Monday, September 29, 2014


Ron Gardenhire was fired today.  The former Minnesota Twins head coach and his entire staff were let go.  Here is my problem with firing Gardy; if you fire your head coach because they failed to deliver when it came to the success of the team, then your argument is that someone could have taken the same roster of players and done better than Gardenhire.  No one, alive or dead, could have taken the dead weight which was the roster for the Twins this season and gotten the team to .500, let alone had a winning program.  There is no way.

If you agree with me, then firing Gardy is the ownership, which insisted the new stadium built in part with tax payer dollars would make them more competitive, taking the easy out and not admitting they are responsible for the talent level on the field.

Here is the article I just had published on MinnPost today:

One addition to my argument the Twins front office is obsessed with Mauer; the National League batting champion is Justin Morneau, the former first baseman for the Twins.  Part of the reason he's no longer with the team is because they needed to put Mauer, an oft injured catcher who is making $23 million a year, somewhere.  They decided first base.  Without thinking about the talent loss the team would suffer by not trying to keep Justin, they insisted it was best to jettison Morneau, for the non-power hitting, barely major league quality first baseman, Mauer.

If Morneau was still on this team, they would have had 10 more wins this year and Gardy wouldn't have been fired.  Still think the front office's Mauer obsession is nothing to worry about?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Friday Link for 9/26/14

Hi all!

It's been a light week here on the blog, but I hopefully will have a few different articles I've written over the last few days published elsewhere soon.  I'll let you know if it happens.

I was a member of the improv group Comedy Olympix back in the 90's.  This was the comedy improv Legion of Doom to the Justice League that was, and is, Comedy Sportz.  I'm not sure exactly what the heck happened between the two groups but there was a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of animosity between the guy who owned CO and the people from CS.  I wasn't the best performer, but I did have fun.  We eventually parted ways.

Two observations about my time doing comedy improv:

First, the only career field with a larger percentage of emotionally screwed up people than radio is comedy improv.

Second, my tenure there led to the funniest letter I ever received.  CO would offer improv workshops, something I desperately needed.  The guy who ran them (not the owner) was great.  He was very funny, knew the basic set ups for bits and was very helpful when it came to learning the basics.  On the second workshop I did with him, he ended up having to be gone for the last class, so another comedian from CO, who still works in Twin Cities comedy today, took over for the final week.  She didn't really teach anything that class. We went through a few improv drills and then we ran through a show format.  At the end she said nothing and we left.

I got a letter from her; a critique of my performance.  It was seven paragraphs of the most vicious, insulting, out of line, unjustified professional and personal attacks I have ever received.  There was nothing constructive about anything she wrote, only insult after insult.  "You suck at this, you're the worst ever at that, you don't really look good enough to be on stage."  It went on and on and on.  I was wondering, since she hardly spent anytime in the workshop, if it was actually a twisted joke.  I was assured later, even though she tried to play it off as a joke, she was serious, having sent similar letters to many others in the workshop.

The best part was the last paragraph.  After her vile criticism, she wrote, "Your performance aside, I think you're really nice and hope we can stay friends."  I framed the letter and had it on my wall for a few years.  Like I mentioned, emotionally screwed up!

My time with Comedy Olympix taught me a little about what makes good comedy, and I did have the pleasure of working briefly with some extremely funny people.  I do love when a great comedy skit clicks and the clip for tonight is one of the best.  Everything in this is funny, with the subtle Seth MacFarlane stealing the show.  Top 20 comedy skit all time from SNL, easy.  Enjoy, it's your Friday link!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Observations

Here are just a few things I pondered today as I watched my kids baseball.

I saw a story about Secession and how nearly 1 in 4 Americans would support a state or region trying to become it's own country.  I think it's funny people who protest government overreach support an idea which would create a mandate by the seceded territory to tax and rule with an iron fist for 50 years.  Good thinking genius!  Also, I think if the current president was Republican and white, the same people who think secession is a good idea would be the ones screaming 'Merica, love it or leave it!

Why is Home Depot not getting far more grief for their data breach, a much larger one than Targets?  Sure I know that Targets happened during the holiday shopping season, and I also have no doubt the outrage machine was being fueled by Target's competition, but Home Depot's data breach happened after corporate America was supposed to have learned from Target's mistakes, and is on a much larger scale.  Is it because Home Depot is a manly man store with lumber and tools and tough guy stuff, and Target isn't?  Is it because Target is in liberal Minnesota and Home Depots corporate offices are in conservative Georgia?  Who knows, but if we are looking for places to bomb which are hurting American interests, how about we light up Serge or Vlad or whomever is the person behind this theft from the American people.  We'd only have to do it once...

