Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lambeau Labrador

In the distance, just across the river, you can make out Lambeau Field. The Yellow Dog wanted to walk over there and take a poop, but I wouldn’t let her. We need to be charitable to our new neighbors.

Skol Vikings!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Waconia Delta Waterfowl Banquet

Last Thursday we held our 6th annual banquet for Delta Waterfowl. Since Fuzzy and I launched this, I’m proud to report that we’ve generated over $150,000 for Delta’s vital waterfowl research, production, and conservation initiatives.

It’s a lot of work, but it is quite rewarding, and we quickly grew to be the most profitable chapter in the state of Minnesota, and one of the best in the nation as well. While we’ll lose that title this year (we were off slightly in attendance and profit), it has been a great run, and I’m very proud of the results that the chapter has developed.

With the move to Green Bay, I now step down as chapter chair, so it will be up to someone else to pick it up and drive it to the next level. With a great community like this from which draw, I’m supremely confident that the momentum will continue.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Green Bay Residence Inn - Home for the Time Being

Here's the new home for the next forty three days until we close on the new place.  Small, but nice.

I feel a little like I've gone back to college.  I'm on my own in a new place, there's not much space, and I'm really looking forward to the adventure in front of me.

I wonder if I'll get invited to any fun keggers...

Respect the Knife

I completely ruined a nice night on Lake Minnetonka with some dear friends two nights ago. Our boat captain had a simple request that I remove a flag from a stern light pole, so armed with a knife, I proceeded to make the cut. Unfortunately, I was unable to stop my motion and jabbed the knife into my index finger. Evening over. I spent the next two hours in the waiting room, getting the requisite stitches. Here’s what the damage looks like.

The little cheese knife was a beast, and I ended up spurting blood all over the boat. Upon reflection, it kind of reminded me of this Dan Aykroyd classic.

The French Chef
Uploaded by y10566. - Sitcom, sketch, and standup comedy videos.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The StarTribune reports today that Twin Cities metro area home sales were down 42% to last month. With our house not even on the market yet, I'm scared to death. We have a limited window to sell before the holidays and weather conspire to put the brakes on everything. We absolutely must move fast.

Our fingers are crossed, hoping we don't get killed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Huge Cheese Bon Voyage

We attended our first official "going away" dinner last night with our dear friends from the Bahamas crew. Andy, so renown for her gourmet skills that her nickname is "Martha," pulled together this incredible cake to send us off.

The taste was even better than the presentation.

There's a ton we'll miss about Minnesota, but our friends are definitely the biggest one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Toggle Interactive

Today is my last day at my old employer. While I look forward to the new adventure, there's a lot I'm going to miss. The most will be the people, and these are some of them.

As a team we weathered a significant downturn in business, launched a new business initiative, saved jobs in the short term, and created a template that allows for an entirely new income stream for the business.

This group also averaged a 50% annualized growth rate in our business channels during our tenue, while the rest of the company shrunk at over 6% annually.  There are not many businesses that can boast that kind of recent growth.

This group is smart, creative, results-oriented, and fun. I was lucky to be a part of this team, and I will miss them greatly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Minnesota Twins Have the Central Division Locked Up

July 28, 2010: Starting pitcher Brian Duensing  of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Twins won 6-4.
With a three game lead over the White Sox, the Minnesota Twins have all but locked up the Central Division championship. I'll grant you that there is a lot of baseball yet to be played, and that with 6 games remaining head-to-head with the Southsiders that anything can happen. But consider the following:

  • The Twins play 25 of their final games at home at friendly Target Field. The Whities 22.
  • The Twins' schedule is very kind, while the Sox face 10 games with either the Boston Red Sox, or the Yankees.
  • The Twins, sporting the best record since the All-Star break, have done al of this without former MVP Justin Morneau. When he returns, even it if is late September and even if he's not his former self, he will change games.
  • The Twins have a hot Brian Duensing added to the rotation to pour gas all over their fire. He looks like the real deal.
I could be wrong about all of this, but the way it stacks up, it sure looks like a waltz for the Twins. Let's hope they take care of business early, have their celebration, and then prepare appropriately for the coming playoffs.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Target and The Human Rights Campaign - Extortion on Display

Shoppers checkout at a Target store in Falls Church, Virginia in this May 28, 2010 file photograph. U.S. retail sales rebounded in July but showed hints of lingering softness that were underscored by a separate report showing underlying inflation pressures stuck at their lowest level since the 1960s. Sales climbed 0.4 percent last month following a revised 0.3 percent drop in June, the Commerce Department said on August 13, 2010, below forecasts for a 0.5 percent gain. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)
Target is being crucified in the media and elsewhere for its measly $150,000 contribution to a political organization backing Tom Emmer, Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights advocacy group, has demanded that Target make an equal or greater contribution to groups supporting gay-rights candidates in Minnesota.

Target needs to tread very carefully here as its next step will likely lead to a slippery slope. HRC's activities are pure and simple extortion - we don't like your politics, so either pay us or face the consequences. What happens next? The prostrate cancer community demanding the same amount as the breast cancer community? The Boy Scouts demanding the same as the Girl Scouts? Crushed ice aficionados demanding the same support as those that prefer cubed ice? Ultimately what happens is that Target will cease all philanthropic giving altogether. It is the only way to end the headaches and stop the extortion.

This company gives nearly $3 million per week to philanthropic causes. The fact that it has already aided the gay community hundreds and hundreds of times over beyond the latest affront (albeit not for "gay" issues, but for simple human issues for which gay folks have benefited) seems to matter not to the HRC. Which means it really isn't about truly helping folks. It is all about appearances, politics, and good old fashioned extortion.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama Serves Red Meat for Far Left During Iftar Dinner

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts an Iftar dinner in celebration of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on August 13, 2010. President Obama expressed his support for a controversial project to build a mosque near Ground Zero. UPI/Martin H. Simon/Pool Photo via Newscom
Obama protected his left flank by issuing a statement yesterday that construction of the proposed mosque to be built on the World Trade Center killing fields was well within the builder's rights. This is despite nearly 2/3 of Americans opposing it.

As I stated earlier, there's a difference between what you have a right to do, and what is right to do. Unfortunately, Obama failed to truly lead, and completely failed to talk about the latter.

The only consolation for those of us convinced we're completely on the wrong track is that this alignment he's made will just about assure a 2010 Republican rout, and a 2012 uphill battle for the presidency. 

I am simply astonished at how greatly our country has changed in two short years, but I guess that's what we wanted, huh?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why We're Moving to Green Bay

Upon hearing our big news, people are shocked and wonder why the hell we'd want to move to Greee Bay, Wisconsin.  Friends, there's not just one reason, but many.  So I offer my faithful Yellow Dog Patrol readers our Top Ten Reasons Why We're Moving to Gree Bay:

#10 - Part of secret deal to compensate Packers with "players to be named later" for eventually ending up with Favre.

#9 - Tired of everyone continuing to call it a "water fountain." It's a "bubbler," people!

#8 - Let's see, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, and Keith Ellison versus Paul Ryan. Hmmm.

#7 - Some search their whole lives for a land of milk and honey. This has all of that, plus beer and sausage, too.

#6 - Vera digs cows. I mean, she really digs cows.

#5 - No Nick Punto.

#4 - On secret undercover mission for the Vikings to uncover Aaron Rogers' vulnerabilities. Mum's the word.

#3 - Badger versus Gopher. Do I even have to ask which is cooler?

#2 - When the Twins hit a home run, our mascots shake hands. Theirs slides into a huge stein of beer. You do the math.

#1 I received an incredible offer for a new job; one that is a game-changer for Vera and me. I start on August 30.

While Minnesota will always be our home and we'll likely return there some day, an offer like this comes around once in a career. It provides a legitimate chance to really change our lives. So while we're sad to leave (very sad), we recognize that we're really not that far away, and we look forward with an incredible amount of optimism and expectation of adventure.

We hope that our future also includes friends and family that will come visit us. We'll be sure to fill you up with some of that great sausage, cheese, and beer of which you may have heard.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Listening to Dad

Things have been pretty crazy in my life lately, with major changes pending. Through it all, I've really, really missed my dad. In similar situations, I'd often tap him for his perspective. While he wasn't always right, he always offered insight that I didn't have previously, and he always made me think.

His worst advice? Encouraging me to attend grad school immediately after undergrad. His best advice? Encouraging me to go on a blind date with the woman that would eventually be my wife, even though it was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do (his words - "You at least gotta go and see what the broad looks like").

While all of the recent tumult was occurring and while I was missing dad so much, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my family. In particular, my brother and my sister played invaluable roles for me over the past week. Their perspectives differed greatly, but their diverse professional insights were very important to me.

And in interacting with them, it struck me - dad was speaking to me through them. They are their father's children, and while their perspectives differed, both touched upon points that dad would have likely made.

The comfort that provided me, and still provides me, absolutely warms my lonesome heart.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vacation and Perspective

These past two weeks, there has been so much weighing on me – personally and professionally. Anxiety has ruled the day, and while I’ve battled hard to maintain my composure, I’ve really been pushed. Thus, this week’s vacation at Leech Lake couldn’t have come at a better time.

And how did day one start? First, I was awakened by my nephew at just before six AM. He had come to our cabin, looking for bait. I set him up and crawled back into bed for some additional and much-needed shut eye, when I caught that awful feeling that one is being watched. I cracked an eye open, and sure enough my little nephew is standing there. “Uncle Mikey, are you awake? I caught a MONSTER!” Of course this was nothing I could sleep through so I get dressed quick and go see what’s been landed. Indeed, the little guy caught a nice keeper sunny. Figuring that my sleeping time is over and there might be additional fish to be caught, I placed the keeper on a stringer and went to grab a pole of my own.

We sat on the landing, fishing together, talking, and practicing our pirate voices (“Arrg, pass me another bait grub arrg…”). Since I’m old, I eventually got the hankering for a cup of coffee, so I left my nephew up to his own devices, made a pot of joe, and fed the dog. About this time my two nieces arrived, so together we walked the dog, picked up poop, and then came inside for some fresh cherries. This eventually degenerated into a pit-spitting contest, and how we didn’t wake the rest of the cabin up with our laughing and carrying on is beyond me.

All of this happened day one of my vacation, all before 7:00 AM.

It kind of puts things into perspective.

Can’t wait to see what the rest of vacation will bring.