Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obama - You Can Keep Your Plan. Yeah, Right...

New York Magazine (yes, you read that correctly) put together the following montage of Obama selling one of the best aspects of Obamacare:

The only issue is that for millions of Americans, that's simply not true.  The plan they have and like is not good enough for the government, and by law those citizens need to leave their existing plan and join in Obamacare.

This was a bald-faced lie, told to a mind-numbed public and a complicit media.  And now that the truth is coming out via stories of notifications, cancellations, rate hikes, and outrage, the spin begins about what Obama really said, what he meant, and what he knew.

Either he purposefully lied to the American public, or he was abjectly incompetent over something that will directly impact 1/6 of our economy.  Either way, the President needs to be held accountable.

But as happened time and again with this President and the sycophantic media which refuses to accurately cover him, it will never, ever happen.

And just like in Fast and Furious, Benghazi, NSA, IRS, and other scandals, innocent Americans are getting hurt, and hurt bad. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Missing Lou Reed - What's Good?

We found out that the great Lou Reed recently passed away.  While he was an acquired taste, my goodness, he was a wonderful taste.  I saw him in concert about 15 years ago, and it remains one of the best and worst concerts I ever saw.

The hard living, hard strumming rocker influenced scores, and left a mark on the music scene that will last for years.

As we wish him goodbye, let's visit a video (albeit a poor quality one) of a song that Lou penned for a dying friend.  Seems only appropriate.  

What's good?  Life's good.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hunting with Kin - 2013 Edition

I just returned from the Fall 2013 of the annual "Hunting with Kin" trip - southern invasion.  This year my three cousins came up, along with our good friend (and camp chef) Doug.  

While cousin Tim was on the DL and was not able to hunt, and while the birds were flat-out missing, a good time was still had by all.  Highlights:

  • Having the property's value double the minute Tim drove his motor home onto it
  • Watching some great shooting by both Terry and Mickey
  • Doug's bang-bang shrimp and barbecued shrimp 
  • More boudin than you could shake a stick at
  • Fuzzy and Terry's late night discussion, followed by Fuzzy's complete failure at navigating the 3AM obstacle course
Here are some photos:
A beautiful sunrise in the north end

Fuzzy on the look out for ducks.  They never showed up.

The yellow dog patrol (with a few spare black ones) just before pheasant hunting

Fuzzy on guard on the point

Cousin Mickey on the lookout for ducks.  There weren't any

Can't wait to do it all again soon,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brainwashed By My Parents

Check this out.  Lots to think about with this one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Suffering and the Existence of God

I found the logic presented here to be quite fascinating:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Drive to New Mexico

At a recent business trip to Pueblo, Colorado, I found myself with some time to kill.  Thus, since I've never been to New Mexico before, and with the border being less than two hours away, I pointed my rental vehicle south to see the sights and to check off another state in my quest to see all 50 states.

Here are some highlights of the trip:

In my life, I've seen signs for deer crossing, duck crossing, and even moose crossing.  Now I can add elk to the list.

The land in northern New Mexico was gorgeous.  Arid, but not quite desert yet, it was beautiful. 

Goodness, I do love mountains.  With hills like these in the east, and the majestic Rockies in the west, it sure made for a pretty drive

I stopped in the first little town I encountered in New Mexico to wet my whistle before heading back to Colorado.  As I sat there enjoying my beer, I looked up to see the Green Bay Packers license plate hanging on the wall.  Seems no matter where I go, even tiny little Raton, New Mexico, the cheesehead nation is present.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Zeparella Cover of When the Levee Breaks

From the SW United States comes a four piece unit that specializes in covering Led Zeppelin tunes.  I'd like to introduce you to Zeparella.  

More than just a pretty face, these ladies have some chops.  Enjoy:

In listening to this, I can't help but be reminded of a story my brother tells of going to school at Notre Dame.  During his tenure there, over parents' weekend (where parents come to see just exactly what their checks are paying for), some guy in the dorms would point his speakers out the window, hang a side outside that read "Welcome, parents, to Zep Fest." and would proceed to play the entire Led Zeppelin library of work, in chronological order, all turned up to 11.

I think I would have liked to hang out with that guy.  I wonder if his progeny is carrying on the Zep Fest tradition.  One can only hope.

