Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday Rules

I'm not a fan of Black Friday.  I don't like throwing myself into the mosh pits which pop up in our retail stores during and after Thanksgiving.  In my mind, these are completely made up frenzies by corporate America who convince people there's something truly American about rushing out the door, abandoning family and friends, going shopping, and, knowing some people can be enticed by a $50 video game system or a limited edition Barbie doll, creating a false urgency inertia which sucks others into thinking there is something cool about it.

I do not know anyone who really loves shopping on Black Friday.  I'm not saying there aren't some out there, but most people I know who jettison family on Thursday, or wake themselves up at 2 AM on Friday, need a day to recover, looking exhausted and unfulfilled, all while trying to convince me, through a strained grin, "it was SOOOO worth it."  To me, the stores will be open the next few weeks and they will have big deals throughout the holiday season.

Two observations: the corporate executives who have convinced us to abandon one of the last remaining non-religious holidays of the year (and force 95% of their employees to have to work Thanksgiving day), don't need to do this.  They can offer these deals anytime between now and Christmas and they would sell just the same.  Black Friday has become the cherry on top of the Age of Greed Sundae.  They destroy the idea of Thanksgiving, because they can and we allow them to.

Second, all of this is being done under the false celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a man who preached about throwing aside worldly possessions to help out the needy.  Trust me, Jesus and his disciples would not be elbowing 80-year old grandmas out of the way at a Wal-Mart to get the last half price juicer.  Jesus would hate the 'buy-buy-buy' culture the United States has turned his birthday into.

Some look at me and insist I am just being a fuddy-duddy, insisting this is the America Way.  No, it's not.

Quick story, my children and I love listening to old radio shows, the classics.  To watch younger kids choose to put away their glowing rectangles and listen to a radio play is very cool.  The other day we were listening to a Dragnet episode from December 14th, 1952 or 1953.  I'm not sure of the year, but  positive on it being from Dec. 14th.  In the episode, as they were working their case, Friday and his partner were talking about a 'handful' of early Christmas shoppers.  A handful of early shoppers on December 14th.

The world does change, but not necessarily for the better.  This celebration of consumerism is new, having evolved over the last few decades (I personally blame Cabbage Patch Kids), and something even the conservative god Reagan was against.  "My fellow Americans, let us keep this Thanksgiving Day sacred." (1985)

Sorry for quoting him, but it does lead to a question for conservatives.  If Jesus, and Christianity, are against consumerism and corporate greed overall, and your Republican icons even wanted to keep Thanksgiving "sacred," then if you are for this Thanksgiving shopping debacle, aren't you placing consumerism, corporate greed, and cheap baubles ahead of everything else?

If you really want to shop, be safe and all my best.  Please try a locally owned small business first.  They might not have a cheap, slave labor made TV for $25, but the ripple effect of buying local will help your community for months, not just guarantee some corporate senior executive's great, great, great, great, great grandkid, a spoiled trust fund brat, has their beachside bar tab covered.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friday Link for 11/28/14

So I'm enjoying a lot of time with my kids this Thanksgiving weekend and mailing this weeks link in!

Watched a lot of Disney movies already this weekend and for a laugh, I will send you the way of the Screen Junkies guys for one of their Honest Trailers.  The one for Frozen is very funny.  Check out all of their other videos.

This isn't NSFW, but it does have some adult themes.  I promise a new post or two this weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Hi all!  I hope everyone drives safe this weekend.  I have been busting my caboose the last few days making this feast:

Appetizers - Shrimp and Irish cheese

Turkey (Terry's brine recipe is so good!)
Cornbread stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Brussel spouts
Cranberry sauce (also Terry)
Pumpkin and Pecan pie

I am giving into my wife a little with a few menu items this year.  My Thanksgivings as a kid were on the east coast in Rhode Island, so seafood played a role in our dinners.  I love mussels and clams, but my wife is not the biggest fan.  Shrimp is making an appearance as an appetizer, but that's it.

I'm a Minnesota boy and this is my first Thanksgiving in many years without wild rice.  I love it, but my wife wanted cornbread stuffing.  I'm making a huge turkey and so that means turkey soup and turkey tetrazzini served over wild rice on Saturday.  I'm good.

I'm thankful for a lot this year.  I have a great producer, Bryan, who makes me sound good.  Everyone at the station is great to work with.  Chad the owner, Ian the PD, and everyone else make my job fun and easy.

Thanks to the listeners.  You guys really do make my job great.  I thank you for the support and being there.  Somedays this job is not easy to do, but I can always depend on you.  Thank you.

Thank you also to great guests.  The regulars:  Ken Martin, Ben Johnson, Jeff Stein, Dan Brooks, Aaron Rupar, Briana Bierschbach, and Cliff Schecter.  The rest - John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, Dessa, The Walker, The Soap Facotry, The Historical Society, Speaker of the Minnesota House Paul Thissen, The Minnesota Orchestra, Astronaut Abby, Jon Tevlin, Terry John Zila, Congressmen Keith Ellison, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan, Senator Al Franken, Secretary of State Elect Steve Simon, Vinny Howard from the Marine Corps League, Dave Randall, Scott Wolter, Jayne Jones and her crew, Kate Tracy, Senator Melisa Franzen, Holly Muñoz, Mike McIntee, and all the great authors I've gotten to talk to.

Please support the sponsors of the station.  These are a lot of great businesses supporting the station. I want to say a special thanks to The Park Tavern, Rudy Luther Toyota Scion, Great Clips, The Minnesota Historical Society, and Semper Fi Marines for sponsoring the show itself.

One note about Black Friday.  Please remember, buy local and buy American made!  These are very important not just this time of year, but all year long.

Have a great Thanksgiving and I'll be back with the Friday link.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Terry Zila's Thanksgiving Recipes 2014

Apple Cider Brine
1 fresh or thawed turkey
2 oranges, sliced
8 cups apple cider
2/3 cups kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
8 slices fresh ginger root
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons allspice berries, crushed
4 cups cold water

1.     Combine the cider, salt, sugar, ginger, onion, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and crushed allspice berries in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat, add the cold water, and cool to room temperature.
2.     Have ready a pot large enough to hold the turkey and the brine. Place a plastic oven bag inside another to create a double-thickness.  Rest in the bags in a pot or roasting pan to collect any possible leaks and to make moving the turkey easier. Wash the turkey inside and out and remove the giblets and neck and reserve for gravy or stuffing if desired.
3.     Place the turkey inside the double-thickness bag and stand it upright. Place orange slices in the main cavity. Cover the turkey completely with the brine.
4.     Cover or tightly close the bag and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Turn the turkey 3 or 4 times during the brining.

5.     Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels before roasting.

Cranberry Relish with orange zest and roasted pecans
Serves 8 to 12

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 cups fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup pecans

1.   Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the pecan on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
      Remove from oven and set aside.
2.   In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium
      heat to dissolve the sugar.
3.   Add the cranberries and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until the 
      cranberry skins begin to pop.
4.   Stir in the pecans and serve hot, warm or chilled.

Brussel Sprouts
Serves 8 to 12

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Serves 6 to 8

Poaching the Brussels Sprouts in milk , water and sugar before sautéing eliminates much of the bitterness in the sprouts.

4 cups vegetable oil
6 ounces shallots, peeled and sliced 1/16 inch thick, separated into rings
Kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Maple syrup to coat
6 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or high sided saucepan to 350°F. Fry the shallots in
batches until crisp and golden. Remove fried shallots from the oil and drain on
paper towels. Season with generously with salt and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil.
Add the Brussels sprouts and blanch until just tender, or about 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain and set aside.
3. In a skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté just until
beginning to color.
4. On a large lipped baking sheet, covered in foil, place the dries off sprouts. Coat with maple syrup, and broil them until they have a nice color (make sure not to have it too close to the heat or the syrup will burn).
5. Transfer the sprouts to a serving dish, mix in garlic and bacon and garnish with fried shallots.
Serve immediately.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Friday Link for 11/21/14

Was there any doubt I would be going with the WKRP in Cincinnati's Turkeys Away episode for the Friday before Thanksgiving?

