Friday, November 20, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/20/20

Cable television is depressing!  It's not sad due to great heart tugging scripts, but rather it's sad because most cable networks don't even try anymore.

I grew up in the pre-cable TV era.  I remember the 3 networks and PBS.  If you were lucky, you had a fourth local channel which broadcast syndicated shows and movies all weekend long, but that was it.  I remember the first top loading VCR my family got.  The fact we could choose to watch something we wanted to watch at any time felt like a freaking revolution.  It was freedom to be able to tape a show and watch it back at our convenience.  

I remember when we moved into our first neighborhood with cable.  It was Edina, MN in 1983.  Before we moved there, I was living in Georgia.  I'd been hearing about all these cool new TV channels; a sports channel, a weather channel, a channel which played music videos only!  I wanted to see them, but our neighborhood, in rural Buford, was years away from getting cable.  We had a neighbor who had one of those HUGE satellite dishes.  We were allowed to go watch "all the channels" he had, but all he had was the east coast and the west coast feeds of the major networks, and a channel from Brazil.  That was new.

Edina being a wealthy community, cable TV was already in every neighborhood by 1983.  One of the first times I hung out with kids in Minnesota was about 10 of us watching MTV.  Three hours of watching music videos, and we all felt like we had just gotten into the most exclusive club.  As the 80's rolled on, cable TV just got better and better.  A cartoon channel, a fine arts channel, a comedy network, a history network,  a food network; eventually when it exploded with news and sports options it became the place to go.  I think late 90's and early 2000's cable TV was it's golden age.

But then it faltered.  Most cable networks stopped producing as many shows, or moved into reality shows which were inexpensive.  The more they could cut costs the more simplistic the programming became.  I started to look at cable TV with the same disdain I had for network TV.  I remember in the early 1990's when I started watching more cable TV than network TV, but cable TV was now unoriginal and tired.

As unwatchable as cable TV is today, it's a shame they didn't learn from their own success.  Case in point, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day broadcast.  A 24 hour span of MST3K riffing at its finest.  Imagine if a cable TV channel continued to air this sort of programming instead of abandoning it for cheaper fare?  I remember in 2013 when Shout Factory streamed a version of Turkey Day and I watched it there. The minute Cable TV drove people to find programming in other places because their 200+ channels were not entertaining enough, it was over. 

About three years ago, I started watching FAR more streaming services than Cable TV.  I think the only reason I have cable TV today is sports.

Back in 1991, MST3K aired it's first Turkey Day Marathon.  Here are all of the promo bits they did for the original broadcast.  It's so cool someone saved these.


And for your Turkey Day love, a revisiting of the Thanksgiving Day broadcast of Night of the Blood Beast!
 

Have a great weekend everyone! 





A Drunk in a Dark Bar, Swinging at Flies

Let’s recap:


·      There is NO evidence of the “extensive voting fraud” Trump’s campaign says exists.  NONE!

·      Trump’s campaign has repeatedly gone to court in multiple states to overturn election results.  They have gone to court in both red states and blue states.

·      So far, Trump's campaign team has won one case, were a minimal amount of PA ballots were tossed out, a few dozen.  Seriously, the parameters of the votes thrown out are rare to say the lease.  A few dozen might be a large exaggeration.  He has lost the other 31 other cases.  In each case they come to a point where they have to show their evidence, AND THEY DON’T HAVE ANY!

·      Even Conservative news outlets have offered them a platform to make their case, as long as Trump’s team can produce the evidence. The Trump campaign has never complied.

 

Step back for a second.  Trump fans are accusing multiple state's Secretary of State's offices, along with multitudes of County Election officials in a variety of states, ALONG WITH a large portion of the Judicial branches of both those individual states and the Federal courts, of being in on the steal.  We are now talking hundreds of thousands of people being involved in the conspiracy for it to be real.  You're freaking Loon Balls.

 

·      Trump’s new strategy is arguing that since black people voted so heavily for Biden, it must be a sign of fraud, hence their votes should be thrown out.

·      Once again, they have NO EVIDENCE of voter fraud.  And this is clearly as racist as it sounds.

·      Can you imagine what the right would be like if a Democratic campaign loser suggested Trump’s overwhelming victories in rural counties should be thrown out because all the white people voting for him must be a sign of fraud?

 

Now they are asking state Legislatures to throw out the LEGALLY CAST BALLOTS.


·      They want them to install a pro-Trump Electoral College, even though the state Legislatures could never do this without their Governor signing on, their states have specific laws on the books to prevent this exact sort of thing, and even the loyal Trump Republicans have said they can’t do that. 

 

 

It’s over.  There is no fraud. Trump lost!  To quote Trump supporters in 2016, “GET OVER IT!!!”





Friday, November 13, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/13/20

No need to fear Friday the 13th this year!  Earlier today the final states were awarded in the Presidential race (with Georgia for Biden and North Carolina for Trump) meaning Joe Biden, the President Elect, now has 306 Electoral College votes, the same exact amount as Trump got in 2016, something Trump referred to as a "landslide." 

I bet he doesn't regret that at all!

Trump has suggested he can somehow appoint himself to a second term, something he clearly can't do.  Not saying he won't try.  The problem for him is he needs to get multiple states to throw out their vote totals, undermining the voters of their state, and install him as their state winner.  Arizona and Georgia are run by Republicans and they've already called their states for Biden.  It'll be an interesting trick to convince everyone the Republicans of those two states were actually in the bag for Biden.

That doesn't leave a lot of options for Trump.  Sure the states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have blindly loyal Republicans running their state Legislatures, but both states have specific rules about Electors.  Setting aside the fact that both states also have a Democratic Governor, a person who clearly has a say in the matter and who won't go along with throwing out the state's election tallies, the WI and PA Republicans themselves know this would be political suicide for them to actually throw out their election results.

But for argument's sake, let's say Trump convinces Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to throw out their vote totals and pledge their loyalty to Trump.  That's still only 30 Electoral College votes, leaving Biden with 276, still enough for the Presidency. Nevada is the next most likely state but they only have 6 Electoral College votes, so Trump would still need one more. He could try to flip the one Electoral College vote in Nebraska that went for Biden, or Michigan, but both are highly unlikely considering their margins for Biden.  

There is no where else to go. Trump will be anger eating the next few weeks.  Delicious!

Tonight for the Friday Link let's start off with Robert Reich addressing Trump's coup thoughts, and why they won't go anywhere. 


I've heard some Trump supports insist there is a fix in for Biden because his vote totals didn't follow something called Benford's Law.  I had no idea what Benford's Law actually was but the best Mathematician I know, Matt Parker, and his channel Stand Up Maths, had heard of this alleged conspiracy and he made a very informative video about how Benford's Law is unreliable and doesn't apply here. 



Finally tonight, let's move away from politics to something that stunned me.  Britain used to be connected to the European mainland, but I'm not referring to millions of years ago.  Around Eight Thousand years ago, a natural disaster of cataclysmic proportions occurred which destroyed the land bridge connecting England to Holland and The Netherlands.  What could have done it?  Simon Whistler at Geographics has the story. 


