Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Board Game!

Don't wanna play?

Sorry. You kinda already are.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Checkin' in.

While watching a little MLB Network this evening, the telephone rang. The Caller ID said "Abeler Chiropractic."

Hoo Boy!!!

Having recently moved to MN House District 48B, my state representative is a man named Jim Abeler. In the few seconds before picking up the phone, only two things leaped to my mind: My gratuitous shot at Rep. Abeler's haircut and his being known as one of the MN GOP's "override six."

Since I am now a delegate in Abeler's district, he was gracious enough to call me to ask if I had any questions of him. I mentioned how we moved into his district 17 months ago and how I had been a delegate in 49B (then represented by Abeler's "override six" cohort Kathy Tingelstad). And yes, the subject of the highly controversial mass transit subsidy transportation bill did come up. I freely expressed my objections to the bill and Abeler's vote on the matter. Rep. Abeler was very accommodating in my criticism and understood my concerns. However, he emphasized that the bill did result in a third lane being added on Hwy. 10, a fact not lost on my wife as she commutes down that road on a daily basis.

Overall, it was a nice conversation in which we broached several subjects like the Minnesota gubernatorial race, the ongoing health care debate in Congress, etc.

In the end, the main purpose of Rep. Abeler's phone call was to ask for my endorsement at our March 6 BPOU convention. Abler was denied the endorsement in 2008 but won handily in the HD 48B primary. In poring over his record once I knew I would be living in 48B, I found that Rep. Abeler has been on the right side of a vast majority of the issues important to me (the vote on the transportation bill notwithstanding).

Nevertheless, I have decided to endorse Jim Abeler's re-election bid.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Dallas Tea Party movement......

.............cordially invites leftist shill Keith Olbermann.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Blind Side

Over the weekend, my wife and I finally saw the box office hit The Blind Side, which is the true story of NFL player Michael Oher.

Whether or not you are a football fan is irrelevant. If you like the proverbial rags-to-riches stories, this film is for you. If you enjoy tales which help restore your faith in the indomitable human spirit, this film is for you.

About six years ago, the Tuohys, an affluent Memphis, Tennessee family, took in Oher after the teen began attending the same Christian private school as the Tuohy children. When the Tuohy matriarch, Leigh Anne, learned that Michael was homeless, she and husband Sean allowed him to live at their palatial estate. With Oher showing tremendous potential as a football player, the Tuohys worked to help Michael become academically eligible to receive a college football scholarship upon his graduation from high school. Oher was courted by many major universities like Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas before settling on the Tuohy's alma mater of Ole Miss. In fact, the Tuohy's hired a tutor to assist Michael in attaining the necessary grade point average to become eligible for a scholarship. At one point of the story, the tutor sheepishly admitted to the Tuohy family that she was a Democrat, prompting Sean to say to his wife "Who would've thought we'd have a black son before we met a Democrat?"

While I knew how the story ended (Oher becoming a first round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft), it was heart-warming to see the journey. For the nearly thousands of disadvantaged youths who long to escape a life of poverty and squalor, Michael Oher proves what can happen when someone shows just a scintilla of belief in the person. And how ironic that the African-American Oher was given that opportunity by a family of rich Republicans (sorry, couldn't resist!!).

Anyhow, do yourself a favor and see the movie!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blast from the Past!!!!


I hadn't thought about this song in a long time. In 1984, when I was a high school sophomore on the basketball team, one of my teammates played the following tune on every bus ride to an away game.

Well, that and Billy Idol's White Wedding.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

KSTP: Keep Shuffling Through, Please (UPDATE: AM 1500 going All Sports?!?!?) (UPDATE II: KSTP makes is official!)

The veritable revolving door at AM 1500 KSTP looks to be in full swing. Although I've neither seen nor heard anything official, It appears KSTP has pulled the plug on the four-hour time suck from 9-1 weekdays Prebil & Murphy show as the duo's show page has been removed from the AM 1500 web site. For the rest of this week, former KSTP personality Bob Davis is filling that time slot.

