Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Jackson Browne - Love Needs a Heart

This is the most underrated Browne song in his library, and one of the most underrated songs of the era.

The harmonies are incredible, and the "vacancy sign" line is virtuoso:

Friday, February 28, 2020

Coroniavirus and Winning

Our politicians - both sides - are attempting to make political hay out of a pandemic (and make no mistake, we're already at the pandemic stage). It's repugnant, vile, and shows just how far we've fallen.  Where is our humanity?

However, one side is cheering - CHEERING - market crashes, recession, illness, and death.

Here's a hint: If you need people to die in order for you to score political points, that makes you evil.

Abjectly, definitionally, and sickeningly evil.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Brush With Greatness - The Gastronomic Version

Last month, as Fuzzy and I were flying home from our bayou hunting adventure, we happened to glance across the aisle from us there in first class and happened to spy Andrew Zimmern - the famous TV food personality.  You know, this guy:

As a Minnesota native, it should not have surprised us to find him there, flying from ATL to MSP.  What did surprise us was his choice in food.  Did he choose the salmon or the chicken salad that was being served in first?  No, he did not.  As the flight attendants brought out our appointed meals, he whipped out a bag of Arby's and chowed down.


It was just recently announced that Mr. Zimmern will be starring in a new series on MSNBC on politics and food.  Ah, just what the world needs - another show about politics!

Let's hope his choices of editorial for his show are better than his choices of what to eat when sitting at the front of the plane.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Caribou Coffee and Customer Service

After my brutal experience with Delta Airlines losing my firearm, I had achieved my fill of shoddy big-company customer service.  Hence, when I arrived at my local Caribou for my pre-ordered coffee which I got 2-3 times every week and found it not there waiting for me, I was more sensitive than usual.  

The reason why I pre-ordered was that I just want to pick up my black brew coffee without waiting for a long line of lattes and foo-foo drinks.  Yet, this morning my usual waiting order was missing - likely picked up inadvertently by an inattentive patron.  I was fired up to complain, but found the line too daunting and my work start time too near.

I departed, fired up like I slammed a triple espresso.  

I found my way to work and penned off a quick note to Caribou's customer service, demanding a refund.  Truth be told, I was spoiling for a fight.  I had it, and woe be to the customer service rep that chose to hide behind their corporate policy of "apologize, but don't give an inch."  I couldn't wait to get into it.

Instead, this is what I received:

Hi Yellowdog,

Thank you for contacting us.  Our apologies to you for the disappointment with your mobile app-order ahead order.  

We have refunded $2.60 to your account.  Your current balance is now:  $61.92.  

We have also added an any size coffee of the day perk to your Caribou Perks account for you to enjoy.  (perk expires 2/6/20)

If you have questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to call Customer Support at 1.888.227.426 select OPTION #4. Our phones are open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm Central Time.

Thank you for choosing Caribou Coffee!

Doris/Caribou Coffee Customer Relations
1.888.CARIBOU | 1.888.227.4268-Option #4
Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm Central Time.

If Delta Airlines ever needs to hire some customer service agents, I know where they can find some...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sunday Gospel - Matthew 5 38:48

Jesus said to his disciples:
          “You have heard that it was said,
          An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
          turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
          hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
          go for two miles. 
Give to the one who asks of you,
          and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
“You have heard that it was said,
           You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
          and pray for those who persecute you,
          that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
          for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
          and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
          what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This Sunday is a famous Gospel, likely because it's one where Jesus asks us to do the near impossible.  How often to we actively pray for those whom we consider our enemies?  How often do we dare let ourselves love those that hate us?

It's brutally hard.  Grudges are easy.  Returning fire with fire is easy,  Hate is easy.

Love - like the kind God shows us - ALL of us - that's hard.  But that's the expectation.  That's what we're being called to do.  

We're not God, and we fail this test often.  Regardless, we're tasked with being God's presence here on Earth; to be His hands, His example, and yes, His love.  

That's what's being asked.  How will we answer?

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Boz Scaggs - Miss Sun

Perhaps the best song from this incredibly underrated artist:

Friday, February 21, 2020

Cayman Chicken (and Cat)

We're down here in the Caymans, and our place comes complete with a suite of pets:

Meet Nick the cat and Parm the rooster.  We also have (although not pictured) Bucket and Blackie the chicken, as well as Sanders the rooster.  Parm chased Sanders off a couple of days ago, so he's been scarce, but even with him missing, there's still a ton of activity on the patio.

Nick didn't want anything to do with us the first day, but a box of Cat Chow brought him around big time.  Now he's a staple, just like the sun and the beer.

I keep expecting Nick to take a run at Parm (who'd make a hell of a meal), but Parm does have about 3" spurs, so it'd take Nick's A game.  Besides, they seem content to share the Cat Chow and leave it at that, although it is chicken flavored (which would be pretty uncomfortable for Parm if he could read labels...)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Running with AirPods Pro

My bluetooth earphones finally gave up the ghost (at least one side did), so I needed a new option for something to provide music while working out.  Working out and running is incredibly boring, and if I don't have something to listen to, I can barely do it.  That being said, a good mix or the right song played at the right time can take my workout to a whole other level.  Hence, if I was going to keep working out, I needed a replacement.

I opted to go with AirPods Pro, as I'm developing into an Apple fanboy.  I've got the HomePod, Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone, and about 4 iPods.  I think the only thing I have missing is the Mac (and I used to have one of those, back in the late 80's).

I love the sound quality of the AirPods, but struggled mightily in keeping them in my ears when I run.  I have a terrible heel strike which is quite jarring to everything - especially the earphones in my ears.

I tried the regular size tip covers - no go.  Went larger, and the situation got worse.  I found hints online that suggested turning them in your ears - better but still not a solution.  I tried foam covers - nada.

I was about to the point of returning them when I replaced the tips with the smallest size they sent.  Perfect!  They were small enough to fit deep into my ear canal and stayed in as snug as a bug.  Counter intuitive, but effective.

Having trouble with your AirPods fit?  Try going small.  It just might work.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Cayman Islands Bluebill Decoy

We've been on vacation on Grand Cayman since Saturday, and it's been glorious.  The weather is perfect - highs in the mid 80's, sunny, humid, but with a big north wind to keep you comfortable.  It could not get any better.  

I've been running every morning, and what a joy to be running outside again.  It's tough going - the humidity really saps you, likewise half of my daily run takes me into a really stiff wind.  Despite the crappy results, I won't complain.  I'd craw if I could do it in this weather.

I was out for my daily yesterday morning, and enjoying my route which boarders the sea for most of it.  It's an incredible view.  Anyway, as I was slaving away, something caught my eye.  I stopped to verify, as I couldn't believe it.

There, bobbing in the rough seas, still attached to its string and weight, was a bluebill decoy:

What is that doing down here?  There's only teal hunting in the Caymans, Bluebills don't migrate here in any kind of numbers, and this wasn't something that was placed there - the waves were too big, and it will be on shore by the end of the day.

It had to come from some gulf coast duck hunter.  But what a trip!  Consider the map:

What a journey that thing has been on!  Over 1,000 miles, especially since it had to navigate its way around Cuba.  

When I was a kid, I was enthralled with a move called Paddle to the Sea, about a carving a guy made of a native American chief in a canoe.  He dropped it in a winter stream, and we followed its journey to the sea.  This bluebill decoy is a lot like that, and I can't imagine the adventures it has had.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bad Lip Reading - NFL 2020

It's like heaven in a pickle
Heaven in a pickle...

Monday, February 17, 2020

16 Curling Rocks in Play

Two weekends ago I spent the entire time at the Curling Club, trying to come back via the losers' bracket after dropping our first match.  A good effort was made, and we actually took second, but it was a long slog - both mentally and physically.  It was a lot of damned curling over three days!

Note to self - don't lose the first game next time...

On Saturday, in the lane next to ours, a group pulled together an incredibly rare feat - all 16 curling stones were in play.  We have a number of old-timers at the club that have been playing for decades, and nobody had ever seen anything like it.

I wouldn't have believed it myself, but we actually stopped our game when they had 13 in play to watch the end.  They didn't disappoint:

It ended up scoring two red, but nobody will ever remember that.  What will be remembered is the time when all the rocks in the end had the potential to score.  

Good curling, indeed.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On

I just love her voice - it reminds me of 50's country.  She's just incredible.  Enjoy

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day from Fr. Don

This week, Father Don had a really incredible post about love, and given that's what this day is all about, it seems only appropriate to share here:

The 60-year-old attorney, well-known for his pro bono work and passion for justice, died of cancer diagnosed about 6 months earlier. During the months of hope and treatment, he was lovingly cared for by Jane, his wife of 30 years. At one point, while not yet immobilized, Jim eulogized her on his CaringBridge site. “She drops me at the office in the morning and picks me up at the end of the day. Fixes my breakfast, packs my lunch, serves me dinner, and cleans the kitchen. She keeps track of my medical appointments and hauls my sorry ass around to every single one of them. The bulk of the house cleaning devolves on her. Oh, did I mention that she also works full-time outside the home? That she spends every Saturday with her 92-year-old mother, doing her shopping, bathing her, tidying up and just being with her?” When people marvel at this, Jane says: "He would've done the same for me." Witnessing the loving relationship they had rules out wishful thinking on her part.

The same week as Jim's death, a letter came from 28-year-old Tom telling of a frequent experience in a person's quest for a partner: "It was a trying year for me personally. A year ago I went through a very bad breakup with my girlfriend of two years the week I started my new job, and it has been hard to stay focused. Without getting into the details, the circumstances surrounding the ending of our relationship really shook my confidence in people, relationships, God, and myself."  He found it shattering enough to seek counseling in regard to his faith, heretofore pretty sturdy. When we love others we make ourselves vulnerable to such almost inevitable and disheartening moments. Without underestimating the pain and sadness of breaking up, the relationship of 30 years described above makes such experiences worth the risk.

Here's wishing all of you the kind of love the attorney and his wife enjoyed.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Joe Biden = Yosemite Sam

A "lying dog-faced pony soldier?"

Where have we heard that before?

Looney Tunes, indeed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Who Won the Super Bowl?

The Chiefs, of course!  

But who won the commercial battle?  There were lots of great entries this year - many really strong showings that got a lot of people talking.  In fact, many of the "best of" lists had different entries, which means we got a lot of really good submissions.

It started out early with the redux of Jake from State Farm.  I was wondering what State Farm would do given Patrick Mahomes was a spokesperson, and they dusted off the perfect answer.

Sam Elliott's moustache danging to Old Town Road was a hit, as was Jeep's Groundhog day.  But for my money, Google won the day, and it wasn't even close:

I'm not sure how advertising gets better than that - human universality, clear benefit with obvious utility, and emotion-evoking in its storytelling.  

That's excellent advertising, any way you slice it.  Hats off, Google.  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Romney the Saint

As Romney faced off against Barak Obama a few short years ago, we were treated to a lot of descriptions of him by the left:

  • Uber-rich
  • Out of touch
  • Bigot
  • Magic underwear wearing
  • Religious zealot
  • Homophobe
  • Nazi
  • 1%
  • Racist
  • Misogynist (remember how the "binders of women" quote was treated?)
  • Etc.
Now, with his vote for impeachment, he's deemed as:

  • Honorable
  • Principled
  • Grounded
  • Fair-minded
  • True to his religion
  • Etc.
Sorry, Democrats.  You played the Nazi, racist, homophobe, etc. card - not only on Mitt, but also on Bush, McCain, and everyone else with an (R) behind their name for the past twenty years.  And also on everyone that chose to vote for and support them.

And that's EXACTLY what got Trump elected.

The time for reaching across the aisle was decades ago.  Your current embrace of Mitt is rich.

Literally and figuratively.  

You made this bed.  Sleep in it.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

On Rush

On his show Monday, Rush Limbaugh announced he had stage 4 lung cancer.  

I started listening to Rush in 1990 during the Gulf War.  While I've not been a regular listener for a number of years, I've always been a fan of his steadfast and resolute conservative convictions.  In many respects, his is the last voice left of the true conservative.

No, he's no saint, and his bombast rubbed many the wrong way.  That being said, when conversing with someone with whom he disagreed, he always did so respectfully, and with an eye toward conversation.  No personal put-downs.  Just conversation, albeit with a hope of perhaps changing a mind.

I heard his announcement, and he sounded weak.  I saw his picture, and he had lost a ton of weight - weight which plagued him his whole life.  I came away from those engagements concluding that he is indeed a very sick man.  His odds are incredibly long, if not completely insurmountable.

In the wake of the announcement came the vultures.  The comments at the Huffington Post (the only area I allowed myself to read) were stomach-turning.  His impending death is being met with glee.  Unmitigated, hate-filled glee.

I won't link to that garbage and I won't say any more about it, other than if your political side celebrates the impending death of someone on the other side for the sin of political disagreements, you and your ilk are beyond sick.  

And, as it turns out, you're even worse than what you imagined Rush thought of you.  

Rush had a saying, "Rush is right."  Even in the announcement of his greatest fight, he's proving that phrase correct.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Suggestions for Super Bowl Halftime

The 2020 halftime show had a lot of stuff.  Mostly crotch.  Yeah, lots of crotch.  

It's hard to juxtapose all of the woke messages about women in space, and the groundbreaking performance of the first woman NFL coach with all the crotch, but there had to be some fit into women's empowerment or something somewhere.

Anyway, unless you were into crotch, the halftime show sucked.  It just did.  Hence, NFL, I have a list for you of some real bands that would knock the bad taste of the last lamentable episode right out of our mouths.  In no particular order:

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Huge library, longevity, and incredible music.  Unfortunately, shirts may be optional, and given some previous appearances, maybe some tube socks.  On second thought, maybe not RHCP...
  • U2 - Hard to have them back for an encore after they knocked out the greatest halftime show ever following 9/11, but many have appeared more than once.  We could use it.
  • Metallica - Another huge library, and not all hard.  They can slow things down when necessary (Nothing Else Matters, Unforgiven, etc.) and they can tear up an arena.  James and the boys would be perfect.
  • Foo Fighters - Ah, the last rock and roll band standing.  If rock is going to go the way of the buggy whip, at least have it go down fighting, or should I say Foo Fighting?  There simply is no better band for this show, and it's not close.
Here you go, NFL.  Any of these will work fine.

And to see what a real show looks like, let's revisit that U2 performance, shall we

Monday, February 3, 2020

Shoptalk 100% Women

Shoptalk is a conference in support of retail and retailers.  It's also woke.  I mean really, freaking woke.

How woke?  This year, all of their 257 speakers will be women.  Not. One. Man.

They justify this by claiming that currently there are only 5% female heads at S&P 500 companies.  Forget the myriad logical and reasonable reasons for this.  Forget the fact that retail, among all other business sectors, has been historically the most gender-diverse in terms of leadership, and has been for decades.

Nope, Shoptalk has a point to make, and men can just shut the hell up.

Personally, I know where I'm not welcome, and I'm certainly not welcome at Shoptalk.  Hence, I won't be attending this year.

In fact, I won't be attending any year.

Here's a hint - discrimination, even if it's to prove how woke you are, is still discrimination.  And that, Shoptalk, makes you scumbags.

Enjoy your conference.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sunday Gospel - Luke 2 22:40

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought the baby up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying,
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss
your servant in peace,
for you have fulfilled your word
and my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you display for all the people to see.
Here is the light you will reveal to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.

Today's Gospel reading is a most famous one, and again shows revelation of who Jesus truly is and what his role is going to be.  You can imagine the joy Simeon felt, knowing that God's plan had finally come to fruition.

However, as joyful as Simeon must have felt, Mary must have felt foreboding, worry, and anxiety.  It doesn't get much more ominous and horrible than "a sword will pierce your own soul."  How long did she carry that worry?  It had to be in the back of her mind constantly.  I'm sure she wondered what it all meant, and what exactly would happen.

Then, on that darkest of days, when they took Jesus' lifeless body down from the cross and placed Him into His mother's arms, I wonder if she didn't recognize and say to herself, "So this is what Simeon meant..."

Blessed art thou among women...

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Saturday Song Share: John Hiatt - Tennessee Plates

Anyway he wouldn't care
Hell, he gave 'em to his friends...