Angels.

Since Hunter signed his contract, Barreiro has continually ripped the Twins organization on his show and blog. Perhaps it may be a little personal for Dan-O. After all, the loquacious Hunter was one of his more entertaining guests (if you don’t count the zany Pat Kessler that is).

My first prediction this baseball season: Watch/Listen for Barreiro to continue beating a dead horse to lament the loss of Hunter tomorrow on his blog and/or radio program. And the criticism of the Twins will really be amped up if Hunter has a good series at the Dome this week.

Get over it, Dan. Carlos Gomez will be more than adequate as a defensive replacement in center field and Delmon Young will likely usurp Hunter’s offensive productivity. Make those predictions #2 & #3.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tingelstad out; Cimenski in.

The fallout of the "override six" continues.

After Rep. Kathy Tingelstad announced this past week that she is not seeking re-election, MN House District 49B has a newly endorsed GOP nominee. Jake Cimenski, an IT specialist who is a married father of two small children, will face off against DFL endorsed Jerry Newton this November for the recently vacated MN House seat in 49B.

Cimenski was voted the nominee over two other prospective candidates in our House District's nominating convention this morning. In an impassioned nomination speech, he vowed to embrace the core conservative principles of the GOP which were abandoned by the likes of Rep. Tingelstad, who herself was in the audience. In fact, Tingelstad received verbal daggers from all three prospective nominees for her vote to override Governor Tim Pawlenty's veto of the Transportation bill. There is no question that the citizens in 49B are still smarting from that vote.

In continuing his speech, Cimenski talked of returning public service to the grassroots level.

I don't believe in this idea that you have to choose a Republican candidate to endorse who's so-called "more electable", even if they're not most in line with the platform. This is what has happened to our party the past eight years, and look where we are now.

And you can't go wrong in a room full of conservatives if you occasionally invoke the philosophy of our finest President.

If I may borrow a quote from Ronald Reagan and put a Minnesota twist on it: We don't have a $935 million deficit because we haven't taxed enough; we have a $935 million dollar deficit because we spend too much.

There's no question that Cimenski faces a more than formidable challenge from the DFL endorsed Newton. But we amongst the 49B Republicans chose to delay Tingelstad's endorsement last month. And now that we've thrown our weight behind another candidate, it's up to us to roll up our proverbial sleeves and do the work required to get the job done.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

What a Rush!!

I have a list of about 10-15 blogs I log onto each and every day. Recently, I had to add one more to my list.

Since August of last year, former Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin threw his proverbial hat into the ring known as the blogosphere. You see it was Rushin, a 1984 Bloomington Kennedy grad, who inspired me to resume an SI subscription that had lapsed about twenty years earlier.

About two years ago Katie McCollow, the proprietor of the irreplaceable Yucky Salad With Bones, linked to a Rushin column published on the SI web site. Unfortunately, it was for SI Insiders only, meaning those who had a subscription to the magazine. But the SI site did publish the first few sentences of the May 2006 article entitled A Life on the Flip Side.

You never forget your first felony. Mine was mail tampering. As a hoops-crazed 13-year-old, I rifled through a new neighbor's mailbox to confirm that the occupant of the split-level on 98 1/2 Street in Bloomington, Minn., really was former Gophers basketball star Flip Saunders. ...

It was at this point I was cut off from the rest of the story. I couldn’t stand it!! I had to know what happened.

Did Steve and his best buddy Mike (now Katie’s husband) get caught stealing the mail?

Did they have to go to juvy as a result?

Was their image of Flip shattered when he came running out of the house in his t-shirt and boxers with a heater dangling from the corner of his mouth while cursing out the teen postal thieves?

My insatiable curiosity won out. Hence began my first SI subscription in approximately two decades. Naturally, my first read every week over the following eight months was within the first few pages of SI magazine where Steve’s column resided until he left in February 2007.

