Friday, December 31, 2010

The South and Winter - a Great Combination

I’m writing this blog entry while seated in the back yard of my sister’s home in Charleston, SC.  The temperature is in the 60’s, there is not a cloud in the sky, and just a scant amount of wind.   

There absolutely is something to be said about being south of the Mason Dixon when the calendar hits the winter months.  When I was younger I used to relish the extreme change of seasons in the north.  But with old age comes less and less tolerance for the snow, ice, and chill that comes with the northern latitudes in the winter months.  

 I never used to envision myself as a potential snow bird, but sitting here, listening to the iPod in my shirt sleeves and considering the need for sunscreen, I think I have had an official change of heart.   
God bless the South.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Feel Good Story to Close 2010

In an era of folks looking out for just themselves, and looking for the government to be the answer to all of life's problems, comes this wonderful story.  

This is a great example of the reminder of why we're all here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fishing with Ben

Enjoying some family time in SC.  In this installment, my nephew exercises the most important concept in being a good fisherman

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Moby, Other Millionaire Socialists Want Others to Pay More Taxes

Sept. 20, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - MOBY arriving at the premiere of ''Wall Street: Money Never Stops'' at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City on 09-20-2010.  2010..K65957HMc. © Red Carpet Pictures

A group of millionaire Socialists under the banner of a recent organization of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength is pushing for President Obama to "tax them" more.  
Unfortunately, their premise is abject horse excrement.  They don't really seek to have their taxes raised.  Hell, if they did, all they'd need to do is break out a check, write it for whatever amount would assuage them of their rich-lefty guilt, and mail it to the IRS where it will be gladly gobbled up by the existing tax infrastructure like a blip-sized Hungry Hungry Hippo.  But, for some reason, they don't do this.  Instead, they spend their time, energy, and yes, money working to make sure that OTHERS pay more in taxes.   
And the ultimate hypocrisy from these ultra-rich, under-taxed, "got more than we'd ever need" crowd?  They're asking for donations on their website.  Hey, Moby, what's say that if you really believe in this charade that you skip a couple of upcoming $500 vegan dinners in the next week and fund this thing your own damn self.    
Bleeping Socailists.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feel Good Video of the Day

That first little old lady puts a lump in my throat every time

Monday, December 20, 2010

NFL Play of the Year

Dan Connolly, the 313 lb. guard for the Patriots, turned in the 2010's season highlight last night

The only way it could have been better is if he would have scored and we would have been subjected to a Big Man Dance Party. 

NFL Network - Big Man Dance Challenge - Team Competition (2005) 0:30 (USA)

A number of months back , I wrote about the best sports for fat guys.  Looks like returning kicks needs to be added to the list.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let's Hope Tsuyoshi Nishioka isn't Japanese for Tommy Herr

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 15:  Tsuyoshi Nishioka #7 of Team Japan rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against Team Korea in the ninth inning during the Round 2, Pool 2 Game of the World Baseball Classic at Angel Stadium on March 15, 2006 in Anaheim, California. Korea defeated Japan 2-1.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The hot stove league is all abuzz about the Twins' recent acquisition of Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  The 26 year old infielder had and incredible last season, and looks to come into the Twin Cities to bolster the middle infield, which is good as Orlando Hudson just signed with the Padres. 

 A lot of Twins fans are giddy with this move, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 
  • This kid has basically been injured his entire career.  He has yet to play an injury-free season, and based on past performance, he'll be nicked with us sooner or later.   
  • Labeling him the next Ichiro before he's seen MLB pitch one is damn foolish.  Yes, the Japanese majors are competitive.  But this kid needs to get it done in a completely foreign, and a sometimes hostile environment, with the best in the world.   
  • As evidenced by Gardy's Manager of the Year award, the Twins don't win on talent alone.  They can't.  They win because they do the little things right, and they have a problem-free clubhouse.  If this new acquisition has any prima donna in him, things could all go pot.   
Don't get me wrong, I like the move, and feel there is upside on this ala the Delmon Young deal.  However, I've been having these really bad visions of Tommy Herr when considering this deal, and sure hope we don't see a repeat like that.

