Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dad's Obituary

You can find the full obituary for dad via this link.

Of all of the things we did, writing this was probably the hardest thing. We did it when we were all completely exhausted, and we had a number of versions and edits. But thanks both to Kevin and Jennifer, who made great contributions, we're left with something of which all of us can be proud.

We hope to see you on Thursday if you can make it. It looks to be a great celebration.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tears and Progress

Yesterday was a very long day. It started out with a pretty big crying jag by yours truly. These past 10 years I thought I had been grieving dad as he quickly slipped away from us, but I think it was more coping than grieving. I was just going day by day, and dealing with the next thing, then the next thing, then the next thing his vicious disease dealt us. Now that he's gone, and in seeing his old friends, and in sharing stories with loved ones, it's opened up everything I thought I tucked away so neatly. So I grieve him again, and grieve both the healthy Pat as well as the sick Pat.

I helped mom most of the day yesterday - we started at the funeral home at 10:00 and we literally didn't stop until I left at 7:00. I'm very happy to report that EVERYTHING we wanted was available and reserved - the church, priest, soloist, reception area, you name it - if we needed it, get got it.

My siblings have been a blessing to my mom through it all - staying in contact, constantly offering help, contributing where they can, and overall being there for mom. Kev and Jen are both wonderful, loving, and kind people, and I don't just say that. This is who they are at their core. You can see it in simple ways like how they interact with others, and in more complex ways like looking at their precious children. I cannot wait to finally get a chance to hug my sibs. They're exactly who my parents looked to raise, and I know that somewhere dad is so proud of who they are.

I have kind of a free day today. Mom is headed to support group and is running errands. I'm headed to Wellstead with Fuzzy to pick up some of the bigger stuff from dad's room. Mom would like to handle the little stuff herself, and I think she'd like Jen to go with her for support, so for today, we'll concentrate on the Laz-E-Boy and the artwork and leave it at that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Too Many Thoughts on Our Loss

As a reader of this space, you know that I'm never at a loss for words. However, today, I cannot corral all of the myriad things in my head to something cogent. There are too many emotions, too many memories, too many people, and too much to do.

So instead of trying to craft something, I'll instead ask for the repose of my father's soul, and peace and strength for those that love him.

Rest in peace, dad. I miss you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Daily Puntometer

From the "I told you so" file, Nicky started at third last night, looked completely pathetic in striking out twice, and the Twins five game win streak was brought to an immediate halt.

Correlation? Oh, I think so...

The average has fallen to a whopping .209

When is the Vikings' opener again?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daily Puntometer

Our gutty hometown nine have peeled off 5 wins in a row to get themselves back to .500, and back into the mix in the Central race at only 4 games behind Detroit. Also during this time, you'll note that there have been no updates for our hero, and that's because Nicky has had nary an at-bat during this streak.

Hmmm. A five game winning streak, and five consecutive games without an at-bat by Nick Punto. A correlation? That, dear reader, is something I'll leave to you to decide.

The schedule is very friendly to the Twins down the stretch, with 6 games left with the hapless Indians and Royals each, plus two three game series against league-leading Detroit. Being four games back, it is an uphill battle, but statistically, they have a legitimate shot.

Hopefully Gardy is taking recent performance into account as he's filling out the line up card. We'll see...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Cash for Clunkers Tells Us About Health Care

Why are Americans so fearful of the government health care plan? Look no further than the Cash for Clunkers program. According to the Washington Times:

Planners who expected to sell 250,000 cars in three months are now deluged with nearly twice that many applications seeking more than $2 billion in rebates after less than one month. Only 7 percent of the rebates have been paid, leaving many auto dealers out millions of dollars. Dealers were supposed to be repaid within 10 days.
If the government can't run a simple program to pay dealers for getting crappy cars of the street (seriously, how easier can it get?), how can we have any faith that it can effectively deal with something as complex, expensive, and personal as health care? The multiple failures of this program serve as harbingers of doom for government running bigger programs, and that has folks uneasy.

