Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Browning Maxus Review - Trigger Issue

As reported here earlier, I really like my new Maxus.  What I don't like is that it developed the trigger reset issue for which it is known.  My hunting trip to Louisiana last month was impacted by the lack of reliability with the gun.

I identified a Browning authorized repair company about 60 miles away from me, and dropped the $1,400 gun off there last weekend.  The good news is that it is already repaired.  The bad news is that I'm on the hook for a $75 repair.

What?

I'll be calling Browning today looking for an explanation.  Their failure to stand up for a known issue on a new gun is pretty concerning, and I'm hoping we just have a communication issue.  

Regardless of how it shakes out, I'll be posting it up.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breaking Bad - Addictive, But Doesn't Match the Hype

I don't watch much TV at all, but with the Wild in freefall and the Twins not yet started, I decided to hop on Netflix and check out the much-hyped Breaking Bad.  I plowed through Season 1 this past weekend, and am already into the thrid episode of Season 2.

Thoughts thus far is that it is a very entertaining ride.  Given the way I'm attacking the episodes, it is obviously an addictive show.  However, I feel like it is just not living up to its billing.  That's not the fault of the show - given how much people have talked about it, I don't think any show could have lived up to a similar reputation.

Regardless, I'll be sitting downstairs tonight, cranking through another couple of episodes...

Monday, February 27, 2012

PETA and Animal "Slavery"

As long as we're on PETA's hypocricy, let's see what the folks over at the Daily Show had to say about the organization's latest publicity stunt:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
SeaWorld of Pain
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Sunday, February 26, 2012

PETA Kills Animals at a Staggering Rate

Via some document digging with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), which requires all animal shelters to report the number of cats and dogs they take in each year, the website petakillsanimals.com reports staggering findings: 
  • At its headquarters facility in Norfolk, VA PETA has killed 87% of the animals it has received since 1998. 
  • In just the last five years, they've killed a staggering 95% of all animals they have received. 
  • 84% of the animals received are killed within 24 hours of receipt. 
24 hours.

PETA cowardly hides behind claims that the animals they get are the worst of the worst - violent, or already on death's door. 

Hogwash.

It is simply more cost effective for PETA to put these pets down immediately and save their precious funds for their latest publicity stunt.

If you think PETA really cares about animals, you're mistaken.  And if you think that by dropping off Fluffy at their headquarters it will mean that Fluffy gets a second chance, you're wrong.

Or, in Fluffy's case, dead wrong. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Justin Morneau Done - Just a Function of When

The StarTribune conducted an interview with the former AL MVP, and the tone of the discussion was shocking.  You can see the report here.  Morneau, talking about his concussion ramifications, sounded like a man resigned to the fact that it is just a matter a time before things turn on him.

There's an adage in sports that seem that is quite true - the minute you start to worry about getting hurt is the exact time when you get hurt.  It is self-fulfilling.

I truly feel sorry for Morneau.  His maladies have been many, and he obviously lives a pained, if not tortured life.  He needs to listen to himself and recognize, quite quickly, that by being out on the field, he's doing nothing to help himself.

Nor is he doing anything to help the Twins.

The sooner he and the team come to grips will all of it, the sooner everyone can move forward.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bullwinkle's To Reopen

In this space last April, we mourned the closing of Bullwinkle's in Seven Corners.  Well, folks, I'm happy to report that per an article from the Minnesota Daily, one of my top Minneapolis bars ever is going to reopen its doors in May. 

Somebody save me a Summit and a coney.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cape Kennedy Museum Stop

During a recent trip to Orlando, my wife and I made the short trip over to Cape Kennedy to tour the facility.  For a kid that grew up in the tail end of the space race, this was a tremendous adventure. 