A little over three years ago, many GOP political candidates (at both local and national levels) were slaughtered in the 2006 mid-term elections. Consultants to talk radio stations used those results as a cudgel to perpetuate the meme that conservative talk radio was dead. As such, KSTP was said to have jettisoned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (who are now syndicated on FM 100.3 KTLK) from their airwaves for that very reason.

When the local FM frequency 100.3 became a talk format at the beginning of 2006, the initial weekday linuep consisted of a mixed bag of commentators in an attempt to appeal to the masses. Sure, Limbaugh and Hannity appealed to the conservative crowd. But there was local flavor with the likes of Andrew Colton and Kelly Guest (both politically benign) in the mornings, WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler (MSM journalists are impartial, right?) in the late morning and the lefty male/righty gal duo of Brian Lambert and Sarah Janecek during drive time. Four years later, KTLK is thriving as a conservative radio station with the likes of Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Jason Lewis and Laura Ingraham filling out the weekday lineup. So much for "right-wing radio" being passe.

Meanwhile, within the past year, AM 1500 has added left-of-center commentators like Patrick Reusse in the early mornings and the aforementioned Prebil & Murphy in the 9:00 am to 1:00 slot. In addition to securing the rights to Twins baseball in 2007 and Joe Soucheray still appealing to the center-right crowd with the ever popular Garage Logic from 2 to 5, KSTP seems to be embracing the philosophy that KTLK rejected within its first year of existence. That is, being "all things to all people." As a result, it's becoming harder to deny that the AM affiliate of Hubbard Broadcasting is moving along like a rudderless ship.

UPDATE: I no sooner published this post when I saw the following tweet from Darren "Doogie" Wolfson of KSTP-TV:

As big a radio announcement locally as I can remember ... and it originates out of this building (@KSTP) ... AM-1500 is going all-sports.


UPDATE II: Via Ginny Morris, President/GM of Hubbard Broadcasting

On Monday, February 15, we evolve again, and you will know us as AM1500 The SportsTalk Station.

Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse invented SportsTalk in this town - arguably in the country - and we look forward to featuring them together every afternoon. They are wonderfully talented entertainers and storytellers, as individuals and as a team, and they will anchor our new line-up that we think you will enjoy.

Patrick will be heard each day from noon to 2p.m. Joe and Patrick together from 2 to 4p.m., then from 4-6p.m. "The Mayor" resumes the magical theater of "Garage Logic."

For three years, we have enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the Minnesota Twins, and this new position enhances and strengthens our relationship with the Twins and their many fans. We look forward to being up and running before the Twins's inaugural season at Target Field.

Also, at the center of these changes will be a new partnership with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports coverage. ESPN has a contractual obligation to another outlet in town for a period of time, but beginning Monday you will hear the Colin Cowherd program from 9a.m. to noon. Soon, we will also bring you ESPN's "Mike and Mike In The Morning," and some other great ESPN programming throughout the week.

When those pieces are able to unfold, we will change our name to 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

We are excited to embrace the next phase in our history, and we truly thank you for listening to the new AM1500 The SportsTalk Station.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Domino effect

Cause and effect, chain of events
All of the chaos makes perfect sense
When you're spinning round, things come undone
Welcome to Earth, 3rd rock from the Sun
-Joe Diffie

This is a story of how one decision made almost four years ago impacted both the BCS and Super Bowl champions for the 2009 season.

Just prior to the 2006 NFL season, then Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban was about to enter his second year as a pro coach. Having amassed enormous success at the college level, Saban was looking to make his mark in the pro game. The first step was to acquire a legitimate quarterback to lead the Dolphins back into relevance. As a result, the Dolphins organization looked to San Diego.

Despite a lackluster beginning to his career with the Chargers, quarterback Drew Bress was coming of two very good seasons (2004 & 2005) until suffering a torn rotator cuff in the final game of the '05 campaign. The Chargers had Philip Rivers waiting in the wings so they were willing to deal Brees to the Dolphins. But after what was supposed to be a routine physical, the Dolphins' team physician would not clear Brees, thus leading Miami to instead make a deal for Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper.