By the way you’ll be happy to know that fateful day of mail tampering in 1979 was, in the motif of Bogart, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

By then, Flip was a 24-year-old coaching prodigy at Golden Valley Lutheran College, where his teams would go four full seasons without losing a home game. Yet he did an extraordinary thing: He invited us to shoot hoops in his backyard.

It was a concrete half-court overlooked by the luxury suite of a small deck. We called him Flip, and he called us Mike and Rush -- or more accurately, Mike&Rush, a single entity joined by an ampersand, always two feet behind him, like backup singers. We were Flip's Pips.

On Flip's court, we organized an annual, all-day, two-on-two tournament in which a couple of lucky teenagers (Mike&Rush) got to play with and against NBA players (like Houston Rocket Jim Petersen) at a time when teens and NBA players were not one and the same.

An aspiring writer with a weakness for wordplay, I suggested we call our shindig the Saunders Hoop Invitational Tournament, whose acronym Flip gleefully scrawled on a piece of white trainer's tape and adhered to the trophy, which he made from a Cool Whip tub and Nerf ball wrapped in aluminum foil.

And thus was born the SH*T, at which, on June 23, 1984, play was suspended every time Ryne Sandberg, our athletic ideal, hit for the Cubs. On the Game of the Week, against the Cardinals' Bruce Sutter, Ryno hit two game-tying homers that day.

C’mon, sports fan. Tell me that wasn’t worth the price of a one-year SI subscription.

Closed circuit to Mike & Katie McCollow: Next time Steve is in town, let him know a complimentary serving of his favorite beverage potentially awaits him at Keegan’s!


I did not know that.

Actor Richard Widmark passed away this past Monday at the age of 93.

To be perfectly honest, I was not the least bit familiar with any of Mr. Widmark’s work. However, being the sports junkie that I am, I knew he was once the father-in law to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. Widmark’s daughter Ann was married to Koufax from 1969 until 1982.

Even more intriguing was the fact that Widmark was born in a town by the name of Sunrise, MN. My first reaction? ”Where in the heck is Sunrise, MN?” I decided to look it up, all the while thinking it would be someplace in the rural southwest part of the state. As it turns out Sunrise is located in the east-central section, a mere fifty miles northeast of my home in Coon Rapids.

Chalk this up as another day where I know more than I did the day before.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jose can you see that you're a fraud?

Jose Canseco’s new book Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball is set to be released on April 1. However, a sneak preview offered up by freelance writer Joe Lavin reveals some huge names of MLB present.

Lavin writes Canseco's book discusses A-Rod, Roger Clemens and Magglio Ordonez.

He says Canseco claimed he didn't inject Rodriguez but "introduced Alex to a known supplier of steroids." Lavin also says "Canseco claims that A-Rod was trying to sleep with Canseco's wife."

While Canseco appeared somewhat vindicated after initially blowing the whistle on rampant steroid use, his motives, in my opinion, had nothing to do with “saving baseball”.

In the Spring of ‘02, Canseco attempted to catch on with any team who would give him an opportunity to continue his quest towards 500 career home runs. Back then, such an HR milestone meant almost a sure ticket into the Baseball Hall of Fame. At the end of the 2001 season, Canseco stood at 462 career homers. However, no team was interested in a bloated egomaniac who struck out once approximately every three at-bats over the previous few seasons. So instead of acknowledging that his skills had diminished to virtually nothing, Canseco decided he wanted to make baseball pay.

So in 2005, when Canseco penned his first book Juiced…, he gave this aura of being some sort of humanitarian for shedding the light on steroid abuse by MLB players, even if it meant ratting himself out as an abuser. In truth, Canseco was nothing more than a bitter, washed-up ex-player who couldn’t get over the fact he’d never get into the Hall. As a result, he was hell-bent on bringing down Major League Baseball.

In the end, Canseco may have served a valuable purpose in MLB’s attempts to curb HGH and steroid use. But at best, he was a very unwitting accomplice.


First day at the new workplace.