This lack of understanding is taking its toll with Obama's poll numbers, which have just gone to a new low:

Likewise, they're taking their toll on rank and file legislators as well, as this Marine clearly points out:

The failed stimulus programs, failed Cash for Clunkers, the USPS - how many examples do American citizens need that the LAST place where we can turn for effective administration of our lives, be they simple or complex, is government?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Obama Gets Called Out

Finally somebody has a big enough set to counterpunch. For weeks now the Obama administration and the mainstream media have overtly blamed Republicans for blocking heath reform. Horse droppings. They control this in their party, and they can get it passed themselves. However, because the American people (and many legislators) know this administration has failed are every major initiative they've launched, there's fear. And rightly so.

Steele is right, and it is about time Obama got called out. "Up or down, baby," indeed.

The Daily Puntometer

The Twins sputtered again last night, with lousy pitching and horrid hitting, especially with runners on base. Our hero was no exception, going 0-3, stranding two, and showing why his is arguably the worst everyday player in the American League.

Another "oh-for" tonight will take the Puntometer® to its lowest level since we've begun. Can Nick do it? As we've seen all season, of course he can! Will he? That, sports fans, is the real question.

Trigeminal Neuralgia - Post MRI Wrap Up and Other Updates

A number of you have asked for an update. Good things here:
  • MRI results came back, and initial findings are "generally normal," which is good news. That means there is nothing evil lurking on or around the Trigeminal nerve. I'll go through details with the neurologist when I go down to Mayo in October.
  • The increase in meds has really worked. I've had very little by way of attacks - a minor 5 second tooth ache or eye pain every once and a while, and no "knife." Life is normal, at least with regard to pain.
  • I've cut way back on caffeine, and have cut back some on alcohol, and I'm not sure if it helps or not, but given how things are going, it's not hurting. Sell your Coors stock now...
  • Afternoons are still hell from a fatigue standpoint. I used to get up at 4 and work out, but haven't in weeks as I fear what that will mean in the afternoons. I've got to get back to some regular exercise, especially with hunting season right around the corner. I'm working from home today, and will head to the club at lunch, so I'll get back at it starting today and see how it goes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Daily Puntometer

After an 0 for 3 on Tuesday, Nicky went completely en fuego last night, going 2 for 3 and overall raising his average to .213.
Even with the Twins struggling, it has been a lot of fun watching the "game within a game" like Mauer flirting with .400 and Punto flirting with .220.

Farve and the Future

There's lots of discussion up here in the northland about what Farve will or will not do for our beloved Purple. Some folks hate the move, and some love it. Put me down in the love category. Here's my rationale:

  • The Vikings' Achilles heel has been their quarterback play. Defenses stack the box to shut down our vaunted running game, and Jackson has lacked the ability to make them pay for it. We need a quarterback that can read the defense, and burn them when appropriate with a quick slant or a well-timed post pattern. Jackson has proved, time and again, that he's incapable. Farve, on the other hand, feasts on those scenarios.
  • We don't need our quarterback to carry the team. We have a running came that is more than capable of doing that. All we need is a quarterback to keep the defense honest. Hence, the pressure on Farve should be low, both literally and figuratively. He should not need to pass more than 25 times per game. That takes off a lot of pressure both mentally and on his body.
  • For the Sage Rosenfels fans out there – and there are about 3 of you – I'm sorry. But with T-Jack in the mix, there was no guarantee he was going to get the ball anyway.

For the first time in a long time, I believe we have all the pieces necessary for a championship run. Given the Vikings' history, we know it is going to be an interesting ride.

Until then, welcome to #4. We're glad you're here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daily Puntometer

Derek Jeter recently set the MLB record for hits by a shortstop at 2,674. Nick is close on his heels, and after factoring in his total lifetime hits and his current trajectory, the Daily Puntometer projects that Nick will pass Jeter in the 2031 season. At age 53, we can't wait to see him sliding into first and being called out yet again on another close play.

A gutty 1 for 3 including a 2 RBI clutch hit sends Nick's average soaring to a whopping .210.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Dog Named Blitz - Chapter Three: "Puppy Troubles" Part 2

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous section

While we tried to keep the basement filled with distractions, the only distraction that Blitz really enjoyed, and really captured her attention, was our cat Trixie. Trixie was a two-year-old mutt that we got as a kitten from an animal shelter, and she was at a age that she'd gone past the ability to consider the new addition to our family as a buddy. In fact, this little puppy, with her quick moves and monopolization of human attention, was something to be feared and loathed. To Blitz, however, Trixie represented yet another member of her new pack. And a fun one at that! She hunched up her back, made that funny hissing sound and really liked bonking dogs on the nose with her paw. What fun!

Trixie was also a completely indoor cat, so her experience to anything new was confined to new people coming to our house. While new people posed a problem for our standoffish feline, this new source of noise, movement, and rambunctious behavior was something that was beyond a problem and went to something that just could not be tolerated.

Despite our best efforts, integration of the two would not work. Trixie demanded peace and space, and Blitz just wanted to play, regardless of the consequences. Thus, a Korean-like division of the house was enacted, with the cat confined to the upstairs, the dog confined to the downstairs, and the stairs themselves to serve as the our very own demilitarized zone. It was a solution that seemed to work well, as long as the DMZ was not crossed. While my wife and I spent our evenings separated due to the needs of our respective pet, the peace and calm the situation afforded was worth it.

Unfortunately, that peace was a tenuous one, as a JAILBREAK by Blitz was known to bring about complete chaos.

Her first JAILBREAK was committed one late summer weekday morning. Upon rising, I toddled downstairs in my robe and let Blitz out, fed her, let her out again, and put her up until I let her out one more time before I departed for work. Unfortunately, I must have been lackadaisical in my confinement of her, for as reached the top of the stairs and was headed out the front door to pick up the paper at the end of the driveway, I heard a noise coming up the stairs that was either a pack of elephants or one very excited yellow dog exploring her newfound freedom.

Since we were lacking in the pachyderm department downstairs, I was not surprised to see a little yellow flash arrive at the top of the steps - tongue lagging, tail wagging, and completely keyed up for some substantive puppy fun in this forbidden territory.

While I may not have been surprised, Trixie, who was standing about five feet away from me, was incredibly surprised, and in her "fight or flight" moment, chose the latter. And the path she chose was out the still open front door from where I had just entered after getting the paper. And hot on her tail for this impromptu game of tag was Blitz. I spun on my heels and engaged in the pursuit myself.

The cat was flying and employing her best Walter Payton imitation. The dog followed every movement, but had a tough time closing the five yard gap. I was approximately the same distance behind the dog, screaming at her a vile combination of profanity and commands she had not yet learned, all completed with my robe flying up in the air, revealing for all my boxer shorts and potentially other things. Our serpentine train weaved to one side of the front yard, then out to the street and down to the neighbor's, then around the neighbor's house one full rotation, then to our back yard. All the time the cat is juking, the dog pursuing, and I am screaming and holding down my robe. For those looking on (and, unfortunately, based on the faces of my neighbors looking out the window as we sped past, I know there were some) it had to look like the closing skit of a Benny Hill episode, minus the music and pretty girls.

As we came around to the front of the house after our second circle, Trixie happened to notice the sanctuary of the open front door, which I thankfully left open in my haste to join the pets on their chase. The cat sped into the house and up to the shelter of the kitchen table while I marshaled the puppy interloper back to her half of the house. The ramifications of all the excitement were one very angry cat, (at least) one set of entertained neighbors, one very tired pet owner, and one very entertained puppy.

Despite a verbal scolding, the yellow face that greeted me from behind the gate after her confinement was one that said "That was a BLAST! Can we do it again? Huh? Huh?" Unfortunately, Trixie met me upstairs with a face that said, "Traitor! You will pay dearly for such treachery! Sleep with one eye open, foul scoundrel, for my vengeance will strike upon thee at an hour unbeknownst..."

Needless to say, I'm a dog person.

Subsequent jailbreaks were confined to the house, and while we were witness to very few of them, based on forensic evidence obtained at the crime scene, most involved play/harassment of the cat, going to the bathroom multiple times, and violation of my wife's Beany-Baby collection. Often times we came home from work to be greeted at the door by a happy little dog and house scattered with what can only be described as a massacre of small stuffed animals, unbelievable quantities of dog poop, and one very ticked off cat. My wife describes these episodes as "doggy day at the circus," I think in part because the dog has the day of her life, and in part because the house is usually left looking and smelling like wild animals have spent the day there.

Note that the impacts of "doggy day at the circus" were not just confined to the upstairs: often times we would find Beany-Baby victims scatted downstairs and all along the DMZ; their gutted and lifeless bodies strewn about, and their bean innards splattered everywhere. The entire house was fair game for the dog's activities, and all that was missing from these scenes is someone writing "Helter Skelter" on the wall.

The scene and the smell the horror was incredible, and was surpassed only by the clean-up duty that was to follow. The dog was always immediately taken back down to her proper spot, and was scolded and secured. The integrity of her confinement was always double checked at this point. Despite the scolding and captivity, Blitz remained remorseless, and seemingly contemplating how she may achieve her next JAILBREAK all the while being punished for her last. We found ourselves all wondering along with her.

To go to the next chapter, click here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introducing the Daily Puntometer!

Not since the .191 posted by Tim "rhymes with padner" Laudner in 1987 have the Minnesota Twins had an everyday starter of this level of offensive ineptitude. His offensive production is just that - offensive.

Since the Twins can't pitch and have been playing out this pennant run like they have both hands firmly wrapped around their necks, there's only one thing we can do: root for Nick Punto to hit below .200 and put an exclamation point on the joke that has devolved into the 2009 season.

C'mon Nick, you can do it. And knock off those 2 for 3s.

Stop back often for our tracking on the daily Puntometer!

Leech Lake Anniversary, with Bonus Leech Lake Fishing Report

My wife and I celebrated our 15 wedding anniversary by spending a long weekend at our cabin on Leech Lake. The weather conspired to keep fishing to a bare minimum, but we did get out there and got on some fish. Saturday had very little wind, so we headed out to the shallow flats outside of Big Rock Reef and trolled cranks (I know, midday, but we had very little wind) in the deeper areas.
My wife landed a very nice 24" Northern and I ended up with one of the biggest Walleyes of my life – a 26 ½" that was incredibly thick. My biggest fish in length are a 28" and a number of 27"s, but in terms of weight and fight, I think this fish wins.

We did dinner at Boulders on Friday, and were really surprised at the quality of the restaurant – extremely nice. Food was really good, and wine list was solid and priced appropriately. We highly recommend it, and will be going back again.

Rain and storms kept us off the lake way more than we'd like, but that allowed for shopping for my wife and work time for me. During the worst of the rain yesterday we went to town and caught a matinee of The Hangover and loved it. Really funny.

I hate to turn around and leave, but duty calls. We got spoiled with being up here a full week a couple of weeks ago, and it feels like time went by way too fast. Regardless, it was a really nice anniversary and a great way for the two of us to spend some time together. Here's looking forward to doing it again next year (hopefully with better weather and more fish!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To My Wife, With Love, On Our 15th Anniversary

An Irish celebration marks the beginning of our tale
And as our night progressed, I must confess, all others began to pale
As I walked you to your car, who would have thought that such a man
Could ever be so happy with a hug and touch of your hand?

Our romance moved quite quickly, despite our long miles apart
I fell in love, a gift from above, as you took and owned my heart
Budgets were cut quite sharply to afford a wedding band
That would forever take its place upon your beautiful left hand

We started out quite slowly – our incomes were so small
Our jobs were new, our expenses too, yet we had wherewithal
We did the best we could yet Hamburger Helper was always bland
But it was a feast while upon our couch, as we ate and I held your hand

Time went by so quickly and we saw the build of our first house
And in those years, you had, my dear, entrenched me as your spouse
Pets, work, house, fun – a rotation without a plan
And despite our growing years you never tired of holding my hand

Careers took off, our foundation grew, and happiness did reign
Despite loss, and regardless of cost, we prevailed through life's pain
We've seen both sadness and wonder, things we can and cannot understand
And through it all you stood with me - a firm grip on my hand

I know I'm not the man I was, my looks and health aren't the same
It'd not be a surprise if you narrowed your eyes and decided to complain
Your love has been the greatest gift, more I cannot justify or command
It's a honor to have spent that time with you and find you still holding my hand

Fifteen years has come and gone, how quick our time did go
Despite our years and infrequent tears there is something you must know
I promise my best and love to you until the hourglass' last sand
If you grant me fifteen more years, and you let me hold your hand

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant Minneapolis Concert Review

Last night I attended the Silversun Pickups / Manchester Orchestra / Cage the Elephant show that was held at the State Theater in Minneapolis. As I went by myself, I had outstanding tickets - 4th row, center stage. As you can see from the photo, they don't get much better than this.

