Thursday, May 16, 2019

Songs for My Brother

Every year I gift my brother some music that has interested me in the past year.  This year's installment is no different, other than I am unacceptably late.  Thus, let's get right into it:

Arctic Monkeys: Four Out of Five - One of the better bands out there making new music right now, and this offers a pretty good taste of what they deliver.

Lord Huron: Wait by the River - Kind of an old school, '50's vibe, but way more than that.  Wish more music being made right now was more along these lines.

Snail Mail: Pristine - I do love an alternative band with a female lead singer and this one doesn't disappoint.  Lots in here to like, including some cool Sonic Youth undertones.

Trevor Hall: Karma - His whole album from which this was taken was damned good.  While his musical style is pretty consistent (for him), I do like it as a change-up.  Check out the whole latest album, as it's well worth it.

Caroline Smith: Bloodstyle - Some really good recent soul that isn't autotuned crap.  Well done.

Kurt Vile: Pretty Pimpin' - I really enjoy this one - it's easily in my top five for the past year.  Maybe because it has the closest thing to a guitar solo that I've heard in new music in a long time.  I really enjoy the guitar work across the whole song.

Cognac: Buddy Guy - Buddy is clearly the last of an era, and it's nice that he gets to team up with guys like Jeff Beck and Keith Richards on this.

JD McPherson: Crying's Just a Thing That You Do - I'm not a huge rockabilly guy, but I really like this guy and his take.  Really good.

Dennis Lloyd: Nevermind - The best night driving song of the set

The Devlins: Coming Alive - Not sure why these guys were not bigger.  I think they make really, really good music, and this is an example.

Boz Skaggs: Rock and Stick - Wow, is his voice still amazing.  High notes are still there, as is the smokey smoothness.  This sounds like the Boz of the '80's.  Remarkable.

4onthefloor: Fancy - One of my favorite rockers from my favorite Twin Cities band.  These guys totally rock.

Songs:Ohia: Farewell Transmission - Got this cool '70's vibe that I absolutely love.

Joe Bonamassa: Just Cos You Can Don't Mean You Should - The best blues artist out there right now.

Billie Eilish: You Should See Me in a Crown - The most popular song on the list.  Not sure if this one is your cup of tea, but there is a lot about this that I enjoy a lot, hence its inclusion.

Peter Wolf: I Stole Some Love - Kind of hard to believe how long he's been at the game, and how I've enjoyed his work across all of those decades.

The Black Keys: Lo/Hi - Another band out there that I seem to consistently enjoy.  A great new effort.

Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen: Dream On - Yeah, that Dream On.  I never heard this song before this year, and I have no idea how I missed it.  Dio's vocals far exceed Tyler's, and Malmsteen's guitar work far exceed Perry's.  I usually don't like covers that don't have their own original take on the song, and admittedly, this is very similar to the original.  That being said, when I hear it, I can't help but feel like "Damn, this is how Dream On should have sounded..." 

Ryan Adams: Welcome to New York - Taken from his song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift's 1989 album.  I just love his music, even when it is an interpretation of someone else's music.  This guy is just awesome.

Happy birthday, bro.  Love you tons.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Frank Black - "Men in Black"

An old-school screen grab from an MTV feed, and Frank kicks some serious ass.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Religion in Free Fall

Gallup has published a study on church membership, and the details are concerning.  Church membership is at its lowest level since the survey began in the 1940s, and is most assuredly at its lowest level in US history:

Things started in the past 20 years, and the trajectory of the graph is shocking.  

Some things to consider:

  • Interesting to see how the fall coincides with the rise of the internet
  • Given strong religion participation by immigrants, pretty much our source of population growth in this country, actual fall-off by long-tenured American citizens is likely significantly steeper
  • Catholics are falling off at a great rate.  Gallup reports that 63% of Catholics belong to a church, whereas just 20 years ago 76% did
I'm not sure how all of this will ultimately manifest itself in our society, but I have the fear it will not be good.

I think we're already seeing that...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Johnny Cash - The Unclouded Day

My goodness, do I miss men like Johnny Cash:

Here's to great men and simpler times.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Sorrowful Mysteries

As I've been praying the rosary this lent, the subject is the Sorrowful Mysteries.  As I've been meditating on them, the five mysteries really revolve around Jesus being forced to suffer what we, as humans, will suffer in one way, shape, or form.  Consider the following:

  • The Agony in the Garden - Here Jesus knows his fate, yet is seeking a miracle to save Him from it.  Likewise, he's betrayed by a dear friend - someone he loved and trusted who ultimately wronged him in one of the worst ways imaginable.
  • The Scourging at the Pillar - Jesus is brutally beaten to within inches of His life and suffers physical pain most humans would never have to endure.
  • The Crowning With Thorns - Jesus suffers both the physical pain of the crown, but the added pain of ridicule and rejection.  It starts with soldiers teasing and spitting on Him, and ends with an entire crowd screaming, "Crucify Him!" 
  • Carrying the Cross - At this stage Jesus encounters His mother, and sees how His fate is impacting her.  The emotional pain of watching one we love so much suffer so much had to be equal to the physical pain manifested in carrying the cross.
  • The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus - His was not an easy, quiet death.  It was long, painful, and torturous.  
When we think about our individual suffering and what we endure as part of our human lives, pretty much any of our suffering kind of fits into one of the Mysteries above.  No, they may not be in perfect alignment, but they're close.  Hence, when we pray and tell God of our suffering and ask that He understand, we can be assured the He understands quite well.  He has walked a similar path, He knows our pain, He's felt it all.

That may not take away our suffering (which in itself remains a mystery of both life and faith - why must we suffer?), but sometimes when mired in what can at times be something that is unbearable it helps us to talk to Somebody who has endured similarly.   

Happy Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tax Day

On the day after Uncle Sam gets his paperwork, it seems only fitting to discuss how incredibly broken our tax system is.

Its complexity is a scam designed to have the poor and/or unintelligent pay more than they should.  There's no other answer.

A moderately complex return took me approximately 8 hours total to complete and over $125 in software.  Had I taken some easier paths it would have gone a lot faster and would have been a lot more expensive.  Likewise, without the software, I have no idea how long it would have taken me - likely three times longer or worse, and it's painful to even consider.

Given the difficulty of navigating the process, it is hard not to feel like the government is ripping us off.  Because they are.

Spare me the "civic duty" and "benefits of living here" talk.  The process should be a lot more simple and is clearly hurting people.  That's wrong.   

And these are the same people we want in charge of our health care.  God help us.  

Monday, April 15, 2019

Bittersweet Monday

It's a bittersweet day today.  Today we close on the sale of our cabin on Leech.

Twelve years ago, we bought the cabin where our family traditionally stayed at a resort since I was a little kid.  Over our ownership we've hosted may friends and family, caught a lot of fish, and overall made wonderful memories.

So why did we sell?  A lot of reasons, but the primary being we've moved to northern Minnesota and live on a lake, making the cabin on Leech quite redundant.  Likewise, the ownership board of the resort became extremely activist, and we were looking at being forced to make significant changes and upgrades to the cabin.  The net result would be that it would no longer be our cabin, kind of in more ways than one.

The good news is that the cabin will be available for rent, which we'll absolutely do as long as friends and family choose to join us.  The bad news is that when we stay there, it technically will no longer be "ours."

It's said that under duress one should go to their "happy place."  For me, I'm about 7 or 8 years old, and I'm sitting in the living room with my siblings.  In the kitchen are parents, grandparents, uncle, and friends, and they're all laughing so hard.  While I admit it's hard to sell one's happy place, I'm not selling those memories or the hundreds of others that were created there.

And guess what?  We were renting the place when we made a lot of those memories, just as we'll do going forward.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Spring" Minnesota Snowstorm

In an act of unspeakable cruelty, Mother Nature plunged Minnesota back into winter at a time when we finally felt like spring might be here.  Indeed, flocks of robins are in the area, and geese are sitting on nests.

No more.

It's terrible.  Flat terrible. 

How bad is it?  The typical Minnesotan feels exactly like this guy:

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dwyane Wade Budweiser Commercial

I'm no fan of the NBA.  

Thanks to this commercial, I am a fan of this guy:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Vergas 5k Recap

Last Saturday, I completed a 5k in Vergas.

That's Vergas.  In Minnesota.  Not Vegas.

Wanna know another way not to confuse the two?  Because in the Vergas 5k, they have guys running with goats.  I kid you not:

Some general thoughts on the event:

  • Thank God I did beat the goat.  It likely helped that his handler was running in Muck Boots
  • The lady in the coat and purse above didn't run, which is a good thing, because she looked in pretty good shape and likely would have kicked my ass
  • Turns out goats poop while running, which explains why this guy ran with a goat and not a dog
  • Speaking of goat poop, since the course was "out and back" I got the pleasure of dodging goat poop for most of the last mile.  Turns out goats poop a lot at the start of a run.  
  • Although I didn't ask, I wondered if people called the goat "Tom Brady"...
  • While I didn't medal in my age group, I would have if I would have with my time had I been in my 30s.  I need to start to formally identify as a millennial...
Just another average Saturday in northern Minnesota.  It has been a very, very long winter.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Rapid Passing of Age

A buddy at work whom I deem a peer just had a milestone birthday this past weekend.  He turned 40.

