Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Feminism and Islam - A Disconnect

Attached is a verbal screed that gets to something that we've been trying to reconcile here for years - how leftists (especially women and homosexuals) seek to protect Islam, when in actuality the religion would subjugate them at best, or torture and kill them at worst.

If someone can explain how the left reconciles all of this, I'm all ears:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Message from Ronald Reagan

I will be forever thankful that I was alive and aware of the greatest president we had since Kennedy.

God bless our fallen heroes.  Forever, and especially today.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gord Downie Battling Brain Cancer

Gord Downie, lead singer and creative genius behind the Canadian rock group The Tragically Hip has recently announced that he has terminal brain cancer.  For those of you unaware of The Hip, they're Canada's version of U2 - slightly similar style and slightly similar tenure.  Unfortunately for the band and for US music fans, they never really crossed over to any extent.

Too bad.  The Hip has a masterful library of work, and I'd encourage any music fan to delve into it.  Regardless of tastes and genres, you'll be likely to find something that resonates with you.  They are that diverse and that good.

For Downie, the news has to be devastating.  How could it not be?  So what does he do with his last days, with cancer eating ever further into him?  He goes on the road.

Concerns about his heath also translate to concerns about his ability to perform.  However, a neurologist familiar with the case weighed in: 

The tumour, lodged in the left temporal lobe, interferes with the area of the brain that controls both speech and short-term memory. But Perry explained that lyrical memory — which controls the ability to sing and remember songs — are stored differently, and he said he did not anticipate any problems in those areas.

That's why my Dad, mired in Pick's Disease and unable to speak, could clearly belt out "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when prompted.  Amazing.

For music fans, there has been so much loss of late.  Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey.  Hence, get out and see Gord and the boys before it is too late.  As a three time Hip show veteran, I guarantee it will be on of your "favourite" concerts ever.

In the mean time, keep fighting, Gordie.  You're a treasure, and we're praying for you.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

At What Age are We Happiest?

A recent study by Bank of America / Merrill Lynch shows the ages in which folks report their level of happiness.  It's pretty interesting stuff:

I suppose this data is intuitive: kids and seniors - those with the fewest responsibilities, reported the highest levels of well being.  Those of us at the age where worries like parents, kids, career, and impending retirement have us with the least amount of satisfaction.  

Unfortunately, I'm clearly in that group.  Work responsibilities are tough, and there's very little overt satisfaction.  Once one hits a certain level, the "atta boys" given are few and far in between.  One is just expected to kick butt, or be fired.  Hence, job satisfaction needs to be intrinsic.  However, as my own worst critic, that's not always a good configuration.

The good news in all of this is that I'm at the bottom, and that things get better from here.  In fact, things absolutely take off upon retirement, and it looks fabulous.  Thus, I need to leverage the last of my earning years as best I can, and get to that point.  

Where are you on the graph, and does it match how you feel?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Biggest Walleye of My Life

In fishing Leech Lake last Sunday, I hooked into the biggest walleye of my life.  

Ever since I was young, I've wanted a walleye big enough to be worthy of hanging on my wall.  My self-imposed limit for the size of this fish was 30", and while I've caught many up to 28" in my 45 years of fishing, I've not boated a 30".  Oh, I may have hooked into one which broke my line, but I could never be sure it was my wall-hanger.

I take you now to the lake.  The day was incredibly rough, with winds blowing over 20MPH from the south.  As such, we were fishing the south end of the lake; it was far too rough to venture elsewhere.  The spot we were fishing shouldn't have held fish as the wind was way wrong, but it was the only place where the water was calm enough for us to be safe.

While our water was somewhat calm, the wind was still howling.  Our boat was a pontoon, and was being skipped across the water at a really fast rate, hence we were using massive jigs to try and have our bait maintain contact with the bottom, where the fish live.

We made drifts for a couple of hours, and watched some other boats land fish, but we could not raise one ourselves.  Then, near the end of our stint, something smacked the living hell out of massive jig.  We were at the end of our drift, and had now drifted south enough for us to be taking big swells against the boat.  

I knew I had a massive fish right away, and I changed my reel to allow me to back-reel and offer the fish some room to fight.  And fight me she did.  She made a couple of big runs which stripped line, and with us moving so fast in the boat, it made it all the more difficult to gain ground on her.  

But gain I did.  As much as the fish was fighting, I believe that I caught a massive northern, or perhaps even a muskie.  However, that all went out the window when I first spied her - she was a walleye, and a complete monster.

She was nearly played out, and I soon had her at the surface to be netted.  We all got a great look at her, and my biggest fish of the day just a day prior - a large 26" - looked puny in comparison.  She was all of 30", perhaps much larger.

Our borrowed net was too small, and my buddy manning it was having a tough time with the fish.  Likewise, since we were in a pontoon in heavy waves, it was hard to get a good angle on the fish to net it.  I moved back in the boat in attempt to drag the fish closer, and then shifted to the left at the request of the netter in order to bring the fish in.  Just then my netter stood up just a little, and his shoulder touched against my line which was now over him.  That's all the taught line needed, and it immediately snapped at his shoulder.  

My dream fish - my wall fish - sat there at the surface for a second, with my massive green jig in her mouth, and then disappeared to the safety of the bottom.  Just like that, she was gone.

The good news is that I indeed got not only a good but a great look at her.  And with the day's previous perspective of a 26", I had a really good idea about her size.  Hence, there is no guessing as to what she was.

The bad news, of course, is that she didn't get landed.  No picture exists.  It is like hitting the stick on a par three with your drive - nice shot, but if the ball didn't end up in the hole, it's not an ace.  Hence, no replica will be developed, and the wall remains bare.  

The only other good news is that I saved myself about $700 on a fancy replica.

Now, please excuse me as I hit the water in search of a massive walleye sporting a big green jig in her cheek.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fishing Report from Leech Lake

This past week marked the Gang of Four fishing trip.  While it has not been annual, it has carried on for 4 decades now.  

Day one found us with limited wind, but enough to push us into a couple of keeper walleye and a massive amount of northern pike.  Indeed, we were able to ice our needs for our fish fry in the first day, so the pressure to produce was off the remainder of the weekend.

The next day held little wind as well, and we trekked across the massive lake in search of some kind of breeze that would push our boat and baits around.  After logging many miles, we happened to the east end of famed Pelican Island and started a drift on an ever-so-slight wind.  

It proved to be enough.

In the next two hours, we caught nearly 20 walleyes.  Not a one of them were keepers as they were all too big, but again, we already had what we needed in the freezer.  So we stayed there and caught and released fish like these (which were caught simultaneously):

Our buddy Pauly was on fire as well, and landed this beauty:

The following day, we met with massive winds, which limited our options.  Here are the boys doing their best to keep Pauly warm:

While we didn't catch a lot of fish on our last day, I did end up hooking into the biggest fish of my life.  More details on that tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday Song Share: Holly Williams - Drinkin'

Songs pretty much don't get more country than this.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Prince's Dream Factory Shines a Light on His Death

Prince's death shocked a lot of people.  We just flat didn't see it coming.

I was on a run yesterday morning when Prince's Dream Factory came on.  Based on the lyrics, maybe we should have known:

This is what it's like
In the Dream Factory, oh

Hollyrock ain't all it seems
Don't get too serious, it's just a dream
Don't forget your friends, they're all you've got
Listen to the story of a man I am not

Party all night, hangin' out
In the streets more than I be at home
I take a pill to wipe away my doubts
But a pill can't cure my bein' alone

Vodka and 7 straight to my brain
Put me under false impressions
Hide all my pain
Somebody help me, I'm losing control

This is what it's like
In the Dream Factory, oh

Everybody got the big dreams
(Hey lordy)
But nobody got the bucks
Love and trust will help you make it in a world
Where there ain't no love, ain't no love

Dig, a man came up to me
Smile in his eyes, he told me
I was a saint, so I'm quittin' my friends
Much to their surprise

I can't live up to the picture that they paint
Ah, somebody help me
I'm losing control

I guess I'm just a sucker
In the Dream Factory, oh

La, la, la, la, la
Got to drive

(It's just a dream)
(It's just a dream)
(It's just a dream)
Look out

Do you wanna party?
Do want a pill?
How about a false impression?
(Thrills, spills, chills)

This is what it's like
In the Dream Factory, oh

Ow, yeah
Up a little bit
(Dream Factory, oh)
Party all night, hang up on the side

I said uh
(Do you wanna party?)
I can't make up my mind
(How about a false impression?)

I can't seem to live with no pictures
(Thrills, spills, chills)
Somebody got to help me
(Just a sucker)

I'm losing control
(Just a sucker)
I guess I'm just a sucker
In the Dream Factory, oh

Guess I'm just a sucker
In the Dream Factory, oh
(Just a sucker, motherfucker)

A Great Interview Technique for Leadership

During a job search last year, I happened to be presented with the best interview question that I think I have encountered in my career.  As I was conversing with the recruiter in my second round with him, he asked me the following: “In one word or small phrase, please provide me three examples of the best boss that you ever had.”

I have been fortunate to have worked for some incredible CEOs in my history, thus I provided the recruiter with an amalgam of their traits. “Humble,” I said as my first example. “Impeccably, honest, ethical and moral. Finally, deep care about his team.” “Tell me more about ‘humble’,” the recruiter inquired. “Easy,” I replied, “This CEO was extremely comfortable in his own skin, and confident in his leadership. As such, he didn’t have the need to be the smartest guy in the room. In fact, in many instances, he didn’t want to be. He hired experts, then depended on them to execute. That being said, he was constantly seeking knowledge, and was never afraid to learn, even by asking questions that to others may have seem rudimentary.”

“Great,” the recruiter responded, “Let’s do the same exercise, but this time for your worst boss.” Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), I had good experiences with CEOs that were, in my opinion, train wrecks. Again, I presented an amalgam of their traits. “Massive ego. A chaos creator. A vulgar screamer.” “What does ‘chaos creator’ mean?” asked the recruiter. “This particular CEO wasn’t happy unless there was conflict. He’d take overt steps to pit departments against each other. I believe he felt conflict made for a better result, but in actuality, the amount of time spent posturing and playing political games ended up taking far more time than what was spent on actually driving the business.”

At that point the recruiter went about asking more mundane questions, and in the middle of it I interrupted him, as I was curious about the exercise we had just completed. The recruiter stated, “I ask these questions of all of serious candidates. In my experience, those positive traits of previous leaders are the things candidates model their leadership after. Likewise, the negative traits are those things that have been burned into the candidate to the point where they’d never employ them in their leadership style. In essence, instead of a candidate telling me what kind of leader they are, I dig a little deeper and get what I feel is better insight, and see for myself what kind of leader they’ll be.”

What great insight! Is it perfect? No, there’s not an interview question or technique that is. But it does provide a unique perspective. Likewise, for the candidate, it gives a lot of fodder for examining what they have learned by the leadership of others.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans

If you know a vegan, you know that this is pretty darned close to the truth:

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Left and Their View on Islam

This one graphic immediately nails what the world is like in the mind of progressives:

This isn't exaggeration.  This is truth.

Why is that?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fr. Don Provides Lots to Chew On

Fr. Don, in his post from yesterday, provided some really thought-provoking stuff for me.  In two simple paragraphs, he packs a lot.  Hence, I'd like to share it here in its entirety:

"Since you have been raised up in the company with Christ..., be intent on things above rather than on things on earth. After all, you have died! Your life is hidden now with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-2). Christian belief that by our faith and baptism the risen Christ is already living in and operative in us is the encouraging framework within which we can see the less appetizing facts of life. If we are sorrowing because of enduring disagreements in the family, pain and illness, difficult financial circumstances, Colossians encourages us to still have a deep down confidence that God will enable us to live through this. If our faith makes others ignore us or consider us out of touch, even attack us, that is all a sharing in the cross of Christ which precedes a full resurrection.

Being risen with Christ, in other words, is no simple cure-all for serious, even desperate human situations. But it can encourage us to hope and trust that God does not mean this desperate situation to be the end, that God can, with the available human resources, help us through this, even bring good from it. Faith in Christ and our share in His risen life do not take us out of the mess and misery of human life. It offers us a way through all this with hope and strength. Celebrating Christ's presence at the Eucharist under the forms of such simple things as bread and wine reminds us that even amid the agony, discouragement, and drudgery of daily life we have God-given strength for facing them.

I hope you found something in these words like I did, and I hope you have a great Sunday

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday Song Share: Rickie Lee Jones - Last Chance Texaco

 A wonderful use of metaphor to create the finest song she's ever written.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Songs for My Brother

It's our annual staple here at YDP - on my brother's birthday we celebrate by gifting him some music.  Doesn't have to be new (although a lot is), it just has to be what's on heavy rotation here currently at YDP headquarters.

Ready for this year's installment?  OK, here we go:

Cuz I'm Here - Greyhounds: I'm a big fan of blue-eyed soul, and these guys are arguably the best in the business right now.  Really want to see these guys live.

1000 X's & O's - Prince:  With his recent passing, it would seem a miss not to include some Prince in this lineup.  While his newer stuff is a little more difficult to grasp, this is a recent one that really resonated with me.

 As I Walk Away - Yuck:  Yuck is making music right now that most bands wish they could make.  A lot are shooting for this kind of sound, but lack a lot of cleanliness and melody.  These guys are doing it very well.

Spirits - The Strumbellas: The award winner for the song on this list that will get stuck in your head all day.

Astonished Man - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down: Everyone has a story of how they were into a band well before they hit it big.  I'd like to think that applied to me with Thao.  There is no hotter band than this right now, and I've been enjoying their unique vibe for years.  A bit of an acquired taste, but good stuff.

Mistakes - Lake Street Dive: More blue-eyed soul?  More Minneapolis connections?  Yes, please, to both.

Lazarus - David Bowie: If we're doing Prince, we're doing Bowie too.  This is so, so Bowie on a lot of levels, and is arguably his greatest song ever.  

Willow - Israel Nash: I have been way into this guy for a while now.  I just flat love a pedal steel guitar, especially when it shows up in unexpected places.  He uses it a ton, and this is one great example.  Cool band, cool sound.

Lover Come Back - City and Colour: Almost a pop effort from these guys.  Highly enjoyable little tune.

Bad Blood - Ryan Adams: Ryan took Taylor Swift's 1989 album and covered the whole damned thing, track for track.  He even named it the same thing.  You'd think it would suck, right?  No way.  The reworked songs have added depth and are frankly incredible.  This is just one example.  The whole album is worth a listen.

With a Little Help from My Friends - Joe Cocker: Speaking of covers, here is a guy that usually did them very well.  While this song is very old, it has aged well.  

Fire Away - Chris Stapleton: The lone country representation from this list.  Voice sounds familiarly like Springsteen in some instances.  And, of course, there's a pedal steel guitar...

Crazy Mary - Pearl Jam: I'm not a fan of Pearl Jam - not at all.  There are only two songs in their entire library that resonate with me.  This is one of them.  The Victoria Williams classic is reworked exceptionally well here, and really matches the weirdness of the song.  

The Ecstasy of Gold - Ennio Morricone: From The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, this track is finding its way into a couple of pieces of current advertising.  Metallica actually used this as their walk-up music for one of their tours.  Good tune to have playing when humping up a hill during a jog or on a bike

She Can't Tell - MOTHXR: I usually don't go for the more electronic stuff, but the guitar and funkiness of this one puts it on this year's list.

Head Over Heels - JD McPherson: Hard core old school 50's rock and roll.  This guy is a real treasure.  

That's this year's installment.  Happy birthday, bro.  Can't want to see you in person and talk about this (and about 100 other things...)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Duracell Ad on Hearing Loss

As someone who loves somebody with hearing loss, I found this depiction from Duracell to be pretty much the most accurate reflection that I've ever seen:

While the baby thing was over the top, the rest of it remains quite accurate.  

Hearing loss in incredibly hard.  The entire world assumes you can hear just like everyone else, and accommodations are few.  It's not for the weak.

And that's one of the reasons why I admire and love my wife so much. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Do Well on Skype Interviews

This is really great content for those of us that use Skype (or similar technologies) for interviews and/or meetings:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gophers Basketball in Freefall

Coming off their worst season since I can remember, the Gopher Men's Basketball program appeared to have nowhere to go but up.  However, with the recent jailing of Reggie Lynch on sexual assault charges, things just got worse.

It is astonishing how far this program has fallen, and it has everything to do with the type of men that have been entered into the program.  Consider the following, all during Coach Pitino's tenure :

  • 2 players arrested
  • 2 dismissed from the program for conduct issues 
  • 3 others suspended following the release of a sex tape on one of the player’s social media accounts 
These are some pretty incredible stats.  One would like to believe that they reflect an outlier in behavior, however their propensity is far from an outlier.  This looks to be a pretty damn big issue.

Ultimately, this falls on Pitino.  Sure, he's not the one committing these acts.  But he is the one finding, coaching, and ultimately responsible for the guys committing these acts.

Nobody wants to be a part of a team of thugs and criminals.  Nobody wants to be part of a team of bad players either.

Pitino has both.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Sound of Silence

A lot is being made of Disturbed cover version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic The Sound of Silence.  I do appreciate those that, when covering a song, put their own spin on it, and Disturbed clearly does that:

However, I have two big issues with the Disturbed version of the song:

1) The auto-tune.  Can anyone sing without it anymore?  Holy crap, I'm so tired of hearing it.
2) What made the original great - not only great, but majestic - were the harmonies.  That is what truly makes the song.

So, if one is looking for a cover, I suggest one looks up Tim and Phil Hanseroff's cover.  The twin brothers are part of Brandi Carlile's band, and every once and a while, they'll do it in concert.  Here's an example:

No huge orchestration.  No major accompaniment.  No freaking auto-tune.  Just a couple of brothers, a whole lot of harmony, and even more talent.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday Song Share: Bob Dylan - Thunder on the Mountain

I was thinkin' 'bout Alicia Keys
Couldn't keep from crying
She was born in Hell's Kitchen 
I was living down the line
I'm wonderin' where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I've been lookin' for her even clear through Tennessee

Friday, May 6, 2016

In Praise of Captain America

In many instances, I'm still a ten-year-old kid.  The things I believe in, well, many of them haven't changed all that much.  I'm wiser, indeed, but my core is pretty much the same.

Back then, I was a massive fan of Captain America.  I loved the fact that he was unabashedly for our country.  He was proud to wear our colors.  His hallmark - a shield - was designed for defense, but could be lethal in offensive mode as well.  He held a soldier's level of bravery, ferocity, and love of country.  And I loved every damn thing about him.

When Marvel started to bring my childhood super heroes to the big screen, I feared that they'd be watered down, or morphed to fit some cause du jour.  

I could not have been more wrong.

Here is perhaps the finest example from a scene in the first Avengers movie.  After Thor comes and takes Loki away, Cap feels the need to do something about it:

That's why I so damned excited for the next Marvel installment.  It's a heavy dose of Captain America - my Captain America:

51 years old, and still in love with a comic book hero...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Waiting in the Bushes of Love

The guys from Bad Lip Reading have penned a little song for an original Star Wars lip reading.  Prepare to have this thing stuck in your head for the rest of the week:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rapala Cats Billboard

As part of my job, I'm responsible for all of our marketing touch points - TV, radio, digital, newspapers - you name it.  One component, albeit a small one for us, is billboard advertising (or, as we say in the industry, out-of-home advertising).

We had an agency visiting us last week and were doing some brainstorming around leveraging billboards as a hedge from getting our mass media messages bumped during the election cycle (by law, political ads can "bump" previously purchased, traditional ads.  Big surprise there, right?).

During our conversations, I sung the praises of Rapala's billboard advertising.  Rapala is a hard bait for fishing, and a damned fine one at that.  As such, one wouldn't think that billboard would be the best vehicle for them, but they use it almost exclusively.  

But more than that, they're usually hilarious.  

Usually they just show their product, a huge Rapala logo, and some creative tag line.  Among those I've seen are:

More hits than Google
Take a fish boating
Go catching
Bass lip piercing kit
Hits Happen
Captain Phillip DeFishcooler
Bass Friends Forever

However, my favorite all-time billboard was one from 2006.  The board was on I-394 out of Minneapolis, and just featured their product and a logo.  No catchy tagline was included.  I was really curious and a little put off, because their billboards are usually so clever.

A couple of days later, a cat appeared sitting atop their billboard.  A few days later, another cat joined in.  Here's how it progressed:

This campaign is 10 years old, and still sticks with me.  It helps that I'm a huge Rapala fanboy (I'll be doing my share of trolling with them here in a couple of weeks), but still, one has to admit that this is one clever campaign.

Monday, May 2, 2016

President Called Nigger at White House Correspondents' Dinner

And, in a continued state of a lack of any kind of decorum whatsoever, President Obama pounds his chest and is OK with it:

How is this OK?  If your kid was watching this, how would you explain it?

This is perhaps the greatest example of many that this guy wants to be a celebrity way, way more than he wants to be a President.

Laughing at Alzheimers

Last week Variety reported that Will Ferrell had signed onto a comedy project to play Ronald Reagan with Alzheimer's disease.


He was immediately met with two open letters from Reagan's children on why this was a bad idea.  In a rare moment of good judgement, Ferrell walked away from the project.

There are 3 million cases of Alzheimer's disease in the US every year.  Three million families ripped apart.  Three million lives stolen.  There's not a damned thing funny about it.  It is sorrow, expense, sadness, and pain.  Even after the loved one dies, the disease eats away at those left behind.

Comedy gold.

It is shocking to me that one can hate one's political opponents so much that one would entertain something like this.  

And to think that conservatives are called the practitioners of hate... 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why Twitter Sucks

I ache for what our society is becoming...