Saturday, December 31, 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/30/16

2016 is not a serial killer.  I don't fear it as such, rather I'll always look back on 2016 as a disappointment.  I think Trump's fans won't be fondly remembering 2016 in a few years either.  So long; good riddance.

The hardest loss for me was Prince.  The blog went purple for a year in honor of him, and there's rarely a day I don't listen to one of his songs.

The biggest disappointment was not Trump's election, per say, but rather the realization the United States, a country which has controlled it's international fate for the last 125 years, was finally brought to it's knees by the combination of a foreign country hacking our political parties, our state election offices and our entire election, and the inexcusable acceptance of said hacking by the Republicans.  We used to control the world, now we're the controlled.  We're no longer a super power...

But that all said, I might've found the best video ever to send off the craziness that was 2016.  This is perfect!

I'm a big fan of Parks and Recreation.  It's a wonderfully clever show filmed in the style of The Office, filmed from the perspective of a never seen documentary film crew following around the characters as they work in the Park and Rec department of an Indiana town.  The show was jammed packed with jokes, so many you had to watch it twice to catch them all.  Adam Scott's character on the show was Ben Wyatt, a municipal budget consultant, and an amazing character.  In many episodes, he represented the viewer's perspective, as the insanity swirled around him.  Next to Jason Bateman, Scott is the best straight man in Hollywood right now.

One of the quirks Ben Wyatt had was to look into the camera when something particularly bizarre happened or was said.  It added so much to the show.  Someone spliced together all of the times Ben looked into the camera.  It's fantastic!

As you watch this, think about the year that was and ask yourself how many times did you stop and do a double take just like Ben Wyatt.

Goodbye 2016!  You will not be missed...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Oncoming Storm

Twenty five years ago, when someone overseas would ask what the difference between Democrats and Republicans were, I'd answer, "they're not too different.  Actually, they're close on the political spectrum.  The main difference is Democrats feel there are some larger societal problems where the government has an obligation to help it's citizens.  Republicans feel as if giving everyone all their tax dollars back and letting them decide what services they want, regardless of how much more expensive it'd cost, is the best solution."

That was then...

Republicans today have been effectively brainwashed into thinking the Democrats are the greatest evil the planet has ever seen.  After 20 years of ridiculous comparisons to Hitler, Stalin, Communism, Fascism, Atheist theocracies, and anti-Americanism, the modern Republican has turned the Democratic Party into an amalgamation of all of them; a demon straight from Milton.  They never validate any of the allegations against their opponents, just bathe in them, basting their fears in the drippings of an irrational 'them vs. us' narrative.  It's how they validated their vote for Nazi sympathizers.

They've become controlled, implanted with Republican color glasses which prevent them from ever holding the party they vote for accountable for anything, a filter which allows them to see undeniable racism, sexism and hatred as wholesome, American values and Christian doctrine.  They blame everything bad happening to them directly on the Democrats, even when Democrats haven't been involved in their local government for three decades.  They don't think anymore, they only react as told.

The people pulling the Republican voter's strings have spent the last eight years taking what should've been a major milestone in American politics, and turning it into an incubator of the worst of society.  The election of our first non-white President was turned into a new Republican rallying cry; a whites first voting standard; a racist litmus test in which they (white male Christians in control of North America for the last 500 years) are now (somehow) the weakened victim, their rights violated by the mere suggestion of equality for all.  It's where the mantra of 'white genocide' originated; a hatred infused political message summed up in the statement, "how dare they push a black president on us poor white people!"

It's Rovian politics.  Take your enemies strength and turn it into a weakness, and turn your biggest weakness (in the case of the GOP, their undeniable racist followers) into a 'strength.'  The Democrats are partially to blame, as they looked with adoration upon President Obama, insisting they didn't need to tout the positivity of the times they were living in, that the positivity would speak for itself; that the Obama Presidency validated them, that they'd been proven right.  That was their mistake.  The Republicans were allowed to create the right's racist narrative surrounding our first non-white President, and it's evolved into a disgusting mainstream voting platform.  It explains how every Republican voter today has embraced at least one racist issue (border walls, interment camps, religious screenings).

But it goes even further, summed up perfectly by one of my regular righto callers to my radio show, Randy in Coon Rapids.  When I asked him about the woefully inadequate Ben Carson being named to the position of Housing and Urban Development, Randy said, "the best part of it was how outraged I, and the rest of the Democrats, were at the nomination," adding "I love seeing you guys so upset!"  He gave up the ghost.  The Republican's priority, when it comes to voting, is no longer 'whose governing ideology do I agree with more,' but rather 'who will the Democrats hate more?'  It's terrifying to see them cheer on such incompetence, but when the goal is not effective government, but rather rubbing their opponents faces in the mess, it's what you get.  Republicans only want to see Democrats cry.  That's what makes them feel better about themselves, and their choices.

And here's reality - our political world is NEVER going back.  Members of the Democratic Party who want to return to a simpler political time, a mythical political time, need to understand that.  A world of intense, educated political debate, with each side offering their well crafted 75 page footnoted dissertations on policies, holding to a non-existent gentleman's agreement to 'agree to disagree' when there's no consensus, is all gone.  That political time, if it ever existed, will never return, not in our current, immediate self gratification society, a society which feels persecuted when they have to watch a whole thirty second commercial before their video streams.

Republicans are pro-wrestlers.  They don't want to have a debate.  They want to kill the Democrats, or at least trick them with a fake handshake so they can throw their faces into the steel cage. They're having success because they're built for succeeding in our modern warped world, and unless the Democrats change, they're going to become extinct.