The photo of the rocket garden above (with the massive Saturn V engine in the middle) was the best part of the trip, and within that area, there we two things that had me awed.  The first being the Saturn V itself.  Massive in size, it is breathtaking to see how small the capsule is in comparison to the rest of the vehicle.  Literally, it's 95% fuel and engines.  Here's a shot of about the top 2/3 of the vehicle:



The other thing that had me awed was the walkway that was used for Apollo 11.  To walk across the same path as those brave pioneers to the awaiting capsule made me feel part of history.  Kudos to the curators for saving such a unique piece of our history:



The bad news on all of this is that the Cape's museum is in bad disrepair.  It is not run by the government, and there were parts that were quite embarrassing.  Here's a shot of a close up of the Saturn V capsule and escape rocket with rust (rust!) quite noticeable at the bottom:



For something that should have been such a great source of national pride, I came away from my experience there with some sheepish embarrassment.  What a horrible shame.

As we closed out our trip, I was able to catch a shot of some hot air balloons that were launching in our area.  While the other end of the aeronautical spectrum, they inspired awe in their own respect.  It was a nice way to close out a fun and productive trip.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Paradox of Faith


Last night I found out that a woman I used to work with lost her college freshman daughter in a horrific car accident.  News on the accident can be found here. 

It is events like this that call into question faith for me.  How does one recover emotionally from something as tragic as this?  How do you even get to your next breath, let alone live productively? 

And the only answer I can come up with is faith. 

In a situation like this, the very thing one doubts the most is about the only lifeline one has out of it. 

My God bless the families of all involved.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts on My Mom on Her 70th Birthday

Every Sunday before mass when I come into church, genuflect, lower the kneeler and pray, I always spend the time reflecting on my past week.  I start with remembering where I have failed and where I could have done better, and move off to sincere gratitude of the blessings that have been set before me.  It's my way to get my mind right for the upcoming ceremony. 

Yesterday, as I kneeled there and considered my blessings, I was deeply struck that my greatest blessing was the woman kneeling there at my left. 

My Mom has shaped me far more than she knows.  Her appreciation for education, work, intelligence, grace and humor have set an example for me throughout my life that continues to this day.  I simply would be a very different person today if not for this incredible woman. 

So on the date of your 70th birthday, all I can say is thank you, Mom.  For everything. 

Literally. 

I have indeed been deeply blessed.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Real Hero

How many times do we consider our heroes to be the person on the field that makes that great play or musician on the stage that performs magic?  Too often, especially in light of people that toil in the shadows, doing life-changing work, that has the potential to drastically change how we live.

Recently, the StarTribune shined a light into one of those shadows, and highlighted Dr. Karen Ashe at the University of Minnesota.  

I encourage you to read the whole article

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Dog Named Blitz - Chapter Seven "Third Year: Part 1"

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

By now it was very clear to me that Blitz was a special dog.  I had seen enough in my hunting with her to know that her drive and her nose were among the finest I had hunted behind.  Likewise, I had received enough compliments from others with whom we had hunted to know that these weren’t just niceties – these were true words of praise for some really great dog work.  I was a proud owner of an incredible dog, but a little kernel of something stuck in the back of my mind – just exactly how good was she? 

That little nugget of an idea was first put there by my buddy Don, who had hunted behind Blitz many times; both at my farm, and out at his game farm.  Don had done a lot of hunting in his time, and was quite complimentary of Blitz every time we went out.  As a member of a prestigious hunt club in the Twin Cities, Don had participated in a hunting dog competition as a designated shooter on a couple of occasions.  He commented that Blitz would do fantastic in such an event, and I should go out and give it a try. 

After a couple of months of thinking about it and wondering just how good Blitz was, I become stirred enough to get her enrolled.  I’d now see just how good she truly was in these competitive environs.  The competition itself was held at the ritzy gun club, and attracted dogs and handlers from all over the country.  The rules were fairly straightforward, or so I thought.  A large field was set with 4 birds for one dog and two hunters.  Each hunter had six shells with which to harvest the birds.  The hunt was timed, and had a 20 minute time limit.  The objective was to bag the four birds as quickly as possible and in as few shots as possible, as the time of the "run" was reduced for each unspent shell.  The concept seemed easy enough, and with Blitz’s nose and drive, I figured we had a OK chance.  At a bear minimum, we’d at least have a nice 20 minute hunt. 