Rock on.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ballot, and Odds

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just released their latest ballot, and there are a couple of surprises : we now see TWO prog rock bands on the ballot, The Mats get the respect they deserve, and Kiss finally made it.

Here are my odds of who is going to get in, and who won't:

  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - 1000:1 - Will need to be content with his memories of Woodstock.  
  • Chic - 10,000:1  Le Freak continues to be French for "I don't think so..."
  • Deep Purple - 10:1 Odds go up after not making it last year.  Can that one guitar riff carry them?
  • Peter Gabriel - 20:1 Did Rush break down the door for additional prog rock acts to make the cut?  Here is my full case for Gabriel to make the Hall
  • Hall & Oates - 7:1 Personal disclosure: I like Hall & Oates, and I'm man enough to admit it.  I have ever since Sara Smile was released in the mid-70's.  I've always been a sucker for blue-eyed soul, and these guys do it as good as anyone.  I think the Hall with think so as well.  
  • Kiss - 100:1.  Finally.  Of the acts that should be in the Hall, Kiss now takes top position (after Rush went in last year)  Here is my full case for Kiss to make the Hall.  Despite them deserving to go in, the Hall won't do it.
  • Link Wray - 10,000:1  Who?  Exactly
  • LL Cool J  - 1:5  Slam dunk.  There is nothing about this guy the Hall doesn't love.  
  • Nirvana - 1:2  Another slam dunk.  Their influence cannot be argued.  I still remember the first time I saw the Smells Like Teen Spirit video and thinking "What the hell is this and why do I love it so much?" 
  • The Meters 100:1 The funk founders are back again, and still won't make it
  • NWA 5:1 I had them at even money last year.  Glad I was wrong.  Odds go up, but they still remain a favorite
  • The Replacements 50:1 With the nomination, they get the recognition they deserve, but they won't get the ultimate respect they deserve by getting in.  Here is my full case for The Replacements to make the Hall
  • Linda Rondstadt 4:1  Her recently announced diagnosis of Parkinson's disease will make her the feel-good entry of the year.  I project she'll go in, although it won't entirely be based on her merits
  • Cat Stevens 10:1 Now calling himself Yusuf Islam, he's got all those intangibles that the Hall will love.  No way he deserves to be in the Hall.  He might make it anyway not because of what he's done, but based solely on who he is.  Hey, where have we heard that before?
  • Yes 50:1  If a prog rock act is going to go, it will be Gabriel.  There won't be two, even though they deserve it.  Here is my full case for Yes to make the Hall 
  • The Zombies 1000:1  too short of a library for inclusion in the Hall.  Not going to happen

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Beauty of Fall Golf

I love to golf - I love the challenge each and every shot represents, the combination of mental and physical, and the memories it invokes of playing with my friends, mom, dad, uncle, brother and grandparents.  But most of all, I love the beauty of the course itself.

Despite having to wait and hour for the frost to come out of the ground, I got in a quick round yesterday morning by myself.  Normally, my home course is quite pretty.  Yesterday?  She was drop dead gorgeous:

Does it get much prettier than sunrise on the course in the fall?  Based on the above, I'd suggest that it does not.

The tree in the middle of this shot I've nicknamed "Shaq" for its propensity to block your shot.  I've never been so happy to see some bare limbs in my entire life.

This is the narrow, 205 yard par 3 #17.  It's tight, it's long. Hell, it's impossible.  But it sure is pretty.

It was a beautiful day on the course.  Unfortunately, days like these are all too fleeting.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Minnesota Duck Hunting Update

Duck hunting is flat out fabulous in Minnesota right now.  While we've lost many of our teal and wood ducks, many northern birds have entered the state.  In spades.

By my own accounting, we're on a pace for our best season ever, and we've not yet got to November.

The birds are here.  The hatch was good and the numbers are strong.  But the habitat continues shrink by a shocking amount, and a dry winter/spring across Canada could end it all in a season.

Seriously.  One season.  Poof.

A buddy of mine who is an executive at Delta Waterfowl, gave me this advice before the season, "YDP, conditions could not be any better.  With the loss of the habitat going on unabated, we'll likely never see a duck season like this again   Use your vacation, get out there, and get after them.  This is one for the memory banks."

Next week the Southern contingent of the Yellow Dog Patrol arrives for the northern leg of our annual duck hunts.  I'll keep you posted on how we do.