Overall a very strange show, but a good one. Here's a quick review:

Cage the Elephant

  • Young band with very high energy. Looked like they just captured their college campus' "Battle of the Bands"
  • Lead singer Matt Schulz is a stage force akin to a young Jagger. Really.
  • Matt, kind of ticked about the traditional seated venue and kind of ticked that, as an opening act, they were playing to a room that was 1/3 filled, spent two songs out amongst the crowd, and at times, standing on empty chairs.
  • Matt ended up climbing one set of stacks and jumping to a balcony stage left of the theater. Unbeknownst to him, the balcony was fake, and he had no way down. He sang Ain't No Rest for the Wicked up there before having to shimmy his way down. Rock and roll!
  • Set list was a bit scattered, but enjoyable. Once this band ages some and their material matures, they are going to be really good. One to watch, for sure.

Manchester Orchestra

  • I would have gone to see these guys even if they were the solo act on the bill - I'm a big fan. Andy Hull, lead singer and creative driver of the group, led an impassioned set that did not disappoint.
  • Chris Freemen, who does keyboards and percussion, is really fun to watch. I've never seen someone so into the music while on stage. Jamming to the point of almost being out of control. Really fun.
  • I was disappointed in the length of Manchester Orchestra's set, and that they didn't play Where Have You Been?, but overall their performance was outstanding. I can't wait to see them again.

Silversun Pickups

  • The band came on about 15 minutes late due to sound issues. This was frustrating, but Brian Aubert had the crowd eating out of his hand by the time they hit the stage and went into Growing Old is Getting Old. Their lead song seemed appropriate to me, and I was wearing my "Oldest Guy at the Concert" T-shirt
  • Set was thoroughly enjoyable, with most of the expected songs played.
  • On the song right before Lazy Eye (Substitution), Brian broke a string. The band held until his replacement guitar was delivered and then they killed the last portion of the song off. Unfortunately, as Brian kicked into Lazy Eye, the tune of the guitar was off, and in a moment that should have brought the house down, the crowd was noticing the issue and was only mildly into it. About a third of the way into it Brian must have compensated in some fashion as the sound was regained, but momentum hurt. Not to be outdone by Cage's antics, Brian jumped off the stage and into the crowd for the guitar solo. By the time he had returned to the stage, he had tore the building down. Fun to watch him work so hard to save the song.
  • Due to their late start and the State's draconian curfew times (10:15?), the band left and immediately (and I mean immediately) returned for their first and only encore. They pushed it and cranked through one more song, and the crowd really seemed to appreciate the effort.

Overall, it was a great show. I'd rather see all three in a venue like First Avenue, but given my seats, it was still pretty fun. I'd like to see all three return to Minneapolis in short order.

Until their return, check out some serious rocking...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Duck Action Congress - Notes from the 1st Meeting

I attended the kick off meeting of the Minnesota Duck Congress last Saturday at Game Fair. While there's lots that could generate complaints, I was overall surprised by the tone, and by the article that it subsequently generated by Dennis Anderson in last Sunday's StarTribune.
A couple of thoughts:
  • I think the "Voluntary Restraint" concept of shutting down shooting early and not shooting roosts is fine, but I think compliance will be token at best. Regardless, I respect the approach.
  • As long as we're on "Voluntary Restraint," I was disappointed that harvest of hens was something that was not considered.
  • Ron Schara gave a very impassioned speech on Minnesota's ditch laws, and he couldn't have been more right. Now this is something that we can all get behind as a piece of legislation that we can get pushed through. Outstanding.
  • " Amendment bucks for ducks." Hallelujah. The Constitutional Amendment effort started out as a duck initiative, and we need our fair share of the funding. Another one that should get staunch support.
  • Hunter recruitment was addressed as a significant need, and the conversation didn't devolve into a Youth Waterfowl debate. Everyone there recognized that we need to pull out all the stops to reverse this horrific trend, as the numbers of participants in their 20's and under is mortifying. Ours is a dying sport, and without recruitment, it is doomed, and likely sooner than we expect.