The current Republican dominated election system can be defeated, but to do so will take a herculean effort.  Here's what we need to do:

  1.  Get a 2018 Democratic candidate running immediately in EVERY district in Minnesota (and nationwide).  If more than one candidate wants to run, great, but make sure they're targeting the real opponent, the Republican.  The current Republican system is based on a 10 month election cycle.  They're not prepared to campaign 24/7/365.  Yes, that's a commitment, but it's what needs to happen to win.
  2. EVERY district, even districts where the Democrats only pull 10%, need to have a Democratic challenger.  If the Republicans don't have to defend a seat, that money goes to pick off Democrats in Democratic leaning seats.  Make them fight for every seat they hold.  Take nothing for granted, and do not leave any district unchallenged.
  3. Stop thinking Facebook and Twitter posts are enough to win the day.  They're not.  They only give people a false feeling of accomplishment.  The only people those memes are talking to are people who primarily agree with them, so while motivating the troops is a great thing, it doesn't win over the masses.
  4. Jeff Stein, an exceptional political mind in Iowa, says it best - all politics is local!  Forget about selling large ideals to the masses and focus on a Democratic message around the issues which are priorities to the local community.  Identify a winning strategy with local appeal, one that embodies Democratic principles, and run with it.
  5. Get out of Democratic comfort zones and talk to the Republicans who never get approached by Democrats.  Every senior center, every agricultural meeting, every church picnic, every community event.  If Democrats are afraid to go into the lions den and preach their gospel, you're already giving up on voters.  That's no longer a luxury for the left.
  6. Everywhere you go demand the Republicans stand by their election promises, or explain why they failed to deliver.  Too many Republicans never deliver for their district, and are NEVER called out on it.  Make people realize the Republican campaign promises were lies and half truths.
  7. Start asking for time on every radio station which hits your district.  Start writing editorials in every newspaper in the district.  Start asking for interview time on all local television in the district.  Media outlets are usually conservative leaning, so kick open the doors and ask, politely, for equal time to talk about the issues.  If they refuse, start making sure everyone you know is aware of the unfair bias.  Applying pressure from the audience usually works.  
  8. Being media diverse is important, so have an ACTIVE presence on all social media platforms, especially Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram.  This give you maximum coverage in all demographics.
  9. Find someone to make you a good looking webpage.  Doesn't have to be fancy, just competent and easy to navigate.
  10. Expand your formats! If you want to go into longer speeches, a blog is an excellent option.  Record your blog posts and offer them as a podcast.  Record a twice a month podcast where you talk about a specific issue in the district and what you'd do to address them.  Cross promote all of this on all of your formats.
  11. Stop trying to win over 2% of Republicans you pray are the difference makers.  You should be targeting the entire district.
  12. There's a very distinct difference between a Moderate Democrat and Republican Light.  If you don't want to be a proud Democrat, then don't run as one. 

Democratic issues are the issues which are popular to most voters.  By embracing them, and making them your focus, you immediately bring respectability and legitimacy to your campaign.  Yes, this is going to be hard work.  It's going to be a tremendous amount of hard work, but it's what needs to be done.  It's time to put down the strongly worded memos and it's time to start body slamming them!

This is now...

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/23/16

For Goodness sake, do not try to go into the candy aisle at a Target store the day before Christmas Eve!

If you're like me, you've probably had a bit of a stressful day.  How about a smile to turn those frowns upside down!

Saturday Night Live's all time best holiday skit, and it's not even close!  Warning - Adult themed!

Adam Ruins Everything and the real story on why 'It's a Wonderful Life' is such a holiday tradition today! (you have to click on that one)

Then, my all time favorite holiday bit, Patton Oswlat's dismantling of 'The Christmas Shoes.'  It seems appropriate since we actually started looking at the lyrics of Christmas music this year (maybe it's because of Trump and his grabbing tendencies), and people realized the lyrics of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' were not as friendly as portrayed ("hmm, that seems kind of rape-y...")  Mind you, a lot of naughty language, for 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' and Patton!  No seriously, this is EXTREMELY naughty!

You'll have to click on the link for that one too!  Thanks!

I hope these put a smile on your face!  Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas, and Holiday, Spirit

I love the holidays, but man are they stressful.  I have gotten to the point where I condense as much of the stress into as few days as possible, mainly three.  Saturday was one.  Yesterday was another.  Today was the last.  To prove the stress, I have a head cold that has it's name written all over it.

Here are a few wonderful holiday images.  Enjoy.  I'll be posting more over the next few days, but I do need some downtime.  2016 has been a bear.

If you can't make it up to the 8th floor of the Minneapolis Macy's store, they do a wonderful, free Christmas exhibit, with the entire north pole and Santa.  This goes back to when it was Dayton's and then Marshal Field's.  We've done it every year with our kids.

The IDS Center has a lovely tree...

And a menorah!  Happy Hanukkah everyone!  It begins on Saturday!

My mother has always had style.  This decorative piece was quite stunning.

The Holiday show at The Minnesota Orchestra.  Who's that handsome fella?

And the tree in front of my house.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kurt Daudt Grabs His Shinebox

Kurt Daudt is a liar.  This is an indisputable fact.  It's one of many disgusting traits the Minnesota Speaker of the House has, but it's probably his worst.  Kurt Daudt is a used car salesman.  Not a honest one, but the guy who tries to sweet talk you into an absolute crap car, and then insist when the car gets towed back to the dealership he never misrepresented the lemon.  Eventually he has some slack jawed, dim witted stooge pull a gun on the irate customer (kinda like his Montana incident).  To understand Speaker Daudt, let's look at how he's played the game, and witness the copious evidence of his lying.

In 2015, his first year as Speaker of the House, Daudt's strategy was to use a friendship with Senator Tom Bakk, the Democratic former Senate majority leader, as a wedge between outstate Democrats, the metro area Democrats and Governor Mark Dayton.  He did this by waiting until the very last second to introduce legislation, not even giving House members time to read it before having them vote.  He then threw it up to Bakk's Senate, where there was little expectation of a double cross.  Daudt made sure some things Bakk and a few moderate Democrats wanted were in the bill, but there was little knowledge of the "other stuff" Daudt had snuck in there.  It worked. When the Democrats in the House and Senate actually read what they voted on, their jaws dropped, but it was too late.  Governor Dayton had to allow some things through.  Daudt's plan worked like a charm, with Bakk, who I think was well aware he'd been used by Daudt, having to stick with the votes he'd been duped into.

In 2016, everyone was expecting a double cross from Daudt.  It tells you a lot about the character of the man when EVERYONE expects him to be deceitful.  Daudt's new strategy was to lie.  We know he outright lied about the timeline for passing unemployment aid for the Iron Range miners.  We know from multiple sources, including some Republicans, he lied about Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) being included in the final regular session bills.  When he introduced bills at the last second again, the session ended up a mess, with poorly written legislation having to be vetoed by the Governor, and other bills being shelved by Daudt, to prevent votes on anything HE had not approved, including the SWLRT, which he had snuck out of the bill.

But this is where Daudt's winning streak started to take a turn.  Governor Mark Dayton isn't a guy who backs away from a fight.  He doesn't play games or allow his opponents weakness to go unchallenged.  The Speaker pulled a fast one on him in 2015, but the facade was over.  Dayton knew the kind of man Daudt was, and he also knew Daudt wanted certain bills passed during a Governor authorized special session.  Since the House and Senate Democrats were unable to fight the Speaker effectively during the regular session, the Governor decided to use his power to demand Daudt compromise.  Daudt, who's more committed to his ideology than to the state of Minnesota, started lying almost immediately, acting contrite and accommodating in private negotiations, and then insisting he never promised what he had promised when the cameras were rolling.  Little did he know he was grossly overplaying his hand.

In late summer, after Dayton refused to play Daudt's games, Daudt had to get serious.  He was willing to okay the SWLRT, and it alone, but only if he got major concessions from the Democrats on a whole bunch of other issues.  Daudt tried to use the Federal Transportation funding deadline of August 31st on SWLRT to force the Democrats hands, but Dayton outmaneuvered him, got three local agencies to cover the cost of the SWLRT and immediately took Daudt's sole concession off the table.  Realizing he'd have to give up on another issue which he didn't want to, Speaker Daudt threw a temper tantrum and stormed away from the special session negotiations.

During the 2016 campaign season, Speaker Daudt and the Republicans got strategic wins in November elections, with promises of an immediate (Lie!) special session to deal with MNSure, Minnesota's problematic health care program.  Governor Dayton also wanted to fix MNSure, but he knew Daudt also wanted to get certain regular session bills resurrected before the new year, so the talks of a special session meandered through November.  If there was going to be a special session, it had to happen before Christmas, and, per the Governor's demands (only the Governor can call a special session in Minnesota).  Dayton wanted, in writing, the exact bills that would be voted on, and the signatures of both majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate before agreeing.  In early December a tentative agreement had been reached on a MNSure fix, a trimmed down Bonding bill, and a corrected Tax Bill (where Republican bad wording was fixed).

Then Daudt, once again, did what he does best; he lied.  He insisted things he'd agreed to in private were "add ons" from Governor Dayton, and acted as if updating dates on the Tax Bill was a concession to the Democrats.  I'm not sure why he tried this power play, but it was stupid.  Governor Dayton had had enough.

Dayton, in one of the best smackdowns I've ever seen, sent a letter to Speaker Daudt while he was in the Virgin Islands on a freebie, I mean a professional conference, actually sending it to the resort Daudt was lounging around at, calling out the Speaker's non-stop lying.  He also released a copy to the media, making sure everyone was aware that while the Governor was trying to find solutions for Minnesota, Daudt was partying in Hawaii and the Caribbean.  Here's that letter:

Note how Dayton exposes Daudt by saying multiple people heard him agree to the things he was now insisting were deal breakers, how Dayton calls out Daudt for not communicating with the Governor (while Daudt was getting another drink from the cabana boy) and how the Governor had created a firm deadline for a special session agreement.

Daudt somehow scrambled back from the tropical paradise in a day, only to be greeted by a Governor who had decided to initiate a new tactic which would defuse Daudt's lies.  He insisted, since Daudt was prone to lying about what happened in private negotiations, all negotiations going forward (for this year and the next two) would happen in public, starting last Friday with a final round of 2016 special session negotiations.  Daudt, clearly uncomfortable and ill prepared for this new format, started off the public negotiations by insulting the Governor, calling his Virgin Islands letter a tantrum.  Dayton, who had very clearly made his point, walked out.  Daudt, outmaneuvered yet once again, stuttered a few lines and sulked off.

This is the worst thing that could happen to Daudt.  If the Governor sticks with his plan for public negotiations on all bills, and he ABSOLUTELY SHOULD, Daudt has to be honest, something he's incapable of being.  Dayton already has experience carrying the entire DFL platform on his back from his first two years as Governor, and he knows the Republican House and Senate can't override his vetoes.  They have to work with him.  Dayton just took away all of Daudt's tricks.

Daudt will attempt to talk Dayton out of doing the negotiations in public.  Daudt will try to find someone in the Republican Party to be the 'good cop' to his 'bad cop.'  Daudt will try to find enough Democrats to build a consensus to override vetoes, but consensuses mean concessions, and Daudt is too much of a jackass to actually follow through on working with the other side.  Since he's not going to be a decent, non-lying human being, Daudt has nowhere to go.  Daudt wants to be Governor is 2018, so an extended Republican initiated, Minnesota government shutdown only makes him look like he's incapable of putting his personal agenda aside for the betterment of Minnesota.  Daudt will desperately try to blame a government shutdown on Governor Dayton, but Dayton is not on the ballot in 2018.  They'll both look bad, but Daudt is far more culpable.  And considering the Federal Republicans seem to be eager to put forward an agenda which will anger a lot of people, including Republican voters, it gets worse.  Daudt has ZERO appeal with anyone but the racists and idiots who voted for Trump, many of whom are about to kiss their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security goodbye.  He's screwed!

Dayton has all the power, and that's what really angers Daudt.  Dayton plays the game better than him, out hustles him, outwits him, and doesn't care what Kurt Daudt thinks.

Kurt, any happy feeling you had from election day should be gone.  Dayton owns you.  You know it, and it's killing you.  Run home little boy, and grab your shine box.  The Governor wins again!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/16/16

This weekend before Christmas, we have a major clash of two of the biggest personal drivers in most kids's lives: the holidays and Star Wars.  'Rogue One' is now open.  Just when you didn't think your kids could get more annoying with their Santa demands, now they have a Star Wars movie to whine about seeing too!  Time to spike the eggnog.

Why not a laugh for the holidays, courtesy of a group I've featured here before, the Auralnauts!  Their take downs of the Star Wars films are epic themselves and just in time for the holidays, they've turned the battle for the ice planet Hoth into a delightful holiday mixer, with lasers!

I'll also link to the full Empire Strikes Back take down.  I swear to God, I almost wet myself when C-3PO taunts Han by insisting the faulty nature of the Millennium Falcon is a representation of all of his personal failures in life.  Happy Holidays!

You'll have to click on the link for the full episode:

Stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tag, You're It!

Two things I've learned about the Republicans this year.  The first is my comment, about how Republican voters will vote for anything, even a turnip, as long as it has an 'R' next to its name, is unbelievably true.  I used to say it as a joke; not anymore.  Even though all of the GOP voters hem and hawed throughout the year, talking about how unelectable Trump actually was, how he embodied everything the GOP was supposed to be against, when it came time to vote, they all loyally checked his name.

The second is how my other joking comment, about a GOP voter coming home and finding their spouse having nasty, insane sex with their local Republican politician, how they'd immediately scream, 'Damn Democrats!', is also shockingly true.  Republican voters are incapable of viewing Republican politicians negatively, even when they're dreadful, and they'll need to be sent to a deprogramming clinic to ever be able to compliment a Democrat, even one who saves a baby and a puppy from a burning building.

Since the election, Donald Trump basically admitted to defrauding the students at his university by paying $25 million to make a lawsuit go away, has openly talked personal business with every foreign leader he's met with, prior to talking about US policy interests, has promised to dismantle all government funded healthcare (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), acknowledged his promise to jail his opponent was an outright lie, meant to fuel the hate rage fantasies of his supporters, has welcomed in racists, KKK sympathizers and Nazi sympathizers into his inner circle, has picked incompetent boobs, corrupt zealots, and unethical billionaires to be his administration, has had it confirmed he indeed received a tremendous amount of help from the Russian government who actively infiltrated the American election, has insisted he doesn't need to hear the daily intelligence briefings (as President), has put out a litany of insanely childish and inappropriate Twitter comments, has delivered on about a quarter of his promise to keep Carrier in Indiana, at a cost of a few million tax payer dollars, and took time out of his busy transition schedule to meet with Kanye West, a hip hop artist who clearly needs an extended medical rest, to say it nicely.

The response from Republican voters...silence.  I swear under their breath you can hear the 'Damn Democrats' they so desperately want to scream.

Can you imagine what these same voters would be like if Clinton would've won, and (forgetting all of what I mentioned above) she would've tried to appoint a cabinet member who didn't have three masters degrees and twenty years of management experience related to the position they were up for?  They'd be screaming about incompetent cronyism.  Instead, they cheer on Ben Carson, a man who thinks the pyramids were not burial sites for pharaohs, but rather grain storage bins, being in charge of Housing and Urban Development!  I go back and forth of whether Carson is more terrifying or hilarious...

I can honestly say, if a President Elect Clinton refused intelligence briefings and instead met with Kanye West, I'd be furious.  Can you imagine how furious Republican voters would be at that?  But Trump does the same exact thing; crickets and tumbleweeds.

The Republican's problem is after thirty years of attacking Democrats, turning every innocent gesture into a crime against humanity, they don't know what to do.  They spent the last three decades investigating Democrats, and when the investigation turned out to be nothing, they'd start another investigation, just because.  Now, with no Democrats to investigate, they're silent.  Their minds have no idea how to process negativity coming from Trump and the Republicans.  They know these next four years are going to hurt everyone who's not a millionaire, but as opposed to say something, they quietly hope the inevitable outcome won't materialize.  They're hiding their shame in reticence.

This unfamiliar territory, being on the receiving end far more than on the giving end, also explains why Republicans blow up at anyone who implies Trump's 'Not My President.'  They've insisted, when the GOP controlled everything, the world would come together, harmony would be universal, and everyone would be a millionaire.  Guess again!  After 8 1/2 years of making up outrageous Obama lie after outrageous Obama lie (Kenya, Birth certificate, Muslim Brotherhood, Rev. Wright, taking guns, death panels, internment camps, forced abortions, Jade Helm!, Benghazi!!!), the Republicans are now the ones trying to deny undeniable reality: their President is a tweeting, embarrassing, self induced smear campaign.

Hillary leads in the popular vote by 2.8 million, almost more than Nevada itself, bigger than 15 other US state's entire populations (many of the same states the GOP touts as the 'real Americans' who pushed Trump to victory), officially enough voters to make her margin of popular vote the 19th largest metro area in the country, bigger than Denver, St. Louis and Baltimore.  FAR more people wanted her as President than Trump.  He won, but he needed to quirkiness of the electoral college to place him, the second place finisher, as the victor.  This wasn't some electoral college landslide either.  He barely won, even with the FBI and the Russian interference, voter suppression at record levels, an obscene dark money advantage and a bias, incompetent media.  He won because 108 million eligible voters didn't vote, not because the vast majority of Americans wanted him as president.  Only 20% of the country wanted Trump, and most of those people were either only voting for him because of his undeniable white power message, or because the Anti-Hillary brainwashing worked.  Instead of trying to unite the country behind him, Trump couldn't help himself; he had to be a jerk.  He insisted the math numbers are wrong and this is a massive landslide, taking a victory lap to rub it in everyone's face.  Now Trump voters are acting surprised when most Americans tell President Elect Asshat and his supporters to 'F-off!'  They drank their own cool-aid, and now reality is setting in; their utopia is further away than ever, they're not millionaires, and they're facing 4 years of protests, divisiveness and outright hatred for their horrifically flawed savior, a savior they themselves know is a disgusting troll of a human being.  They're throwing a temper tantrum.

That makes me so freaking happy!  Good luck the next four years, you racists and idiots!  Hope you're not too thin skinned!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dessa is Super Awesome!

I've had the privilege of talking to a few extremely talented people during my career, but I'm always stunned by Dessa.  Dessa is an all around brilliant singer, musician, writer and artist.  I've interviewed her 5 times, and each time she never shies away from talking the nuts and bolts of the music industry, the inspiration for her intelligent and complex lyrics, responsibility to the community and her opinion on rights and wrongs.  She's also a friendly, intimate talker, who creates warm conversations.

Go get 'Parts of Speech,' her album from 2013.  I think it's top ten all time Minneapolis/St. Paul albums (I'm particularly fond of Fighting Fish).  Her stuff with Doomtree is dynamic, where she melds in with the incredibly talented crew.  She's branched out, working with Minnesota choral groups, and she has an upcoming gig in April with the Minnesota Orchestra.  She's also on the Hamilton Mixtape, currently the number one album in America.

Here's the link to the interview I did with her a few weeks back.  This is, without a doubt, my most listened to interview I've ever done on AM 950.  It's all her, not me.  Something to brighten your mood during darker days.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/9/16

Last year I posted a tiny bit of this special, the toys at the manger scene.  This year, I'll go with the whole episode.

Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean is tremendously funny, but there are moments of this which are truly brilliant.  And considering this aired in 1990, before Friends was even on the air, yes, he did come up with the turkey bit first.

Episode #7 of the original Mr. Bean series is titled 'Merry Christmas.'  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Trophy Strife

Since the election, I've heard people arguing the problem with our society is we pamper ourselves too much, how we're wussified, we've created a nanny state where feelings matter more than anything else, an 'everyone gets a trophy' mentality which has created a soft community.  I think the people putting forward this argument are just silly.

