Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hangin' On

The Supreme's version of the song was fantastic in its own right, but Vanilla Fudge reworked it and made it a monster.

For my money, this was one of the best songs from the late '60's:

Friday, January 30, 2015

John Wayne Sings "God Bless America"

My cousin sent the following along:

The participants in this sing-along, for the time, is impressive.  The stars don't shine much brighter.  But could you imagine today's "stars" pulling off a similar stunt?  It'd be impossible, for the following:

  • The first is the song itself.  "God Bless America," connotes some belief in a Deity, and frankly, that's not too politically correct with the Hollywood crowd.
  • The second is the nature of the song and the reverence in which it was sung.  In 2015, the United States is considered as a pariah - a taker and abuser of others - and not an example of the best in humanity.  The song would be considered far too jingoistic, and again, not politically correct.
I was fortunate enough growing up that I was exposed, if not downright steeped, with some of the Greatest Generation.  They were overt and unapologetic in their patriotism and their love of country.  The flag was to be respected, and if the ball cap did not come off when the parade started a rap on the head served as a good reminder.  Likewise, I had some teachers growing up that truly loved our country, and that love was evident in their lessons.

Those days are pretty much over.  In less than 50 years, we've gone from loving your country to be expected, to where it is now discouraged, if not avidly mocked.

Interesting to see what the next 50 years will bring. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Drinking from the Firehose

Upon returning from vacation, I've thrown my job search activity into high gear.  I have solicited friends, business relationships, and head hunters.  Each has resulted in opportunities, many of them rumored or extremely preliminary, but opportunities nonetheless.  Likewise, there are a couple of legit openings, and I've thrown my hat in the ring for them as well.

In the meantime, it has been a massive juggling event - keeping all of the contacts and opportunities straight.  In many ways I'm working much harder without a job than I did when I had a job.  Keeping all the irons in the fire and managing the process is like trying to ride the whirlwind, and it is tough.

Also in the meantime, progress on opportunities that are much further down the field have quieted, and that has me equally anxious and concerned.  

Regardless, I should be happy.  There are many that find themselves in similar circumstances, and have zero options.  I have just the opposite, and I recognize that I should not complain.

Through it all, I've been thinking of a business idea, and a nagging voice has been in the back of my head telling me to "pick you."  The concept is one from Seth Godin, who preaches that instead of sitting in a pile with all of the other kids waiting to get picked, find something to do in which you can "pick you."  And of all of the irons that I have in the fire right now, that is the one that has me energized the most.  It is what I think of when I go to bed, and what's on my mind when I awake.

It is all going so fast.  Soon, I hope, we'll be finding out who picks who.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Teacher Dancing to Uptown Funk

A teacher with some pretty good moves shakes it to Uptown Funk with most of the student body in support:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Louisiana Recap

For ten years my buddy Fuzzy and I have done a trip down to Louisiana in January to hunt with my cousins and assorted others.  Some years are very good, some are quiet, but hey, that's duck hunting for you.  

This year was a bit different.  Not only was it a big anniversary year, but Fuzzy and I also bolted on a bonus day (see, there ARE benefits to being unemployed).  Here are some of our better moments captured in photos:

Scouting on Wednesday, and seeing pretty good numbers of ducks.  The boys are optimistic

How committed is Fuzzy to camo?  He made sure he drank enough scotch the night before to ensure that his complexion blended into the surrounding green

Cousin Chris on our first day hunting, laughing at Weber

A nice duck strap for our first day, only to be outdone the next day...

...with a Louisiana limit of ducks!  Our best hunt ever.

Sunrise on day three.  Seeing sights like this is exactly why we're duck hunters

While we only got a few, Fuzzy shows off the size of this monster drake mallard

While our last day was a bust, it could not have been more comfortable.  Here's cousin Terry keeping an eye out.

Ten years!  I can't believe the fun we've had with each other - not only duck hunting, but at football games, weddings, funerals, dog exchanges, and various other impromptu get-togethers.  I'm so fortunate to have all of the these people in my life, and am a rich man indeed because of it. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Without Work

Last week, my job was eliminated with my employer, and my employment terminated.  Since then, life has pretty much been a mess.  First is dealing with the grief of the loss of one's job, and don't kid yourself, the grief is real.  Then there's trying to figure out what the new "everyday" is going to look like, because the previous one is history.  Finally, there's the omnipresent push/pull of "be calm, patient, and things will come together," versus "holy crap, I gotta get a job tomorrow!"

Toward that end, there is more to do than I can list, and in many ways finding a new job is much more of a job than a traditional job is.  And through it all, it is hard not to want to do EVERYTHING.  

So as I slog through this stage of my career, I'm trying to take things in chunks and not boil the ocean.  It is tough to do, as my head is swimming with great ideas of how I should be spending this unique time.  Prioritization and organization will obviously be my best friends.

But the toughest part is to not get down, which is really hard to do as little things can really set things off.  A great example was this morning, when I slept in until 6:00AM and hit the gym like I normally do, albeit a hour or two later than usual.  Things were going great until about 7:15 when there was a definite shift in the clientele.  The people with jobs were all gone, and the gym was left with a bunch of retirees.  And me.  And it made me feel like a loser.

This is but one example of the battle that is raging right now.  It's counterproductive, sapping, and about as far from objective as possible.  

It is also a dragon that I have to figure out how to slay if I'm going to get to where I need to go. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Cost (and Benefit) of Education

The Cato Institute recently published an analysis which shows per-pupil K-12 spending (in constant 2012 dollars), versus testing score improvement.  What do we see?  Judge for yourselves:

Pretty remarkable.  Where is the accountability for all this?

Oh, yeah.  It's "all about the children..."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Song Share: The Bros. Landreth - Our Love

Not a great recording, which is too bad, as these guys harmonies are as sweet and smooth as honey.  Reminiscent of the Eagles, which is very unique in the music space right now.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Comic Con NYC Gets a Visit from Peter Griffin

This guy is pretty amazing:

For those of you that may not be aware, Peter Griffin is a character on Fox's Family Guy show.  

So how did our guy do?  You be the judge:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Quitting Clash of Clans

After a good eight months of playing I finally made the decision to quit Clash of Clans and go cold turkey.  It was not easy by a long stretch, and there are still many moments in which I'd really enjoy delving into the game. However, after far too many wasted hours, I realized I was getting too mad at myself for being "behind" all the time. The best way to free up a number of hours into my week would be to just quit the game and move on. 

Beyond that, I was becoming angry at the psychological pull the game had on me, just as the designers created. Level after level led to increased incidents of delayed gratification that could be alleviated with a simple purchase. All of it was designed to draw the player deeper and deeper, and the further one got into the game, the worse the situation became.  

Ultimately, I found that it was not so much that I was playing the game anymore, it was more like the game was playing me.  At that point it became a much easier decision to quit. 

I do miss the game, but I love all the more the free time that I have now.  Lesson learned download those games at your peril.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reggie Ho - 30 for 30

Attached is a short documentary on Notre Dame kicker Reggie Ho.  It reveals a life that truly embodied the phrase "student athlete."


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Six Reasons Packers Choke Away Shot at Super Bowl

Here in the belly of the beast, there is nothing but depression and attempts at justification for the Packer's loss on Sunday at Seattle.  There's a lot of "oh, we played so great," and "what a great game," and "so proud of the team" that it makes me want to puke.  Indeed, the team played extremely well - certainly good enough to win - but a number of individual efforts cost them a game that they absolutely had in hand.

Here are the ways the Packer's choked:

  1. In Seattle's first possession, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picks off an errant Russel Wilson pass and returns it all the way to the Seahawk's 4.  First and goal at the 4 - simply give the ball to Eddie Lacy four times if needed and walk away with seven points.  Unfortunately, DT Mike Daniels gets called for taunting (nice discipline), thus making it first and ten at the 19, not the 4
  2. Despite Daniels' idiot play, Green Bay gets the ball to Seattle's 1 yard line with three downs to go.  They fail to stick it in on second and third down, and opt to kick the field goal on fourth down.  Had they gone for it and scored, they would have won the game
  3. Seattle turns the ball over on the subsequent kick off, and again the Packers drive to the Seahawk's 1 yard line on 4th down.  Again, they opt to kick the field goal, and again had they gone for it and scored, they would have won the game.  Two times at the 1 yard line and either time a TD would have won it.  Both times the team chose to limp away with three points in the most hostile environment in the NFL
  4. With 5:13 left in the game and the Packers up by two touchdowns, Burnett intercepts Russel Wilson at the Green Bay 39.  Despite having a ton of open field around him, Burnett runs about four yards and then falls to the ground, assuming that his interception has iced the game, and that any additional field position was worthless.  He couldn't have been more wrong, as Green Bay went three-and-out, and punted to the Seattle 31.
  5. After Seattle's drive and score, everyone and their brother knew they'd onside kick, and indeed that is exactly what took place.  The ball literally hits Packer's TE Brandon Bostick in the face (see above), he fails to control the ball, and Seattle takes over, needing a touchdown with 2:09 and one time out left.
  6. Of course Seattle scores, and makes the game 19-20 in their favor.  Since an extra point means nothing, and a two point conversion would mean that the Packers could only tie with a successful field goal in the remaining 1:25, the Seahawks go for two.  On the play, Wilson scrambled for his life, and ended up tossing the ball up for grabs in desperation.  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had about a day and a half to get underneath the sky-ball and make a play.  Instead, he inexplicably misplays the ball and the receiver.  Seattle successful converts.  Hence, what could have been a game-winning field goal for Green Bay on their subsequent drive was reduced to just a game-tying field goal.  In the overtime to break that tie, Seattle won the toss, drove down the field, and scored a game winning TD, sending the Packers' faithful to their alcohol of choice.
The grief of the game is still raw, and the bargaining and justification of the team's performance is occurring at an almost pathetic level.  Yes, the Packers played well.  But when it comes down to it, they cost themselves the game.  They wrapped it up nice and pretty, and even gave Seattle a big, sloppy, girly kiss.  The Seahawks gladly accepted the gift, and will pack their bags for Arizona.

As for Packer Nation?  There's always the memories (fuzzy as they may be), beer to drown the sorrows, and a "we'll get 'em again next year" optimism.

Ah, yes, next year.  Too bad they pissed away this year. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

John Kerry Makes World Cringe

First, we can't be bothered to send any substantive representative to the Paris march in remembrance of those killed by Islam radicals.  Then, we send John Kerry over there, and his job was to offer France "a big hug."

I'm not kidding:


If that didn't emasculate our position enough, Kerry brought James Taylor out to sing "You've Got a Friend," complete with some incredibly awkward audio issues.

Again, I'm not kidding:

No, this is not a story from The Onion.  No, it is not a skit from Saturday Night Live, either.  This is liberalism, in all of its unadulterated form, on display for our friends and enemies alike to see.

And what has this wrought?  Laughs, scorn, and a massive amount of cringing.

I mean a massive amount of cringing.  Oy vey...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

When to Show Up Sick for Work

There is a massive outbreak of illness at my place of business, and unfortunately I have been one of the ones impacted.  I'm over my bout and now healthy, but it was a lousy couple of days.

As the illness has ravaged and made its way though our company, there has been debate as to what people should do when they don't feel well.  It is surprising to see the breadth of opinions on this by our senior leaders; everything from "just stay home and rest," all the way to "I've not taken a sick day in four years, so what's your excuse?"  

The disparity of these opinions is amazing, and it should be so simple upon which to have a policy.  But, no.  As such, it is really individual leaders and their personal "policies" that ultimately determine what an individual team does.

For me, it boils down to the following:

  • The nature of my team is that they need to be able to work at odd hours, outside of the office, but with full office connectivity.  
  • Since there is nothing they can do in the office that they can't do from home, if they don't feel well, I want them to STAY HOME
  • That is all the more important at the start of their illness, when they're contagious.  I've flat out sent people home because of this with an eye toward not only protecting the rest of the team, but also myself
Granted, my policies might not work for every company or department.  I get that.  What I don't get are IT groups or department heads that won't allow external access to the business environment for no good reason.  It is 2015, people.  Get a clue.

Feel lousy?  It's great you want to come in and prove your dedication to "work."  How about you prove your dedication to your coworkers by staying home instead, huh?  

Thanks, and feel better soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Chickenfoot - Highway Star

Great cover of the Deep Purple classic by the talented Chickenfoot.  Get ready to rock:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bagel Customers Leave a Nice Tip

Shirley works at Bruegger's Bagels, and she's a customer favorite.  She's always there with a quick smile and a kind word, and is exactly the kind of tonic we all need to start our day out on the right foot.  

She loves her job at Bruegger's, but lives quite a ways away.  Thus, she'd been saving up for a car to enable her to get to work easier.  But, as so often times happens, life got in the way.  Shirley got cancer, and the money that was to be used for the car instead paid for medical bills.  

That led some of her favorite customers to do the following:

It is a moment none of them will ever forget.  And what did it truly cost any of them?

Seems pretty cheap at the price, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

F18 Breaks Sound Barrier on Fly By

This is pretty darned amazing to see.  Despite being a good 200' above the water, he still looks really damned low!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why I Won't See "Unbroken"

For those of you that have not read the book or seen the movie, be warned that spoilers abound beyond this line:

I'm not kidding...

While on our travels over Christmas, Mrs. YDP and I listened to a couple of audio books to pass the time.  One of the tomes to which we listened was Laura Hillebrand's Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  It is the true story of Louis Zamperini who overcame the following in his amazing life:

  • Youthful delinquency
  • Combat raids in WWII
  • A horrible plane crash
  • Survival at sea longer than any other human at the time
  • Unspeakable punishment at a Japanese prisoner of war camp
  • A PTSD that prevented him from sleeping peacefully for years
  • Alcoholism
  • An insatiable desire to personally kill the Japanese guard which had done all of those unspeakable things to him
Angelina Jolie took on the story to bring it to the big screen, and without a doubt, it is a massive story.  However, her story ends at the prison camp.  Oh, there is a token epilogue on what happened after, but if you have read the book, you know that's where the true story is.

Without getting into detail, Louis Zamperini was saved - scratch that, "redeemed" as the title of the book says - by a personal relationship with God.  Ah, but mainstream Hollywood doesn't like all that holy roller stuff, so by all means cut the story short and let's have a movie where a guy gets beat through a large part of it.

I cannot recommend Hillebrand's book enough.  As for the movie, well, you're going to have to do that one on your own.  But if you do see it and feel it leaves you lacking, know that it is because the most important and the best part of the story - the "redemption" part - was missing.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Paris - The Canary in the Coalmine

What is happening in Paris should serve as a warning to the West.  The French have bent over backward to their Muslim population, and what has it wrought?  A lack of assimilation.  Intimidation, to the point of "no go zones."  And, when there is disagreement, ultimately to mass murders.

The following gives a different perspective of what is happening in parts of Paris that other media outlets may not want you to see and/or are too afraid to report on it. 

This is our future.  What France does (or does not) do about it is something from which all of us need to learn before it is too late.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Bottom Line of Islam

Mass murder over cartoons.  A constant state of offense.  Oppression and brutality, especially for its women.  No room for questioning, debate, or analysis.  None.

Boil it all down and call it what it is - the bottom line of Islam in 2015: Submit, or die.  It truly is that simple.

And in the west, many leaders and most of our media dutifully do submit!  They fail to speak candidly about what is happening as they want to appear enlightened and/or they're flat out intimidated (most likely).  Don't believe me?  Just look at the vast swath of media outlets that refused to publish any images of Mohammed, even after 10 people we murdered for doing just that.  It was vital to the story, but the intimidated media was quickly cowed to not cover that part as it might offend.  We have to be considerate, right?

Cowards.  Cowards that have proved so useful to those that aspire to be their future overlords and oppressors.  Cowards that will one day have to decide to submit or die, not just on what they choose to publish, but on their very lives.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Joe Biden Gets Creepy with Senator's Daughter

All this talk about the GOP's "war on women" takes yet another hit, this by the #2 guy in the DFL.

Start at the 1:20 mark, and tell me if you feel the actions of the Vice President with this little girl were appropriate:

If that was my daughter, niece, or granddaughter I would have broke that dirty old man's nose.  Laid him right the bleep out.

Good luck with your presidential run, Joe.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A True Version of "Hands Up, Don't Shoot"

Unlike the fiction that is perpetrated by the race-baiters and the media flame-fanners here in the USA, here is an actual depiction of a "hands up, don't shoot" moment:

How much more do we need to continue to see foisted upon us by these degenerates?  Are we as a civilized society just becoming numb to the abject brutality of the soldiers of Islam?  Where and how does this all end?

Pigs.  Filthy, filthy pigs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Wedding Ringer. Racist.

Here is what Sony is currently passing for entertainment.  Pay attention to the 1:10 mark:

Really?  "Damn it, white people!"? That's funny?

No, that's racist.  Politically correct, oh yes, but don't kid yourself.  It's racist as hell.  And as long as we continue with double standards like this, we'll go nowhere.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hunting with Ben - 2014 Edition

Yesterday, I posted about Big A and Little A, and their relationship which bonded over hunting.  That reminded me of my nephew Ben, and the annual hunting trip we enjoyed last September.  I didn't post up our experiences at the time as I had stopped writing as we were getting Mrs. YDP through her episode with cancer, but I can rectify that by posting up our hunting story now:

The trip started with my need to find a Federal Duck stamp from a post office, and since we were headed to my alma mater, I felt the post office in St. Joe would be easy to do.  The only problem is that I didn't know where the post office was there, so I called Fuzzy (not only my hunting buddy, but also my housemate in St. Joe for two years).  He didn't know either.  So I drove around until I found it.  The building just beyond the telephone pole is the St. Joseph, MN Post Office.  The picture was basically take from the driveway of the house in which I lived for two years.  How are Fuzzy and I doing?

Here's Ben on the field at SJU.  We ran around, went to the bookstore and bought a bunch of gear, and overall had a great time.

Here is Ben and the Yellow Dog.  At the time I took this shot, I was in the water picking up decoys and turned to see these two ginning at me.  I just had to drop what I was doing and capture the moment.

Back at the landing with an opening day limit not only of ducks, but also of geese.  We damn near limited out on memories as well.  Can't wait to add to the pile next year

Monday, January 5, 2015

Little A and Big A - Instant Hunting Buddies

Check this story out:

They had never met before, and by the end of the three day trip, this big, tough cop was choked up to see his new buddy go.

The world needs more stories and experiences such as this.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Music City Bowl Recap

Last week Mrs. YDP and I attended the Music City Bowl to watch our beloved Notre Dame play against LSU in Nashville.  To say we had a good time would have been an understatement.  We had an outstanding time, especially with our LSU-loving cousins who came up for the game.  Here are the photos to prove it:

Upon making it across the Mason-Dixon, a first stop was a far too infrequent breakfast at Waffle House
A first-day walk around downtown Nashville revealed a very Tolkien-esque ATT headquarters.  As an ATT customer, it seemed eerily appropriate

While ND fans appeared outnumbered around town, we held tough.  Surprising, "Tiger-baiting" was fairly infrequent.

Perhaps the last cigarette machine in America

In the bar with some "friends"

My cousin, looking good sporting a new hat

Enjoying the pre-game festivities

We had REALLY nice seats

 I'm wearing the Cam McDaniel #33 jersey in the crowd above.  Again, REALLY nice seats

 Despite being in the "South," it was damned cold.  Some halftime hot chocolate helped keep us warm
A victorious smile

When Mrs. YDP got cancer, I referenced Notre Dame a couple of times on her CaringBridge site.  We both love the team and the fact that it is (according to Lou Holtz) "the University of the Mother of God," thus the themes helped me focus on the fight that we had, and our push "onward to victory."  Thus, when she beat her cancer, and Notre Dame would play in a bowl fairly close to us, it seemed obvious to me that we'd go.  The fact that they'd play LSU and we could see family at the same time was a wonderful, wonderful bonus.

When Kyle Brindza kicked the game winner at the end, I grabbed Mrs. YDP in a massive bear hug and held her aloft for a long time.  We then walked up the steps of the stadium, and paused for the alma mater.  While neither of us are ND graduates, we still put our arms around each other and swayed to the beautiful song.  

Onward to victory, indeed.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015


2014 was a mess for me.  While we ended up being greatly blessed with how Mrs. YDP's cancer concluded, the year was all over the place.  Through nearly the entire year, I felt as if I was a small ship adrift on a raging ocean; unable to chart my course, and destined to end up on whatever shore to which I was pushed.

For someone like me that enjoys being in control, it was a humbling, haunting, and horrible year.  Time and again, I ended up throwing up my hands, looking toward heaven, and resigning myself to where I would be taken.  I did what I felt was best in order for me to survive my circumstances, and the fates had their way with me.  For nearly the whole damned year.


I'm making the call - 2015 is MY YEAR.  It is the year in which changes will come which will in turn impact how I live the rest of my life.  Change will come at work, how I live, how I interact with those whom I love, how I spend my time, and how I take care of myself.  And while I don't know exactly where the path will lead (ultimately, I know I am not in total control of that path), I do know that my path is going to change this year, and that I will accept my changes with a fervor and an optimism that I've never held before.

The storm has passed.  The skies have cleared.  The small ship in which I ride can be maneuvered, and I see stars to aid my navigation.  I have no idea on exactly which shores I will land, but I do know that I will land there, and that when I do, opportunity abounds.  

2015 is my year.  I'm putting it out there to the universe, to God, and to anyone else that will listen (especially myself):  2015 is MY YEAR.  

Godspeed to me.    

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Every year we're granted the opportunity to leverage the turning of the calendar to change things.  Yes, we're afforded the ability to change our lives every day, but the overt change of a thing like a year adds a nice layer of gravity to the equation.  Hence, resolutions get set, commitments made, and optimism reigns.

Toward that end, here's wishing you success on your goals for the coming year.  I hope your year is one filled with health, love, and happiness, and that it turns out just like you want.  And, in the event that you fall off of one or two or a dozen of those resolutions, know that it happens.  Cut yourself some slack, dust yourself off, and get back on them.  Just because they've been blown once does not mean that the whole year is shot.  Hence, if the only resolution you adopt is to "keep going, even when I screw up," you've just about guaranteed yourself a successful 2015.

Peace, love, happiness, health - I wish all they are all yours in abundance in the coming calendar year.  

Let's all work together and make it a good one for each other.  Happy New Year!