The Faith of St. Joseph

I was really struck by today's Gospel in mass (Matthew 1 18:24). It reads thusly: 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
What struck me is Joseph and his faith. Everyone else in the story of the nativity had a physical, tangible sign. The magi and the shepards had the star. Mary had the physical manifestation of the Lord inside of her. But Joseph got a dream and Mary's word. That's it. It had to take an incredible amount of faith to be on board with such a massive plan based on so very little. 

It makes me ashamed to think of how I'm asked for so little in comparison, and how I still come up short.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Postcard

Here's the view from my office, post-"Storm of the Century," and yes that is a snow drift up against my window.  If it weren't so beautiful, it'd be downright depressing.  Beyond that, it does help get one in the appropriate holiday mood. 

Now if I could get my customers to be equally moved and head out to my website for one last Christmas gift...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Over for Favre

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13: Brett Favre  of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the bench while playing the New York Giants at Ford Field on December 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. New York won the game 21-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
It all ends for Favre's streak, as he missed hitting the field for his 298th consecutive start.

While it is a shame it had to come to an end, it could not last forever, and now, just like the Vikings' season in total, it's over.

Despite the multitude of errant passes (both on and off the field), you can't take anything away from Favre. He's arguably the toughest character to play the position, and in an era of 300 pound men running 4.6 40s, his record will last forever.

While the short term memory will be a season of futility, long term there's still that miracle 2009 season, his three consecutive MVPs, and the awesome playoff run and Superbowl XXXI championship. And despite the fact that he was a most hated rival for a Vikings fan, you had to respect how he played the game, and what he accomplished.

Now that it's officially over, I have two wishes for #4:
  • That he can move into retirement, and do so on a permanent basis. He has nothing left to play for or to prove, and to continue with anything on the field would just serve to tarnish a shining career
  • That the city of Green Bay can welcome him back. Favre did nothing to this city other than win, and the way he's being treated here is an abject shame. Yeah, he went to a rival. It's over now. Get over it, Green Bay, and recognize that you would have sucked throughout the '90's without him. Show him some gratitude, for Pete's sake. He's more than earned it.
Goodbye, #4. Things will be a lot less interesting without you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Green Bay Blizzard

The blizzard of the century hit over the weekend, ostensibly shutting down Minnesota and Wisconsin for nearly two days.   

Until now, we've enjoyed a snow-free December, but that ended with a vengeance as Mother Nature hit with a one-two-three punch of snow, wind, and cold.   

We personally got through it just fine.  I went out for provisions on Saturday morning, so we had nowhere to go save for mass on Sunday, and if our church was like most of the others in the area, services were canceled anyway.  Snowblowing was a chore in the 35-45mph wind, and my biggest drifts were 4 feet, but with patience I made it though.  The rest of the day was spent hunkered down with football and gumbo.  

 It looks like we're just faced with cold the rest of the week, with more snow on tap for the weekend.  I just hope we don't have our holiday travel plans interrupted.    

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stuxnet Still Jacking with Iran

A couple of days ago, I provided an update on what the Stuxnet virus is doing to the Iranian nuclear initiative.  Fortunately, the news continues to get better.  Via Fox News, experts are saying that Stuxnet is still running rampant and is showing no signs of abating.

I suggest reading the whole article, but here's the money quote:

Ralph Langner, the German expert who was among the first to study and raise alarms about Stuxnet, said he was not surprised by the development. “The Iranians don’t have the depth of knowledge to handle the worm or understand its complexity,” he said, raising the possibility that they may never succeed in eliminating it. “Here is their problem. They should throw out every personal computer involved with the nuclear program and start over, but they can’t do that. Moreover, they are completely dependent on outside companies for the construction and maintenance of their nuclear facilities. They should throw out their computers as well. But they can’t,“ he explained. “They will just continually re-infect themselves.”

The utter brilliance of this solution is really staggering, and if it can hold off Iran's nuclear aspirations until regime change ultimately occurs, it will have saved countless lives and countless national treasure. 

