Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012: One Step from the Abyss

"I took one step into the abyss
One step into the void
One step further than I'd ever been
It was something I wanted to avoid..."
Graham Parker & the Rumour :  "Three Chords Good"

I always viewed New Year's Eve as Amateur's Night.   A night when those unaccustomed to running with the big dogs came out from under the porch, usually with disastrous results.  After a particularly spectacular rotten New Year's Eve in the early to mid 80's (the exact year I have blocked from my memory) I got into the habit of challenging people to a contest over who had the worst New Year's Eve story.

What I can remember about my entry is not pleasant.   Our ride ditched us on a 20 below zero night at a party hosted by our college friend Geek who had invited several obviously underage teenage girls.  Shortly before midnight I could hear the 16 and 17 year olds retching through the bathroom door, only to come out and french kiss my friends at midnight.  Thankfully I was able to convince a group of Northwest Airline stewardesses to give my brother and I a ride back to my parents house where we still resided.

I had just crawled into my warm king sized water bed (it was the 80's after all)  just in time for our (former) friend who had ditched us wake me up pleading for help as he had run out of gas.  In those temperatures it was literally a potentially life threatening situation.  Ever the nice guy I asked my father for permission to use one of his cars to which he in no uncertain words refused.  Nevertheless, I waited a few minutes then stole the keys and crept out of the house to save Seavey.

I brought a gallon of gas to Seavey who was outside the Bishop Whipple Building at Fort Snelling, sarcastically thanked him for deserting my brother and I the previous night and hurried back to my parents house on West river Road praying to God my father was still asleep.  Luckily the household was still asleep and just as I climbed into my warm watetbed the phone rang.  You guessed it, Seavey, and he had again run out of gas. be continued...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skol Vikings

Vikings, heroes of song and story.
Vikings, winner of ancient glory.
Fighting for the right,
Fighting with our might,
With the strength of ten, 

and one extraordinary man.

Vikings, Packers are not safe when near them.
Vikings, only the evil fear them.
Steel in our eyes,
Iron in our thighs,
Virtue in our hearts,
Fire in every part,
Of the Mighty Vikings.

Join us at the sideline,
Standing there with pride,
Victory is here,
Raise a mighty cheer,
At the sight of Vikings.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Enjoy Your Bowl Game Gopher Alums, It Only Cost $800K

As you are watching Jerry's kids battle Texas Tech this evening just a reminder not to fawn over new Gopher Athletic Director AD Norwood Teague  or Head Coach Jerry Kill.  While Kill did get the Golden Gophers into a bowl game this year, it comes at a very high price.

You see, when Coach Kill arrived in 2010 he looked over the schedules for the upcoming years and was scared of those perennial ACC football titans. the UNC tar heels.  "Scared of a school known for its legendary basketball program?"  You ask.  Why Yes, so much so that the fainting goat cried to Papa Jo-el Maturi's replacement, Norwood, who backed Kill's phobia to the tune of $800k to buy their way out of the contract.  According to Norwood it all comes down to confidence.  Confidence.  That is what the goat's explanation was and Norwood "saw the light" of Kill's feeble excuse.

With money so short and my kid owing $60K in student loans for her U of M education, the idea that these two clowns would rather pay a king's ransom then man up and play a mediocre football program is simply pathetic and a criminal waste of public funds.

(Tip of the hat to one of my colleagues at work whose praise of Kill was the impetus for this article.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Beautiful American, Robin Reineke: She Identifies the Dead on the U.S. Mexican Border

 The following is an email I sent to the BBC radio program Outlook regarding their story Naming the Dead on the Mexican Border which was originally aired December 20, 2012 and replayed this morning, Christmas Eve 2012.

Dear BBC:

It is 3:52am in Minneapolis, MN USA and I have to be up for work in a couple of hours yet I dragged myself out of bed on a very cold winter morning to convey my gratitude and admiration for a fellow American and human being.  Robin Reineke exemplifies the very best in the human spirit:  empathy, warmth, compassion, fairness and a "there by the grace of God" attitude as she goes about her very important work of identifying the remains of her fellow human beings who, through forces most often not of their own making, wind up in a life or death struggle in the hopes that they can provide meager sustenance for their families back in Mexico and Central America.

What really got to me and chokes me up as I type this email is the story of the group of Guatemalans that became lost and Ms. Reineke had the sad but honorable task of contacting families of the deceased and then traveling to the small village in Guatemala to identify the victims and inform their loved ones of their demise.

Approximately 10 years ago I had a person knock on my door to inquire if an old Toyota pick-up I had parked in back of my garage was for sale.  The vehicle had a broken axle and was sitting there rusting away because I had not gotten around to having it towed to the junk yard.  This person offered me more than a fair price for what I believed to be nothing more than scrap metal and asked if he could come over the next Saturday and work on it.  I agreed thinking he was going to prepare it to be towed.  To my utter amazement, in just a few hours and with nothing more than the most basic hand tools, the man had hand chiseled a new part, repaired the axle and had the truck up and running and drove it off my property. 

Over the course of the next several years I got to know and admire my new friend from Guateamala.  He told me of how at the age of 16 he was walking along the road to his village when he was pressed into military service by a passing truck of Guatemalan army soldiers.  Being just 16 and having never been separated from his mother and family before, he had run away from the army training camp where he had been taken and this innocent, scared act of a homesick teenager marked him as a deserter and probable communist sympathizer. Most Americans probably are unaware that in this small central American country just South of Mexico, more than a quarter of a million Guatemalans have died in what amounts to a civil war.  So I have very little patience for the so called Minute Men, Tea party and other types that William Lederer and Eugene Burdick so effectively parodied in their novel "The Ugly American" over a half century ago.  I truly know that for every Ambassador MacWhite caricature (i.e. the real "ugly American": an ethnocentric, jingoistic fool) there are a hundred Robin Reinekes.

So thank you to the BBC and its reporter for bringing us this truly inspiring story of a beautiful American, Robin Reineke.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robert Bork: Constitutional Coward Who Did Nixon's Bidding As Trigger Man in Saturday Night Massacre Dies's

Here is my email to PBS' Talk of the Nation Political Junkie Segment on the death of Robert Bork:

Political Junkies?  You guys are not even casual users if you can mention the passing of Robert Bork and NOT mention his infamous deed which cost him a seat on the Supreme Court.  He was Nixon's trigger man at Justice on the Saturday Night Massacre (#3 at Justice after his two superiors refused, rightly, to fire special prosecutor).  My father was a chief counsel of a judiciary subcommittee and later staff counsel for Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Eastland.  My father's good friend and Judiciary Committee Chief Counsel, Francis Rosenberger under Eastland still had contacts with with committee staffers in the know when the votes were tallied, so I know on credible authority that was the real reason when the judiciary committee caucused and voted down sending his nomination to the floor.(Although Bork gave them window dressing with his testimony).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Eat your hearts out Notre Dame and Alabama!  The BCS Championship Bowl?  Forget about it! Thanks to outgoing Minnesota Athletic Director Joe El Maturi aka Minnesota's Poppa Joe, the man who fired the best football coach  the University of Minnesota has had since Murray Warmath, Glen Mason, and replaced him with Mr. Goatfer Nation himself, "Terry" the idiot Brewster, and when that didn't work out so good, instead of learning from his mistake and going with competence baby, Maturi went cheap and the sympathy route hiring a small school bumpkin whose one trick pony, er, I mean goat, is to faint  during or shortly after each Gopher loss!  And what is the University of Minnesota's beautiful reward for the Maturi Mistake:




Get your Maturi Minnesota Meineke Bowl Merchandise and    Cheer on the Road Kill Tour Finale: