Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween at Work

Our Chief Merchant is demanding that senior leaders dress up for Halloween.  Here's me:

Like I had nothing better to do with two hours of my time this morning...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Benghazi - Cowardice, Followed by CYA

As additional facts come out, and as the Obama administration continues to obfuscate, it is getting clearer and clearer that this is the biggest known scandal to hit a presidency since Watergate.  

See the timeline of events here

The facts are clear in this case:

  • A call for help from Benghazi came and was received at the highest levels of the government.  Military assets could have been brought into the mix within hours.  They never mobilized, and our team on the ground was left to die
  • The story the administration tried to sell, over and over again, that this event was tied to a video.  Even when they knew that was not the case.
For both facts above, there is a simple question: why?  

And yet, save for the blogosphere and Fox News, NOBODY is covering this story.  

The administration is covering up what happened, and the traditional media is actively helping them.  And the only reason for them to do so that makes sense is so that Obama can win the election. 

American citizens and soldiers were murdered.  And this is how these institutions behave?

Ladies and gentlemen, we live in very scary times...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunting With Kin, 2012 Minnesota Edition

My two cousins recently visited us at the duck camp for the annual Southern Invasion Duck Hunt.  Lies got told, college football got watched, whiskey got drunk, shots got missed, food got consumed, laughs got laughed, and memories got made.

Oh yeah, some ducks got harvested, too:

We got treated to one pretty spectacular sunrise:

Web harvested a Black Duck - extremely rare for Minnesota.  More on that to come in a future post:

Web got these sons-a-bitches about 9:00 this morning:

Hey, wait...

Overall, a good time was had by all.  

Only three more months before the Yankees return the favor and head south for the 2013 bayou version of Hunting with Kin.  I can't wait.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Update on the Book

Here is the latest update on the book: It's, It's a Dog Named Blitz is in its final edit and is about half done with that critical step.  The cover is in development, and is also near completion.  

Next big step will be to get the completed package into for hardcover production, and publish of the e-book version.
I hope to have all of this completed by the second week of November.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?"

My Dad had dozens of little catch phrases that he use to posit about life, business, or just to entertain.  In this election cycle, I've been thinking a lot about one in particular.  

The Obama administration, the media, and the entertainment community have been extremely active at trying to paint Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy.  His success is something to consider as a liability, and something with which to attack him.

Excuse me, but don't we want an elected official that is successful?  Doesn't that make sense?  Why in the world would one be criticized for their success?

Which gets me to Dad's quote.  He'd often opine, "if you're so damn smart, why aren't you rich?"  

Romney didn't get rich via luck.  Indeed, he grew up with money, but how many stories have been repeated over and over of rich kids squandering their inheritance?  No, Romney's riches were earned.  Hard earned.  He was and is intelligent, productive, and successful.  

Aren't those the same qualities we want in our leaders?

He's damned smart.  He's rich.  Duh.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wisconsin Leads Nation in Binge Drinking

From the "reporting on the obvious" file, Scientific American released a recent study which shows that Wisconsin is leading the nation in binge drinking. 

They should have never conducted their study the day after a Packers loss....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

History of Social Media

From Copyblogger comes a really nice infographic on the history of Social Media.  The amount of change in the past years, and the impact it has had on our society, is staggering:

A History of Social Media [Infographic] - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Borrowing a Buddy's Dog

A couple of weeks ago I was hunting with Fuzzy and his dog.  My dog was not paying attention. She was quite content to just walk around and eat deer poop.  Fuzzy's dog, on the other hand, was hot on a bird to my right.

I tried to get Fuzzy to move up into position.  He didn't get going.  I stayed with his dog, and the rest, they say is history.

Rule #1 in pheasant hunting - if your dog is birdy, stay with him.

Rule #2 in pheasant hunting - if your buddy's dog is birdy, stay with him

Rule #3 in pheasant hunting - dogs that stop to eat deer poop don't flush too many birds

Thanks for letting me borrow your dog, Fuzzy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romney's Brilliant Debate Strategy

The public has seen three different Mitt Romenys across the three debates.  They are:

  • An aggressive, smart, sober, and committed candidate in the first debate.  For many undecided voters, this was the first they'd seen of Romney, and based on the polls, they saw someone that was contrary to the person that was being defined by the Obama campaign.   The net result was a swing in momentum in the race that appears to have continued to this time.
  • A learned and effective candidate in the second debate.  One who could hold his ground, not back down, and lay the foundation of a presidential air.
  • A president in the third debate.  Romney didn't stoop to name calling, emotional retorts, or "gotcha" quotes.  He wanted to appear above it, and he succeeded.
Through all three debates, Romney's design has been to get new voters, either disenfranchised democrats or undecided independents, to 1) look at Romney and 2) get comfortable with him as a potential president.  In the meantime, Obama's strategy, at least in the last two debates, was to energize his base and prove to them that he wasn't "blowing it."  His base wanted somebody to rub the rich guy's nose in his pile of dirty money, and Obama delivered.