Overall, the tone was better than I expected, and they have some serious meat we can sink our teeth into. Despite my earlier frustration at direction, if this is the group's aim, I'm supportive. It will be an uphill battle, but one that must be fought.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Dog Named Blitz - Chapter Three: "Puppy Troubles" Part 1

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous chapter.

Despite all of the reading, preparations, and purchases, my wife and I were definitely complete rookies when it came to this whole puppy thing. The first nights were filled with a lot of crying by Blitz, as she missed her momma and her littermates. This also translated into a lot of missed sleep, mostly by me. It was a long couple of days filled with waking, crying, outside, inside, pooping and peeing.

Then, with just a couple of days of this under my belt, I did what most loving husbands do: I headed out for a long weekend up north to host my brother's bachelor party. I walked my wife through the drill, kissed her on the cheek, exclaimed that "I'm just a cell phone call away," and toddled off for a weekend of golf, meat, sports, and beer.

I was hopeful of the situation I left to my wife. The dog had a good couple of days under her belt to establish comfort in the new situation. Likewise, my wife suffers from a genetic hearing loss disorder, and I was thinking that this might be another one of those situations where her loss was a good thing. In case you're wondering, for someone like me that seems to have an excess of gas that needs to be expelled (regardless of from where), having a spouse with a hearing loss provides a lot of "cover."

In all seriousness, my wife deals with her loss in a dignified and amazing way. It has never slowed her down, and I've always admired her attitude and approach. It is one of the reasons why I love her so.

Hearing loss or no, lonely puppies can really turn up the volume when necessary, and my hopes for sleep-filled nights for my spouse were dashed by the perpetually wakeful hellion in the basement. Hence, my calls home from the guys' weekend were never very fun. I was met with comments like "How much can one dog pee?" "Why do I even bother to go outside when the first thing she does when she comes in is pee?" and the most popular, "When, exactly, are you going to be home on Sunday?"

It was threatened, and I fully expected to see Blitz sitting at the end of the driveway on Sunday, with all of her little bags packed, all set to back to live with Randy Bartz and his wife. Luckily, all that I found when I arrived home was one very disheveled, sleep-deprived, and semi-angry spouse, and one very happy little yellow dog puppy. We had all passed the first true test.

The area we had for Blitz was a fairly large unfinished laundry room in the basement. It was blocked by a gate to keep her confined to that room, and we filled it with the requisite paraphernalia - a big dog bed, toys galore, and the ever present puppy-pads. The pads themselves were touted as a Godsend. They were infused with scent that would attract the puppy to eliminate on them and not on other areas. Armed with this knowledge, I set up a target area of three pads and hoped for the best. During the work day, Blitz would be confined to this area, and my hopes were that her intelligence and nose would lead her to mess in the defined target area.

Nothing could have been further from reality.

In coming home from work, I would often find that Blitz had picked out her own spot, and in her midday boredom, had moved the clean pads into her mess. She was delivering the elimination double whammy - a floor to clean up, plus soiled pads that needed to be replaced.

Knowing that dogs tend to eliminate in the same place, I'd preempt her next "movement" by placing pads in the previous scenes of the crime, and upon leaving for work, often noted that the basement floor looked like a bingo card. And, unfortunately, I would come home at the end to find that I had, yet again, lost a game of Tic-Tac-Poop to the yellow devil.

I'm quite confident that my wife and I were fully and completely responsible for the 3rd quarter 2000 sales performance of the Wee Wee Pad Company.

Despite the nice little area that we had created for Blitz, she developed an early aptitude for the JAILBREAK. The JAILBREAK is defined as any episode where a yellow dog has inappropriately escaped their confines and is on the loose. It can also serve as a warning to others that such an episode has occurred, and you can expect to have a yellow dog in your lap/garbage/bed in 4, 3, 2...

And we were soon to suffer the full impact of Blitz's first JAILBREAK.

To go to the next chapter, click here

Trigeminal Neuralgia - Thank God for Dr. Jonathan Larson

Lots going on with regard to the TN fight. Had an appointment with my regular doc on Friday, and here's the latest:
  • Given my response to the Carbamazepine, he's pretty confident in his diagnosis.
    With the symptoms I've had, he's made the decision to boost the prescription. We're doubling where I'm at, which is a good thing because I had a really bad attack yesterday afternoon. It was killer. However, I'm afraid of the side effects, but we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.
  • He agreed to the MRI, and now we're just waiting for my insurance company to agree as well. The doc doesn't envision any problems, but we just need to wait.
  • I'll be happy once the MRI is complete as it should lay out some reasons for what is causing this and will rule out any really nasty stuff. I hope to get it completed next week, and will get the results for my appointment at Mayo in October.

