Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yellow Dog Plays in Leaf Pile

I defy you to not watch this video and smile:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glen Campbell's Farewell Song

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Glen Campbell published this final single.  It speaks directly to his future and his fate in a way that those who have had a loved one struck by this disease can understand best.

So sad...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gallup's Sexist Study on Management Effectiveness

From our friends at Gallup comes a recent study which shows "why women are better managers than men."  You see, "female managers in the U.S. exceed male managers at meeting employees' essential workplace requirements."  Hence, they're better.

What vulgar, sexist tripe.  A couple of questions for you, Gallup:

  • What, if by your measures, men were found to be "better?"  Do you even publish the data?
  • Why no study on most effective managers by race?
  • Ditto sexual orientation?
I don't think we even need an answer on these.  In fact, truth be told, the only way this study is done, let alone have its findings published, is if it reflects men in a bad light.

Nice stereotyping, Gallup.  Sexist pigs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hillary: "Businesses Don't Crate Jobs"

This is simply amazing.  You have to believe that she's not a dumb woman, and that she doesn't really believe the tripe she's spitting out to a sycophantic and ignorant audience.  But then again, go back to Obama's "you didn't build that," moment, and perhaps this is truly what the modern progressive honestly believes:


The real truth, of course, is that not only does business create jobs, but it is ONLY business that can create jobs.  Oh, sure, there are a gazillion government jobs.  But guess what bucko?  The payroll for all of those government jobs can only be derived by taxes.  And taxes can only be derived via commerce activity.  And commerce activity can only be derived via businesses.

Ignorance?  Political blindness?  Abject socialist philosophy?  Playing to the crowd by stirring up class envy?  Who knows where it came from?  But, regardless of its origin, the sentiment can't be more abjectly wrong, and downright stupid.

When her husband was President, his administration's motto was "it's the economy, stupid."  Now, hearing from Hillary, it sounds like that motto needs to match her belief, which is "It's stupid, the economy."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Done Hunting"

From the StarTribune comes the following essay:

Before my retina surgeon could finish his thought, I rudely interrupted him.

“Doc, I don’t care what you have to do to me, I just need to be ready to go in two weeks,” I said. “I’m going on a duck-hunting trip and I’m not missing a second of it.”

My surgeon — an ophthalmologist whose drab office walls were adorned with framed degrees and other scholarly accolades — wasn’t fazed. He fired back, and for effect.

“Son, you’re not going anywhere,” he said, his right hand grasping my left shoulder. “You have a detached retina. It’s a serious injury. We need to schedule surgery for tomorrow. It can’t wait.”

His voice trailed off before he delivered the gut punch: “You have a long road ahead of you. A long road.”

My surgeon’s words have proved eerily prophetic. That long road he so candidly promised still lies before me like a bad dream more than five years later. My life has changed so radically I often struggle to make sense of it. I’ve had more than a dozen surgeries on both eyes (roughly a year after my left eye detached, I inexplicably had a massive retina tear in my right) and untold months of solitary, sometimes maddening, convalescence.

Today I’m blind in my left eye and have enough vision in my right to get a driver’s license. More surgeries are promised down the road. Chronic pain is a fixture in my life, as common as breathing. I often feel intense fear, real or imagined, that my good eye will tank, that my entire world will fade to black. Worst of all, I’ve been forced to let go of the outdoors life that gave me an identity (both personally and professionally) beginning 40 years ago when I started squirrel hunting with my father. The loss — including my seminal passion, waterfowl hunting — has been devastating.

I often ask myself a simple question: Who am I now? I’m still not sure that I know.

Putting the pieces back together has been the crucible of my life. I’m still under construction. My vision loss, I’m just beginning to understand, is similar to losing a loved one. You go through stages of grief — from denial to anger to depression to, finally, acceptance. But acceptance does not necessarily equal peace — yet that’s exactly what I seek and struggle to find each day, especially now during hunting season. Autumn always has been my favorite time of year. But now its crisp mornings and golden hues provoke a tempest inside me, an emotion without a name. I long for what was — the joy of so many marvelous days afield — when I know my past has no chance of prologue. It’s a bitter pill I’m still learning to swallow.