I signed Blitz and I up for the “novice” flight, and waited for the appointed weekend.  While Don was unavailable to be my additional hunter, my buddy Fuzzy was a available, and I felt like he was a great choice to fill out our little team.  Not only had he had quite a bit of experience hunting with Blitz, but he was also an extremely good wing shot.  I was confident that if Blitz got us the point, Fuzzy would be able to drop the bird in one and would afford us a great chance to return back with unspent ammunition. 

On the day of the event we met at the club, and the day itself could not have been better.  The sun was coming up warm on the spring morning, and there was just a slight wind and plenty of moisture on the ground to aid in scenting.  It looked like a morning for greatness, and I was really excited to see what would happen.  I placed Blitz on a lead, grabbed my gun case, and walked with Fuzzy to our field with great anticipation.  As it turned out, we would be one of the first groups to run that day (they had flights running the previous day), so we wouldn’t have to wait too long to get out there and get after it. 

To keep things fair, the judges asked that competitors wait their turn behind a stack of hay bales so as not to see where judges were placing birds, and we were happy to wait with a group of other hunters and dogs.  Blitz was her usual self – straining hard against the lead to meet all the nice other people and dogs.  Ears back and tail wagging, she epitomized friendliness in a body language that every hunter and hunting dog understood.  While many of the dogs in our group were receptive to her welcoming overtures, the same could not be said by some of the stern-faced handlers, who seemed to be taking things far too seriously.  Especially for a group competing in the “novice” flight. 

Thankfully we didn’t need to tolerate the posing and scowling too long as our name was soon called for us to come up to the line for our hunt.  We’d be joined on our hunt by a judge whose job it was to ensure that the dog was flushing the birds and bringing them back to hand appropriately, and to keep an eye on Fuzzy and me to ensure we didn’t do anything illegal, although I’m not really sure what we could have done. 

We entered the starting area, were counted down, and were finally released for our hunt.  Game on! 

Almost immediately Blitz, quartering hard toward Fuzzy at my right, appeared to catch scent of a bird and had her nose down and tail flailing like crazy.  After about a 20 yard dash she came to a dead stop on point and was clearly on a bird. Fuzzy moved in behind her to make the shot, and just thirty seconds into the hunt it appeared that we were going to bag our first bird.  Fuzzy was poised and ready, and I gave Blitz the command to “GET HIM!”  She moved forward and immediately a rooster pheasant burst into the sky mere feet from her nose, on a straightaway shot for Fuzzy. 

As stated earlier, Fuzzy is an excellent wing shot.  He’s hunted his entire life and honed his craft well.  But like all shooters, he has some shots that are easier than others.  And for Fuzzy, there was no easier shot than the “ass shot” on a straightaway bird.  It’s his dead-red fastball right down the middle of the plate, and woe to the pheasant that presents it to him.  In fact, given the alignment of the bird and my buddy, I was actually grinning when the bird got up.   

BANG. 

Nothing. The bird was still flying.  What happened? 

BANG! Nothing again. 

I raised my gun for a backup shot that I could not believe would be needed. 

BANG! Fuzzy encountered his third miss and now held an empty gun. 

Here we were, three shells spent and nothing to show for it.  I gauged a lead on the quickly departing quarry, squeezed the trigger, and folded the bird.  Blitz was in pursuit for the retrieve when I shot a nasty look to Fuzzy.  “What the hell was that?”  “Hey, I choked,” was all he could truthfully reply. 

We now had three more birds in the field but very limited ammunition.  Our next shots needed to be true, and we really needed Blitz to point and hold that point to allow us to get in the best positions for bagging the bird.  We moved up another forty yards and Blitz quickly caught another scent.  After working the air with her nose and dashing in front of me she quickly locked up again.  A quick flush and one shell spent got us back in better graces. 

We worked our 5 acre field quickly and purposefully, with Blitz covering huge chunks of territory, and Fuzzy and I shooting well.  While it felt like we had been hunting a long time, when Blitz finally brought our fourth and final bird back to my had, our judge yelled out, “TIME!  8:32!”  I was thrilled!  What a great performance, especially when one considered that many of the dogs running the trial had not found all five of their birds in the 20 minute time limit. 

