Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Burger King Calls Out Ronald

I've always felt clowns are creepy; Ronald McDonald included.  It's nice to see that Burger King feels the same way, and is totally calling out their rival:



Now I just wish Burger King would do something about their own creepy mascot:


Monday, October 30, 2017

The Hawk Ate My Teal

I had one of the strangest mornings I've ever had while waterfowling.

I was in camp alone, and decided to hunt an area we call "Goose Island."  It is a patch of cattails in fairly shallow water and provides good cover plus the ease of being able to walk around to set most of the decoys.  

The morning started out well, and I was treated to this fabulous sunrise:



The ducks were flying, especially the mallards, and they really seemed to like my set.  I had a number of flocks over my decoys and presenting me with fabulous shots.  Unfortunately, I shot incredibly poorly.  Perhaps it was because I was wearing another full coat over my traditional one and messing up my sight plane, or maybe it was just a funk.  Regardless, I was ice cold.

I finally did eventually connect on a teal on a close shot, which made me feel a little more confident.  Instead of taking the boat and picking up the downed bird right away I opted to stay put for a while.  The birds were flying, and I had a good line on the teal's drift, hence I'd go pick him up later once things slowed down.

About 15 minutes later, the teal had drifted about 50 yards away from me.  As he was bobbing on the water, a hawk suddenly appeared and headed right for my bird.  "That's funny," I thought to myself, "I bet that hawk wishes he had my teal."

The hawk must have felt the same thing because he dove at my teal and extended his talons.  "No way he's picking that up!" I thought.

Wrong.

The hawk did get airborne, flew about 20 yards, then landed on a patch of floating bog and proceeded to make a breakfast of my teal.

Here's a photo of him helping himself to my bird:



In all of my years of hunting and all of my time on the water, I've never seen anything like it.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Church as MASH Ward

This past week, Fr. Don passed along the following:

The Bishop of Rome (Francis) received very favorable reaction to an interview given in August, 2013. One line resonates with many: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle." A recognition that we all have been wounded or at least have wounds from "the slings and arrows" of life. We need healing, a work for both Word and Sacrament, for the touch of the Lord who loves us. Ordinarily that love comes to us through another human being’s compassion and sympathetic understanding. An often used prayer entitled "Hail, Holy Queen" has a line about "poor, banished children of Eve". With little children this often comes across as "poor, bandaged children of Eve", an unwitting intuition of this truth! That certainly fits with "field hospital."


By gathering together on Sunday, under the same roof and seeking the same nourishing and healing, we are cared for and we heal.  Certainly, we may not be healed fully, (it is a MASH unit - not a hospital) but we are made better.  We're restored.  We're propped.  We're better prepared to endure what life will give us in the coming week.

It is not a panacea.  Sometimes the wounds that life throws at us are far too much that they cannot be healed.  But in those situations, just like in a field hospital, at least there will be comforting and compassion and communion.  

Our weekly visit also serves as a reminder of how we can play the role of medic for each other the remainder of the week.  As Christians, that is what each of us is called to do.  

You'll bump into many people this week that are hurting and are in need.  Don't wait for them to scream, "MEDIC!"




Friday, October 27, 2017

Huntego's CleanShot - A New Way to Clean Your Gun

Bore cleaning is a pain in the tail.  You need to get out your chemicals, rags, and plunger and horse it through your gun, then get it all broken down and put away again.

With this, however...



I am so trying this and will post up and let you know.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Monster Commercial

Monster does a great job in its new commercial and plays off the fact that most people will leave a job because primarily because they dislike/hate the person for whom they work:



I used to have one of those bosses we see at the lead, and I actually had the finger snapped at me multiple times as I sought to make myself more productive while he held meaningless conversations on the phone.  In fact, whenever we met in his office, he'd nearly always pick up an inbound call and would demand that I sit there and wait. 

What'd I do?  

I ultimately got the hell out of there.  Life is too short, and work too much of that short life to be treated like garbage. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dog Slowing Down

My yellow dog is now at 12.5 years old.  She's slowed quite a bit, and I've not hunted her for two years now.  

Her days are now a mixture of good and bad days.  Sometimes she's not ravenous for food; indeed she may not even finish a meal and will pick at it gingerly.  She'll be lethargic or sullen.  She'll also sometimes develop incredibly loud belly noises - noises that can be heard from well across the room - and foul flatulence.   

Then, by miracle, the next day she's back to her old self.  

So now the age-old question that every owner of an old pet needs to ask: when is the right time to seek medical treatment?  In invoking Dr. Google, the Yellow Dog's maladies could be quite serious and could require surgery.  But for a dog her age, is that fair?  Just like humans, old age will ultimately ensure that something conspires to take you out.  We don't last forever.  

