Thursday, January 30, 2020

Winter Blues

While I'm less than two weeks removed from an incredible hunting trip with family in Louisiana, the glow has worn off.  Or you could say it has frozen off.

Late January in northern Minnesota is brutal.  Every day is the same, and it's the same because we can't go outside.  The days are getting longer, which helps, but the snow is up to your crotch, ice and snow are everywhere, and there is just this cold that feels endless.

It's amazing how limited one becomes when being outdoors isn't an option.  Sure, we can go to the movie, church, work, club, etc., but it just feels so limiting.  

We'll be in the mid 30's this weekend, and I'm looking forward to a rare January outdoor run, provided I don't break my neck on the ice.

I miss my patio, my grill, my boat, my lake, my grass, the whole damn thing.  

Hurry it up, Spring.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Why Trump Wins in 2020

The media thinks that you're an idiot.  A raving, southern drawl, uneducated idiot.

And they hate your racist, homophobe, gun-loving guts.

And sometimes all that hatred bubbles up to the surface.  Like this:

Unless you think EXACTLY like them, you're hated.

And that's why Trump wins in 2020.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

RIP Terry Jones

Terry Jones, a main player in Monty Python's Flying Circus, passed away last week due to complications with frontotemporal dementia.  He was 77.

He's the second Python to die; Grahm Chapman died of cancer in 1989.

While Jones took a back seat to bigger names it the troupe, his comic sensibilities were fantastic, especially when playing someone of the other gender.  

Here's my most favoite Jones skit:

Rest in peace.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Delta Airlines Lost My Gun - #2

On to conclude the story.  If you're just joining us, you may want to first visit the first installment of Delta losing my gun.

As stated previously. Delta refused to deliver my gun to me.  They claim they don't deliver guns, despite that being exactly what they were doing the previous 24 hours.  I got that from both the agent at Fargo, as well as the person that was "helping" me on Twitter:

Hence, I dutifully hopped into my truck and drove the hour drive, one way, to get my property back from Delta.

Except they do deliver firearms.  They drove Fuzzy's right to him.  

Crappy service is one thing.  Being lied to (and being able to document it) is another thing altogether.  

Going on a hunting trip with Delta?  Flyer beware...

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Gospel Matthew 4:12-23

12 Hearing that John had been arrested he withdrew to Galilee,

13 and leaving Nazara he went and settled in Capernaum, beside the lake, on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali.

14 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

15 Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea beyond Jordan. Galilee of the nations!

16 The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow dark as death a light has dawned.

17 From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.'

18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen.

19 And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.'

20 And at once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.

22 And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

23 He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and illness among the people.

In today's gospel, we find Jesus filling out his team, and doing so quite adeptly.  Can you imagine being tapped for this by the Lord?  Moreover, can you imagine just dropping everything for someone you don't know, whom you just met, and leaving everything?

That's sacrifice for faith.

While few are called like Simon, Andrew, James or John, God does call us.  The ask might be a whisper, or it might be a shout, but ask of us He does.  

How do we answer?  Do we do so only when it's convenient for us?  Do we ignore and pretend we don't hear?  

We don't have nets to leave, but we all have other baggage.  Baggage that would serve us well if we dropped it.  Baggage that needs to be dropped in order to answer.

Like the apostles, what we drop and how we answer isn't a sacrifice, it's an opportunity.  

The ask is there.  How will we respond?  

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Foo Fighters - 2112 Overture

From Rush's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a resounding cover by some of the Foos:

Friday, January 24, 2020

Trump to Speak at Today's March for Life

In an unprecedented move, President Trump will be the first sitting president to speak in-person to the crowd today at the annual March for Life.  For those that may not know the event, the March is an annual rally at the Mall in Washington DC for the right to life.  It draws in excess of 100,000 (last year's estimate was 200,000) and is routinely ignored by the mainstream media.  

I mean buried.  Zero reporting.

The media has the story this year, claiming that Trump is using it to obfuscate from his impeachment proceedings.  Personally, I think the move is brilliant.  Trump is using the media's hatred of him to cast light onto an event that they have attempted to shield from mainstream America for decades.  Real jujitsu stuff by Trump.

It will be interesting to see how the media cover the story today.  Expect crowd sizes to be downsized if not abjectly ignored.  And certainly, the messages of the March will absolutely be ignored.  We'll see how it all plays out.  In the meantime, we wish the attendees a good march, and that their efforts change hearts and policies.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Too Much Fuzzy

I've been on a hunting trip to Louisiana with Fuzzy, and we had a blast.  It's always good to see kin, and being able to also see ducks was just icing on the cake.

We shared a room at the local hotel.  Not a great room, but comfortable enough with dual twin beds and a serviceable shower.  It's really all we need.

A couple of nights ago, I woke to go use the facilities as middle-aged men are wont to do.  Having done my business, I climbed back into my bed to resume my slumber, when Fuzzy reached out and touched me.

What the hell is he doing in my bed?

I cracked open an eye.  Was I in the right spot?  I had made a similar error many years before on a hunting trip and it was damned embarrassing.  No, I was where I needed to be.

Hey, wait a minute.  I'm home.  My bed partner is actually my wife.

Thank God.

I think it's easy to say I've seen way too much of Fuzzy these past couple of days.

Dorothy was right - there is no place like home.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Delta Airlines Lost My Gun - #1

The good news is that Delta got Fuzzy and I home from our trip to Louisiana for our annual January duck hunt.  The bad news is that Delta lost our guns.

It has been an incredibly frustrating process, rife with errors, people that do not know what they're doing, and absolutely no empathy, much less compensation.  

As of this writing, one gun was acquired (I won't say returned as I needed to drive an hour one-way in near blizzard conditions to pick it up), and Fuzzy's is still missing.

The full details are coming, but I really want this to rank from an SEO standpoint, so I'm breaking it up.  Look for the whole nightmare in a post in the next day or two.

In the meantime, if you're travelling with firearms, stay way away from Delta.  They absolutely could not care less about you or your property.

Monday, January 20, 2020

My Last Cabbie

As I completed my trade show on Thursday, I hailed a cab for the ride back to the airport.  I got picked up by an older gentleman, and we began making small talk.  He inquired where I was from, and upon hearing my reply, asked if that was anywhere near Leech Lake.

Needless to say we hit it off.

We talked about his fishing trips to Leech, then his time flying in the Navy, where he lost a lot of friends, but also met JFK and Jackie, as well as John McCain, and the stories were discussed in detail.  We then talked about life after the war, raising kids, and owning a line of restaurants.  We then talked about the loss of his wife five years ago, and the loss of his son just last December 24.

His son was a pit boss, a non-smoker, who acquired double lung cancer.  Dead at 49.  His wife left him upon him losing his job because he was too ill to work.

As we approached the airport, he stated, "I figure I can pay off my son's bills in about three years.  At that point, I am done workin'."

I tipped him 150%, to which he seemed genuinely touched, and sent me off with a "God bless you, sir!"

Did I get played?  I asked myself that walking through the airport.  He sure sounded ex-military, and our discussion on helicopters and ships seemed legit.  How he felt about McCain is exactly like my cousin, so that seemed real as well.  Finally, we started out with him asking about Leech Lake, for cryin' out loud.

I feel crappy harboring the thought that I got played, and resigned myself that I was either in the company of a hero, of one of the world's best story tellers.  

Regardless of which it was, the tip was justified.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Prayer to St. Michael

A couple of years ago, after a couple of especially egregious abuse stories broke about the Catholic church, our church adapted the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of mass.

Thank God!

As a practicing Catholic, I believe that evil exists in our world.  I also believe that if evil had their druthers, the place they'd most wish to be made manifest is in the Catholic church.  The horrific abuse that has be perpetrated for decades now, to me, is a total sign of that.

As much as it pains me to say it, Satan has established a strong beachhead in our church.  

That's why I love us reciting the prayer.  We all know evil has a foothold in our church, and beyond just praying to God for her, we're seeking proactive protection, not only for the church, but for all of us.  If priests can be turned, the laity certainly can be as well.

Evil is literally everywhere in our world.  Seeking an ally in our fight against it seems like a wise thing to do.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Lucious Jackson - Ladyfingers

These guys never made it big, and I'm not sure why (other than they do crappy videos).  As protegees of the Beastie Boys, you would have thought the path would have been paved well for them.

Too bad, good band.  Bad, bad video.  Good band.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Flying Again

After previously holding Gold status with Delta, and having at least Silver since the early 2000's, my current gig doesn't require me to fly.  Hence, I've done maybe a trip a year or so for the past four years.  

Now, all of the sudden, I have three trips in the next month.  Unfortunately, I forgot what it was like to fly with zero status, and to be relegated to the back half of the plane, and likely in a middle seat to boot.  

Despite the multiple upcoming trips, there's nothing else on the horizon, so odds of me getting far enough to get back to Silver are damned slim.  Thus, it's to back of the plane I go.

No drinks.  No legroom.  No fun.

I think I'd rather stay home.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Real Difference Between the Sexes

Recently there has been a call to dust off the Equal Rights Amendment because women somehow are still massive victims of the patriarchy.  

How bad is it for women/girls right now, and how good to men/boys have it? Consider this chart, curated by University of Michigan professor Mark Perry:

I'm not ignorant enough to say that in our history women had it bad - they did.  And it wasn't ancient history, either.  In some instances, it was just a couple of decades ago.  Regardless, the pendulum has swung, and as it pertains to education specifically, has swung too far.  

Singer Joe Jackson penned in the song Real Men

If there's war between the sexes
Then there'll be no people left

We're there, folks.  We have got to stop the hating on boys and men.  I fear what we are going to reap when we have multiple generations which have endured this abject hate.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Running at 55

About a month ago I headed out for a rare December run in the Minnesota outdoors.  We were in the 20 degree range, the sun was out, and there was no wind, so I decided to give it a shot.  Our winters are so brutal, and the treadmill is so boring, that when one gets a chance to get outdoors, one takes it.

I had gone perhaps 600 yards when my right calf started barking.  At my age, something is always barking, so I told myself I'd run through it as my body warmed up.

100 more yards and the barking was constant.  50 yards later, the bark turned into a scream.

I pulled up with a significant limp.  I limped my way home; angry at myself for not listening and ending up on the disabled list.

Since that time, it's been a lot of stretching, elliptical, and bike work.  I tried running a couple of times but always ended up pulling up as the twinge in my calf returned.  

Finally, today, I was able to complete a two-mile run.  My cardio was really solid, but I definitely wasn't in "running shape."  That's something I can build to - the goal now is to do so while remaining healthy.  

There's a lot of things that suck about being in your mid-fifties.  Staying healthy is probably at the top of that list.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

LSU - National Champions

In a highly entertaining game, the LSU Tigers defeated Clemson 42-25.  The game was close for a half - indeed, with Clemson jumping to a quick lead, it appeared that the Bayou Bengals my have their dream season end in a nightmare.  Those concerns quickly faded as the defense settled down, and Burrow heated up.

The net result was domination.  Not to the level of LSU's playoff game against Oklahoma, but the second half was one of LSU exerting their will on an overmatched opponent.  

What a great season!  Between Coach O's back story, to Burrow's Heisman season, to being able to play their Championship game at the Superdome, to their undefeated record, we may have seen one of the greatest football teams in history.  

It couldn't happen to a nicer coach, couldn't happen to a nicer star QB, and couldn't happen to a nicer community.  

Congratulations, LSU nation.  You are National Champions.  Hard earned, and well deserved. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

On the Loss of Neil Peart

Rock and roll lost its greatest drummer.  You can have your Bonham and Moon - nobody was better than Peart, period.  

Neil's playing was far from rote - sly notes and drops were added, making the drum kit not just a beat-keeper, but a true band instrument.  Here's a great example featuring Rush's biggest hit.  Beyond the above, also note what he's doing with his feet:

Beyond his drumming, Peart was the lyricist for the band, and two generations of marginalized youth owe him for the belonging he provided them through his words.  He was an incredible poet in the true definition of the word. 

There are a lot of reasons why getting old sucks.  It seems like beloved people are dying on me on a nearly weekly basis.  That certainly applies in this instance.  

Given the nature of music, we'll not have another talent like this for a long time, if perhaps ever again.  I feel fortunate that I was able to see his craft live, and that his songs were a soundtrack for a good chunk of my life.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Minnesota Vikings Flat Dominated by San Francisco

Our beloved Vikings were completed dominated by San Fransico yesterday in a game that was actually worse than what the 27-10 score showed.  The 49ers were dominant on the line on both sides; so much so that our guys were getting shoved around at the end in embarrassing fashion.

Our running game which was so critical for our victory over New Orleans could never get going, and Cousins could not throw downfield.  We were left with small, impotent screen plays which usually were defended impeccably for short gains.  

The Vikings are not a good road team, especially on the west coast.  Likewise, with only six days to lick our wounds from our game against the Saints, we flat looked tired.  The 49ers, on the other hand, looked fresh and physical.  The net result was an unmitigated butt kicking.

The first-round bye isn't the end-all of the NFL playoffs (ask Baltimore), but in this instance, it was critical.

For the Vikings to make any kind of playoff run, we need home field.  Until we find a way to be better in the regular season to derive that home field advantage, Vikings fans can expect more of the same.