I was grinning as I put Blitz back on lead and walked with Fuzzy and our judge back to the start.  “How did we do?” Fuzzy inquired of our field judge.  “Not bad,” the field judge replied, “But you guys wasted time at the start when she pinned the gate bird.  One of you should have been moving out and getting ready for the flank bird.”  “What?” I asked.  “What’s a gate bird?” 

“Haven’t you guys done this before?”  he replied.  I answered that this was our first time. 
“You have to be kidding,” he said.  “You see, there are set bird areas, and I figured you guys just knew but were jacking around.  You’ve really never run this before?” 
“No.  I mean it is the ‘novice’ flight, right?” 
“Bah.  Nearly every one of these dogs out here has run this kind of competition multiple times.” 
“So, is 8:32 good?” 
“Hell yes, especially if this is your first time out.” 
“Think we’ll be in the running?” 
“Nope.  Not at all.  Winner will come in with something well under five minutes.” 

I must have look dejected, because he immediately followed that with “Hey, you have an incredible dog there.  I’ve not seen her equal when it comes to nose.  Seriously.  You should be very proud.  If you choose to really get into this, she could be awesome.”  I replied that we were hunters, not competitors, and that I was satisfied with our first time out and getting an indication of where she stood. 

We all shook hands and Fuzzy and I headed back to the truck.  Once there, I got out a bowl of water for Blitz as we discussed the whole new experience.  We both agreed that it was a fun, but given the rules and attitudes we encountered, we’d probably stick with the straight hunting. 

We hit a lull in the conversation and stood there in silence, watching Blitz finish her water.  We were both feeling the pressure of the elephant in the room.  It was uncomfortable - even oppressive - and I finally needed to address it.  I blurted out, “Dude, seriously, what the hell was that back there on the first bird?” “I told you, I choked," Fuzzy honestly and sheepishly replied 

What can a guy say to that?  Not much, although every once and a while when I have been in the field with him since where he’s made his favorite shot, I remind Fuzzy of a pretty spring morning, a beautiful rooster pheasant, a pressure-filled moment, and three full charges of Federal’s finest upland ammunition touching nothing but the gorgeous blue sky.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Delta Replies

Thank you for writing about your recent flight experience.  On behalf of
Delta Air Lines, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to
you and your wife when our flight was canceled and your dissatisfaction
with the alternate flight provided.

I understand the frustration you experienced when your plans were
disrupted due to the cancellation of our flight for mechanical reasons.
I am truly sorry your travel was adversely affected when you and your
wife were not provided with an alternate flight the same day when your
flight was canceled.

 
We know travelers need an airline they can count on, and I recognize how upsetting it is when plans are disrupted as you reached your destination later than planned.

Also, I am truly sorry for your disappointment with the alternate
arrangements provided during a flight irregularity.  I also recognize
your decision to drive from Minneapolis to Green Bay was the best
alternative for you at the time since you had business meetings
scheduled.  Be assured our goal is to route you to your destination in
the timeliest manner possible and your comments regarding lack of
communication, rebooking assistance, and the overall handling of your
disrupted travel have received close attention.

Further, I am sorry to learn that the staff at the check-in counter was
inadequate to cater to the passengers whose flight was cancelled.  Our
goal is to assist passengers in the timeliest manner possible, and I
apologize, again, that your experience was to the contrary.  Feedback
like yours will help us to improve our processes and overall customer
experience.  Be assured your comments will be shared with our Airport
Customer Service leadership team for their internal follow up.

Additionally, we appreciate your kind comments regarding the service
received from one of our team members who was working at the boarding gate and the Pilot onboard.  We believe our employees are our most important assets, and I am happy to learn that our agent exceeded your expectations.

 
Please know I will be sharing your comments with our Flight Operations
leadership team so this pilot receives appropriate recognition, on your
behalf.  Thank you for sharing your thoughtful remarks.

In conclusion, as a gesture of apology for the experience you and your
wife encountered with your travel, I have added 7,500 bonus miles to
each passenger's SkyMiles account.  Please allow three business days for the miles to appear.

Mr. X, as a Silver Medallion, I appreciate your loyalty to Delta.
Once again, please accept our apology for the circumstances you
described.  Your business is important to us and given the opportunity
of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet
but exceed your expectations.


*     *     *     *     *

The miles are lousy compensation for a horrible experience.  However, this apology is just so well written that it makes it hard for me not to accept it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Delta Airlines Flight DL4557 - Epic Fail

My wife and I checked in very early to DL2294, as my business had finished up early in Orlando. At the time of our check in, we were presented with the option of potentially travelling on an earlier flight. While an appealing option, the $50 fee per ticket was not appealing at all, so we opted for a leisurely lunch and the original itinerary. What a huge mistake.

We arrived at MSP and were boarded on DL4557. Upon boarding completion, we were informed by the captain of a mechanical issue, and were ultimately informed that we needed to be deplaned. At the gate, it took about 45 minutes for the decision to come down that our plane was grounded, and that we could fly to GRB on one of the regularly scheduled flights the next day.

We headed to the rebooking station where the ONE worker manning the area was immediately overwhelmed with the crush of the entire flight coming into the area. How do you not send additional help to that area, especially at MSP? Unbelievable.

As a professional, I need to be at my job. Waiting until it is convenient for you to accommodate me in your existing schedule is not convenient for me. Arrival at GRB at 11:29 the next day is completely unacceptable.

Left with no other options, my wife and I rented a car and drove the four hours back to Green Bay so that I could attend the important meetings I had scheduled. We spent our Valentine’s night driving across the state of Wisconsin; arriving home just after 2:00AM. Romantic, huh?

I understand mechanical issues, and that safety needs to prevail. What I don’t understand is how a mechanical issue can cancel a flight at MSP. Delta had equipment all over the ground; we could see it from our gate. We had a crew that was committed to fly. And yet nobody could figure out how to get us a plane, so the decision came down to just cancel and try to accommodate the 50 or so of us into your everyday 2/15/2012 schedule. No special flight was considered to get us home at a reasonable hour.

I can accept a cancellation due to mechanical reasons at a secondary or tertiary airport. I cannot accept such an event at a major hub, especially at MSP. As stated, equipment was there. The desire to take care of your customers was not.

Delta, you failed across the board in your decision making on how to handle us on DL4557. The only saving graces were our gate agent who conducted himself with an incredible amount of professionalism and the flight captain who should be writing your procedure manual on how to communicate to passengers in a mechanical delay situation. Both gentlemen performed their duties impeccably, and deserve commendation.

I wish I could say that for others in your organization that could have gone above and beyond to get us where we needed to be at a reasonable hour, but instead chose an easier, cheaper, or more convenient (for you, not for us) path. Overall, you failed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Reason to Ever Leave Starbucks

Starbucks has recently announced that they're going to test into an expansion of their offering to include beer and wine.

Bathroom, food, beverages, and wi-fi.  It is now official.  There is no reason to ever leave their store. 

See you there.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Teens (and Lego Man) Touch the Final Frontier

Just about the time you think our youth are a bunch of video game playing slackers, along comes a story that leaves you with an incredible amount of hope for our next generation.

Meet Matthew and Asad - the two young men that sent a Lego man to near space:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Gun Sales are Skyrocketing - One Theory

Article after article has been written on the skyrocketing sales of guns and ammunition.  There are lots of theories as to why, but nobody seems to have pinned it down.

I can't explain the whole trend, by I can explain my part in it.

With the rise of the Occupy movement, there has been much talk, mostly veiled but some very overt, that the rich need to pay their fair share, and if they would not, they'd be forced to via violent means. 

In chat rooms, websites, and social media everywhere the rhetoric is getting more and more threatening.  There are forces at work that absolutely desire that this cold war turns hot.  They crave the day of comeuppance that they feel will set the world right.

I take them at their word.   

I'm not rich, but I guess I'm technically a "have," and as such feel like I am a target.  I'm spending some of my hard earned income on the ability to protect myself and my family.  I won't go into details as to what and how much I've purchased, but suffice it to say I'm well armed and continue to augment what I have.

I may be a target, but sure as hell refuse to be a victim.

Friday, February 10, 2012

IT Dad Take Revenge Over Facebook Post

The video tells the whole story, so I'll let it speak for itself.

As stated earlier, EVERYTHING you do online is trackable.  And to try to pass under the radar of a father that works in IT is just asking for, well...

Hat-tip to Murph

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Charity Starts at the Biden Household

In the class warfare rhetoric, there's been lots of examination on how rich Mitt Romney is and how little tax he's paid.  But what doesn't get mentioned is what he'd done with his money.  And that, my friends, is that he put it where his mouth is. 

He's paid millions to charity, and donated over 15% of his income. 

Now compare that to our current Vice President Joe Binden, who has donated a whopping average of $369 to charityover the past decade.  No, that number is not in thousands, nor is it a typo. 

$369 bucks. 

Given these two examples, who is the greedy pig here?  And why isn't this front page news?  Incredible.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ease of Voter Fraud in Minnesota

That's the bad news.  The good news is that we'll have a couple of really good quarterbacks voting in the next election:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Isreal Must Do What Isreal Must Do

English Conserviative Douglas Murray, debating at Cambrdige, clearly and succintly lays out why Isreal must ultimately take action against Iran.

And why they will do it alone.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Super Bow Ad Review - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Maybe I'm getting old, but yesterday's Super Bowl commercials felt a lot more tame than I remember them being.  I seem to recall there being a lot more clunkers in the offering in previous years as well, whereas this year's installment is just kind of blah. 

However, that being said, there's still plenty to review, so onto the recap (BTW, my HTML is kind of funky, and the titles of each commercial below are links the the actual ad):

The Good

5) TeleFlora - Give and You Shall Receive: Simple message, right in time for Valentine's Day, and leveraging that advertising tried and true method of using sex to sell.  Good work, and money well spent.

4) Fiat - Italian Girl: Like the TeleFlora ad above, this ad also executes extremely well

3) Geico - Middle School Girls: This one was during the pre-game, and was not a dedicated Super Bowl ad, but it is incredibly well done.  "Ew.  Seriously?  So gross..."

2) Dannon Oikos - Stamos Head Butt: Aligned extremely well to their target audience, the message and methods used were extremely good.  Another case of money very well spent.

1) Doritos - Dog Bribe: Hilarious.  Funniest commercial of the night

Honorable mentions include the Kia Motley Crue ad and Audi Vampires

The Bad

4) Go Daddy - .co Girl Paint: This whole faux-lesbian porn thing is so old.  It must work for them, as they do it every year.  Poor nerds...  I purposefully did not link to this crap

3) H&M - Beckham Underwear: They easily dropped $3MM on that ad.  Assuming they get a 50% gross margin on their underwear, they need to sell $6MM in underwear just to break even on the commercial.  Good luck with all of that.  It is well known that in a recession folks might still buy clothes (what other folks can see), but the last thing they'll buy is underwear (what other folks can't see).  These underwear might be cool, but Mr. and Mrs. America are going to continue to buy their tighty-whities from Wal-Mart until things get a lot better.

2) Corporado Clothes - Old Navy: Parody ad that was neither cute nor funny.  The only redeeming pact for Old Navy was the use of the logo in the last :03.  Kiss $3MM goodbye, folks.  Their agency should be fired immediately.

1) Tax Act - Pool Pee: Just disgusting.  Tax software and a kid peeing in the pool.  To borrow a quote, "Ew.  Seriously?  So gross..."

The Ugly

4) Samsung - Urlacher Parade: What the hell was that?

3) Hyundai - Rocky Song: And the message here was...?


1) Chrysler - Halftime in America: I do not need a presidential campaign ad in my Super Bowl.  This is the most overt shot of what I predict will be a long salvo of "things are great!" messages that will be concocted over the next 9 months to buoy the Obama administration.  It began with his State of the Union speech two weeks ago, continued with the release of the jobs report last week (fun with numbers), seeped into at least one GE ad last night (gee, I wonder why?), and was overt in this Clint Eastwood ad.  Get used to this folks.  This is what politics looks like in 2012.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Louisiana Duck Hunting Trip Recap

We conducted out annual Yankee invasion of north Louisiana last weekend, and got together with our Southern kin to close out the waterfowl season for the year.  We've been doing this for eight years now, and I absolutely treasure these times together.  This year was no different as these photos can attest.

First, we'd like to introduce the latest member of the Yellow Dog Patrol:


The whole crew was there.  Here's a look at some of them:




And despite it being a down year at that end of the flyway, we managed our biggest bag ever.  Here's some of the birds that will eventually find their way into Cousin Terry's famous gumbo:


We could not have had a better time, and we can't wait for the next adventure. 


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Yellow Dog Update

Exactly 24 hours after I thought I would have to put her down, my dog is nearly back to her old self. We still don't know what happened (all tests have been negative, and we've literally bought every one we could), but we don't care as long as she's better. 

I've seen the power of prayer and positive thought time and time again in my life, and this is another example. Thank you all.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dog Update

Our situation here is pretty much horrible right now. 

Yesterday was a very good day - the dog got stronger throughout the day, was extremely interested in eating, and was turning into her old, perky self right before our eyes.

When I got up this morning, all of that had changed.  She is now barely able to move.  Eyes are sunken like she's in distress.  She's panting and drooling.  Not good at all. 

I shot the following video of her condition to share with the vets to cut down on the amount of back and forth:



I'm going to feed her a pain med this morning in the hopes that she's just suffering from some post-operative pain.  I think this is wishful thinking on my part, as her current condition is pretty much the same one that kicked this whole process off on Tuesday morning.  But I have to try.

We're running out of options.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Post Surgery Update

Surgery found nothing.  Not a damn thing.  Her intestines were somewhat discolored and her duodenum was distended (both had biopsy samples taken), but everything checked out.  The doctor even cut into her healthy stomach just to make absolutely positive that there was nothing in there. 

The dog is now recovering at the hospital and we're hoping we get her back today.  In the mean time, I've lost a lot of faith in our doctors - they were "in a meeting" for three hours after surgery and just could not break away to call me to update me on the dog's status until after the meeting ended.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Beyond their completely oblivious bedside manner, I have this horrible feeling that I was talked into having my buddy hacked open for no damn good reason. 

So what next?  Good question.  Our current docs have no ideas, other than wait for the biopsies to come back.  And while a clear result is what we're pulling for, it will leave us with not much more we can do other than hope she gets better. 

This whole situation sucks.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yellow Dog Update

I spoke too soon as the dog took a turn this morning.  We're back to doing surgery.  I should know more by noon today.

Minnesota Wild Suffer Worst Choke in Their History

Last night the Wild entered the 3rd period with a 4-1 lead; a lead that is nearly insurmountable in the NHL.  Despite giving up a goal with 10 minutes left in the game, they were able to kill off the period down until about the 3:00 mark.  Things looked good.

That's when the wheels came off. 

Completely.

The team proceeded to give up three goals within that short time frame to go from a two point win to a zero point loss.  It was capped by the worst goal ever given up by Josh Harding, and one of the worst goals I've seen given up regardless of the goalie.

This team was on the bubble for a playoff berth coming out of the All Star break.  They needed a hot start and some critical points in order to propel themselves into the post-season.  Unfortunately, with this start, they now have some serious soul searching they'll need to conduct.

They also may want to get their golf clubs ready, because come spring, these guys will likely be as far away from a hockey rink as they can be.

Yellow Dog Update

The yellow dog was definitely feeling better last night, and actually was pretty interested in some kibble and water.  She took both without any difficulty. 

As of this morning, she's improved substantively since yesterday morning.  She has far more energy, seems like she's hungry (and after not eating for nearly two days, it is understandable), and her tail is wagging much more.  She still has a lot of noise from her belly, and is still not herself, but her improvement is remarkable nonetheless.

We'll still take her into the vet today, but will ask if a delay in cutting her open might be warranted.  More updates soon.
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