The 'everyone get's a trophy' world we're supposedly living in doesn't exist, even with our more touchy feely environment.  Sure, the 5 year old T-ball league at the Y hands out trophies to everyone, but is that really what's bothering you?  They're 5 year olds.  Giving them all a freaking participation ribbon is not eroding away society.

My three kids (ages 15, 12 and 9) finished up fall sports a month and a half ago, where my oldest son played baseball and my two daughters played soccer.  My son's baseball team was bad; really bad; one win on the season bad.  Not only was there no trophy or medals or participation ribbons, they didn't even take a picture of the team.

My two daughters had opposite experiences.  My oldest daughter's soccer team was pretty bad, only winning two or three games.  They made the playoffs, but that's just because every team made the playoffs.  They were promptly beaten, but they did get a trophy, a small one.  She wasn't proud of the trophy; she was proud of the effort she put forward, and the friends she made.  My youngest daughter's team won her league and tournament.  They got super cool trophies with a spinning soccer ball on them, plus a super cool first place ribbon.  Trust me, my oldest daughter noticed her younger sister's trophy, staring at it with envy.  If the anti-'everyone get's a trophy' people feel as if my oldest daughter is just as happy with her trophy as her little sister is with hers, they're idiots.

Moving past the trophy hatred, where's this anger at other people coming from?  I think some people feel, when others are getting satisfying life wins, and they're not, they need to compensate, creating a false narrative; 'certain people who don't deserve it are getting rewarded, when I should be the one getting rewarded.'  This manifests itself in a bitter, "Well I'm still better than you, so THERE" mentality.  I also think people uncomfortable with their emotions vilify people who are trying to deal with theirs, as opposed to deal with their own issues.

Conservative media also fuels public frustrations with the fake 'wussification of America' storyline.  They lie, or grossly distort facts, to make opposing viewpoints seem pathetic and helpless.  It's designed to create an 'Us vs. Them' mentality in the viewer, making sure the viewer looks at the news outlet as a trusted friend, creating a false sense of shared superiority.  It's Kobra Kai news; "I'm awesome! You're Awesome!  You know who isn't awesome? Libertards who are crying!  They're so F-ing pathetic!  WE SO DOMINATE OVER THEM!  NOW SWEEP THE LEG!!!"

Conservatives who lament this soft society are the ones who are usually the most soft.  Who always accuses everyone else of violating their rights?  Who insists a coffee shop having only red coffee cups is an assault on their religious beliefs?  Who insists their delicate psyche will be ruined if they have to make a wedding cake for a gay couple?  Who, after spreading the worst hatred and lies about President Obama, are now acting like a southern belle with the vapors at the slightest criticism of Trump?  Who insisted, after predominantly African American neighborhoods in Minneapolis were hit with a tornado, that those people were weak for wanting state aid; how when a tornado came through their district, they insist they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, putting up road blocks to stop state aid from getting to them, when the reality is they were loudly screaming for the state aide they greedily gobbled up?  I don't think they're bad people for getting state aide in an emergency.  That's their argument.  Using their standards:  they yell 'wussy' at everyone else to try to hide their undeniable wussiness.

If you're one of those people who thinks apologizing is for the fragile and powerless only, you're a jerk, AND YOU KNOW IT!  Don't be a jackass.  Apologize if you need to.

In regards to the people who denounce counselors/therapists, what's wrong with you?  Some people want to talk to someone, seeking mental therapy when a serious tragedy happens, or if they just want to talk.  Good for them!  I'd rather have them do that as opposed to ending their life due to depression.   Ignoring mental health issues is why we currently have an epidemic of PTSD in our veterans.

There's one aspect of society I feel we're failing, and it might be misidentified by the people who claim we're a trophy nation.  It's accountability.  We don't hold people to the consequences of their actions as we should.  Today, it's almost impossible to fail a grade in a public elementary school.  I'll never forget my 2nd grade teacher at Wickford Elementary in Rhode Island, Mrs. Pierce, telling us if we didn't get the work done, we'd fail and have to go to summer school, or repeat.  There was a kid in our class who was held back as evidence this wasn't an idle threat.  It motivated me.  Today, the learning gap in an elementary school's student body by 6th grade is shocking, created by a reluctance to hold a kid back for their own benefit.  I don't think it's wrong, or unnecessary pampering, to give those kids the extra attention they may need, and sometimes a summer program is needed to help a child catch up, but, in the end, if the kid still hasn't done the work needed to move up, we need to have the guts to say, "I'm sorry, but you'll need another year."

When the housing crisis hit in 2008, some people were implying we should give the homeowners caught in these horrible loans a mulligan, letting them to walk away from their loans without repercussions.  I sincerely believe the banking industry were horrible people who preyed upon homeowners without the financial wherewithal, but many homeowners refused to do the math themselves.  They knowingly signed those atrocious loans with visions of extra money dancing in their heads.  As hard as it was for some homeowners, unless there was evidence of a clear cut crime by the bank/mortgage company, the homeowners needed to be held accountable for their own actions.  That's not mean spirited.  It's societal integrity.

Love, compassion, encouragement, supporting teamwork, boosting self worth, caring, and promoting positive mental health are all wonderful things, and as a Catholic, I can say unequivocally they're Christian principles.  The same can be said about holding people accountable for their actions/decisions, something we need to do as a society.  At this point, I'll mention the Republican voters, after 40 years of electing candidates who don't follow through with their campaign promises, are the ones who don't hold anyone accountable, something the Republican Party depends on.

If an entire T-ball league of five year olds getting a trophy bothers you; if a grieving person talking to a counselor makes you angry; if someone else getting something you feel you should get, whether you deserve it or not, upsets you, that's on you, not anyone else.  Stop trying to belittle others because of your own inadequacies.  All you're being is a trophy worthy jerk.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/2/16

Some clown in Alexandria (!) thinks 'A Christmas Carol,' the classic Dickens' holiday story about the redemption of a cold hearted fool, is just liberal propaganda.  No seriously.

This clown's name is Steve Moore, and to prove I'm not making this up, here's the link to the story from BlueStem Prairie:

Who looks at a pre-ghost Ebenezer Scrooge and says, "I like the cut of that man's jib!"?  What kind of dystopian personality insists the extreme serfdom Bob Cratchet lives under is the worker's utopia we should all strive for?  Who listens to the heart warming singing of Tiny Tim and says, "if only the young boy could die!"  What kind of Christian person, at a time of the year when Christians are supposed to be celebrating the gift of Jesus, asks for a gift receipt.