This thing is incredible.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Giddy Inner Geek Can't Wait...

I clearly and fondly remember when Tron first came out in 1982.  It was the first time ever when a movie was launched in conjunction with a series of video games.  While the movie plot was OK at best, the graphics were awesome, and the video games consumers of many of my hours and/or quarters.

As a reader of this space, you know (or could guess) that from a pop culture standpoint, there's very little out there that stirs me.  Even despite my music appetite, most of the bands I enjoy are off the beaten path.  But this new Tron movie has me hook, line and sinker.

I can't wait to get into that movie and feel like a geeky teenager all over again.  Bring it on.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Green Bay Botanical Garden Light Show

As part of our Thanksgiving celebration, we attended the Green Bay Botanical Light Show.  I had every expectation that this would be a boring jaunt through the woods, but that was hardly the case.  The displays were intricate, beautiful, and abundant.  What a great place for families to celebrate the holiday season. 

According the their website, over 250,000 lights were part of the display this year, with most of them being energy-saving LED. 

Of all the displays they had, the icicle forest what the most incredible.  The picture does not do it justice at all.

I'm sure this will be an annual event for us.  Hat's off to all of the folks that worked so hard to put on such a great show.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Badfinger Catalog Released on MP3

With the release of the Beatles' catalog a couple of weeks ago, I was pleased to see that another Apple record label act also released their catalog.  Badfinger, a band heretofore unavailable for download, finally made their Apple catalog available for download. 

There's a lot to investigate with this band, and while some of what they produced sounds dated, some is timeless.  A great place to start is 1971's Straight Up, which was first produced by George Harrison, and later completed by Todd Rundgren. 

Should Badfinger have been a bigger band?  Tough to say.  This band was equally cursed and blessed due to their proximity to the Beatles, both in terms of sound and working relationships, and had a tough time getting out of that huge shadow.  They also suffered from horrific management, which contributed is some way to not only one but two band members' suicides. 

While their story is tragic, they made some really great music in the early '70's, and are worth a listen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stuxnet - The Ultimate Bunker Buster

I used to have significant worries of Iran’s ability to develop their own bomb.  With their combination of the world’s cash and some absolutely horrifying ideology at their highest levels of leadership, a bomb acquisition, and subsequent use, seemed a foregone conclusion.  I think a lot of the world felt the same way, and fully expected the US, Israel, or a combination of the two to take matters into their hands from a military perspective and cure the world of this ill. 

That was all before I read about the havoc that has been waged via Stuxnet. 

There’s a lot of information out there about this, but I found Ed Barnes’ recap the best and have linked to it here. 

The sophistication of this weapon (and make no mistake, it is a weapon) is almost unbelievable.  Ultimately it is doing with millions of dollars of smart bombs and sorties cannot – which is bringing the Iranian bomb program to its knees. 

The good news in all of this is that the good guys have it and are using it for good.  The bad news?  What if something like this finds its way into the hands of terrorist who decide to use it on something like our financial markets?   

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

My wife and I were lucky enough to host my mom and aunt during this past Thanksgiving.  Here are a couple of shots to show you how we spent our time:

We started with a really interesting tour of Lambeau Field.  Here are the ladies, standing on the Frozen Tundra.

In preparation for the feast, the ladies headed out for a Thanksgiving morning walk.  I encountered this crew on my way back home, and snapped this photo.  As you can see, they were prepared for the weather.

The kitchen was a center of activity - both physical and verbal.

The star of the show.  Weighing in at 19 lbs, we had our work cut out for us.  We're still working on him, but there's not as much left as you'd think.  It helped that he was downright delicious.

Other activities included my cousin and her friends stopping by for breakfast, football, shopping, putting up Christmas lights (bravo, ladies), knocking out my Christmas cards, attending the local light show (more on that in a subsequent post), and dinner at the Titletown Brewing Company.  It was just about a perfect Thanksgiving.  Wish you could have been there.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

TSA Outrage

I hope that your trip home is better than this soldier's.  Travel safe.

Friday, November 26, 2010

End of the Minnesota 2010 Waterfowl Season - A Recap

This sunrise signaled the last day of waterfowling in central Minnesota last weekend.  With temps never rising above freezing on Saturday, most birds had moved out of the area, and those that did stick around were gone by Sunday.  It was all over.

But, goodness, what a season it was.  Despite not hunting nearly as much as I typically do, due to the new job and the move, my personal bag was among the highest I've had since I started tracking it.  And that's with the opening weekend being pretty much a bust (except for Monday). 

There were many highlights, but the biggest one being our resident flock of Redheads that stayed with us for over three weeks.  These big (and delicious) birds simply made our lake their home, welcomed in their travelling brethren, and gave our decoys enough attention to keep things active. 

In nearly every respect, it was a great season.  Here are some pictures of the last day:

Fuzzy and Ben on Gucci Point.  You can see where the ice had covered up the area that we had broken open earlier in the day.

It was so cold that even the dogs were cuddling up to stay warm.  Here's a crate full of Yellow Dog, staying warm and waiting for the next adventure to start.

Seems like the season just got started, and I'll miss the place, but what a season we had.  Simply outstanding.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This past year has been one of unexpected twists and turns.  Despite the changes, the blessings continue, and at a level greater than we deserve.  We're so fortunate, and that will be the theme of the day for me. 

My mom and aunt are here with us this holiday, as well as a 19 lb. turkey (mom claims it was the smallest bird they had), so we have lots of work to do.  But in all that, for me, will be a constant undercurrent of reorganization, astonishment, and appreciation. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ron Gardenhire Does Not Deserve AL Manager of the Year

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stands in the dugout as his team plays the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on August 10, 2010.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom
I'm sorry, Ron Washington. 

I know, Gandenhire had a fabulous season. Strike that. A fabulous regular sesaon. His team posted a .580 win percentage with former MVP Morneau out for over half of the year, and going into the year with talent like Nick Punto as a starter. Great job, indeed.

But once again, when this team got to a place where the bright lights shine, they appear utterly clueless. They were swept by the Yankees in three, and never offered any kind of resistance. At all.  If they could have tapped out at the end of Game 2, they likely would have.

Washington, on the other hand, weathered a brutal Texas summer and got his team not only to the playoffs, but to the World Series. Just due to weather alone, it's damn near impossible to win in Texas, but Washington won, and won when it counted.

So, sorry Ron Washington. You got chumped, while the captain of the USS We're Just Happy to Be Here conducts interviews and prepares for another great regular season.

To be quickly followed by an weak and immediate exit from the playoffs.  Again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Question for Dad

My brother sent me a link to a recent Joe Posnanski blog post that incredibly intertwines a story about Bruce Springsteen's prolific years between Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town with a story about Joe and his father.  It is masterfully written, and I encourage you to read it here. 

Joe's an fantastic writer, and the story he weaves is really touching. 

After reading it, I reflected on it a bit, then I waded into the comments at the end of the blog.  Big mistake.  One post in particular mentioned a reader who had previously has some discussions with his friends about the questions they would ask their deceased fathers if they had the opportunity.  That hit me hard, because I immediately know the one question that I'd ask Dad if here was standing here right now.  And it'd be a trick question, too. 

"Dad, do you love me?" 

I can see his face immediately after I ask.  His brow would furrow and he'd appear a little hurt.  "Of course I love you," he'd say.  "Your Mom and I love you very much.  What, are you wacko?"  Then he'd go in for the huge bear hug, and my trick will have worked perfectly. 

Nobody could bear hug like my Dad.  He hugged with his heart.  He hugged with gusto.  He'd surprise you with his strength and musculature of his shoulders and arms.  It felt good, even when his unshaven cheek was rubbing against yours.  And when you were there, there was no better or safer place in the world.   So if I could parlay my question into a hug from my Dad, I'd be quite content to ask no other questions of him. 

