Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart - I'll Take Care of You

There is nobody out there that is doing more for blues music right now than Joe Bonamassa.  It is not even close.  The guy is not only a guitar virtuoso, but he's cranking out the content at a torrid pace.  

If I could play like him, I'd do the same damn thing.

Here's a beauty of a cover with help from vocalist Beth Hart.  While it grabs you right from the get-go based on Beth's incredible singing, just wait for the guitar solo at the 4:00 mark.

Best to remove all combustibles right now.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

For those of us that are Walking Dead fans, this is pretty darn funny:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

REI Goes Dark - Brilliant or Boneheaded?

The retail world was set abuzz this week with REI’s announcement that they were going dark on Black Friday, and instead were encouraging their employees and their customers to #OptOutside.  It is one thing to be dark on Thanksgiving, but to give up Black Friday as well?  For a retailer - any retailer - losing a Black Friday is significant. and potentially even catastrophic, depending on the outcomes.

Many folks are weighing in on the decision, and it has the potential to be either a move of fantastic brilliance, or a move of boneheaded blunder.  Here is how things could break for the retailer:


  • The announcement has already proved to be a Public Relations coup.  The story is everywhere, and all are talking about REI and their unique stance.  In a highly competitive retail space, garnering that much attention ahead of the critical holiday period is a significant advantage, and, to this point, has cost the company nothing.
  • The move not only is aligned with their brand, but it cements it.  REI customers still feel a deep sense of ownership with "their" store, and it still retains the co-op feel in their dealings and operations.  A move to encourage folks to spend a shopping day outdoors is completely aligned with their customer and their identity.


  • Black Friday is admittedly one of the company's top ten days of the year.  Given the hockey stick of sales that represents fourth-quarter retail, one of those top ten days can represent weeks of sales in a non-holiday time frame.  And, as any retailer who has been struck by being closed a day during that critical holiday period can attest (for a weather event, for example), those sales typically aren't made up in higher daily sales the rest of holiday.  They just aren't. They're lost.
  • The move creates a bit of logical conundrum: if Black Friday is a day to #OptOutside, why not Sundays?  Why not Saturdays?  Why not the whole weekend?  While most folks are rational and realize what would be at stake in doing something so drastic, REI will definitely face some questions as it pertains to their overall store hours due to the rationale they've applied to their Black Friday move.  
  • Say folks take REI's suggestion, and #OptOutside on Black Friday by going for a hike.  Unfortunately, some of those folks will need some last-minute gear ahead of their time outdoors.  With REI shuttered, those sales go elsewhere.  While I recognize those sales might not be significant at all, in terms of "being available" for their customer, I'd argue they're highly significant.

Ultimately, I think REI could have had their cake and eaten it too.  By "closing early" on Black Friday to allow folks to #OptOutside, REI still would have enjoyed a significant PR boon while still salvaging a massive sales day and taking care of their customer in the process.  Depending on how REI fares this holiday, perhaps that becomes the stance they adopt.

Regardless, this is a rare move for any retailer, and will be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Minnesota's Best Athlete?

Occasionally I'll get sucked in by one of those stupid "click aggregator" sites.  Oh, you know the ones: They'll usually have some outrageous list or scantily dressed woman and the headline "You won't believe what happens next!"

I usually have enough fortitude to put off clicking on them, but if something really gets my curiosity, I'll weakly wade into it.  That was the case last week when presented with a list of "The Best Athlete by State."

For Minnesota, my first thought was, to me, the obvious choice (we'll get to that in a second).  As I waded through each state alphabetically (cranking up the clicks that the site owner will attempt to justify as value for their advertisers) , I finally made it to my home state and found that they had selected Kevin McHale.

Wait, what?  Kevin McHale?  WRONG!

For me, the obvious choice was Dave Winfield.  Consider the following achievements:
  • 1973 college world series MVP (as a pitcher!)
  • Drafted by four different pro teams in three different sports
  • College baseball Hall of Fame
  • 12 time MLB All Star
  • 7 time MLB Gold Glove
  • 6 time Silver Slugger
  • MLB World Champion
  • MLB Hall of Fame
It doesn't get much more athletic than that.

That got me to thinking as to who else could have been considered Minnesota's best ever athlete (beyond, of course, Kevin McHale).  There are a lot of great athletes that have done very well, but none stack up to Winfield, with the exception of one.

A compelling case can be made for Roseu's Neil Broten.  Consider his bona fides:
  • NCAA hockey champion
  • Hobey Baker award
  • Olympic gold metal winner with 1980 Miracle on Ice
  • NHL World Champion
  • 2 time NHL All Star
  • US Hockey Hall of Fame
While Broten does get close, Winfield is still too much a stud to not be considered the clear winner here.  

The only thing that gets  Broten closer is that he is one of the few in the NHL that kicked Wayne Gretzky's ass.

Look out with who you're messing with, Great One:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What Politics Boils Down To

We're seeing a pretty incredible display going on right now as it pertains to politics.  We've seen the preemptive Democrat candidate for president caught in lie after lie, and instead of admonishing her, the press compliments her on her ability to not make any charges stick.  We've seen a Muslim kid take apart a clock, bring it to school in an obvious move of political agitation, and when folks act with concern, gets rewarded for it.  With an audience with the president, no less.

These are the two latest examples where the truth just flat doesn't matter anymore.  The only thing that matters is that the liberal agenda continue; unabated and unchecked.

Give credit where credit is due - liberals have succeeded in making liberalism "cool" and conservatism "stupid."  It really is that simple.  Ask any idiot on the street, and you'll get some kind of summation of the above.  

It's branding in the truest sense.  It has nothing to do with reality, or honesty, or objectivity.  It has everything to do with appearances and feelings and projections. 

I encountered a good example of this last Friday.  I had a lab appointment, so was going into work late.  Since I had the time, I took a leisurely work out at the club.  While minding my own business on my elliptical machine, three newly-retired gentlemen climbed aboard the machines to my right, and proceeded to have a political conversation.

I had my headphones in (and I like my music loud), but these guys were screaming back and forth to each other.  The subject was how stupid conservative people were.  These guys' world view could not envision someone in their right mind not being liberal, and if you weren't, you were an idiot.  And they were so convinced that they were so right and such a majority that they conducted themselves as if every other person in the place felt the same way.

I held my tongue, and the fury they raised in me aided my workout.  But what I saw is what is happening in our country right now.  Years and years of popular culture, media, and education control have wrought a brand that is as powerful as any I've seen as a marketing professional.

Liberals = cool.  Conservatives = stupid.  Simple, brilliant, effective. 

Not true.  But as is the case in branding, truth doesn't matter.  All that matters is how the brand makes you feel.

As in the case of my retired buddies feeling like intellectually superior douche bags.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Jenner: Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year

In another astounding situation of "more politically correct than thou," Glamour Magazine is widely rumored to be featuring Caitlyn Jenner as their 2015 Woman of the Year.

Of over half the world's population, Jenner is the one to be celebrated?  There were absolutely no women that accomplished anything other than getting a boob job and hacking off their penis?  Really?

We've recently reached a point as a society where achievements don't matter.  Hell, they're not even achievements.  What's admired is ones ability to "skate" by lying under oath, how "cool" one is, and certainly how one embraces the hinterland of social mores.  

Our world has turned upside down.  We will absolutely deserve what will ultimately happen.  Until then, cheers to Ms. Jenner.  It appears that your decision to be a woman is the female gender's greatest accomplishment in the past year.  Congratulations, women everywhere!  You should all be so very proud.

God help us.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Prayer

My brother-in-law has turned me on to a religious writer, Richard Rohr, and I subscribe to his daily affirmations.  Some of it is kind of Eastern, some a little new-agey, but most of the time it gets me to think.

Yesterday's post included a prayer to be said aloud, and it's meaningful:

May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be happy.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

You know what really makes the prayer more powerful?  When we can get beyond ourselves, and say it aloud by replacing the "I" with someone we love.

What's more powerful, still?  Replacing that name with someone we don't love.

Think of what that could mean.  Are we up to such a challenge?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Michicant - Bon Iver

There is something about Bon Iver's music that touches me so deeply.  Somehow the keys, the falsetto, and tempo that conspire to create this melancholy tapestry that always brings about an emotional response in me.