Happy Holiday's from Trump-land, you ungrateful jerks!

To tell the truth, they railed against "It's a Wonderful Life" too, something I detailed in the December 2014 post, 'Waterboarding George Bailey.' 'A Christmas Carol' is a great story, and, if any of it is true, I can only imagine three ghosts will be visiting Trump Tower early in the morning of December 25th.

There are a lot of great TV and film versions of the play, but my favorite is the Albert Finney 1970 musical version.  A few cuts from that one for you as we begin the December Links.  First up, the feel good hit, 'I Hate People'!

Then there is the great song from the days of Christmas Past, 'December the 25th'!

From the Days of Christmas Present, 'I Like Life'.

Then comes one of my favorite all time musical numbers, 'Thank You Very Much'.

Then The Reprise of 'Thank You Very Much'.

Can someone get Marley's ghost over to Steve Moore's house.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Return of the DFL, Part 2

I disagree with Representative Collin Peterson.  Democrat Peterson is actually a moderate Republican, but with the GOP in fascist territory, he took over a heavy leaning Republican district, MN-07, and has held it as a Democrat.  It's not a bad play.  He can't be primaried by the MNGOP, and he carries just enough Democratic issues to scare off any Democratic primary challenge.  He won pretty handily on Election Night 2016, while most Democrats struggled.

In case you didn't read The Washington Post interview, Collin Peterson is now being heralded in certain arenas as the only Democrat who 'gets it.'  What 'it' is, according to Peterson, is how the Democrats need to fundamentally change who they are, abandon the ideals of FDR and Kennedy, and morph into 1980's moderate Republicans.  Where I agree with the Representative's comments on gerrymandering, something the GOP took a masters course in, unless states overturn the GOP strangleholds by 2020, there's little the Democrats can do.  How else does Peterson think the DFL should change?  He infers the Democrats should abandon all gun control initiatives (even with 33,000 gun deaths a year), should stop supporting gay marriage (which the US Supreme Court has officially decided.  What would Peterson do with all the legal marriages already in place?), and should do more to stop deficit spending (even though the GOP are FAR worse at deficit spending.  This is just Peterson being lazy and pushing GOP talking points).  He feels Democrats need to stop being so politically correct, allowing for some levels of mild racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance (because it's just harmless fun, right?!?), that grief counselors are only a sign of the wussification of America (I know you were raped, but rub some dirt on it and get back to work!), and he clearly implies Democrats can't possibly win any longer in rural America.


Let's talk about outstate Minnesota, and rural America as a whole.

To start, two points I want to address about double standards.  The first is how many in rural America accuse city folk of labeling them with inappropriate stereotypes, as they themselves use WILDLY inappropriate stereotypes to insult all metro area citizens.  When I worked at KDAO in Eldora/Marshalltown, Iowa, there was a saleswoman who HATED me because I was from a city, always insulting me.  One evening, she got in my face and said, "you ain't country unless there's s#*t on your boots!" I immediately responded, "well you're not from the city unless you get an oil change and a bagel at the same place at 2 AM."  She so hated me!  She labeled all city people as libertards (first time I ever heard that term), N-word lovers, W-B- lovers and F- word for gays.  She was a delight, you know real heartland Christian values.  I've come across many people like her in my years of living in rural America.  If stereotypes are wrong, then they're wrong for everyone.

The second double standard is how rural people (justifiably) feel their local politicians should vote for the best interests of their districts, but metro area politicians voting for their districts is somehow not to be allowed.  The best politicians fight for their district first, but also realize they're part of a political body which represents the state as a whole.  Politicians should prioritize their districts, but both metro and outstate politicians need to remember there's a larger responsibility.  Since no politician in the Twin Cities has ever suggested outstate Minnesota gets no governmental help, don't insist the metro area should have zero representation, zero tax dollars and zero governmental benefits.  We can work together.

And let's be honest, since metro area taxes subsidize lot of outstate Minnesota, I don't think we want to go down that path.  I'm for funding outstate Minnesota and the state's metro areas too.

I think resentment between country and city residents has always been a thing.  The minute someone stopped growing crops, and decided to become a distributor instead, encouraging a centralized larger population where they could sell the product and ship it to other communities, was the minute the friction began.  Up until the beginning of the 20th century, this country was much more rural than metropolitan, but that started to change after the country was mostly sectioned off, and more non-farm labor opportunities became available.  Business owners started to see cost savings by being in a larger city (better distribution, lower transportation costs, readily available workforce), so the growth of the cities exploded.

A lot of the current anti-city resentment began in the 1980's, when low crop prices, a banking/housing crisis, and an evolving business model thinned out America's farming communities.  Massive corporate farms gobbled up foreclosed farms and fields.  Some families stayed and adapted, but a lot of farmers left, leaving the life their family had known for generations behind.  With farming far less cost effective, kids graduated high school and left town.  In many small towns, especially ones where farming is the main industry, the populations today are largely 18 and under or 55 and older, and they're much smaller than they were 50 years ago.  Many small towns are drifting away.  With loss comes anguish, and anguish becomes resentment, not only for the person who left, but for the big city most of the kids moved to, regardless of whether it was by necessity or not.

Republicans, the party behind the destruction of family farms in the 1980's, started appealing to the farming communities they destroyed by encouraging rural anger at cities.  Republicans are masters at deflection.  They can get people to hate something which has nothing to do with their circumstances, and with that false hatred, create an action plan.  They fanned the flames with stereotypes; city slickers who sit in their high rise apartments eating bonbons, not working a day in their life, pathetically inept at any 'real ' job needing to be done.  It created a villain which the GOP has been able to use effectively.  Low income housing, job training, immigrants, and mass transportation; all of these issues have been used to create lava hot hatred in small town America towards the larger metro areas.  For a comparable analogy, imagine if I got everyone in Edina or Maple Grove or Mendota Heights united against all things non-urban, with a goal of greatly diminishing the power of rural Minnesota.  That, rightfully, would never be allowed, but instead of fighting back against this Republican fueled mythology, Rep. Peterson thinks the DFL should accept the unwarranted 'all city people are bad' mentality.