The scariest modern trend in religion for me is the new form of Christianity built on validating the economic policies of the tea party conservatives and ultra wealthy.  To actually distort Christian teachings to validate wealthy people as being more blessed, that poor people only deserve a certain amount of pity and charity, and that Jesus really wants a wealthy person to have a kick caboose jet ski, is terrifying.  Ayn Rand, Reagan and Libertarian economic policies are not based on Christian dogma.

How poorly are Native Americans still viewed in the modern USA?  Native Americans were given an opportunity, by the Daily Show, to tell predominately Caucasian Americans their insistence a horrible, racist name and mascot for an NFL football team isn't actually "honoring" them.  Now, the Caucasian Americans are trying to portray themselves as victims because the minority group they insist they are spokespeople for have told them they are hurting not helping.  It's like when racists in the south tried to tell African Americans they should be honored by the flag of the political ideology that wanted to keep them as slaves.  Change the dang name already.

Talk to you tomorrow morning!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Friday Link for 9/19/14

I'm doing this video for two reasons.  The first is due to the the guy who apparently walked out of a Hennepin County courtroom as he was being convicted of attempted murder.

"Guilty?  Okay, out the door, take the left for the prison bus.  Guilty?  Great, out the door, take the left for the prison bus.  Guilty?"

"No, freedom."


"I'm supposed to go free."

"Well, then congratulations..."

I'll save it for the video.

The other reason I'm posting this one today is because it's Monty Python.  I was talking to a guy about cigars.  He loved them, but I don't smoke them.  Cigars remind me of my grandfather who used to pull out the portable TV and watch Benny Hill followed by Monty Python on Friday nights on PBS.  He would be smoking those stogies and laughing/coughing gregariously until tears were streaming down his face.  Monty Python is the funniest comedy troupe ever.  The surrealism of their comedy, from the silly to the ethereal, is unmatched and everyone else is still trying to play catch up (Kids in the Hall got close).

By the way, after Python was Doctor Who.  :-)

This is from Life of Brian (I'm Catholic and I think this is hilarious), so be duly warned, blasphemy ahead.  It's your Friday Link.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Both Sides Do It

Regular listeners of the show recognize our Wednesday guest, Jeff Stein.  He's an old friend from my Ames, Iowa days and he is one of the smarter political minds I know.  He never panders to one side or the other, much to the chagrin of the listeners.  He often says, "Both sides do it," when referencing political mistakes and improprieties, in an effort to look neutral, but his continued use of the phrase has actually earned him a regular sound effect, only played when he says "both sides do it."

I don't like "both sides do it," (BSDI).  I can't stand it when someone says BSDI in regards to an issue where it might be true, but the severity of the offense is wildly uneven.  Both sides have PAC's airing ads for them, but the overwhelming amount of the dark money being spent is lobbed towards the Republicans.  Big Oil and Big Coal spend billions to keep promoting their agenda, and as a counter point, they excuse their behavior by pointing out the "real" villain, Big Green(!), which apparently is making loads of cash by not ripping the earth apart for it's resources.  Okay...?  It's like saying the murderer and the kid who stole a lollipop are both criminals.  While technically true, we can all acknowledge there is difference in the severity of the crimes, or can we?

This morning I was relaying to my sister in law and her husband about Sarah Palin, and the entire Palin clan's, wild drunken brawl in the suburbs of Anchorage.  Seriously, former GOP Vice Presidential candidate and her family, the supposed embodiment of good Christian Values, were in a raging, liquor fueled street fight.  You can't make it up.

My sister in law and her husband are cynical in regards to the news.  They don't vote and they don't pay attention to politics, but even factoring that in, what they said after I told them about the Palin clan made my jaw drop.

"Both sides do it."

Hey, I will be the first to acknowledge bone headed mistakes by Democrats over the years, but to my knowledge, no one from the left is rounding up their extended family and a few bottles of Jack, heading out to a upscale soiree, and then delivering beat downs left and right.  No, both sides DON'T do it.  It's become the easy way out for both far right apologists and political weary cynics to say BSDI.  They dismiss the bad news because they either don't trust the messenger, they have become so turned off by political malfeasance they're looking to get out of the topic quickly, or they are trying to dismiss the bad press.  "See, BSDI so there is no need to pay attention to this story."  This is a problem.