I usually always think about the people I love in my life that I miss when I listen to their music.  

While it may not impact you in a similar way, I hope you'll enjoy this quiet waltz all the same.  

And for those of you whom I love, know that I'm thinking about you.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Running Revitalization

For about the past six months I have been slacking on my running.  Oh, I'd get a run in here or there, but there would always be an excuse as to why I couldn't run that day.  It might have been injury, illness, work, vacation, visitors, or dozens of other excuses, but it all resulted in me slipping.

As a result, my cardio conditioning has declined, and when I would run, it was damned hard.  It felt like starting over at the beginning.  While I was able to knock out a 5k in September, it wasn't a great run for me - hard, and slow.  Definitely worse than my run of it in the previous year.

During this time, Mrs. YDP has taken up running.  She's leveraging an app to take her from the couch to a 5k, and is progressing famously.  As her endurance and mileage have crept up, so have my concerns - is my wife going to be the runner in the family?  

With that, I've made a new commitment to my running as I want to be there with her when she gets to where ever she's going.  So with more running, less beer, and a hell of a lot less excuses, I'm getting back to where I need to be.  I was able to crank out 3 miles yesterday in a top ten time for me for the distance, so I am getting there.  Now, I had perfect conditions (40 degree temps, OK humidity, and absolutely no wind), likewise I'm pretty sore today as I pushed myself on my run, but it was the best run that I've had since May.

Which is a good thing - Mrs. YDP just got up to 2 1/2 miles, and shows no signs of slowing down.  Beyond her running results, she's also changing as part of this process.  Her body is clearly changing, her energy level seems higher, as does her confidence.  She's doing just awesome, and I'm so proud of her.  

Especially when you consider where we were exactly a year ago.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What the Hell Happened to Paul Ryan?

Five years ago, if you would have said to me that Paul Ryan had a clear pathway to the Speakership of the House, I would have done handstands.  The young, intelligent, vigilant  pol was someone that I greatly admired.  He was principled, tough, and knew economics unlike any other in Washington.  He seemed to be the only one that cared about the Ponzi scheme that is the US economy and that cared about the waste and abuse that propagated it.

He was a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stifling smog that is our nation's capital.  

He then joined Mitt Romney as a VP candidate for that fateful election run, and was summarily destroyed by Obama.

He then fell off the face of the map, only to pop up years later as the only person that might be able to take over the position vacated by John Boehner.  He's met that call to draft him with a tepid response.  Not fire, not leadership, not vision, not drive.  No, he met it with a "gee, I don't know," and a bunch of requests.

I miss the man that spoke to the IRS like this, and I wonder what the hell happened to him:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Death of the President

As we approach the election, something has become increasingly clear: The concept of the president as being better than us - no, the best of us - that concept is dead.

A simple perusal of candidates on the both sides of the aisle belie the truth, and that is we have a choice of increasingly repugnant people that we'll be selecting to run our country. 
These are people that are flawed, that lack intelligence, that aren't appreciably better than you or I.

It used to be that the president was something to be respected.  That the person that held the office did so because they commanded respect due to their massive role and their obvious credentials.  However, now we elect our officials based on how they can dance on talk shows and based on the wittiness of their Tweets.  Literally.

When that's the bar that get set, it looks pretty approachable.  The obvious conclusion is that the people running for office aren't special, or smart, or better.  They're just better at raising money, and in cramming something droll into 140 characters.

Never in my life have I harbored so much pessimism for our country and our future.  Our "leaders" are truly that bad.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Best Campaign Video of the Season

And it is courtesy of my cousin:

I would have loved to see him back in the day as a drill sergeant.

That, is, as long as I wasn't the one he was screaming at.

Good luck, Mickey Murphy.  You make us all proud. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday Song Share - David Bowie: Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)

Bowie actually had two distinct versions of this song.  This is the version used for the movie of the same name, and is pretty tasty:


Here's the second version, from the Let's Dance album, with Stevie Ray Vaughn cranking out some incredible guitar:

Both are really strong in both respects.  The prior seems like it is holding up better from a time perspective, but damn, Stevie Ray's licks are hard to beat.  What an incredible talent.

Got a favorite?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Missing Dad, Again

I adore October.  The month means duck and pheasant hunting, fall colors, NFL, the start of the NHL season, MLB playoffs, and really good beer.  I have so many memories from this month crammed into my tiny little cranium, that they will keep me occupied and entertained well into the age where I can no longer enjoy these things myself.

October is also the birth month of my Dad, and many of my memories revolve around him.  

Despite him being gone for so many years now, I still miss him.  It ebbs and flows, but there are times, usually in October, where my missing him just aches my heart.  I certainly miss his companionship, his opinionated commentary (even when I disagreed), his big bear hugs, and his presence.  But more than all of that, I miss his insight and guidance.  There have been so many times in my life in which I was able to pick up the phone, discuss my issue with him, and immediately feel better.

The information he imparted wasn't always gentle, nor did I always agree with it, but he almost always got me to think differently, and he pretty much always got me to feel better about myself.  

Even at the ripe old age of 51, I still don't have things figured out.  Despite being a leader of a team of over 40 folks, and despite acting as a mentor to many, there are times in my life where I feel like I don't have a clue, and I just want to talk to my Dad.  

In those situations, I try to play out in my mind what he'd tell me.  But it's not the same.

Ah, October.  I do love you so.  But I just wish you weren't so heavy on my heart.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blogging from 30,000 Feet

I'm on a business trip, and am cranking out some blog posts from Delta Airline's fine onboard wifi capabilities.  It is amazing how we're able to remain connected and productive, even in some challenging confines.

That immediately reminded me of a fantastic rant that comedian Louis CK had about how amazing technology is, and how much we take it for granted:

For those of us that are Gen X or Boomers, where we experienced life before an internet, it truly has been a remarkable ride.  It's something that our younger cohorts can't even comprehend.

Truly amazing, when you think of it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Remarkable: Hillary's Emails Don't Matter

Last night's debate had its most remarkable moment when the subject of Hillary's emails was raised.  Moving immediately to her defense, Bernie Sanders immediately went off on a rant that those emails "don't matter," to which the Las Vegas crowd erupted.


Her actions in setting up her own server, dismantling it, and lying about the whole situation absolutely get to the heart of her ethics, motivations, leadership, honesty, transparency, and other aspects of her character.  It is a defining moment; one the others on the stage glaringly lack.  She was tested, and her resulting behavior was likely criminal.

Yet nobody cares.

This is the Democratic party of 2015 - win at all costs, even if it means electing someone that is morally bankrupt.

Then cheer it.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Obama - Leadership is All About Climate Change

If you've not seen the 60 Minutes interview of President Obama by Steve Kroft, you have missed a lot.  For the first time since the Super Bowl interview by Bill O'Reilly, THE FIRST TIME, the media FINALLY speaks truth to power and asks Obama tough questions.

And for Barry?  He's understandably upset that someone dares question him, and that he's finally being called out for the charlatan that he truly is.

Here is but a snippet:

You know the saddest part of this whole interview?  I think Obama truly believes he's doing a good job.  I think he's that isolated, has that limited of a world view, is surrounded by that many sycophants, and is that ideologically polluted that he truly think's he's rocking it. 

The knock on George Bush among the liberal elite is that he was not "intellectually curious."  Obama's narcissistic and delusional psychology puts all that to shame.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Peeple - The Gossip/Bullying App

Innocuously dubbed "the Yelp for people," long rumored (but yet unreleased) app is raising a stink in the internet world.  Why the issue?  The concern stems from the app's ability for users to "rate" people, and to do so anonymously.

Ex-girlfriend wants to share intimate details?  Fair game.  Psycho ex-boss wants to kill your future employment chances?  All good.  Tip a waiter too little?  The world needs to know.

There is so much that is wrong with this. 

There is a lot that the internet provides us - productivity, knowledge, opportunity.  It truly is a wonder.  But it also has a dark side, and that darkness is vast and deep abyss.  Peeple is just another example of that dark side.  While it's not as obviously and overtly evil as much that is out there, there is no question that this app will not be used for good, and will ultimately deliver much suffering.

A world without this is not such a bad idea.    