This scenario allegedly so enraged Saban, who coveted Brees, that he was willing to listen when the University of Alabama came calling in late 2006. In that same '06 season, the New Orleans Saints took a chance on Brees and he ended up leading the club to a seven game improvement over 2005 and an NFC title game appearance. Saban officially left the Dolphins upon the conclusion of the '06 campaign and took the head coaching position with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A little more than three years later, Saban lead the University of Alabama to its first national championship in seventeen seasons. And Brees quarterbacked the Saints franchise to their first ever Super Bowl appearance and subsequent victory.

No word if that Miami Dolphins team physician was grand marshal at either victory parade.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cris Carter snubbed again

As is tradition, the day before the Super Bowl brings the announcement of the latest Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.

All-time greats Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith led a class of seven into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The NFL's career receiving and rushing leaders were joined in the Hall by John Randle, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau. Little and LeBeau were elected as senior committee nominees.

Conspicuously absent from the list was Cris Carter, one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history. From a numbers standpoint, it's hard to argue Carter's place amongst the all-time greats. He is third in NFL history with 1,101 receptions (behind only Rice and Marvin Harrison), fourth in touchdown catches (trailing Rice, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens) and eighth in career receiving yardage.

From what I understand, the voting process is somewhat convoluted. Essentially you have 44 media members debating which players belong in the Hall. Before these members fill out their respective ballots, there is a great deal of politicking taking place, a veritable "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." And quite often the mentality is no more than one player per position is enshrined in a given year. Well since no rational human being would deny that Rice should be selected to the Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility, this silly unwritten rule the writers enact denies Carter's induction in this his third year of eligibility.

Further speculation suggests that Carter's somewhat tumultuous relationship with the media during his playing days may have also contributed to his enshrinement being denied. Hence, this is the writer's opportunity to exact some measure of retribution. I don't know if I buy that. But I do believe the selection process causes many bones of contention amongst the voters themselves. That is, certain writers will campaign vigorously on behalf of a player they've covered. And if that player is, say, denigrated by another writer, this sets off a firestorm of tensions where other worthy players are left off ballots (players must be named on at least 80% of ballots to be inducted).

Whatever the case, Carter must continue to wait. But I'm sure he will be the first to say that all the waiting will be worth it when his day of enshrinement finally occurs.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: The Q & A

Super Bowl Sunday will be upon us again soon. Despite the fact this will be the 33rd consecutive Super Bowl not featuring my Minnesota Vikings, I will still be in the customary position of sitting in someone else’s living room eating someone else’s food while watching someone else’s Hi Def TV.

And as is custom on this blog, the fellow known as Super Bowl Inquisitor will engage in a Q&A with yours truly regarding the big game. Sure, it’s painful knowing that my favorite squad was oh so close to being the NFC representative in this game. But I figure a little jocularity with my pal SBI will go a long way in helping me overcome the devastation.

SBI: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will take on the New Orleans Saints, the very franchise for which his Dad Archie played 12 seasons. Any shock Archie is going to pull for the Colts?
BC: C’mon, really? That’s like being surprised that Bob Dylan would pull for The Wallflowers to beat out Bruce Springsteen for a Grammy.

SBI: Is this the first time that a Super Bowl will feature two players named Pierre (Garcon for the Colts; Thomas for the Saints)?
BC: Probably. But I’d be more impressed if there was just one player named “Shecky.”

SBI: Any thoughts on the “Who Dat?” controversy?
BC: I guess I’m amazed that the Saints fans were so ahead of their time by using language one often sees in today’s routine text message.

SBI: Any predictions as to which players will have a big game for either team?
BC: Well……I know who I’m pulling for. The more big plays made by Saints RB Reggie Bush, the more gratuitous camera shots of Kim Kardashian.

SBI: What’s on the menu?
BC: I’m sure it will be any variety of foods which causes one to repeat like a howitzer.

SBI: Are you looking forward to the halftime entertainment by…..uh…. that band that formed in London around the ‘60s?
BC: Who?

SBI: Yes!
BC: Oh, I like them! My favorite song of theirs is Owner of a Lonely Heart.

SBI: Wait, WHAT? The Who doesn’t sing that song.
BC: I didn’t say they did. Yes does.

SBI: I’m aware of that. But it’s The Who who’s performing at the half.
BC: The Who is?

SBI: Yes.
BC: Ah, I see where you going with this. Nope, I won’t get fooled again!

SBI: What are you talking about?
BC: You were trying to lure me into one of those Abbott & Costello “Who’s on first” bits. But I saw that comin’. Yep, I can see for miles.

SBI: Whatever. Let’s move on to the game…..
BC: Kickoff is around 5:15 by the way.

SBI: Uh Huh. Anyhow, can we wrap this up by getting your official Super Bowl prediction?
BC: I’m willing to join together with you to get this wrapped up! Bottom line, you can’t spell Peyton Williams Manning without “Peyton wins all Miami.” The Colts are five-point favorites. I say they win by a final score of 38-31.

2009 Postseason Record:

Straight up: 5-5

Against the spread: 7-3


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Caucus recap

Last evening my wife and I attended our first precinct caucus as residents of Ramsey. Oddly enough, the GOP and DFL caucuses were in the same building. In fact, a couple of people in our precinct (Ward 2 - Precinct 2 in Ramsey) inadvertently went to W2-P2 on the DFL side. In said precinct, there were literally two people --- the precinct chair and the secretary. I guess when it's a non-Presidential election year without a cult of personality on the Democrat ticket, it's just not as important to show up.

But I digress.

We had 22 people from our precinct (including our Mayor, Bob Ramsey) attend the caucus, and there was definitely an energy about the room! Even though Ramsey is solidly conservative (right down to the Mayor's office and city council) there was no complacency about what lies ahead in 2010. Everyone knows there is a golden opportunity for the GOP to make sweeping gains not only nationally but also in the state of Minnesota.

Having been a precinct chair while living in Coon Rapids, I was nominated by my lovely bride to vie for the same position in Ramsey. I ran against a long-time Ramsey resident named Andre, who ended up beating me out 15-7. Hey, I was just flattered to have received more than two votes (that is assuming my wife voted for me. After all, I was late for dinner last evening). However, I was the sole nominee for vice chair, thus attaining that position by default. I was also named on 21 of 22 ballots to be one of eleven delegates!

Regarding the gubernatorial straw poll, Tom Emmer won our precinct with 11 votes. Marty Seifert came in second with seven with the remaining four votes interspersed amongst the second tier candidates.

With all of the craziness surrounding our move out of Coon Rapids eighteen months ago and getting settled in to our current home, I had been out of the political loop for pretty much that entire time. But I have to say it sure felt good to be in the midst of the battle once again.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gearing up for the race

Last month when Scott Brown became the first Massachusetts Republican in over thirty years to win a US Senate election, it sent veritable shock waves through the political punditry. Now all of a sudden it seemed plausible that rock-solid Democrat Senators such as Barbara Boxer (CA), Patty Murray (WA) and Russ Feingold (WI) could face very serious challenges in this year's mid-term elections. The prevailing optimism would even suggest that 18-term MN Congressman James Oberstar can finally be unseated.

I equate the paradigm shift to when Roger Bannister became the first runner to break the 4-minute mile. Prior to 1954, when Bannister's landmark sprint took place, the conventional wisdom was that the human physiological makeup couldn't endure the stress of such a jaunt. But since Bannister busted through that proverbial road block, the 'four minute barrier' has been broken by many male athletes, and is now the standard of all professional middle distance runners. In the last 50+ years the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds.

The point is it took only one landmark victory in Massachusetts to create a groundswell of hope that many other formidable GOP candidates can emerge victorious come November. But like Bannister's historic moment, it doesn't happen without a tremendous amount of work and preparation.

So consider this evening's precinct caucuses as a light jog in preparing for the November races. Roger Bannister didn't break the four-minute mile because he got lucky. Countless hours of training put him in prime position on that fateful day in May of 1954. So check out your local caucus tonight. It is there that you will receive your "training regimen" for the next nine months.

Don't know where your caucus is located? Please click here.