Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Vacation Recap

Last week we held our annual family vacation at Leech Lake.  While we were missing one from our number, and missed her terribly, we did manage to eek out a really good time.  Here are the highlights:

Fishing was as good as we've had in the summer; perhaps ever.  The walleye bite turned on later in the week, and the northern were simply jumping in the boat.  Here's a shot of my niece's nice 27" pig:

Speaking of my niece, she's a fishing fool.  She was pushing me to go, which was remarkable.  Heck, she went even when it was cold:

Not only were the fish biting, but the crayfish were all over us as well.  Here's just one of the guys we caught:

For me, this represented the first summer vacation I've had where I didn't have to work or leave early (or in the middle) to work since we've been doing this as a family.  Have I said recently how much I love my job?  

While my brother and nephew took off and missed the picture, here's the family photo from this year.  Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Monday, July 30, 2018

StarTribune Publishes SD Lion Hunter's Name as "News"

Yesterday, in an outrageous act of doxxing and under the auspices of some kind of journalism the StarTribune published not only the name but home town of a South Dakota hunter who was granted a license to take a lion in Africa.  Not stopping there, the rag also linked to a list of all 33 license holders.

This isn't journalism, this is blatant hope that someone harasses this individual.  Or worse.  In situations like this, people have suffered a loss of a job, physical violence, and even threats to their lives.  All for engaging in a legal activity.

If harm should come to the South Dakota hunter, "journalist" Paul Walsh and the Star Tribune should absolutely inherit some of the blame.

As a hunter, this is a sick precedent, as it's only a matter of time when the doxxing crowd moves on to any form of hunting.  

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saturday Song Share: China Crisis - Wishful Thinking

The Lads from Liverpool (no, not THOSE lads...) with their first hit.  Dated as hell, but equally as pleasant.  

From simpler times...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Jim Thome Twins Bobblehead Commercial

Here's the latest in a long line of reasons to love Jim Thome:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

University of Minnesota - Conform, Or Else

Yesterday's StarTribune reported the latest happenings at the University of Minnesota.  It seems the University is contemplating a new gender identity policy which would allow students and faculty to be called the pronoun of their choice.  Those that fail to do so could suffer being expelled or fired.

Beyond that, just last month, the U officially gave students a list of pronouns and gender options on its online registration website, MyU. If they choose, they can identify themselves as male, female, agender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, nonbinary or two-spirit, or skip the gender question entirely. Pronoun options include he, she, ze, the singular “they,” none and “prefer not to specify.”

If you're a fabulous professor, why would you ever take a job at a place like this where a pronoun slip could cost you your job?  And if you're a great student, why would you go to a school that can't attract any decent professors due to their rush to be more inclusive than thou?

What the hell is going on?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday Song Share: Cheap Trick - Surrender

This is old as hell, but it was the band at their absolute zenith, and playing their greatest song.

Love when Rick Neilsen goes through the band check at the 4:00 mark.

We're all all right, indeed:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Everything is Not OK - Wonderful Blog Post

I don't like re-posting somebody else's blog posts here, but this one was so well written and poignant, I'd be doing it a total disservice if I only posted an excerpt and a link.  

This link to the original post is here, and I encourage your navigation over there and your support.  In the meantime, here is the blog post in its entirety:

I went for a haircut today. Money is no object when it comes to my appearance – only the absolute finest will do. So I went to Sport Clips in the strip mall next to Target, with a $3 coupon in hand. Like many other fashion-conscious men, I frequent this establishment and don’t think I’ve ever had my hair cut by the same person twice. Like many other seemingly mundane things, this interests me. Well, most of the things that interest me actually are mundane, I suppose. But I’m fascinated by these young ladies. Who are they? Where do they come from? Where do they go? So I’ve applied for a federal grant to study attractive, rural, 30-year-old women who cut hair at gimmicky chain barber shops.

Well, actually, no – I just talk to them. And I learn a lot.

Kaitlyn (not her real name) just moved here from Georgia. Her husband is an auto mechanic. “He can fix anything with four wheels! Well, except my car – it runs like crap!” She went on at some length about how good he was at fixing things. His plan was to start his own shop once they moved here. They moved into a double-wide trailer that had a nice pole barn out back, which he planned to outfit with electric and a high-end air compressor, maybe even a grease pit, and start his own business.

He spent almost a year working on permits, licenses, inspections, and so on. He spoke to people from the county, city, state, feds, and the EPA. He talked to attorneys, accountants, and consultants to help wade through all the red tape. After about a year, he realized that the start-up costs were more than he was willing to gamble on the eventual success of a business that did not yet exist, so he got a job with the city, maintaining their trucks and mowing equipment. It doesn’t pay very well, but it has good benefits. It’s not a bad job, she says. Nothing to complain about. Everything is ok.

Kaitlyn did a great job on my hair, was very pleasant and personable, and is clearly very intelligent. She said that a few miles from their house, a barber recently retired. She considered buying his shop. She’s always dreamed of owning her own business. She said that’s the whole reason she went to cosmetology school. I said that sounded great – the shop is already set up, it has a large group of established customers, and she could expand from there.

She said that she spent several months looking into it, but she would need permits, licenses, inspections, and so on. I pointed out that it has been a barber’s shop for years, so the inspections, permits, and so on would already be done. She said that it would be a new business, and she would have to pay for all that to be done over again. She spoke with attorneys, accountants, and consultants to help wade through all the red tape – some of the same individuals that her husband had just consulted. She soon realized that the start-up costs were more than she was willing to gamble, so she got a job with a chain. The pay is not very good, and the benefits are lousy. One reason her husband took a government job was for the health insurance for their family. But she doesn’t mind working for Sport Clips – it’s a decent job, she says. Nothing to complain about. Everything is ok.

So how does this story end?

Well, in my view, it’s already ended. This young couple from a modest background has all the potential in the world. They’re both ambitious, intelligent, and very good at a valuable skill. They’re devoted to their family, their dreams, and each other. They dream of better things and are willing to gamble, willing to work hard today for a better tomorrow, and willing to take on the additional responsibilities that come with owning a business. They’re savvy enough with modern government to hire attorneys and consultants to help with the red tape.

And even they can’t open a new business, to do something they already know how to do.

And 30 years from now, nothing will have happened.

My Uncle Fred (Frederic Bastiat) described this as the seen versus the unseen. Progressives win elections because the benefits they provide are immediate and obvious. They give people free money with taxpayer dollars, or build highways with taxpayer dollars, or start new general assistance programs with taxpayer dollars. They’re working for you, and anyone with eyes can see it. The benefits provided by progressives are seen.

But the damage they cause is mostly unseen. In 30 years, Kaitlyn and her husband could have retired to a very nice community on the Gulf Coast and played golf for the rest of their lives. But they won’t. She’ll still be cutting hair for $12 an hour plus tips, and he’ll still be fixing lawn mowers for the city. Just like they are now.

They didn’t lose a fortune, because they never had the opportunity to earn one. Nothing happened. There they sit. And there they’ll stay.

Progressives may think they’re utopians who dream of a better tomorrow. But, in reality, they are the robotic defenders of the status quo. Everything stays the same because nothing happens. And when things don’t happen, those things don’t make the evening news. They didn’t happen at all, so there’s nothing to complain about. Everything is basically ok. And that’s the way it will stay.

Until it doesn’t.

Change is scary. You never know what might happen. It might be good. It might be bad. You roll the dice like this young couple tried to do. Twice.

Or you don’t. Like progressives do, every day.

I wonder if Kaitlyn views progressives as nice people who are trying to help her. Or if she views them as well-meaning fools, as I do when I’m trying to be charitable.

But in bed late at night, I wonder if she ever hates them for destroying her life and the lives of her children.

Probably not. Because nothing really happened. And nothing ever will.

There’s nothing to complain about.

Everything is ok.

I left her a $10 tip for a $15 haircut, and I walked out. I looked good – it really was a sharp haircut. But I felt like I wanted to puke.

Everything is not ok.

Monday, July 9, 2018

College Students Weigh In on Trump's Pick for SCOTUS

There are a lot of these videos which show people spouting off on things that they know nothing about.  There has to be something in the human psyche that makes one compelled to flat make up stuff once a camera gets pointed in your face.

Ordinarily, I'd ignore this, as this type of stuff is everywhere. However, this one is different.  At the 0:50 mark, a fictitious SCOTUS appointment is labelled as racist.

Incredible.  We're quickly devolving into an area where "racist" means absolutely nothing.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday Song Share: John Mellencamp - Grandview

I know we did some Mellencamp a couple of weeks ago, but damn, this song flat rocks:

Friday, July 6, 2018

Purdue Pharma Lays Off Entire Sales Force

Back on June 20, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, laid off its entire sales force.  There are a couple of things at play here:

  1. Given the bad publicity, OxyContin demand is nothing like it has been in the past
  2. More importantly, these are the people complicit in the deaths of thousands of Americans
The addictive properties of OxyContin are off the charts, as are the deaths the drug is directly responsible for.  Both data points have been known for years.  Despite that, the sales foot remained on the floor; death of innocents be damned.

This kind of wanton negligence is the stuff of Upton Sinclair (and that's as close as this blog is ever going to get to an avowed Socialist).  

