Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Beck - Dreams

A couple of weeks ago I saw Beck open for U2 in Minneapolis.  At the time, I lamented that his playlist was older stuff, which I felt a miss as some of his newest stuff is outstanding.

Here's an example, with a video produced by a fan.  While typically those types of videos kind of suck, this one is surprisingly good.  

If the video is not your cup of tea, do enjoy the music

Just close your eyes and you're gone...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Our Last Piece of Common Ground is Gone

The politicization of our sports marks the end of any remaining common ground in our lives.  Everything is now politics:

  • Social media
  • Journalism
  • Popular culture and media
  • Church
  • Work
  • Police and safety
  • Free speech
  • Even the color of our skin
  • Sports and leisure

We as a society no longer have something by which we can gather around a water cooler and all agree.  It is now all contention, all the time.  We're all in a constant state of battle, and a side needs to be chosen.

Who would have thought that showing disrespect to the national anthem is now a side?  Trump got involved, the stakes got upped, and now kneeling during the song is not necessarily a repudiation of the country per se, but more a repudiation of him as a president. 

What happens when a segment of fans start joining the players in "taking a knee?"  I honestly think when that happens there is going to be bloodshed in the stands.

I think this all gets a lot worse before it gets better.  Where does this end?  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NFL Viewership Down 11%

According to the latest numbers from Nielsen, through week three of the NFL schedule viewership is down 11% to last year.  There are a number of things at play here:

  • Cord-cutting continues unabated and is likely one of the culprits contributing to this reduction. 
  • The NFL has been losing popularity starting a couple of years ago, being impacted by things as vast as concerns about player safety, to off the field behavior of players, to the politicization of sports writers and ESPN.
  • People are really ticked at this national anthem mess and football is clearly losing some folks due to this.  While it likely doesn't account for the entire reduction, it certainly is having an impact.
The NFL is big business, and if a big business suddenly finds itself down 11% year-over-year, panic sets in.  Despite this, the NFL seems to not have a plan on what they're going to do, other than hoping this blows over.

Here's a hint for the NFL - it ain't blowing over anytime soon.

As one that used to do a lot of TV advertising and bought a lot of NFL commercial time, the NFL is massively expensive.  They could command those huge rates due to the audience they delivered.  Now that the audience is in free fall, advertisers can quickly find better places to spend their money.  This thing is tipping over right before our eyes.

The NFL better get their arms around this.  It can easily start impacting their season ticket base, which can then impact their ability to sell out, which then impacts their ability to broadcast games.  We're a long way from that happening right now, but that will be how the toilet circles if it does happen.

We'll see.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sunday Night Blues

For years, I used to hate Sunday nights.  Actually, it started about 3:00 on Sunday.  That's the point where the realization kicked in that work started tomorrow.

The early part of the week was the worst thing, too - lousy meetings, way more work than time (or support), and a full week with little let-up.

I'd usually make the mistake of digging into my email and realizing just how much I had to do.  I'd usually try to crank out a couple of hours of work to try and get things organized, but progress was hard and the whole process seemed futile.

The depression was real and deep.  I'd become sullen, and start thinking about the impending week and what was ahead.  Often times my wife would ask, "What's wrong?" and I'd simply reply "Sunday."  

The night was usually capped off with a fitful night's worth of sleep, followed by a too-early rise and departure to another week of battle.  

Now?  Sunday is awesome.  I actually enjoy the day, and by that, I meant the whole day.  I'll check email a couple of times, but now see an inbox that is orderly, and hasn't been besieged by folks working over the weekend, or worst, requests that demanded answers immediately.

What's that worth?  It is hard to put a price on happiness or sleeping like a baby on Sunday night, but I have a feeling it is worth a whole lot.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kneel on This

I'm aghast at our President.  His speech and tweets are not helpful, and instead of focusing on things like a promised tax cut, he's wading into popular media food fights.  He's proving himself a buffoon and mental lightweight. And he seems to revel in it, which is downright scary.

That being said, I'm more aghast at the NFL players that can't bring themselves to respect the country via behaving properly during the national anthem.  Poor, spoiled, sheltered, ignorant, selfish pigs.  They live lives that are better than 99.9999% of all of historical humanity, and the exceptional country that is the United States provided it to them.  Yet, we're not perfect, so instead of being grateful for what is here, they choose to "protest."

Here are some real protests, jackasses:

  • If this country is so vile, how in the world could you pay millions in taxes to it?  Hell, your funding this racist hell-hole.  I suggest you stop immediately.
  • Speaking of money, our economy was based on rape of the earth, subjugation of native peoples, and slavery.  How in the world can you accept legal tender from such a vile entity?  
  • When Pat Tillman believed in something, he quit and put his money where his mouth was.  I'm sure Black Lives Matter could use your help a hell of a lot more than your teammates could.  How about you quit?  Like right freaking now. 
Of all the bullshit on display yesterday, here's the one guy that went out there and did the right thing:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Song Share: The Bros Landreth - Our Love

Sweet harmonies, and really tasty slide guitar.  The blues lives - check it out:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Another Duck Opener

Tomorrow arrives yet another duck hunting opener; something I've participated in for at least 45 years straight.  It's hard to believe it has been that long, and it is hard to believe that so many are etched into my head.

This year will be a different one.  We'll be besieged by thunderstorms, which is not at all conducive to duck hunting, especially when one considers that I'll be sitting in a metal boat, holding onto a steel gun.  Thus, safety will rule the day, and at the first sign of lightening, I'll be off the lake.

It doesn't help that I'm also suffering from a doozy of a cold, which makes sitting in the cold rain all the much worse.  

While it is shaping up to be one of my worst openers ever, it is still the opener, and that means you will find me in the swamp.

Good luck, Minnesota duck hunters.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Adam Thielen - Detroit Lakes' Hero

Here's a little montage of the improbable rise of a hard working kid from little Detroit Lakes, Minnesota:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Walmart's "Many Chairs"

In attempt to replicate Coke's "Teach the World to Sing" campaign, the biggest brick and mortar retailer is cramming a "let's all get along" message down consumers' throats:

It was complete with all the stereotypes you'd think, and all of the trendy political groups got dutifully checked off.  

Except one, of course.

There was no representation of Antifa.  If there was, that white guy in the office chair would have totally been getting his ass kicked by some masked punk carrying a black flag.

Swing and a miss, Walmart.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Being Bald Pays Off

Recently the University of Florida published a report that stated that bald men were perceived to be more attractive, dominant, and intelligent.  

I could kind of guess the latter two, but the attractive part is a nice find.  

You can check out a story on the research here.

All you full head of hair guys can read it and weep!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ben Shapiro Drops the Mic on Abortion Debate

The older I get, the more abortion really rubs me the wrong way.  I think it is because of what I've learned, which is definitely a factor of age.  I've learned a lot of human biology and what constitutes viability.  I've learned a lot about how abjectly racist the practice of abortion is.  I've learned that this "simple procedure" can lead to mental and emotional issues that can manifest for decades, if not lifetimes.  I've also learned that I have a number of friends that were adopted, and how my life would be far poorer had their biological mothers chosen to abort them.

A lot was written about Ben Shapiro's speech at Berkley, given Antifa's desire to shut it down.  Antifa claims that Shapiro spreads hate, but I think that the real reason they want him silenced that he can mop the floor with core liberal ideology.  

Here's a great example:  

Quick, logical, reasoned, consistent, smart, steadfast.  I so have a man-crush on Shapiro, based primarily on his debate skills.  Just for that reason alone I'd love to see him run for higher office.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tonight is Big Sexy Night

Tonight at Target Field we are going to celebrate all things Big Sexy.  He's Bartolo "Big Sexy" Col√≥n, he's close to 300 pounds, and he's 2017's version of Juan Berenguer.  

He's also a big reason (no pun intended) that the Twins are in a playoff race.

Come to the field and get your Big Sexy shirt.  It is just a rumor that they only come in 4X.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twins Set Home Run Record

Last night the Twins hit a home run in each of their first seven innings.  It has never been done before in MLB history.

Sorry I can embed the video - the MLB Nazis refuse to share their content.  Just check out the link and enjoy the fireworks.

Hope they can keep this up as they close on a playoff spot.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rapala Has Done it Again

Previously I've written about how Rapala has done such a great job on their billboards.  Here's their latest installment:

In researching this post, I ran across a Reddit site which was discussing this campaign.  A number of people posting there didn't get it.

Seriously?  If you've not seen the Three Stooges, I truly pity you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

U2 Concert Review and Setlist - Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium

I finally saw U2 live.  For somebody that loves music, and loves their music, I have no excuse for missing them to this point.  I was glad to finally check them off my list, which leaves me with just one more band to go (yes, Foo Fighters, I'm talking to you).

I was supposed to be seeing this concert with my sister, which I would have loved more than words could say.  This concert was done featuring an entire performance of the Joshua Tree; arguably their greatest work, and one of my sister's favorites.  I thought about her throughout the concert and wondered a lot of what she might of thought.  Likewise, I felt pretty sorry for myself for missing her company for what was a great performance.

Here is the setlist, to the best of my recollection, with some notes:

Sunday Bloody Sunday - I remember first seeing this song in video during high school back in the 80s.  It still sounded fresh and wonderful.
New Year's Day - 3rd favorite U2 song of all time.  Interesting to see The Edge move between guitar and keyboards.
Bad - An OK version
Pride (In the Name of Love) - Was surprised at how much energy they brought to a song they had to play a million times.  Well done.

The Joshua Tree portion of the concert then started:
Where the Streets Have No Name - When this song started, my mind instantly went to their Super Bowl performance and I got really emotional.  While not as dramatic as their post-9/11 performance, it was still virtuoso:

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - I'm just not the biggest fan of this song, which is too bad as it is lyrically one of their strongest.  Still, a good effort.
With or Without You - This one felt a little tired.
Bullet the Blue Sky - My second favorite U2 song of all time.  Unfortunately, I've seen too many incredible versions of this song that their performance left me a little wanting.  Felt a little like they went through the motions.
Running to Stand Still - I have slowly moved this song up my favorite ranks.  Strong performance.
Red Hill Mining Town - The surprise of the night.  Performed in front of a video of a brass band, it sounded incredible.  Maybe their best song of the night.  I'm not kidding.
In God's Country - This one felt like they went through the motions.  Not great.
Trip Through Your Wires - Better than expected.
One Tree Hill - Pretty darned good version.
Exit - Really good version.  It is funny, the end of Joshua Tree is arguably the least popular, but they really seemed to work hard on those songs.  That's one of the reasons why they're so incredible.

Beautiful Day - Great version.  Incorporated portions of "Most Beautiful Girl in the World" at the end, which worked well.
Elevation - Loved this version.  Bono's voice is just incredible
Vertigo - Outstanding version!  So much energy.
Mysterious Ways - Just OK.  Had a fan come up and dance, and that was a touch annoying.
Ultraviolet - This is another favorite song, but was done as a celebration of women.  Nice message, but really?  It's 2017.  Do I need to have a screen flashing with influential women playing in front of me to recognize the importance women play in our society?  Maybe I'm lucky I've had the women I've had in my life.  Wife, mom, sister, many bosses, many other peers, many other coworkers - countless women that have influenced me and made a difference in the world.  Of course Hillary was flashed up and the crowd went nuts.  Are we ever going to move on from that election?  I know they're preachy, but this almost seemed needy.
One - My favorite U2 song of all time. Got choked up again at the end when they lyrics hit:
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to carry each other

Carry each other

I so missed my sister at this point.  It would have been a hell of a time to share a hug.  Bono tried for a sing along with "Purple Rain" at the end, but the meter of the song is such that it is hard to know when you need to come in, and it was unfortunately an ugly way to finish as the crowd totally botched it.  

Regardless of the finish, the concert in total was outstanding.  It was a great check of the bucket list.

Some last thoughts on U2:

  • The Edge is a hell of a guitarist, and while Bono is the soul of the group, The Edge is the circulatory system.
  • Hard to believe how relevant this band has been for so long.  Their latest release is currently at #1 on iTunes.  No band of their peer group can boast the same.
  • Bono conveyed a genuine appreciation for his lot and that he gets paid so much to do something that he loves so.  This didn't seem rote or canned.  It was really heartening.

Beck opened, and was really strong.  Unfortunately, he focused nearly all of his effort on his oldest (and most popular) work.  That's too bad as he's made some really incredible music of late.  With his tight band, it would have been fun to hear some newer stuff, but I understand that when you're the opener, it's best to feed the limited crowd some red meat.

Beck as well did a hat tip to Prince, which must be obligatory for any band playing Minneapolis for the next decade.  He did a nice little version of Raspberry Beret that actually worked really well.

Overall, it was a great night.  Go see this band if you have not.  As a music fan, you owe it to yourself to do so

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Watching Religion Die

Pew has come out with a recent survey which has gained a lot of notoriety as it shows that white Christians are now a minority in our country.  Beyond that, check out these stats:

In a scant ten year period, the amount of people that are unaffiliated with any religion has nearly tripled, and now represents something in the high teens of our population.  Every other religion has shrunk markedly, with the exception of Mormon and "Other" which is likely Islam.  

Europe has moved a much quicker trajectory, and we appear to be following in their footsteps.

Where will we be in another ten years, and what will the ramifications of that look like on our society?

Twenty years?


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Song Share : Heart - Mistral Wind

For Heart fans, this is arguably the most popular "album cut" of this band's library.  With shades of Zeppelin, Ann Wilson's incredible vocals, and outstanding guitar, what's not to like?

The question gets begged: Is Ann Wilson the finest female singer in rock?  Hard to argue against it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Generic Millennial Ad

There's a lot out there from an advertising standpoint trying to understand, and then appeal to the Millennial generation.  Most try too hard.  While the attached is satire, it's not that far off from the truth:

This Is a Generic Millennial Ad from Dissolve on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Iowa Football's New Tradition

In this stupid world of ours, here comes some good news for a change.  Hat tip to my brother and to Murphy:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Passing of Walter Becker

I'm really at a loss on this one.

I was out of town over the weekend, and didn't even know he died.  When I heard, it hit me really hard.  Probably harder than the loss of any musician to this point in my life.

I'm not sure why.  I do love Steely Dan - they're perhaps my favorite band.  Aja is easily in my top 10 albums of all time.  Maybe that's why.  Maybe I'm mourning never being able to see them again.

Becker had his demons.  I hope they didn't catch him again at the end.  In the meantime, he left us some gifts.

Enjoy his guitar work on this first one - really tasty:

I'll also miss Becker's musicianship as he produced one of my favorite albums (Flaunt the Imperfection) from one of my favorite bands (China Crisis) of all times.

Here's a taste:

Rest in peace.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Why Muslim Acid Attacks Don't Happen Here

The UK has witnessed a significant rise in the amount of acid attacks it is seeing.  You can read about it here.  The way it works is that a victim on a bike or motorcycle is approached and has acid thrown in their face.  As their flesh and eyes burn the perpetrator takes their fallen bike and rides off

Why are these increasing?  Because the Muslim population is increasing.  Muslims have used acid as a weapon for years.  It is usually reserved to disfigure females that have "brought dishonor" to their families by their behavior, but has now gone mainstream.  It is a heinous, but highly effective weapon. 

Why is this not happening here?  Two thoughts:

One - Thankfully, our immigration policy has been far more conservative than the UK.  Our friends across the Atlantic are now reaping what their immigration stances have sown.  

Two - The Second Amendment.  Check out any comment board after a major shooting and check out the comments from the UK on how backward our gun laws are.  But you know what?  Folks over here are not getting acid thrown in their faces because if you guess wrong and your victim is carrying, you might just die.

Acid.  Seriously.

Religion of peace...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Roger Waters & Paul Carrack - Hey You

Paul Carrack may have the most under-rated voice in all of rock and roll.

Check out the end of this song to see how incredibly he nails this:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Real Hate Speech

We're all worried about Nazis.  We're all worried about hate speech.

Check out this video.  If you don't have time for the whole thing, watch Horowitz tee up a question at the 2:00 mark, and look at her chilling two-word answer to him at the 3:10 mark:

You want some hate speech?  THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what hate speech looks like.

Where's the Antifa now?