Monday, February 27, 2017

Islam Meets Green Bay

You can't make this up, and from our local NCB affiliate here in Green Bay:

GREEN BAY - The Islamic Society of Wisconsin's Mosque, 1512 Velp Ave., was damaged when it was broken into on Monday by a 60-year-old Green Bay man.

John Michael Wescott, who had recently been released from jail prior to the incident, has been charged with criminal damage to property and trespassing.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says it's not a hate crime.

Wescott was intoxicated when he broke into the mosque with ribs, beer and cigarettes.

Given that pork, alcohol, and tobacco are most clearly haram in Islam, this guy was batting 1.000 in inappropriate in his drunken search for a place to party.

This can only happen in Green Bay...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today's Reading - Matthew 6:24-34

A very appropriate Gospel from today's mass:

Jesus said to his disciples:
"No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?'or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

Sufficient for a day is its own evil."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Re-Flex - The Politics of Dancing

This is the best post on politics that you'll read all week:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Christian Slater as The Wolf

A top-named actor in a quite effective ad:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday Night Mass

Tuesdays are my worst days.  At work, it represents the cumulation of two days of stress, panic, horrible time management, accusations, and drama.  

Monday is bad.  Really bad.  Tuesday is worse.

Because it is so crappy, I've been going to mass Tuesday nights.  I can't do daily mass in the mornings as I'm expected to have my butt in my seat by 7:00AM every work day, however one day per week we have a mass at night, and at 6:30PM it is just late enough for me to make it there if I protect my schedule enough at work.

What a salve it has been.  Many times, mired in the garbage that is my standard Tuesday, I think hard about the fact that I'll force things to leave on time, and will be able to partake of the Eucharist later if I can just muddle through.

It is a small mass in our chapel and is usually presided by my favorite priest, Fr. Scott.  A good-looking 20 something, Fr. Scott is as hilarious as he is passionate about our Lord.  He's quick with the one-liners as well as connecting his homily to the gospel.  I'll likely be writing of the best lines he's used in some future post (here's a taste - in closing mass last month, he stated, "Please let us pray for Fr. John on his trip to Florida.  Let us pray for his safe travels and that he returns to us refreshed.  Amen.  Since Fr. John is leaving, and I'll be there alone, and that means there will be a major rager in the rectory all week long, so stop on by, but BYOB.")

It is just what I need at the end of what has usually been two crappy days.  And you know what?  The rest of the week is pretty darned good as a result.

I don't think that's a coincidence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Randy Wants Me Dead

A couple of months ago a guy called me up at work and wanted me to basically pay him money for him to ride around and advertise our business.  I listened to his pitch, told him I'd get back to him, then completely forgot about it.

Turns out he didn't forget about it.  Not in the least.  Here's the voicemail he left me:

I'm not sure that I've ever had someone threaten to kill me before.  

Fun times.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mom

75 years ago today my Mom was born.  My siblings and I were able to spend a long weekend with her in Chicago celebrating that incredible milestone.  Our agenda was a full one:

  • We had an incredible lunch a Eataly
  • Took an architectural boat tour up the Chicago river
  • Saw a production of Hamilton that has all of us still completely blown away
  • Breakfasted at Trump's restaurant (Michelin 2-Star) at his shiny, new tower
  • Walked much of the city - logging over 10 miles hiking on Saturday alone (and Mom not only kept up, but led much of the charge)
  • Relished a fantastic dinner at Blackbird (Michelin 1-Star) where we toasted Mom over Dom Perignon, a 100 point Cab, and a desert wine that was casked in the year of her birth - 1942.
  • Ate the best pancakes I've ever had in my life
  • All done in the splendor of 60 degree weather in Chicago in mid-February
Though it all we enjoyed the unique opportunity to just be a core family.  All of this was achieved despite my sister fighting through a terrible cold, but absolutely gutting it out for the entire event.

I think Mom loved it.  I know I did, and it will be one of those trips that we'll talk about every time we gather for the rest of our lives.   

In looking back, we did a lot.  However, compared to all Mom has done for all of us, the ledger didn't even tilt.  We could do weekends like this for decades and still not repay the debt that we all owe her.  She is truly that incredible, and is truly that influential on our lives, both past and present.

Happy birthday, Mom.  You are loved more than you could ever know. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Heart Based Decision Making

From a recent blog post by Dan Rockwell comes a really unique method of decision making.  As opposed to traditional methods of decision making, Rockwell suggests we also look inside our hearts and answer the following:

What does courage/confidence tell you to do?
What does humility tell you to do?
What does integrity/honesty/openness tell you to do?
What does flexibility/agility tell you to do?
What does perseverance tell you to do?
What does compassion/kindness tell you to do?
What does decisiveness tell you to do?
What does respect for others tell you to do?
What does passion tell you to do?

What does seeking the best interests of others tell you to do?

This isn't the end-all of decision making (writing out all of the pluses and minuses still works for this scribe), but it is another factor to weigh into the equation.

Pretty enlightening stuff, especially when applied.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Progressive" is Not Progressive

Good video that calls out a lot of the discrepancies that I see with the progressive movement.  Interesting stuff:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gustav Nyquist High Stick on Spurgeon

It is one thing to high stick a guy and put his livelihood at risk.  It is another thing altogether to lie about your motivations:

Be a man, for Pete's sake, Gustav.  You'll have the chance to do so when the NHL suspends you, so don't blow it.

Dirty play = dirty player.  Period.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To My Valentine

Here we are again, huh?  In a life full of twists and turns we stand at a crossroads, wondering what is the best thing for us to do.  That seems to happen a lot to us, and maybe we're given this many opportunities because we can handle it.  Or maybe it's just the way life is.

Regardless, we've been through a lot:  amazing times that are burned into my memory, sad periods of loss that at times felt unbearable, and scary times as we fought, and beat cancer.  Through them all, all I need to to is just turn to my right and there you are.  Right beside me.  Firm grip on my hand.  Always.

The older I get, the more I recognize how much I don't know.  Rarely are things ever black and white, and I'm constantly amazed at how many hues of gray there are.  However, there are a couple of things that are constant.  The Vikings will break my heart.  A beautiful sunrise is thrilling.  And I love you more than any words I can put down on this blog.

That has never changed.  It will never change.  And that is why, no matter what life throws at us, we'll get through it, and we'll ultimately look back and smile because we did it together.

Like we always do.

I love you so very much.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Not sure what is happening here at camp YDP, but folks, I am stuck.  For the past number of months and for the life of me, I simply cannot get going.  I used to pride myself on a strong work ethic, but it has all but left me.  Oh, I'm still cranking things out at work, although that has slipped some as well.  However, it is the things outside of work that has me concerned.

This blog is a prime example.  I used to be proud that I'd have a new post every day.  Writing not only felt cathartic, but it was a creative muscle that I flat needed to exercise.  Now, I feel empty, and that I have nothing to offer.

Tasks around the house are slipping.  Even big ones like doing Christmas cards and my annual calendar for my hunting crew just flat didn't happen.  

I'm not sure what is driving it, but it is of some concern.  I'll keep you posted, likewise, you'll know how I'm doing by the frequency of what you see posted here.

Wish me luck... 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Most Level-Headed Review of Our Political Situation You'll Read

Matthew Continetti over at the Washington Free Beacon penned a fantastic recap of the state of our politics right now.  It is worth the full read, and here's a taste:

Here, then, is the situation: The Republican Party won an upset victory thanks to its geographic strength, the weakness of the Democratic candidate, and the qualities of a GOP nominee who deviated from party orthodoxy on immigration, trade, and war, and who also had the power to command huge audiences on both social and broadcast media. While the public has serious doubts about the character of its new president, it is divided on the question of his job performance to date, with Trump maintaining his core support. His positions also remain popular.

The opposition party, meanwhile, has been driven to its coastal enclaves, and is so terrified of its far-left base that it is doing anything it can to stop the president, including boycotting committee votes, slowing down the confirmation process to a pace not seen since George Washington was president, breaking centuries of precedent to testify against fellow senators, and calling a man who won recognition from the NAACP a racist on the Senate floor. Joining the Democrats are the New York and D.C. media and the cultural establishment in Hollywood, all of which feel so liberated and empowered by membership in the "resistance" to an incipient strongman that they jump on false stories about him, his team, his supporters, and his election.

Kind of sums things up perfectly, doesn't it?  

I just wonder how long all of this will last.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

SJU Aghast at Students Pro-Trump Chant

Last weekend, some SJU students chanted "Build the wall," while riding on the Benny Bus.

The horror.

Such behavior cannot stand without school commentary, and that is exactly what happened:

Dear CSB and SJU Students, Faculty and Staff,           

We write in response to the incident on The Link bus this past weekend, in which students chanted, “Build that wall.”  

These actions sadden and disappoint us. This behavior on The Link does not meet the expectations we have of each other and does not fit our community norms or reflect our Benedictine values. We are better than this as a community.   

There is no doubt that the political world beyond our campuses is fraught with tensions and division, but it is our hope and belief that CSB and SJU can offer a model for civil discourse and be a place where we can freely exchange ideas and challenge each other in ways that make us all more open to and understanding of each other. 

The very nature of our academic institutions is built on the free exchange of ideas.  Yet at the same time we are Benedictine and Catholic institutions in which we have commitments to the community and the individuals that make it up.  We believe as a community that there are more responsible ways to exercise the freedom of expression we have as individuals.   

We continue to seek ways to build the kind of community we want CSB and SJU to be. We will seek and rely on your work to help us.  

Mary Dana Hinton, Ph.D.                           Michael Hemesath, Ph.D. 
President                                                       President 

College of Saint Benedict                            Saint John’s University

In reading the comments on Facebook, you might have thought these students had committed mass murder, and that this was prima facie evidence of the racism rampant at SJU.  Another day, another reason for liberals to be "outraged."

I wonder if the students had chanted something else, say something supportive of Planned Parenthood and their abortion practices, what the administration would have done.

Quick answer - as a "Benedictine and a Catholic" institution they would have done nothing, and that tells you everything you need to know about this situation. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl Recap

Normally, on the day after the Super Bowl we conduct a review of the advertising, and we'll get to that in tomorrow's installment.  However, for today, I'd be negligent if I didn't tip my hat to the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

Atlanta had the game won.  Late in the 3rd quarter, they were up 25 points.

25 points!

Mathematically, it'd be possible for Brady and the Patriots to come back, but they'd need to score on every possession, stop Atlanta on every possession, and stop them quickly.

And that is exactly what they did.

Not only that, but New England would need two late touchdowns, plus two-point conversions for both of them.  Failure of any of it meant a loss.  However, the Patriots were damn-near perfect in their execution, and for the first time in the history of the Super Bowl the game was forced to overtime.

Upon winning the flip of the coin and receiving the ball, pretty much everyone knew that New England would drive down the field, and that is exactly what they did.  Their only mistake was a potentially catastrophic one, as Brady forced a pass to Bennett that easily could have been picked off.  Regardless, Atlanta failed to make the play, and in a microcosm of the game itself, Brady was given a chance to hang around, and when you do that you ultimately pay.

With this latest victory, Brady has cemented himself as the greatest NFL quarterback to every play the game.  What a warrior.  What a winner.

What a game.    

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Stand of Oaks - Sterling

Taken from a house concert, and using a borrowed guitar and the voices of his audience, my favorite song of his is knocked out of the park:

Strand Of Oaks - Sterling - House Show from Erik Ljung on Vimeo.

This year I'm gonna work on stability
This year I'm gonna try and keep my friends close to me
And I hope one day to have half as much of my grandpa's integrity
And I saw him comin'

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sunsweet Ones Prune Commercial

I've seen this commercial about a million times, and for the life of me I can't believe that the ad agency and Sunsweet's marketing team felt that the girl's reaction upon eating their product is something that is going to be effective in selling more of their product:

Her voice may say "I love these," but her face is saying "I going to freaking puke!"

How in the world did this ever find the air?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Facebook - Bastion of the Anti-Trump Unhinged

The election of Trump has set folks on the left completely off.  As a result, for many Facebook has become nothing but a constant screed against everything the new president is doing.  Contrary opinions are viewed as either wildly ignorant at best or abjectly racist at the worst.

I've even had a "friend" post that those that voted for Trump need to unfriend her because she can't harbor a relationship with those that hate.  Hypocrisy,  table of one...

Needless to say, I took her up on her offer.  I did so not because I was fearful of offending her.  I did so because I grew tired of multiple posts per day on how big of an idiot I am.

In fact, I believe that over the past two months, I've unfriended about a third of my contacts on Facebook.  Seriously.  I did so not because I couldn't consider a differing opinion.  I did so because I grew weary from being constantly insulted and judged.  I also have about 6 more friends on the watch list.  We'll see.

Facebook is where I want to hear about your family, your vacations, what you had for dinner, and your thoughts on the local sports team.  I simply could not care less about what your political pontification of the day is, and that goes double for those that insult my motivations, intelligence, and morality.  

Never, never post anything political on Facebook.  Ever.  That goes doubly true for LinkedIn (which is another rant in and of itself).  If you want to talk politics, religion, or anything else divisive, take it to a blog like this and invite folks in to see what you've written.  Until then, keep your vitriol for those that don't share your political views to yourself.

And post up a picture of your kid or something.