Here's looking forward to filling the memory banks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Debt "Crisis" Ended, Debt Crisis Continues

The grandstanding that was the most recent debt crisis has ended.  After all the breathless news reports, hand wringing, and a nearly endless cycle of demagoguery, it is finally over.

And what happened?  What changed?  

Nothing.  Not one damn thing.

Oh, we can quibble about nits, and about who "won" or who "lost," but of things of substance, nothing changed. Zip.

And the Ponzi scheme that is American economics careens further down the road, full steam ahead for the cliff.  To the tune of this:

national debt

Never slowing, never ceasing, rarely considered, and never, ever dealt with.   Republicans, Democrats, conservative, liberal - it doesn't matter.  Once they arrive in Washington, their soul is sold, their stance is altered, as is their ability to do math.

Simple bleeping math.

And what we're left with is not a bunch of folks looking to stem the economic storm that will one day bury us.  No.  All we get is arguments about how fast we're going to get there. 

Idiots and cowards.  The whole lot of them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lessons Learned Louisiana Run on Wal-Mart

Last Saturday, a computer glitch enabled some EBT cards to show as having basically no credit limit for a two hour period at a couple of Wal-Mart stores.  While the glitch was being fixed, company management made the decision to allow the EBT transactions to go through anyway.  A company spokesperson said. "We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards (and purchases on WIC and SNAP) during the outage so that they could get food for their families."

And how was Wal-Mart rewarded for this generosity?  By a massive run on their stores.

The word got out and spread quickly.  The store flooded to Black-Friday levels.  And the shelves were picked clean.

And when the glitch was ultimately fixed and an overhead announcement to that effect was made to store shoppers, said "shoppers" left the carts in the aisles were they were and left the store:

I have no issue with government assistance for those that truly need it.  But I have no patience for abject fraud and theft.  

Think any of those that stole (yes, it was stealing) from Wal-Mart, and from taxpayers, will be investigated or prosecuted?  Doubtful.  

Ah, but if they were Tea Party folks and the investigation unit was the IRS, I have a feeling things might be different.

Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Minnesota Pheasant Opener Recap

Expectations were low for this past weekend's pheasant opener in Minnesota.  The winter of 2011 was a tough one that really decimated the population in a good patch of the state.  To rebound, pheasants needed a short, warm winter with very little snow.  Unfortunately, the winter of 2012 was the exact opposite.  Winter lasted forever, their feed and cover were buried under snow, and the pheasants came through the season as one would expect - with not may survivors.

However, the ringneck pheasant is a hearty breed, and a good nesting season - one with warm temperatures and little rain - could mean that the broods raised by the few surviving hens would have a good chance of making it to adulthood.

Again, Mother Nature spit in the eye of that plan, as the spring was cold and rainy for months.

Thus, when our little party of three hunters and four yellow dogs headed afield on Saturday afternoon, in a light rain no less, we estimated the number of birds we'd see as three.  Personally, given the lack of birds we had seen and heard, I took the "under."  Especially since basically none of the corn in the area had been harvested, and standing corn, a favored locale of the wily ringneck due to its feed and security, is basically impossible to hunt.   

But by our third field portion, we had flushed our first hen.  A couple of hundred yards later we flushed a bona fide rooster, and while our shots weren't true, it was a thrill to see him.

By the end of our shortened hunt (as stated, it was raining and we were soaked), we had harvested three young roosters, seen a couple of more, and had probably seen a dozen birds altogether; far more than the 3 we had projected.

Does that mean it will be a good season?  Hardly.  The bird numbers are definitely down.  One can tell by just listening to the lack of rooster crows in the morning.  But what is does mean is that this bird is just a lot tougher than we give him credit for being.   

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Just Move" Stamps and the Nanny State Lesson

The USPS created stamps in honor of the First Lady's "Just Move" youth fitness campaign.  The only problem?  They weren't politically correct:

It's obvious, right?  I mean, there's a boy performing a cannonball, a skateboarder without a helmet and knee pads, and a girl performing a dangerous headstand.

Hence, all of the stamps produced had to be destroyed.  I'm still searching for the total cost, but given that it is our government, rest assured that it is well into the millions of dollars.  