Unfortunately, that strategy doesn't work for reelection.  Obama's base is already won.  In order to secure victory, he needed to convert those on the fence.  And all he ended up doing is looking petty, petulant, and small, and ended up pushing them away and opening the door for them to consider somebody else.

And with that opening, Romney delivered.  

While it may not deliver the presidency - there may be far too many people on the democratic side that independents are finally rendered moot - it was Romney's best path to the presidency.  And one in which he executed beautifully.

Now we just need to see if it matters or not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Lost Bird While Pheasant Hunting

It has been argued that the wild Ringneck Pheasant is perhaps the toughest of the game birds in North America.  The attached video presents the evidence:

If you maximize the video, you can see that the bird was hit, and hit hard.  Yet when the dogs arrived, the rooster was long gone.  

It didn't help that scenting conditions were horrible, as the area had not received any moisture since mid-June, but still, the hard-hit bird was gone and the dogs confused.

The other point of interest is the another tough thing about pheasant hunting - bird identification.  The second bird to flush in the video was very much in gun range, but I had no way of determining if it was a hen or cock based on the lighting and angle.  Hence, I didn't even shoulder the gun.

Pheasants are smart and tough, and anytime one can be brought to hand and into the game bag, it is feat.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Real War on Women

Last night a female reporter for French television was assaulted by a crowd while broadcasting from Cairo.  

Why is the Left so quick to trump up indignation for the Right's so-called "war on women" when the Muslim culture gets a free pass over things like basic women's rights, rape, honor killings, female circumcision, and overall abuse and brutality of women?

If the Left really cares about women, it needs to care about ALL women.  Not just those that can't get cheap contraception.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Video of High School Kicker's 67 Yard Field Goal

The record for a professional NFL kicker is 63.  Check this out:

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Front Row Seat to Awesome

My team released a half million dollar project live last night.  The project was incredibly difficult, and took months longer that what it would have appeared to take on paper.  It was fraught with "gotcha" moments, surprises, and way more complexity than expected.  And all the while, many in our company were tapping their feet, wondering where the finished project was, or when resources would finally get free up for their own projects. 

Despite the pressure, complexity, and the setbacks, the team threw themselves into the project; working multiple 24 days, working through too many weekends to count, cancelling vacations, waking up in the middle of the night, and living on Red Bull and Starbucks. 

Intense stuff.  Stressful stuff.  The kind of stuff that makes people quit their jobs.

But not this team.  Through it all, through every surprise and disappointment, they kept positive.  They kept a grounded perspective.  They kept a sense of humor, even in the worst of times.  And all the while, nary a complaint.  Not one peep.  They were remarkable.

The word "hero" gets thrown around way too often these days.  But for those that inspire us by showing exceptional fortitude in the face of adversity, I think the word applies.  And there were multiple heroes on this project.

The best part of being a leader is that sometimes you get a front row seat to some incredibly talented people doing extraordinary things. 
Indeed, the best part about my job is that I sometimes get to be awed.

Like now.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Military Strike to Save Obama

Obama has a big problem.  In the past debate, he lied about his administration's posture on the Benghazi attacks.  While the word "terrorism" did spill from his lips in the Rose Garden the day after four Americans were killed, the context of the word was wrong, and the president knows it.  He also knows that for two weeks multiple people in his administration (including himself on Letterman and The View) proceeded to perpetuate the lie that the attack was related to a YouTube video. 
Thanks to Candy Crowley bailingout the president in the debate by providing him much needed air cover, he was able to save himself from having to answer any further questions on the subject.  Unfortunately, with the impending debate on Monday on foreign policy, Libya will surely be a point of conversation, and Obama can't count on a friendly moderator to save him. 
But he won't need to. 
Mark these words - prior to the next debate, and likely on Sunday, the administration will launch a military strike against "those responsible for the attack on our embassy in Libya."  And when the subject of Libya comes up in the next debate, the president will say, quite eloquently, "We showed the world that terrorism against the United States will not stand.  I promised that we would find those that committed this heinous act and bring them to justice, and that's exactly what I did." 
It effectively takes the narrative away from how the act was viewed by the administration, and moves it to a decisive military decision by the president.  The kind of decision that is routinely not questioned.  Likewise, such an act will allow his media sycophants to shape the argument as "Hey, he killed those responsible.  What more do you want him to do?" 
Will he really kill those responsible?  Who knows?  But my bet is that in the near future some folks are going to die at the hands of our military.  And they are going to die for the sole reason that a president's reelection prospects can live.     

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bad Lip Reading from the First Debate

Another one from the Bad Lip Reading guys.  Hilarious.

It's party time, chumps...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Work Video

Last year we released a video to help our customers get into the spirit of the Halloween season.  We repeated again this year, and the following is our submission:

While I know it is not going to win any awards, note that it was accomplished by dedicated employee volunteers (two are on my team) and done for a pittance.  Most other brands would have spent well into the six figures on this.  We barely hit four.

None of these people had to do this.  But they were given the opportunity, gave up an evening, and they ran with it.

It is amazing what good people can do. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Biden is Laughing

I really dislike my Vice President muttering "Oh, God" at the 0:28 second mark.

Nice dignity, Mr. Vice President.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Minnesota Pheasant Opener 2012

Today is the pheasant opener in Minnesota, and it is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in recent history.  The mild winter certainly helped winter survival rates, as did a warm and dry spring.  Despite bird numbers taking a big hit in the previous year, a bounce back in population is expected.

Likewise, the drought has meant that harvest in Minnesota is way ahead of schedule.  A majority of the corn and beans in the central part of the state has been picked, and therefore forces the birds into hunt-able cover.  As such, this could be one of the best pheasant opening days ever.

The challenge will be on the weather.  Rain and potentially thunderstorms are being called for the area, and that will keep birds as hard to find and difficult to flush.  While the area desperately needs the moisture, it will greatly impact the hunting.

Ahead of the opener, I had the yellow dog out last weekend to get her working on the upcoming season.  Here are couple of shots of her in action:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Military Reunion Video

While these are getting more and more staged, I never tire of them.  Get the Kleenex ready:

I was fortunate enough to witness a reunion live and in person at MSP a couple of years ago.  It still chokes me up.  I can't even imagine what it is like to have your loved one away from you, for a year at a time, and in harm's way. 

Thank God for our incredible military.  And their incredible families.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Loss of a Boss

Our company's CEO, my boss, tendered his resignation this week.  The reasons for his departure were deeply seated in his faith, and I don't begrudge him the decision that he made.

Unfortunately, I joined the company on the basis of the man that his is, and on the basis of the corporate culture that he established and nurtured.  He is free of ego, smart, curious, funny and does not tolerate BS in the organization.  As such, we have basically no politics, no drama, no crap, and everyone rowing in the same direction.  And due in large part to his leadership and that culture, we're on the cusp of some huge achievements.

So now what? 

We'll get a new company leader.  My reporting structure will likely be different, as will our corporate culture.  Things will change.  Three days into it, they already have. 

It all begs some very interesting questions.  Is culture bigger than one person?  Is our leadership team strong enough to protect what we have?  Can the change that is happening be controlled, or will we be controlled by it?  Can we achieve the goals that we're so close to achieving, or will we screw it up?  So many questions...

In the meantime, I'm abjectly saddened.  I've suffered a significant loss - the loss of a CEO that was the best leader I've ever worked for.  And I know that in these times there are three profiles one can adopt - quitter, camper, or climber.

I've come so far.  We've come so far.  There's no time to mourn anymore. 

It's time to climb.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Loneliest Place In Green Bay... on the golf course on a Sunday afternoon during football season.

Last weekend I went off solo at our home course, and teed off at 11:58.  I ended my round at 2:03 after playing through a foursome on 6 and a twosome on 15.  It could not have been a nicer time, even through I ended the round with a triple bogey on 18 to give me a final score of 90.

The leaves were turning, and the day was beautiful.  I captured this snapshot of nature's red, white, and blue as I came off of the green on 16:

I hope there are more similar weekends before the snow flies. 

Or before Pack fans get fed up with the play of the local team and go golfing instead of watching football.

Yeah, right

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Incredible Free Running Machine Video

How someone has the time and imagination to come up with something like this is beyond me, but it is amazing.  Enjoy.

The White House Disinformation Campaign on Libya

Nothing is more important to this administration than getting reelected.  So when it comes down to lying to the American people to save face, that's just going to be what happens:

If they can lie so overtly and obviously on this, what else can they do / are they doing?  Scary stuff.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rush FINALLY Makes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ballot

The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2013, and for the first time the Hall took a step to righting its greatest wrong - the mighty Rush has finally been added to the ballot.

As has been covered here earlier, Rush deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their slight has been the biggest black eye on the organization to most music fans. 

Other potential inductees included on the ballot are Albert King, Chic, Deep Purple, Donna Summer, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, the Meters, N.W.A., Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Procol Harum, Public Enemy, Randy Newman and Rush.