The sales team will land elsewhere.  How they can sleep at night is really the only question that remains.  Oh, sure, there are higher ups in Purdue that did worse, but it really doesn't matter how much blood is on one's hands.  

Blood is blood. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

In Memory of Marion

As stated previously, my mother-in-law passed away a couple of days ago.  To say we're heartbroken is an understatement, and she'll be missed to no end.  Her's was the most gentle and loving of souls, and as such, she endeared herself to all who met her.  She really was universally loved by all.

How she got there is a mystery.  She was a child of the depression, and like others of her peer group from that time, she grew up without  This is especially true in today's standards, where we have no concept whatsoever of what true hardship is like.  The poorest among us now have cell phones, air conditioning, and food stamps.  Those would have been absolute miracles in the 1930's where starvation and death were not atypical.

When the war came, the newly married Marion found herself with her soldier husband being sent to Europe, and with her going to live with her new in-laws.  Time with them was horrible - these days we'd call it abusive - and it was exacerbated by having a new baby.

Finally, the war ended, and life began to progress.  However, there was still extreme hardship, which came in forms like the loss of her infant son, or the loss or her hearing.

With this hard background, you'd expect a bitter, angry woman.  What you got was the exact opposite.  She was a woman of deep faith, unquenchable kindness and love, and the epitome of a Christian life.  I'd defy you to find someone that matched the definition of "Christian" better.

So many will remember her for so much, but there are a couple of things that stood out in my interactions with her:

  • She loved to cook - it was truly a labor of love for her, and it was clearly a way that she showed those around her that she loved them.  Her specialities were vast and everyone has a favorite, which is funny as there isn't that much crossover.  That's how much game she had in cooking.  And everything she did was incredible.  Even a simple fried egg was the best I've had in my life, and, unfortunately, impossible to replicate.  In fact, in speaking with all of her offspring, nobody can get things just right to match how Marion's food tasted.  I'd like to think that's because everything she ever cooked was served with an extra quarter cup of love, and given where it was coming from, it is impossible to match.
  • I never heard a cross word come out of her lips.  In hearing stories from my wife, I know there were some, but in my 25+ years with her, I never heard one.  Not a single one.  The closest time was when my wife and I were to be married.  Marion approached us and handed us a check to help with the wedding.  Marion did not have any extra money, and I couldn't accept it.  I let her know that while we appreciated it, it wasn't necessary, and I proceeded to hand the check back to her.  She looked at me, narrowed her eyes, and said "I expect that you will accept this gift in the spirit in which it is given," in a tone that was flat ice cold.  I had never heard or seen anything like it, and coming from this small, genteel woman, it scared the living crap out of me.  I took the check, thanked her profusely, and hoped I'd never see that side or Marion again.
  • There is only one thing that I ever saw that Marion hated, and that's when those that she loved got ready to leave.  That's probably part of the reason why leaving her house was usually a 45-minute process.  From the time the departure announcement was made, Marion immediately went into "food packing" mode as nobody left her house without something to eat.  Talking and stories would continue, and once you got your coat on, you knew that you'd still have 20 minutes more before you got out the door.  She was always sad, and made us promise to come to see her again soon; sometimes even pinning us down to specific dates.  She was at her absolute happiest with family around, and when those times ended things were hard for her.  Despite being sad, she was always generous with a big hug and an "I love you."  Always.
There's so much to her.  Incredible gardner (and, subsequently, pickle and sauerkraut maker), once-a-year drinker (one fuzzy navel), ice cream lover, seamstress extraordinaire, graceful dancer, coffeeaholic, awesome sense of humor, and about the best hugger you'd ever care to meet.  There's more to her than I can add here, and no matter where I'd stop I'd be doing her memory a disservice, so now is as good of a place as any. 

I close now in pointing out the irony of the act of leaving.  It was the thing she hated the most when we did it to her.  She's getting us all back right now.  Oh, how much we don't want her to go, how we want to pin her down on when we'll see her again, and how we wish we had time for one more hug and one more "I love you."  The turnabout is complete, and how I wish maybe we'd lingered a bit longer all those times, even if we had to stop at the local gas station in town because the car had been warming up in the driveway for 45 minutes as we were saying our "good-byes."

Godspeed, Marion.  Enjoy your rest, as you have certainly earned it.  Thank you for all you have done, for the example you set, for the legacy you left, and especially for loving me - "warts and all."  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July

Ours was a remarkable origin and the intelligence and bravery of those that brought it to fruition could not have happened via happenstance.  

America, God truly shed His grace on thee...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Missing Marion

Vera’s Mom, passed away last evening in the company of family. Her’s was a heart that loved so many, so deeply, that she was universally loved by all. She was a remarkable woman of character and faith, and she’ll be sorely missed. I am a far better man for having known and been loved by her.

Our hearts break...