Here’s what awaited me at my desk on day one of the new job today:

I have to say that it’s a far cry from what I found on the initial day of my very first Accounting job back in September 1993:

Yes, the office where I was to work had a bad roach problem. No small wonder that I only lasted eight months at that job.

But I digress.

I have to say that I am the most optimistic about this particular job than any I’ve had within the past ten years. I am working in a growing industry with a company which has gone from zero to a half-billion dollars in revenue in two years! And from what I’ve been able to gather, my co-workers like to hang loose and have fun while in the work place. Compare that to my last permanent job where everyone walked around like they were in dire need of extra fiber in their diets.

Suffice it to say that I plan on returning tomorrow!


Tingelstad not running again? (UPDATE: It's official).

Rep. Kathy Tingelstad sent out a press release this morning stating she is not seeking re-election in MN House District 49B.

I left a message with my BPOU officials to obtain the names of who will be seeking the GOP endorsement for 49B.


An interesting snippet from Michael Brodkorb this week:

Rumors are flying around in Andover that Representative Kathy Tingelstad, one of the "Override Six", will not seek re-election. A call placed to Representative Tingelstad last evening seeking comment was not returned.

Interesting times in SD 49, to be sure. Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-49A) has already decided not to run for re-election.

Then on Saturday, March 29, we here in House District 49B will be holding our nominating convention to select and endorse a GOP candidate for 49B. As one of the precinct chairs in Tingelstad’s district, it was my responsibility to call all the Delegates and Alternates in my precinct to ensure they have been notified of next Saturday’s convention. If Coon Rapids precinct 5-3 is any indication, Rep. Tingelstad is going to have an uphill battle in gaining the nomination.

That is, if she even intends on running again.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!!

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

Mark 16:5-7


Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness begins!!

Sung to the tune of the Christmas favorite It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

It's the most wonderful time of the Spring
With basketballs dribbling
And everyone quibbling ‘bout whose team is king.
It's the most wonderful time of the Spring
It’s the pep-peppiest tourney of all
With brackets a fillin’ we’re gonna be chillin’
with no work at all.
It’s the pep-peppiest tourney of all.

OK, so I’m no Andy Williams. Or Ben Worley for that matter.

But since today is opening day of the NCAA basketball tournament (that joke of a play-in game last Tuesday notwithstanding) my work productivity is sorely lacking. In fact, today is the kind of day that a company’s IT department simply dreads. Basketball junkies all across the country are checking scores on the internet to determine the accuracy of their respective brackets.

For me, I’m all about the love of the game! It’s a blast watching the wide-eyed excitement on the faces of young 20-somethings experiencing first-hand the American phenomena known as “March Madness”. And every opening weekend has its share of thrilling, last-second finishes.

For the record, I’m picking the North Carolina Tar Heels to capture their second national title in four years.

Happy bracketing!!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clem the gem.

In watching the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers play in the first round of the NIT tournament Tuesday evening, I couldn't help but think of former coach Clem Haskins. In fact Clem’s 1993 squad won the NIT championship, probably the only accomplishment not expunged from his coaching record.

Back in the day, Haskins was quite sensitive to criticism of his program. His biggest pet peeve was the media pointing out his team’s poor road record. Despite playing like a Final Four squad at Williams Arena, the Gophs often failed to reach a Mendoza line (a/k/a .200) winning percentage away from “The Barn.” So when the U of M opened the ’93 postseason with two wins at Target Center, Clem declared those victories “road wins.” In his mind, any game away from Williams Arena should be considered an away contest.

Fast forward to 1999. The Gophers got into the NCAA tourney as a #7 seed in the West Region, taking on #10 Gonzaga. They ended up traveling to Seattle for their first round contest. Since Gonzaga University also resides in the state of Washington, Clem suggested the Bulldogs were handed an unfair advantage being so close to home.

Yes, to this day I still miss Clem’s priceless logic. Even though the campus of Gonzaga University is approximately 300 miles from Seattle, it was as good as a home game for the Bulldogs. Ah, but if Clem’s team played five miles from the U of M campus, they were toiling on a neutral court.



Monday, March 17, 2008

Carlson home has reached full employment!

Hard to believe it’s been eight months since I was fired given “Transition Employment” from my last permanent job. After enjoying the next few weeks off I went back to work in early August doing consulting while attempting to land another permanent gig.

Monday morning saw a welcome end to what was, at times, an arduous process. I was offered a position with a firm in Minnetonka with whom I interviewed three times over the past ten days. My first day will be Tuesday the 25th!!

Upon hearing the news, my wife was incredibly ecstatic. So much so, she asked “Now can we put our house up for sale?”


I compromised. She was willing to “settle” for our first brand new car in our 7 ½ year marriage. As we were filling out the paperwork I came to the portion which asked how long I’d been at my current job, and to list the length of tenure in “Years and Months.” I proceeded to ask the salesperson “Do you have a box labeled ‘number of hours’?”


Saturday, March 15, 2008

In the belly of the beast.

“March Madness” is a phrase familiar to college basketball junkies. But said phrase can also be attributed to the annual mass gatherings of the anti-war kooks all over the United States. Every March brings mass protests of the Iraq war due to March 2003 marking the beginning of the Iraqi conflict.

In the Uptown section of Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon there was an added fervor in the air (or was it the mass amounts of patchouli oil?) due to this year being the 5th anniversary of the war.

I took the liberty of mingling amongst the young skulls full of mush outside an Army recruiting station on the corner of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street. The group who calls themselves Youth Against War and Racism (slogan: “We’ve never met a pierced orifice we didn’t like.”) gathered at High Noon to chant endless vapid slogans.

As such, I took the opportunity to record video footage.



Thursday, March 13, 2008

Every victory is preceded by struggles.

If there’s one biblical verse that I cling to in times of trial, it’s 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Now it doesn’t say be thankful for adverse circumstances. But in those times of trial give thanks because the Lord our God is with us.

Back in July when I was fired given “Transition Employment” at my last full-time job, it really threw things into a flux. And that came on the heels of the IRS informing us that they were looking to “adjust” our 2005 & 2006 tax returns. You see, it was right around that time when my wife and I had decided to explore adopting a child. We were just getting ready to initiate that procedure when our challenges arose. Yeah, adoption agencies are kind of funny about prospective parents being out of work or investigated by the IRS. Needless to say, the adoption endeavor was put on hold indefinitely. And there was the wrinkle. We believed that said endeavor was put on our hearts by God. And as such, we knew He would provide the wherewithal to make it happen. I can honestly say that we did not question whether the Lord would fulfill this desire put on our hearts. However, we were genuinely curious how everything would come together in light of such a perilous situation.

In the meantime, I decided to get my credentials out there in an attempt to find another job. Shortly thereafter a guy named Terry found my resume on an employment web site. Terry is one of three partners in a Finance/Accounting recruiting firm.

Because I received a severance package from my employer, I decided to take a few weeks off in late July/early August. Since my wife was already in the midst of having off the entire summer, we spent a lot more quality time together and with family. In fact, we were blessed with beautiful weather every Thursday during that time period. That was the day we went to visit my wife’s parents since it was her Mom’s day off. We enjoyed steak and corn on the cob while sitting out on their back deck. What a blessed time of fellowship we were able to have with our beloved parents!

My overall point is that losing that particular job turned out to be a tremendous blessing. Had I not lost that job, I would have never met Terry the recruiter guy. You see it was Terry who introduced my wife and me to the adoption agency we are now using! He and his wife have two adopted children through CFLS. And we are now so grateful for the precious time we had with Jen’s parents, especially since Dad recently went home to be with the Lord. I’ve also been steadily employed as a consultant since mid-August, so I’m able to show our adoption agency a consistent income. And we successfully answered the IRS inquiry into our 2005-06 tax returns to the point where no adjustments were made!

