Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Benghazi Email - The Smoking Gun

Via requests by Judicial Watch, emails around the Benghazi scandal are finally coming to light.  The most relevant of these is from Obama's aid Ben Rhodes regarding preparation of Susan Rice for her weekend appearances on the talk show circuit.  Here is what was discussed:

That second bullet is the lie, and the motivation for the lie, all in one.

The administration knew this was not about a video.  But it was more important that there not be a "broader failure of policy," than it was to tell the truth to the American people.  Especially right before an election.

And the truly shocking thing is that very few people are talking about this.  We'd much rather focus our energies on an old, NBA franchise-owning racist.  

While this story may not have legs now, let's see how it plays should Hillary officially announce her candidacy.  While she's not copied above (neither is Obama - how can that be?), she'll not be able to distance herself from this.  

Especially with this:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ireland Day 3

Our third day in Ireland had us visiting various sites for a very diverse day:

The day started with a visit to the Knock Shrine; site of a apparition of Mary, Joseph, and John the Evangelist.   More on this in a future blog post

This is a typical example of the Irish countryside 

This old bridge and steam made for a picturesque stop

The scene inside of an abandoned abbey

The date on the abbey was 1625 - 150 years before we were even a country.  Simply awesome

 Two great fits - a hat and an Irish pub

A beautiful Irish river

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wild Miss Opportunity to Win at Home

With last night's loss, the Wild failed in a great opportunity to win the series against Colorado back at the "X."  For the second time in the five games played thus far, the Avalanche pulled their goalie down a goal in the final minutes, and the Wild gave up the game-tying goal to force overtime.  And in both extra periods, the Wild lost.

All five games have been won by the home team in this series; thus showing the importance of home-ice advantage.  With the Wild barely making the playoffs, if they are going to go anywhere, they'll need to find a way to win on the road.  But before all of that, they're going to need to win in St. Paul on Monday night.

The Wild have played very good hockey.  They've given a very tough Colorado team all they could have asked.  However, there is no hardware with names written on it of players of teams that won moral victories.   

Ownership has invested.  That talent needs to produce.  Chicago is waiting.  The time is now.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ireland Day 2

Our second day in Ireland, like many of them, involved changing weather.  Despite the alternating meteorology, there was still much to see:  

 This graveyard, located on the shores of a quiet Irish fjord, seemed a peaceful spot for an eternal rest.

 Ireland is a very spiritual place, and this tree, felt to hold powers of blessings, is filled with physical items of people needing healing.

 Peat is an important fuel for this part of the country, and in some instances is still harvested very manually.

 A now-defunct girls' school would have been an incredible place to get an education.

 The chapel at the school, built by the original owner in memory of his deceased wife.

This is Ireland!  Sea, land, livestock, beauty.  Everywhere.

Cold temps prompted me to get a hat.  I thought I pulled the look off pretty well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Running To, or Running From?

That's the question.  Where are we truly headed, and is our locomotion a function of us running to an opportunity, or running from our fears?  A great question to ponder.  Perhaps it matters, perhaps not, but regardless, it serves as motivation for our motion. 

We have to run.  At an old employer, the CEO placed the following in the company lobby:

On the African plains, a gazelle wakes the morning and knows that on this day it must run faster than the quickest lion, or he will die

That same morning a lion wakes on the plains and knows that on this day it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or he will die

It matters not if you are a gazelle or lion - when the day starts you had better be running

One can question the appropriateness of this as a motivational tool, but its message is still pretty strong.  We all have to run.

As I have taken up running for the past six months, one thing has been made abundantly clear to me, and that is every excess piece of weight - every extra percentage of body fat or pound of clothes or ounce of heaviness in the shoes adds up.  It matters.  It slows you down, and it unnecessarily fatigues you.

So run.  Run to, or run from, as the case may be.  But drop off the excess baggage.  It serves only to keeping you from efficiently getting to where you want to go. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ireland, Day 1

Now organized from the trip, I'd like to share some images from my recent trip to Ireland:

Our first stop on being picked up was for the Cliffs of Moher.  The Cliffs, located in County Clare, are one of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions, and with good reason.  They are stunningly beautiful.

While the sun came out for our visit, the famous Irish sea wind was definitely blowing, and my poor travel companions were left freezing.

I was surprised at how close one could get to the edge.  If the Cliffs were located in the US, I'm sure we'd have to fence them in to keep people from doing stupid things and then subsequently suing.  

Speaking of doing stupid things, the area has been used as a popular suicide spot.  This sign is obviously designed to try and do something about it.

We were jet lagged and cold, but the majestic Cliffs were an incredible way to start our Irish vacation. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Update: Battle of the Bulge

Things continue to progress on the running front, although that progress has slowed.  The most recent obstacle that has held things up is what I have pictured here: an interval training session where five different 12 minute runs are conducted, with walks in between.  

It has been a tough wall to climb over.  Numerous times something would ache - sometimes very early into the run - and I'd tap out.  While I know the mind wants to quit far earlier than the body will, I am also cognizant of my age and want to make sure that I don't do anything which could lead to injury.

Now that interval training is complete, I move to longer runs, but shorter amounts of total running.  For example, while the image of my nemesis session shows 60 minutes of running, my run tomorrow is scheduled for three 15 minute intervals for a total of 45 minutes running.  Psychologically, it seems quite doable.  Hopefully the body feels the same way.  

I'm 8 weeks away from my first ever 10k, and I'm on pace.  Let's hope things stay that way and I can avoid any walls like the one that I just got over.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Americans Die

There is a fascinating analysis conducted by Bloomberg which reviews how Americans are dying.  The analysis, and how it is presented, is excellent, and worthy of your review.

There were three distinct findings in the report that really stood out, and I wanted to share them here:

First, while the media and guys like Bloomberg himself would lead you to believe that gun related deaths are exploding, the data show that's not the case.  In fact, they've decreased.  But the dirty little secret that nobody is talking about is the massive rise in drug related deaths, and that suicide is now our #1 cause of death.  That says a lot about us as a society, does it not?

Here's the chart specifically for suicide.  Note that things are fairly flat for most age groups, but spike considerably for the older age groups; especially in the past couple of years.  This begs the question: what's driving our older citizens to kill themselves?  Given the timing and the ages of those involved, I'd speculate that it has to be related to economic conditions and unemployment, but I'm open to other thoughts.

As we get more medically savvy about cancer and heart disease, it leaves room for other things to kill us off at old age, and what has filled that vacuum is dementia and Alzheimer's.  Rates for these are exploding.  And since it is a slow, traumatic (for families), and expensive way to die, the ramifications of how our society will be impacted are dramatic.

The bottom line to all of this is that how we're dying is shifting significantly.  While talk of death seems taboo, it would serve us all well to understand this data, as it is quite telling.    

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kids Can't Figure Out Walkman

Here's a little something to make you fee ancient:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baseball Loyalty by Geography

In a recent article by The Wall Street Journal., they reported on a study done on Facebook that looked at favorite baseball team by geographic location.  The results are fascinating (you can click on the image to make it larger:

It is really nice to see how well the Twins are represented.  But the prevalence of the Yankees?  Really? Ugh...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five Ireland Surprises

I  apologize for not keeping the blog updated.  Unupdated blogs are my personal pet peeve, and I sorry I subjected the loyal readership of this blog to it.  Hopefully, you'll come back and interact in short order.  

Please do, as I've been on holiday this past week in Ireland, and have not had a free minute to craft some words or share a thought.  Hence, since Mrs. YDP is doing our final packing, I have a quick minute with something to share.

This was my first time in Ireland, and as such, there were many nice surprises along the way.  Some of the larger ones:

  • Ireland is a nearly rural country.  Unlike a lot of Europe, she's not as densely populated, and it was a joy to see her natural beauty.
  • The people of Ireland are unlike any other.  Friendly, learned, funny, and kind, they were so pleasant, and so accommodating to their visitors
  • Guinness is bleeping unbelievable.  While it is a little different at every stop (due to cleanliness of the lines, barwar, tap, etc.), it is a fantastic drink.  I could not get enough.
  • The country is wildly Catholic.  While the States are speeding their way to an atheistic nirvana, there are churches, statues of Mary, pictures of Jesus, rosaries, and crosses everywhere.  It so warmed my heart, and made me feel like we may still stand a chance.
  • Irish brown bread is different every place that you have it, and it is fabulous regardless of where you get it.  Especially if served with unsalted Irish butter.
Lots more posts and pictures to come.  But in this past week, I have clearly seen a jewel - a land touched by the hand of God - and her surprises have simply enchanted me.  

God bless Ireland.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hillary Discusses Her Accomplishments

As stated in her own words:

If she's looking to be President in 2016, she either better shape up that elevator speech, or hope that the media goes back to softball questions.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Christ Renews His Parish

I've recently joined a men's group at church.  Entitled Christ Renews His Parish, the group is designed to make strong human connections among parishioners in order to bring about a stronger faith community.  I am fortunate that my group of guys are awesome, and I take deep satisfaction that I have group that I could lean on in a crisis for prayers, help, or anything.  It is fantastic.

For someone like me that has been living a work-based, lonely existence basically since I got here four years ago, it has provided some welcomed connections.  It has also helped to greatly deepen my faith.  

While I'm not sure where it will end up, it is a fun path to travel.  If you have a CRHP program at your church, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Twins Offense is Offensive

Yesterday marked the season opener for my favorite baseball team.  The opener is a great time - a time when the faults and foibles of spring training can be forgotten, a time when last season means nothing, and a time when the slate is wiped clean.  It's a time of optimism.  Of hope.

Until you look at what the Twins put out as their starting lineup:

Dozier, 2B - Had good pop two years ago, but not a prototype lead off.  Would be batting 7+ in most other lineups.
Suzuki, C - If your catcher is batting second and his name is not Joe Mauer, you suck
Mauer, 1B - Ah, the long awaited move to first so that Joe could finally have fresh legs.  I'm not worried about his legs; it is his back that should be of concern.  He's gong to have to carry this team all season
Willingham, LF - No glove, no range makes for a huge liability in left field.  Dwindling power and a hole in his swing you could drive a Mack truck through and you have a recipe for disaster
Colabello, DH - The beauty of the DH is that you can have anyone - bench, pitchers, batboy - anyone hit.  You just take your best hitter that is not in the field and write him in your lineup.  This is Gardy's best hitter that is not in the field already.  Good luck, Gardy
Plouffe, 3B - Good two years ago.  Lousy last year.  But he makes for a great baseball verb for making an error, "Boy, he really Plouffed that one!"
Arcia, RF - Young.  Shows some pop.  Strikes out a ton.  Will disappoint more than he produces
Hicks, CF - Last year's failed experiment.  The only way this team goes anywhere is if Hicks produces at a high enough level to be the legit lead-off hitter.  Odds on that are long.
Florimon, SS - Handy in the field.  Ugly at the plate.

There you have it, folks, the 2014 Minnesota Twins opening day roster.

When do the Vikings start?