Friday, October 18, 2019

The Friday Link for 10/18/19

For this week, I'm sharing what has become one of my favorite shows, The Good Place.

What I like most about The Good Place is how well it's written, and how well those lines are delivered.  This is one of those shows where there are so many jokes, some episodes you need to rewatch to catch everything.

The cast is exceptional starting with America's sweetheart Kristen Bell, but at any point, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson or D'Arcy Carden steals a scene or an episode.  A special shout out to Danson who's doing his best TV since Cheers and the unbelievably talented Carden whose Janet is such a pivotal character on the show.

Also the gags are relentless and hilarious.  The references to how people are tortured in The Bad Place, the mocking of Jacksonville and Florida as a whole, and the occasional deep cut ethics and philosophy references/puns are great.  There's a moment in Season One where demons are forcing Ted Danson's character to dance while they karaoke the Nixon Tapes (you read that right).  It's freaking brilliant!

For this week, here are the blooper reels for Seasons 1, 2, and 3. Of course there's some naughtier language, so you've been warned!







Catch the first three season of The Good Place on Netflix and the final season is currently airing on NBC.  Have a great weekend everyone!






Thursday, October 17, 2019

Autumn Flowers

I took some good shots of Autumn flowers at the Minnesota Arboretum last weekend.  Enjoy!




















Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What We Learned on Thursday

On Thursday, Trump came rambling into Minneapolis trying to fire up his base by having a rally in the 'belly of the beast;' the House district of Representative Ilhan Omar.  The idea was to show the country Trump's appeal (even in a Democratic stronghold like Minneapolis) was far stronger than Democrats want to believe.  On the contrary, what we learned on Thursday is Trump's no longer unconditionally loved by some of his own supporters, as they realize they've been dancing with the Devil.

Don't get me wrong.  A lot of people (shockingly) still love Trump, a good 25-30% of the country, but there are signs Trump's supposed undying support is starting to cough and run a fever.  After the Thursday rally in Minneapolis, I'd be VERY concerned about the eroding of Trump's popularity within his own base.

Let's start with the obvious: Trump didn't fill up Target Center!  He just didn't!  It seats 20,000 for an event like Trump's rally, and the GOP's own online pre-game live stream showed the entire upper ring empty 15 minutes before the speakers started.  Numerous other photographs, as well as the Minnesota GOP's own video, showed most of the upper deck empty minutes before the program began.

This was apparently a mistake by the organizers.  For some reason Trump's people thought 12,000 to 16,000 people would make Target Center look full.  It doesn't.  I heard a story that when it became obvious there were numerous empty seats in the upper deck, the Trump people frantically went outside to the exterior viewing area where a few thousand Trump fans were, and shuffled as many of them in as quickly as possible.  This makes sense as the upper deck was mostly filled prior to Trump's keynote, and it also explains why the outside video viewing area was so sparsely attended, with what seemed like less than 500 people.

But back to Target Center.  It was 'mostly' filled!  The upper three to four rows in the upper deck were pretty much empty. That means it was closer to 19,000 people.  I understand there are a lot of suburbanites who LOVE Trump, but who are terrified of coming into the downtown.  They reside on the outer limits of the metro area, insisting their mostly caucasian communities infested with chain restaurants and stores is the 'nitty gritty city.'  When faced with going into the actual downtown for the evening, even to see Trump, they'll give a hard pass.

Still the Twin Cities metro area is 3.6 million people.  The population estimate for the state is 5.6 million, plus there is western Wisconsin and the insane amount of people who follow Trump around like he's the Grateful Dead.  Putting it all together, the Republicans couldn't muster more than 21,000 people (at most!) in the 16th largest metro area in the country.

Then came the speech.  I'm not going to post any direct quotes (City Pages has the ten most bizarre:  http://www.citypages.com/news/10-things-donald-trump-actually-said-at-his-batshit-minneapolis-rally/562817381) but to say Trump's ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTE (!!!) speech was an unintelligent garbled word salad doesn't do it justice.  He bounced around from unrelated subject to unrelated subject like a Minion after drinking four pots of coffee and a dozen Red Bulls riding a paint can shaker in an earthquake.  No one is saving the tape for posterity.

And it wasn't just liberals who got bored with Trump's speech.  Media people on the floor of Target Center started noticing the pro-Trump Republican crowd starting to fade as the speech went into the second hour.  The photographs taken by MPR photographer Evan Frost don't paint a flattering picture of the crowd's receptiveness to what Trump was saying.  This has led to Trump supporters, frantically trying to cover up their clear lack of enthusiasm, insisting the photographs were taken before the event started, posted later to make Tump look bad.  They weren't.  Even Trump's biggest supporters were having a hard time digesting his ramblings.





After the speech was done, a new Republican tradition was played out.  To make themselves into the victims, Trump supporters, as they leave the venue, must paint the scene as some sort of mad scramble for their lives!  Them walking out the venue, out to the parking lot, getting into their car and quietly leaving Target Center morphs into a deleted scene from Mad Max:Fury Road.  "I barely escaped the clutches of Ilhan Omar, as she lead a battalion of Antifa thugs armed with spiked bats and jars of urine on a rampage against anyone who was white!  WE BARELY SURVIVED!!!"

For the record, even though multiple Republican "news" outlets reported Rep. Omar was on the front lines with Antifa in Minneapolis,  Ilhan was actually overseas on an official trip at the time of the Trump rally.

On Thursday evening, there was one arrest and one citation handed out in regards to the protest.  That was it.  Sure there was a burning of Trump merchandise, but it wasn't stuff ripped off Trump supporters.  Police did get a little over the top with pepper spray at times, and there was one case where a Nazi came down to scream at the 'libtards,' only to get slapped, then run off by the crowd.  The apocalypse crowd Trump fans insist was threatening them just wasn't there.  What was there was about 20,000 (or possibly more) protestors who engaged in their Constitutional right to protest, which they did peacefully.

So even the the right's final attempt at portraying themselves as being on the moral high ground, the vilification of protestors into something far worse than what they really were, ended up being nothing substantial.

Afterwards, there was a 'canary in the coal mine' in regards to Trump's supporters and their possible wavering support for him.  I posted on Facebook one of the photos from Evan Frost.  Someone picked it up.  So far 345,000 people have seen the one post.  It was a post of this image:


You're welcome America!  This photo of bored Trump fans at the 85th minute of Trump's speech has become a meme upon itself.  My only comment about the photo was how it 1) clearly showed a bored, less than enthused Trump crowd, and 2) how it shows most Trump's fans are old and white.  

Since then, I've found myself inundated with demands for 'civility' from people on the political right.  The same people who spent eight years watching President Obama repeatedly get hung in effigy and were either silent or endorsed the disgusting displays, the same people who watched Trump mock a disabled man, the same people who heard the Access Hollywood tape, the same people who ignored Trump paying off a porn star he had an affair with at the same time his wife gave birth to his kid, the same people who watched Trump attack John McCain's service record, the same people who witnessed Trump attack military families, the same people who see Trump lock children up in cages in concentration camps on the border, the same people who cheer on Trump's never ending Twitter attacks and incompetent leadership are furious at the picture I posted, calling it uncivilized.  THESE people are now demanding civility in political conversations.  Please...

It does lead one to ask why they're making such a foolish request.  Are they starting to ween off of Trump, terrified of the 'told you so's they know they'll endure if they admit they were wrong to back such an incompetent jackass, hence a preemptive call for 'civility?'  Their biggest fear is having to admit the Democrats might've been right.  Are they pleading for civility to avoid embarrassment? 

Here's how I've tackled this.  I'll put up a picture of Trump mocking the disabled man.  This photo:  


Ask the Republican calling for civility what they have to say about this photo.  If their response is "He never did that!  He's innocent!  That's just libtards trying to make him look bad," then F- them! They're trying to get Democrats to honor a civility standard they themselves have no intention of inhabiting.

But if they state (like one woman I challenged) "I wish I'd condemned that more back then.  I was very uncomfortable with that and should've realized Trump has some issues," then go easy on them.  If they're willing to take that first step, even if it is a baby step, let them know there's a path where they don't have to genuflect too much.

We learned on Thursday some Trump supporters are starting to wake up, but much like rabid followers of all authoritarian regimes, it has to get really bad for people to realize the crap sandwich they've been eating is not a filet mignon.  





Friday, October 11, 2019

The Friday Link for 10/11/19

Not a lot here this week as I've been dealing with this:


That's right, the Trump rally came to Minneapolis and I've been a touch busy.  I promise a recap on the blog this weekend.  Photo: Evan Frost MPR.

For this week, I will hand it over to John Oliver.  Two cuts from him tonight, starting with his outstanding takedown of compounding pharmacies.  The best part of his show is how he finds HUGE problems in America that no one seems to know anything about. Compounding Pharmacies are a 'mix to use' pharmacy, and of course they have been overrun with unscrupulous people who'll kill to make a buck. 



The second cut from Oliver is a weird salute to recently passed away Rip Taylor.  Taylor featured uniquely in a really strange segment from 2015 where John Oliver points out Thailand's extremely weird and disturbing fascination with Hitler.  Yes, THAT Hitler.



WEIRD!  Have a great weekend everyone!





Friday, October 4, 2019

The Friday Link for 10/4/19

On today's Friday Link, I'm featuring Omeleto, kind of a Netflix for short films.

They feature quite a few, from pretty much every genre you can imagine, many featuring major celebrities and recognizable stars.  Here are three short films from Omeleto I enjoyed, but a warning, adult themes and rough language are pretty common on these films, as well as some really weird twists and turns.

First up, what happens when a giant alien comes to earth but doesn't seem to want to annihilate us, or help us.  It's 'The Narrow World.'



Next up, a self absorbed man completely misses the end of the world.  Super creepy at the end of 'Lasiurus.'



Finally a heartbreaking story about trying to use a time loop to stave off death.  I actually teared up at the end of this one. 'Exit Strategy.'



There is another short film about time travel which gets REALLY weird and pretty inappropriate at times.  I will not post it but it's called 'I'm You, _____.'  Don't ever let idiots attempt time travel.

Have a good weekend everyone!






Monday, September 30, 2019

Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo!

We're finally here!  Trump, through his own stupidity and ignorance, is on the verge of getting impeached.  What's stunning about this whole 'blackmailing Ukraine for dirt on Joe Biden and his son' scandal is how the arrogance of Trump, thinking he can do whatever he wants, led this fool to hand the Democrats all the ammunition they need to send his caboose up for a trial in the Senate.

Out of fear and frustration, Trump this morning (September 30th, 2019) decided to take the US on a new course.  He's re-tweeted a far right anti-American zealot who gleefully predicts it'll soon be time for a new Civil War in the United States.  The President, through this re-tweet, is promoting the idea that if he is ever held accountable for his crimes, the 'solution' would be a Civil War.  He also threatened the head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, with an unfounded charge of treason. His evidence of treason against Schiff was the Representative reading the printouts the White House gave the Democrats, but that doesn't matter to Trump.  He's fulfilling his campaign promise.  He just gunned down Democracy on 5th Avenue, and as he begins celebrating, he's starting to hear police sirens.

I'm hoping calmer heads prevail in the Republican party, but the amount of Republicans who are willing to go in front of a camera and outright lie in the defense of Trump is depressing.  The media is sitting dumb faced, as easily fact checked falsehoods spout from the pie holes of the GOP.  If they want to defend Trump until the bitter end, that's their prerogative, but if the main body of the Republican Party doesn't squash these calls for a new Civil War, I fear there will be a lot of bloodshed.

What would a Trump supporter initiated Civil War look like?