This entire odyssey began innocently enough. I was dove hunting in North Dakota, where I used to live. My black Lab and I were hunting a small-grain field that was loaded with feeding birds the night before. New over-and-under shotgun in hand, I pulled up on the morning’s first dove and immediately lost track of it. A splash of black dots (in my left eye) took over my field of vision. Disorientated and confused, I rubbed and blinked my eye repeatedly. The microscopic dots would go away and then reappear, then go away again. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. This was a first.

The following day I got examined by an optometrist. He assured me the black dots — which are called “floaters” in the eye business — were commonplace for people in their late 30s and early 40s. “It’s part of getting older,” he said. “You’ll be fine.” Two days later my retina detached. I woke up and felt like I was staring into the ocean on a stormy day. The horizon was hazy, charcoal-gray and wavy. The floaters, I would learn from my surgeon, were the result of my retina fraying, then finally detaching.

Six weeks after my first surgery, my retina detached again. The second surgery was the most brutal of all. My eye looked grotesque, like I had been pummeled in a street fight. The pain was so intense I vomited regularly and occasionally passed out. The term “pain management” became part of my lexicon. I became a chemist of sorts, staying ahead of the pain by mixing my meds with three fingers of Irish whiskey or red wine. My approach was neither advised nor wise. But I did what I had to do to survive.

Adjusting to my vision loss has been an exercise in humility. I’ve had to retrain my brain to do just about everything — from pouring a glass of water to walking down a flight of stairs. I have very little depth perception, particularly when I’m walking. I’ve stumbled and fallen on more hiking trails than I care to admit. Everything that’s old is new.

My new normal caught me by surprise a few years back when I was in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, covering the aftermath of the BP oil spill and its impacts on migratory waterfowl. This was the first time I had been in a boat since my vision loss. But getting in the boat, like I had done hundreds of times before, was terrifying. The step from the dock and into the watercraft felt like falling into a canyon. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I got on my hands and knees and backed in. This remains one of the more humbling experiences of my life.

Despite everything I’ve been through, my vision loss has given me ample time to reflect on my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself. What I know today is that I’ve had an extraordinarily blessed life. By virtue of my job and my passion for wild places, I’ve had more good hunting, in more beautiful places, than most. I’ve been fortunate enough to chase ducks in the most iconic waterfowling venues in North America — from the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland to the bayous of south Louisiana to the Central Valley of California and across the prairies of the U.S. and Canada. I’ve had a good run, and I’m grateful for it.

Still, I admit, I miss everything about my old outdoors life. I miss seeing vivid colors. I miss identifying ducks on the wing, a skill that took a lifetime in the marsh to hone. I miss feeling bone-tired after a day afield. Few will admit the most compelling reason for hunting: It’s satisfying. Killing an animal is emotionally complex, but I miss the satisfaction of taking a life with my own hands and assuming responsibility for it. I miss the ritual of giving thanks for nature’s bounty and preparing it for family and friends — a holistic experience that no amount of money can buy.

It’s been said that fear is faith that it won’t work out. But I have a deep faith in God and I know in time that it will all work out. I have faith that God will guide me on this long road to finding peace and helping me rediscover who I am. I patiently wait to be whole again.

Reading this prompted me to send the following letter to the author:

"Via a friend's Facebook feed I found your "Done Hunting" article on the StarTribune website.  The timing of encountering your writing was fortuitous for me, as I have been feeling sorry for myself for not being able to be in the swamp this year.  Like you, I'm a hardcore waterfowler, and my wife's recent breast cancer diagnosis has kept me from the pursuit I love the most.

My wife's prognosis is good, although surgery, treatment, and care giving will conspire to make the 2014 season like it never happened.  While I should feel thankful for our state (so many families have things far, far worse), I still couldn't help but have a private pity party for myself over my lost season.

Then I read your article, and gained an invaluable perspective.  Now, in addition to missing duck hunting, I feel like a jerk.

Thank you for your well-penned, personal, and heartfelt article.  While perhaps your physical condition changes things, I hope it offers new things as well, and inspires you to share as you most eloquently did in the last article.  It certainly touched me, and know it must have had the same impact on others.  For that, thank you."