Note that in my quote above, Dad replied "your Mom and I."  He often did this in things of significance.  Some might speculate him doing it because it kept him from being totally exposed on emotional issues, but in my years of observation, that was not the case at all.  Mom and Dad were a team, knew where each other stood, and were unified in their approach to us kids.  When he'd say stuff to me that began with "your Mom and I think...," I could believe it, as I knew they had verbalized it to each other, they were on the same page, and one of them could freely and confidently speak on behalf of the both of them.  Mom often used the same language, and it meant the exact same thing coming from her. 

Note to my brother - Please don't send me any other blog posts like that where there is a possibility I might read them at work.  Not cool.  But please do send them along, because with this one I got to go back and experience a wonderful dynamic between our parents, and if I close my eyes, concentrate hard and open my heart, I can clearly remember what it was like to get a hug from Dad.   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fr. Don Talafous and the Selling of Our House

I was all set to use the following as my next blog post:

There’s a big lie you’re not being told.  The recession may not have impacted you, or so you think.  You’re not lost your job, and have remained fully employed.  You income could even have gone up.  The belt tightening that we’ve all had to do turned out not so bad.  Life’s good.  At least until you try and sell your house.  The dirty little economic horror story that nobody is discussing is the absolute shambles in which the real estate market has been left.  Oh, you can look at what sold around you, and tell yourself tales like “that is a good comp to me because of X so I’m OK” or “that is a bad comp to me because it obviously had to be a foreclosure,” but the fact of the matter is you have no idea what you’re sitting on in terms on home value until you put it on the market.  Your perusal of real estate transactions can’t tell you.  Your county assessor can’t tell you.  Your real estate agent can’t tell you.  Only the market can tell you, and unless you’re entry level, new construction, a foreclosure, or $1,000,000+, what the market will tell you is that you are screwed.  Royally.  What you think your house is worth isn’t even close to what it’s worth, and if you were counting on that equity as a retirement buffer, security blanket, or a means to fund your kids’ college, you better find another money pile, bucko, because the one you’re living in has burned away to ashes. Caveat venditor.

I subscribe to a daily newsletter from Fr. Don Talafous, a priest that was a part of my freshman and sophemore years at St. John's.  I strongly encouage you to subscribe - he has fabulous insight. 

The very next day after writing my house screed above, I get this message from Fr. Don:

What we can and must do is trust in the value of our commitment and not let such disappointments lessen our generosity or good spirit. We have been blessed with closeness to God and Christ, with life in the body of Christ and with the assurance and strength this brings. Rather than wailing over what isn't and dreaming of some other time, we need to give the present our best, our gifts, our hope. Whining, nagging, complaining self-pity, grumpiness, bitterness, silence, are not, as Paul would say, the fruits of the spirit but of the flesh, of a short-sighted attitude. Rather our true following of Christ shows itself in joy, kindness, forgiveness, respect for others' conscience, trust for the future, perseverance in prayer and worship.

Hence, I retract my whining above, and continue to put my faith in the fact that things will happen when and how they're supposed to happen.

Thanks, Fr. Don.  Again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review of Spamalot, Weidner Center, Green Bay

We attended a very enjoyable showing of Phoenix Entertainment’s Monty Python’s Spamalot at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Weidner Center last night.  It wasn’t your typical Broadway show, but I didn’t expect it to be, either. 

Here are notes from the performance: 
  • I was surprised at the script’s literal interpretation of the movie with many parts.  Dialog was brought in verbatim, which had me not only finishing lines in my head, but also had me listening to the woman behind me say them out loud.  This was disappointing as the fresh content was really good.  
  • Highlights were Lancelot’s coming out, You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (Unless You Have a Jew in the Show), and The Song that Goes Like This. 
  • Best performance of the night (and there were a few) goes to Jacob L. Smith and his handling of his solos. 
  • Caroline Bowman as The Lady of the Lake had a beautiful voice, and was worth the price of admission as well. 
  • The faux playbill was pure Python (did Eric Idle write it?) and had me laughing out loud multiple times prior to the curtain. 
  • I was impressed by Weidner Center.  While the stage was on the small side, the venue had great sight lines and an intimate feel.  Unfortunately, the upcoming schedule of shows is limited, which is a real shame.  A hall like that should be used a lot more frequently. 
As a Python fan, I really enjoyed the show.  My wife, not a fan of Python at all, even had an OK time.  It was a well produced, well performed Sunday night out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Now That's More Like It

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 13: Players from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate with fans after a win over the Utah Utes at Notre Dame Stadium on November 13, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Utah 28-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It has been years, but finally there is reason for celebration in South Bend.  Notre Dame absolutely dominated #14 Utah in a game that was nearly flawless by the Irish.  It seems like everything came together - no stupid penalties, few mental mistakes, textbook blocking and tackling, and performance in all aspects.  If this is a vision of what Notre Dame looks like in the future under Kelly's tutelage, there is cause for optimism. 

But before we get too far down that road, the team will have to prove that they've turned the corner by beating an option-heavy Army team under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium.  The Irish have struggled mightily with option-based offenses this year - the games against Navy and Michigan both stand out - and if this team has truly found itself on a new path, they must find a way to stop these offenses. 

But that's next week.  For now, after so much trauma, it is nice to enjoy an upset win on an emotional senior day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brett Favre's Steakhouse Restaurant Review

Last night we attended Brett Favre's Steakhouse here in Green Bay.  It kind of aspires to be a top steakhouse (waiters in the white coats, meat choices presented on carts, etc.) but is kind of a cheaper version.  For example, the dining room lamps don't fit the room, the steaks are all USDA Choice, the wine list (even the reserve list) lacks vintage information, etc. 

That being said, we had an enjoyable dinner.  I started with a mediocre French onion soup (the onions were undercooked), moved to a tasty bone-in ribeye, accompanied by some very good mushrooms and creamed spinach.  My wife enjoyed a good New York strip. 

I'm ordinarily not a dessert person, but our waiter went on about their pasty chef and how he cranks fresh stuff out every day, and my better half was sold on a sweet even before the waiter's pitch, so we ended up sharing a piece of the carrot cake.  If you go to this restaurant, absolutely save room for dessert.  It was, by far, the best part of the meal.  The cake was incredible - moist, with the perfect mix of golden raisins, coconut, and carrots, and an outstanding cream cheese frosting.  It was probably the best piece of carrot cake I've eaten.  Outstanding. 

Just because it's been talked about so much lately, we close with a gratuitous  photo of Brett Favre's meat.  

I'm not sure what the big deal is...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Green Bay Stereotype Confirmed

Unfortunately, Green Bay has a couple of stereotypes.  It's industrial.  Lacks size and sophistication.  Not very pretty.  According to former kicker Ryan Longwell, "a place where fine dining is a choice between Appleby's and Hooter's."  And, as one popular T-shirt put it, a "drinking town with an NFL football problem." 

While I've been here only a couple of months, I know the town to be much more diverse than that.  I'll get into all of that in future posts.  But back to that stereotype thing.  It doesn't help matters when the back of my Packer game ticket offers free schweel if the Pack scores more than 30 in the game.  I can honestly say I've never seen a free beer offer before - wow. 

I paid attention to this during our game, and there was an audibly louder cheer from the fans once that critical 30 point threshold got breached.  It added a component of drama to an otherwise dull blow-out.

I guess it says something about my acclimation to our new home when I tell you that I'll be at Festival tomorrow morning, ticket in hand, to pick up my free 6-pack. 

Hey, free schweel is free schweel.  Might even pick up a pack of bratwurst, too.  

Go, Pack go?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Trip to Lambeau Field

We were lucky enough to attend last week's game of the Green Bay Packers hosting (and subsequently destroying) the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night.  It was my first time at Lambeau, and regardless of your NFL allegiances, this is hallowed ground and should be seen by any NFL fan.  There is so much history, it is incredible. 

I took a number of pictures of things along our trip.  Here's the tour:

Hey, does all that haze and smoke mean Kiss is playing in the parking lot?  Nope.  That, my friends, is the smoke of hundreds of grills cooking thousands of Green Bay's finest sausages.  If this picture had smell-o-vision, you'd be drooling on your keyboard now.

You gotta love a place that encourages schweeling so much that they put restrooms on the outside of the stadium.

History is everywhere.  Here we are with Curly Lambeau himself.

The stadium itself was smaller than I expected.  It holds 70,000, which seemed like a lot for the venue.  The seating is still primarily bench seating, the cheerleaders still high school kids, and the atmosphere still very family friendly.  What a great place to see a game.

For those of you Yellow Dog Patrol readers that are family and friends - there are always tickets available for the games, and we'd love to host you.  Please plan on coming to visit us to see this history for yourself.  It is pretty incredible.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hiter Weighs In on Moss Debacle

I've written about the Hitler parodies before, but this one is way better than average.

This is way "R" rated, but about as funny as it gets, especially for someone like me - a Vikings fan living in Green Bay.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Minnesota Duck Hunting Report

Last weekend was spent with my cousins from Louisiana, and a fabulous time was had by all. We were fortunate to hunt immediately after the huge windstorm as the birds were in motion and fairly abundant. Here are some photos.

A beautiful sunrise on Gucci Point

Two boats and a lot of BS

Morning's brace of Bulls

Last day, on Goose Island

For me, shooting birds is a bonus.  I'm quite content with the conversation, jokes, drinking, contemplation, and shared experiences with family and friends that I love. 

What a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Minnesota Continues Run as National Laughingstock

U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton as he arrives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to attend a campaign rally October 23, 2010. Obama is on a four-day, five-state swing to support Democrats in the upcoming election. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Minnesota is a political laughingstock.  The state has routinely elected people that have no business in politics, and it all boils down to a massive inferiority complex.  Minnesotans so want to be relevant to the rest of the nation, and will go to the extreme of electing complete imbeciles in order to do so. 

Consider this list:

  • Pro wrestler as Governor
  • TV anchor as Senator
  • TV comedian (if you can call him that) as Senator
  • Local department store heir as Senator, and now Governor
Mark Dayton, a man that completely embarrassed the state via his antics in the US Senate, and a man that literally bat-excrement crazy, is now going to be Governor of this state. 

At least we got Randy Moss back.  Oh, wait...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Really? 220 Kids for Halloween? Really?

Here's a photo from our neighborhood from last night's Halloween.  My wife keeps track of kids every year, and we shattered the candy record by serving over 220 pieces to the children of Green Bay and surrounding locales. 

Indeed, parents drove their kids to our neighborhood - in golf carts, cars, and an endless array of minivans - to go door to door in our area.  And it was just our area as well.  I had to make an emergency trip to the grocery store, and other neighborhoods had about two kids walking around.  We had episodes this evening with over a dozen kids waiting at our door for candy.  And in looking in the kids' bags, I found the reason why we were so popular.  It seems a couple of our neighbors were giving out full size candy bars. 

I've never seen anything like it. 

I take it back.  One Halloween when I was little, a buddy's mom drove us over to Minneapolis porn kingpin Ferris Alexander's house, where we were summarily ushered in, and around a huge round table helped ourselves to massive quantities of full-size candy bars. 

Does this mean I live in an area with a bunch of porn purveyors?  Perhaps not.  But they obviously don't have enough to do with their money. 

The whole scene was one of greedy and ostentatious behavior.    

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rep. Ellsion and Support for Voter Fraud

Wait until the last minute of this video, then make up your own mind: Exactly what is Keith Ellison trying to protect? 

Get out there and vote on Tuesday, folks.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rocky Horror - Let's Do the Time Warp Again

It is hard to believe that the Rocky Horror Picture Show is 35 years old.  The themes contained in the film and the overall wackiness made it a good pick to die a silent death in the popular culture swamps of 1975.  But survive it did, and eventually thrive through showings starting late in the '70's. 

The story was odd at best, acting irrelevant based on the over-the-top script, but the music, ah the music was incredible.  It was the platform that eventually kicked Meatloaf's career into a higher gear, and his performance as Eddie is unforgettable. 