I've said for years, whomever wrote WKRP worked in radio for many years.  Every character in that show is an amazing representation of the true corresponding real life employee.  Andy, the exceptional program director everyone likes, Les, the nebbish newsman, Herb, the smarmy sales guy, Venus, every night radio host I ever worked with, Bailey, the plucky, ever competent assistant.  The only one who was off is Gordon Jump's Mr. Carlson.  Not saying I didn't work with my share of owner's relatives who were complete boobs, but the GM was never as incompetent as Carlson.  Watching that show might not give you the complete picture, but it'll give you an pretty good idea what working in radio is like.

I'm so glad they are finally releasing it with most of the original music.  Another thing that show had was a very cool music consultant who gave the radio station the music credentials of a real rock station.  Radio people have told me they would watch an episode and immediately demand the songs from the episode for their own playlists.

This is the greatest Thanksgiving episode ever made for television, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving a close second.  Everything about this is perfect.  I am linking to the entire episode, but go to the 16th minute for the real fun to begin.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It's your Friday link.,p5,d0

Grape Salad

The New York Times shocked everyone with their "The United States of Thanksgiving" article where they match a specific dish to each state.  They made some goofy choices, but the one which has most people scratching their heads is the choice for Minnesota, grape salad.  Here is the link:

I've never had grape salad, for either Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other Minnesota based meal.  I've had fruit salad, which may or may not have grapes, but the recipe they describe in the article is about as Minnesotan as lobster, grits and persimmons.  No Minnesota friend of mine has ever had a grape salad.  The only person I know who claims to have had it is a listener who had it back in the 70's at a fondu party in Stillwater (savor that image).  She said it wasn't that good.

The New York Times food people are not taking the unwillingness of Minnesotans to accept what they say is a good Minnesota dish, lightly.  Julia Moskin, a reporter with the Food section, is quoted with the following:

“The recipes were not intended to be traditional, popular, or fully representative of the state’s traditions — agricultural, Thanksgiving, or culinary,” she wrote in an email to me. “We didn’t make stupid errors, or fail to check our facts with perfunctory phone calls. We worked hard — writers and especially editors — to generate a mix of 52 recipes that would not be cliched, repetitive, unhealthy, or unappetizing.”

If that's true, why does the article state, "we've scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states..."  Grape Salad does not evoke Minnesota!  My grandparents were stranded in the Duluth Hotel in a blizzard long ago, and they were forced to eat crackers, peanut butter and horseradish, together!  I would not play that off as a Minnesota favorite, even though my family occasionally has it, as a fun salute.

This error, and the resulting comments from Ms. Moskin, at least from our northern tier view, reek of East Coast elitism.  Don't come and tell us what we eat, come see what we eat and then write about it.  If the New York Times wants to publish recipes they like, more power to them, but leave the 50 states out of it.  If you'd have done that, you wouldn't be getting the grief you are getting now from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Ask us next time, don't tell us.  Wild rice, walleye, heck even Spam would be more representative of the state than grape salad.  At least the New York Times can take credit for what one listener pointed out this morning (@RaisingOneBrow); the Minnesota State Fair is almost guaranteed to have deep fried Grape Salad on a stick in 2015.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


For anyone who wants to accuse President Obama of being dishonest in regards to the passage of Obamacare, let me remind you of something from the end of the last President's reign.  The W. Bush administration supposedly lost millions of e-mails.  Millions!  They lost them off of the sending computer's e-mail program, off the cache on the sending computer, off the internet server/router, off the cache of the receiving computer and off the receiving computer's e-mail program.  They said this with a straight face, insisting the e-mails were just lost.

This was no "ctrl-alt-del" mistake or cat running across a keyboard.  A team of computer pros working around the clock for months had to have deleted all traces of these e-mails.  E-mails dealing with Iraq, Al-Qeada, the Saudis, Katrina, the re-election campaign, strategy e-mails about legislation and correspondence with certain media outlets.  The American people were told one of the most outlandish, easily provable lies ever, and the GOP acted as if it was just one big oopsie!

So a person who worked on Obamacare got a little too graphic in describing the sausage making that is writing major legislation.  The program works when it isn't purposely derailed by agenda driven Republicans, but even under the harshest light, there is no comparison of the honesty ratings of the current and last President.  The W. Bush administration was probably the most dishonest, deceitful and self-serving administration in US history.  Harding is the only one giving him a run at that title.

FYI, no Federal level Republican office holder has called for a full investigation of the failures that lead to the Iraq War, which created more than 4000 dead American soldiers, more than 30,000 permanently injured soldiers and cost the US tax payers TRILLIONS.  Not one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fighting the New Racism

We have to stop this blatant, mean spirited mentality we have in this country, an ugliness primarily geared towards the poorest and neediest of our citizens.

But first, let me get one fact out of the way.  If you combine all of the programs geared to helping the poor and needy in this country, it's only a tiny percentage of the country's tax burden.  It really is!

There's a term I've used, the New Racism.  The New Racism refers to people who can't stand others who are poorer than themselves.  It might be intermingled with some traditional racism, but it can exist on its own.  I know people who have no problem being around minorities, but can't stand the thought of being near poor people.  It's not exclusive to Republicans, but most of the people I've met who display New Racism support the far right/libertarian/tea bagger/Ayn Rand elements which seem to be making up a larger and larger portion of the Republican voting base.

If that's where the New Racism ended, it'd still be disturbing but limited to a individual's warped opinion.  Unfortunately, there's a festering sore growing under the skin of American culture.  The hatred of the poor has fueled a revenge mindset which causes people to go out of their way to hurt people of lower means.  It's not enough to despise these lower class individuals, you have to mock and punish them.  It's like an 1980's movie villain, only instead of their actions being labeled bad, they're viewed as a road map.  Some examples:

What is with the people who relish in making starving people even hungrier?  They gleefully slash and cut programs geared to ensure Americans get a meal, all while throwing out insults like lazy, slacker and moocher.  They get giddy with excitement as they think of new and more humiliating hoops for the neediest to jump through, just to get basic sustenance.  They, like the Minnesota GOP lead legislature did three years ago, high five with excitement as they cut basic needs services like Meals on Wheels.  And then these same individuals go to church and insist they are good Christians, ignoring one of the main tenants of Christianity, taking care of the hungry.

I've talked extensively about the horrible, racially tinged #pointergate, where KSTP insisted Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges, posing with a volunteer and pointing at each other, was actually promoting gang culture because...well I'm still not sure why, outside of the strong implication it was gang related because she is standing next to an African American male.  As we talked about it this morning, we were informed that KSTP's news tip hotline as an interesting category.  The only specific crime called out in their automated phone menu is "welfare fraud."  Nothing about abuse, theft, ponzi schemes, domestic violence.  Nope, the only crime to get special recognition from KSTP is welfare fraud.  "They're watching, you lazy moochers!"

Then there's the story I brought up on Monday, of the guy I met from Chaska who loves his guns and hates when the neighborhood he lives in has its annual garage sale, because it brings in "those people."  This jackass thinks it's funny to take his trash, disguise it and mark it 'free' just to watch a needy family take it away.  As he bragged and laughed about poor people taking away his garbage, he clearly had become oblivious to the filthy, revolting monster he'd become.

They cut off the water to citizens in Detroit, they try to redraw school district borders to minimize the amount of poor and/or minority students their kids have to co-mingle with and they scream "let 'em die" when we talk about healthcare for the sickest individuals.

Dear Lord, Potter from It's a Wonderful Life thinks this has gone way too far.

