Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 7

Today is "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day." 70 years ago today, the course of history changed dramatically. Here is what I posted 7 years ago today.

My uncle (who died 20 years before I was born) was president and valedictorian of his class at Dartmouth, as well as captain of the football team and basketball team (including a basketball team that lost in the NCAA Championship game in 1942). He then joined the Navy.

Here is what I know about his valedictorian speech:

Charles 'Stubbie' Pearson '42, served as his class's valedictorian, and later as a Navy dive-bomber pilot in the Pacific. In his valedictory address, he said 'this is a war for the future. Man must replace the importance of material gain. We must humanize ourselves. Man is man and that is all that is important...Do not feel sorry for us. We are not sorry for ourselves. Today we are happy. We have a duty to perform and we are proud to perform it.'

My uncle never returned from the Pacific, and his body was never found. Tom Brokaw later did a lengthy piece on my uncle and he interviewed my Dad extensively as part of his "Greatest Generation" series on NBC Nightly News. Boy, that was emotional to watch.

I inherited neither the intelllectual gifts nor the athletic ability of my uncle. But 60 years later, I want to pay my respects to him on Pearl Harbor Day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Romney is going to win the nomination by default. The latest GOP implosion comes from Rick Perry. Unlike Fallows, I don't feel sorry for him; like Bachmann, he is a lightweight and we are all better off having him exposed as such sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More Penn State

John Feinstein, one of the preeminent sports journalists of his generation, opines.

If the sexual abuse and assault charges brought by a Pennsylvania grand jury against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky prove to be true on any level, then this will be the single worst thing that has happened in college sports in just about forever.

Penn State

I'm sick. These words express my thoughts very well.

I waited several days to write this because my first thought was what I would do if someone did something like this to my child. My initial reaction --
and I'm fairly certain most parents would feel this way -- was homicidal.
If someone molested my child, he would need the police to protect him from
me. If I found him first, his death would be neither quick nor clean. I
might spend the rest of my life in prison, though I'm not sure a
right-thinking jury would convict me. Those were the first thoughts that
popped into my head, and I'm not ashamed to say that. So why didn't Paterno,
a parent and grandparent who claims to have dedicated his life to the kids,
feel the same way? Why didn't he do everything in his power to ensure he
helped protect a kid who couldn't protect himself?
I hope that there is a special section of Hell for people like this.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Words elude me


LACEY -- Kristoffer Domeij is an American hero.

Domeij, an Army sergeant, was deployed an astounding 14 times before he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Saturday. He enlisted two months before Sept. 11, and he'd been in combat ever since. . . .

Domeij served four deployments in Iraq, then took part in an original airborne assault into Afghanistan. Amazingly, he would be deployed to Afghanistan nine times. In all, there were 14 deployments for this warrior hero -- more than any other Army ranger killed in action.

He received two bronze stars, and a third will be awarded posthumously.

"This was a ranger you wanted at your side when the chips were down. He is irreplaceable - in our formation and in our hearts," said his battalion commander, Lt. Col. David Hodne.

In all, Domeij had a combined total of 48 months of deployment in combat. And in that time, he may have been part of more than 5,000 combat missions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I feel a tinge of guilt for feeling more than a tinge of elation in the news of a death.

OK, the guilt part has passed.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Hat tip to President Obama

Who won't miss his pretty face? Kristof, for one.

Americans are not often heroes in the Arab world, but as nonstop celebrations unfold here in the Libyan capital I keep running into ordinary people who learn where I’m from and then fervently repeat variants of the same phrase: “Thank you, America!”

As I was walking back from Green Square (now renamed “Martyrs’ Square”) to my hotel on Wednesday morning, a car draped in the victorious Libyan flag pulled up and offered me a lift. “I just want you to feel welcome here,” explained the driver, Sufian al-Gariani, a 21-year-old salesman. He beamed when he heard where I was from and declared: “Thank you, Americans. Thank you, President Obama.” . . .

President Obama took a huge political risk, averted a massacre and helped topple an odious regime. . .

Pro-Americanism now is ubiquitous. I was particularly moved by a rebel soldier near Zuwarah in the west who asked me if New York City was safe. When I looked puzzled, he explained: “Irene. The hurricane.” And he asked how he could help.