Of this group, here are my odds for making the Hall in this induction:
  • Albert King - 2:1 An influential blues guitarist is the type of guy the Hall loves
  • Chic - 10,000:1  Le Freak is French for I don't think so
  • Deep Purple - 8:1 They wrote the 12 notes that are arguably one of the finest riffs in rock and roll history.  That alone gives them consideration
  • Donna Summer - 25:1 I just don't see the need for the Hall to recognize disco
  • Heart - 50:1 Heart should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.  They won't be
  • Joan Jett - 10:1 If there were no Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, there would likely be no Joan Jett.  Think about that, and then consider how the Hall will treat these two acts
  • Kraftwerk - 15:1 Massively influential, but given the Hall's hatred of prog rock and the more cerebral approach to music, I don't think this act gets in
  • The Marvellettes 100:1 Mr. Postman won't have their invitation to the hall
  • The Meters 100:1 Funk founders won't make it
  • NWA 1:1 They'll get in.  And that makes me sick
  • Paul Butterfield 1,000:1 The dude played Woodstock.  That will have to be enough
  • Procol Harum 1,000:1 As stated earlier, the Hall hates prog rock
  • Public Enemy 2:1 If NWA goes, Public Enemy might not go so as not to appear to be too rap heavy.  But it is only a matter of time before they make the Hall
  • Randy Newman 1:5 Big lefty artist with a wide resume.  Slam dunk
  • Rush 8:1 I'm betting the Hall does them wrong, as they have so many times before

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Your Mom is Questionable for the Patriots"

I've played Fantasy Football since the early 1990's.  In twenty years the pastime has grown from one that was calculated manually via the Monday morning StarTribune to one that has websites, media, and entire businesses dedicated to it.

And it runs on information.  The latest news can mean victory or loss, and given the beat down that is delivered and taken at the coffee maker on Monday morning, that information is critical. 

Usually, the updates are stale and to the point.  However, today's installment from Fantasy Football Index is hilarious.

Hope you're feeling better, Mom.  We need you in there.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bad Lip Reading with Paul Ryan

Even though they jack with my man-crush, this is hilarious:

I'm now a big fan of Quench Your Heartbeat...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Minnesota Duck Hunting Report

Last weekend was a pretty good one at the duck camp.  Despite little to no wind to move the decoys, birds were abundant and we were able to scratch out our share.  Here are Fuzzy and Joe with a Sunday game strap

The drought is in full force, and the lake is as low as I've seen it in 26 years of owning the property.  You can get a feel for that in the picture above - normally the lake water would be near the grass on the right.  The lake is easily down three feet plus from normal.  That being said, the drought has impacted the trees, which has resulted in one of the most beautiful falls in terms of color that I can remember:

Ducks weren't the only game harvested over the weekend.  Unfortunately, after six hours on the road I ended up hitting a deer about three miles away from the duck camp.  Neither the deer nor my truck fared very well in the incident:

The weather this week will finally turn cold, and big winds will blow from the northwest.  That means that the teal will leave the state, but new birds should come in behind them.  It should be very good duck hunting in Minnesota.  Unfortunately, I'll be stuck at home.  For those of you going out, good luck.

And watch out for deer while you're driving.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Presidential Debate Recap

All the talking heads are weighing in, and the consensus is clear - Romney won last night.  Won big. 

But more than that, Obama lost.  He was beaten at his own game of oratory, cool, air, presence, and intelligence.  It was such an across the board, unmitigated failure that it had even staunch leftys like Chris Matthews with nothing good to say:

Polling coming out of the debates shows the effect.  If independents move off of their position long-term based on this performance, momentum in the election will shift.

There is a lot of time between now and election day.  A lot can happen.  But based on how things were coming together, Romney needed to deliver a win.  What he delivered, instead, was an old school beat-down.

Let the games begin...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

StarTribune Scared of Guns. You Should Be, Too

Due to a recent shooting in Minnesota, the StarTribune is uneasy about guns in the hands of Minnesotans.  In a daring expose, the paper's crack research uncovered that one can go to an outdoor retailer and buy as much ammunition as you want!  10,000 rounds, plus!

For those familiar with guns, this finding is a yawn.  Well known.  Been that way for decades.  For those not familiar with guns, this finding is a shock.  A scare tactic.  Something to be feared.  And abject demagoguery.

If the mentally ill are intent on death and mayhem, they will deliver it.  Regardless of how easy it is to buy guns, or ammunition, or gasoline and matches, or knives, or trucks, or poision, or whatever. 

So what exactly is the point?  What is the end game?

Rolling over on our freedoms, especially those specifically called out in the Constitution, is not the answer. 

As much as the StarTribune would like it to be...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Toy Train to Space Video

A feel-good story as a way to start the working week.

Happy Monday, everyone: