Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Crazy Green Bay Weather

After a tough start to the winter (as we've had the past two or three years), Mother Nature granted us a reprieve with some mild temperatures for the past week or so.  The result has been an elimination of our snow:

Yes, sports fans, that's green grass in January in the land of the Frozen Tundra.

Typically, winter up here is a matter of endurance - you need to be able to make it through at least three straight months of brutal weather, and some winters it is longer than that and can be as long as five months.  But this year, ah, what a change.  November was indeed cold through nearly the entire month, but December has been downright delightful.  It's resulted in December walks, hunts, smiles, and damn-near euphoria.

And, of course, green grass.

January is brutal, as is February.  March is a coin flip.  April, it's over.  Suddenly, this winter seems tolerable.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Crossing the Ohio

On our trek from Green Bay to Nashville to see the Irish play in the Music City Bowl, Mrs. YDP and I decided to make a stop in Paduca, KY for the night.  Just before we got there, we crossed the mighty Ohio river.  A couple of things struck me:
  • It was a big, damn river!  It seemed equal to the Mississippi further south
  • I was sure I had not crossed it before, which seems remarkable for such a long and winding river
In looking at the map, what I didn't know was that just to the west of us, about 20 miles away, the Ohio joins with the Mississippi (which is a smaller river) in Cairo to become the Mississippi and ultimately empty into the Gulf of Mexico.

Here's the look:

I should have known this - just goes to show how ignorant Americans are about our wonderous country.

At least I'm south of the Mason-Dixon, so that means Waffle House for breakfast!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Relief at the Pump

With our travels over the holidays, we've seen a massive decline in the price of gas at the pump.  The production in North Dakota has added some much needed supply to the oil market, and the Saudis are not lowering their output to protect prices.  The result has been welcome relief in the cost of a gallon of gas, and some stations in our native Minnesota have already decreased prices below $2.00.

The timing of this was certainly a boon to the US consumer as it frees up discretionary dollars that could be used for holiday gift-giving.  As we've seen in the past, the confident American consumer can drive an entire economy, and the benefits of this activity for many can be substantive.  It's great, great news.

Unfortunately, the news is not universal.  There are two laggards to this party, and both are proactively gouging the American consumer:

  • Airlines, often the first industry to raise prices in periods of increase fuel charges, have done very little to their pricing structure.  I have a number of upcoming trips ahead of me, and the costs (and full flights!) are shocking.  Ultimately, someone will likely blink in the industry and will lower costs, to which others will follow.  But for right now, all of the airlines appear to be quite content to reap the profits afforded by low fuel and high ticket prices.
  • Deliver companies - specifically Fed Ex and UPS - are actually RAISING prices in 2015.  The change has been touted to account for the larger size of packages being shipped (dimensional weight versus physical weight), but everyone is in agreement that all that is really being done is a sizable rate increase that will impact all who ship, or receive goods, via those two methods.  
Indeed, the relief afforded via reduced fuel helps the US consumer, and ultimately the economy.  It is just unfortunate that the relief is not universal.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Song Share: The Devlins - Waiting

Older song, but fantastic.

What are you waiting on?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Gun Violence PSA - What Does it Encourage?

Here is a recently produced Public Service Announcement about guns:

So what does it teach the kiddos?  Let's recap:

  • If you find a gun, pick it up
  • Steal it, if it is not yours
  • Never check to see if it is loaded, and certainly via your handling don't assume it is loaded
  • By all means, take your gun to school
  • Whip out your gun in front of an adult
Now compare those lessons against the lessons delivered by Eddie the Eagle; the NRA's mascot for gun safety:

Who is responsible here, and who is not?  Forget that - let's call a spade a spade here - who is right here and who is wrong?  

And after answering that, ask yourself: who is treated like a villain, and who is treated as a hero?


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, Again

May this day and what it means - a Savior! - not be lost on you and yours.

Merry Christmas, and my God bless you

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What the Sony Hack Really Means

It has been fascinating watching the hack and subsequent threats against Sony unfold.  Someone, likely North Korean hackers, were able to convince Sony to not release a major motion picture, but not before wreaking havoc like releasing executives racist emails, releasing executive and star compensation, and releasing employee information like medical records.

The hack was deep, thorough, and devastating.  Ripple effects like the bad publicity from the emails and employee lawsuits continue to rock the company, and it is pretty clear that Sony will never be the same.

Neither will we.

I predict this is just the start of a massive plague of hacks by foreign entities which will become all too common.  Think about it: the skeletons in Sony's closet aren't any different than those of every other company.  Once armed with that information, the extortion required by the hackers will seem like a small price to pay to make them go away and prey on others.

Sony rolled over.  The US government was far too impotent to do anything about it.  And it is only a matter of time before it happens again and again.

Get ready...                                

Monday, December 22, 2014

Crowd that Wants Dead Cops Got Them

It finally happened - the mob mentality pushed someone too far, and cops have been executed.  As a result, two questions arise:

  • Will those that chose sides back down on their decision, let alone their rhetoric?  Obama, Shapton, De Blasio, and especially the media and pop culture figures all fanned this flame.  They picked a side, and it is the side that wants dead cops.  So will they walk that decision back, or will we be expected to "understand the rage?"
  • Where does it end?  Seriously, where and when does the "rage" end, and how many more will have to die?
The ante just went up big time, and the poker game being played now is for big stakes. It will be interesting to see who will be the ones that continue to throw chips around.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Greenpeace Tramples Precious Ground to Make Their Point

The Nazca lines in Peru are ancient geoglyphs, created between 400 and 600 AD, that depict humans, animals, and other shapes.  The unique component to them is that their design can only be discerned by being high in the air - quite a feat for someone 1500 years ago.  

Since they're so unique and so rare, they were named a World Heritage Site by the UNSCO.  They are a treasure, not only for Peru, but also the world.

Thus, it is hard then to understand why Greenpeace went out and did this:

Their message was done in cloth, but that didn't stop them from tromping around a fragile and priceless area.

This is just the latest example of leftists running roughshod - on people, businesses, world treasures, you name it - in order to "get their message out."  They honestly believe that their actions are more important than anything or anybody else.  So the "die ins," the blocking traffic on freeways and at airports, the mass protests at malls continue.  As does their message.

The only problem?  Instead of changing people's minds and hearts, they're just pissing people off.  In the case of the Nazca lines, it is the people of the world that are pissed this time.

Friday, December 19, 2014

McDonald's Menu a Liability, or an Opportunity?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal. decries the state of McDonald's menu as hurting the franchise.  New menu items, particularly the McWrap, are ordered too infrequently, and when they are ordered, are difficult to assemble and slow up the kitchen's efficiency.

Here is the problem - menu items like the McWrap and the premium salads are just about the only menu items McDonald's has that have a calorie count that is not off the charts.  For example, a sweet chili grilled chicken wrap has 380 calories, and a bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken has 280.  Hence, when I'm on a road trip, I always look for a McDonald's because I know I can get something fast that isn't obscene from a caloric standpoint.  Likewise, I eat McDonald's for lunch at least once a week.

These less popular items are not only calorie friendly, but they're also damned tasty.  Unfortunately, they're not tasty enough to get the masses to choose them over 500+ calorie cheeseburgers (never mind the fries).  So the debate rages as to what McDonald's needs to do to right the ship.  They need efficiency and profits.  But I also believe that breadth of offering does provide incremental business, as if they remove their lower calorie offerings, I'll move my business elsewhere.

And I can't believe that I'd be the only one to do so.

Tread carefully, McDonald's.  I don't envy your path.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Protest Planned at Mall of America this Saturday

To underscore the point that "black lives matter" (don't all lives matter?  I digress...), "community organizers" are planning a protest at the Mall of America this Saturday.  The day just happens to coincide with one of the busiest, if not the busiest, in retail this holiday season.

So what is the true goal of the protest?  Do they really believe that their antics will bring about a change in society that will make black lives matter (assuming that is not the case already)?  It would seem to me, if the goal of the protest was to convey that "black lives matter," there should be gatherings in North Minneapolis about midnight on some weekend night.  

But that's not where the gathering is occurring.  Why is that?  Perhaps, just perhaps this "gathering" is nothing but a group of traditional anti-capitalist thugs with designs of disrupting a massive day of commerce with their antics.

The MOA is obviously concerned, and has offered the "protesters" the ability to gather in an adjacent parking lot to get their message out.  However, since that lot is outside (hey, its Minnesota and its cold out there) and since a protest in the lot won't inconvenience anyone, that offer has been rebuffed.  Hence, we plunge forward headlong into an in-mall confrontation that has the potential to be quite epic.

What does closing down freeways, airports, and potentially a mall have to do with "black lives matter?"  The answer: nothing.  It has everything to do with upping the chaos, causing more division, and wreaking economic war.  

And, I fear, it is just the start of things to come.

Good luck, shoppers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas is Back

Last year, Mrs. YDP and I wrote off Christmas.  Between my job, which was in free-fall, and my health (I had been hospitalized with an incredibly painful kidney stone), neither of us felt like celebrating.

What a difference a year makes.  We had an excellent Christmas season at work.  Health continues to be good (knock on wood).  The house is decorated to the nines (including my Grandma's precious nativity scene pictured above).  My team's Christmas party was a huge success.  And, while it is early, opportunity abounds for 2015.

For the first time in a long time, it feels like Christmas.  I hope we're never in position to have to write it off ever again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Warning - Enter Sandman

Here are three girls - oldest looking to be about 14 and youngest about 8 - knocking the living heck out of Metallica's Enter Sandman.

I absolutely LOVE music, and wish so much that I had even a smidgen of talent.  Alas, I got nada.  Hence, I simply would give my right leg to be any one of these girls for this five minutes - guitar, bass, or drums.  


Check out The Warning - pretty incredible.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Auburn Player Murdered. Where's the Outrage?

This past weekend, an Auburn football player got into an argument and got himself shot and killed.  It was at the same apartment where three others were murdered in 2012.

Four dead in two years.  Cold blooded murders, all.

And the outrage?  Well, since a cop wasn't involved, but another black man was, there is no outrage.  There are no marches, or sports figures wearing t-shirts with catchy slogans, or riots, or looting, or burning, or shutting down traffic, or countless tweets by celebrities, or editorials by papers.

None of it.

Why is that?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Comedy Channel Take Down of Atheists vs. Mary's Gourmet Diner

You may be familiar with the story of Mary's Gourmet Diner, the little eatery that would give its patrons a 15% discount off of their meal for praying before said meal.  As expected and nearly immediately, some in the atheist community caught wind of this outrage and attempted to put a stop to it.

Here's Comedy Central's interview with the atheist freedom fighter:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Song Share: Pentatonix - Mary, Did You Know?

This has been everywhere, so forgive me if you've bumped into it before.

While I apologize for potentially being repetitive, I don't apologize for sharing these talents, or their message:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Victor Davis Hanson - Liberalism in Ruins

In a recent article, the learned Victor Davis Hanson lays out what President Obama has done for liberalism, and its current state.  His analysis is aggressive, yet does not delve too deeply on any one specific misstep.

It could have been much, much more brutal.  I suggest you read the entire thing here

If you lack the time, I've included his insightful conclusion:

Six years after the summer of hope and change, no one in the Democratic party is showcasing American foreign policy, pushing for cap-and-trade legislation, singing the praises of Obamacare, bragging about the way amnesty was handled, or pointing to a new cleaner and more transparent federal bureaucracy. What started out with “hope and change” and “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” ended up with a president who habitually misleads his countrymen, a baffling array of scandals, the discrediting of the obsequious media, and policies that not only did not work but by any historical model could never really have worked.

As proof, watch as Democrats regroup for 2016. Their unspoken commandment will be that most of what Obama did, they must either ignore or deny.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Harried Holidays

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we let a time that should be joyous - a celebration of the birth of the Savior - be crammed with so much garbage?

The list is never ending.  For those of us that work in retail, there is no bigger period.  Hence, work simply cannot get more high pressure and stressful.  Add on to that obligations for things like Christmas cards, travel arrangements, parties, planning, and the never-ending to-do list, and things become nearly intolerable.

The only saving grace are the people with whom we go through all of this with - our friends, family, and co-workers - and the special time that we'll have together.  

And, of course, the ultimate Saving Grace.  

Here's wising you all peace and perspective this holiday season.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday Song Share: Todd Carey (and friends) - The Weight

I'm not a big Todd Carey fan - his sound is a little too pop for my tastes.  That being said, I bumped into his cover the The Band's classic, and it really moved me.  This captures why I love music so much and what music means to me - it sounds incredible, it's a team effort, and most of all it elicits joy.

Wish I would have been there to see this live...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gopher Football Overachieves - Big Time

I have to hand it to the Minnesota Gophers football team.  In the past, I've come down hard on the futility that has been Golden Gopher football, but this year has been a big surprise.  Huge wins included a 30-14 route of Michigan at the Big House, a 51-14 drubbing of Iowa, and a 28-24 win at ranked Nebraska.

Unfortunately, the Gophers couldn't pull off the miracle season, with a final game loss to Wisconsin at Camp Randall.  Despite no chance at a Big 10 championship, it still was a fantastic season.  One that earned the team a lot of warranted attention.

Now the Gophers will go on to play in one of the better bowls in which they've played in nearly 50 years.  And I'll actually be watching.

Go Gophers

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Team

I am extremely fortunate to work with some incredible people.  They work incredibly hard. achieve so many great things, and are just outstanding human beings.

Here was my Thanksgiving message to them:

It’s going to be a pretty meaningful Thanksgiving for the YDP household this year.  Mrs. YDP has come through her ordeal far better than either of us could have hoped, and we’re far, far luckier than most families that suffer the same diagnosis.  

Events like that really make one reflect and take stock in what is important, what we consider relevant, and how and with whom we spend our time.  I’ve been doing a lot of that reflection lately, and one thing that keeps coming back is how thankful I am to get to work with all of you.  The talents you all possess, the passion with which you do your jobs, the selflessness you have when pitching in for each other (or me), and the fantastic sense of humor that each of you have is just astonishing to me.  I am so lucky to work with you.  

Every year, a family tradition of ours since I was a little kid was to have everyone go around the table and talk about what they were thankful for.  I already know my speech – 1) Vera 2) her deliverance from cancer 3) my family 4) you guys.  

Here’s wishing you your best Thanksgiving ever, filled with food, family, friends, and football.  And maybe some brandy slush, if you’re so inclined.  

Rest well – you’ve earned it – and know that I am so very thankful for you and everything that you do.

When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, the entire team sent a care package, and that included this picture:

Everyone in pink, everyone sporting a pick wrist band, everyone there for my wife and me.  You know, sometimes work is a horrible drag.  However people like this, doing things like this, make me realize just how fortunate I am.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Obama Administration Ignorance - Again

This is old news, and forgive me for being late, but I'm catching up on things that have a bee in my bonnet.  The latest one goes back to ISIS' most recent beheading of an American - Peter Kassig.

It is bad enough that ISIS killed yet another American citizen as we sit back and look completely impotent.  But the really bad part is Obama's official statement (emphasis mine):

"Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter.  We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.  Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity..."

The name Abdul-Rahman is the name Peter took up in a last minute sham "conversion" to Islam - a hail Mary to attempt to prevent his captors from cutting off his head.  Obviously, it didn't work.  And the Obama administration, in an act so callous and tone-deaf that it is jaw dropping, feel the need to be so politically correct as to call Kassig by the name that his killers made him adopt.

You cannot make this stuff up.  These are the people that are leading our country.

There are no words...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kids Off Limits? Sometimes

The liberal blogs blew up yesterday when it was reported that a low level staffer (specifically, a communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)) said some harsh and inappropriate things about the Obama daughters via a Facebook post.  She later apologized, but that is not good enough for the Left, which is blowing tyhis up as big as they can, as this episode is pretty much the only thing going for them right now.

Curious that such a low level person can raise the wrath of an entire political bent.  Cries are going up about how unfair it is, what a bully she was, and most importantly, how kids are off limits.

Oh, yeah.  I forgot about kids being off limits.  Like Trig Palin was/is off limits, you mean that kind of off limits?

Do a Google search on Trig Palin to see what off limits means to the Left.

Crocodile tears, hypocrites.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Business Travel and the Goodness of Others

I spent the past two days travelling for business.  Ordinarily, I kind of like business travel.  I like the hustle of it, and the game of it in terms of how to solve getting from A to B in the most expedient, cost effective, and comfortable way possible.  

Unfortunately, this trip was less than fun.  It started with my conversation with a TSA agent at my departure gate.  As he checked my driver's license, he noticed it was two months out of date.  While that meant I could still travel, I knew my plans for a rental car were likely scrapped.

After waiting in a long line at National Car Rental at my Columbus, OH destination (OSU was hosting Michigan in football the coming day) I did my best to ply the National agent, but Ohio law prevented them, or anyone else, from renting me a car.  Thus, I took a cab to my crappy Holiday Inn Express.

Hungry from my trip, I walked outside to grab a bite.  Options were a Tim Horton's, a Big Boy, a Wendy's, and a grocery store.  I opted for the grocery store, got some baked chicken, and made the most of it in my room.  Ah, the glamour of business travel.

I set up a taxi ride for the next morning to take me to my appointment, and headed off to bed.  I slept like a champ, took a descent run on the hotel's crappy treadmill (it was just too cold outside for a run), and got ready for my taxi.

At my appointed hour, no taxi was there.  I went to the front desk, but that person was working solo and was doing the best she could.  With the game in town, most taxis were around the stadium, and I was at the opposite end of town.  Finally, about 20 minutes late, my cab arrived to take me to my appointment.

After a 10 minute drive we arrived, and I pulled out my credit card to pay.  The cabbie waived me off, and demanded cash (holy cow, it is 2014).  I grabbed my money clip and paid the man, got a receipt, and got on my way.

Everything was going good at my appointment until I got up and for some reason grabbed my own butt and realized that I didn't have my wallet.  I don't carry any of my cash in my wallet (save for an emergency $20), but my out-of-date ID was in there, and I wasn't sure how I was going to board my return flight without it.  Managing the best I could despite my growing panic, we retraced my steps, exhausted all options, and realized it was likely left in the cab.

Thanks to the receipt the cabbie gave me, I had the number to the cab company.  While conversations were very strained (English was not the first language of any of the people with whom I talked), I was able to discern that my wallet has been found.  Unfortunately, the cab was back at OSU making a killing, and he wasn't leaving anytime soon.  When he did, he'd need to charge me for the trip back to me.

Fine.  I just need my ID.  Everything else I can deal with.

I had the cab pick me up at the end of my appointment, and he actually arrived early.  He told me a subsequent fare found it - "they are black people - very bad" but to his surprise they gave him my wallet.  And at that point he handed this over to me:

Between the cabbie and the fare that found it, you know what was missing from my wallet?  Not a damn thing.  

It cost me $60 for a fare back to me to get it, but at least I was able to get home last night.  

Whoever it was that found my wallet, I hope their football team won yesterday.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Song Share: J.D. McPherson - North Side Gal

Sounds straight out of 1954.  I defy you to not tap your foot through this:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Green Bay Press Gazette and Race Baiting

The Green Bay Press Gazette recently published a hard hitting article with the headline "Wisconsin Black Arrest Rates Dwarf Ferguson's."

Are you kidding me?  We know the stats - black arrest and incarceration rates are well above whites.  There are a lot of theories why this is, but few people dare to suggest that the reason it is so high is because that is the demographic group that's actually committing the crime.  Despite this, the GBPG felt it important to lead with such a bombastic headline.

What were they trying to accomplish?  Personally, it looked to me like they wanted the pot stirred - nothing sells news media like our cities aflame.

The media, and how they've behaved throughout this Ferguson episode should be ashamed. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  In fact, if you've ever been in conversation with me about favored days, I've always said, "Christmas, Thanksgiving, and fantasy football draft day, in that order."

This year is a weird one for us.  Since I need to be on a flight tomorrow for work, our options for celebrating the holiday with family were extremely limited.  Hence, for this Thanksgiving, for the first time in my 50 years, the only loved one I'll share the day with is Mrs. YDP.

However, I could not have a better person with which to share the day.  It has been about two and a half months since her cancer diagnosis, and we've been through a massive amount together - the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs.  Thus, even through our party will just be a party of two, a party it will indeed be, as her health and current state is something for which I'm so incredibly thankful.

We'll start the day at mass, and then from there go to a brunch at one of Green Bay's more mediocre restaurants.   Normally, I'm all about cooking a turkey (actually, I can't remember back to how long its been since I didn't cook the bird), but with just the two of us, and with me leaving the following day, all that food just could not be justified.  So we'll indulge on "just OK" buffet food, but will come home, turn the TV on, have a couple of glasses of wine and nap to football all the same.  

Nope, for us this is not your typical Thanksgiving day.  But for the health and future we've been granted, a quiet and deeply thankful day is just fine with us all the same.

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a plethora of blessings for which you can give thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Retail aka What the Hell Did I Do with My Life?

As we approach Thanksgiving, and as the rest of the world gathers with family to enjoy the time together and to reflect on their blessings, I'll be checking on my business.  Over and over again.  My wife will yell at me to get off the computer and the phone.  Indeed, retail has ruined Thanksgiving, and for those of us that work in trade, Thanksgiving has now become more of a hell than a holiday.

Don't feel too bad.  I've done this to myself.  I've been in retail pretty much since my first job as paperboy when I was 8.  I've held jobs on the sales floor, in the warehouse, and in the corporate office.  Thought it all is has been an exciting and rewarding career.  But a career that comes with a cost.

So Mrs. YDP and I will have a quiet Thanksgiving at home, as I'll need to be on the first flight out on Black Friday to visit our warehouse to ensure they're keeping up.  I'll be there most of the weekend.  And while I'll miss my family, and I'll be jealous of those people that actually get to have a normal Thanksgiving, part of me (a bigger part than I'd like to admit) will be energized.  For retail, black Friday represents our World Series.  We work all year for it.  And I love it.

Sick?  Yep.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Aflame

To nobody's surprise, after months of analysis, review, and deliberation, the grand jury in Ferguson found no evidence to indict the officer that killed Michael Brown.  For anything.  At all.  In essence, the grand jury found that officer Darren Wilson did nothing wrong for which he could be tried in a criminal court.  Nothing.

Once the verdict came down, the other shoe predictably dropped, and protesters in Ferguson went on a breaking, burning, shooting, looting, and lawless spree.  In the meantime, President Obama came on air to claim that we are "a nation of laws," (unless, of course, you're the President, in which case you can use Executive Orders to get around the law) and that the protesters should lawfully and peacefully let their voices be heard.


For the man looting the liquor store, what was his voice saying?  How about those looking to turn over a police car? What about those firing guns indiscriminately?

The left sees this as a "call to action," and a "sea change."  But for what, exactly?  In looking at the evidence, it appears that what is being called for is that you can rob a store, beat a cop, then charge said cop and not get shot.  Seriously?

The godless left often talk about Darwin, evolution, and science.  It would seem to me that under normal circumstances should be happy that someone that did the above got summarily drummed out of the gene pool.  Ah, but these are not normal circumstances.  We need to "understand the rage."  We need to "feel the yoke of their oppression."

As simple as charge a cop, get shot?  No, my friend.  It is so much bigger than that.  Just ask Al Sharpton, President Obama, and every other liberal talking head.  

Fight the power.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Canadian Class

A couple of nights ago, the Detroit Red Wings were visiting the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and as custom, before the puck gets dropped both the US and Canadian national anthems were played.  Unfortunately on this night the singer's microphone cut out toward the end of the US anthem.  

Check out how our friends to the north handled the situation:

I guess this should not come as a surprise.  As a hockey fan, I've always sung the Canadian anthem at the Minnesota home games, and have done so since I was a kid.  I know others do as well, hence this response seems appropriate.

Regardless, it still was a classy thing to do.  Hats off to you, Leafs fans.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Song Share: Thin Lizzy - Dancing in the Moonlight

We're going way back for this one this week, folks.  Today, we visit the under-appreciated Thin Lizzy from 1977.

They just don't make music like this anymore:

Friday, November 21, 2014

ISIS versus Israel at UC Berkeley

Here is a fascinating look at the take on two very different camps, conducted in a warm bastion of liberalism.  At the University of California Berkeley, our "protester" here first spoke in favor of ISIS, then later in favor of Israel.  

I'd like to say that the results were surprising, but they really aren't:

It is shocking to me how much hardened liberals loathe Israel, and how the Jewish voting bloc continues to keep voting for Democrats.  The hatred for Israel seems well beyond the political, and well into the antisemitic.  

From a survivor: "In November, 1943, some 27,000 Jews were exterminated in Section 5 of the Majdanek concentration camp. I was interned in Section 4, from where it was possible to catch glimpses of what was happening inside the adjacent section. The ugly truth is that most of the victims were handed over to their executioners by other Jews."

Unless US Jews wise up, it looks like history will continue toward repeating itself. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama and "Cramnesty"

Today we find out that Obama will act alone, likely outside of the Constitution, and foist an amnesty deal on the US.  It is a deal that all but a scant minority want, and it is a deal that basically dares Obama's political foes to do something about it.  Will it boil over into a full blown constitutional crisis, lead to calls for impeachment, or just act as a distraction until the Furgason announcement?  Nobody knows for sure.

What we do know is that it has coined a new phrase - "cramnesty" - and that you heard it here first.

I also take dibs on "shamnesty."

In the meantime, God help us all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

American Jews Butchered, Obama Calls for Calm

Yesterday in Jerusalem, Palestinian terrorists burst into a synagogue and brutally murdered four rabbis, three of whom were American.  Their murder was of the most graphic in nature, as knives and meat cleavers were among the weapons used.  The photos from the scene looked like a slaughterhouse.  

And what does our fearless leader do?  He asks for calm - that both sides "work together to lower tensions and prevent violence."


American citizens were butchered like animals, not unlike our other citizens that have been beheaded by ISIS, and the call is for both sides to be calm?

It is clear now more than ever: nobody cares when Jews die.  In fact, in Palestine, they dance in the streets and celebrate.  

Nobody cares.  Especially our president.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Age as a Mind Set

I know I've been writing a lot about age lately, and I'm not sure what that says about my current state.  In that vein, I'd like to cover a fascinating study that was recently profiled by the New York Times which showed the importance that our mental framework plays in our "age."

In the study, older men we put in an isolated environment that reminded them of their youth, and were encouraged to think of themselves as being 20 years younger.  The results reported were downright astonishing.

There were other studies profiled as well, and the bottom line was clear - aging is as much mental as it is physical.  

There is a great lesson in there for all of us. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Obamacare Architect Thinks You're All Stupid

Odds are that you've seen this video elsewhere, as it has been everywhere these past couple of days.  I don't care.  Watch it again.  And again:

To liberals, the ends will always justify the means.  So if innocents need to be killed so a gun running operation can lead to stricter gun laws, if political opponents need to be silenced by intimidation by the IRS, if the world needs to swallow a lie about a YouTube video to cover up incompetence in Libya, and on and on, then so be it.

Whatever it takes to push the agenda.  Because they just know better than you do...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gaining Weight During Cancer

Throughout my wife's cancer episode, there has been a lot of discussion about her weight.  Via the treatments and surgery, she was told she'd gain some, then she'd lose some (and the impact of losing an entire breast needs to factor in as well).

Nobody said anything about what would happen to me.

Me?  I'm up about 12 pounds from our diagnosis of two months ago.  So what happened?  A lot, gentle reader:

  • Too much schedule interruption due to doctors' appointments, surgeries, work obligations,and other running around
  • Way too little sleep due to stress
  • Way too much food, especially all of the incredible food that so many have delivered to us.  All of it was so delicious, and everyone was so kind.  Nothing was better at the end of a long day to know that we'd have a great meal ready for us.  
  • Way too much alcohol, trying to address the stress and lack of sleep mentioned above
It is simple math: cutting back on working out + more calories via food and booze = pants not fitting that well anymore.  

Am I whining?  Perhaps a little.  But please know that I recognize that in the grand scheme of things, my woes are basically irrelevant compared on what my wife, and so many others, had and have to endure.  I know that for sure.  It still doesn't mean I have to be happy about what I see in the mirror.

Via our meeting with the oncologist two days ago, all of the cancer is gone.  Now we need to work on my gut.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Smoking With CVS. Drinking? OK!

CVS is trying to take a lot of credit for their new health orientation by removing tobacco from their store shelves.  And good on them - as a health provider, it is the right thing for them to do.  

So imagine my surprise in seeing a recent ad for them in our local paper:

Check out the offer in the lower left.  Not only is it for tequila, but at a wow! price as well.

This so much reminded me of the routine that Kent Hrbek used to perform at every Twins home game.  Back then, PA announcer Bob Casey used to go through a pre-game admonishment that there was "no smoking in the Metrodome," (click on the link to hear a sample).

As Casey read through the script, Hrbek would stand at first base and pantomime the following:

Casey:  "No smoking in the Metrodome!  No smoking!"

Hrbek: Puffs an imaginary cigarette, then shakes his head and waives his hand "no."  Then hoists a massive imaginary beer to his lips and chugs deeply, while giving the thumbs up signal.  

If CVS needs some help in taking credit for their new health stance while still selling massive amounts of alcohol, I think #14 has some time on his hands and would be happy to help them out.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stress and Age

In the past two months, the news of and dealing with Mrs. YDP's breast cancer has been pretty much all-consuming.  As happens when these events hit, the sole objective is getting through the crisis; all other responsibilities, distractions, and pursuits either take a big back seat, or are forgotten entirely.  Even work, with its massive stress in and of itself, is moved back to allow management of the crisis at hand.

That stress, well it comes with a toll.  For me, that toll is physical.  I'm shocked at how my looks have changed in just two months.  My eyes are beset with bags, regardless of how much sleep I get.  Wrinkles are more prevalent and more pronounced.  What little hair that is left is turning grey at a record pace.

Three months ago I wrote about the uneven aging I'm seeing with my age cohorts.  

I just caught up. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

What the 2014 Midterm Election Looks Like

Since election night, everyone has been discussing how big (or not big) the win was for Republicans in the last election.  

They say a picture says a thousand words.  What words come to mind when you look at this:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Duffy the Dog

A yellow dog, a Go Pro camera, and a tennis ball all conspire to form your "yellow dog distraction of the day."

Enjoy.  Duffy sure does.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Liberalism Implodes. Thank Obama

The last two years of the George W Bush administration were among the darkest days for conservatives.  Never was the GOP brand so low, never was a sitting president so loathed, and never did the prospects for a return to power look worse.

Then came Obama.  Looks, speech, and an unprecedented level of sycophantic fawning  by the media and entertainment industries alike conspired for a political black hole, from which no light of conservatism could escape.  Liberals owned power - not only in politics, but in nearly all media, in pop culture, and most importantly for their longevity, in education.   And by education, I mean the whole Mary Ann - everything from kindergarten all the way through college campuses.  

Liberalism was poised to not only lead, but to dominate as a political ideology for decades upon decades.  The county could be reworked into a liberal wonder land, and dissenting voices would summarily be crushed by the powers that be under the guise of racism, hatred, bigotry, homophobia, or the ever popular "war on women."

It was perfect.  Absolutely bleeping perfect.  Except the man they put in charge was the furthest thing from a leader that has ever occupied the White House.  It turned out who was elected was truly Chauncey Gardiner.  The man has no discernible skills that would make a successful president, and in scandal after scandal and crisis after crisis, he has continually failed.  Indeed, even touted successes such as Obamacare, "leading from behind," the Russian reset, and unemployment are all massive failures.

As such, the veneer of liberalism wore off.  Despite having a monopoly on media and social touch points, the American public began to distrust democrats.  That distrust ultimately manifest itself in the resulting 2014 midterms, and the pummeling that was delivered by a suddenly resurgent republican party.    

The democrats had this thing locked up - for decades!  It was going to be the golden age of liberalism!  The only problem was that as a "leader," they chose a man that was anything but.  His incompetence, arrogance, and failure not only got republicans back in the game, it saved them.

Who would have thought that the best thing to happen to the republican party since Ronald Reagan would be Barack Hussein Obama?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get Out There and Vote

Today is the day that your voice can be heard in the best fashion available.  Yes, its "only" a  midterm election, but with so much going wrong in our country right now - the economy, immigration, ebola, terrorism, war, race relations, a complicit media, and a never-ending stream of scandals and political abuses - the country needs you now more than ever.

You may very well be in a location or a district where your vote can be consider as "throw away."  Go vote anyway.  Be defiant, let them know where you stand, and let them know that while others may be complacent to be sheep, you are not.  

Today is the day.  Be heard.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Democrats Failing Black Americans

Finally, FINALLY, the message is getting out there.  The Democrat party has done nothing but subjugate black Americans since the jump.  Perhaps, just perhaps, that subjugation will not be rewarded with party line loyalty anymore.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Zealand Air Flight Safety Video

For fans of The Hobbit, for fans of New Zealand, or for fans of travel, we present the following:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday Song Share: The Preatures - Is This How You Feel?

This is the band that I'm currently digging the most right now.  Please check them out - they're putting out some really fantastic music.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yellow Dog Plays in Leaf Pile

I defy you to not watch this video and smile:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glen Campbell's Farewell Song

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Glen Campbell published this final single.  It speaks directly to his future and his fate in a way that those who have had a loved one struck by this disease can understand best.

So sad...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gallup's Sexist Study on Management Effectiveness

From our friends at Gallup comes a recent study which shows "why women are better managers than men."  You see, "female managers in the U.S. exceed male managers at meeting employees' essential workplace requirements."  Hence, they're better.

What vulgar, sexist tripe.  A couple of questions for you, Gallup:

  • What, if by your measures, men were found to be "better?"  Do you even publish the data?
  • Why no study on most effective managers by race?
  • Ditto sexual orientation?
I don't think we even need an answer on these.  In fact, truth be told, the only way this study is done, let alone have its findings published, is if it reflects men in a bad light.

Nice stereotyping, Gallup.  Sexist pigs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hillary: "Businesses Don't Crate Jobs"

This is simply amazing.  You have to believe that she's not a dumb woman, and that she doesn't really believe the tripe she's spitting out to a sycophantic and ignorant audience.  But then again, go back to Obama's "you didn't build that," moment, and perhaps this is truly what the modern progressive honestly believes:


The real truth, of course, is that not only does business create jobs, but it is ONLY business that can create jobs.  Oh, sure, there are a gazillion government jobs.  But guess what bucko?  The payroll for all of those government jobs can only be derived by taxes.  And taxes can only be derived via commerce activity.  And commerce activity can only be derived via businesses.

Ignorance?  Political blindness?  Abject socialist philosophy?  Playing to the crowd by stirring up class envy?  Who knows where it came from?  But, regardless of its origin, the sentiment can't be more abjectly wrong, and downright stupid.

When her husband was President, his administration's motto was "it's the economy, stupid."  Now, hearing from Hillary, it sounds like that motto needs to match her belief, which is "It's stupid, the economy."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Done Hunting"

From the StarTribune comes the following essay:

Before my retina surgeon could finish his thought, I rudely interrupted him.

“Doc, I don’t care what you have to do to me, I just need to be ready to go in two weeks,” I said. “I’m going on a duck-hunting trip and I’m not missing a second of it.”

My surgeon — an ophthalmologist whose drab office walls were adorned with framed degrees and other scholarly accolades — wasn’t fazed. He fired back, and for effect.

“Son, you’re not going anywhere,” he said, his right hand grasping my left shoulder. “You have a detached retina. It’s a serious injury. We need to schedule surgery for tomorrow. It can’t wait.”

His voice trailed off before he delivered the gut punch: “You have a long road ahead of you. A long road.”

My surgeon’s words have proved eerily prophetic. That long road he so candidly promised still lies before me like a bad dream more than five years later. My life has changed so radically I often struggle to make sense of it. I’ve had more than a dozen surgeries on both eyes (roughly a year after my left eye detached, I inexplicably had a massive retina tear in my right) and untold months of solitary, sometimes maddening, convalescence.

Today I’m blind in my left eye and have enough vision in my right to get a driver’s license. More surgeries are promised down the road. Chronic pain is a fixture in my life, as common as breathing. I often feel intense fear, real or imagined, that my good eye will tank, that my entire world will fade to black. Worst of all, I’ve been forced to let go of the outdoors life that gave me an identity (both personally and professionally) beginning 40 years ago when I started squirrel hunting with my father. The loss — including my seminal passion, waterfowl hunting — has been devastating.

I often ask myself a simple question: Who am I now? I’m still not sure that I know.

Putting the pieces back together has been the crucible of my life. I’m still under construction. My vision loss, I’m just beginning to understand, is similar to losing a loved one. You go through stages of grief — from denial to anger to depression to, finally, acceptance. But acceptance does not necessarily equal peace — yet that’s exactly what I seek and struggle to find each day, especially now during hunting season. Autumn always has been my favorite time of year. But now its crisp mornings and golden hues provoke a tempest inside me, an emotion without a name. I long for what was — the joy of so many marvelous days afield — when I know my past has no chance of prologue. It’s a bitter pill I’m still learning to swallow.

This entire odyssey began innocently enough. I was dove hunting in North Dakota, where I used to live. My black Lab and I were hunting a small-grain field that was loaded with feeding birds the night before. New over-and-under shotgun in hand, I pulled up on the morning’s first dove and immediately lost track of it. A splash of black dots (in my left eye) took over my field of vision. Disorientated and confused, I rubbed and blinked my eye repeatedly. The microscopic dots would go away and then reappear, then go away again. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. This was a first.

The following day I got examined by an optometrist. He assured me the black dots — which are called “floaters” in the eye business — were commonplace for people in their late 30s and early 40s. “It’s part of getting older,” he said. “You’ll be fine.” Two days later my retina detached. I woke up and felt like I was staring into the ocean on a stormy day. The horizon was hazy, charcoal-gray and wavy. The floaters, I would learn from my surgeon, were the result of my retina fraying, then finally detaching.

Six weeks after my first surgery, my retina detached again. The second surgery was the most brutal of all. My eye looked grotesque, like I had been pummeled in a street fight. The pain was so intense I vomited regularly and occasionally passed out. The term “pain management” became part of my lexicon. I became a chemist of sorts, staying ahead of the pain by mixing my meds with three fingers of Irish whiskey or red wine. My approach was neither advised nor wise. But I did what I had to do to survive.

Adjusting to my vision loss has been an exercise in humility. I’ve had to retrain my brain to do just about everything — from pouring a glass of water to walking down a flight of stairs. I have very little depth perception, particularly when I’m walking. I’ve stumbled and fallen on more hiking trails than I care to admit. Everything that’s old is new.

My new normal caught me by surprise a few years back when I was in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, covering the aftermath of the BP oil spill and its impacts on migratory waterfowl. This was the first time I had been in a boat since my vision loss. But getting in the boat, like I had done hundreds of times before, was terrifying. The step from the dock and into the watercraft felt like falling into a canyon. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I got on my hands and knees and backed in. This remains one of the more humbling experiences of my life.

Despite everything I’ve been through, my vision loss has given me ample time to reflect on my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself. What I know today is that I’ve had an extraordinarily blessed life. By virtue of my job and my passion for wild places, I’ve had more good hunting, in more beautiful places, than most. I’ve been fortunate enough to chase ducks in the most iconic waterfowling venues in North America — from the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland to the bayous of south Louisiana to the Central Valley of California and across the prairies of the U.S. and Canada. I’ve had a good run, and I’m grateful for it.

Still, I admit, I miss everything about my old outdoors life. I miss seeing vivid colors. I miss identifying ducks on the wing, a skill that took a lifetime in the marsh to hone. I miss feeling bone-tired after a day afield. Few will admit the most compelling reason for hunting: It’s satisfying. Killing an animal is emotionally complex, but I miss the satisfaction of taking a life with my own hands and assuming responsibility for it. I miss the ritual of giving thanks for nature’s bounty and preparing it for family and friends — a holistic experience that no amount of money can buy.

It’s been said that fear is faith that it won’t work out. But I have a deep faith in God and I know in time that it will all work out. I have faith that God will guide me on this long road to finding peace and helping me rediscover who I am. I patiently wait to be whole again.

Reading this prompted me to send the following letter to the author:

"Via a friend's Facebook feed I found your "Done Hunting" article on the StarTribune website.  The timing of encountering your writing was fortuitous for me, as I have been feeling sorry for myself for not being able to be in the swamp this year.  Like you, I'm a hardcore waterfowler, and my wife's recent breast cancer diagnosis has kept me from the pursuit I love the most.

My wife's prognosis is good, although surgery, treatment, and care giving will conspire to make the 2014 season like it never happened.  While I should feel thankful for our state (so many families have things far, far worse), I still couldn't help but have a private pity party for myself over my lost season.

Then I read your article, and gained an invaluable perspective.  Now, in addition to missing duck hunting, I feel like a jerk.

Thank you for your well-penned, personal, and heartfelt article.  While perhaps your physical condition changes things, I hope it offers new things as well, and inspires you to share as you most eloquently did in the last article.  It certainly touched me, and know it must have had the same impact on others.  For that, thank you."

A little perspective can sometimes equate to a hell of a lot of humility and thankfulness.