Have a great weekend everyone!





Thursday, November 12, 2020

Feeling Minnesota with Georgia On My Mind

 A lot of people are happy about the outcome of Election 2020, namely Trump losing to President Elect Joe Biden.  I myself was celebrating on Saturday when word came down of the win, but I have to admit, I'm mostly mad about what happened in 2020.  Once again the Democratic Party, while catering to the moderate wing of the party, managed to serve up an embarrassing set of losses. The Democrats couldn't take back the US Senate, and lost seats in the US House.  The Minnesota DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) Party also failed at its quest to take the Minnesota Senate, and lost seats in the MN House.

This as a pandemic rages across the country, a pandemic which is far worse because of the Republicans.  AND they're the party trying to actively kill cheap healthcare. 

The Democrats should have mopped the floor with the Republicans, but yet here we are...AGAIN!

(Image via FiveThirtyEight.com)

Since 2006, when comparing Democratic Party results, we've seen a pattern in election seasons.  In years where the party runs unified, touting the benefits of a vibrant Democratic platform, the party wins, and wins big.  But in years where the party's message is controlled by Moderate Democrats, the results go from 'bland' to outright Republican ass kickings.

Let's talk the 2020 mistakes Democrats made by following the lead of the Moderates, both in Minnesota and across the country:

1) Moderate Democrats ran against their own party more than they ran against Republicans!  I can't tell you how many Minnesota DFL candidates I interviewed who vilified the Progressive side of the Democratic party FAR MORE than they vilified the Republicans.  Considering the only way the Republicans would win in 2020 was to make the Democrats turn on themselves, it's comical the Moderate Democrats fell for it so easily.

All Republicans had to say was "they want to defund the police" and Moderate Democrats wet themselves. Instead of saying "I'm running in this district.  When you have people being murdered by police officers on camera, there's clearly a need for police reform in Minneapolis, but I'll leave that to them.  I'd rather talk about issues which matter to my district," they did the Republicans bidding, bashing on Progressives as 'out of touch socialists needing to be reigned in.'

If you're beating up your own party during an election year, you don't convey confidence or integrity.  You look pathetic and foolish.  Democrats and the Minnesota DFL need to make a new standard: Attacking fellow Democrats WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!  

Dear Lord, is that so F-ing hard?!?

2) Republican-lite doesn't sell.  If you have a choice of a regular version of something or a 'lite' version of the same thing, you go for the regular.  Moderate Democrats are convinced their path to victory is NOT to embrace the tens of millions of Progressive voters they ignore, but instead sacrifice their party and platform in the feeble attempt to convince a dozen or so Moderate Republicans to vote for them. 

The last two months of the Election cycle, most of the Democratic candidate ads I heard were like this:  "Hi, I'm the DFL candidate for ____ and my first priority is to make sure I work with Republicans.  All my bills will get Republican approval first as I'd rather work with Republicans than work with my own party.  And if I win, the Republicans have told me I can sit near them in the cafeteria!"

Once again, if you're not proud of being a Democrat, then why should I vote for you, THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE?  You come across as a person without principles

3) And Moderate Democrats, Republican-lite is toxic for the rest of the Democrats.  Dean Philips was one of those Democrats whose ads talked about how much he loved working with the Republicans.  I know his campaign will insist it worked, as he got re-elected.  Great, but it cost the party; Traditional Democrats and Progressive Democratic candidates in his district never had a chance because of Dean's campaign approach.  Not only were they having to campaign against the Republicans, but members of their own party as well. 

In Dean's district, I know at least four great Traditional Democrat and Progressive Democratic candidates who never were able to get traction.  All of them lost.  Whether national races or local ones, Moderate Democrats embracing the Republicans over the Democrats puts the rest of the party on the defensive.  I'm tired of the horror movie "Do you agree with ______ candidate that parts of the DFL party are too extreme or are you part of the socialist gestapo your candidate says is killing America?" phone call coming from inside the DFL's own house!  

Seriously Moderate Democrats, if you can't run without beating up your own party or cosplaying a Republican, go find a different party.

4) Moderate Democrats, terrified of having to defend progressive ideas, made the election ONLY about Trump when the FAR more effective issue was healthcare.  In 2010, after the Democratic Party passed what should've been a signature piece of legislation for decades, the Affordable Care Act, Moderate Democrats, brainwashed by Republicans, vilified the ACA and actively campaigned against it.  It ended up being a disastrous election cycle because Moderate Democrats were too fragile when it came to Republican bullying.  They should have been proud of what they accomplished, instead of cowering away from it.

In 2020, Moderate Democrats were scared to death of having to defend single payer healthcare, so they mostly abandoned healthcare as a primary tentpole issue.  I was astounded they shied away from the issue during a pandemic, especially after it was such a winning issue for them in 2018.  They made the campaign only about Trump.  They managed to get him out of office, but their lack of quality message beyond 'Remove Trump' hurt them pretty much every where else. 

And before Moderate Democrats start bickering, I do know there was some talk about healthcare on the campaign trail, but it was a secondary issue.  Anti-Trump sentiment was strong, but I don't think there was any NEW convincing voters Trump was a bad guy.  The people's minds were made up, so all you had to do was get those people to the polls.  Meanwhile, healthcare is an issue which makes moderate Trump voters reconsider their choice, and Moderate Democrats didn't hammer that home, especially in rural America.

5) All Democrats became convinced the early voting numbers were enough.  In the end they were, but just barely. This should've been a blow out, but Democrats were too busy patting themselves on the back to realize most Republicans were planning on voting in person on 11/3.  There should've be a FAR More aggressive voter engagement program, especially in rural parts of Minnesota and this country, 

6) Democrats in Minnesota and nationwide seem have given up on any seat outside of the large metro areas. In Minnesota, the F in DFL means 'Farmer,' but the way the party seemed to ignore the districts outside of the metro areas made me ask if they had even heard of a farm.

If you give up on a district, I guarantee you will never win it.  In 2006, the Democrats had the 50 state strategy and tried to compete in every district.  It worked!  In 2018, I heard stories from campaign workers telling us it was the first time a DFL'er had knocked on most of these doors in years, and we got great results that year too!  By putting forward a lackluster effort in rural Minnesota, only focusing on the cities and suburbs, the Democrats are back to being a non-existent contender in many rural districts.

And Democrats, I understand there are Republican bullies in rural Minnesota.  I know it can be scary, but if you don't stand up to the bully, the bully always wins.


Winning as a Democrat is not hard:  Run proud Democrats in every district, get them the support system they need to win, campaign on Democratic principles, no bad mouthing other Democrats, don't run a campaign where it sounds like you're a Republican, get voters registered, and make sure they all get to the polls and vote! 

That's what happened in Georgia this year, and look at the results.  The Democrats were able to take a reliably red state and turn it blue.  Was it scary at times?  Damn right it was!  For God's sake, a Q-Anon candidate won a US House race, but if you don't challenge the bullies, the bullies always win.  Thank you Stacey Abrams for standing up to the bullies!  Georgia did it right.

In the days since the election, Moderate Democrats have gone on the offensive.  "The reason we didn't win more was because of those damn liberals!  They need to step back and let us lead."

Go F- yourselves! The reason we failed to gain more wins in 2020 is because you Moderate Democrats sold out the rest of the party and were only in it for yourselves. YOU failed us.  It's time for YOU GUYS, Moderate Democrats, to step back and let the rest of the party lead from here on out.  If you don't like that, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. 





Monday, November 9, 2020

The Absence of Words

 Hi all.

When the Trump Presidency started, I stumbled upon a weekly blog idea, The Trump List.  On a lark, I had posted a list of bad things Trump had done in just one week, and I realized it would be a good bit.  It was. I did the Trump list from early 2017 until January 2018 (with a break in there for summer), but then I had to stop.  The lists were taking up too much time every week, somewhere around 30 hours.  The posts were wildly popular, with some getting over 5000 hits, but it was too exhausting to keep trying to compile the list, edit it and get it posted.  As I said back then, I got kids and they were starting to miss me.

After some fans (including some national pundents) asked for me to keep trying, I came up with the Trump Top 20 Weekly Countdown.  I felt I could trim down the work load, only keep track of the most insane things the Administration did and keep everyone happy.  I managed to keep the Trump Top 20 going for about 6 months, but by early November 2018 I had to stop.  Once again, the weight of going through Trump's weekly messes was too much.

I remember asking when I started the Trump Lists, even as bad as Trump was, would I have enough stuff to post every week, but as Trump's term ramped up, so did the crazy.  It wasn't that I was doing more research or scanning more news sources.  It was because the load of incompetence from Trump and his Administration was quickly getting larger and larger.  

This was by design.  Trump was weaponizing the news.  He made it impossible to cover his crimes by flooding the news cycle with incompetence.  Every time he did something horrible, he'd intentionally do something else horrible to take the spotlight off of his first incompetence.  By being the most incompetent President ever, both unintentionally and intentionally, presenting a daily buffet of things impossible to track, he avoided having to answer for most of his individual malfeasances.

2020 has been a nightmare.  Trump's intentional flooding of the news cycle welcomed in the CoronaVirus. He never had any intention of trying to save the American people from the pandemic.  On the contrary!  He seems to have intentionally made this as bad as possible, and in turn making his deluge of 20 daily news stories, into 50.  

I have a job which requires me to stay on top of the news. I remembered how exasperated I became in late January 2020 when it became clear what was heading our way with COVID.  It was already near impossible to keep on top of the news ("remember last week when Trump was impeached?!?) but we were all hoping, begging to see a side of Trump we knew was never going to be shown.  There was no hidden Trump empathy.  Anyone paying attention to Trump knew he couldn't tackle this historic crisis.  Seeing we were about to enter a long dark tunnel, I hunkered down.

Not only was writing hard during this last year, at times it was pointless.  I would start writing a blog piece and before I could post it, it was dated, needing revisions, or sometimes a complete rewriting.  After that happened a few times I started to write less.  Unless I was posting within an hour of the story, it was dated by dinner time.

I now finally see a light in the distance.  I can't wait to get back to a time when I'd hear a story about the President maybe once a day. I spent a lot of time after Biden was declared the winner decompressing and purposely not watching the news.  This morning, I noticed I looked at about a third of the news outlets I was looking at on Friday. I feel the gears starting to slow down. 

I aim to get back to writing and posting.  I apologize to everyone who has wanted new content.  I highly encourage you to go revisit the Trump Lists and the Trump Top 20's back in the 2017 and 2018 archives. I thought they were quite good.

I should have new content up soon.

Thanks.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Friday Link for 11/6/20

 It will be nice to get back to being able to write.  This was another week where I had no chance of getting a new blog post up.  But I feel as if I might be able to focus on writing again soon.

Why was I busy this week?  You know why.  Our Cartoon President has a recap, but remember, they use naughty language.  You've been warned! 


I also want to feature a video from Townsends historical cooking.  In it, Jon Townsend talks about the stress of modern times and how it's important to step back and relax; talks about turning off the constant buzz and reconnecting with yourself.  He also will teach you how to make a very common 18th century breakfast, Scotch Collops and Hot Chocolate. 


When I've had a few minutes to try to destress, I have found woodturning videos great.  Dead serious.  

Not only do you get to see skilled craftsmen make amazing pieces, but watching a piece of wood get whittled down is very soothing. Well at least it is for me.  Makes me wonder if I still have enough time in my life to run away from it all and become a master wood crafter.

Enjoy two wood working videos and see if they relax you. FYI, the lower the sound the better.  They can get kind of loud, which might defeat the purpose for you. Good news, is there usually isn't any talking. 




Have a great weekend everyone!





Friday, October 30, 2020

The Friday Link for 10/30/20

Hey all.  Another week and it's still light content on the blog because of the Election.  Maybe this weekend after Daylight Savings I'll use that hour we pick up to write...who am I kidding.  I'll be asleep.

First off, something REALLY important.  With the latest Republican court ruling, any absentee ballots received after Election Day in Minnesota will be separated.  This means the Republicans are going to try to get those ballots, which includes ballots from Active Duty Military, The Greatest Generation and many others, thrown out. 

You can still drop off a completed absentee ballot prior to Elections Day.  You can also still do in-person absentee voting up until Monday, and of course you can always vote in person on Election Day. 

EVERYONE VOTES!  Find out more at www.mnvotes.org

Some protest stuff for you tonight, but a warning, there is some language!  You've been warned!

First off is the insanely good song from Dessa, Tyranny.  It's so much for a little over 2 minutes.  Dessa is 1000% bad ass; a pure bolide in dark times.


Next up is the Daily Shows exceptional list of Trump's 100 Most Tremendous Scandals.  It's shocking how bad Trump has been, how corrupt and incompetent his whole Administration is.  If you watch this, which I encourage you to do (it is all verifiable!), the only reason you'd still vote for Trump is because you're a racist and you like how he validates your hate.

For goodness sake, #63 is numerous members of the Trump Administration using private servers to conduct official business. That was the main violation EVERY Trump supporter argued disqualified Hillary Clinton from being president!  

It's ONLY number 63 on Trump's list.


Finally tonight, Epic Rap Battles of History features the traditional Election fight.  I do think Biden gets the win.


Happy Halloween everyone.  Be safe.  Watch for the kiddos!  Remember to turn back the clocks Saturday night before you go to bed.  Have a nice weekend!





Friday, October 23, 2020

The Friday Link for 10/23/20

Good news everyone!  I started a blog entry this week, even got four paragraphs done!  Then my week swallowed me up.  Seriously, I've had no time to write since Tuesday.  Tonight I'm playing nursemaid to my dog who just had surgery.

Short and Sweet!  Pod People from MST3K! Actually this might be my all time favorite movie riff. The movie is atrocious and the jokes are non stop.  "It Stinks!"

Enjoy!


Have a great weekend everyone.

Remember to VOTE!  For more information about voting in Minnesota: www.mnvotes.org





Friday, October 16, 2020

The Friday Link for 10/16/20

Another week and once again, this is the only new post.  Maybe after November 3rd...

I love October.  I feel it's the prettiest month, starting with changing leaves and ending with pumpkins. Not only is it my birth month (Libras rule!), it's also the month of Halloween, so let's get scary.

I don't think I've ever featured Monstrum before.  This series from PBS puts forward the myths and urban legends behind the monsters we all know and love. Hosted by the enjoyable Dr. Emily Zarka, the series dives deep in to all time classic monsters, urban legends and even modern monsters. 

Zarka's love of the subject matter, and her intelligent and well researched notes, make this show addictive. I highly recommend going through her entire series on You Tube. 

Tonight, behold the origin of the zombie, which interestingly enough is not so much monster, but more religion based. 


To finish out this evening, Cinema Sins small screen cousins, TV Sins, went after 'It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' and it is hilarious.  A little adult, so viewer be warned (Probably not for the little kiddos!). 


Have a great weekend everyone! 





Friday, October 9, 2020

The Friday Link for 10/9/20

Sorry.  Lately there aren't more posts here, outside of the Friday Link.  That's because this news cycle is going to blow up my mind.

In his coverage of the Vice Presidential debate, Stephen Colbert made a comment which I had forgotten.  Politics is supposed to be relatively boring.  It really is.  I remember when Obama was President and there would be days I didn't hear a thing from the White House. Today, the news cycles during a single day can have 6 to 7 massive substantial stories which upend your sense of comprehension.  There are days when I'll be reminded of a story which broke at 8 AM that morning and I'll ask myself "was that today?" 

This environment was designed by Trump and Republicans.  You drive people away from the news cycle by overwhelming them with stories, while at the same time you get away with undeniable crimes you're committing right in front of everyone's face, because an act which would've gotten a President thrown out of office in the past is just lost in a never ending steam of insanity.

The good news is this time around enough people have had enough of the constant noise and are demanding it get turned off on November 3rd.

One of the reasons I think the GOP ramped up this insanity starting about 2010 (even before Trump.  Remember how they screamed about Ebola?), was Jon Stewart, the former host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central.  One of the most intelligent men in media was a comedian hosting what was supposed to be a fake news show mocking the current headlines.  His ability to succinctly pierce through the bull that was being thrown at America was refreshing, but also infuriating for the Right. It was impossible to get away with what the Conservatives were trying while Stewart was pointing it out. 

I honestly think if Jon Stewart would've been on the air in 2016, Clinton would've won.  I'm not saying that to begrudge Stewart.  It's just no one else was doing what he was able to do.  His (deserved) retirement created a vacuum Trump took advantage of.

First up tonight Stewart's masterful takedown of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller for helping to deceive the US into war.  It's in two parts.



And then the interview with Chris Wallace where he tells off Fox News to their face. 

That is gutsy, factual and just awesome.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Remember all the information you need to vote early in Minnesota is on the Minnesota Secretary of State's webpage, www.mnvotes.org!



Friday, October 2, 2020

The Friday Link for 10/2/20

I'm feeling emotionally unstable right now.  I can't stand Trump.  He's a horrible person, a nightmare of a leader, and a man who's undeniably guilty of committing crimes while in office.  I don't want him to win re-election, period.

That being said, I don't want the guy dead.  I don't!  You can dislike a person for their politics, and hope they live a long life.  I can say the same thing about the litany of Minnesota Republican officials who were exposed to COVID-19 by Trump and his campaign staff.  I dislike your wealth worshipping at the expense of 95% of this country, but here's to your health!  I'm consistent.  I've wanted people to be healthy and safe from Corona Virus; ALL people. 

With Trump's worsening condition, there has been a question of what would happen if a candidate for the Presidency died a few weeks before the election. The answer is unless both the House of Representatives and the US Senate vote to delay the election (something very unlikely), the election will go on as scheduled. The Constitution is pretty clear that only the Congress can delay a Presidential election.  The party who lost the candidate could name a replacement, but there's a nightmare of how exactly you vote for that person, especially when early voting has already begun. You can't assume just because someone votes for one political candidate from a party, the same vote would go for a replacement candidate. So if it becomes a write in campaign, the odds they'd be able to pull that off are astronomical.

It boils down to this.  There will be an election on November 3rd in the United States, and at the end of the day, either Joe Biden or Donald Trump will win.  No one else has a chance. 

The other time in American History we had a Constitutional Crisis like this was with the 9th President, William Henry Harrison, better know as the guy who died a month after talking office.  A lot of the rules were unwritten then, so we ended up having to create standards about line of succession.

For all your William Henry Harrison knowledge, let's start with the election of 1840 itself, courtesy of Hip Hughes. 

From The History Channel's exceptional series on The Presidents, Harrison was the shortest entry, 3 and a half minutes:


Finally, let's look at the life and death of Harrison. Like a lot of Presidents from back then, he made a name for himself killing and dominating Native Americans, including leading US forces as they ran Native tribes off their lands in Ohio and Indiana. Like all history, William Henry Harrison's should be complete, with both the good and the bad.  

There's also a lot of question about what exactly killed him.  The original story goes that due to his age (he was the oldest man to take the Presidency until Reagan took office in 1981) he decided to have a long and hearty Inauguration Address, going two hours.  It was a cool day, leading to people insisting he died of a cold he'd gotten from giving the Address.  The problem with that story is that for the first three weeks he was in office, he actually felt fine. 

After reviewing the doctor's notes of the illness, the determination was he actually died of Typhoid Fever brought on by drinking contaminated water, a common death culprit from those days.

'Today I Found Out' has the complete story. 


There you go, more than you ever wanted to know about William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States, for five weeks.

Stay safe everyone.  Have a nice weekend.






Friday, September 25, 2020

The Friday Link for 9/25/20

Last week, I had just come off of a great radio show where I was trying to inspire people on the first day of early voting.  Then at 6 PM, the world turned upside down again.

I can't believe it's only been a week.  I'm really starting to wonder if we can make it to November 3rd.  

Vote Minnesota!  Make sure everyone you know is registered to vote!  Make sure everyone you know knows about early voting!  Make sure everyone you know knows they can early vote by absentee ballot in the mail, and for them to make sure the ballot is mailed back by October 25th!  Make sure everyone you know knows they can early vote in person at various locations; all they have to do is check the Secretary of State's page (www.mnvotes.org) for more information.  Make sure people who are going to vote in person on November 3rd know where they're supposed to vote.  For people not in Minnesota, visit your Secretary of State's webpage for information on how you can vote, or just visit Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a Ballot" series on Your Tube (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiZxWe0ejyv-YdCXRTsgqfU9HBXsimWwo).  Make sure you tell everyone who is thinking of voting for Trump they're fools!  Seriously, scream at them "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?"

Tonight, the all time Mystery Science Theater 3000 classic "Manos" The Hands of Fate. I'm going to bed until Monday.



Have a great weekend everyone!



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sacrificing your Faith

Christian Conservatives are shouting out with glee.  They're happy because someone died.  For a group of people who insist they're the most pro-life people who've ever lived, that might seem like a massive contradiction.  It is.  They don't care.  They've been contradicting their faith for decades as they've whittled Christianity down to one major issue; stopping legal abortion.

The person who died was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most prominent liberals the Supreme Court ever had.  Her death is giving pure joy to Republican Christians as they feel now, with a Conservative judge to replace her, they'll be able to finally overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal in the 1970's. 

You can point out overturning Roe v. Wade won't make abortion illegal in the US, just stop the national standard which made it legal.  Plenty of states will still have legal abortion, and there are more options for ending an unwanted pregnancy which don't include the act of an abortion.  There will be a lot of murkiness on what is and is not legal in a post Roe v. Wade world.

You can point out applying a Christian standard to abortion not only violates separation of church and state, it's also forces a person's religion onto someone else, something Christian Conservatives would never tolerate if it was being done to them.

You can point out Jesus never once condemned abortion.  Never did.  If you're Christian, you take Jesus' teachings as your standard, as Jesus is what makes Christians Christian.  If this was such an important issue, you'd think he would've mentioned it.  There are passages in the Bible which are undoubtedly anti-abortion but Psalm 137:9 is pro-abortion.  The Bible is also chock full of baby killing stories.  Do you think Noah's flood didn't kill thousands if unborn babies?  There are Biblical passages which make it clear only specific clothes should be worn, that you shouldn't eat delicious bratwursts (Leviticus 3:17), rules for when you have to marry a brother's wife, orders for us to murder a person if they cheat on their spouse (who wants to tell Trump?), and how women should wear head coverings in church (plus 1 Corinthians 11:4-7 has misogyny too!).  If you're not following all those rules, you're admitting you're already cherry picking the Bible.  I know Rightos: "But Matt, those are lesser issues! Thou shall not murder is a Commandment!" So is the whole adultery issue, and you guys are perfectly fine with that Commandment being violated, so...

They don't care. They don't understand Roe v. Wade, they sure as heck want to force Christianity on people, and they themselves ignore most of the Bible when it's inconvenient to their political argument.

Let me take the rest of this post to highlight how much of their faith Evangelicals and Christians Conservatives have sacrificed to be in bed with the Republican party; in order to make abortion the 'One Christian sin to Rule them all!'


1) Feeding the hungry! Jesus ordered us to do so, and the Republican Party has consitently cut food aid to the needy, creating shame hoops for the hungry to jump through just to eat.  Before you argue "Well I donate to food agencies and causes!"  Great, but you're also a proud supporter of a political party who works against a basic teaching of Jesus (feeding the hungry), and you've never condemn their anti-Chrisitan, pro-hunger behavior!  NEVER!

2) Sheltering the homeless! Once again, the Bible, both Old and New Testament, ordered us to get people shelter, and the Republican party's official stance is to scream "Get a job you moocher." Once again, you NEVER condemn their official policy.  'Well I do in the silence of my own heart!'  Forgive me if I don't believe you, and even if you did, that's a cowards validation.

3) Taking care of the sick! How many Jesus stories are directly related to giving people better health?  TONS!  Lazarus was definitely a preexisting condition. You applaud a political party who's not only trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, not only are they trying to make preexisting conditions a reason to deny people medical treatment, not only are they trying to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, not only are they encouraging a 'healthcare for the wealthy only' standard, but they've mismanaged Corona Virus, BADLY!  The US is the worst place for the illness on the planet, yet you NEVER condemn the Republican Party's for violating the command to 'take care of the sick.'

4) Drinkable water! "I was thirsty and you gave me drink." When was the Evangelical/Christian Right's protest of the Republican Party of Flint Michigan?  Oh that's right, NEVER!

5) Welcoming in strangers from strange lands! The Christian Right and the Evangelicals have spectacularly violated this command.  We're supposed to welcome people, and the Republican Party is only about walls and concentration camps.  There is NO WAY you can claim to be a good Christian and support the Republican's immigration policies.  Heck, most of you are at the Trump rallies screaming 'lock them up!'  You've NEVER condemned this.  Even if you were against it, you didn't want to upset the party, so you silently forsake your faith.


I know there are Righto Christians furious at me so far (wait! It gets better!).  All I'm doing is holding YOU to the faith you claim to embody, a faith you willfully ignore to follow Republican politics.  That's on you, not me. Go get angry at the mirror.

Back to the countdown!


6) Jailed prisoners and the death penalty! Part of Matthew 25:36 calls for people to care about prisoners, a far cry from the corporate prison business the Republican Party, and in turn Evangelicals/Conservative Christians, endorse.  You scream for mandatory minimums and three strike policies for lesser crimes.  You applaud locking people up for life and praise the police even when police violence is the undeniable cause of the problem.  On the Death Penalty, let me cut off your usually defense; it's only in the last 200 years people changed the Commandment from 'Thou shalt not kill' to 'Thou shalt not murder.'  The original Hebrew word outlawed far more than just murder, a command to not kill other humans. Modern Christians (who love their revenge narratives) embraced 'murder' because it allowed them to say nothing when people are executed, something Republicans LOVE to do.  As Christians, we're NEVER supposed to kill anyone, but I guess that commandment can be followed when convenient.  When it comes to life, you guys are "Baby's yes, prisoners no." By the way, Romans 12:19 calls out revenge and vengeance.

7) Guns! Jesus was against weapons, PERIOD!  It goes WAY beyond Jesus' direct command to throw down your weapons as 'if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.'  The Old and New Testament have dozens of passages which say weapons are bad. But here you clowns are, speaking like Jesus founded Guns and Ammo Magazine himself.  I might give you guys the out if you said "hey, I'm only for hunting weapons," but many of you, and the official party platform of the Republicans, enforce the idea that everyone should have a machine gun.  Jesus would never want you to carry, or romanticize, a gun.  NEVER!

8) Wealth worshipping!  Wealth worshipping is a tent pole of the modern Republican Party.  Their entire economic policy is worshipping the wealthy just because they're wealthy. Evangelicals and Conservative Christians, if you want violations of the Ten Commandments, wealth worshipping is your pound for pound winner: You place money above all else, so that violates the first Commandment about false gods.  One could make an argument putting 'God' on currency would be taking his name in vain (false validation of wealth), so there's the 2nd.  Many people, in their quest to accumulate wealth, applaud stealing in some capacity, whether not paying taxes or defrauding employees (7th). Keeping up with the Jones' by buying more things just to brag is definitely violating the 10th, and what was that about not working on Sunday (the 3rd)?  You praise Chick Fil-A for being closed, but do you demand businesses shut down on Sunday?  Of course not!  For Republicans, Capitalism is king, not Jesus (once again the first).  If you want New Testament reference, Luke is great at shaming the money obsessed (something about camels, needle eyes and rich people.)  And as far as Prosperity Gospel, don't run to Timothy or Peter to overrule a major teaching of the Christian faith.  Sure those books were included in the Bible, but it was only in the late 1800's did wealthy people start twisting the Bible to validate their greed with the fraudulent Prosperity Gospel.  Stop it.  Jesus would NEVER be for wealth worshipping.

9) Babies in cages, concentration camps on the border, and forced hysterectomies on women! You Evangelicals and Conservative Christians are quiet on this things because A) You know they're horrible and there's no Christian defense of them, and B) since you desperately want to defend the Republicans over your religion, and since there's no way to make these things Christianity compatible, you say nothing.  NEVER! That's how often you should stay quiet about these crimes against humanity.

10) Sex scandals! You worship a man who's a walking sex scandal, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION!  He has admitted to having multiple affairs, he's been married multiple times and we even have him on tape talking about sexually assaulting a married woman.  And that doesn't include the 40 plus accusations of sexual misconduct against him, something you accuse the accusers of lying about, even though you have ZERO evidence they're lying.  Republicans love him for his sex scandals, but you shouldn't.  Most Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives NEVER once have criticized his ways, even though he's repeatedly violated the 6th and 9th Commandments. And we haven't even gotten to his good friend Epstein (who definitely did not commit suicide).

11) Racism!  Trump is racist.  As we get further into this campaign cycle, he's becoming more and more racist.  The Republicans love him for being openly racist.  Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives say nothing about his undeniable bigotry.  Your best case scenario is you're enabling racism with your silence.  At worst, you agree with Trump's racist ideals.  Regardless, there has NEVER been a place for racism in Christianity.

12) Trump is a mean, disgusting, lying disgrace of a human!  You can't candy coat this Christians.  Trump mocked a disabled man, AND YOU STILL VOTED FOR HIM!  Trump constantly lies; CONSTANTLY, so much so even Fox News acknowledges it by insisting 'this is what Trump meant to say.'  He's disparaged victims of natural disasters, military families, soldiers; pretty much anyone who does not place him as their number one deity.  Not exactly 'loving your fellow man.'  Not exactly 'turning the other cheek.'  And let's just be honest.  Down deep beneath the thin layer of your so called Christianity, you LOVE how he treats people you disagree with.  LOVE IT!  Jesus would NEVER condone any of his behavior.


There are many more examples I could point out, and then start an equally long list of Trump's anti-Patriotic violations too!  Look at how the Christian Right has mutilated such a wonderful and peaceful religion as Christianity by turning it into a one sin faith, used to validate Republican political positions. 

And once again Roe v. Wade was only about a national standard.  When they do overturn it, it will lead to some states still having legal abortion.  And pro-lifers, it's time for you to face the truth.  Even in harsh anti-abortion states, after they make abortion illegal for the masses, new specialty clinics will open in the high end strip malls and gallerias in wealthy white suburbs.  They'll offer a special medical procedure, an 'anti-baby-oscomy,' at a cost of $5000.  It will be legal abortion, but under a different name.  Wealthy Republican donors won't take THEIR kids to a different state for an abortion.  Of course not.  Abortion will still be legal everywhere, as long as you're wealthy.  Considering how easily you fools are manipulated, you'll probably rally to make sure 'anti-baby-oscomy's are never made illegal. 

This new Conservative Supreme Court will wipe out the Affordable Care Act, so tragically, there will be a case where Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives will force a woman to have a rapist's baby, and then watch as medical bills bankrupt the victim, crippling a family's finances for a generation.  CHRISTIAN!!!

You're also never going to crack down on deadbeat dads like you should.  Women shouldn't have to go to court for years to get their baby's father to pay their rightful share.  All you far right Christians will do is shrug your shoulders at best; or at worst you'll find more Biblical passages which allude to women being property (like the aforementioned 1 Corinthians 11:4-7) further shaming women.

Increased demand on social services will cripple them.  People will starve.  People will freeze to death.  People will die of treatable illnesses.  But you don't care, as the second the baby is out of the womb you cease caring at all.  You'll pat yourselves on the back, insist you did a good thing, and ignore their plight.

I can hear your outcries of "that's not fair, MATT! Of Course we would step up to help the needy."  Sure you give a few bucks in the collection plate, but we'll still have tens of millions of people suffering in the wealthiest country on the planet.  Your donations are more about absolving your responsibility as opposed to stopping suffering.  "People are starving?  Here's five dollars.  See I feel better!"

Let me give you an even more stark example of why I have ZERO faith in Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives.  Currently there are somewhere between 115,000 and 125,000 kids waiting to be adopted in America today, mostly male, mostly 6 years old and older, and many of them from minority groups.  There are somewhere around 300,000 Christian churches in the United states today. All it would take is one family per every two to three congregations adopting one child, and the US wouldn't have any children waiting to be adopted.  One family out of every two to three congregations, yet here we are. 

This is the point where your furious anger boils over.  "WELL MATT, HOW MANY KIDS HAVE YOU ADOPTED?  HAVE YOU GIVEN UP YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR MONEY? HOW DARE YOU TRY TO LECTURE ME ABOUT MY CHRISTIAN FAITH.  I'M ONLY TRYING TO SAVE BABIES AND YOU MAKE ME OUT TO BE A MONSTER!  HOW DARE YOU!!!"

Once again, this is not about my faith or my standards.  This is not about my choices.  This is about your faith, or rather lack of it.  For the record, I'm personally against abortion, but that's the CHOICE I've made for myself.  Everyone else can make their own choices, since we all will be judged by our own actions on earth.

I'm not too fond of people taking my religion and destroying it for political purposes wrapped in the thinnest layer of morality.  Once again, if you're mad, go scream at the mirror.  That's who you're really mad with.









Friday, September 18, 2020

The Friday Link for 9/18/20

I love the two Blade Runner movies.  Watching the first one today, it's remarkable how well the movie holds up, a futuristic pulp noir masterpiece, with vision and style.

The second movie is equally as beautiful, taking place a few decades after the first movie.  The cinematography alone in the second movie is unbelievable, on par with the best of all time.

One thing they did as a bridge between the two movies is create three little short films which connect the two movies.

The first one explains the supposed 2022 black out, a recurring plot point from the 2nd movie.  It's anime, because it would cost a ton to make a real world version of this. 

The next short is an explanation film.  After the blackout, replicants were made illegal.  Enter Jared Leto's Niander Wallace in 2036, a man who has invented a new version of replicant.  His job is to convince the leaders of Earth to allow replicants to go back into production.

Finally, we fast forward to 2048. A replicant on the run named Sapper Morton (who happens to play a substantial early role in Blade Runner 2049) shows up on the streets.  This short sets up the 2nd movie. Dave Bautista, who most people know as Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, is one heck of a good actor.


I highly encourage you to watch the first movie, then these three shorts, and then the 2nd film in order, but most people don't have 6 hours of spare time. Watch when it's convenient.

Have a great weekend everyone, except for those who are happy Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. The hell with all of you sick twisted people.





Thursday, September 17, 2020

Talking Points

I've been amazed at the talking points the Republicans have been pushing to try to justify another term for Trump.  Let's review!


Anitfa: This one has been swirling around for awhile, but it's sure become Boogieman #1 for the right.  This so called loosely knit group of leftist protestors are both described as blood thirsty killers and anti-democracy foes who dare to want to see a fair tax rate imposed on the wealthy.  Much like 'Tea Baggers,' the right didn't think this name through as Antifa' is short for Anti-fascist. When you point this out, Republicans stammer, trying to explain why they are seemingly pro fascism.  By the way, you'd be fooling yourself if the labeling of their enemies as 'anti-fascist' is not an attempt to make the idea of fascism see palatable to the right.

Black People: This is one prong in the Rights attempt to get the suburbs back on Trump's side.  Unlike rural America, where Republicans often campaign openly with 'our lily white purity was violated by THOSE people' dog whistle racism, this time Republicans are trying to wrap their racism behind deflection. "If Biden wins, they will get rid of all zoning laws and do you know what that means? Antifa, gangs, and Black Lives Matter moving into your neighborhood, ruining the value of YOUR property!"  It's not hiding the racism; it's just packaged differently. 

Biden's America:  This is the wildest defense of Trump yet.  They post images of rioting and violence occurring in US streets and insisting "THIS is what you will get in Biden's America!"  The problem is it skips past the fact Trump is currently president.  All of the ugliness you see on the streets today is due, either partially or completely, to Trump and his embracing of racism as a mainstream virtue.  We don't have to fear America becoming like that, as America is already there!  It'd be easy to label this oversight as just fear mongering, but there are Republicans who are acting as if Biden is the actual President right now, responsible for Trump's failures, trying to package Trump as the plucky outsider.  The current RNC Chair Ronna Romney actually implied Biden was responsible for CoronaVirus(!), and Trump himself on Tuesday blamed Biden for not instituting a national mask mandate.  Many Republicans are justifying their 2nd Trump vote by simply pushing Trump's failures onto Biden's plate.

Public Safety: The other prong in the Trump team's attempt to win back the suburbs is to imply there is an actual war going on in the inner cities, and the brave men and women fighting in the trenches are the police.  Once again, they're not trying to hide the racism here, just taking a longer path.  The one meme I see lot of involves the recent shooting in Compton. Most police officers are great, and what happened out in Compton with the shooting of the sheriff deputies is disgusting.  That incident, with its blood soaked photos, is being used to demand blind allegiance to the police, with the unspoken undertone being black people, latinos, minorities, the LGBTQ community,  liberals and protestors are ALL guilty of shooting those sheriff deputies.  To stumble the Right up in their argument, I suggest two options.  The first is to point out the near daily shooting of black people and minorities by police officers, a point which forces Republicans to angrily admit there are also bad cops.  Doesn't excuse shooting police officers but it removes their attempt to make all police angels.  The other counterpoint is more subtle but very effective. I've had multiple white Republicans in the suburbs tell me the story of how they went downtown for a simple dinner but insist they were lucky to escape with their lives, as the 'criminal element' was everywhere!  Respond by saying "gee, sorry you were scared."  That's all you have to say.  Testosterone fueled Republican arguments come crashing to a halt when the have to admit they were scared.

Violence: There is a palatable threat of violence being pushed by the Right which almost reads like 'instructions' to right wing loon balls. "If Biden wins, THERE WILL BE VIOLENCE!!!  People will be shot in the head! Everybody will be on their own! It will be kill or be killed! Are you going to just sit on by while your family is massacred by...THEM!"  When these right wing trolls are called out for their liberal/minority murder fantasies, they put on their earnest faces and play it off.  "Gee Wilikers, I abhor violence.  I'd never encourage it.  I was only pointing out what could happen if Trump loses.  I think the best way to avoid the bloodshed is just to allow Trump a second term." Call them out when they spew their murder fantasies, and if violence occurs after the election by Right Wing Terrorists, tie their comments to the criminal behavior.


The right is desperate.  Not only have they lost ground in most battleground states in the last month, states like Arizona and Florida are looking like sure fire Democratic wins, while  NC, OH, GA, and even Texas are neck and neck. This leads me to my greatest fear.

When it becomes clear none of the talking points listed above have worked and Trump is looking like he'll be wiped out, I expect there to be an assassination attempt on Biden.  The Russians, the Saudis, US based racists and military groups; there are a lot of suspects out there who would LOVE a second Trump term.  I wouldn't be shocked if there are people in the Trump campaign who have researched such a contingency.  Trump himself has praised summary executions and we now have reports of forced hysterectomies in Trump's immigrant detention centers.  How far of a step would it really be for Trump and his Administration?

If we get to Election Day and Biden is not executed, I will gladly admit I was wrong.  But desperate people always turn to desperate measures to stay in power, and there is no more group of desperate people on the planet that the Trump White House.  They're desperate to prevent the world from seeing the truth.




Friday, September 11, 2020

The Friday Link for 9/11/20

I know the blog has not had a lot of content but behold!


That would be pickle gold! It took an entire day and like my life for the last 18 years, anytime I take a day to do a project, the next week is pure chaos until I catch up.  

No excuses. I'll try to get something written this weekend.

First up this week is Funny or Die's new series, 'Was Kid Nation the Worst Reality Show Ever Made?'  It's kind of self explanatory.  For the record, it probably is the worst reality show ever made.  It's hard to comprehend a network green lit this show, but here we are!

Enjoy the first two episodes:



Finally something very cool from The Nerdist.  If you have not seen the new trailer for the movie Dune, it is pretty spectacular.  They seem to have taken the Lord of the Rings commitment level to Dune and made a movie which looks like it religiously followed the source material.

Stephen Colbert, who is also a huge fan of Dune, got to sit down with the cast and the interview is amazing.  And I have a secret crush on Rebecca Ferguson...SHHHH!


I can't wait for the movie.

Have a great weekend everyone! 



Friday, September 4, 2020

The Friday Link for 9/4/20

First off I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

After taking last year off, I'm making pickles again this year.  Should take most of the day on Sunday.  Surprisingly, my pickle making is a lot like this clip form Rick and Morty, when Rick turns himself into Pickle Rick.

LOTS of bad words, but if you want to make pickles... 


Also this week, something which will get you through the long weekend.  Jelle's Marble Run just finished up its 2020 games, and they were spectacular!  In case you don't know what Jelle's is, it's a complete Olympic type of sporting event, done with marbles.  The production value and the excellent play by play work make this an incredibly enjoyable watch. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was the sponsor for the full season and this season the winner was decided in the final few events.  This, as opposed to Rick and Morty, is very much family friendly. 


Have a great weekend everyone.  Remember to wear a face mask, social distance, wash hands and avoid crowds! 




Thursday, September 3, 2020

When Trouble Comes Knocking

I work in an industry (media) which garners you attention.  Most of the time the attention is very positive and welcoming.  Sometimes the attention is not so nice, a criticism or a critique from someone who clearly isn't a fan.  A handful of times, that attention is scary.

My first experience with a 'fan' who was crossing the line was when I was at KDAO in Iowa.  Every summer  the station would appear in every major parade in the area.  Pretty much every weekend, the station vehicle, an old classic convertible with magnetic banners on the side of the car emblazoned with the station logos, would roll into a community, get in line and we'd wave as we drove past the locals. 

That one summer, by the third parade, I noticed a woman who seemed to be at every parade, usually screaming my name until I waved.  She was middle aged, a little homely, but she sure seemed to love the station.  I initially thought 'oh cute, a fan,' but as it became evident she would be at every parade (over a 50 mile broadcast area) I started to get concerned.  She only showed up at the parades I was driving the car.  She then started to show up at my other live station events.  I rationalized to myself as long as she's only showing up at events that's fine.  

One day I saw her standing on the street across from my apartment in Eldora.  I confronted her and asked what she was doing.  She said she happened to be in the neighborhood.  I firmly told her that's fine if you were in my neighborhood for legit reasons, but if she was only there to see me, I made it clear she was crossing some lines. She got the message.  The only time I saw her afterwards was at station events.  When I left Eldora to move back to the Twin Cities, someone left a rose on the windshield of my car.  For about three weeks afterwards, I was convinced she had followed me to Minnesota.  She hadn't but I was still freaked out.

About 5 years ago, I was doing a show when I noticed my producer had disappeared.  This wasn't unusual, as they had to open the door for people upstairs in the afternoon after the rest of the staff had left.  Suddenly, there was a guy standing outside of the studio window, watching me.  I went into the producer's room and asked who he was, and my producer, who was very new at the time, said "he's a big fan and he just wanted to see you do the show."

This is a big no no.  If he wants to do this, he can call and ask.  You don't just open up the door and allow people to see me like it's the Como Zoo.  During the next commercial break, I talked to the guy, who was REALLY intense, and told him I was  glad he stopped by, but he had to go.  The look he gave me scared the crap out of me.  I half expected a gun to come out.  Looking wounded, he turned and left.  I had to have a long conversation with the producer about who we let into the building.

I've had my share of death threats.  These are usually people extremely wound up because they're not taken seriously, so they lash out, usually at the person who they feel is their 'enemy.'  They just arrested a guy for doing the same thing to Minnesota Governor Walz.  We confronted one guy who threatened me and he insisted it was a misunderstanding.  When we played him the audio of his threat, he apologized and said sometimes he gets worked up.  We got a restraining order against him.

I even once had my own predator who entered my life under the guise of friendship but was really looking for me to become her sugar daddy (hilarious on a lot of levels).  

I won't lie; today I'm scared.  We have Trump out encouraging the unhinged to commit violence against people who don't agree with them politically.  He's labeling protestors 'terrorists' and encouraging vigilantes.  The next two months leading up to the election will only get worse.  When you have 17 year old kids murdering people in the streets of Wisconsin, the next step in the evolution of right wing terrorists threatening and assaulting people in the street, you're getting to a point of no return.

When you unleash extremism, encouraging it to go into these dark places, extremism will not easily go back.

I'm concerned one day I'll be attacked.  Everyday I ask 'if this is the day I walk out of the station and see some 17 year old indoctrinated kid, with eyes full of hate, holding a gun on me?'  Regardless of the threat, I've never once thought of quitting.  People need to hear differing voices.  If I quit, the bullies win, and if it is not clear to you yet, I don't like bullies.  

On Election Night 2016, we had a guy call the station and threaten my wife and kids. I didn't storm off the air and run home.  I called my wife, the station called the police and I did my show.  The goal was to get me off the air that evening.  I wasn't about to oblige.  

Stand up to the bullies. If they're at the point where they have to threaten us to try to win, they know their world is collapsing.  Their threats are the last grasps of their control falling apart.  

I pray we all get through the next 60 days safely.




Friday, August 28, 2020

The Friday Link for 8/28/20

No I did not write anything this week.  I had to wade through the "fun" of the RNC while at the same time having my air conditioner go out in the house.  I got sweaty, and my temperament was less than fresh.

Let me tell you a story.  My family cabin in northern Minnesota is old, 110 years to be exact.  Initially the first industry of northern Minnesota was lumber.  When you see images of western towns built of wood, that wood came from Minnesota.  They would come into an area and lumber all the trees for miles, float the logs down rivers when applicable, but most of the time they had to build a train line out to get the logs and bring them to the mills.

After they cut down all the trees, they had a bit of a problem.  They had a ton of land which was relatively useless; treeless land in what was the middle of no where.  Anything which might have had mining potential was sold off, but they still had copious amounts of treeless land. 

What the lumber companies did was to go to the nearest local town and offer large swaths of treeless lakeside property to anyone who had any money.  You could buy a huge chunk of lakeside property for nearly nothing.  My great grandfather was a foreman for one of the mines in Virginia, MN and was offered the entire north side of a lake for near nothing.  He jumped at the opportunity.  

The piece of land he had included the old logging camp, the site where he built the cabin.  It was relatively level, with a little height over the lake.  The lumber company's train line ran through the property for about the first ten years he owned the place (something my great aunt used to tell my father about) as they were still logging further up the line. On a side note, my other great grandfather was (initially) the lumber company's doctor, before becoming the town doctor in Virigina.  He had a self powered medical train car which drove the tracks up to the individual camps.  My father told me that he had taken that car through my other great grandfather's property numerous times.

To get to the cabin initially it took a horse and wagon.  There was a service road cut through the wilderness which made the land accessible.  Starting with what is now the garage, they eventually built other buildings on the site, including a fairly nice cabin for the time.  They even had a tennis court, which was located in the area where the crane lifted logs onto the train cars.  You had to have had a flattened area to do that, and so after the lumber company had taken off, they cemented it over and had one of the first tennis courts in northern Minnesota.

A few years back, a kindly older gentleman stopped by to talk.  He asked if he could look at our property.  He was the local historian and was trying to track down the location of the old train lines.  I welcomed him and a friend to come visit.  He smiled as he walked the property, thrilled to have found the final piece of the train's path.  They knew where the old line had ended east of our place, and they knew which current county road took over the train's line just to the north of our place, but they had never seen where those two lines connected.  

It was an emotional moment when he finally found the train line's location, located on what is now the back road that loops around on our driveway.  He was the one who told us the tennis court had to have been where the log loader was, and even found the trail line spur which went to the tennis court area.  For this old guy, finding this final piece of the train line was the fulfillment of a lifetime of searching. 

Maybe that's why I instantly fell in love with the Australian Beau Miles' video on tracing an old trail line which had been abandoned years ago.  The line used to be a main connector of Australian towns but it eventually was shut down when cars and buses became the norm.  He illegally crosses A LOT of people's property, but the search is fun.  He runs what is basically a marathon in full clothes with a back pack and a shovel. WOW!


Explore your history. Fulfill your quests.  Have a great weekend everyone!