There's something else ugly in small town America.  Virtually all media, (radio, newspapers and television stations) have an EXTREME right wing tilt, ensuring most people in small town America are brainwashed with a daily deluge of right wing propaganda.  The outright lies the rural news media passes off as fair coverage would shock you.  Conservative zealots, like Bill Hanna of the Mesabi Daily News, a newspaper I often mock for it's insane right wing bias, have zero interest in neutral coverage.  Outside of a handful of media outlets (I'll mention the Timberjay newspaper and online news blog BlueStem Prairie), most outstate Minnesota gets MPR as the sole non-right wing viewpoint.  MPR isn't bias towards the left, it's just not drenched in GOP talking points. I have no idea how the DFL can undo the conservative grip on outstate media, but they have to find a way to get their message out.

It should also be mentioned the GOP has UNDENIABLY fanned the flames of racism, homophobia and religious intolerance in certain alcoves of rural America.  Lack of ethnic, religious and GLBTQ exposure in smaller communities creates opportunities to build distrust and hatred.  Sometimes it's small gatherings, but sometimes it's disturbingly large crowds, where the applause is loudest for the irrefutable Christian only, anti-gay, white power vomit coming from GOP politician's mouths.  We need to continue to call the hatred out, not allow non-existent political gains to stifle our outrage at the unacceptable.  Rep. Peterson, with all due respect, the racists will never vote Democrat, so the Democrats shouldn't ease up on our tone of condemnation!

We now have a rural America voter block whose family income is primarily 40K or less, who elected an incredibly self centered billionaire who'll only lower taxes on himself and every other billionaire, under the guise Trump voters will all become millionaires, due to the long disproven theory of trickle down economics.  It's a voting block which used the financial problems 20% of the public had with Obamacare to validate their Trump vote, and in turn will watch a complete repeal of ALL government healthcare programs (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security).  Its a voter block which has ALWAYS supported US mining first and foremost, now supporting a man who proudly said he'll use cheaply mined foreign steel over any domestic product.  These aren't the rational arguments of misunderstood masses.  These are the voting justifications of a manipulated populace.

But according to Rep. Collin Peterson, we need to take their side.

How does the Minnesota DFL start winning back the rural vote?  The first step is compromise.  We need to put forward a very friendly Agricultural Bill, not one focusing on environmental issues and certain types of crops, but one that encourages all agricultural growth in small towns.  It pains me to put aside environmental issues, but you can't save nature when a minority of the government wants to.  Help open new markets for products  Offer major tax breaks for new companies employing between 10 and 50 people, located in towns with fewer than of 30,000 residents.  Introduce this bill in a major press conference and, as soon as the camera are off, take it to rural Minnesota to sell the benefits.  Immediately put the Republican's on the defensive.

Hammer the Republicans on their failed promise of broadband for outstate Minnesota.  They've broken their promises for years and there's no way they'll fund a statewide expansion.  They'll likely deliver for a handful of communities, but in every community where they fail, billboard and bumper sticker the phrase "Hey MNGOP, Where's My Broadband?"  It's simple, truthful, and a political kidney punch.

Propose expanding Metro Mobility to a statewide, state funded program and open it up to seniors.  Introduce the legislation at a major press conference and then get into rural Minnesota, presenting it to every senior gathering you can.  Our aging population being able to call a day ahead to get a ride to church, the store, the doctor or just to the local park will change 200,000 votes immediately!  The GOP hates public transportation so they'll fight it.  They'll lose!  The GOP ripping away a great program for seniors will only hurt the GOP.

Finally, get all those great Minnesota DFL education minds together and fix our school funding issues.  Many outstate school districts don't have the budgets to deal with special needs and an expanding technology demand.  By centralizing the funding for both of those programs (something the Republicans would NEVER do), you allow local school budgets to address other local issues.  And this will help inner city schools too.  The Republicans are only going to weaken schools by trying to expand vouchers and charter schools, two solutions which are only meant to help a small percentage of any school's population.  "Hey MNGOP, Public Education shouldn't be a lottery for wealthy kids only!"  Get that on billboards and bumper stickers too.

For the record, my criticism of Rep. Peterson in this blog post will probably further endear him to his voting base in the MN-07, but that's my point!  What works for his district shouldn't become the standard for all Democrats.

What path do you think the Minnesota DFL should take?  Should we follow Rep. Collin Peterson and change the essence of who Democrats are, or do we realize we've made some mistakes, change our game plan, highlight DFL core values which deliver for outstate Minnesota, and take back the MN House and Senate?  You know my choice.  What's yours?

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Return of the DFL, Part 1

I knew Terri Bonoff was going to lose her race, when, on the Wednesday before the election, her media person called and said, "Terri would love to do an interview!  When can you get her on?"

Why would this interview request tell me she'd lose?  It's because the Democrats have gotten themselves into a destructive pattern.  In races where the district's political lean is either a tossup or leans Republican, the Democrats almost always run away from being a Democrat.  I usually only hear from a Dem running in one of those races during the primary race, at the very beginning of a massive underdog general election campaign, or when the Democrat realizes they're going to lose, when they're attempting a last ditch effort at embracing the Progressives they've ignored since the convention.  Since I hadn't heard from Terri since before the primary...

Democrats immediately need to change their mentality when it comes to their base, and do what Republicans do.  Republicans NEVER forget their base, and rarely ever change their tune to try to win over moderate Democrats.  Republican candidates are always talking to their core constituents as proud Republicans.  Even looking back on this last election, a lot of them shook their head at the horrible things Trump said, but none of them said, "I'd rather work with the Democrats," and only a few uttered, "I'm not going support the Republican candidate for President."  The GOP has a lot of racists and idiots, but they're proud and consistent with who they are.  They rarely bend in the slightest, and their commitment to their ideals, regardless of how flawed they are, pulled some moderate Democrats to their side.  They looked like they had integrity.

Compare that to the Democrats who, at times, can resemble an inflatable dancing guy outside of a car dealership.  Democrats, in the races I described, after they win their primary, focus all their attention on a minuscule amount of voters, the moderate Republicans closest to the Democrats.  Almost everything they do is geared around the idea of convincing that handful of voters, "Sure I'm the DFL candidate, but I really don't like to be called a Democrat and I like to work with the other side of the aisle!"  This game plan is toxic for both Democrats (don't vote for me because I'm not really one of you) and for Republicans (I have questionable morality, I don't stand by my political party, and since I'm only going to vote Republican, you might as well just vote Republican yourself).  They look like they have zero integrity, and the results back that up.