If we allow Republican mistakes, important, newsworthy events, to be quickly dismissed, while at the same time, watching the most minor of indiscretions and outright lies about the left being turned into week long news cycles, we have no chance.  Take my lead; when anyone says BSDI, if it's not true, then call them on it.  Challenge them.  Make them defend their self imposed dismissal.  I'm not saying it will change anyone's minds, but by not saying anything, we allow the BSDI crowd to win by default.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Friday Link for 9/12/14

Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest people I have ever seen.  He has stayed in character, of the self righteous, self serving, delusional, arrogant, Machiavellian right wing political talk show host, for so many years.  It will be hard for me to see him just be Stephen Colbert when he takes over for Letterman next year.

When he started his show, I remember some conservatives thought he was a "real" character.

Here is him losing it on air five times.  This is a little raunchier in points than I usually will post, so viewer be warned.  Enjoy!

The Piñata

This morning I had Diane from St. Louis Park call in.  I was talking about the joke Pioneer Press editorial written by Mike McFadden, GOP candidate for Senate against Senator Al Franken.  Part of the editorial was about foreign policy, namely the group ISIS/ISIL and President Obama's response to the terrorist organization.  It was a minor point overall, but Diane called in and insisted I was not being politically correct, as ISIS is also Isis, an ancient Egyptian deity.  Her point was the right uses ISIS while the president uses ISIL so we should be culturally sensitive and not upset anyone who worships ancient Egyptian gods.  Okay...?

Diane upset me, but not because I can't take the grammar police pulling me over, usually for my misuse of your/you're or there/they're/their.  She upset me because she so perfectly highlighted what the heck is wrong with the left.  Here is the Republican nominee for Senate in Minnesota, writing an amazingly foolish editorial, ripe for the scorn I was about to level upon it, and Diane derails the whole talk topic with ISIS verses ISIL.

Democrats, we have to stop tripping our own selves up.  There is an element of the left so enamored with the well worded memo, Lincoln v. Douglas debates, Mr. Smith goes to Washington pipe dream, they don't realize the other side just doesn't care.  Not only does that perfect debate world not exist, the right depends on the left romanticizing the idea of an eloquent speech so they can control the entire political process.  The win over the crowd speech, akin to the one given at the end of the movie Revenge of the Nerds, will not happen today because either the nerd would have been beaten to a pulp the minute he said, "I have something to say...", or the opposition would have just walked away and ignored it.  Even if you were to manage to stop the right and force them to listen to your point of view, they'll never acknowledge you're right.  The left, so wanting to win on the merit of their argument, forgets the forest, just so they can pat themselves on the back for the one leaf of grass they trimmed to perfection.

We need to get over this.  Let's look back into history, to the time the current masterminds pulling the strings of the modern Republican party are trying to return us too, the 1870's to the 1920's.  Back then, 50 or so people at any given time were making the decisions for all of us.  Most of those people were not politicians, but extremely wealthy businessmen who happened to be at the forefront of the industries which would drive the country for the next 100 years and beyond.  The people who ran steel, oil, trains, and eventually cars were, for the most part, ruthless, letting their accumulated wealth buy their legacy after their deaths.  This country, with the population in the beginning stages of abandoning the farm and moving into the metro areas, had a incredibly large poverty class who would do anything to survive.  They would work in near slave labor conditions, with death almost a daily occurrence in the workplace.  There were no workers rights.  You just sat back at took it with a smile.  If a worker ever did try to read their well worded memo about the conditions, they were fired, beaten, and often killed.

It took a combination of things happening for change to begin; the horrific deaths and atrocious working conditions being exposed and the workers realizing they far outnumbered the 50 or so people who were pulling the strings.  Big business back then despised the idea of workers rights, and the notion of a union having a seat at the table in business decisions was tantamount to the destruction of the democracy itself.  Change was slow to come, until the businesses screwed things up so bad, we ended up in the Great Depression.  FDR was not a looney leftie.  He just realized the old system was unsustainable if the country was going to develop into the powerhouse it would eventually be.  Workers rights groups now had the backing of the President, and equal rights for all began its path forward.  Many of the business leaders of the time were so upset at FDR, they even tried to assassinate him and overthrow the government.  They failed, and the country moved into the golden age of the worker.

The modern Republican can trace it's roots back to the late 1950's, early 1960's.  Big business, realizing they could never go directly back to the way things used to be, realized in a two party system they could control a lot of the debate if they ran one of the parties.  They chose the Republican Party, as they were recently flush with Dixiecrats, furious over the desegregation of the south.  These guys were perfect foot soldiers to start the march back to the old ways of doing things.

The plan was daunting, but relatively simple; get control of one of the political parties, slowly take over the Federal government first, state governments second, and then local governments, infiltrate all departments of the federal government with appointees, appoint judicial activists to the bench who will side with business first, slowly take control of the media, offer the idiots, zealots and idealists who will vote for you regardless of their circumstances a few core issues to keep them loyal, and offer the rest of the country a few scraps along the way to keep them content enough.

There were a few hiccups (Carter, Iran Contra, the Internet) but they achieved tremendous success, a lot of their advances coming with Reagan's popularity with unions and the working class from 1983 to 1986, but the people pulling the strings realized they had a problem, they were far too successful at turning back the clock.  Moderate Republicans started to peel away from the GOP.  To replace them, the cabal started moving more and more to the right, replenishing their ranks with groups and organizations who were never welcome to the table before:  the religious right, tea partiers, Libertarians, and militias.  Each group brought in more foot soldiers for the right's cause, but middle America started to wash their hands of the Republican Party.

The right's political and economic lies of the last 40 years, like trickle down economics, aren't fooling anyone anymore.  To maintain their power, the right had to tilt the playing field almost onto it's side to stay in power.  They outspend the left 20 to 1 in elections, purge voter lists, gerrymander districts, limit voting, and cultivate indifference, all while unleashing their media to convince you how much the left has failed you.  Even with the overwhelming system to help them win, their lies have caught up to them.  They can't win solid majorities, they can only hope to obstruct the undoing of the system they have created.  They are not trying to win anymore, they are just trying to stop the other side from succeeding.

Which brings us to another topic of this morning, Sarah Palin.  The GOP nominee for Vice President in 2008, and her family, were in a drunken street brawl in Alaska.  The right, so desperate to maintain what little control they have left, depend on the popularity a candidate has with the extreme far right base first and foremost, foregoing vetting and evaluation just to try to appease the extremists that now control their selection process.  As funny as the Palin fiasco is (and it is HILARIOUS!), look at the Republican Candidates in Minnesota.  McFadden, Johnson, Mills, Hagedorn, Emmer, Westrom, MacDonald whoever their running in the 4th and 5th; they're a laughing stock.  Even the 'established' politicians left in the GOP, Kline and Paulson, are empty suits, thin memories of what the Republican Party used to be.  The GOP ticket this year would have never gotten nominated to run 30 years ago, and more than a few would not have even been allowed into the nominating convention.  They have become a low hanging, shoddily made, breaking apart piñata, hoping, heck praying, a light breeze doesn't shatter it.

What do you want to do, talk about the politically correct way to refer to ancient Egyptian gods, or grab a bat and swing away?  Don't get caught up in the metaphor, don't criticize me for being too violent for suggesting hitting a piñata, don't have a debate on whether the bat is made from recyclable material, and for goodness sake, do not prioritize the feelings of the opposition over what is the right thing to do.  If we don't start swinging away, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  Batter up!

Good Gravy!

Here is the story about Sarah Palin, of the Fightin' Palins!

Sorry the last two weeks have been light.  Kids went back to school last week and their schedule went nuts, my sister in law and husband are in visiting from Portland, Oregon (by the way, an amazing town!), and the allergy season has begun, hence why I was a full octave lower on my voice this morning.

I promise to get better with the updates soon.  Thanks!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Friday Link for 9/5/14

Elections are, to a point, popularity contests.  How does the candidate relate to the people?  Part of that is displaying a comedic quality.  People like it when someone can make them laugh by showing off their lighter side.

Republicans stink at comedy.  Good conservative comedy is rare, mainly because it usually devolves into a backhanded insults of some group or minority.  When it doesn't, it usually is so tone deaf to the sentiment of the country it leaves people shocked in a bad way.  Proof?  Behold the comic stylings of W.

Looking back on that 'bit,' it's embarrassing to think he was the leader of the country.

Democrats, when not sexting a photo of their junk to the world, have a better track record with comedy.  President Obama knows how to work a room and can be outright hilarious at times.  Some uptight individuals will criticize him for participating at all, but they would criticize him regardless of what he does.  They hate him, so to heck with them.  They can't take a joke.

In my mind, this is the funniest thing he has done, "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis."  It's  a riot, very funny and got 23 million views.  I'm proud this guy is my President.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sleeping In

I want to follow up on one of the talk topics from a week ago, the one regarding the study saying kids are too tired, and teenager school start times should be moved to 8:30 AM earliest.  The story goes on to say:

"Delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. would help curb [teenagers] lack of sleep"

The whole story from the Associated Press and the Star Trib can be read here:

Let's find our one piece of common ground.  All kids do need to get a good nights rest.  Will any child or adult consistently be able to get 12 hour of sleep daily?  Unlikely.

When I brought this subject up, my point was simple.  If the kids need more sleep, why not have them go to bed earlier?  I got the impression, from about 50% of the response, I'm a fool to think parents can get their kids to go to sleep earlier.  Why can't they?  There is no right in this country to watch Colbert or catch a movie on a weeknight at 10:45.  If you remove the option of kids going to bed earlier, your analysis of the problem becomes very one sided: kids must be able to sleep in!

If you believe the problem is kids need more sleep, then there are two options; have them go to bed earlier or have them start school later.  I side with the easier, more cost effective, first option; have teenagers go to bed earlier.  This is something controllable within individual households, without too much impact to modern society.  The other option, having kids start their day later, would cause a dramatic shift in the modern working family paradigm, forcing most of American businesses to change their hours.  It would impose extra financial and schedule conflicts for the modern working parent.  It would change the way American's work or American companies do business, especially companies who need staff in-house early to work with European partners.  Don't fool yourself, it would cost billions for the worldwide economy to adjust to Little Billy starting school later.

Then there's the complete upheaval in education.  Every school in the country would have to change their hours of operation, dramatically affecting classroom plans and educational schedules.

This would also dramatically effect after school activities and potential employment for high school students.  Little Susie currently works 4 to 10 PM, three evenings a week.  Now she can't get to work until 5:30.  Does she work 4.5 hours less per week, or do we now allow kids to work until midnight?  If it's the later, aren't we just shifting the same problem to later into the night?  How about not getting home from a sport, band practice or the school play until 11 PM?

I know there are some who will say, "well if I could have started school at 9AM, then I would have done better."  I think it's candy coating the solution to imply a kid who has a problem getting going under today's schedule will be bright eyed and bushy tailed under the new schedule.  My guess is they'd adjust their bed time accordingly, being just as late at 9 AM as they were at 7 AM, but even if that one individual would become a straight A student with the later start time, isn't it an unstable premise to apply the same conclusion for all kids?  "It'll work for me, so let's do it for everyone!"  Most teenagers are not failing due to earlier start times.  Are we putting forward a later school start time theory without acknowledging there might be just as negative consequence on the kids who want to get up and get going earlier in the morning?

Alright, I'll play.  Let's start school for all 6th graders this year at 9 AM, and progressively move the start time later as that class got older.  In ten years, they graduate college and head out into the work world.  Either we have completely changed American work environment or not.  If we haven't changed, and the American business day is still the same as it is today, how difficult will it be for a group of people who have never had a real commitment before 9 AM to suddenly be awake and into the office for 7:30 AM conference calls, three days a week?  They are going to have a tough transition at some point, so why not when they're in their teens?

If they have changed the business model and the working world didn't get going until 9AM earliest, what quality controls do you have in place to prevent the next group in 20 years from insisting the school day needs to start at 11 AM, and 20 years later, the school day starting at 1 PM.  Eventually you might even get all the way around the clock and have kids going to bed at 9:15 PM for a 7:37 AM school start time (my 12 year old son's current bed time and first class time).  My method avoids the constant shifting over the next hundred or so years.

This topic was never a judgment on anyone individually, or an individual's specific circumstance.  It never was.  At no point did I ever imply that.

Humor me; let's start by trying to get teenagers to bed earlier and go from there.  If it doesn't work, then we can try the other options, but let's try the most controllable and least impactful option first.