I'm nearly 15 years his senior.

I don't know how time started moving so quickly, but it has.  When I think about the chronology from a career perspective - the jobs I've held and the moves I've made - it all makes sense and it doesn't feel like much time has passed at all.  When I think about it from a pure age standpoint, I feel like I'm missing 10 years.

I don't feel as old as the reflection in the mirror belies.  Indeed, from a physical standpoint, I could effectively argue that I'm in much better shape than the version of me from a decade ago.  Hence, what I feel I am is a lot more aligned to my buddy at work than it is to what I truly am.  

The years have gone way too fast.  I'll be 55 in half a year.  Fifty-damn-five.

Where did it all go?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Students All for Socialism, Until It's Applied to Their GPA

A classic takedown of college students' abject love of Socialism.  
It speaks for itself:

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Buddy Guy - Skin Deep

Son, it all comes down to just one simple rule
That you treat everybody just the way that you want them to treat you

Friday, April 5, 2019

No Longer the Fat Guy at the Beach

This last vacation found us with a lot of time by the pool and on the beach, and normally, I'd be pretty self-conscious in those situations.  I'm in just OK shape, and am carrying around too much weight, and that usually leads to a reluctance to strip off the shirt and hop into the water.

Those days are gone.  

I'm no longer the fat guy at the beach.  In fact, I'm kind of far from it.  There are some people roaming around that are greatly improving the curve for yours truly.  And if they're not going to be self conscious about it, the hell of I will.

Well, not really, but at least I feel a little better about it.

Pretty shocking to see - especially since we're not in Green Bay!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Just Can't Run This Morning

When I awoke this morning at 4:30, I was already suffering from a decided lack of motivation.  In my every other day rotation of running/going to the gym, it was a run day, and my body was having none of it.  Some days I'm eager to run - damn near giddy.  Some days it's a chore to get going.

This was way more than a chore.

Glancing at my phone, I did get my weather report, and while it was a better than usual temperature at 32 degrees, there was a 15 MPH wind from the north.  Likewise, about a half inch of snow fell and stuck on the road.  Nice if it's December.  Not so nice for April, especially for someone that got used to running in 70-degree weather last week in Florida.

Despite the lack of motivation, I got my winter gear on and my safety vest, and out the door I headed.  I started my warm-up walk and got about 50 yards down the road.  The wind at my back was cold, and I knew it'd be uncomfortable with it in my face for half my run.  Likewise, my feet were already slipping on the fresh snow, and I knew I'd be getting very little torque in such conditions.  That means a lot of work for little speed/distance.  

I turned around and headed home.  A cup of coffee and a leisurely breakfast was kicking the living tar out of my current conditions.

I made my way to the driveway, where my thoughts of coffee had been replaced with a stream of self-loathing and disappointment, so I turned around.  How many runs did I not want to do, but did them anyway and was thrilled with the results upon it ending?

Buoyed by my pep-talk / chewing out, I spun around and headed back down the road.  About ten feet into my new direction, I was hit by a big gust of north wind and found that my recently instilled motivation wasn't very strong.

Thus, I'm sitting here penning this - warm and comfy and enjoying a hell of a cup of coffee.  Still, I feel guilty and feel a failure.  I need the workout as I'm running a 5k this weekend.  Today was to be my last run ahead of the race.  While I ran on Monday (and had a great run), it will now be 5 days between runs, which is not optimal.

We'll see how it translates on race day.  For right now, it's good coffee, served with a massive side order of guilt.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Minnesota Twins Spring Training Games - The Good and Bad

Having just returned from Florida and having attended two spring training games while down there, I wanted to pen what I felt was good and bad about the experience while it was still fresh.

The Good

  • Hammond Stadium - The place feels new, is clean as a whistle, feels intimate, and has great sight lines.  The only down side is that it does not have a lot of shade. Pretty much that's the only bad thing about it.
  • Player Proximity - Given the field layout, one has really good proximity to the players.  You really feel part of the on-the-field experience.
  • Spring Baseball - It is just so damned nice to be outside in March and watching baseball in your t-shirt.
  • Foul Ball Odds - Players are throwing balls into the stands left and right.  I even ended up with one (and summarily handed it off to the kid that missed it in front of me).  If your kid wants a ball from a player, depending on where you sit, your odds are good.
  • Beer Selection - I'm a beer snob, and their selection was great - both with local brews, as well as imported Twin Cities craft beers (Fulton had a significant presence).
  • Parking - It's an easy in and out, and while the $10 seems a little much, it really is hassle-free.
  • Help - People that work at Hammond Stadium seem genuinely happy.  Smiles will greet you and there's always a good word.  It is an awesome, pleasant experience.

The Bad
  • The Game - It's not really a game.  Top tier players don't play much, and some of them will dog it down to first on an easy out, so it's not a pure pro game.
  • Beer Prices - Ouch.  Bring lots of cash.
Obviously, the good far outweighs the bad, and a trip to Fort Myers to see the Twins is a fantastic time.  For any true Twins fan it is really is bucket-list type stuff.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Wild Are Done

Up here in "The State of Hockey," we're on the cusp of missing out on the NHL playoffs.  For a league that invites nearly everyone to the post-season dance party, to miss out completely belies a truly special level of lousy hockey playing.

Oh, sure, they lost Dumba for the season.  However, even with him, I doubt the playoffs would be in reach.

This is a gutless team that is content to be just OK.  Parise and Suter are the poster children of "Just OK" despite having contracts that are among the league's richest.  They have become financial albatrosses that doom this team to mediocrity for years to come.  It's like having Joe Mauer and his contract with the Twins, but having two of him.  Terrible.

Thankfully, the Twins look like they'll be entertaining, and we're mere months away from Vikings training camp.

Still, a sad state of affairs for "The State of Hockey."

Monday, April 1, 2019

Joe Biden's Not Creepy...

I have no idea why people call him that:

Hell, I think he'd make a highly successful, "hands on" President.

Happy first of April...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Florida Vacation Recap

After a completely brutal winter in Minnesota, some things aligned and afforded us the opportunity to spend a much-needed week in Fort Myers.  Highlights included two Twins spring training games, hanging out with a buddy, gobs of time by the pool, a lot of running outside, and fantastic food.

However, perhaps the best highlight was just the quality time I was able to spend with my wife and my mom - my two favorite women in the whole world.

Here we are hanging out in Captiva:

The weather was particularly spectacular - warm, but not too warm, and sunny every day.  No rain, no brutal humidity, no crappy cold, just gorgeous.

 We SO needed this.  Now, if we could only coax spring to show up in Minnesota...

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Latin Bitman - Airplane

Seems like a great choice for the last day of vacation:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here's to all you Irish out there, and those that claim to be.  Today is our big day.  

As for me, I have a little bit of work to do, will head out for a long run (I'd go now but it's too damned cold), breakfast, mass, and then head to the bars to be with my people.  If I time it right, I should be home by six and in bed no later than eight.

Just like my dad would do it:

Here's wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday Song Share - Tommy Stinson - Meant to Be

Former Replacements' bassist totally knocks this one out.  Local boy done good.  Just love the high harmonies:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Inky Johnson and Overcoming

I had not heard this story, but it is a remarkable one.

For those that feel limited, here's some motivation for us:

Monday, March 11, 2019

Minnesota All Hockey Hair Team

If this is indeed the last year, it is a shame, as it's his best video yet:

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Kawhi Leonard New Balance Ad

Here's something you don't see anymore: someone that eschews social media celebrity:

I know jack about the NBA, and even less about Mr. Leonard, but I'll tell you one thing - I'm a fan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Goodbye Grannie

In a continuing housecleaning mode, the Minnesota Wild traded their second-leading scorer to Nashville for Kevin Fiala.  Granny started the season hot but has cooled substantially, and has never lived up to his potential.  He also was a significant salary cap hit, with an additional $7.5MM owed for next year.

The way he and they were playing, Granny was going to go.  The fact that we got someone with the potential like Fiala is a bonus.

In the recent past, we’ve moved the dead weight of Niederreiter, Coyle, and now Granlund.  All needed to happen.  With Mikko gone, it leaves us short at center, and we’ll see how they cobble the lines together, but at this point, it looks like a good move.

The other trades seem to have lit a fire – both with the new guys joining the team as well as those guys left.  We’ll see if the fire continues to burn enough to get into the playoffs.

As they say in poker, all we need is a chip and a chair.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Wrestling with the Garage Door Opener

The brutal winter continues up here in Minnesota completely unabated.  It has been Biblical in terms of its wrath.  We've put up the snowiest February in history and suffered horrible cold that has been the admiration of places like Siberia.  The simple act of going outside is painful, and common acts like walking the dog and taking a nice stroll haven't been done for over two months now.

With all of the snow, drifting has become a significant issue.  There is snow everywhere, and when it blows, it creates significant challenges.  Take my garage door for example.  A northwest wind can blow loose snow under the small gap under my door, when then, in turn, melts due to my heated garage.  The water then runs back toward the door, where it freezes.  That results in an ice dam that prevents the door from closing due to the automated safety feature thinking the ice is a little kid or a dog or something.

Hence, every time I leave, I back out my vehicle and hit my garage door button, only to see it close and rise again due to the ice.  That's when I start cussing like Ralphie's dad battling the furnace, grab my ice pick and shovel, and go to work.  Pick pick pick, shovel shovel shovel, try the door, cuss cuss cuss, pick pick pick...

This morning, I wanted to get to the club for a run.  Instead, I worked on closing my garage door for 20 minutes.  In -20 temps, and -40 windchill.  I finally did get it closed, but after so much time, I really wanted a warm cup of coffee instead of a treadmill, so I punted on working out and stayed home.

Good thing all that picking and shovelling is good cardio.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Not Writing

It's been a tough year of writing.  Frankly, I've just not been feeling it.  There are a couple of reasons driving this:

  • Politics have been a veritable shit show.  We have socialists that are legitimate presidential candidates.  Hate rules the day.  It's ugly out there, and thinking about writing on it is just depressing.
  • Speaking of shit shows, how about Minnesota sports?
  • The weather up here has just been brutal and has limited our ability to get out and have any adventures whatsoever.
  • I've been doing a lot of copywriting as part of my job, which I thoroughly enjoy.  I've not written this much copy since early in my career, and I'm having a ball with it.  Due to my work, the muse for my writing is getting fed.

Despite the dearth of new content, the site is still attracting good traffic.  A lot of that has to do with the body of content that has been developed over the years, and it is nice to see people still engaging with it.

Not sure how long this funk will last, and I'll try and do better, but I'm just not feeling it.  

If you're here for new content, I do apologize.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chris Pratt Attached for His Religion

In recent news, Actor Chris Pratt has come under attack by Hollywood and the LGBT community because he's a Christian.  His church is claimed to be "anti-LGBT" which is a pretty broad brush with which to paint.

If his church actually preaches that you should hate people of a different sexual orientation, that's one thing.  However, what they actually preach is that it's a sin.

Like lying.

Or using God's name in vain.

Or sex out of wedlock.

Or any of the other Commandments.

This is nothing but an anti-religious attack.  When "sin" now becomes defined as "hate," religion ends.  

And, it seems to me, that is EXACTLY what some people want.

Surprising as well that nobody asks freshman superstar Rep. Omar what her religion thinks about the LGBT community...

Monday, February 11, 2019

Prince Gives Advice About the Internet

I'm not sure the date of this video (likely early 00's), but truer words have not been spoken.

Heed the message:

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Super Bowl Commercials 2019 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I must admit that the 2019 version of Super Bowl ads seemed to lack punch.  Is it because more firms can't justify $5.2MM for a :30 spot?  Especially in the age of social media, where reach can be dwarfed at a fraction of the cost if things even go a little viral?  Perhaps.

I also did appreciate that we were not forced to muddle through a lot of sanctimony.  Given what Gillette just produced, I feared this would be the "woke" Super Bowl, and that is clearly what we did not have, with the exception of the Washington Post ad (yuck).

With that, here's this year's Super Bowl commercial instalment of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good

Hyundai Elevator
Probably the winner of the night.  Did a great job of playing off human emotion associated with buying a car and offering a solution.  Funny, memorable, on brand:

Audi Cashew
A lot like the Hyundai ad, just not as effective.  Still, very well done:

Bud Light - Game of Thrones
This one is the hands down winner in terms of buzz generated.  Bud needed to do something with the dilly dilly arc, and for them to take it where they did is remarkable.  I'm not sure I've seen two brands pull off something this aligned, especially two such divergent brands.  This will make for a fantastic business case:

The Bad

Kia Telluride
I have absolutely no idea what they were trying to pull off with this ad.  From the weird voice over to the shots of nondescript citizens, does it make you want to buy a car?  I think not.  Not sure what their agency was doing with this:

Burger King - Eat Like Andy
1) Does anyone that traditionally eats fast food know who Andy Warhol is?  2) Will this sell any incremental Whoppers?  The answer to both is "NO":

The Ugly

Mint Mobile - Chunky Milk
Disgusting, especially considering that most of your audience is eating at the time.  Terrible ad that uses a gross-out factor to try and drive brand preference.  Really

Olay - Slasher
This one is disturbing as well.  I'm not sure how this production is going to lead to a lot more incremental sales.  How does something like this get green lit for a cosmetic?  

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Kevin Gordon - Colfax/Straight Ahead

I have never been a kid in a marching band, nor have I ever been to Colfax, Louisiana but this guy sure paints a picture.

That Ted Nugent line killed me...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

No Longer Elite

For the first time in 14 years, I no longer have status with Delta.  While I never had significant status - I was Gold for a 4 year period of that - I did have a heck of a run in staying at Silver.  

It took some doing.  About ten years ago I took a cheap mileage run to Las Vegas to keep my status, and a couple of years ago I bought some miles via a new program Delta launched to maintain Gold for an extra year.

It was worth it.  Even at lowly Silver, the benefits paid off:

  • Being able to pick exit row seats had been a huge boon.  Many of them are even better than the new Comfort Plus area - in some instances, by a long shot.
  • I got bumped up to first a lot.  It was way better years ago, but I would bet my overall average was about one out of every three flights.  That's a nice benefit.
  • My wife got bumped with me a handful of times, which was doubly nice.
  • Once upgraded, one got all the benefits commensurate with flying first, with the most important being the first class check-in at the airport and through security.  That was a huge time saver.
No, being captive to Delta isn't cheap, especially at satellite airports like Green Bay and Fargo.  Indeed, most flights from those airports run $650 on average - brutal.  However, the one benefit of it has been that air travel gets aggregated to the one carrier, and with enough trips, status comes along with it.

Now that the job has changed, I just don't travel anymore.  That's fine with me - since 9/11, business travel is a flat bitch.  However, when I do travel from now on, it will be without status, which I'll miss greatly.

It was a really good run while it lasted. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How's Your Gym Use Resolution Going?

We're nearing the end of January, so it is a good time to check in and see how we're doing on our New Year's resolutions.  If you have a gym membership, odds are your progress isn't going very well.  

In fact, in a recent study by Statistic Brain, 63% of all gym memberships go completely unused.  


Other stats that they found:

  • Of those that go, 82% go less than once per week
  • Likewise, those that go will stop completely within 6 months 22% of the time
  • 31% of all gym members would have never signed up if they had realized how little they use it
The gym companies know this and act accordingly.  Many gyms boast 5,000 to even 10,000 members while having a maximum capacity of 300-500 because they can count on members never showing up.  

Personally, as of 29th, I've been to the gym 22 times.

And I pretty much have the place to myself.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Maybe Missing the Trip Wasn't So Bad...

As reported previously, I was not able to make my annual trip to Louisiana this year.  It had me completely depressed all weekend - the entire time I've been thinking, "OK, right now if I was down there we'd be doing this now..."  

All weekend long.

However, maybe the fates have done me a favor.  Consider the following:

  • When I pulled out of the airport after my failed attempt at my flight, my vehicle signalled a tire pressure issue.  I definitely hit something on my way to Fargo, and it has impacted for sure one and possibly two tires.  I've been airing them over the weekend since the tire shop was too busy to take my rig on Friday.  With my return flight scheduled for Sunday night at 11:30, I would have been faced with a flat tire, and maybe more.
  • That would have been made all the more hard because as of Sunday night we're in the middle of a nasty blizzard.  We're expecting 5" of snow, driven by 30MPH winds.  I would have been changing a tire in a cramped, uncovered airport parking lot at midnight in -30 degree windchill in the snow.  After I got it changed, I'd then need to drive home in that mess.
  • To top it all off, after I came back from working out at the club on early Sunday morning, my side hurt.  Upon getting ready for the shower, I noticed blisters on my side and back.  Shingles.  I got into the doc immediately after mass and got on meds right away to try and stem the expansion.  Who knows what I would be like if I was stuck on a plane all day instead?
No, I'm not happy about missing my trip.  However, I'm also quite happy that I missed what could have been a really terrible time Sunday night.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The New Christians Vs. the Lions

In just the past couple of weeks, we've seen Christianity under attack by the Left:

  • Mike Pence's wife was called out as a bigot for substitute teaching at a Christian school
  • Multiple appointment nominees were called out for their participation in the hate group Knights of Columbus
  • The March for Life was summarily ignored by the press (again), except for the Covington Catholics, in which case calls for their deaths, the firing and deaths of their family, and the deaths of those that attend their school went out.
Social media and the Left have created this environment of constant outrage and violence.  It is the new Christians versus the lions, except now everyone has a much better seat in the stadium, and, if you want, you can actually be one of the lions.