This so epitomizes the liberal government that has moved ever more forcefully into our lives.  Not only "do as we say" (e.g. "Just Move,") but also "do it how we say."  Because at the end of the day, the "how" is the absolute most important thing.

And should the "how" not align with prevailing government thinking?  Then just throw more millions at it until it does.  

I wonder of Orwell ever envisioned "Stampcrime?" 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mitt Romney Was Right

Four days before the election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said this:

Oh, how different our country could have been.  Instead of someone with a professional demeanor and a background of accomplishment, America elected a petulant egomaniac with a paper-thin resume.

As we creep toward a threatened default, we find the President doing what he does best in not letting a good crisis go to waste.

I so wish we had a leader instead...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Minnesota Misery

I can't remember a worse time for Minnesota sports.  Consider:

  • The Twins are in free-fall, having traded Morneau for a bag of batting practice balls, and having zero prospects in the minors to point to a bright future.  They appear to be able to flirt with 100 loss seasons for years to come
  • The Vikings quarterback woes are well documented, and have led to their current losing record.  Being able to pull out of the nose dive with enough time to make the playoffs appears to be a pipe dream
  • The Wild did nothing in the off season to improve their talent, and are off to a very weak start and with scant prospects for betterment
  • The Gopher football program can't compete with ranked talent, and will at best be middle of the pack in Big Ten play
  • Gopher basketball, rebuilding under new coach Pitino (no, not that one, it's his son), look to be in for a tough season
  • We won't review the Wolves' prospects, as the NBA isn't really a sport
There is not a lot of which we can be optimistic.  It is damn tough to be a Minnesota sports fan...


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Life Full of Good Kids

My wife and I are childless, but by no means are we without children in our lives.  And they're damn fine kids - every one of them.  Here's an example of interactions over the past couple of weeks:

  • Spent opening hunting with a buddy and his 14 year old son.  Had a ball
  • Had a buddy and his 11 year old son over this past weekend to attend a game at Lambeau.  By the end of the weekend a boy we didn't even know at the start gave my wife and I a hug good-bye
  • Sent a letter of recommendation to another buddy's son for inclusion in his college applications.  Got a really nice email thank you in return
  • Spent Sunday golfing with a buddy and his eleven year old son.  The kid played great, learned some new profanity, and did not tell his mom on us.
  • Later that day, that same buddy's eight year old daughter stopped by to deliver a belated birthday gift to me - a rubber band bracelet, done up in Vikings purple and gold
  • I received a letter from my niece last week, completely out of the blue, just checking in and letting us know that she misses us.
  • I had a nice text conversation with my other niece yesterday, and that one ended with her telling me she loved me and missed me
In every one of these examples, there is one common theme - these are all great kids.  They're well mannered, polite, fun, engaged, active, and interactive.   And I think that it is a great testament to their parents, and how they were raised.

I am constantly impressed by the quality of the kids in my life.  And that gives me hope that maybe our future is not as bleak as it may appear right now. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Helicopter Parents and Homecoming

We've read stories about the dynamic that today's kids have with their parents - bringing parents to interviews, kids living at home well into their late 20's or early 30's, having parents negotiate job offers, etc.  Personally, I've not seen any first hand example of this, until last night.

We went up to the golf club to enjoy a quick dinner and to watch the Irish game.  We found the place absolutely packed as it was homecoming night, and kids were out on dates for their pre-dance meals.

We found our way to a booth in the bar (the last table in the joint), and the bar area was just as packed - well beyond normal.  I wondered if it was that way because of all of the kids in the dining area, and went about concentrating on the game on the TV.

That's when I overheard one of the men in the bar say to the group, "I'll go get the kids moving - the dance started at 7:30."

The bar was filled with the parents of the kids in the restaurant.  Nearly three dozen of them.

The kids all came into the bar to say good-bye and head off to the dance.  And the parents fawned, and snapped last minute pictures.  Then the kids left, and the parents (also dressed nicely) left shortly thereafter.

I've never seen anything like it before in my life.  I asked our waitress (maybe 25 years old) if this was just a Wisconsin thing, and she was equally confused and mortified by the situation.

What's the next step, attending the dance itself?  Riding in the back seat on the way home?  Yuck.