A little perspective can sometimes equate to a hell of a lot of humility and thankfulness.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Song Share: Roseanne Cash - The World Unseen

A love letter to her dead father, the great Johnny Cash.  Simply beautiful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tom Wrigglesworth is Aaron Rodgers

An English comic looks remarkably like the Packers' all-pro quarterback.  The attached video (more cute than funny) looks at his interactions with folks in Green Bay, complete with a stop at the famous Pancake Place:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Concept - The Mass Mob

The concept of the flash mob - where a group comes together, seemingly by random, to perform some kind of dance, song, or skit - has been all the rage on social media.  If anything, they have been kind of overblown and over done.  All of which makes the next story so interesting.

Out of Detroit comes the story of Catholics coming together to form a "Mass Mob" (or a "Flash Mass," I guess).  The group leverages social media to select a church and a mass time, and then shows up a couple of thousand strong to fill the church and turn any random Sunday into a Christmas or Easter mass.

For those that participate, they get to tour the churches of the local Detroit area; taking in their beautiful artwork and architecture.  For the regular parishioners, they get to feel that feeling that only comes from being a part of a massive and motivated faith community.

Let's be honest - churches are dying, parishes are closing, and mass times curtailed all because people just don't go to church anymore.  Unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle as it is the community of the people attending the mass that make the mass - the voice singing in the choir, the person handing out communion, the woman next to you shaking your hand at the sign or peace, the whole of the building praying for you.  Without people, there is no mass, and another church shutters its doors.

The mass mob is attempting to change that.  Can they be successful?  Ugh.  Theirs is a long and uphill battle.  But it is a fight they are undertaking, and I pray that they're able to inspire folks to take that step and come back to mass.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Foo Fighters - The Last Rock and Roll Band?

Attached is the latest single from Foo Fighters:

Some thoughts about what we just heard:

  • Check out that bridge!  Sounds like vintage Heart, with a touch of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" for good measure
  • Lyrics are really strong here - love the story
  • Check out the Rick Nielsen camo at the 3:00 mark.  I love that so bleeping much.  
  • How many guitars does one band need?  Exactly!
Nobody is making music like this anymore, at least not at this quality.   Music like this was part of what I grew up listening to - solid singing and music, built around a simple guitar riff as the cornerstone.

The guitar riff - man, how I miss that.

I can't wait to hear the rest of the album and see who the cameo guests are.  If anything like the first effort here, I don't think I'll be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Augusta Air Passengers Comforted by Therapy Dogs

I bumped into this article last week, which talks about a program at the Augusta, SC regional airport in which therapy dogs roam the airport with handlers.  The goal is to calm those that may need calming, and, in the event you haven't traveled lately, we ALL need calming.  And there is nothing better than the sight and engagement with a friendly dog to immediately change one's mood and perspective.

It truly is amazing what dogs do for us.  The whole concept of therapy dogs is truly fantastic, and what they do to make lives of people substantively better is truly awesome.  Working dogs, be they military dogs, police dogs, or hunting dogs, do their jobs better than humans or machines ever could.  Finally, the health benefits of having a dog in terms of stress and blood pressure reduction are renown.

A favorite story that I bumped into many years back (and one in which I can neither find nor attribute) goes back to a Native American legend in which the Great Spirit has created the world, and all of the people and animals in it.  In his design, the Great Spirit found it necessary to separate people and animals, and He ran a river between the two groups to keep them separated forever.  But just as the division was almost complete, dog jumped over the river and stood alongside man.

If you're ever flying through the Augusta airport and encounter one of these dogs, see if you don't feel if that Native American legend was right.    

Monday, October 20, 2014

Technology and the Loss of Humanity

When's the last time you called an obscure friend?  Odds are that you do communicate, but when done it is through a social network or perhaps maybe a text.  With all of the other easier and less intimate methods of communication, why mess with something as clunky as actually talking to someone?

And this is spoken as a Gen Xer.  I'm not a digital native.  Indeed, we have an entire generation of people coming up that prefer these cursory, limited, and shallow communications.  Oh, sure, digital means have afforded many more relationships, and I've not lost the irony of this rant occurring on a blog.  However, it seems quantity has been traded for quality.

What can be done to deepen human relationships in the digital age?  I don't have answers.  But I do have a hell of a lot of Facebook friends.  

Very few of whom I'd like to call.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NFL and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I need to make a confession.  For a number of years, it has bugged me what the NFL was doing with Breast Cancer Awareness month.  It seems like everywhere one looked, there was some kind of pink thing here, or some kind of breast cancer event there, and the NFL looked like it was just doing a "me too" to take advantage of the meme.

And that is truly what I felt it was - a meme.  

I mean really.  That breast cancer stuff is everywhere.  There are so many other maladies in life - why the concentration on breast cancer?  To me, it all appeared to be overblown marketing, and the NFL appeared guilty of piling on.

And then my wife got breast cancer.

With the diagnosis has come knowledge - of the prevalence of the disease, of how many people have been impacted, and the resulting magnitude of it all.  I could not have been more wrong, and I feel like maybe I'm paying some kind of karma penalty for my narrow and incorrect opinion.

So color me wrong.  Color me a fan of what the NFL is doing.  But more than that, color me pink.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Song Share : The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues

In honor of my Irish cousin's birthday today comes one from the best Irish band that isn't U2

Happy birthday, Murphy.  I hope we get to see each other sometime soon.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marines Battle Koreans - In Drum Off

Some competition between allies, all done in good nature.  Check out some of the ancillary stick work performed by our boys in blue:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola and ISIS

It is obvious that our government and our health care system is completely unprepared for the ebola crisis.  The CDC looks incompetent in their recommendations, the government is still allowing the borders to remain open and travel to be unfettered, and medical support who have been exposed to ebola and are running a fever are given the OK to fly.  It is astonishing.

Our friends in ISIS have to see this too, and that should scare the living hell out of all of us.

On 9/11, we had 19 jihadist ready to crash planes so that they could obtain their 72 virgins in paradise.  Does anyone honestly believe that these ISIS guys can't find a willing volunteer to visit west Africa, contract the virus, make his way to US soil, and then ride the NYC subway, sneezing and hacking for a week or so?  

These guys don't need a nuke or any another WMD.  They have access to a devastating biological weapon by just executing the above plan before the government gets wise and starts to secure our borders.  And at the rate the Obama administration is going, there's ample time.

When it happens remember that you read it here first.  And God help us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Inconvenient Truth of Animal Rights

Here's a nice little video of an animal rights terrorist preaching to the patrons of a mostly empty restaurant about the death of her "daughter" - a chicken named Snow:


The animal rights crowd is obviously passionate, but they're intellectually dishonest.  They live in their urban dwellings, and their only interactions with "animals" are the 13 cats in their apartment and what they see on Nat Geo.  Consider:

  • The carnage waged, on a daily basis, of horribly painful and prolonged death of animals at the claws, jaws, and teeth of other animals.  What is the answer to that?  Nature is not a peaceable kingdom.  It is one gigantic killing field.
  • The massacre of billions of insects every week due solely to people driving vehicles at night during the summer
  • Animals like service dogs, critical for lives for millions of humans, won't even be born without the need for them to be employed
  • Oh yeah, lest I forget: Peta kills animals (do not click over to this unless you want to see dead puppies)
Hypocrites.  Ignorant, ignorant hypocrites.  If you don't want to eat meat, knock yourself out.  But shut your veggie hole and don't interrupt my dinner with your sanctimonious misguided tripe.   

As for Snow, if she was part of my chicken fajitas last week, I can say that she was unequivocally delicious

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Worry About Ebola Not Racism

There is a meme on the left, mostly an undercurrent but it has been more forthright, that concern over ebola is nothing but what the right is leveraging to disparage people that are black.  They think that the contagious nature of ebola has been extremely overstated, and all we need to do is temper our racist urges and not worry.

What utter hogwash.

If this contagion began in Paris, I'd be screaming for flights to be cancelled between here and France, and that all inbound passengers from French locales be thoroughly screened upon entering this country.  It has absolutely nothing to do with where it is coming from.  It has everything to do with the fact that it is a killer virus with no known cure.

We've seen this play before.  When AIDS first manifest itself, people needed to tread lightly on the subject as it was not politically correct to talk of how AIDS was transmitted, especially in certain communities.  The net result of such an environment was inactivity - nobody wants to be cast a homophobe, right? - and because of the inactivity, a lot of people died unnecessarily.   All due to political correctness.

We're in the same boat, albeit much more dangerous this time.  Now the virus is much more easily transmitted, and is much more deadly.  And yet we can't talk about any of it as it just shows how racist we still are.  

I fear the political correctness on this event is going to end up killing a awful lot of innocent citizens.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Song Share: The Greyhounds - What's on Your Mind

It is not often that I play a song to death, as songs that I truly love I want to savor and not burn myself out on them.  However, with this song, I simply can't stop playing it.  

I'm a huge fan of blue-eyed soul, and this dude has some unbelievable soul.  His voice is just incredible.  

Listen to this (try to ignore the weird video), let it sink into you, then go out and buy it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Welcome, Wild

Professional sports finally returns to Minnesota as the Wild kicks off their 2014-2015 NHL season tonight against Colorado.  And folks, that's really it for professional sports in the north star state.  Consider that the Twins are as bad as they've been since the 80's, and that the Vikings are in complete free fall without their star running back and without an NFL caliber quarterback.

Yes, I do know that with the start of the NHL season, that means that winter is coming.  Given temps of late, it looks like it is getting an early start.  But as long as it is going to be cold, we might as well watch some hockey.

Go Wild!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ben Affleck and Liberal Derangement on Islam

This clip is absolutely fascinating.  Bill Maher, certainly no conservative, gets exasperated at Affleck and his perceived insults against "The Religion of Peace."  Reason and statistics fly right out of the window.  All that matters are feelings and perceptions, to the point of shouting down any opposing view.

This is precisely the kind of thinking that will ultimately doom all of us.

Check it out:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Odd Thing About Odds

We were blessed with very successful treatments for Mrs. YDP's cancer.  We're not out of the woods yet, but given her type of cancer, treatments already employed, and future activity, we've got the the odds of her surviving this episode as 95%.  That is an outstanding number, and we're grateful for our prognosis.  Most folks aren't that lucky.

But a funny thing, those odds.  Consider the following:

  • On my website at work, I'd kill to have a 2% conversion of the traffic coming to the website.  I'd be hailed a hero.
  • If I went to a Delta Waterfowl dinner and they were raffling off a gun with a 5% chance of winning, I'd buy as many tickets as I could.
  • Back in my catalog days, a 5% response rate on a mailing was a hell of a performance, and would be considered a great success
In all of these situations, that puny little 5% isn't deemed so puny.  It's deemed as a success, and in the event of the raffle ticket, even good odds.

Now consider the cancer, and what the 5% actually means: there is a 5% chance not that you get an order or that you win a gun, there is a 5% chance that the cancer gets away from the treatment and that you die.

Good odds and a great diagnosis?  Absolutely.  High statistical probability of living through this?  Absolutely.  Still dangerous as hell?  Absolutely.

Funny how one's perspective of the same odds changes depending on the nature of the "payout."  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back Online

Things have been pretty much in free fall here in YDP land these past three weeks of my hiatus, but at least the most important thing - the health of my wife - appears to be coming into order.  With that, I feel like I can get back to trying to contribute something written to the world on a daily basis again.  There is a lot of ground to cover and things I want to get off of my chest, especially around my wife's journey with cancer, and what being on this side of that illness is like.  We'll be reviewing it in detail in future posts, so stick around if you're of a mind.

Here in Wisconsin, the weather has turned cold, and the 80's we enjoyed just a weekend ago now seem a distant memory.  The leaves are at their peak, the acorn crop the best I've ever seen, and the squirrels appear quite content with the changing season.  They're about the only ones, as our ten day forecast doesn't have us getting out of the 50's at all.  Goodbye, summer.  You will be missed.

Thanks for bearing with me as I got my feet back underneath me.  Now, off to more politics, music, sports, and things that appeal to yellow dogs and those that patrol with them.