But could the short-term quality of life be improved?  That's a question I'm wrestling with.

This morning I woke to the loudest belly noise she's ever had.  She did take some water, and slowly ate most, but not all, of her breakfast.  A quick morning walk elicited the necessary "deposit" which appeared normal.  

She was like this a couple of weeks ago and bounced back well.  Hence, we'll sit tight and keep a close eye on her.  We'll also keep you all posted.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hunting With Kin Recap

This past week we held our nearly annual hunting with kin weekend up at the duck camp.  It was attended by not only two of my cousins, but also by my young nephew.  We've been at this for 14 years as of this January, and it has been a blessing on so many levels.  The ducks have been just an excuse; the true reason we get together is for the laughs and the memories.

Here are some of those for this trip:

Duck hunting is not an easy pursuit.  Hunting starts a half hour before sunrise, and with all of the work to do ahead of time (setting decoys, travel, coffee, biological needs, etc.), and we're up incredibly early.  There are some benefits of being the only ones in the world up at our ungodly hour, and one of them is that we're often treated to God's beauty.  Here was just one example. 

 Another great sunrise.

My nephew had never been pheasant hunting, and 15 minutes into his first hunt he bagged this bird on a hard crossing shot.  Truth be told, I shot first and missed.  The kid backed me up.  I have no idea how many hunts I had been on before I shot my first pheasant, but it felt like it would never happen.  It happened for the kid only a couple hundred yards into his first hunt.  Lucky dog... 
Here's a buddy with a rare end of October blue wing teal.   


Here was the sunrise for our last day.  Another fabulous way to begin our day, and end our trip.
While the bag wasn't heavy, we did scratch out our share, with the kid and I contributing to a last day's brace of drake wood ducks.

Other highlights included:
  • My cousin's famous gumbo night, which was attended by a bunch of neighbors.  Not sure how many folks we had in total, but we fed over 20 (and still had leftovers)
  • My cousin bagging his first pheasant in who knows how long
  • Victories by the Gophers, Irish, Tigers AND Vikings (when does that ever happen?)
  • Too many laughs to count
Hopefully, we'll be able to do it all again down in Louisiana in January.

Friday, October 20, 2017

6 Year Old Invites Teddy Bridgewater to His Birthday

This superfan created a video to invite his hero to his birthday:



So what happened?  This happened:



NFL players are taking a pretty bad rap nowadays.  Here's to one of the good guys.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RIP Gord Downie

Gord Downie, the lead singer and soul of one of the biggest bands in Canada finally succumbed to his brain cancer and passed away yesterday.

He was 53.  My age.

The Tragically Hip is Canada's version of U2, with Downie playing the role not only of Bono, but that of Dylan, Springsteen, and Jim Morrison all rolled into one.  He was musician, magician, showman, poet, and the voice of a whole damn country.  

How much did he mean?  Here's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting the press and talking about Gord:



I had the pleasure of seeing the Hip three times in my life, and was blown away by Downie's stage presence.  He was a live wire - jerking and jiving the whole night.  Likewise, he spewed out stream of consciousness jargon throughout the concert; stuff that made no sense but perfect sense at the same time.  He was a lyrical gymnast and often replaced words in his own songs - ones that still rhymed with the original, but nuanced the song all the more.  

I've loved this band since the 80's and across thirteen different albums.  I still remember when I first heard Up to Here - where I was, what the day was like - and thinking "who the hell ARE these guys?" Since then, they've been a soundtrack to my adult life.

I got the news while at lunch, sitting in my car and checking the web.  Like Trudeau, I cried.

I leave you with my favourite song (and given their library, that's saying a lot and I spelled "favourite" that way for a reason), and a performance that is classic Gord Downie.

Goodbye, Gord, and thank you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Aaron Rodgers Has No Gripe

After being hit by Anthony Barr, Aaron Rodgers popped up and started barking about the hit being unfair.  Likewise, countless Green Bay fans went to social media to accuse the same.

Here's the hit:



A couple of things:

  • The hit was clean.  Note that it didn't draw any kind of penalty, despite the proximity of officials.
  • Rodgers is a mobile quarterback.  He buys time to make plays by moving around the pocket, just as he did on this play.  Quarterbacks that move get hit.
  • After living in Green Bay for 7 years and watching this team way more closely than I'd ever like to admit, Rodgers has been hit a ton.  The offensive line seems to have always been an afterthought for the team, and the man has taken a massive amount of punishment.  If it wasn't the Vikings this week, it was just a matter of time.
It's easy to try and pin this on Barr.  The fact is Rodgers takes a ton of punishment, usually every game, and his number finally came up.

I take no joy in this.  He's the best quarterback in the league - a league which is suffering from a massive blow to its brand.  While indeed it is bad for Green Bay, it is bad as well for the NFL and for football fans across the land.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Senor Flavio - Dulce Babalu

I have no idea what they're saying, but still, this is one fun little song to put summer to bed:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

11 Year Old Girl Gets Adopted

Mass shootings.  Hollywood sexual abuse.  North Korea with nukes.  Political hatred.  Racial strife.

Then this.

This is what pure joy looks like, and we need a good firm dose of this now more than ever:


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Minnesota Duck Hunting Season Status in Pictures


Three weeks into it, and it's been a strange duck season thus far.  Here are some photos that have captured the activity:

Opening day was fabulous, and thank goodness there were teal around.  Here's a limit of the little ducks, obtained in a couple hours of shooting.



Weather has been an issue.  On opening weekend we were treated to a rare rainbow as seen from the duck blind.

Speaking of weather, this is what things looked like the second weekend.  Needless to say, we didn't even go out that morning.

Last weekend I decided for forgo duck hunting altogether and opted for fishing for walleyes on Leech.  Here's my reward for that decision.

We're not quite half way through the season.  Hopefully, things will be picking up for us here shortly.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Mary Jane's Last Dance

One of the best Petty songs, and certainly the very best Petty video.

We will miss him a ton:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Funerals

I returned to Minnesota in March, and in those seven months I'll have attended five funerals.  Three were parents of friends and/or coworkers, one was a friend and partner, and the other was the aunt of my wife.

Twenty-five years ago I was kept busy with weddings.  In fact, it seemed there was one every other week there for while.  Then it was kids - births and baptisms.  Now it is funerals.

I know it's part of life, but it is amazing to see how these are piling up.  

I liked the other stuff a lot better.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Goodbye Tom Petty

In another big loss to the music world, Tom Petty has passed on.  

While not a huge Petty fan, I'm not sure one could be a music fan and not appreciate what Petty accomplished.  Here are some things that really stood out for me on him:

  • The longevity is his career is striking.  He came of age in the height of the FM movement (his classic Breakdown was featured in the FM movie soundtrack) and he maintained relevancy all the way through.
  • He was a music fan.  A listen to his show on Sirius radio showed the depth of his knowledge and appreciation.  His musical tastes were pretty vast, and I actually picked up on some folks via listening to his show.
  • I don't care what you say about the Travelling Willburys, but I flat loved them.  And what was not to love?  George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.  Name me another band that had sold more albums individually than these guys.  They were the epitome of a supergroup, and while their songs weren't deep, they were catchy as hell.
  • His other collaborations were renown.  Stevie Nicks, Prince, Johnny Cash are some of the more obvious ones, but there are many others, including his side project with Mudcrutch:


Prince, Walter Becker, and now Petty.  I'm getting tired of writing these tribute pieces...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thoughts on Las Vegas

The largest mass killing on US soil.  Nearly 60 killed, and 500+ injured.  It's hard to wrap one's head around the evil that was brought forth via this act.

There are a lot more questions than answers.  That will likely be the case for a good, long while.  That being said, there are some thoughts that we have here that we'd like to share:

  • Given the audio of the shooting, there is no question that the shooter was using a fully automatic weapon(s).  These are the most buttoned-down and legally regulated weapons in our society, and the fact that they were used in this murder just goes to show how little "gun laws" did to prevent this.
  • This isn't someone that "snapped."  The planning and execution (I apologize for using that word) were meticulous.  We don't know the motivation, but we do know that there is no question that this guy desired to kill a ton of people, and the actions he employed absolutely did so.
  • Given the hate with which this act was prosecuted, even if no guns existed in our society, do you really believe that this guy merely would have shrugged and would have given up on his murderous intent?  That sure seems ignorant.  When evil wants to raise its head and do what it does best, the tool really doesn't matter.  Evil will find a way to quench its thirst for death and blood; laws be damned. 
  • It has been asked why someone would need an AR style rifle.  Uh, for protection.  Why would I give up an inch when it comes to protecting myself and my family?  From hurricanes to Antifa, we have examples on a nearly daily basis which shows how close we are to absolute chaos.  When chaos hits, I'll be damned if I am going to be left without a means to take care of the ones I love.  
  • With people still in the hospital fighting for their lives, this morning a CBS executive posted on Facebook that “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”  How much do you have to hate people to post something like that?  Thankfully, CBS couldn't stomach someone with so much hate in their ranks and they fired her.  
This will kick off the start of a lot of talk and debate - a debate that we have covered here before.  There are no easy answers, other than evil exists.  It most assuredly exists.
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