It wouldn't involve the military.  The military, even though there are a few rabid Trump supporters in the ranks, wouldn't order the troops to start rounding up Democrats.  They just wouldn't.  Most people in the military would revolt against their superiors if they ordered them to invade Duluth, or Atlanta, or Miami.  If Trump ever did give such an order, military leadership would walk into the White House and tell Trump to his face "don't make us drag you out of here."

On top of that, local police as well as county and statewide law enforcement wouldn't take too kindly to their residents being rounded up and gunned down in the streets.  Sure, 5% of their ranks are likely pro Trump over country, but most law enforcement wouldn't share this ideal.  I won't lie.  I do have questions about the real motivations of certain members of the Minneapolis police force, but I find it impossible most of them would do nothing while Trumpsters potentially gunned down Mayor Frey and the Minneapolis City Council.

It'd be nothing like the 1860's Civil War.  There you had established lines, with defined patriotic and traitor states.   This time around, states like Wyoming and Idaho might declare universally for overthrowing the US Government, but it gets FAR more complicated after that.  A state like Oregon would have the populous western side likely stay on the side of Democracy, while the sparsely populated and sparsely educated eastern part of Oregon would...I don't know, stew in their bigotry, racism and ignorance harder?  Seriously, what would they attempt?  It's not like a bunch militia idiots holding a rarely visited nature area.  Would they really mount a military style offensive against a much more densely populated area?  Good luck with that.  Hope you enjoy your ass kicking!


Texas would be interesting.  Undoubtedly more liberal cities like Houston and Austin would be at war with the surrounding communities.  In a place like Dallas/Fort Worth, it would be suburb to suburb fighting.  And would the western part of the state invade New Mexico?  I'm sure the people of New Mexico wouldn't oblige. When Sunday rolled around, and the Cowboy's football game wasn't broadcast in the New Mexican TV market because they were carrying the Arizona game, the Trumpsters would probably retreat hastily themselves to the nearest Texas sports bar.

States like Illinois would easily repel a bunch of rural hicks.  I would love to see Trump supporters try to take south Chicago.  That would be a hoot!

I feel Minnesota would be less dependable for the forces of Mad King Orange. Even though the rural people in Minnesota like Trump, I think they love America more.  Some out state idiots might try to muster a platoon to take Can Can Wonderland, but they'd probably have limited appeal.  The largest population being in the Twin Cities means rural pro-Trump forces, people who feel going to the mall in Burnsville is visiting the deep dark city, would have to march into Minneapolis proper to fight an urban street battle on enemy turf.  I think they'd wet themselves.  In the end, they'd get discouraged when only 7 of them showed up, eventually dispersing when they realized they'd all be dead an hour into 'combat.'

So traditional war is not something these kooks would be able to accomplish.

A Trump Civil War would be a terrorist campaign.  Stochastic Terrorism is when a 'leader' demonizes a person or group and the followers of said 'leader' attack the demonized individual/group in a violent manner.  Stochastic Terrorism is really what Trump, intentionally or not, is driving towards.  Trump attackers would manifest their attacks as suicide missions.  Knowing they'd be outnumbered, they would target a perceived liberal villain or group, hoping to kill as many of the enemy as possible, before being taken out.  To them, innocent people getting killed doesn't matter.  They were close enough in proximity to the real target, hence "they deserved it."  Frankly, it would look similar to America today, with fringe right loon balls shooting up schools, urban districts, concerts, non-far right Christian houses of worship and urban retail complexes, only there'd be more attacks, probably with more deadly weapons.

I think the number of Trump cult members willing to go to these extremes would be small, and they'd whittle down their ranks fairly quickly.  That doesn't mean there wouldn't be a lot of bloodshed.  It would get bad.  A lot of innocent people would be killed by these clowns.  They might successfully kill certain politicians, or bomb a news network, or shoot up a mosque, but they'd probably kill a lot of innocents along the way.  Terrorists don't care.  If these Trump fools try this, hunt them down and round up their anti-American asses.  We need to defend our country against all enemies of the USA, both foreign, AND DOMESTIC!

Republican enablers of Trump need to go on the record;  If Trump is impeached, do you think a new Civil War is the solution? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Lindsey Graham, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, House Reps. Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan.  Minnesota Republican leaders Jennifer Carnahan, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and especially Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt; they all need to be asked the question Rep. Michelle Bachmann championed:

"Are you pro-America, or anti-America?"

You can't be for a Civil War and be pro-America.  All Republicans should be asked this TODAY.  Many Republican politicians might not be the spark or gasoline starting these fires, but we should no longer accept them fanning the flames of hate with their coy, 'both sides of the argument,' 'wink' answers.

I'm a proud American.  Are you?



Friday, September 27, 2019

The Friday Link for 9/27/19

This week three educational videos but one more funny than the others.

Let's go with the funny one first.  Ze Frank is brilliant.  I've featured his somewhat adult nature videos before, but he has a brand new one out which tickled my fancy.

Warning - Adult language and themes!

Behold the magic and splendor of True Facts: The Ogre Faced Spider!



For a more serious science video, I'm fascinated by the idea there's possibly a 9th planet out there.  Now I won't rehash the fight over Pluto's rightful status again, although there are a lot of astronomers with sticks up their cabooses.  This is the thought there might be another regular size planet in the far reaches of our solar system.  There seems to be a lot of people who are FAR smarter than I am who fall on both sides of the 'is there' or 'isn't there' a planet 9 discussion.  For example, let me let the brains at CalTech and UCLA fight it out.



Why is Planet 9 (if it does exist) so hard to find?  Distance.  This last video does a very solid job at not only giving you a good idea how far away Planet 9 might be, but how little we really seem to know about the solar system.  Regardless of Planet 9's status, there are asteroids and pieces of space rocks that far away from the sun still being affected by the sun's gravitational pull. Amazing.



Science is cool...and occasionally hilarious.  Have a great weekend everyone!




Friday, September 20, 2019

The Friday Link for 9/20/19

This Friday I'm going to make it short and sweet.  My allergies are really kicking in, so I need to go lie down.

I was asked what my favorite obscure 80's film was.  I have two, but neither seem to be obscure today, a testament to how even less popular films which were good somehow make it into pop culture history.

Real Genius with Val Kilmer is an insanely good film, plus he taught me my clothing style at a young age.  But I think I like Better Off Dead better.  John Cusack plays Lane Meyer who just goes through a really weird series of events.  I also love how this film pokes so much fun at the movies of the 80's, mocking the cliches which are common in 80's films.  There are SOOOO many good lines in this film.  And Lane and Monique's romance is quite sweet.  Diane Franklin is ADORABLE in this movie.

I loved the soundtrack too.

Enjoy!



Have a great weekend everyone!



Help Out School Athletics

Hi everyone!

I need to make a plea primarily for the people who live in my school district (Hopkins Schools), but as well for the people in Minnesota as a whole.

Many school athletic programs are having a HUGE problem with a shortage of referees.  In this short school year, we've already had multiple games where both my daughter's soccer teams had games without a ref.  Other sports, including football and lacrosse, have had the same problem.

The cause of this shortage is understandable. We currently have very low unemployment rates in Minnesota so there are fewer people to do the work.  The referees which are currently in the system seem to be either gravitating towards exclusive contracts with larger schools, or are more focused on weekend tournaments where they can make a lot of money.  This leaves many schools desperately looking for people willing to referee.

Hopkins School District has got a great deal for anyone who can help.  They currently need people to step up and get trained in as referees for various sports.  The training for varsity games is a little more stringent, but the biggest needs are for JV, 10th and 9th grade teams, as well as the junior high teams.  You get trained and they pay you pretty good too.  This open call is for people 14 or older.  If you're a parent, it's a real easy way to help out, especially if you were going to be at the game already.  It's a great way to make a few bucks, while working only a few hours each week.  And you help out the school too.


We need to prevent situations where teams have to police themselves (rarely works) or one of the coaches tries to be neutral and refs the game (also rarely works without bias).

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP HOPKINS SCHOOLS:  Contact Erin Brown, 952-988-4693, or at erin.brown@hopkinsschools.org

If you are in Minnesota but not in Hopkins, check with your school.  More than likely there is a shortage there too, and you may be able to make some money.  Thanks!







Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bad Uncle

Back in the early 2000's, MTV's Kurt Loder was interviewing Britney Spears about her new, far more sexy and exposed 'adult' look which accompanied her latest album release.  I'm paraphrasing a bit, but Britney was making the point her new sexual look, with more exposed chest and tighter clothes, matched her lyrics and growth as a musician.  She described herself as a role model for her fans, and described what she was doing as a natural evolution every fan should feel free to follow.

Loder, not shaming her for her adult look, asked one of the best follow up questions ever.  Once again paraphrasing, "do you think it's appropriate, considering most of your fans are 14 and younger, a fan base you specifically cultivated, to be encouraging them to dress and act far older than they really are?" A clearly bothered Britney snapped at Loder.  Paraphrasing "I'm not their parents. They're the ones who are really responsible for their kids. I'm just being me." So endeth the interview.

What Loder deftly pointed out is the hypocrisy of Spears and her team.  You do everything to encourage the kids to dress like a stripper in a Vegas nightclub, but then wash your hands of any responsibility when the kids actually follow through with your encouragement.  For lack of a better way to describe it culturally, it's the 'Bad Uncle,' the guy who allows their 8 year old nieces and nephews to watch a hard 'R' rated horror film when babysitting them, but then acts like their nightmares are not his responsibility.  "They're your kids.  They should know what they can and can't watch.  How am I responsible for them sitting next to me while I watched the movie, a movie which I described as incredible, one of the best films ever, a must see film only baby losers haven't watched?"

On my radio show yesterday I pointed out how the alcohol industry seems to have adopted a 'Bad Uncle' mentality.

Let me say two things.  I don't drink.  I got sober over 5 years ago due to health concerns and the fact it was becoming a 'go to' habit.  I made the decision to give it up completely.  I'm A LOT healthier since I stopped drinking.  Not a judgment, more of an observation.

That being said, I have no problem with people drinking.  If you like to indulge, more power to you.  It is legal!  This is not about whether you should or should not drink, so do not take this post as shaming people who do.  This post is about shaming the alcohol manufacturers who present their product in such an insane manner it makes it seem like there are no consequences for drinking all the time.

People there are consequences for drinking all the time.  None of them are good.

Alcohol companies have evolved.  They used to only fight about traditional alcoholic drinks; beer, wine, and the most popular spirits, but their mentality has changed.  The alcohol industry stopped limiting the competition to just other traditional alcohol companies, and focused on ALL drinking, both alcoholic and non alcoholic, as the new competition.  I think the alcohol infused lemonades and iced teas were the first real foray into the 'liquor version of non liquor drinks' market, a natural evolution from wine coolers of the 80's and 90's.  I'm not saying people didn't mix drinks in the past. Of course they did, but this was no longer marketing the vodka as something you could mix with lemonade, rather a 'hard' lemonade, a product marketed as lemonade "with a kick."

Then came the hard sodas, marketed as your favorite sodas, with a kick. They even put the hard sodas in bottles and packaging which mimicked traditional soda packaging.  The clear impression was to say "you're not really buying booze.  You're buying soda with a kick!"  The marketing campaign was geared to get people to give up their non-alcoholic soda on a sunny afternoon, and ramp up the fun with their 'implied harmless' version.  It was marketed like a consumer picking a Pepsi or RC instead of Coke.  It clearly wasn't, as liquor companies started blurring the lines intentionally.

Next up was the wildly popular hard seltzer waters, seltzer water with a kick!  This new alcoholic drink was marketed directly to women.  Why are you just having a seltzer water, when you can ramp up the fun!  They we're encouraging people to take another non-alcoholic drink and replace it with a boozed up version of it.  It's been incredibly successful.  Now we have hard juices (juices with a kick!), and hard coffees (coffee with a kick!).  We're at a point where the only two beverages left without a major alcoholic version are traditional water, and milk (although a listener did remind me there's a fermented horse milk beverage quite popular in the Mongolian region.  Sounds delicious!).

The marketing of these products is undeniable:  Replace your lame non-alcoholic soda, lemonade, juice, seltzer water and coffee with a fun hard version.  It's gotten to the point where I'd not be surprised if Bailey's Irish Cream started to market themselves as a fun option to lame milk for your morning cereal (Cereal, with a kick!).

The other insane marketing message being pushed onto the masses by the alcohol companies is the idea it's okay to drink at all hours of the day!  This is courtesy of Coors, the far right beer company who's product tastes atrocious.  Even when I was drinking, I'd pick Special Export over Coors.

Coors is marketing new TV ads.  The two most obnoxious ones are really scary.  The first one is an ad which features a Coors beer as the official shower beer.  That's right, they're encouraging shower drinking.  That might not be bad if the clear impression is this person just got done with work for the day and is having an ice cold one as they wash off the dirt and sweat from the job, but if you re-watch the ad, there's NO implication this is the shower at the end of the day.  It could be the first shower after you wake up!  That's not encouraging alcoholism AT ALL! (added sarcasm)

The other ad is even worse.  It shows two guys wearing pajamas.  They're getting ready to presumably watch the pregame for the day's college football schedule, pre-game shows which start at 7 AM on certain sports networks.   The two are getting ready to have some breakfast, and one of the guys pulls out two cans of Coors!  The ad is framed as enjoying the beer of Saturday morning drinking.  Wow, they're not even trying to hide it.

Not everyone involved in the liquor industry is irresponsible.  The people I know who own or manage the local brew houses and distilleries do not want people getting drunk every day and every night.  But they have a level of culpability. Bars, restaurants and anyone who serves alcohol can be held accountable for a person drinking too much in their establishment.  This means one of the more responsible places to drink today is in licensed bars and restaurants.  But as I was thinking about that after the radio show, it dawned on me almost every alcohol ad today, which originates from the alcohol manufacturers, shows people drinking OUTSIDE of a bar environment.  They know bars and restaurants have to limit alcohol intake, so the obvious solution is to show people drinking everywhere BUT in a bar or restaurant.  This is a HUGE change, as most alcohol ads when I was a kid showed consumption in a bar environment.  Lite Beer's taste great/less filling ads were all featured in an environment where the servers had responsibility over the drinker.  The alcohol industry must have realized this responsibility was causing them sales.

At the end of the day, here's the ugly truth.  Alcohol producers are AT BEST ambivalent to alcoholism; at worst, they want to encourage it. They have a product which is addictive, so the more people who get addicted, the more product they sell.  Tie that nugget into their marketing campaigns and you really see how evil the liquor industry has become.

But the alcohol industry will always fall back to the 'Bad Uncle' defense.

"Sure we encouraged the idea you could replace most of your non alcoholic drinks with alcoholic versions, and we undeniably have been encouraging people to drink at all hours of the day, but it's not our fault you failed to get your kids to school because you were drunk, or missed an important business meeting because you were drunk, or got divorced because you were drunk, or got fired because you were drunk, or caused a car crash which killed people because you were drunk, or died from alcoholism because you were drunk.  After our clear message to constantly drink alcohol at all hours of the day, we told you to 'Drink Responsibly,' whatever the hell that means.  Once again, you're the drunks; we only encouraged you.  We didn't pour anything down your throat.  We just chanted 'chug, chug, chug' while you drank!  Remember, IT'S NOT OUR FAULT!!!"

"We're not responsible!"  That's an understatement Bad Uncle...














Sunday, September 15, 2019

Trump Really Is The Worst

As we prepare to head into the final year of Trump's term in office, the historians are already chiming in on where he stands in the ranking of Presidents.  I like historians.  They're pretty brass tacks about things.  They don't put personal feelings ahead of reality, just focus on what exactly happened.


That being said, it's hard to take a president from today and gauge their term against a guy who was in office 200 years ago.  For most people, any president who helped preserve slavery in the US would fall into the bad category, but historians don't look at it so linearly.  While they don't condone deplorable behavior, they can put it into context for the time.  It doesn't justify horrible actions, or heal old wounds, but it allows the ranking of individual records over a long period of time to be judged without a centuries adjusted prism.  I think we all can agree; when comparing them to a modern standard, all presidents from 1 to 15 were pretty horrible for tolerating slavery, with Andrew Jackson rotting in Hell for his additional torment of Native Americans with the Trail of Tears. 

Already historians are putting Trump towards the bottom of the list.  Even though there have been 45 Presidents, Grover Cleveland served as both the 22nd and 24th President, hence we only have 44 individual Presidents to be ranked.  So far, on rankings which have included him, Trump has scored a 44 and a 42.  It doesn't bode well for his future rankings.  For the record, President Obama ranks around 13/14.

Is Trump the worst President of all time?  Let's compare him, his actions, and his policies to the rest of the worst Presidents of all time to get a better idea.  (Animation from Chris Timmons. Instagram: @mistertimmons.  http://www.chris-timmons.com)



Zachary Taylor - Both Taylor and Trump never served in politics before taking the White House, although Taylor had a long military career (part of which was served at Fort Snelling...with his slaves [yikes]). Taylor did not like Polk, but it's nothing compared to Trump's hatred of President Obama. Taylor was aloof from his cabinet and congress, which led to little getting done during his term, also similar to Trump.  And there was a scandal where Taylor's Secretary of War was trying to pay back a land seizure, known as the Galphin Affair.  Not only was it pure croneyism, but the Secretary (Crawford) gave himself a large cut of the money.  This actually seems quaint when you look at the amount of tax payer money Trump has directed towards his hotel properties.  They shared another trait, risqué diet.  Taylor actually died from eating "a copious amount" of raw fruit with milk; a dangerous meal in the age before refrigeration.  Then again.  It was fruit, compared to KFC boy.  Worst - Trump




Hebert Hoover - To Hoover's defense, he was handed an economy which on the verge of irreparable collapse.  When the music stopped, he was the Republican without a chair.  But Hoover's problem was his personal and political agenda failed to allow him to see how bad the Great Depression really was.  Everything Hoover tried to fix the economy made it worse.  Once again, Trump seems to outdo his predecessor.  His Trump Tax Cut, one of the few things he actually has achieved, not only did not spur growth, it's made the Federal Deficit FAR worse and has set up what many experts are forecasting; an unavoidable massive economic downturn.  And Trump ACTUALLY ASKED if we could nuke a hurricane.  Hoover wasn't the brightest bulb, but I highly doubt he would've entertained nuking the Dust Bowl (yes I'm aware the Dust Bowl didn't happen until 1934, but still...).  Worst - Trump




John Tyler - Tyler has the unique position of being the first President to attain the office due to the death of his predecessor, Harrison.  He was a real odd ball. He was the Whig Party's VP, but he was a former Democrat and when he ascended into office, he immediately abandoned the Whig Party veil.  His own party tried to impeach him, the first time in history that was tried, but it failed.  Trump's very similar to Tyler on this front.  He really wasn't a Republican, but he saw the GOP ticket could be attained through brash, false bravado masquerading as patriotism and Christianity.  Since he took office, there have been attempts to reign him to a more mainstream Republican policy, but he has purged most the the traditional Republicans from his cabinet and inner circle and is only about himself now.  That being said, the Republicans seem to love him more for it. Definitely the second worst office holder in regards to the treatment of his own party, but Trump still comes up short when compared to Tyler.  Worst - Tyler 




Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce - I'm including these two gems together because their major fault is the same.  By the time Zachary Taylor (Fillmore's predecessor) took office, it was clear the issue of slavery was not going to go away easily.  Fillmore took over after Taylor's death and was grossly unqualified to deal with such a big problem, likewise for his successor Pierce.  Their attempted milquetoast solutions to slavery (Fugitive Slave Act for Fillmore and the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act for Pierce) actually made the divide over slavery worse, with many people insisting the Civil War started well before Fort Sumter, in Kansas, with pro and anti slavery forces fighting it out in the streets.  Neither had the moral fortitude or intelligence to do the right thing.


Nothing facing Trump right now is as morally repugnant as slavery, but the pressing issues which require leadership are not only not being addressed by Trump, advancements we've made are being reversed out of spite.  Nothing highlights that better than climate change, something which is undeniable.  Trump has decided to try to kill all clean energy projects, is backing the 1880's fuel of coal, and has even reversed florescent light bulb standards, just because he can!  This would be as if Fillmore and Pierce said "not only are we going to keep slavery, we are going to take us back to the time when we were importing the most slaves."  When you factor all the issues Trump has dug his ignorant heels in on (immigration, pollution, Iran) he's FAR more soulless and ignorant than either of the aforementioned.  For God's sake he just spent a week trying to make a weather forecast bend to his will.  Worst - Trump




George W. Bush - It's clear W. was a simpleton being manipulated by his Vice President and his lackeys, but it was still his watch.  As horrific as W.'s foreign policy was, it seems to be getting outdone by Trump.  This is not to make light of the Iraq War, a war fought under false pretenses which lead to thousands of dead, and tens of thousands of injured American troops.  The W. White House took the unity from 9/11 and abused it, forcing the US into a war in an attempt to get Iraq's oil for the wealthy American oilmen who bankrolled the W. Administration.  Where Trump hasn't done anything as specifically bad as that war, he's done far more.  Locking people in cages in concentration camps on our border, blowing up the world's trade markets, turning his back on traditional US allies while embracing international dictators who wine and dine Trump.  The foreign policy the next President will inherit will be in shambles.  Plus not only has Trump virtually endorsed the Khashoggi murder ordered by a corrupt and truly evil Saudi prince, and not only is Trump having an embarrassing love affair with North Korean despot Kim-Jong un (a man guilty of genocide!), he's likely sharing state secrets with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader who helped (with the hearty endorsement and eager encouragement of Trump's campaign) him win in 2016.  Worst - HANDS DOWN Trump



Ulysses S. Grant - Grant while being an outstanding military commander was an atrocious President, but his failures were tied to external issues; rumors, his cabinet appointments and the time period he served during.  He was never able to shake the rumors he was a drunk while commanding the Union forces, a rumor which continued throughout his Presidency.  It's not really documented how regular of a drinker Grant was while in office, but he undoubtedly did indulge at times.  Trump doesn't drink, but in my opinion his dietary extremes are worse for his health.

Grant oversaw the Presidency as the South was being rebuilt.  This meant there were a lot of opportunities for people to pocket a lot of tax payer money.  Grant's cabinet was chock full of untrustworthy fools, especially in his second term where there seemed to be no end to the scandals encompassing his office.  No charges ended up on him directly, but his cabinet's incompetence lead to a complete lack of trust in the US Government.  Check and Mate for Trump.  The sheer magnitude of unqualified buffoons Trump has placed around him, many of whom have already been caught grifting off the taxpayers, is truly astounding.  When Rick Perry is your steadiest rock, SWEET JESUS!  And just like in the 1870's, faith in our current government is at an all time low.

And the dirty election tricks the Grant Administration engineered to get Rutherford B Hayes as his successor have been outdone by Trump, the Republicans and the Russians. Worst - Trump




William Henry Harrison - Harrison died in office, 31 days into his term.  I'm torn at including Harrison on the worst list as his downfall was unfortunate, not incompetent.  But when gauging Presidents, you have to look at his record, and there's very little record for Harrison.  There's one element which you can compare.  Harrison through his short term beat back demands from his fellow Whig Party members to fire all Democrats in appointed positions throughout government and hire Whigs to replace them.  Harrison stood firm that he would not take such action, even butting heads with the powerful Whig legislator Henry Clay.  Clay would later be stymied in his attempt to take control of the government when Harrison's replacement Tyler basically abandoned the party. We all know Trump would reward anyone who praised him, so on this one issue, Harrison out-shined Trump.  Considering the insane amount of current open government positions with no applicants, it's clear no one wants to work for Trump.  That would also be an advantage for Harrison.  But in the end, 31 days is only 31 days.  Worst - Harrison




This brings us to the three worst presidents prior to Trump.

Warren G. Harding - Harding had an insanely corrupt Administration.  Not only did you have Administration scandals where his Attorney General took bribes in the bidding process to run the American Metal Company, AND the AG likely taking bribes to help alcohol bootleggers, AND the Teapot Dome Scandal, where the Secretary of the Interior took bribes to sell off the Navy's oil reserves, and then frantically tried to cover it up, before being the first ever Cabinet official to be convicted and sent to jail for crimes he committed while in office, but it gets even worse!  The Director of the Veteran's Bureau Charles Forbes, working with his buddies, inflated the cost of building new veteran's hospitals across the country, then pocketed the cash!  HE THEN bought land on behalf of the country, land that he quoted as WAY over the asking price and pocketed the money over the sale price.  HE THEN got caught selling off the surplus medical supplies from WWI and pocketing most of that money.  The corruption friendly Harding was so bothered by Forbes brazen corruption he demanded his resignation, and Forbes fled to Europe.

Harding also was having multiple affairs, and led an Administration where sex out of marriage was commonplace.  All of this happened in 2 and a half years (!), before he died in office.  Most of his scandals came to light afterwards.

When comparing Trump to all this, the first thing which comes to mind is that we already know Trump is VERY guilty of grifting off the government.  Just the demands he puts in place for the Secret Service to pay for rooms and golf carts at his Mar-A-Lago resort are outrageous.  You have Trump demanding multiple 'conflict of interest' entities stay at his hotels worldwide, including his Administration, Republican Party members, the military and international leaders.  He just had VP Pence stay ON THE OTHER SIDE OF IRELAND from Dublin just so they would use his hotel.  You have his residential properties being purchased by foreign powers trying to get an "in" with the Administration.  His kids seem to have been able to get patents on Chinese goods which seem to have been negotiated in secret.  And he's already had numerous Administration officials resign in disgrace after using their office's budgets to spend lavishly.  He worked with Russia to steal the 2016 election.  And we know all of this PRIOR to his leaving office.  The scandals we don't know about will shake this country to the core.

As far as women, Trump ordered his lawyer to pay off a porn star he'd had an affair with, using campaign cash, in a successful effort to cover up the affair before the 2016 election.  Does anyone think the Sunkist horndog hasn't been sleeping with others while in office?   It will all come to light eventually.  Worst - Undoubtedly Trump



Andrew Johnson - On Washington's Birthday in 1866, people had marched to the White House to hear Johnson speak about the country's first President.  Besides attacking major members of Lincoln's Republican Party (Johnson was a pro-war Democrat, and his appearing on the ticket was a specific decision by Lincoln to pick a friendly VP from another party for his 2nd term, an attempt to show unity) Johnson mentioned his own name 200 times, an undeniable similarity to a man (Trump) who makes every speaking event about himself.  Johnson was in way over his head.  He wasn't on board for complete freedom for slaves, opposed the 14th amendment, and pretty much killed his entire presidency when he vetoed the Civil Rights Bill, leading to the first ever veto override of a major American bill.

Johnson was trying to recreate the south in his own image, and was desperate to slow the process of reconstruction until he could put his own people in place.  The Congress wasn't about to let him do so.  The conflict created by Johnson is a divide we still see in America today;  Racists and bigots feeling Washington DC is trying to force a pro African American/immigrant agenda on the poor innocent whites.  Johnson was the beginning of this mess. He poisoned his relationship with Congress so badly not only did they impeach him, they also removed a Supreme Court seat to prevent him from being able to appoint a Justice.  He was loved by Southern whites and pretty much no one else.

Trump's record towards minorities is pretty much on par with Johnson.  We have people, including young children, locked in cages, in concentration camps at the border because of the color of their skin.  We have a rogue militarized law enforcement group randomly rounding up all non-caucasian individuals they can find.  Trump openly discriminates against people due to race and religion.  He's proudly turning away people who are seeking asylum, some of whom have already been in the US for years.  The difference between Johnson and Trump is simple.  Republicans in Congress in the 1860's were more tolerant and enlightened in race relations than the current Republicans in office today!  That's crazy!  Not only would Trump have been long thrown out of office if not for a handful of Republican Senators, he'd likely be in jail by now at any other time in US history!  Trump's scar across this country will haunt the US for centuries, as most of the world no longer looks at the US as the shining city on the hill. Worst - Trump




James Buchanan - A lot of people go back and forth at who was the worst, Johnson or Buchanan.  For me, it was Buchanan, because although he knew every (pro-slavery) decision he made in regards to slavery would cause massive ripples throughout the country, he still made them in a futile attempt to put the issue behind him.  His plan was simple; appease the slave owners with a pro-slavery cabinet and pushing pro slavery rules, and hope the rest of the country just accepted it.  It was the most ambivalent and fool hearted attempt at leadership this country has ever seen.  He tried to act as if the slavery issue was settled as Kansas was being ripped apart by all out war between the pro and anti slavery elements.

Two days into his term, the Dred Scott decision was handed down from the Supreme Court.  The decision, THE WORST IN THE HISTORY OF THE SUPREME COURT(!!!), basically annulled all previous free state rules and made slavery legal everywhere.  It also made African Americans, including freeman and freed slaves, all subservient to whites. Buchanan had worked behind the scenes trying to make the Dred Scott case as much of an unanimous decision as possible, thinking the anti-slavery north would accept the ruling.  Instead it unified the north and created the need for a Civil War to undo the damage done by Buchanan and the Supreme Court.

Buchanan's term ended with two separate entities, the country of the United States and the traitorous Confederate states.  The southern states started seceding in the days after Lincoln's victory, during Buchanan's term.  Buchanan did nothing to stop these states from leaving.  When Fort Sumter was being blockaded, Buchanan did very little to get supplies to his own Army on the island.  After the Fort was attacked, Buchanan strongly stated he was always on the Union's side, but that was contradicted by the majority of his decisions he made throughout his Presidency.  It was FAR too little and WAY too late.

So far Trump hasn't created two countries, but he has undeniably fueled the flames of racism and bigotry.  He's made the racist fractures which appeared under President Obama far wider by validating hate as something misunderstood and noble.  If we don't remove him from office, the country might need a second Civil War to stop the cockroach minority of vocal racists.  Much like Buchanan, Trump purposely doesn't see the damage of his actions, only the 'happy result' he's convinced he made come true.  Look at his trade policy for proof of that.  He screwed up the US's trade, probably permanently, and has no plan in place to fix it, outside of shouting into the air.  It's hard to say who's worse, but if time plays out like I think it will, I'm comfortable making the call. Worst - Tie






There you have it!  Comparing Trump to the worst Presidents in history, pound for pound he's the bottom of the barrel!!!  Sure we can debate individual traits, where another individual President might be slightly worse, but when you look at the sheer magnitude of faults, Trump is your clear cut WORST PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME!

BUT OF COURSE HE WAS GOING TO BE!  When I stayed awake all night on election night 2016 staring at the ceiling, it wasn't because the Righto's owned the Libs.  It was because a man who was clearly unqualified to be a night manager at a Waffle House was soon going to be to primary decision maker for the entire country.  This is a man who stared at the sun REPEATEDLY during a solar eclipse.  The blame for this rides squarely on the shoulders of every delusional, DEPLORABLE, fool who voted for him.  No, Hillary wasn't worse.  She would have been far more competent at leading this country.


But today, after the people who tried to warn the country about Trump were proven to be correct, blame for this train wreck now rests on the shoulders of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senators who enable this inexcusable behavior.  They're to blame for this.  They've sacrificed this country for political advancement and personal financial gain.  This was what the founding fathers never anticipated; a leader who goes to the bathroom in the middle of the floor, proudly points at it, screams "Look what I did," and calls it 'presidential,' AND this inexcusable behavior being encouraged by a 'political party over country' Republican Senate, so consumed with maintaining power they purposely don't see the irreparable damage being done to the foundations of our Democracy.


May God help us all if Democratic voters sit out 2020...






Friday, September 13, 2019

The Friday Link for 9/13/19

Howdy all.  I should be posting something super spooky with it being Friday the 13th, but that cliche is old.

First off, is there anything more scary than outrageous laughter.  Randy Rainbow is back with a hilarious parody against Trump (Caution: adult language!).  I will also warn the Trump fans, you're not going to like this.  It's hilarious, but you'll be furious.  Prepare yourself for the brilliance of Cheeto Christ Stupid-Czar!



The second clip tonight is from The Late Show with James Corden.  He takes on Bill Maher for his comments that our country's lack of fat shaming is somehow a problem.  Bill has made some points in the past about our 'everyone is a winner' culture creating a lack of striving for excellence, and how our lack of failing kids when they actually do fail only creates an entitlement society, but his take on the need for more fat shaming is out of line.

Corden calls him out on it, pointing out what he's really calling for is more bullying.  Corden does a great job at explaining the negatives of fat shaming, and really puts Maher in place with the idea this is a simple issue (just tease fat people and they'll get thin???).

One could point out tangible reasons why people in America get fat.  With the crap wages we all get, the most affordable food is the worst food for us to eat,.  Also most of us starting at glowing rectangles for hours on end doesn't help.  But fat shaming didn't work in the past, and it won't work now.  It just makes jerks feel better when they're absolute garbage to others.



Outstanding James!  Have a great weekend everyone.



Debate Watching Party, 9/12!

Here are some photos of the Debate Watching Party at the Park Tavern.  Park Tavern put out a great spread.  Thanks for everyone who came on out, and we are already planning on the next one!



Robert Pilot and Gary from Minneapolis!


Uncle Curtis and myself!




Some random guy!!!








Friday, September 6, 2019

The Friday Link for 9/6/19

For this week, a series I've been meaning to feature for awhile, A.V. Undercover.

Started by the online entertainment website A.V. Club, Undercover was a simple concept.  Get a bunch of songs, and have bands come do covers of the songs.  The songs picked were usually songs which were never covered by bands, due to A) they're classic hits, hence most bands would never touch a classic, B) they're current hits which are generally not getting covered by an established band, or C) they're just plain bad songs (Billy Ocean's Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car, I'm looking at you!).

The end concept did lead to a few really good covers.  Here are three for you, plus GWAR.  I'll start with a great cover by local guys Hippo Campus, doing their version of ELO's Don't Bring Me Down:



Lake Street Drive does a shockingly good version of A-ha's Take on Me:



In a song which reminds me of some of the best 80's early alternative, Xiu Xiu does a stripped down version of ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man:



And finally, the 'winners' of A.V. Undercover are the metal band GWAR.  Search for their version of the aforementioned Billy Ocean song.  I will not post it because of their costumes, but they also did a shockingly good (and funny) version of Kansas', Carry On My Wayward Son:



Rock on Garth!  Have a great weekend everyone.




Monday, September 2, 2019

State Fair 2019 Part II: The Fine Arts Competition!

The Fine Arts contest at the Minnesota State Fair is always wonderful.  I try to take as many photos as I can and post for everyone.

This year, my favorite piece will be the last piece on this post.  The reason why I am putting it last is simple; it's an adult themed one, but it's fantastic.  If you're offended by such things, save yourself the unnecessary anguish and just click away.

I'll start with that I thought was the second best piece:

















The next piece is the official print of the State Fair.  Quite nice.


And once again a warning.  This next image is a little more adult.  The winner for me this year was this sculpture of modern beauty;  a woman taking a selfie and posting it online.  This was very creative.


Go see the Fine Arts next year for yourself!