We have to stop this cruelty.  Is our compassion and love only an ad campaign?  Do we only care when we suffer an environmental disaster or massive economic collapse?  We shouldn't create a voting record, bank account, and ethnic litmus test to determine if we aid a certain group of people.  We always should try to take care of our neediest people, not humiliate them or persecute them.  This goes to the spirit and essence of who we are as humans.

This is a fight for America's soul.  Whose side are you on?

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Friday Link for 11/14/14

Could I really go with anything other than KSTP and the Minneapolis police union's debacle, #pointergate, being taken to task by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show?  You know when the first time you see the story, knowing it's based on something completely and totally stupid (pointing at another person in a friendly photo actually being the confused as showing support for gangs), and you still can't believe it's not fake, it's bad.

The way these fools keep doubling down on this, #pointergate seems a long way from disappearing.  The funniest thing so far is the affirmation by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges that she will not stop pointing.  Did anyone ever think the Mayor of a major city would ever have to make such a bold and controversial decision?

Eviscerate away Mr. Stewart, eviscerate away.  It's your Friday link


Let me make some observations about non-profit and charitable groups.  I believe media has a responsibility to help them make the community better.  Regardless of whether they are helping the needy, part of a community's informational campaign, promoting the common good or exposing citizens to the arts, people who promote charitable and non-profit organizations will always have a platform with my show.  Even religious based groups, like a church or faith based needs organization, get run with me, as long as they're not making conversion or mandatory worship a stepping stone to getting aid.

I have worked Community Relations, the position in a radio station which deals with these groups, for over fifteen years.  Here are some helpful tips for people who are tasked to get a charities or non-profits message out to the masses:

  • Always have a clear cut single individual whose job is dealing with media, both traditional and on-line.  I understand turnover, but nothing flattens a message faster than a media outlet trying to give an organization some free publicity only to have no luck finding the individual who can make it happen.
  • List your media reps information on your website.  Maybe not their direct number, but an e-mail or social media account that's regularly checked.  There are a lot of times where a media outlet might have a last second opening but no way to get in touch with someone until the next work day.  
  • Do not prematurely dismiss any potential media outlet.  If you insist on only a certain type of media (newspapers, radio, television, social media) you are missing a major portion of the population who do not use your preferred media source.  Yes it is a lot of work, but it's why media relations is a designated job.
  • Do not play favorites.  There is a non-profit in town I was trying to get on air for an interview for three weeks.  They bailed on me the night before every time.  After the third time, I learned they cancelled because they were hoping the media person's favorite radio station would have them on-air.  They cancelled out with me, just so they could go wait in the lobby of her favorite station, hoping to get a chance to promote their event.  They didn't.  I never asked them to come back again.  It's cool to have favorites, we all do, but don't let your own fandom obscure opportunity. 
  • Same thing goes for social media.  Don't just focus on the one site you are on most of the time personally. Make sure the message is getting put out on at least four or five social media outlets, the big ones too.  You don't like Facebook or Twitter?  Fine, but most people do.  
  • Don't micro niche yourself, and then act like you are working some super algorithm to get the most response.  You're not fooling anyone when you say I didn't want to invite a million people, just 400.
  • Be smart about things.  You have 10,000 followers on Instagram.  Great.  The newspaper has near a million readers a day.  You've come up with a cool media awareness crossover opportunity.  Great, make sure you are not taking two good media outlets and only utilizing a small portion of their audience.  You do not list a phone number to call?  Great, but realize the people who use a phone will not call.  Common sense stuff.
  • If your argument is "I'll avoid that form of media because only 'old people' use it," realize 'old people' (usually 40 and over) have the most disposable income, and, in some cases, can write nice big checks.  As much as some people hate to admit it, sales is everyone's job.  Getting twenty somethings through the door is nice, but they generally don't pay the bills, and they rarely pay for the wish lists.  Make sure all demographics are being reached.
  • If someone signs up for an e-mail newsletter, a twitter feed, a mailing list, ect., they are saying, "I want to find out more about your organization!" Do not be afraid to take advantage of that.  Make sure they are getting informed regularly.  Some people say they don't want the dreaded 'un-follow' or 'un-like,' so they dramatically limit the information sent out.  Most social media "experts" who preach limited dissemination are either A) people who themselves would never sign up to get extra information from anyone in the first place, or B) are too lazy to do their jobs right and are just looking for an excuse to justify their lack of work.  "I'm not failing to get my job done, I'm just ensuring people who are telling us we want to hear more don't hear it." (someone has to start calling out that fallacy)
  • If any media outlet calls you up and says I want to talk about _____ event, find someone for them to talk to.  If there is no one available, make it yourself.  Only under the rarest of circumstances should an organization say no.  If you do have to say no, give them five other times you can have someone ready for them to talk to. Considering how many organizations and groups are in the metro, most media will not ask a second time.
These are just a few notes, but these are things I've noticed which cripple a non-profit/charities message.  These suggestions work for the smallest of community groups to the largest of organizations. Trust me, nothing is more frustrating than calling up a group you want to help and running up against staffing issues, favoritism, laziness, apathy and ineptitude. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Missed Point with #pointergate

It’s hard to comprehend what was exactly going through the minds of the news department at KSTP, Channel 5, on Thursday night, when they broadcast their exclusive #pointergate story of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges flashing notorious “gang signs” with a person who apparently knows some gang members.   The gang sign referenced is of a pointed finger. That’s right, Channel 5’s condemnation of the Mayor stemmed from a photo of the Mayor doing the same hand gesture as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Stephen Colbert, my children and millions of other people in our selfie obsessed culture.

            The story alludes to someone in law enforcement bringing the photo to KSTP’s attention.  They, lead by reporter Jay Kolls, looked at the evidence, and made their first mistake, not laughing at the suggestion a pointed finger promotes gang activity.  Instead, they looked at the photo through a distortion prism, turning an innocuous hand signal into a Hunger Games-esque anti-police gesture.  To make their pro-gang mayor story more damning, they left out the fact Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau was standing near the mayor when the photo was taken.  And they based the ridiculous connection to gangs on the fact she was standing next to an African American male, Navell Gordon, who was helping with a get out the vote campaign, not committing crimes.

            Mr. Gordon, the man next to the Mayor, does indeed have a criminal record, but many people have an arrest record, including KSTP reporter Jay Kolls (DUI). You’re supposed to give people a second chance when they make a mistake, and Mr. Gordon clearly seems to be setting his life straight.  As far a condemning the young man, and the Mayor, for some questionable relationships, isn’t KSTP owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, the same Hubbard Broadcasting which aired convicted ponzi schemer Pat Kiley’s financial show on their airwaves?  It’s easy to condemn someone with guilt by association, but good journalists don’t need to fall back on such tactics.

KSTP also glossed over a potential ulterior motive by the individual who first brought the photo to the station’s attention.  Some police officers are upset with Mayor Hodges criticism and improvements of the Minneapolis Police Department.  A disgruntled individual might have brought this photo to KSTP, purposely distorting the intention of the image, in the hopes KSTP would do exactly what they did, try to smear the Mayor’s character.

One thing is definite about this story, Navell Gordon is black.  They shaded his face, but one could argue the shading made it more inflammatory.  If this picture were of Mayor Hodges at Lake Harriet standing next to a preppy dressed, young, white man with a criminal history, who also might have some sketchy friends on social media, would KSTP still have run the story?  Would their police source have even fed the photo to KSTP?

KSTP has tried to validate their mistake by quoting other law enforcement who insists the pointed finger is a gangland call to action.  You can’t be rational after you’ve been so irrational.  There is no way you can turn this story into something more than the train wreck it is.  Any police officer, retired or active, is only hurting their own standing by acting as Channel 5’s cover.

KSTP, at the very least, seems to be trying to make Mayor Hodges look bad.  Maybe they aired the story, wanting pizzazz in sweeps month, without realizing the justified public backlash against the station’s racially tinged narrative.  Regardless, it clearly isn’t journalism’s finest hour.  To save KSTP and Hubbard Broadcasting any further embarrassment, they should apologize to the Mayor, the Police Chief, Mr. Gordon, the Twin Cities African American community and the public as a whole.  Regardless, you can’t deny one thing, the #pointergate story holds true to KSTP’s catch phrase; “it’s a story you’ll see only on 5.”

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Friday Link for 11/7/14

I know there are some who've had a rough week.  Not me mind you, I'm still very proud of Minnesota voters, but I think I need to pull in the comedic big guns on this Friday.

I have a writer friend who asked on Facebook, "what we were into in the late 80's/early 90's."  As I was remembering my thin waist, thick hair and stunning tastes of the day, I was reminded of the first time I saw Mystery Science Theater 3000.  A fellow soldier in Nuremberg had received a video tape of the show from Minneapolis and we watched it, not knowing what to expect.  We were on the floor laughing, six or seven GI's crying tears as they ripped apart the horrific movies.  

I'm not exaggerating when I say their better episodes are among the funniest things ever broadcast. The films were God awful, and deserved every bit of ridicule they received, but what was truly ethereal was the movie shorts and class room films the show tackled, usually as filler for a shorter main feature (a single episode of the show was a two hour long festival); shorts which, in hindsight, seemed to have been made to be mocked relentlessly.

One of the best is the clip I have for you tonight, Mr. B Natural!  This little quiverfull self gratifier is targeted perfectly for the obvious and less obvious elements, both disgusting and intriguing.  There is some serious gender confusion going on in this one.  I have no doubt when Tea Bag Republicans talk about the good ol' days, they look in awe at this ditty.  Thank goodness MST3K saved us all!

An earlier Friday Link features Rattlers from the Cinematic Titanic crew, mostly the same people who brought you this gem.

Mock the right, watch the clip!  Laugh and forget your troubles.  It's the Friday Link!

Gophers, Let's Just be Friends

55-14.  That was the score of the Ohio State/Illinois college football game from Saturday night, November 1st.  Illinois lost by 41.  Illinois, a team whose only three wins prior to October 25th were against Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Texas State.  An Illini team which, prior to October 25th was giving up, on average, 35.8 points per game, and who got drubbed Saturday.  This was the juggernaut who slain the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football team on October 25th, a team who, at the time, was leading the Big 10’s Western Division.  The Gophers lost 28-24. 
It’s hard enough for fans of the University of Minnesota to enjoy the football program as it is, considering the mess NCAA Division I football has become.  The league is geared around 20 or so teams, with the sports networks and sponsors all looking to maintain the status quo.  The league does everything in their power to keep less shiny programs from ever seeing any polish.  They have made a mockery out of academics, the concept of the student athlete, and the idea of fairness, but the Golden Gophers, through consistently playing down to highly inferior competition, give the national naysayers the justified ammunition for their criticism and makes it virtually impossible for fans to defend the team, year after year.
Prior to the Illinois game, it felt like the University of Minnesota was going to lose.  The Gophers started to get the look of a team that might encourage their alumni to dust off their maroon and gold flags, only to have them quickly put them back into storage after another degrading loss.  This game was the last chance for Minnesota to get humiliated, and they didn’t disappoint.  They should have beaten Illinois by 14 points.  The Gophers just do not know what to do with success when they start to achieve it.  This has been their modus operandi for so many seasons at the U, it’s hard to tell what came first, the loss to the highly inferior team, or the expectation of said loss.
The Big Ten is a tough conference, as it’s usually considered one of the top three football conferences at the end of any given season.  There’s a level of talent at all Division I football programs, but good teams do not lose to lower quality teams, let alone glorified Division III squads.  The Golden Gophers wouldn’t have run the table, but even if they did manage to beat Iowa and Ohio State at home, and then win at Nebraska and Wisconsin, they’ll be relegated to a lesser bowl game with one word, Illinois.   My guess is they will be lucky to go 1-3 for the rest of the year and, “Hello, Music City Bowl!”
After the loss on October 25th, I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life.  I don’t plan on buying tickets to a game, or stopping my Saturday to watch one on TV.  I won’t buy my kids Minnesota football jerseys or talk about the good old days.  When considering the variety of sports options in the Twin Cities, University of Minnesota football, for me, is on par with our minor league soccer team and pro lacrosse team.  If someone gives me free tickets, I’ll think about going, but there’s no love or passion, at least not anymore.  I want to be a fan but after twenty plus years of watching the team underperform, I have come to realize I like Gopher football, I’m just not in love with them.