For all their talk of tolerance, the Left are the biggest bigots in our society.  

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Song Share - Charles & Eddie - Would I Lie to You

We don't dip too far into R and B here at SSS, which is a total shame.  

Here's a totally underrated classic.

Would I lie to you?

Friday, January 25, 2019

No Bayou for This Boy

I awoke at 3:15 (AM, just to be clear) and was on the road by 3:45 to drive through a massive "ground blizzard" to make my flight in time in Fargo.  For the uninitiated, a ground blizzard is a blizzard which is caused solely by the snow on the ground - snow isn't actually falling.  Depending on the wind speed and the amount and type of snow on the ground, these blizzards can be quite dangerous and lead to white-out conditions.

That was pretty much the case yesterday.  However, I had left ample time to make my flight, and my trip was a safe, albeit a slow one.

My check-in, even with a firearm, went smoothly, as did getting through security as our TSA staffing was ample.  Boarding went smoothly as well.  As we sat at the gate and deicing procedures started, the captain came on and told us we had an issue, needed a part in order to fly, and didn't have that part here.  It'd be flying up from Minneapolis and would be here in four hours.

My trip had four legs - FAR > MSP > ATL > JAN.  A four-hour delay was a killer.  While I'll write about it later, the upshot was that I couldn't get to Louisiana for our annual hunt until the following day.  That left me with basically a day and a half of hunting, thus I opted to pull the plug and cancel.

I had done the hard part, was in my seat and ready to go, and fate got me.  If the plane had been working, I'd be putting out decoys right now instead of writing this.  Also, I'd be enjoying some 40-degree temps instead of this nightmare:

More than all of that, I miss the opportunity to see my family.  However, I talked to Mrs. YDP last night, and we're working on what "plan B" looks like, and hopefully this boy will be in the bayou before too long.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Social Media is a Cesspool

If I didn’t need it as an important part of my job, I’d quit all social media starting tomorrow.

Social media is a cesspool.  It is replete with lies, bias, hate, and prejudice.  As the latest example, in just the past two weeks, I’ve had many, many “friends” touting the Gillette ad, and supporting the ruin of the Covington Catholic kids.
I’ve dropped them all.  Of all my “friends” on Facebook, I now formally follow less than half.  The rest I’ve blocked.  It’s that bad.

If you deal in hate, that makes you a hater.  If you hate men, that makes you a sexist.  If you hate Catholics for showing up at the March for Life so much that you’re willing to spread lies and ask for people to be hurt, that makes you an anti-religious bigot at best, and a lawless anarchist at worst.

I no longer have time for you.  Begone from my life.

One of the things I’m looking forward to in my future retirement is walking away from social media and never returning.  It can’t get here fast enough.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Guy Tries to Rob Woman UFC Fighter. Oops.

Dana White is president of the UFC, and he shares this little tidbit about a man that tried to rob one of his female MMA fighters.  

How'd it all work out?  We'll let Dana answer:

If you don't rob people, you don't get your ass kicked.  Life's little lesson for today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Just Joined Dollar Shave Club

After showing that they literally hate men, I am done with Gillette.  While I won't be throwing my existing blades in the trash (I paid for them, I'll use them), I will never again buy a Gillette product.

I signed up for Dollar Shave Club, thus moving Gillette's market share further lower than 50%.  I hope others do the same.

Interested?  Here's an awesome link to get you started: WE LOVE GUYS

Monday, January 21, 2019

Egard Watches - What is a Man?

I couldn't have written this better myself:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Ingrid Michaelson - Maybe

Yeah, this is pretty pop, but it's about as pop as I get:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Minnesota Rep's Intolerance

Ah, the religion of peace rears its ugly head again.  This time, it is courtesy of our new representative from Minnesota:
If roles would have been reversed, Washington would still be burning.  

If you're a white Christian man, society just freaking hates you, and they don't even think about trying to hide it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Minnesota Seeking to Adopt Red Flag Law

It took the Democrats in Minnesota about two minutes to set up their anti-gun agenda, and one of the first bills they're looking to pass is a "red flag" law.  Under this law, those that feel that you could be a harm to yourself and others can report you to the police, who will summarily come over to your house and confiscate all of your firearms.

Only one teensy problem: There are already a massive amount of people that truly believe that you are already a danger to yourself and society for merely owning a firearm.  Period.  

Time to call the cops!

We've already seen the IRS and the FBI weaponized against political opponents.  We also have already seen people killed by "red flag" laws - it's the new swatting.  This is simple confiscation, pure and undiluted.

Own a gun?  Expect a knock at your door...

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gillette Hates Men

I don't even know where to begin with this, other than what Gillette thinks about their target audience is about as messed up as it gets.  

It is now so in vogue to hate men that companies that actually sell men's products overtly hate them.

Don't believe me?  Watch the ad again.

Sick, sick, sick.    

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Feeling Sorry for Ourselves

Life is damned hard.  No matter who we are, we will experience great loss.  We will suffer unspeakable pain.  We will try and endure painful illness.  Ultimately, we'll die.  Life is difficult, for everyone, and it's easy to feel sorry for ourselves.

Fr. Don spoke to this recently:

In Lamentations 3:23 we hear that God’s mercies are new each day. On our part, each day can see a new beginning. An unhappy past, a bad day, a bad week, a bad experience must not sour us on today, tomorrow, the future. A middle-aged writer in the course of an interview revealed that as a child of ten he had come home from school to find his mother murdered. Years later and with that singular background he was able to sum up what that experience and life had taught him, something helpful for us as we begin again. He said: "The abandonment of self-pity is the beginning of wisdom." There is no reason we should not put behind us the hurts and failures of yesterday and begin anew today.

Hard to do, indeed, especially when we're mired in the middle of a painful episode.  Maybe it would make things easier to look around and recognize and those you see either have, are, or will be suffering a similar fate.  We are comrades in pain, and through his passion and crucifixion, even Jesus joins us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

When Working Out Doesn't Work Out

It's cold up here this morning.  Temps are below zero, and a massive west wind has been howling for two days now.  Wind chill is solidly in the -20s.  The house is cold.

Hence, when my eyes fluttered open this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was leave my warm bed.  However, it was 4:45, and I was already fifteen minutes behind my usual schedule.  I needed to get to the gym and work out.

I trudged to the car, opened the garage door, and was slapped with that massive wind.  It's the kind that truly takes your breath away when it hits you the right way.  Regardless, fitness waits for no one, so into my vehicle I hop and down the road I go.

I arrive at the gym after a quick 10-minute drive but am dreading the walk across the parking lot in my shorts.   As I hopped into the early morning wind, indeed I did regret my choice of apparel.  I hustled my pace and quickly arrived at the door and flashed my key card as I'd done so many times before.

"BEEP"  Green light.

However, when I went to open the door it remained locked.  I repeated the process approximately 28 more times in the frigid cold in my shorts, but to no avail.

There are a lot of reasons why one can miss their morning workout; everything from a lack of fortitude to just needing to get an extra hour of sleep.  

A broken door at the gym should not be one of those reasons.  Ever.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ohio Accepting Corporate Tax Remittance Via Bitcoin

Forbes recently reported that Ohio has made the brilliant decision to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for payment of corporate taxes.

I'm not kidding - here's the article.

They did not state in the article if magic beans will be accepted to pay off tax liability, but if they're not, surely they can't be far behind.

It's one thing if you choose to accept that form of currency, but for a government to forgo US dollars and choose instead to accept taxes via a highly speculative currency with zero financial backing seems the height of irresponsibility.

If I was an Ohio resident, I'd be screaming bloody murder.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Why Do Men Get Paid More than Women? Because they Die

In 2019, I don't buy the argument that men make more than women for similar work.  Note the emphasis.  Do men make, on average in total, more than women?  Yes.  Yes, they do.

Why?  Well, one reason is because they're pretty much the only ones that die while doing their jobs:

If women died on the job at this level and this percentage, there'd be an outcry.  But there's not with men.  Men are expendable.  Yes, we still need logs, fish, roofs, etc., and in order to convince them to take those jobs, they'll be paid well.  But is it nearly all men putting their lives on the line.  Let's not kid ourselves.

As for women getting paid less for doing the exact same job, I don't buy that in the least.  We're in an economy with basically no unemployment - those without a job basically either don't want one or are completely unemployable.  If you're an employer that is paying their talent less based on their gender, I can guarantee your competition is more than willing to pay those same resources a fair wage.  The only way they would not is if there were some kind of collusion going on among competitors.  

You really think that's happening?  If so, I'd argue you know jack about business.

Women can do pretty much anything a man can, with a couple of exceptions related to physical strength.  They should be exactly the same as their male counterparts that are generating similar production.  However, until the chart above gets more in the range of 50% male, can we please move on from the pay disparity argument? 

Men die on the job.  Women don't.  End of story.