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bomb at Turkish Peace Rally. US Leads from Behind

Yesterday, there were two massive bombs that went off at a peace rally in Turkey, killing nearly 100.  In the event you haven't seen it yet, here's the video:

Of course, that led to a Tweet (no less) from our vaunted government:

All that was missing was the usual "thoughts and prayers" tripe.  

It makes me long for the Dennis Miller line about President George W Bush, and how he admired Bush for "his first conscious thought upon waking in the morning was 'let's kill some terrorists'."

Under Obama, we "condemn" and "stand united."  

Now, had the terrorists used guns instead of bombs...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic

A recent effort from the Dan, on one of their best songs of all time.  I'm bummed that Fagan passed on the "...where did you get those shoes?" line (he passed it off in similar fashion the last time I saw them), but it still sounds fantastic.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Gun Free America in 5 Easy Steps

Language warning.  

Common sense warning as well...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ThinOptics - Always Have a Pair of Cheaters Handy

There is a lot about getting old that flat out sucks.  Personally, my biggest challenge is not being able to see anymore.  Prior to three years ago, I could read anything.  I'd laugh at the smallest legalese on a page, and scoff at 6 point font financials.  And then, out of the blue, somebody hit a switch and I can no longer see a damn thing.

I mean nothing.  Computer screens, iPhones, menus. I was helpless without a pair of cheaters, and since they're inconvenient to have around, that meant I was often helpless.  It got to the point where I made my wife carry around a pair for me in her purse.  It sucked.

Then I found these little beauties, and my life was suddenly made more convenient (and clear):

In 2015, we are never without our phones.  Now, with ThinOptics, if you have your phone, you have your cheaters as well.

The person that invented this deserves a Nobel prize for making aging easier or something.  They're incredible, and have the YDP Seal of Goodness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Perpetual Half Mast Flag

President Obama mandated that the flag fly at half mast for those killed in "the tragedy of Roseburg, OR."  At the same time, the same amount of people have been killed in the tragedy of the horrific rains in South Carolina.  Likewise, more than that number were killed in weekend violence.

But those other events (and others) serve no political purpose.  No, it is the gun deaths that deserve the greatest symbol of our nation's grief.

It used to be that the flag was lowered solely for days of mourning.  Now, it seems it is half mast more than it is flying high.

I guess that's what happens when the sitting president co-opts all he can to push his political agenda.

How pathetic.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hillary Clinton on SNL

The media and the Left are wetting themselves over Hillary's appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend.  Claiming it shows her as human, and with a sense of humor, they predict great things for her campaign.

See what you think:

Really?  This is what we need, another president to entertain us, and to act as a clown?

Interesting that she has time for the SNL stage, but none for the debate stage.  But I guess, in the age of Obama, this is what is considered presidential...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bodies Still Warm, Obama Blames Guns

The only examples of "leadership" coming from the White House in Obama's second term revolve around "climate change" and gun grabbing.  The Iranians can get nukes, the Russians can bomb whom they please in Syria, a record number of US citizens can go without any kind of employment, racial relations are at their worst since the start of the civil rights movement (I could go on and on), but no matter.

Guns are bad, and they need to go away.

This demagoguery is so tiresome.  No details are ever presented as to what he'd do to make things better (not that one could, as I explained very, very clearly here), but as we've seen over and over again from this administration, never let the truth or details get in the way of a chance to push a political agenda and narrative.

Speaking of details, this eruption of violence of which Obama speaks, what does it look like statistically?  I'm glad you asked.  Check it:

You read that right, sports fans.  Homicide rates are those of the time of the Andy Griffith Show.  Likewise, if you took black on black murder out of the mix - something Obama won't address and won't even mention - and our true homicide rate is a bump.

But you won't hear that from our president.  Not when he has a political agenda he wants to push.

In the mean time, at work this week we'll have another one of those banner weeks selling firearms.  It seems irony, like a lot of things, is lost by the narcissist in the Oval Office.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

H&M - Stands for Hijab and Media

H&M is getting a lot of kudos from just about everywhere for developing a feature which shows "for the first time!" a model wearing a hijab.

Yeah, there's nothing that sells clothing and style like an overt symbol of subjugation and oppression.

Nice war on women, leftists...