Rocky Horror - Hot Patootie - MyVideo

The movie is getting additional exposure now as Glee ended up doing a RHPS episode. Unfortunately, their covers lacked the rawness of this classic, and ended up sounding like American Idol rejects. Thus, for a palate cleanser, we close with the original Time Warp. It's just a jump to the left...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Old Electronics Boy Just Ain't What He Used to Be

My entire life I've considered myself quite the electronics wunderkind.  I kept up on technology, could connect anything, fix some things, and ordinarily take care of myself and my electronics.  Unfortunately, the new house has me completely stumped.  I'm hard wired (one problem) for sound throughout the house, and have speaker on the patio, in the living room, in the basement, and in the garage.  Looks like Ryan Longwell liked music as much as I do. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the equipment to drive this sonic bus, so I spent time (too much time) at Best Buy with an idiot know-nothing that really wanted to sell me a surround-sound system, and at the local nerd stereo store.  $650 later I had all of the hardware I needed, and with an additional stop at the local hardware for some extra speaker wire and wire strippers, I figured I was in business. 


The amp is throwing nothing but error signals, I can barely get music out of my first of four connections, and I've lost my cool.  I know I'm chumping something easy up - a crossed wire, positive touching negative, something - but I can't find it.  I finally raised the white flag and called in the stereo geeks to see if I could pay them to do what I cannot. 

I would have been better off just sticking to my iPod headphones...

EDIT - after taking a call from a geek, finding my backbone, and logging about a half mile between the basement, patio, garage and living room, I finally successfully got up and running.  It may have taken me 18 hours, but I did it.

I think I still might have been better off sticking to my iPod headphones.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Maybe it is the incredible windstorm, and the realization of just how weak, fragile and small we all are. Maybe it is the upcoming hunting trip with beloved family and friends. I don’t know. But for some reason, I awoke with a deep sense of thanks this morning. Thanks for my wife, family, coworkers and friends. Thankful for my job, security, and comforts. Thankful for the many people and blessings in my life.

In the hurry of our everyday lives and getting to the next item on the to-do list, it is easy to lose this perspective.

I guess that makes me thankful to be able to be thankful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It is Time to Bench Brett Favre

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 24: Brett Favre  of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing a final incomplete pass against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Vikings 28-24. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)

It is time for Brett Favre to step aside.  His play of last night made it obvious that his heart and head are no longer in the game.  A passer rating of 50 in a critical game, nationally televised, and during his last appearance on the field in which so much had been achieved is an abject embarrassment. 

Beyond the play, look at his body language.  He wasn't coaching or cheerleading in the huddle.  He limped like a fouled soccer player after the play, but miraculously played through the pain during the game.  Where in the hell is the guy from last year? 

All of this is getting old.  Between his surgically repaired ankle, his tendonitis in his elbow, and pictures of his junk on an ex-coworker's phone, there is way too much going wrong with this guy right now to attach our playoff hopes to him. 

I never, ever, ever, thought I'd utter these words: 

Play Tavaris Jackson.  Please.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brock Lesnar Beat Down by Velasquez

Brock Lesnar got destroyed Cain Velasquez last night.  I mean destroyed.  Lesnar started hot with his bull moves, but Velasquez countered, semi-landed some punches that surprisingly put Lesnar on the ground, then followed up with a horrific ground-and-pound that opened a horrible cut under Lesnar's left eye that's probably still bleeding.  

Weird stuff about last night:  
  • Lesnar clearly didn't look like he was into it.  Not at all.  I'm not sure if the illness took its toll or what, but Brock didn't look like he wanted to be there.  
  • Lesnar's beard was awesome.  Made him look like some kind of Viking or mountain man.  
  • They kept repeating that the league had never had a "Mexican" champion, and keep playing up that angle throughout the night.  Well, duh.  The league hasn't been around, and is missing a Chinese, Russian, Indian, Irish... 
  • Speaking of which, Velasquez is hardly "Mexican."  He's an NCAA champion wrestler who went to Ohio State.  Hispanic?  OK.  
  • The conspiracy theorist in me gives pause to Lesnar's apathy and the "Mexican" hype.  What does this win do to help the UFC expand its borders?  I wonder if Jesse Ventura will get all over this?  
Bad fight by Brock, but I'll gladly plunk down the $50 for the rematch.