Smart Democrats realize immediately they need their base on board to win.  That's why Tim Walz and Rick Nolan keep winning in their districts.  They know if they turn their back on the Democrats there's no way they can win, so they hold true, never shying away from their party, and focusing on the elements of the DFL which have universal appeal, not a mutilated GOP platform with a sprinkling of DFL.  David Snyder, the candidate who got walloped in the MN-06 district, was a really good Democrat.  He was always looking to represent the DFL, not some consensus of Moderate Democrats and Republicans, with a few Independents mixed in.  He just ran in a district where it's an overwhelming Republican lean, with a GOP Presidential candidate who spoke to the MN-06 Republicans.

Terri Bonoff could've won the MN-03.  Her campaign sprinted away from the DFL base the minute she got the nod.  If she would've stood by DFL core principles, avoided the 'I'm not with them' strategy, and hammered Erik Paulsen far more on his weaknesses, she might've pulled it off.  I tried getting her on the show at least six times, but I only got a call back when they were desperate.  Democrats avoiding being Democrats was a trait of many of the DFL Minnesota House and Senate candidates in the MN-03 district.  If you don't give the voter a reason to respect you, they won't.  She lost.  That lack of party pride also pulled down a few proud Democrats.

When Bonoff's campaign called me, I felt sad for her.  Here was a candidate who was screaming "I don't need you" to most of the DFL, but now that the writing was on the wall, she had an attitude of, "Hey buddy, we're still part of the same team, right?"  After a campaign of avoiding Democrats, her calling up one of the few Progressive media outlets for an interview was a clear sign she was looking for a Hail Mary.

Another example of how not being a fully committed Democrat hurt, showing me how little margin of error there is when it comes to embracing your own party, is from MN-02.  Angie Craig was a good DFL Candidate for the MN-02.  Unlike Bonoff, she did embrace the DFL, but only to a point.  I kept asking her campaign for an interview, twelve times by my count.  I never got a call back.  Another Progressive media outlet told me (off the record) they too were being given the cold shoulder by the Craig campaign.  Meanwhile, GOP candidate Jason Lewis was going out of his way to talk to the most conservative radio stations he could, hammering home his Trump friendly schtick.  While he wallowed in the pig sty that's his base, Craig seemed to be, at times, trying to avoid die hard Progressives.

You know who WAS trying to talk to Progressives?  Paula Overby, the transgender woman who ran a pretty sensational 3rd party campaign.  She took advantage of people being ignored by Craig, and it worked.  Angie Craig lost by 7,000 votes, 174,000 to 167,000, and Paula Overby received near 29,000.  That's amazing, better than most third party candidates.  My guess; the vast majority of Overby's votes were Progressives.  That loss hurt.  I know Angie tried to embrace DFL core principles, but she seemed to take the Progressive side of the party for granted, opening the door for a Paula.  As much as it pains me to say, her lack of Democratic votes cost Craig a race she should've won 99 times out of 100.

The Minnesota DFL needs to remember most people in Minnesota believe in Democratic principles.  They need candidates who are going to be proud Democrats, even in districts where they're going to be a long shot at best.  Instead of focusing an entire campaign's message on a tiny fraction of the voting base YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN, get your base on board first, and never forget they're your strongest ally!  Democrats need to embrace their local base, not change their platform and policy depending on the group they're talking to that day.

For the record, this post isn't me over emphasizing my influence.  There are plenty of proud Democrats I interviewed who lost, and many I didn't interview who won.  This is about trying to find the pattern in the wreckage of the 2016 election, and the one which keeps screaming in my face is the lack of party aptitude in certain MN DFL candidates.

The Minnesota DFL needs candidates who want to win as a Democrat, as opposed to lose as Republican lite.  Then, the DFL will stop losing races they should easily win.  Then they will stop grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Friday Link for 11/25/16

There are not many Thanksgiving only oriented movies.  There are some with Thanksgiving in them, but they're usually set ups for Christmas.  TV shows are more likely to have Thanksgiving stand alone episodes, with the gold standard being either the Cheers' Thanksgiving episode with the food fight or WKRP in Cincinnati's turkey skydivers, both of which I've featured on Thanksgiving posts from years gone by.

I'm surprised movie studios don't do more Thanksgiving features.  Probably because they're dated after the weekend and releasing it before Halloween would lead to a bad opening, and a bad run.  Looking at the movie website Box Office Mojo, since 1986, there have only been 19 total movies where Thanksgiving was the theme of the move, and most of them were serious dramas or major box office bombs.  Only a few Thanksgiving comedies exist and the best of those is a Thanksgiving tradition for my family - Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

The story is more about the horrors of business/holiday travel, with an ad executive (Played by Steve Martin) trying to get from New York to Chicago for Thanksgiving, and the interaction he has with a fellow traveler, a salesman (played by John Candy).  To say it captures the nightmare travel can be is an understatement, but it's also a very endearing film, with a great message of coming home to family, and bonding with people you might not ever meet, if not for unique circumstances, all wrapped up in some real classic movie comedy.  My theory is the acting and holiday travel element are what kept this movie from getting lost.  It opened a few weeks after Less Than Zero and The Running Man, opened the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week against Three Men and a Baby, and had to compete in a December with Throw Momma From the Train, Wall Street, Empire of the Sun, Raw, Broadcast News, Moonstruck, and Good Morning Vietnam.  The holiday movies of 1987 were insane!

The only problem with the movie is the white privilege it portrays (wealthy executive from Chicago who has a lovely family, great house and a lot of money might miss ONE holiday.  The horror!) but Candy's Del Griffith makes Steve Martin's Neal Page see the world a little more realistically, and there's a nice pay off in the end.  One warning, if you do see the film with your family, you'll want to skip past a very funny, profanity laced scene at the rental car counter in the St. Louis airport.  You've been warned!

Here are some of my favorite scenes from the film.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving with Terry John Zila!

Terry John Zila, the radio show's food correspondent, joined us for the annual Thanksgiving cooking episode of the show!  He had so many links I wanted to promote, I decided the best thing to do would be to do a blog post.

First up is the Williams-Sonoma mixer event at Ridgedale.  Here's the Facebook link:

Here's the Facebook page for his wedding cake business, JohnJeanJuan Cakes:

Here's the Facebook page for his Interior Design business:

To ogle his food, follow him on Instagram:

To take a cooking class with him at Cooks of Crocus Hill, click here:

And finally, it's the Brine recipe.  This is the absolute best way to prep a turkey for cooking.  It is so freaking juicy.  Trust me, I love it.

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.