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.