I used to say I don’t care if the Gophers have only four wins every year, as long as at the end of the season, the jug, the axe, the bell and the pig (the trophy’s from the Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Iowa games, respectfully) are in the U of M’s trophy case come December.  Now I say, just win the games against the Big Ten doormats and cellar dwellers, and don’t make me have to agree with the rest of the nation when they say the Golden Gophers are not worth paying attention to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


If you are a Democrat in Minnesota, don't be glum.  You have a lot to feel good about.  If you're not from Minnesota, you probably can't say the same thing.

Minnesota Democrats kicked caboose on Tuesday night, winning every statewide race, holding all of the Democratic US House seats, including the heavily contested MN-08 seat of re-elected Congressman Rick Nolan, and outside of losing the majority in the Minnesota House, the state was true blue through and through!  You know what feels good?  In the MN-07 and MN-08 races, the GOP spent $21 million combined, and lost both!  Good times...

The MN House is a loss.  Speaker Paul Thissen has been a sensational Speaker and the last two years saw the fixing of the Republican recklessness and stupidity from the ten years prior (who just shifts a major portion of the budget into a future fiscal year?  Dumb Tim Pawlenty, dumb). But, on the bright side, this guy:

is running for Speaker of the Minnesota House!  Please, please, please, please.....

The national media's headlines are using over the top descriptions (decimation, destruction, obliteration, crushing, annihilation, humiliating, whooped) for what is a very normal outcome.  In mid term elections, the party not in the White House usually picks up a few Senate seats.  That's very normal, but the way it's being portrayed is as if all 30-plus seats went to the GOP.  

Yes, the GOP now controls the US Senate, and as I've referred to in earlier blog posts, they will make a clown car mockery of it, trying to desperately appeal to the extremist, racist element of the right, who keeps showing up and getting these guys elected, without trying to look like a racist extremist to everyone else.  Good luck with that!  They are already insisting any investigation of President Obama has nothing to do with race.  That's bull!  It has everything to do with race, whether they like it or not.  In the end, these guys will have a shameful legacy known for centuries to come.

Here is why the left can feel good about things.  Ballot measures across the country, even in far right states, all fell on the progressive side (raising minimum wages - passed, personhood amendments - failed, legalizing marijuana - passed, punishing teachers with constant performance reviews - failed).  The majority of people like the Democrat's message, but for whatever reason, they don't vote for Democrats.  If I'm in Democratic leadership, I'm getting as many ballot initiatives to promote progressive issues onto the 2016 ballots, as possible.  What's good for the goose...

The right was bankrolled by a handful of ultra wealthy individuals, outspending the opposition as much as 20 to 1, they did everything to suppress voting rights for minority and low income voters, they controlled 99% of the message the majority of Americans hear, watch, and read, driving a far right narrative, and yes, they won, but not in overwhelming numbers.  For the next two years, watch as they self destruct, starting a war between the traditional Republicans and the far right tea baggers who thrive on hatred, and then enjoy as they have to successfully defend an impossible amount of Senate seats in 2016, while running a low appeal troglodyte as their Presidential candidate.  

Democrats, turn that frown upside down.  Could it be better?  Sure, but enjoy watching the GOP implosion.  In two years, national election results will be far more like Minnesota's.