“Without America, we would not be here,” Ismael Taweel, a businessman, told me as he stood by Martyrs’ Square with a huge grin on his face. “I hope there will be more relations between Libya and America now,” he added. That’s a common refrain: Libyans are hungry to rejoin the world.

Belgassim Ali, a petroleum engineer, told me: “I would thank America for the stance to protect my people.” Without America, he added, “we would not be celebrating. We would be in the cemetery.” . . .

“I love America so much. It’s the land of freedom.” That warmth toward the United States seems to have replaced the early doubts. It’s coupled with huge appreciation for other foreign supporters such as Qatar, Tunisia, France and Britain.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Whitey Bulger arrested

Fugitive South Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, wanted for 19 murders, was captured last night in Southern California, the result of a tip from FBI television spots that began airing this week. His capture ended a 16-year manhunt that spanned the globe.
I have read two books about this horrible yet fascinating guy. I also have watched every episode of Brotherhood and the movie The Departed multiple times, both of which were inspired by Bulger's life story. It is a good day for the FBI, finally.

Friday, June 10, 2011

God and politics


After a thorough investigation, Daily Intel has discovered that God is separately backing at least three different contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. Over the course of the past few months and even years, God has sent signs and direct messages to each of these candidates encouraging them to run, presumably without telling them that he supports other candidates as well. . .

Monday, May 23, 2011

T-Paw DOA?

The St. Paul Pioneer Press hilariously ran the announcement of T-Paw's presidential campaign on the Obituary page this morning.

Any other day, it would have made the front page. But that's what he gets for making his big publicity push the day after a deadly tornado rips through his home state.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Killer


MINNEAPOLIS -- Harmon Killebrew, the Minnesota Twins slugger known for his tape-measure home runs, has died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., after battling esophageal cancer. He was 74.

The team said Killebrew died peacefully Tuesday morning with his wife, Nita, and their family at his side.

He had announced in December that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Last week, Killebrew announced that doctors had deemed his cancer incurable and he would no longer fight the "awful disease."

Killebrew hit 573 home runs during his 22-year career, 11th-most in major league history. His eight seasons with 40 or more homers still is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth.

"No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins territory than Harmon Killebrew," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. He said Killebrew's legacy "will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Twins - Welcome back Mr. Liriano

Last night, Liriano interrupted an otherwise relatively joyless season for the Twins with a no hitter.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Liriano no-hits ChiSox">Video: Liriano no-hits ChiSox</a>

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Arab Spring gets boost/Al Qaeda goes bust

What does OBL's death mean in the big picture? I can't improve on the opinion expressed by Fareed Zakaria.

[T]he truth is this is a huge, devastating blow to al Qaeda, which had already been crippled by the Arab Spring. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the end of al Qaeda in any meaningful sense of the word. . .

History has turned an important page.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Australian

THIS is the moment America struck back.

The killing of Osama bin Laden will have powerful strategic consequences around the world.

It is not the end of the war on terrorism.

But it is a big day in that war. It helps to show America's enemies that ultimately they pay the price.

It removes the most brazen boast of the terrorists - that they can thumb their nose at the Americans. It shows, too, nothing is beyond the reach of the US special forces. . .

This is a very big win for the US national security apparatus, and the intelligence services that have been so maligned in the past 10 years. . .

[T]he Pakistani government claims it did not know Osama bin Laden was hiding in a giant compound barely 100km from its capital, Islamabad.

It is utterly implausible that any international figure of note could hide in a mansion near Islamabad without the knowledge of the Pakistani intelligence services. Completely impossible.

If the Pakistani government did not know, it is the most incompetent government in the world. If it did know, then it was intentionally sheltering the most dangerous and infamous terrorist of our time. . .

But whatever the circumstances, this is a magnificent victory for the Americans, and for us, the Americans' allies.
Update: Leonard Pitts: 9/12/2001.
It's My job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock, when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering:
You monster. You beast. You bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed!
Did you want us to respect you cause? You just damned your cause!
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve!
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together!
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political, and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous energy on pop culture minutia -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods. Maybe because of that we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent though -- peace loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God. Some people -- you perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You are mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.
IN PAIN: Yes, we are in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did; still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, you attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States, and probably the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there is a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught, to it's bitter sorrow, the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When aroused we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice. I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as I think, you do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In days to come there will be be recrimination and accusation, fingers will be pointed to determine whose failure allowed this to happen, and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heighten security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastised, sad, but determined too. Unimaginably determined.
THE STEEL IN US: You see the steel in us is not always apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep; as Americans we will mourn, as Americans we will rise in defense of all we cherish. So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we are capable of; you don't know what you just started.
But you're about to learn!

OBL's compound

NY Times

What a pleasant surprise to wake up to this morning. My 12 year old son announced this is one of the best days of his life.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Trump - he can't stop

More crazy.

"In the meantime we can't get a f---ing school in Brooklyn," he said.

He also cursed the spike in gas prices: "We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, you're not going to raise that f---ing price."

Trump even dropped what's considered the most offensive f-bomb when he promised to use swear words while negotiating with China.

"Listen you mother f---ers, we're going to tax you 25 percent," he said. . .

But he later said: "There is a really good chance that I won't win because of one of these blood-sucking politicians."

Or, perhaps you won't win because the American people will rightly judge you to be delusional and scary.

Christian Ponder - QB of the future

There is a lot of local negativity about the Vikings first round pick in the draft yesterday.

Others disagree.
I love this pick. I think he will be the best in this class. Smart. Tough. Sees the field. Great move, Vikings. Grade: A.
Time will tell whether Mr. Ponder is closer to Drew Brees or Cade McNown, another number 12 pick who was a bust.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Twins games so far this year

So far this year, luck has not been with us.

1. April 10 - Athletics 5, Twins 3
2. April 22 - Indians (rainout that is announced only as we approach the ballpark)
3. April 27 - Rays 8, Twins 2. More.

At snowy Target Field, Ben Zobrist tripled and drove in three runs Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Rays pounded Francisco Liriano in an 8-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Temperatures dipped below 40 degrees during the game and flurries turned the ballpark into a late-April snow globe.*

* "So, other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

Just watch

Prior posts on this hero are here and here.

The man is impressive

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This morning on the elevator ride we stopped at our reception floor, and I saw "Breaking News: Trump Speaks" on the monitor. Obviously, I could not wait to hear our future Dear Leader's words.
"Today I am very proud of myself, because I've accomplished something that nobody else was able to accomplish," Trump said . . .
At what point does a person become so self-absorbed and self-important that it is just not possible to go any further? All prior known boundaries of ego-mania shattered?

Fierce doggy

This has shades of watching our cat wiping the floor with our little dog's butt.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Libya


BENGHAZI, Libya — . . .

As the fighting on the front line in eastern Libya settles into a stalemate 100 miles south of here, this city where the revolution against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi began in earnest on Feb. 17 has started to grapple with a daunting problem: building democracy in a society where there never was such a thing. Far out of the range of Colonel Qaddafi’s artillery and no longer worried about his air force, “Free Libya” is free to reinvent itself.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


This story about the evolution of Brazil and its relationship with the U.S. is very interesting. The conclusion:
[I]f you want reasons to be optimistic about where the human race, the western hemisphere and American foreign policy are going — watch Brazil.

Friday, April 15, 2011

GOP - Send in the Clowns

This is an opinion that is likely to be repeated ad nauseum on this blog over the next 15 months: The GOP is dominated by goofballs. As I have said before, it is maddening that a major political party's leading candidates look like the cast from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Mitch Daniels: Please come to the rescue. The country deserves a serious debate and a real choice before we walk into the voting both in November 2012.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What part of "volunteer" did you not understand?

Not from The Onion.
Huffington Post bloggers who think they ought to get paid for their volunteer writing. . .
I'm speechless. You "volunteered", and now claim that you were exploited because you were not paid? Are the NY Times and every other newspaper exploiting people who send letters to the editor because that content helps sell newspapers?

Masters 2011

The most wide open "back nine on Sunday at the Masters" in a long time, maybe ever. With an hour left, 9 guys from around the world (only Tiger from the U.S.) were within 1 shot of the lead.

More highlights here.

Another link.

Who conceives these scripts? . . .

By the time Tiger Woods whipsawed that 8-iron onto the sixth green – the only man to play the hole correctly all day – for birdie, you could tell this was going to be a wild afternoon.

After third-round leader Rory McIlroy and playing competitor Angel Cabrera birdied the seventh hole, Peter Kostis asked, “Does it get any better than this?” . . .

For sheer tragedy, McIlroy’s collapse was evocative of Greg Norman’s 15 years ago. And as things became officially unglued during the ugly triple bogey on the 10th hole, Nick Faldo, the beneficiary in 1996 of Norman’s self-immolation, pointed out in thoughtful terms that only he can know, how “pressure finds your weakest point” – by which he meant McIlroy’s draw. . .

Throughout it all, we were able to track the fireworks – a tribute to the telecast and the quality of the golf. I thought The Masters of 1975 and 1986 were thrilling. And they were. But I don’t recall ever seeing so many players from so many countries having so many good chances to win on the back nine. “Every continent but the Arctic and Antarctica are represented on the first page of the leader board,” Feherty said as the drama unfolded.

OK, the Arctic isn’t a continent, just an ice sheet. But we were watching golf, not Geography 101. It was the kind of telecast where, midway through, you knew that you also were watching history.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Twins' Home Opener

I was stuck on a train trying to get through flood waters near Fargo when the Twins played the home opener, so I have to go exclusively by the highlights that I can find and the StarTribune's extensive coverage of the game. But it sounds like it was one for the ages. A movie director might complain that there is just too much going on.
  • Bert Blyleven Hall of Fame induction countdown started.
  • Gardenhire received 2010 Manager of the Year award in pre-game ceremony.
  • Morneau's return.
  • Morneau proceeded to get his 1,000th career hit, and the ball is ceremoniously removed.
  • Pavano struggled a bit early but steadied the ship.
  • The Twins couldn't hit anything for 7.5 innings, facing a pitcher having a very good day.
  • Bottom of the 8th, Twins down 1-0. They start a piranha attack of seeing eye singles, score a run to make it 1-1, and Joe Mauer comes to the plate. The place is raucous. The man who has amazing hand/eye coordination, picks his spot on the third base line and nails it, 2-1. Good stuff. (Video link.)
  • The best was yet to come. Joe Nathan's return after missing the 2010 season with Tommy John surgery. He comes out of the bullpen to preserve the win, his job and one that he is very good at. Target Field turned up the volume.

"Stand Up and Shout" already was pumping when the bullpen door swung open to start the ninth inning, but the Target Field crowd didn't need Steel Dragon's cue to erupt.

"The place kind of started shaking," said the object of that clamor. "It's the loudest I've ever heard a crowd in this city."

That's saying something, considering the decibels that once reverberated around the Metrodome. But of course the Opening Day crowd went jet-engine raucous -- it's as if Twins fans collectively remembered all at once: "Hey, Joe Nathan is on this team!"

It had been 18 months, an elbow surgery and one ballpark ago since Nathan last threw a pitch in Minnesota, an out-of-sight-out-of-mind eternity so lengthy, Nathan's name doesn't even appear in the scorecard the Twins sold on the concourse. But as he stood on the Target Field mound, he looked as though he had never been away.

"It picks you up to see him run out of that bullpen," right fielder Michael Cuddyer said. "We've been missing that."

Everyone had. Starting pitcher Carl Pavano turned to manager Ron Gardenhire during the clamor and said, "If that don't make you get the jitters, nothing will."

Nathan got them, too -- and that's a problem for a closer. The score was 2-1, after all, and it's his job to make sure it stayed that way.

We have tickets for tomorrow, 1st date of our limited game season ticket plan.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I voted for Obama in 2008. I'm generally satisfied with the job he has done, and I think that it is more likely than not that I will vote for him in 2012. But I want a real choice, so I share Joe Klein's despair regarding the current GOP lineup to face Obama.
And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot--please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.

Please, in the name of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, run.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"The most insane tsunami footage yet"

Via Gizmodo, I thought we’d seen the worst a few weeks ago, but no. The clip at the last link looked like a flood turning into rapids transforming into a roaring river. This looks more like what it actually was — an honest-to-goodness ocean spilling into a city and swallowing it whole. By the end of the clip, if not for that lone building on the right edge of the frame, you wouldn’t know civilization had been there.

UPDATE: This video is even more dramatic, if that is possible. (Can't embed.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Obama on Libya

Nice job, Mr. President.

He went all in. Gaddafi is gone no matter what it takes.

More Syria

It is bewildering to try to keep up with everything in the Middle East right now, but possible change in Syria is really a bigger story than Libya.

“It’s over; it’s just a question of time,” said a Western diplomat in Damascus, speaking on the condition of anonymity in accordance with diplomatic protocol. “It could be a slow burn, or Qaddafi-esque insanity over the next few days. It’s very tense here, very tense. You can feel it in the air.”

More Libya

If you are wondering why President Obama is not going to speak from the White House tonight when he makes his most detailed statement yet on Libya, here is the answer.
The reason why the president is making his speech from the National Defense University and not from the Oval Office is that it’s more of a “policy” speech (which presidents typically deliver from different venues) than an “action” one (which they typically give from the Oval Office).
Meanwhile, let's hope that the good news continues to accumulate.

In the last 48 hours, rebels have blown through 300 miles of Gadhafi-held territory.

This morning, they claim to control the Libyan leader's hometown of Sirte, which is located halfway between the rebel-held east and the government-controlled west.

If reports are true, the development would be a major coup for the rebels who are quickly heading toward the capitol city of Tripoli.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine A. Ferraro

Rest in peace.

I had the highest respect for her. She was a historic pioneer, and she handled it with grace and intellect, and acquitted herself very well despite the historic nature of Reagan's win in 1984.

Ferraro's existence made everything in this country some degree better for women, and that makes her a historic figure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lunatics running the asylum

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sean Parnell's appointee for the panel that nominates state judges testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage.


I see a new show: "Law and Order: Consensual Sex Between Adults Investigation Unit". I wonder what it will take under his proposed law to get a probable cause warrant to put a camera in the bedroom of any non-married person?


Another domino? Let's hope.
Thousands of people took to the streets in the southern city of Dara, chanting "Syria, Freedom," a day after a deadly crackdown on protests there, human rights activists said.

The demonstrations Thursday occurred at the funerals for some of those killed when government forces opened fire on protesters the previous day. Initial reports put the death toll at 15, but Reuters news agency, citing a hospital source, said more than 25 people were killed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I got this video from my brother. When I was a senior in high school, at 6'0", I could barely dunk a volleyball, never a basketball (I couldn't keep control of it with one hand). This guy is 5'11", but his vertical jump is supposedly 50"; mine was probably 20" at its peak.

Credit card fraud


Believe it or not, even a savvy person like me is subject to fraud once in a while. Perusing our most recent credit card bill, I came across three charges that were clearly not ours - small charges made at gas stations in another state. When we called the credit card company, they determined that our card had been duplicated, since the charges had been swiped through a card reader. Apparently, at some point recently our credit card data must have been double-swiped through a magnetic card reader and then transferred to a duplicated card.

The duped card was then used for small-ticket purchases at innocuous locations intended to evade the bank's fraud detection algorithms. The pattern is the fraudsters pilot a couple of small charges, and if the account holder doesn't shut off the card, much larger charges are made.

I'm now part of the group of persons defrauded in this type of scam, but the fraud group at Chase caught it after 3 $20 transactions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Newt Gingrich is brilliant. He is also a completely hypocritical jerk. When I see him, I think "Lex Luthor."

Leading the fight

Perhaps I was a bit too ready to accept the line that the French and the British were going to take the laboring oar in Libya. I thought that Libya's proximity to Europe would change the ability to project power dynamic in this case, but at least one expert's response is "not so much". See, e.g., here.

There is a lesson here for those who support what are known in international law as humanitarian interventions. Unless the intervention is very small or very swift or both, no country in the world but the U.S. can do it. We alone have the money, the technology, and the trained personnel. We alone have shown the willingness and ability to project power over long distances for a sustained period. Many people, both in America and abroad, are uneasy with this preponderance. But it cannot be wished away. If other NATO countries hope ever again to be equal partners, they will have to increase their defense spending significantly. True, they could wait instead for us to reduce ours. But then the world would be left with no one able to prevent a slaughter—even in those rare instances when the world decides to try.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


110 cruise missiles. That is a lot. I'm just glad that the French are willing to be the face of this operation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another performance from the girl who I call Ciao Bella

We had a "Palm Sunday" service at our church last Sunday at the beginning of Lent. I can't explain why because, frankly, I wasn't paying attention. My favorite part of this video was the solo/duet from the girl in the middle in the green sweater.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Wire (real life version)

If you ever watched The Wire, HBO's fantastic series about the drug world of Baltimore, you will find this story quite interesting.
After hundreds of local and federal police fanned out across Baltimore at dawn yesterday, hauling suspects out of homes and off the streets, authorities announced at day's end that they had shut down one of the city's major sources of illicit drugs and violence.

In all, they charged 63 suspects with federal and state drug conspiracy counts — among them Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, whose arrest on heroin-related and aiding and abetting charges echoed the street lifestyle she portrayed as a character in HBO's series "The Wire" and sought to overcome in her personal life.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Horrible stuff.
NAKAMINATO, Japan — Japan on Saturday mobilized a nationwide rescue effort to pluck survivors from collapsed buildings and rush food and water to thousands in an earthquake and tsunami zone under siege, without water, electricity, heat or telephone service.

Entire villages in parts of Japan’s northern Pacific coast have vanished under a wall of water, many communities are cut off, and a nuclear emergency was unfolding near two stricken reactors as Japanese tried to absorb the scale of the destruction after Friday’s powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami.

Japanese news media estimates of the death toll ranged between 1,300 and 1,700, but much of the north was impassible and by late Saturday, rescuers had not arrived in the worst-hit areas. More than 300,000 people have been evacuated, with 90,000 fleeing the zone around the nuclear plant in Fukushima, according to Kyodo News. Most of the deaths were from drowning, but firefighters and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces were rushing to prevent a higher toll, flying in helicopters and struggling to put out fires burning in industrial complexes or tearing through Japan’s many vulnerable wooden homes. Many communities were still scrambling to find the missing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More in honor of person I never met


“He didn’t have a child and a wife,” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “In a way, he went over so that somebody with a young family wouldn’t die.” . . .

“Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families," one of his comrades posted on Facebook. "He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him. Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.”
Without informing my wife, I looked into joining the military after 9/11, but I was judged too old. I think that I will go to my grave feeling guilty that I didn't contribute anything but money to the defense of our country. I have been a leacher, and I admit it. Andrew, a man who I never met, is my hero.

Saudi Arabia

Things remain uncertain in Libya, but the biggest story yet might be underway: Saudi Arabia. See here.

Residents say all seems calm, and see no sign that security has been reinforced. But there is a mood of expectation about Friday's Saudi "day of rage" and whether the "Arab spring" will spread to the conservative kingdom.

"Let the chips fall where they may" is my philosophy. We can't control it, and people are entitled to determine their government. If they don't choose wisely, they can try again. But I don't see how any change that is the result of swelling of public opinion is not something that a democratic country like ours can do anything but encourage.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Return home

I'm back home after leaving Friday and returning Monday from 108 holes of golf in Austin, TX, fighting a bad back throughout. The trip was great. The welcome home I received last night from wife, kids, and pets was heart-warming and made me think that I should leave more often, just for the benefit of the return. I'm a very lucky guy.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Real life

The son of a person who I have never met, but who was in a book club that my wife used to participate in, was killed in Afghanistan a few days ago. The StarTribune story is here. All of a sudden awake, I find myself thinking about him at 3:00 a.m.

The debt owed to our armed forces cannot be repaid.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I have been a critic. (See here.) But the last month has convinced me that he is the best that cable TV has to offer. He always seems to ask the right, hard question. Therefore, he is probably doomed to TV failure.

The "Scott" phenomenen (cont'd)

A secretary who I have worked with for 10 years just called me Scott. This has gone far beyond weird coincidences; I have had at least 30 incidents. For more, see this prior post.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The end is near

We should not forget that some of the revolution in Eastern Europe in 1989 was violent. Romania's communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were summarily executed. After today's "speech" by Gaddafi , I expect a picture like this of him within days.

Monday, February 21, 2011


More history, and there is now a report that Gaddafi has fled Tripoli. This one really has to scare the bastards in Tehran because Gaddafi employed brutal force, killing hundreds, apparently to no avail.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Middle East - a wave

By now, every rationally thinking autocrat in the Middle East has gone from pissing his pants to crapping his pants.
The unrest shaking the Middle East showed no signs of calming Friday as leaders proved again unable to stem the fervor of protesters determined to overthrow governments and remake a region plagued by corruption, poverty and decades of limited political freedoms.

Protests that only months ago would have been unheard of have engulfed a region desperate to duplicate the toppling of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
If people were not dying in their fights for freedom, I would be able to enjoy this more.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Twins tickets

We received confirmation today that we got in for tickets for a 20 game pack for next season. The choice was 2, 3, or 5 tickets (obviously, they can't market a single seat season ticket, so 4 in a spot with 5 seats available was not an option). My wife voted for 5, and I didn't object. It isn't like there won't be a market if we can't use them.

Here is the view from our seats. And we have these or better seats for life. Sweet.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Today, the lives of 80 million people changed forever. Amazing stuff to watch.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Stupid person of the year

What can you say about this?

The puppy that almost ended up in the U.S. mail will stay at an animal shelter for at least another week after an administrative hearing officer ruled Monday that it should not be returned to its owner.

On Monday, city administrative hearing officer Fabian Hoffner ruled against returning the dog to owner Stacey Champion, 39, of Minneapolis, calling what she did "disgraceful."

The 4-month-old Schnauzer-poodle mix was nearly sent in a cardboard box to Georgia last month before it was intercepted by alarmed postal workers. Postal authorities said it almost certainly would have suffocated or died of exposure in the unpressurized belly of a cargo plane.

Champion admitted at the hearing that she put Guess in a box without food on Jan. 25, saying it was supposed to be a birthday gift for her son in Atlanta.

Because delivery was halted, Champion said, "I was deprived of my son not receiving his gift for his birthday. I felt really, really bad as a mom."

The case was so unusual that Postal Service employees weren't sure at first if the shipment was illegal, according to Postal Inspector Jesse Swanson. He said at Monday's hearing that on the day the dog was discovered, he got a call from the Loring Post Office station manager asking if Postal Service rules prohibited the mailing of puppies. He had to check the rules himself before learning that it was not permissible.

"This was somewhat uncharted territory for us," he said.

Suspicions about the shipment first arose when employees at the Loring Station post office in downtown Minneapolis saw the box move on its own and heard breathing inside. Champion had told clerks that the box contained a toy robot, according to Swanson. . .

Monday, February 07, 2011

Middle East

If you have 10 minutes, read this instant history of what is happening. It helps put everything into a broader perspective.

Let's watch Saudi Arabia. There are no signs of instability there yet, but 25% of the world's oil supply. . .

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Money to burn

Since I started this blog, I have refrained from any commentary on Matt Entenza because he was my predecessor judicial law clerk and he was someone who participated in my interview for the job. But in that job I had heard alot about him from people I respected (and long before he ever became a public figure), and I developed some definite impressions.

I have now decided that 20 years is the statute of limitations on expressing an opinion on a former colleague. So, I hereby express an opinion that anyone who spends $5,000,000 of his own (i.e., wife's) money to try to buy a public office is, by definition, too irresponsible to be in public office. (Unfortunately, Mark Dayton was successful in buying the same office for only $4,000,000 of his own money.)

I understand that the First Amendment makes reform in this area virtually impossible. But it still makes me sick.

Monday, January 31, 2011

LASIK - followup

I was 20/25 at my 1st post-op appointment on Friday, and 20/20 at my 2nd post-op appointment today. My last post-op appointment will be at the end of February. I'm betting that I'm 20/15 by then. Life is good.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


After years of waiting, I finally had the courage to have LASIK surgery. It has been less than 6 hours now since the procedure was completed. Confident that things are only going to get better, here is my early verdict.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Middle East

Every authoritarian leader in the Middle East should be pissing his pants right now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A day that will go down in Mafia history

I have a fascination with organized crime in America. It started with The Godfather, and I have seen every movie on this list (and many more). I have watched the entire series of The Sorpanos, Brotherhood, and The Wire, each more than once. I have read many books on the subject, and watched countless documentaries.

So, with that background, I obviously find today's news riveting.

In an unprecedented assault against seven mob families in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, the F.B.I. and local authorities began arresting close to 130 people on Thursday on charges including murder, racketeering and extortion, people briefed on the arrests said.

The sweep began before dawn, and the targets ranged from reputed small-time book makers and crime-family functionaries to six reputed senior mob figures from three crime families, including the entire current leadership of the Colombo crime family, according to several people briefed on the arrests.

Among those charged, some of the people said, were roughly 30 made members of New York’s five crime families and the families in New Jersey and New England, along with scores of mob associates and several union officials.

The arrests, including one expected in Italy, were based on 16 unrelated indictments handed up in federal courts in four jurisdictions, several of the people said. Taken together, they amounted to the largest such sweep of organized crime figures conducted in recent history by federal authorities.

Monday, January 17, 2011

CNN - "The Most Trusted Name in News"

The lead story (not advertisement) on CNN's "news" page at the moment is why its newest "entertainment" host is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Truly astonishing.

We have heat

"Who is the greater fool, the fool or the fool who follows him." (Obi-Wan Kenobi to Han Solo, in Star Wars.")
In 2004, the 50 year old original boiler in our house failed. We bought a replacement boiler through Minnegasco/Centerpoint, which hired a sub-contractor to install it. ("The most capable guys in the business," we were told.) They had the darnest time getting one of the baseboards in our family room to heat, and sent out different guys (including the owner) at least 4 times. Eventually, we decided to live with the fact that baseboard would not heat.

In 2008, our replacement boiler failed. Minnegasco/Centerpoint replaced it under warranty, and used the same sub-contractor, but we (i.e., insurance) had to pay for a ruptured line that occurred during the failure. However, after the replacement boiler was installed, not only did that particular family room baseboard not heat, but neither of the baseboards in my son's room would heat and a radiator in the basement would not heat. Since my son's bedroom is over our tuckunder garage, that meant that his room was 10 degrees colder (at least) than the rest of the house in the winter. After a couple of futile visits to try to figure out the problem (for which I had to take time off of work), the sub-contractor (which had already been paid by Minnegasco/Centerpoint) stopped returning my calls. So I didn't pay Minnegasco/Centerpoint.

After about 6 months, a manager from the Minnegasco/Centerpoint collections department called and requested payment. I said "no heat in my son's room, no money." He said that Minnegasco/Centerpoint was not aware of a problem, and he arranged for a Minnegasco/Centerpoint guy and the lead technician from the sub-contractor to come out and scope out the problem, which forced me to take another day off work. Their diagnosis was that it was a problem with the the way the lines were plumbed, even though they had always worked fine before the original boiler failed. The sub-contractor offered to re-plumb the lines for $1500, with the caveat that heating results would not be guaranteed. Unimpressed, I passed but, worried about our credit, I paid Minnegasco/Centerpoint and decided to live with the problem.

For the last two years we have been heating my son's room with an electric heater. Finally, fed up, I put an ad on Craigslist offering a reward for anyone who could fix the problem without re-doing our boiler plumbing. A guy accepted the challenge, and he was due out late this morning. To demonstrate the problem for him, I turned up the heat earlier this morning and, of course, those baseboards did not heat. But then I noticed something. The knobs on the baseboards that didn't work were turned outward (some knobs are on the left side, some on the right side, so it was not a matter of turning them to the right or to the left) and the knobs on the baseboards that worked were turned inward. So I decided to conduct an experiment. Within 2 minutes, the problem was fixed and we had heat everywhere. Fortunately, I was able to call off the repair guy before he got here, although I didn't have the guts to tell him why so I made up an excuse.

So, two notes to self. (1) Service people, as a general rule, suck. (2) If a baseboard isn't working, check to see if the knobs are turned inward.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


In the last 5 years I have lost 3 friends/colleagues under the age of 53 to cancer. This week it was one of my best friends from high school, Randy. Great guy.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I have mixed feelings about Pawlenty. But anyone who writes a book trumpeting his own personal "courage" is going to turn me off, big time.

Great runs

For me, a great personal effort by a running back is the most entertaining thing to see in sports.

On Saturday, I watched one of the greatest runs that I have ever seen. This post is to preserve it so I can find it when I want to watch it again. Here and here are a couple my other favorites.

But, for my money, Barry Sanders put together the greatest number of physics-defying runs ever. If you watch this video, notice how many guys that are trying to tackle him just completely whiff.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The state of humanity

The world has gradually become a less barbaric place than it was 150 years ago (slavery persisted in the U.S.), 75 years ago (Hitler and Stalin were just getting started), and even 15 years ago (genocide was rampant in Rwanda and the Balkins, and Saddam was free to pursue his Stalinist methods). But we still have a long way to go.


(CNN) -- Dozens of women were raped in a coordinated attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo on New Year's Day, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday. . .

Rape is a frequent weapon of war in Congo, the United Nations says.

It has named the Democratic Republic of Congo the "rape capital of the world," with 15,000 women raped in eastern Congo in 2009.

This type of news story helps bring me back to Earth when I drift toward self-pity about some inconvenient or unwelcome event in my life.


Bert Blyleven was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Good for him.