Another mantra we live by is that out of every adversity lies a seed of an equal or greater benefit. Over the past several months my wife & I have had much adversity. But we can honestly say that the abundant blessings bestowed upon us recently made the difficulties all worthwhile.

For that, we give thanks!!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RINO hunting.

With last evening being the second Tuesday of the month, we held our monthly BPOU meeting in SD49. And it was the first opportunity that many of us 49B precinct chairs had to see Rep. Kathy Tingelstad since the Transportation bill passed into law. Of course, Kathy has been widely lauded by Minnesota DFLers for “voting her conscience” and saying “yes” to both the bill and subsequent veto override. You see, according to Democrats, a GOP member is to receive much adulation for “doing the right thing” by “voting their conscience.” However, Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba (D-Long Prairie) was not afforded that same courtesy by her seemingly lovestruck party. Did you notice Rep. Otremba didn’t dare uphold her initial “no” vote on the bill? Had she and John Lesch (D-St Paul) maintained their respective “no” votes when it came to the veto override, then the Governor’s action would have been upheld, resulting in killing the bill. Somehow I get the feeling that the DFL wouldn’t have been as complimentary towards two members of their own party for “voting their conscience.”

But I digress.

As of this post, we still do not have a GOP-endorsed candidate in 49B. So mark your calendars for Saturday, March 29. That is the date when our House district will be holding its nominating convention. I can tell you that at least one person stepped forward at the BPOU to say they would vie for the GOP endorsement in 49B.

I guess one can safely assume that March is the month when RINOs are in season.


Separated at Birth: Ward Churchill & Jim Abeler.

I have to give props to my buddy Greg for this one. While Abeler was basking in the attention of being one of six MN GOP House members to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the Transportation bill, Greg inquired “What’s with the Ward Churchill haircut?”

Ward Churchill (left): The nutty professor at the University of Colorado.

Jim Abeler: “GOP” member of the MN House of Representatives.


Separated at Birth: Gary Gaetti & Liza Minnelli.

Gary Gaetti: Minnesota Twins third baseman from 1981-1990.

Liza Minnelli: Singer, actress and daughter of Judy Garland. Ms. Minnelli celebrated her 62nd birthday today.


Monday, March 10, 2008

The never-ending story.

As it turns out, “Spygatemay not be all that close to being resolved.

Word from the lawyers has former New England Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh primed to tell the National Football League what he knows about the team's taping practices. But as of Monday afternoon, a formal agreement hadn't been reached, and those close to the situation acknowledged that the logistics of when Walsh will meet with NFL officials has yet to even be discussed.

Over the weekend, the sides neared agreement on the general terms of the meeting, but NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello indicated a final agreement is not likely over the next day or two.

"No, I'm not getting that sense," Aiello said.

While I have been an admirer of the Patriots’ success since they won their first Super Bowl in 2001, for me there will definitely be a dark cloud over their three titles in four years. It’s been alleged that Walsh has damning evidence supporting the fact that coach Bill Belichick continuously violated league rules. Granted, I don’t have the same frothing-at-the-mouth obsession over “Spygate” that has been consistently displayed by Dutch Wydo. But I would want to see additional punishment levied towards Belichick if said allegations prove true. He already had to personally pay a $500,000 fine for his illegal videotaping in Week 1 of the 2007 season.

What will possibly happen if it’s determined that Belichick engaged is such activity over several seasons?

What do you think should happen?

What punishment should be meted out if Matt Walsh provides additional evidence of Bill Belichick illegally videotaping opponents?
Additional fininig of Belichick; No suspension
Fine & Suspend Belichick
Firing of Belichick
Free polls from


I resemble that remark.

In the immortal words of Smokey Robinson (or was it Marvin Gaye?), I second that emotion!


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sacrifices made out of love.

My wife and I arrived home safely last evening from our brief excursion to Fargo, ND. We drove to Fargo to attend an all-day adoption initiation meeting on Friday.

There were six other couples there along with my wife and I, including two who live right here in the Twin Cities. It’s always heartening to be in the midst of fellow believers who are also enduring similar life challenges. In this case, we’re all dealing with not having a biological child.

The first 4-5 hours dealt with the licensed Social Workers and Counselors explaining the history of Christian Family Life Services and where their ultimate responsibility lies. It’s to uphold God’s glory by taking his precious gift (in this case, a newborn baby) and placing it in a Christian home where that infant will be raised in the reverential fear of the Lord. While the folks at CFLS were elated to have all of us aspiring parents at the meeting, they emphasized that their #1 priority is the well-being of the baby. Of course, we covered a lot of ground on the logistical side (i.e. home study, paperwork, background checks, etc.), which at times was quite tedious. But given that the end result of the mounds of paperwork is a baby, we consider it a labor of love.

If there was a lasting impact from Friday’s gathering, it had to be when two birth mothers were brought in to share their stories on giving up a child they carried inside them for nine months. It’s widely understood that there is a significant bonding process which takes place between mother and infant over that nine-month period. So we were incredibly moved by the young ladies and their tearful recollections of enduring a pregnancy that they both knew would end up leaving them with empty arms shortly after giving birth. Not only does CFLS provide services for adoptive parents, they also counsel the young mothers during their subsequent grief in letting go of a part of them. My wife and I both agreed that whatever results come from this endeavor we’re forever changed and impacted over the love and compassion shown by CFLS. We now realize this journey of ours has been an answer to prayer.

When leaving Fargo at 4:30 yesterday, we spent most of the 3 ½ hour drive home trying to process all the information we took in. As Christians we understand how God made the ultimate sacrifice of giving His son Jesus so that we may all have eternal life. And there certainly is no debate about the level of that sacrifice, one made out of unconditional love. It’s a sacrifice that is understood a little better by birth mothers giving up their children for adoption.


What's mine is yours.

What’s this???!!! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is getting credit for my writing?

I’m not sure if it is I or the JS who should be taking greater offense.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Separated at Birth: Al Franken & The Joker

Al Franken (left): "Actor", "Comedian" and (God help us) Democrat Senate candidate out of Minnesota. By the way, check out one of the latest Top 11 lists by Sisyphus at the blog Nihilist in Golf Pants. It's the Top 11 Reasons why Al Franken failed to pay Workers' Comp for his campaign employees.

The Joker, brilliantly played by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film Batman.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hillary back from the brink?

Leave it to comedian Dennis Miller to come up with an outlandish analogy for Hillary Clinton's resurgence last Tuesday. Hillary scored big primary wins in Texas and Ohio.

Well, you know, it reminded me that in many ways, Hillary Clinton is Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." And you better hold her for the extra breath or she's coming up with a Ginzu. And that's what happened (Tuesday) night.

Hopefully you saw the movie, otherwise it makes no sense.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Exciting news!!

About this time tomorrow evening the wife and I will be arriving in Fargo, ND. Obviously that’s not the exciting part. What’s exciting is the occasion which brings us to Fargo. We will be attending an informational meeting all day Friday with our adoption agency!! Given the chaotic events that had taken place in our lives over the past eight months, the baby plans had been put on hold. But last month when we were cordially invited to participate in this Friday’s meeting to initiate our adoption, we welcomed the opportunity!

The average wait time for a baby is right around a year after completion of the home assessment, which will take place in the coming months. Given that I’ll be the big 4-0 in about fourteen months, I believe now is as good a time as any to welcome a youngster into our home. Besides, had we waited too much longer it would have gotten to the point that by the time our kid was getting out of diapers I’d be getting ready to get in to diapers.

While the application process appears to be quite daunting (and very in-depth), we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will be all worth it once Baby Carlson comes home for good!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Green Bay is now Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood.

Many of you may expect that I am rejoicing over the news that Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre is retiring. Well, if Favre’s retirement indicated that the Packers would endure years of futility, then that would most certainly be cause for celebration. But the fact of the matter is the Packers are one of the most talented young teams in the NFL. And Favre has now handed over the reigns to the seemingly capable Aaron Rodgers.