If these are going to be tomorrow's leaders, I think we're in a world of hurt.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Aaron Rodgers Butts In on My Birthday

It was my birthday yesterday, and my wife took me to our favorite restaurant in Green Bay.  The head chef there is the former team chef for the Packers, and he still has quite a following among the players.  I've happened to see a couple of players there over the past few years, but nobody of consequence.

But last night, in the middle of enjoying my fantastic fillet, my wife looks past me and says, "Wow - that guy looks a lot like Aaron Rodgers."  I subtlety turned, viewed what she was seeing, and replied, "That's because it is Aaron Rodgers." 

There, standing at the table directly behind us, stood the NFL Pro Bowler, chatting up the table.  I went back to my steak, but quickly noticed somebody standing at my left elbow.  I turned to see that Rodgers had moved around the table to talk to a woman, and that his butt was a little too close for comfort.  Especially during dinner.

Two thoughts went through my mind: 1) I could totally sack this guy right now (he was smaller in person than we expected), and if I did, I'd totally do the Jared Allen calf-rope sack dance 2) I should stand up and give him the whole "RODGERS!  DISCOUNT DOUBLE-CHECK!" routine.

Recognizing that both would get us kicked out of our favorite restaurant on a permanent basis, and the sack would likely get us killed, I opted for going back to my dinner.

No, it's not the best "brush with greatness" story ever, but then again it is not every day when a Super Bowl MVP backs his booty into a birthday.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Government Shutdown Reveals What Government Truly Thinks of You

How the government has acted during the "shutdown" reflects what they truly think about their citizens.  Yes, these brave legislators, content to close most things, but not their own salaries, are making a pretty obvious statement about what they think about their citizenry.  Consider:

  • War memorials being "shut down," thus making veterans break laws and storm barricades in order to pay their respects  
  • Federal hunting land being "shut down."  How someone can shut down a 500+ acre wetland is beyond me, but they're doing it
  • Cemeteries of our war dead in foreign countries, specifically those at Normandy in France, being closed to heroes and family that have cashed in on long-standing travel plans to visit them
I know that this is all a political ploy designed to make the shutdown hurt as much as possible so that Republicans cave so we can go back to spending ourselves into oblivion.  But take away that layer and see what is underneath.

Those places listed above are not the government's.  They're ours.  They've been bought and paid for by our taxes, and in many instances, by the blood of soldiers whose bravery and fortitude eclipses anything that passes for so-called "leadership" in Washington right now.

But to those "leaders," these places aren't public - they don't belong to the citizens - they belong to the government.  And when the government wants, the government can easily take them away from its citizens.

Makes one wonder what else they'd choose to take away under different circumstances...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Father Surprises Son at Football Game

I know there are a lot of these military reunion videos out there.  I've published a bunch right here.

And you know what?  I'm going to keep right on doing it:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Obamacare Sites Fail - Reactions Ignorant

With the launch of Obamacare yesterday, a number of the websites designed to register citizens were not ready for prime time, and were either unavailable for long stretches, or they just flat out crashed.  

There have been a couple of main reactions to these events:

  • Democrats spin it as a success - look at all the people that want to be covered by government health care!
  • Republicans spin it as another example of this legislation not being ready to be thrust upon the population
  • Conspiracy theorists spin it as proof of a Denial of Service attack by the Koch brothers or some other right wing entity (yet they completely absolve the NSA of any kind of maleficence - Hi NSA!)
The truth is far from all of these things.  You want the truth why these sites were so ill prepared?  It's simple - it's because it's the government.  Ever tried to go to the post office after work?  Yeah, they're closed.  Ditto before work.  They're not there for your service, they're there for their own existence.

Ever been to the Department of Motor Vehicles?  I know it is a stand-up comedy cliche, but it is all true: there is nothing about that experience that isn't a massive waste of time and a frustration-inducing death-march.

Ever had to pull a permit, or got a letter from the IRS, or needed a special license, or reported for jury duty, or had any other interaction with the government at all?  If you did, you noticed massive amounts of waste, ignorance, sloth, inefficiency, and a total lack of care, empathy, and service.   

Obamacare sites sucked because that what our government does.  Nothing more, nothing less.

You'd think we'd be used to it by now...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Son Rights the Father's Wrong

Yeah, the fact that the cameras were there waiting to roll might make one a little cynical.  Regardless, anytime a 15 year old kid steps up to be the man of his family, it's still pretty damn cool: