Thursday, December 30, 2010

The "Scott" phenomenen

My whole life, when people have gotten my name wrong, 90% of the time they have called me Scott. Not just strangers; people I know well often misspeak and call me Scott. It is the strangest thing. As I have talked to other Todds over the years, I have discovered that my experience is not unique. Invariably, the response will be "you get that Scott thing too!"

Last night, I hosted our long-time neighbor for a beer. As he was leaving, he said "goodnight Scott." I busted out laughing and decided that it is time for me to investigate this phenomenen more deeply. A Google search lead me to this site, with the following comments:
  • "Comment left Aug 16, 2009: ""Todd from Australia. I get Scott all the time too, even from a mate who has called me Scott on and off for 20 years! Another Todd I met in the USA said that the Harvard linguistics department did research on the Todd/Scott mix up and its got to do with a part of the brian where the words sound similar. Although I have never heard of other people's names being mixed up by the same name...""
  • Comment left Nov 09, 2009: "I was just called Scott by a co-worked that I've worked with for three years. He is well aware of my name, but still called me Scott in passing. I told him that 99% of the time since college(over the last 30 years) when I've been called the wrong name it was Scott. This has been from people that just have meet me or from those that have known me for a long time. I was curious so searched the net today and found this blog. It's good to see that I'm not the only one who has noticed this strange occurance, and that it is not just coincidence, but may actually be able to be explained medically."
  • Comment left Jan 16, 2010: "Yah, I get the Scott thing too."
  • Comment left Feb 10, 2010: "Too funny. Here I was researching my name and I come to find out that lots of Todds are being called Scott. Same thing happens to me, and has been for years!!"
  • Comment left Feb 20, 2010: "Yes, my name is Todd and I have been called Scott more than any other. Actually, my own mother called me Scott one time."
  • Comment left Mar 23, 2010: "I'm a birth year 1965 Todd and yes I get the Scott thing all the time."
  • Comment left May 26, 2010: "I get the Scott thing too."
  • Comment left Jul 23, 2010: "All my life i have been mistakenly called Scott from relatives, bosses and teachers. I love it when someone says when i've corrected them - oh, you look like a Scott."
  • Comment left Jul 23, 2010: "Boy here I thought I might have been a Scott in a past life ;-) "
  • Comment left Sep 07, 2010: "I too am a Todd who is frequently called Scott. I am glad to hear that it isn't just me, not sure what that phonemenon's about though."
  • Comment left Sep 08, 2010: "This is such a lark that I came across this and discovered vindication for the Scott thing. Years of people calling me Scott just after being introduced to them. I was about to get religious and peer into past lives to try and explain this."
  • Comment left Dec 03, 2010: "When ever I meet another "Todd," I ask if they get called Scott. The answer is overwhelmingly yes. I'm a 1961 Todd. Interestingly, I ask Scott's if they get called Todd, they look at me in funny way, and say no."
  • Comment left Dec 18, 2010: "This has got to be one of the greatest treats to have stumbled in my life of internet surfing. My fiance yelled back, "are you kidding me, a support group for people named, Todd?" I said yeah, and they all get called Scott, too!"
It is just weird.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Minnesota Sportsperson of the Year

The architect of Target Field. A great choice.
Santee's skills turned what he calls his most challenging project into his most rewarding professional triumph, a locus of limestone, glass, steel and grass that gleams in the sun and glows under lights. In one season, Target Field became to downtown Minneapolis what the North Star is to the night sky. . .

The result is what one New York Times baseball writer called "the best ballpark in America," a theater-in-the-round in which the play is not always the thing.

Target Field combines the nostalgic touches of a great museum, the sightlines of an intimate theater and the walkways, smells, sounds, bistros and even neighborhoods of a thriving city. It is the perfect setting in which to watch, or ignore, a baseball game.

Here is my post about my outside-the-gate 1st day experience at Target Field.

Below is a fan's home video of the flyover that I watched from the Plaza before heading home to watch that 1st game on TV.

Feliz Navidad

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowstorm of 2010

A long weekend of digging out of 17" of snow is coming to an end. Biggest snowfall in 20 years.

The Vikings were scheduled to play today at noon at the Metrodome, but as of last night the game had been moved to Monday night because the Giants could not get here. Then, at 5:00 a.m. this morning, the Metrodome roof collapsed. Watch the video.

So now the game is going to be held tomorrow night in Detroit. They are going to give away the tickets for free to people in Detroit in order to avoid the oddity of an empty stadium. Given that the Lions beat the Packers today for the first time ever at Ford Field, I suspect that they will get a decent crowd that is hungry for more (free) football.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010


The big news today.

WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Two thoughts. First, whoever did this is a first-grade asshole and traitor. Second, it is not going to damage our relations with other countries in any significant way.

For 3 months in 1986, I worked as an intern of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the State Department. I had a top secret security clearance, but I was just a college student. My first task every day was to go through volumes of diplomatic cables that had come in and pick out those that my boss might want to see. Nothing would have stopped me from walking the pile of cables to the Washington Post on a daily basis. You can't provide communications to thousands of people, and reasonably assume that everyone is going to honor the confidence.

What I also soon learned is that the real world of international politics is not what you read in the newspaper. It is way more complicated, and way more cut-throat than I had ever understood. Obviously, everybody in that professional cut-throat world from any country already knows what I learned that summer.

In short, this is outrageous, yet probably harmless in the end. In fact, reminding the rest of the world that we are not idealistic suckers might be a good thing.

Ireland - bailout

The figures are staggering. The EU bailout package is $113 billion. The Republic of Ireland has approximately 4.6 million people. (In comparison, the State of Minnesota has 5.2 million people.) So that is almost $25,000 for every man, woman, and child.

At what point are we playing with Monopoly money?

Leslie Nielsen - RIP

His switch to comedy started with Airplane, in which he was brilliant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It is going to get worse before it gets better

In the span of less than 11 months, the Vikings have gone from the brink of making the Super Bowl to being the NFL’s most compelling soap opera of 2010. Heck, even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably looks at the Vikings these days and says, “Man, we got nothin’ on them.”

Chilly hates Favre. Favre hates Chilly. Team pulls off a stunning trade for Randy Moss(notes), but Moss hates the caterers while professing his undying love for the Patriots. Chilly hates Moss. Chilly gets rid of him without telling the owner. The owner talks to the players.

There is no rebuttal.

Childress - gone

Today Zygi wisely lanced a boil. I have never been a big "fire the coach in the middle of the season" guy, but both this move and the firing of Gopher football coach Tim Brewster were necessary. They were both generals without an army willing to follow. In that situation, you have to replace the general, because you can't replace the army.

By all public accounts, Childress is a stupid asshole. But Favre is clearly an asshole too. I hope that he makes up an injury and goes away with Chilly.

I have a dream. The Vikings hire Bill Cowher. The Gophers hire a proven winner. And then I get to eat lobster before I wake up and find out that neither of those things ever actually happened.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back, sort of

At 6:00 on Monday evening, Xcel advised us that there had been 190, 000 residential outages, and only 41 remained. I was so happy to learn that we were among the lucky 41. I assume that we get some sort of consolation prize.

At 1:39 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16, the power came back on. Our long local nightmare was over.

Yeah, forget that plot twist.

Tonight, at about 7:45 p.m., while enjoying listening to my daughter's piano lesson while reading in front of a fire, I heard a shotgun type blast, and the power went out for a moment (enough to reset the clocks). My son (in the other room) said that a blocker box at the corner had exploded in sparks. Then, from where I was sitting I heard another shotgun type blast, and the blocker box in my backyard exploded in fireworks. The power went out again momentarily, but returned. My wife called Xcel and they said that they "might" send someone out to inspect it.

While, it turns out that the explosion in our backyard cut power to the rest of the neighborhood beyond us. "But we still have power, right, should be my attitude?" Nope, they are going to shut us down any second without warning for an indefinite period of time to work on the line.

Even when we have power, we have to give it back. My thoughts: Quote.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Glad to be back in the office

My secretary's family and our family have the worst luck when it comes to our houses. It has almost become a competition.

Our first year in our current house, the boiler went out while we were on vacation and it was 20 degrees below zero. We came home to busted pipes. A few years later, the replacement boiler failed and pipes broke again. The garages door springs have failed on at least 3 occasions. The washer died. The water heater died. The water softener died. The air conditioner died. There is more, but you get the idea. (Oh, and our boat sank, although is not technically a house problem.) My secretary's family has a similar long list of unfortunate events.

Also, our power goes out during every significant storm. Three weeks ago during a powerful wind storm, the power went out for 24 hours. This past weekend, after 12 inches of wet snow fall overnight on Friday, the power went out and it remains out 48 hours later. No power means no heat. It also means no water, as we have well that requires electricity to provide water. And no water means no functioning toilets. For 2 days and counting. We are basically camping in our house. Oh, and food in two refrigerators and two freezers is spoiling.

This morning the whole family was a bit grumpy as we trudged to the YMCA to shower. However, part of me was looking forward to getting to the office and scoring a point against my secretary in our game of bad luck. I then come into the office to learn that she stayed home today because she has not had power since Saturday and she had a tree fall on her house. But she has city water, so at least she can flush the toilet. Still, I think that I have to give her this round on points.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not from the Onion


DENAIR, Calif. -- A Stanislaus County school is forcing a student to take an American flag off of his bike.

Thirteen-year-old Cody Alicea put the flag there as a show of support for the veterans in his family.

But officials at Denair Middle School told him he couldn't fly it. He said he was told some students had complained.

The level of stupidity behind this type of decision is staggering.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thought police

According to a United States Senator, no person should be allowed to have an independent thought.

One doesn’t expect excessive amounts of wisdom from Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC), the troglodyte who recently told an audience, according to the Spartanburg Herald, that “if someone is openly homosexual or if an unmarried woman sleeps with her boyfriend, then that person shouldn't be allowed in the classroom,” but this is a new level of stupid. When asked to comment on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ suggestion that it’s time for d├ętente in the culture war, Demint tells Fox News that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.” Check out the video here, via Allahpundit (skip about 3 minutes in).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another recount

Just shoot me.
Minnesotans Wednesday woke up to a repeat of their long nightmare - a statewide race with a margin that leads straight into the depths of a recount.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fire Childress

I said this same thing to people yesterday: He has lost the locker room. Once that happens, it is over.
On Monday afternoon, Minnesota coach Brad Childress lost whatever remaining control he had ver the Vikings locker room. In his own way, Childress has become the Captain from “Cool Hand Luke,” a smarmy, cruel and vindictive person. Yeah, he runs the show, but there is no respect.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sports teams

My professional baseball team was swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs for the umpteenth time.

My professional football team gets the least out of overwhelming talent that is theoretically possible, and loses game after game that it had every chance to win. And the coach is brain-dead.

My college football team is so bad that it fired its coach halfway through the season.

My professional basketball team: "As of right now, we're the worst team in the NBA."

Being a sports fan is a curse.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fire Childress

The man might be able to evaluate talent, but he does not know how to coach a football team. Today, there were 2 minutes left in the game and we needed two scores. The only chance was a quick strike, and a successful onside kick. Slim chance, of course, but not no chance. So what does he do? - calls for short passes. He will say that you have to take what the defense gives you. But the defense gives that to you only because you can't possible win if you take it. Sometimes, you have to try to take something from the defense. He is an idiot.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Storm of the Century

I have never expereienced anything like the storm we had on Tuesday. There were Category 3 hurricane level sustained winds. Our neighbors 6"foot wood fence was destroyed. (I think our fence survived only because there are gaps between the slats that allowed the wind to get through.) When I was driving the car home from work, I had to fight the steering wheel to keep it on the road. We were without power, water, or heat for almost 24 hours. It has already been dubbed "The Storm of the Century."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not good

A RUSSIAN police officer hit three girls with his car while driving drunk in Siberia and one was killed after being run over by the ambulance sent to treat them.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

For the record

The Vikings traded for the return of Randy Moss today. For the record, I was in favor of this move 4 years ago. And I still like it now.


Twins vs. Yankees (good vs. evil) starts tonight at Target Field. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of tickets for tonight, and my wife and I are looking forward to it with great anticipation. The atmosphere is going to be like nothing I have experienced since the World Series in 1991. And the weather is going to be perfect.

I need to think good thoughts, so I have been watching this a lot.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gliese 581g

This is fascinating.

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz), and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, has announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet (three times the mass of Earth) orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone," where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.

Will we visit that planet in my lifetime?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gopher football

Once upon a time, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were a national powerhouse in football. Now, with a beautiful new on-campus stadium that should make recruiting easy, they are a complete joke under the reign of a guy that was hired because he was supposed to be able to recruit.

On Sunday sitting in the clubhouse after a nice fall round of golf, I said that that the Gophers should target either Tony Dungy or Marc Trestman. I guess that I should write a sports column.

Tim Brewster is still the University of Minnesota football coach. But if there is a change, speculation will immediately focus on two former Gophers quarterbacks, Tony Dungy and Marc Trestman.

And count on it — Dungy will be the first person contacted, as he was after the Gophers fired Glen Mason. . .

Trestman, who is from St. Louis Park, coached the Montreal Alouettes to the Grey Cup championship in his first season two years ago. Last season, Trestman took Montreal to the Grey Cup finals. This season, the Alouettes are 9-3 and in first place in the Canadian Football League's East Division.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Suggesting the obvious

I'm not trying to find humor in this story; it is obviously tragic. But the odds are that it was a spectacular suicide, right?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Twins win again

I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at Target Field with my brother in his regular seats. First row, behind home plate. It was awesome. I took this pregame picture while in my seat, and it barely conveys the awesomeness of being so close.

I continue to marvel at how they did everything so right with this ballpark. This year, I have been in the upper deck in left field (2), lower deck on the third base line (1), in a suite (3) and, today, directly behind home plate. The views are obviously different from everywhere, but they are all magnificent. When the Twins were at the Metrodome, I would rather watch on TV than go to the game. Things are completely different now.

Today, with a lineup filled with guys who will not be on the post-season roster, the Twins won again. I am an eternal pessimist when it comes to my sports teams, but this team seems to have a special magic. I just hope that they can continue that magic for 6 more weeks.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

It is all about me

This woman is a piece of work. Just look at the picture, and you will know everything that you need to about her vanity.

Twins win

I went to my 5th Twins game at Target Field last night, and I'm now 4-1. Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay for the whole game. In the 8th, my daughter told me that she was sleepy, the Tigers had just tied the game, and I thought that it could go on for a long time. So I hurried home and was there by the bottom of the 9th. After missing in person but seeing on TV this exciting walk-off in the 10th, I told her to go to bed. "But Daddy, I'm not tired." Daddy was not happy with her.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Odd story


Sometime in the past 50 years, Wisconsin lost a couple of

Minnesota found them and, like a good neighbor, is giving them back.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Interesting report

  • “You ever think what a coincidence it is that Lou Gehrig dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease?” - Christopher (“Members Only,” Episode 66).
  • "You gonna tell that same stupid joke every time?"- Tony, in response to Chris' Lou Gehrig crack (“Members Only”, Episode 66).

Maybe not.

New scientific research indicates legendary Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig may not have died from the disease that bears his name, the New York Times reports. Instead, Gehrig — and some others diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — may have suffered from a different fatal disease catalyzed by concussion like trauma to the brain, according to a peer-reviewed paper to be published Wednesday in a leading neuropathology journal.

Doctors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and the Boston University School of Medicine, discovered that markings in the spinal cords of two deceased NFL players and a boxer who had been diagnosed with A.L.S. did not have the disease.

“Most A.L.S. patients don’t go to autopsy — there’s no need to look at your brain and spinal cord,” Dr. Brian Crum, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, told the Times. “But a disease can look like A.L.S., it can look like Alzheimer’s, and it’s not when you look at the actual tissue. This is something that needs to be paid attention to.”

The paper does not talk about Gehrig's case specifically, but the authors told the Times their results open up the strong possibility that Lou Gehrig's disease is a misnomer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Target Field's first walk-off HR

And it was special. We are battling the White Sox for the division title. The former White Sock and future Hall of Famer, and ultra-classy, Jim Thome destroyed the baseball. Here is a link to the video of the HR and the wild reaction (I can't embed it). Below is the interview after.

That was so cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Why not Michelle, or Mary, or Laura?

WASHINGTON — Federal drug regulators on Friday approved a new form of emergency contraceptive pill that prevents pregnancies if taken as many as five days after unprotected intercourse.

The pill, called ella, will be available by prescription only. Developed in government laboratories, it is more effective than Plan B, the morning-after pill now available over the counter to women 17 and older.

That pill gradually loses efficacy and can be taken at most three days after sex. Ella, by contrast, works just as well on the fifth day as the first after sex.

I guess I should be glad that we didn't name our son Viagra.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home equity loans

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we just refinanced our mortgage. In the process, we paid off a fairly significant home equity line of credit. Apparently, we are suckers.

Lenders wrote off as uncollectible $11.1 billion in home equity loans and $19.9 billion in home equity lines of credit in 2009, more than they wrote off on primary mortgages, government data shows. So far this year, the trend is the same, with combined write-offs of $7.88 billion in the first quarter.

Even when a lender forces a borrower to settle through legal action, it can rarely extract more than 10 cents on the dollar. “People got 90 cents for free,” Mr. Combs said. “It rewards immorality, to some extent.”

Utah Loan Servicing is a debt collector that buys home equity loans from lenders. Clark Terry, the chief executive, says he does not pay more than $500 for a loan, regardless of how big it is. “Anything over $15,000 to $20,000 is not collectible,” Mr. Terry said.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Minnesota Nuts

There is a perception of Minnesota Nice. It should be Minnesota Nuts.

Mark Dayton won the DFL primary for governor. This is the same Mark Dayton who in 2004 closed his Senate office because he saw a terrorist in his shadow. Moreover, it is no secret that he is an alcoholic who has had repeated relapses, and that he suffers from depression. Sounds perfect for us.

After all, we elected Governor Goofy. And then we elected an unstable professional wrestler as governor. Lets go for the trifecta.

I'm so embarrassed for my state.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Best job quit ever


It has been a long time since flight attendant was a glamorous job title. The hours are long. Passengers with feelings of entitlement bump up against new no-frills policies. Babies scream. Security precautions grate but must be enforced. Airlines demand lightning-quick turnarounds, so attendants herd passengers and collect trash with the grim speed of an Indy pit crew. Everyone, it seems, is in a bad mood.

On Monday, on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater decided he had had enough, the authorities said.

After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective.

Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.

On his way out the door, he paused to grab a beer from the beverage cart. Then he ran to the employee parking lot and drove off, the authorities said.

Monday, August 09, 2010


I had to drop off my son at a Boy Scout camp in northern Minnesota yesterday, and it was an 8 hour drive round trip. So on Saturday I took my car to Jiffy Lube for a overdue oil change. In suggestive selling mode, the guy showed me my cabin intake filter, which was filthy and had a hole in it. He said that the dealership charges $120 to replace the part, but Jiffy Lube would do it for $40. Not thinking it through (i.e., no labor involved whatsoever), I said fine. He later came back and told me that they were out of stock on that filter but I could bring the car back.

Returning to critical thinking mode on the way home, I checked the Internet and found the filter for $5.95 (plus $5 shipping). The lesson learned is that I will never again pay to have a part replaced that I could replace myself without any problem (except an oil filter).

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Glenn Beck

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the man is dangerous.

Question for Mr. Beck: Is the Swedish government preparing to mass murder its own citizens?

You are a fraud. You are a horrible human being who makes money spreading ridiculous ideas to scare people. You make Joseph McCarthy seem tame. If I ever met you, I don't think that I could resist the temptation to kick you in the nuts.

Update: I found Beck's next guest.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament

Jason and I played in the Northwest Amateur Golf Tournament last weekend. It was his upteenth year, but my first. The format is two rounds, a cut, and then a championship round (flighted by the prior 2 day scores, not handicap) on Sunday. There are a ton of great players and it is tough to make the cut (154, I think, this year).

There was a lot about the weekend that fits within the "What happens in Spencer, stays in Spencer" category. But here are my PG-13 comments on the weekend.
  • I finally met his friend "Geek" Johnson. Jason did not adequately prepare me, although he tried. After the first day I worked up the nerve to ask whether I could call him "Geek". I was granted permission, although there might have been some pity involved after he saw me play.
  • I also met his friend Tony. He could teach Tiger Woods some things about getting yourself into a competitive frame of mind.
  • I didn't realize going in that Jason had never made the cut, but has been creeping closer lately. So after a nice start on Saturday (77), he was close. Thus, I didn't realize that he was really nervous on Saturday. His inability to pick a parking spot at the course should have been a clue but I had been barfing all morning (not because I was nervous -- I would have had to shoot 63 to make the cut -- but because I had allowed myself to get completely dehydrated the day before.)
  • Jason played well on Saturday but the golf gods did not shine on him. He just missed the cut. Both Geek and Tony made it.
  • Tony entered Geek involuntarily into the long drive contest on Saturday night. Geek, with an "I'm no pussy" response, accepted the challenge. After watching him outdrive me by 60 yards for 2 days, I watched him be outdriven by 60 yards in the competition. Humbling.
  • On the way out of the parking lot of the hotel as we left town, we saw a woman with a full goatee. It put my goatee to shame. She just stared back at us with the clear message "yes, I have a goatee, so go to hell."
  • Jason obviously won this year's weekend stroke play shot glass competition. Hat tip for that. But I will be back.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

White roofs


Since he took over as energy secretary last year, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics, has urged Americans to help cool the planet by painting their roofs a lighter color that reflects sunlight.

“When you’re thinking of putting on a new roof, make it white,” Dr. Chu told Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” audience in 2009. “It costs no more to make it white than to make it black.”

Now he is following his own advice: on Monday, Dr. Chu directed all Energy Department offices to install white roofs during new construction, when replacing old roofs and wherever an installation is cost-effective over the lifetime of the roof. The secretary urged other federal agencies to follow suit.

“Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest-cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change,” he said in a statement.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Glass 1/2 Full

As much as the economy and our 401ks have struggled in the last two years, the news is not all bad. After we close our current mortgage refinance, our interest rate will be 4.5% lower than the day we were married.

Financial freedom doesn't come in just one form.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Duct Tape

You can't make it up.
The most talked-about phone in the U.S. -- Apple's iPhone 4 -- has a design flaw that's best fixed with a sliver of duct tape, according to Consumer Reports.

"It may not be pretty, but it works," writes Mike Gikas on that nonprofit consumer group's electronics blog.

The patch -- which sounds like it'd be more appropriate for kitchen plumbing than for a phone that retails for $200 to $300, plus an AT&T contract -- is supposed to correct an apparent problem with the iPhone 4's metal antenna.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rev. Jackass

Jesse Jackson.

"He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers," the reverend said in a release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave."
No, LeBron had every right to leave. But to ask the world to tune into a one hour television event in Cleveland--his hometown and where he was worshipped--to announce that rather than renew his vows, he wanted a divorce, was about the most classless act I have ever witnessed.

Not that I need more evidence to support my opinion that Jesse Jackson is a jackass, but here is some anyway.

And who could forget this?

Rev. Jesse Jackson referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown" in January 1984 during a conversation with a black Washington Post reporter, Milton Coleman. Jackson had assumed the references would not be printed because of his racial bond with Coleman, but several weeks later Coleman permitted the slurs to be included far down in an article by another Post reporter on Jackson's rocky relations with American Jews.

A storm of protest erupted, and Jackson at first denied the remarks, then accused Jews of conspiring to defeat him.

Just go away.

Two stories to ruin your Monday


76-year-old iconic director, Roman Polanski, is free to drug and sex 13-year-old girls across the European continent. . .

(CNN) -- A veteran Iranian human rights activist has warned that Sakineh Mohammadie shtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities. . .

Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

Ashtiani, who is from the northern city of Tabriz, was convicted of adultery in 2006. She was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes. . .

The world is messed up.

Friday, July 09, 2010

LeBron James

He had every right to pick his employer. But to do it in such asshole-iss fashion is really repulsive. Link.

I'm a little more proud today that our hometown hero is Joe Mauer.


A piece of golf history.

[Paul Goydos] shot a 59. An 18-hole, 12-under-par, 59. It was only the
fourth score of that total n PGA Tour history, tying the mark of Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval.

“That’s just a mythical number in our game,” Goydos said.

It was the kind of performance that had a few other Tour pros watching with the fans as Goydos arrived at the 18th green with a 7-footer left for a birdie and the 59.

“I was probably as nervous as I’ve been over a putt in my life,” Goydos said. But he rolled the downhill putt perfectly, saying “the ball couldn’t have gone more in the center of the hole with a laser on it.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Truth in Advertising

Lunatics are running the asylum


Gander Mountain Co. says in a federal lawsuit made public Thursday in Minneapolis that the bank that issues its "co-branded" cards is threatening to deny new applications from about 25 percent of the sporting goods chain's customers -- those with the highest credit scores. The St. Paul-based company wants a court order blocking the practice.

The bank, World Financial Network National Bank of Columbus, Ohio, said it loses money on such customers since they tend not to carry balances or incur late fees.

The Party of Lincoln

Facts, then conclusion.

Required oath of office in Texas

IN THE NAME AND BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, I, , do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.
Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969)

We hold that the First and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit making mere private possession of obscene material a crime.
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)

The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.
2010 Texas Republican Party Platform

Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

Pornography – We urge our governmental bodies to enforce laws regarding all forms of pornography. We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses.

Conclusion: Oath, smoath. We really don't give a shit about the Constitution (except the Second Amendment).

Thursday, June 24, 2010



I got an iPhone today! No, not this one. I got this one.

When I was growing up, my Dad got a new car every 5 years or so, and my Mom would get his old(s) car. (Literally, as the Oldmobile Delta 88 and 98 were the cars of choice at our house.)

A generation later, the gender role reversal is complete. My wife got up this morning around dawn to stand in line to pickup her new iPhone, and I was granted custody of the old one.
I have kicked the tires, but I really have no idea how to drive this thing yet. That said, you can be reasonably assured that my first blog post from the Model-T of iPhones will be noted with great pride.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- The longest match in tennis history was suspended because of darkness at 59-59 in the fifth set at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

That is 59 games to 59 games, not 59 points to 59 points.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lighten up, Francis

We prevailed at trial on a very large case and the other side has retained new counsel for the appeal. This is from the home page of their website.

Our philosophy is reflected in the motto inscribed on the Firm's flag: Vincere aut Mori ("Victory or Death").


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bikeshare program

I hope this cool new addition to our urban landscape is able to sustain itself financially. It makes so much sense. And, after all, Minneapolis was recently named the best biking city in the United States.
It was a light drizzle and a chorus of trilling bike bells for this afternoon’s launch of Nice Ride Minnesota, the city’s brand new bike-sharing program, which allows users to rent public bikes for short jaunts through town. According to officials, by the end of the day, the program’s 65 kiosks will be activated, stocked with 700 bikes and ready for use. Nice Ride is currently the largest bike-sharing program in the nation. It will grow to 1,000 bikes in 75 kiosks by the end of summer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Our Opening Day

Because we were not able to get our boat in until this week, today was our fishing opener on Lake Minnetonka. The kids and I went out with a friend and his son, who is obsessed with fishing. It was a general success, although most of the fish were caught in the first 45 minutes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Return to Estes Park

We returned to Estes Park, Colorado last week and met up with my wife's entire family (less one niece who was out of the country). On the way there we went through the Black Hills and visited the Mammoth Site. The fossils weren't necessarily exciting alone, but the story of how they got there was fascinating.

In Colorado, I went fly fishing for the first time. I hooked 11 trout and landed 7 of them. Six of the 7 looked like this.

But this 18" Rainbow Trout (the guide's estimate, not mine) sure was fun to catch.
The next day I did the "zip line", which sounded fairly benign when I was originally asked whether I wanted to participate. I was somewhat taken aback when I showed up and found out that I was going to have to ascend to a small platform about 20 feet up a pole, and then descend a giant hill on a wire for about 300 yards at about 100 feet at its maximum distance from the ground. And although it was daunting to go down the hill from high in the air, it was nothing compared to walking back up that hill in the thin mountain air. I think that it took me 20 minutes to recover my breath.
Later in the week I paid an exorbitant amount ($3) to spend an hour at the archery range. The truth is it ended up being even more expensive than that, as I have decided to construct my own archery range on our property in some dead space behind our back fence.
When it was over, we decided to power home in a single day during which I did all of the driving. We stopped only 3 times, once in Omaha for take-out at my wife's favorite Omaha restaurant.
Arriving home a bit past midnight, we found 3 dogs and a cat who all feigned excitement regarding our return.
All in all, it was a very nice week.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Today's "Not from The Onion" story

"Mom of toddler smoker in Indonesia seeks help for him"
[W]hat was disturbing was that the parents motivation to get Aldi to quit wasn't stemming primarily from an understanding of the risk to his health, but more from the cost of spending four dollars a day -- Aldi smokes an average of 40 cigarettes daily.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Carole King/James Taylor Concert

We went to this wonderful concert last night and were fortunate enough get to witness it from a suite where we were served wonderful food and beverages, which we indulged in all for the good of the team. (It was a firm marketing event to which we managed to get ourselves invited.) It was as special night that we will always remember.

Here is a video of their appearance on Letterman kicking off the tour.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lying Bastard

Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for doping, allegations he vehemently denied. He even wrote a book in which he accused others of all sorts of misdeeds that he claimed led to his unfortunate plight.

Positively False is at once a memoir and a powerful indictment of the unchecked governing bodies of cycling that have compromised theintegrity of the sport as a whole. . . Floyd Landis details the highs and lows of his career with unabashed honesty. It is this same honesty with which he will clear his name once and for all, as he lays bare the inner workings of the cycling world -- a place where athletes are subject to the antiquated science, flawed interpretive protocols, and draconian legal processes of the anti-doping agencies -- and finally lays to rest the scandal that threatened to destroy everything he's worked so hard to achieve....

Turns out he should have titled the book "Lying Bastard". Oh, and for good measure he now admits that he threatened to tell the world that Greg LeMond had been sexually abused as a child if LeMond testified to Congress. Just a charming fellow all the way around.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


In general, I like what I read about her. As a centrist, I think that she seems like a good choice. But it is undeniable that the SCOTUS does not even come close to representing America generally. Despite some gender and racial diversity on the Court, it cannot reasonably be considered to be a truly diverse institution. When Stevens leaves and Kagan is confirmed, every single justice will be an alum of either Harvard Law or Yale Law.

And then there is this regarding the lack of geographical diversity in the backgrounds of the justices:

If the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is confirmed, she would join three others in a distinct bloc. For the first time in the court’s history, said William Treanor, the dean of Fordham Law School, it would have four justices who grew up in New York City.

About 3% of the US population lives in NYC, and it is fair to assume that a substantial percentage of that 3% actually grew up somewhere else. This is not healthy for either the SCOTUS or the country. I'm not suggesting that anyone should vote against Kagan because she grew up in NYC and went to Harvard Law. What I'm suggesting is that, next time, an arbitrary condition that the nominee grew up and went to law school at least 500 miles from Boston, New Haven, NYC and Washington would not be inappropriate.

Not too bright

Same car pulled over three times in 20 minutes. Each time, a different driver is arrested for DUI.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This should be embarrassing but, in politics, hypocrisy is a job qualification. Link.

"I mean, one reason I felt so strongly about Harriet Miers's qualifications is I thought she would fill some very important gaps in the Supreme Court. Because right now you have people who've been federal judges, circuit judges most of their lives, or academicians. And what you see is a lack of grounding in reality and common sense that I think would be very beneficial."
-- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), quoted by Salon, on the lack of judicial experience of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, October 27, 2005.

"Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice."
-- Cornyn, earlier today on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Yesterday, the Twins completed their first season sweep. That it was at Target Field, against the Tigers made it extra sweet.

I plan to post some more about baseball and Target Field in the next week, but for now I leave you with this: 2009 Game 163 (tiebreaker) Tigers v. Twins, the last regular season game ever at the Metrodome. It was an all-time classic.

Monday, May 03, 2010


This changes everything. I now realize that I have it all wrong.

I am now resolved to start working on developing more empathy for fugitive child rapists.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dream come true

I would guess that what an aspiring MLB player most often dreams about is hitting a home run the first time that he steps to the plate in The Show. So, this is a feel good story (with video at the link) that came out of an otherwise diappointing loss for the Twins last night.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Until this disgraceful law is ruled unconstitutional, our kids are going to need to carry around their passports in Arizona to prove--when they meet a police officer who is "reasonably suspicious" that they are illegal immigrants--that they are, in fact, legal Hispanic immigrants and naturalized citizens of the United States of America. If they don't have their "papers" with them, they will be technically guilty of a crime.

The legislation has widespread support among Arizonans, according to one recent poll, but Latino leaders compared the bill to apartheid in South Africa and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. A handful of teenage girls, among the hundreds of high-school students attending a Statehouse rally, openly wept after it was announced that Brewer signed the bill.

"This is the most reprehensible thing since the Japanese internment," said Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state senator and community leader. "This is the saddest day for me. It's shameful."

Arizona's immigration law, now considered the toughest in the nation, makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local police to enforce federal immigration laws.

It will require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a green card or other proof of citizenship, such as a passport or Arizona driver's license.

It also makes it illegal to impede the flow of traffic by picking up day laborers for work. A day laborer who gets picked up for work, and traffic is impeded in the process, would also be committing a criminal act.

Phoenix's mayor is rightly embarrassed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opening Day: A New Era

I was not lucky enough to have tickets for the first regular season game ever at Target Field, but I went down there anyway before the game to be part of the day. I walked around the plaza and checked out the numerous impressive details among thousands of others who didn't have tickets either. Then came the national anthem and the flyover of the F-15s at its conclusion, followed by an enthusiastic crowd roar that signaled the start of the new era. I then raced home to watch the Twins prevail 5-2 in a well played ballgame. Everything was perfect.

The accolades that have been showered upon this new field are unending. This is from a guy at Fox Sports:
In borrowing from the best of the new-age ballparks, the Minnesota Twins have created what might be the finest stadium of its generation. . .

[I]f there is a better place to watch a baseball game, I haven’t found it yet. The new standard has been set.
I'm going to 3 games over the next 3 weeks. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I have zero sympathy for Tiger, but that doesn't mean that I'm rooting against him. So, with that understanding, I declare this the single dumbest sports opinion piece ever written. A taste.
If Woods has a tap-in to win the Masters, I hope his conscience helps him yip it and lip it. Win any other week. But not here. Not now.
In short, Tiger should lose on purpose in order to make us feel better about ourselves.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Religion and the Supreme Court

Interesting subject, at least to me. Here is Nina Totenberg's lead.
With U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talking openly about retirement, attention has focused on the "who" — as in who is on President Obama's short list of potential nominees. But almost nobody has noticed that when Justice Stevens retires, it is entirely possible that there will be no Protestant justices on the Court, for the first time ever. . .

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sports Monday

1. Tiger returns to golf at Augusta.
2. NCAA basketball championship that has a David vs. Goliath feel.
3. Twins' opening day.

Tomorrow's sports section will take more time to read than on a typical Tuesday.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

God help us

This guy got the most votes in his most recent election.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) is raising some eyebrows with a comment he made about the U.S. territory of Guam during a House Armed Services Committee
hearing last Thursday.

In a discussion regarding a planned military buildup on the Pacific island, Johnson expressed some concerns about the plans to Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific fleet."My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," Johnson said. Willard paused and replied, "We don't anticipate that."

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Health care, health care, health care. Please make it stop.

The bill passed, it is now law, and it isn't going to be repealed by this Congress. So can we talk about something else for a while until we get somewhere close to an election? Last time I checked, there were one or two other issues facing the country.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obama Derangement Syndrome

I thought that the left's Bush Derangement Syndrome could never be out done. Boy, was I wrong.
Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party. Here's new data to prove it:
  • 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
  • 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did."
  • Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."
God help us.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hypocrisy in Congress

Norm Orenstein asks: "[I]s there no shame anymore?"

Answer: "No."

That one was too easy. Next question.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What a pig

John Edwards might be the biggest asshole ever. Link, if you can stand it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Denny Hecker

If you live in the Twin Cities, you surely know who Denny Hecker is. He owned about 20 car dealerships plus a mortgage company and many other businesses, and his face was on half of the buses in town. But apparently no amount of legitimate money was enough for him and he turned to fraud, and his empire eventually collapsed. He filed for personal bankruptcy last year, listing assets of approximately $18 million and liabilities of approximately $767 million because of all of the personal guaranties that he had signed for his various businesses. Then he was indicted. Then his attorneys all asked to withdraw from his divorce case, his bankruptcy case, and his criminal case because he had stopped paying them.

Today, Denny agreed to give up in his bankruptcy case and to accept a denial of a discharge from his $767 million in liabilities in exchange for one thing; he gets his $30,000 dog back.

As of this reminds me of a story that a lawyer at my law firm told me many years ago. As a young lawyer, he obtained a judgment against some deadbeat and sent the sheriff out to gather any personal property that he could find to satisfy the judgment. The sheriff called the lawyer and told him that there was nothing but a dog. The lawyer instructed the sheriff to take the dog. Within 3 hours, the lawyer had a cashier's check for the entire amount of the judgment, and the deadbeat got his dog back. I don't know if there is any moral to that story, but I have never forgotten it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Study joke

I need to figure out how to get someone to pay me to do a study like this one. I predict that my study will find that everyone who has the proper respect for golf and the Minnesota Vikings is smart, and everyone else is dumb.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic downhill

Experience it here.


There is nothing better.
The Tea Party's choice in the Florida Republican primary, Marco Rubio, began his address to a crowd of conservative conventioneers by taking a shot at President Obama for reading from a teleprompter. He did it while standing in front of two easily visible teleprompters.

Do as I say, not as I do

I generally like the work of Tom Friedman. And, I think that he makes some rational arguments about climate change issues in this particular column. But I do have to say, he would have more credibility if he reduced his own carbon footprint by living in a Georgetown rowhouse instead of here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Global warming

I think that global warming is a serious concern but that the quality of knowledge in the area at this point is about equal to what we knew 300 years ago about properties of the moon. Krauthammer has stated it well.

I’m not a global-warming believer. I’m not a global-warming denier. I’m a global-warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

But I do have to laugh at people who instinctively blame every natural disaster of any type that have been occurring for millions of years on something we don't really understand at this point. Here is a perfect recent example from a CNN talk show.
ENSLER: Well, I just think the idea that she [i.e., Palin] doesn’t believe in global warming is bizarre.
BEHAR: Every scientist at every note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.
ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.

So only an idiot would not understand that global warming is causing earthquakes and tsunamis? Words fail me.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Being There II: The Woman from Alaska

Does this description of Chauncey Gardiner remind anyone of a certain person who is making the talk-show and lecture circuit these days?
Rand is also the confidant and adviser of the U.S. President (Jack Warden), whom he introduces to "Chauncey." Chance's remarks about how the garden changes with the seasons are interpreted by the President as economic and political advice, relating to his concerns about the mid-term unpopularity that many administrations face while in office. Chance, as Chauncey Gardiner, quickly rises to national public prominence. He becomes a media celebrity with appearances on television talk shows, and is soon on the A-list of the most wanted in Washington society. Public opinion polls start to reflect just how much his "simple brand of wisdom" resonates with the jaded American public.
The original "Being There" with Peter Sellers was a comedy that I thoroughly enjoyed. The sequel is a reality show that I find unbearable to watch.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


"Snowstorm puts W.H. press corps in danger"

So, there is a winter storm happening on the East Coast and the national news coverage is hysterical. And, now, we get a story with this point -- the reporter is scared because a tree branch snapped, and that in itself is a story that should be on the front page. Everybody panic!

These people are serious candy-asses.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Circular firing squad

"Top Democrats at war - with each other"

In a display of contempt unfathomable in the feel-good days after Obama’s Inauguration, freshman Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) stood up at a meeting with Pelosi last week to declare: “Reid is done; he’s going to lose” in November, according to three people who were in the room.

A Toles cartoon from last week sums it up. As a Vikings fan who saw his team dominate in total yardage, first downs, and time of possession in the NFC Championship Game, only to be done in by unforced errors, I find the cartoon even more insightful than ever:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vikings: Deja vu all over again

Clearly, somebody was sticking pins in a voodoo doll yesterday at the critical junctures. Whoever you are, you made my 10 year old cry. I hope that you are happy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A fun game

Try to hit Tiger's girlfriends with golf balls before they get to the press. It takes a little practice to get the timing on the release of the mouse button and to judge the wind, but I made back to back hole in ones on a par 4 and par 5 before I was done. Link.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olbermann = Coulter

In describing the new junior Senator from Massachusetts, Keith Olbermann's quest to earn the dubious title of "The Ann Coulter of Left" is finally complete.
“In short, in Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”
Now he can transition to the lucrative book market, where I have a suggested title for him that would be Coulter-esque: "Why All Republicans are Nazis Who Want to Rape Your Daughter". Well, have you ever heard a Republican reassure you that he doesn't want to rape your daughter? Hah!, I thought so.*

*When confronted, Olbermann defended the violence against women charge by claiming that some anonymous person at a Brown rally allegedly suggested that his opponent be physically hurt and that Brown did not publicly come out against the alleged remark which there is no reason to believe that he ever heard in the first place, if it was ever in fact made.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vikings 34, Cowboys 3

What Favre is doing is ridiculous. Highlights here. Revenge for this.

Dallas columnist writes:
When there are 31-point margins of victory in both NFC semifinals, then it's understood that the two best teams in the conference are still standing.
New Orleans, here we come.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Red Cross: Haiti

Click here to donate to the Haiti relief fund. The Red Cross deserves and needs your contribution; Pat Robertson does not.

Uff da

Link. "The reaction people have to Sarah Palin is very much the reaction many people have to Jesus".