I'm really thankful for my doctor, Jonathan Larson of the Lakeview Clinic. He was all over this diagnosis immediately, and is quite learned in TN. Had he not been, and had I not stated the Carbamazepine when I did, I'd hate to even think of where I'd be right now. The misdiagnosis rate on this is very common, and sufferers can find themselves in a very bad place before finally striking on their proper track of treatment. I'm lucky to have avoided all of that, and have Dr. Larson to thank.

The fight continues.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Obama Wants America to Shut Up

I have never, ever seen a sitting US President look so un-presidential. The distain he holds for over 50% of the population is remarkable, and the tactics being empolyed are approaching scary.

We're in new territory here, folks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The White House - Thugs on Parade

I have not seen anything like the thuggery being committed by the White House on the health care initiative. Nixonian in scope an execution, it is designed to reign in dissent and, ultimately, 1st Amendment rights. A couple of points:

  • If Bush had come down on war protesters or Code Pink (both organized groups) he would have been impeached. But when Obama does it, the media and a significant portion of the public look away and allow him room.
  • If, like the spin that is being told, you believe that this is a small but vocal minority, especially based on the approval ratings of the proposed bill, then you will have a big surprise for you in the 2010 elections.
  • Obama holds dominant positions in both houses. If this is good legislation, supported by mandate, it is a lay-down. Why won't it get through? Republicans can do nothing to stop it. Period.

Obama was ushered in on a wave that was massive, and appeared poised to have Democratic dominance of Washington for decades to come. In 8 short months, that hope is lost. People are realistically (as supported by the polls) talking about taking back the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012. The speed and height of Obama's fall are truly remarkable, and he now runs the risk of losing the media and splintering his party.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dennis Anderson's Duck Congress: Bad for Minnesota Duck Hunting

Dennis Anderson just can't help himself. The Duck Congress, which he introduced a couple of weeks ago, turns out has NOTHING to do with what is best for the Minnesota duck hunter, and has everything to do with Dennis.

Consider the latest from his column last Sunday:

Example: Can we have ducks in Minnesota while the Department of Natural Resources continues to expand over-water goose hunting in the state in September? Debate it all you will. But the answer is no, we can't.

Can we have ducks in Minnesota -- even on opening day -- if we continue to let kids hunt these birds a couple of weeks before the regular season opens? No, we can't -- especially in light of the DNR's expansion of over-water goose hunting.

Can we have ducks in the state if we turn a blind eye to farmers and other landowners who disregard requirements for stream and river buffers, and instead plant crops to water's edge? No, we can't.

Can we have ducks in this state if the state's cities and suburbs aren't required to initiate best water management practices to slow runoff from melting snow and heavy rains, and to keep river and ditch levels from jumping, wiping out the aquatic plants ducks need? No, we can't.

Can we have ducks in this state if we continue to expand hunter opportunity in the face of a declining resource -- by changing opening-day shooting from noon to 9 a.m., from shortening the time during the season that shooting ends at 4 p.m., and by continuing a 60-day season with a six-bird limit? No, we can't.

Can we have ducks in this state if we don't establish refuges to hold them during migration, and/or stop shooting at noon most days of the week, or at least some days -- as some other states do? No, we can't.

Think what you will about these issues, but we can agree on this: What we're doing now isn't working. And absent some independent voices standing up and telling the powers that be -- the DNR, the Legislature and the duck hunting "industry" -- that something has to change, nothing will. That's what the meeting is about. Come if you care. Main Game Fair seminar tent. No whining allowed.

A couple of points:

  • 4 of the 6 points he raises above REMOVE hunting opportunities in Minnesota. Sorry, but anything that is so vasty opposed to the legal harvest of game as determined by the flyway council and by the DNR is a huge issue with me
  • Anyone find it interesting that he demands no whining, but in the previous 7 paragaphs he does nothing but whine?

You're on the wrong end of this, Dennis, and frankly I hope you fail, and fail gloriously.

For additional information on the Duck Action Congress, click here

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sitting with the Twins’ Wives: Great Seats, Better Jewelry

My brother and I attended last Saturday’s Twins game, and since going to a game has become such a rarity with me, I decided to employ Craigslist and find some really good seats. Thanks to my newfound friend “Jon,” my brother and I landed some sweet seats about 15 rows up, right behind home plate.

As the game started, an extremely attractive woman and her two kids took their seats directly in front of us, and my brother immediately noticed the diamond wedding ring the woman was sporting. I tried to surreptitiously snap a photo of it, because folks, you would not have believed it. Unfortunately, this is all I got:

In comparing notes after the game, my brother and I estimated the top of the rock to be about the size of a penny, which would put it at around 6 carats. No lie.

I figured with a ring like that she had to be somebody special, and as Orlando Cabrera took the field for his first game at shortstop for the Twins, he looked up at the woman and the two kids that were waving feverously at him and acknowledged them with a head tilt to the right shoulder, which was immediately returned with the same head tilt by the three ladies.

In looking around further, we noticed a multitude of massive wedding rings, and quickly surmised we were sitting in the players’ wives section.

Since the Twins were getting killed, I spent my time watching the wives, as there was some very interesting dynamics going on. Observations from the wives’ section:

  • I expected them to be prettier. I’ve seen how women act in bars around pro athletes, and even the ugliest guy on the team can command the attention of the hottest girls in the bar. Maybe hot girls ultimately figure out that pro athlete or not, waking up next to Nicky Punto is not all it’s cracked up to be.
  • That being said, Joe Crede’s wife was stunning. She was one of those people that you just watch because she was that striking.
  • The wives all talked during the entire game. They watched very little and did not cheer. All they did was talk. The whole game…
  • The exception was Cabrera’s wife, who watched, cheered, and knew her hardball. In a tricky scoring situation, she knew Orlando would be credited with just one RBI. My brother also got her to high five him after a sweet Cabrera hit. None of the other wives cared.
  • Wives don’t stand for the 7th Inning Stretch, don’t sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and don’t do the wave (bless them on that wave thing). They just continue to talk.
  • I guarantee that section consumed 50% or more of all salads sold in the Metrodome that night. No dogs and peanuts for this crew.
  • In the 8th inning, they all got up and cleared out – evidently headed to a room where the players can be with their families. While she was invited, Cabrera’s wife didn’t go – she wanted to watch the game. God love her.

I’m sure being a player’s wife is a hard life, and it doesn’t help when you have a yahoo like me writing about it. However, it was a pretty unique experience, and certainly not one you have every day, hence the report.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Post Vacation Trigeminal Neuralgia Update

Here's the latest from Trigeminal Neuralgia land:

  • "The Knife" has been kept pretty dull. Only had a couple of quick stabs the past week, and notably my stress level was nil. We'll see what happens this week as we get back into it.
  • I got into Mayo, and will be seeing a brilliant neurologist, a man that has done quite a bit of work with my dad and his Pick's Disease. That is the good news. The bad news is that I'm not going to be able to get in until mid October.
  • In the mean time, Mayo has requested a head MRI, and I will request that from my regular doctor when I have a follow up meeting with him on Friday. If he refuses (because he feels it is unnecessary) I will book one at Mayo the day before my neurology appointment.
  • I received a well-recommended book called "Striking Back," which is a great resource, in layman's terms, of all things Trigeminal Neuralgia, and even some things beyond TN that manifest themselves akin to TN. I read it in one day, and got some really great information from it. This will arm me well when I go and see my doctor later this week.
  • Overall, I'm trying to keep my stress level as low as I can, and make sure I get some daily exercise. Things at work and outside of work won't make that as quiet as I'd like, but life will continue to roll on, TN or no TN.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Leech Lake Vacation Complete and In Photos

The entire clan got together this year for a vacation up at Leech

Artie and Ben on the troll for the elusive Walleye

Caitlin made a good Captain to allow yours truly to focus on his trolling

Barb showed she still had game

My sweetie was on fire, and shows off the biggest fish of vacation – a beautiful 25" fish

Despite the fun, it was good to be home