Looking back, it was almost as if Favre was playing the wise old sage in 2007. He took a group of young upstarts within three points of the Super Bowl. Now he’s essentially saying “I’ve shown you how to deal with the grind of a 16-game schedule. I even led you to the brink of the biggest game in sports. You guys can take it from here.”

Of all the stories I’ve read, Favre cited the “mental grind” as his biggest reason for calling it quits.

It makes sense when you consider how mentally taxing it must have been to have a phenomenal 2007 regular season and have home field in the NFC title game but fall short of the ultimate prize. The thought of having to go through all that again with no guarantees of a Super Bowl title had to be mentally overwhelming.

However, I believe that Favre’s annual charade of leaving everyone guessing about whether or not he’ll return finally wore on Packers’ management. GM Ted Thompson and company didn’t exactly plea with Brett not to retire, a fact not lost on Favre’s agent James (Bus) Cook.

"Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either," Cook said by phone from his Hattiesburg, Miss., office.

What, did Cook believe that Packers management should go down to Mississippi in the offseason and stoop to touch the hem of Favre’s Wranglers?

Bottom line, the Packers brass has a business to run and in that business they have to put together a team based on the personnel they have in the fold. It would have been helpful to them if they knew sooner rather than later regarding Favre’s plans.

Whatever the case, we now know for sure when Brett Favre will be making an appearance in Canton, Ohio. In the summer of 2013 Favre will be standing on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And I’m also certain he will be the first Hall of Fame inductee to wear a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes with that gold jacket.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kids say the darndest (and sweetest) things.

My wife has received many heart-warming condolences since the loss of her Dad last Tuesday. But few were more genuine (for better or worse) than the sympathies expressed by her students. My gal learned of her Dad’s passing last Tuesday during one of her classes (she teaches sixth grade Science). Naturally, her students have had to endure a substitute teacher over much of the past few weeks as Jen has assisted her family with Dad’s care.

In sifting through the many self-made sympathy cards produced by Jen’s students, I’ve decided to share some of the sentiments (both sweet and/or funny) expressed by a certain group of 11 and 12 year olds.

-Through the tragic times, we learn a lesson. Yet we also learn that the ones we love are not immortal but they can be if we truly believe. We miss you!

-Loss is hard, it hurts to let go.
He’ll always love you, and this I know.
For sure I’m certain he’s on your mind,
But please believe he loves you for all times.
Don’t give up hope, he’ll always be there.
He loves you forever, always you, everywhere.

-I’m so sorry your father passed away. Hope you come back soon, the sub teacher is boring.

-To a good friend and a great teacher. I am sorry for your loss. He is watching over you in Heaven.

-I am very sorry for your loss. May the Lord bless your life according to His will.

-I’m sorry for your loss. I felt the same way when my dog passed away. I want to comfort you.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goodbye, Dad.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
-Revelation 21:4

It was a nice turnout Saturday as we celebrated the life of my father-in law.

Even though it’s been a few years since my mother-in law retired from her accounting job, many of her former co-workers came to pay their respects. And many of Mom’s current colleagues (she works part-time at the Hudson Wal Mart) also attended Dad’s memorial service. So many of said colleagues stopped by that replacement workers needed to be called in from the New Richmond Wal Mart to fill in at the Hudson store.

Not only did my gal grace the service with her beautiful song, the church choir also sang many beautiful numbers. In fact, one choir member was recovering from foot surgery but she still wanted to join the rest of her musical cohorts who were singing in the church balcony. So this woman literally scooted up the stairs on her rear-end in order to participate in paying tribute to Dad. I mean, I knew my father-in law was very well liked. But the dedication that was given to his memorial service made me realize that he was borderline revered by some.

So we rejoice as Dad has gone home. While we will miss the times of fellowship with Dad, we know God has prepared a place for him. And we also know that it’s nicer than any room in a nursing care facility.