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?