Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Post Vacation Bad News, Good News

The Bad News:

  • Gophers lost their bowl game
  • Weather was less than optimal in the Carolinas
  • I took a digger skiing
  • I already miss my family
  • I gained a couple of pounds back
  • I gotta go back to work
  • Weather here is horribly cold

    The Good News:
    • Irish won their bowl game
    • Weather in Carolinas was significantly warmer than it is here
    • Despite nearly a 10 year hiatus, I skied really, really well
    • I had enough hugs and laughs from my family to last me for a couple of months
    • Weight is still very under control
    • I have a Double Bubble card

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

    20 Things We Should Say More Often, Plus Ten Bonus Ones

    Here are the bonus ones:

    1. You mean a lot to me
    2. How can I help you?
    3. Another beer?  Hell yes
    4. I admire that in you
    5. You look awesome
    6. This one is on me
    7. I am blessed and grateful
    8. Here, let me get that for you
    9. That sunrise/sunset is absolutely beautiful
    10. Thank you, Lord
    Which ones are still missing?

    Friday, December 27, 2013

    Beyonce Makes a Dying Girl's Wish Come True

    I admit I'm not a fan of Beyonce's, but after watching this, you can't help but have a lot of admiration:

    It takes so little to mean so much, doesn't it?

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    Phil Robertson vs. A&E, or Bigger than That?

    Answer?  It's bigger than that.

    What is happening is that "political correctness" is attempting to drown our what is perceived to be an offensive opinion.  Never mind that Phil's religious orthodoxy holds an equally offensive opinion in the other direction.  And in this day and age, political correctness trumps religion.  Every time.

    Who's right?  Me personally, I always come down on the side of openness and dialog, and against bullying and censorship.  And that is exactly what GLAAD is espousing.

    I have dear friends and family that are gay.  It is my belief that they were that way their whole lives, and that they cannot change who or what they are.  It is not their choice, anymore than my heterosexuality is my choice.  That's just how I see the world.

    Some people see the world differently, and that's fine.  We're better as a society when we talk to each other and communicate.  But when there is a demand that all talk cease, and when bully tactics are applied to promote a position, we all lose.

    If anything, the gay community should know what it is like to be forced to comply by powerful forces.  By doing the exact same thing to those of a religious persuasion, they ultimately become what it is that they abhor.  And that's the irony of the entire situation.  Tolerance demanded but not given gets nothing.  Only hate.

    And religious, gay, both or neither, haven't we had enough of that?

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    WestJet Scores Social Media Home Run

    It borrows a lot from Coke's Happiness Machine campaign (too much, perhaps?), but still the campaign caught viral fire, and the benefits for WestJet's brand are solid.

    Pretty good stuff:

    Saturday, December 21, 2013

    Amazing Mountain Biking Video

    I cannot image these guys' strength, vision, and balance.  I just about fall over in my chair watching it...

    Friday, December 20, 2013

    The Power of "I Don't" Over "I Can't"

    A number of months ago, I learned of a study via Lifehacker that was conducted by The Journal of Consumer Research.  In the study, they split subjects into two groups, then presented those subjects with a temptation.  The group that used the internal mantra "I can't x..." actually broke down on their promise at twice the rate that the group that used "I don't x..."

    Not only that, but the "I don't x..." group persisted in their fortitude more successfully in the long term as well.

    At the start of the year, unbeknownst to the benefits of the use of the phrase "I don't x..." I started saying "I don't eat sweets," when offered them.  And for about a full calendar year, I haven't broke down once.

    However, after having read the report, I started incorporating the mantra as it pertains to my trips to the gym.  Dozens of times I have said to myself that "I don't miss workouts," while lying there dead tired in bed.  And every time my big butt has hauled itself out of bed and headed off to the gym.

    It may not work for everybody, but more me it has been a very powerful tool. 

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    The Latest From Our Marketing Government

    The propaganda machine that is the Obama administration is something to behold.  They are tireless, ceaseless, and completely shameless.

    Folks, this is downright creepy.

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Kiss Finally Makes Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    As they did with the inclusion of Rush last year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally righted an incredible injustice by entering Kiss into their ranks.  As I have written about previously, Kiss absolutely deserved to be in the Hall, and it is about time they received recognition on what they've accomplished, and how they've influenced both music and entertainment.

    Back in October, when the ballots were released, I made predictions on who would and would not get into the Hall.  Lets's see how I did:

    • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - 1000:1 - Will need to be content with his memories of Woodstock.  CORRECT
    • Chic - 10,000:1  Le Freak continues to be French for "I don't think so..." CORRECT
    • Deep Purple - 10:1 Odds go up after not making it last year.  Can that one guitar riff carry them? CORRECT
    • Peter Gabriel - 20:1 Did Rush break down the door for additional prog rock acts to make the cut?  Here is my full case for Gabriel to make the Hall  INCORRECT - I did not see this one coming,  I truly felt the Hall would overlook Gabriel, and am glad they did not.  He clearly deserves to be there.
    • Hall & Oates - 7:1 Personal disclosure: I like Hall & Oates, and I'm man enough to admit it.  I have ever since Sara Smile was released in the mid-70's.  I've always been a sucker for blue-eyed soul, and these guys do it as good as anyone.  I think the Hall with think so as well.  CORRECT
    • Kiss - 100:1.  Finally.  Of the acts that should be in the Hall, Kiss now takes top position (after Rush went in last year)  Here is my full case for Kiss to make the Hall.  Despite them deserving to go in, the Hall won't do it.  INCORRECT - See above
    • Link Wray - 10,000:1  Who?  Exactly  CORRECT
    • LL Cool J  - 1:5  Slam dunk.  There is nothing about this guy the Hall doesn't love.  INCORRECT - I have no idea why he's not in.  There has to be more on this story than what's on my radar screen.
    • Nirvana - 1:2  Another slam dunk.  Their influence cannot be argued.  I still remember the first time I saw the Smells Like Teen Spirit video and thinking "What the hell is this and why do I love it so much?"  CORRECT
    • The Meters 100:1 The funk founders are back again, and still won't make it  CORRECT
    • NWA 5:1 I had them at even money last year.  Glad I was wrong.  Odds go up, but they still remain a favorite  INCORRECT - It turns out that 2013 was a bad year for rap acts to make the Hall
    • The Replacements 50:1 With the nomination, they get the recognition they deserve, but they won't get the ultimate respect they deserve by getting in.  Here is my full case for The Replacements to make the Hall  CORRECT
    • Linda Rondstadt 4:1  Her recently announced diagnosis of Parkinson's disease will make her the feel-good entry of the year.  I project she'll go in, although it won't entirely be based on her merits  CORRECT
    • Cat Stevens 10:1 Now calling himself Yusuf Islam, he's got all those intangibles that the Hall will love.  No way he deserves to be in the Hall.  He might make it anyway not because of what he's done, but based solely on who he is.  Hey, where have we heard that before?  INCORRECT - I really didn't think he'd make it.  He absolutely does not deserve to make it.  Ah, but don't let talent (or lack thereof) get in the way of making a political statement.  What a complete joke.
    • Yes 50:1  If a prog rock act is going to go, it will be Gabriel.  There won't be two, even though they deserve it.  Here is my full case for Yes to make the Hall CORRECT
    • The Zombies 1000:1  too short of a library for inclusion in the Hall.  Not going to happen CORRECT

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    Our Post-Christian Society

    I don't do this very often, but John O'Sullivan recently gave an address at the Transatlantic Christian Council, and I think it so valuable, that I encourage you to read it all.

    You can find the transcript to his address here.

    His insight is learned, and his conclusions and recommendations interesting.

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Simple Crime Reporting Now Not Politically Correct

    From the StarTribune this past Saturday, The Black Faculty and Staff at the University of Minnesota wrote the University president, alarmed that so many crime alerts featured black males as suspects.

    The cause for their alarm?  Well, it had to be about safety of the kids and staff on campus, right?  Nah.  Their concern is that black males would now be "profiled" - a term that serves as a dog whistle to liberals that a minority group is being oppressed.

    Never mind that the people that are committing the crimes are black males.  That fact just isn't important if it hurts feelings.  Hence, in order to be fair - not protect the public, but be fair - I'd suggest that all future crime not be reported as being committed by a person, as we all know that "person" is code for a racist to assume "minority."  No, instead, let all crime be reported as being conducted by straight white males.

    Because, well all know, although they might not be guilty of the crime being reported, they are indeed guilty.

    Whitewashing crime reports.  Literally.  Somewhere George Orwell is laughing himself silly. 

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle Makes a Fan for Life

    It took him about five seconds to establish a relationship that could last a lifetime.

    It's the little things - the human things - that make the difference.  And often the cost for doing them is basically nil.

    While I've  never been particularly impressed with Coyle as a player, I can say that I'm extremely impressed on him as a man.  And, like that little kid, I'll be cheering a little harder for #3 going forward.

    Atta boy, Charlie.

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    Winter Digs In

    Winter started early this year - well before Thanksgiving Day.  Since then, we here in the upper Midwest have had nary a reprieve.  Either we're in the single digits, or it warms up enough to generate an unwelcome snow.

    And the 10 day forecast?  More of the same:

    We get a little break at the end of the week where we get close to breaking freezing, but then plunge back into it in the following days.

    And it's not just here.  Most of the US, hell, most of the world for that matter is having unseasonably cold weather.  Good thing that Global Warming thing is settled science, otherwise folks might start to think the "scientists" pushing that meme might have some ulterior motive.

    At least the snow's pretty...

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    A Written-Off Christmas

    It has been a tough Christmas season at the YDP household.  Issues at work have created stress galore, which has tainted the season ever since Thanksgiving.  Hell, ever since last New Year's for that matter.

    Then the health issue struck.  The debilitating pain, lost hours, and mental and physical trauma cost us nearly a week out of our lives.  It consumed everything.

    So Mrs. YDP and I were sitting on the couch last night, looking at our barely decorated house with one eye and the calendar with the other, and wondering if any of it made sense.  And that's when we struck the deal - we'd be writing off Christmas 2013.  No more decorating the house (inside or out), no decorating the tree, no cooking, no more Christmas cards, none of it.  We'll complete our shopping and that will be it.

    Sad, really.  Christmas is such an important holiday to both of us.  But with where we are in the season, and what we've faced, neither of us are in the mood for the additional stress that accompanies "celebration."

    A week from Saturday, we fly out to meet family for a week-long vacation.  Our eyes focus there.  I personally look forward to the hugs, smiles, and laughs provided by my nieces and nephews.  I hope to find a small Catholic church to attend midnight mass.  I'll watch Pope Francis' say his first Christmas mass from St. Peter's with a fire in the fireplace, and a great glass of my brother's wine in my hand.  And from there, I'll fall asleep.

    And perhaps, then, some return will be received on a Christmas that had been previously written off. 

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Kidney Stone Stent

    Despite having kidney stone surgery on Monday, which removed the stone and should have provided relief, I still felt lousy.  I was subjected to multiple kidney spasms, which mimic in intensity the pain of the original stone.  I also was stuck with this stent inside of me, and despite that pain, I also had the pain of the retrieval chords sticking out from my, ahem, guy.  Any undo brushing against those chords instantly caught my attention.

    Well, I finally got the stent out today.  What a relief it was to get out, but until it was removed, I had no idea its size:

    It was about a foot long, and the nurse pulled it out of me like she was pulling the rip cord on a lawn mower.  The  only thing that was missing was the "VROOM" noise, although my screaming may have compensated.

    It's hard to describe the pain associate with this event.  I've broken bones, tore up a knee, and had multiple concussions.  All of that, dear friends, is child's play.   

    The only bigger surprise to all of this is how many people have suffered from these.  It is far more common than I thought.  But perhaps in a way I'm lucky it is so common as the emergency room knew exactly what was going on the minute I came in, and they were extremely forthcoming with the morphine.  So much so that the ER Doctor said to me, "I know you're still in pain.  But I can't give you any more and be able to guarantee that you'll be able to continue breathing."

    I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    The Massive Impact of Fleeting Health

    With this latest health episode, I was struck by the massive upheaval the event made in my life.  My hospital stay and additional time away from work impacted my professional life and progress, the events have made me call into question where and how I live, and there have been other ramifications as it pertains to my family and my health.

    And three days ago, everything was "fine."

    I'm not trying to be too dramatic here.  My event was hardly life-threatening, nor was it a unique experience.  Despite this, the upset that has been wrought to my life is astounding.

    There's a lesson in there, somewhere.  I don't know what it is yet, but I'm working on it.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Nobody to Call

    I've been suffering from a kidney stone episode these past two days.  It has been incredibly painful and uncomfortable, both from a physical standpoint, and in other ways as well.

    My surgery to remove the stone occurred last night.  By the time I got settled into my room and adequately doped up, it was around 10 at night.  My wife left for home, and I tried to get as comfortable as I could for the long evening of recovery.

    On the hour, nurses would come in to get my vitals - take my BP, listen to my heart, review my oxygen levels, and take my temperature.  Occasionally I'd get up to urinate, and dealt with the pain and blood associated with that act.

    At midnight, I started running a temp, and this had me quite worried.  I had just had major trauma to my urinary tract - to the point of substantive bleeding - and my fear of infection was high.

    At 1:00, the temp had increased to just under 101.  I was punchy due to the fever and the drugs, and I was flat out scared.  I was pressing the nurse on what we were going to do about the fever, and she seemed non-concerned.  Unfortunately I was not in my right mind to advocate for this to be taken more seriously.  I tried to call my wife, but her cell phone had died and she couldn't hear the main phone.

    And that was the only person I could think to call.

    In Minnesota, I can think of two dozen people that I could call in the middle of the night and have them come into the hospital and help me.  But here in Green Bay, I have zero.

    Thankfully, the fever did subside.  But had it not, I wonder what my night would have been like.  

    And more than that, should something like this occur again, I have no idea who I'd call or what I'd do.  And that's the saddest thing of all.

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

    Play by Play of Four Old Ladies Beating a Man

    I just encountered this recording last week.  It sounds like it has been out there a while, and while it appears too good to be true, Snopes seems to think it is legit.

    Regardless, see if you can listen to this and not laugh.

    What a great way to start a Monday:

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    LEGO Blues Brothers Shopping Mall Chase Scene

    When I was in college in the late 1980's, the house I shared with four other room mates had a brand new VCR (expensive technology for the time, especially for a college kid), and a narrow assortment of nine movies.  And you could bet, on any given night, someone would come stumbling home from the local bar and would put one of them in (and then pass out on the couch watching it, but that's another post).

    Since our movie library was limited, these moves ultimately were seen dozens and dozens of times.  They were burned into memories, and in many instances, far greater than our studies were.

    One of the movies we had was The Blues Brothers.  I think it safe to say I've seen the movie - either in full or in parts - well over 100 times.  As such, I can vouch with supreme confidence that this replication of the movie's most famous scene is absolutely spot-on:

    Friday, December 6, 2013

    Keeping Updated

    I have prided myself on trying to have something new on this site, every day.  I do have quite a few daily readers, and even if it is the latest meme or distraction, I do aim to have new content for them on their daily visit.  Unfortunately, career has conspired to keep me from doing this of late.

    And it's a shame.  I feel I'm at my best when I'm inspired, and writing about things that stir emotion in me.  But my world is out of balance right now.  Hence the muse goes back into its cage, and the blog grows stale.

    I ask for your patience, as I will try and get better.  Until then, as always, I appreciate you checking in here at Yellow Dog Patrol.

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    A Football Play with Three Incredible Blocks

    The art of blocking, and it is an art, is under-appreciated in football.  Truly great blocks, ones that not only free up the runner but actually bring the pain to the opposition are a rare feat.  On any given great play, you might find one.  

    But three?  In one play?  Prepare thyself, football fan:

    Monday, December 2, 2013

    "Private Sector Velocity and Effectiveness"

    In a report made by the Department of Health and Human Services last week, claims were made that the health care registry websites were fixed; on time, and just as promised.

    Among their boasts was that the team enlisted to fix things were working with "private sector velocity and effectiveness," to get the job done right.

    How absolutely Orwellian!  They flat out admit that government is a bloated, ineffective, slovenly entity, but the private sector is more nimble.  Yet they're trying to move the entire health care industry out of the hands of private enterprise and into the wasteful morass that is the government.

    You cannot make this stuff up.  

    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    My Love/Hate with Retail

    I've worked in retail my whole career.  Hell, counting my work in high school and college summer jobs, I've worked in retail for most of what I've ever been paid to do.

    And I love it.  I love the hustle, figuring out the game, the competition, and the wins.

    But the older I get, the more a hate side has crept up.  I hate always having to be on, regardless of the time or day.  I regret how much time has been spent away from people that I love.  I suffer from the lack of sleep, the stress, and the physical and mental toll it takes.  I hate that I'm starting to hate holidays.

    I'd write more about this love/hate with retail, but I need to get back to work...