Friday, August 28, 2020

The Friday Link for 8/28/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Friday Link for 8/21/20

Usually around the Super Bowl I'll post commercials as part of the Friday Link, but this week I stumbled upon a couple of long form ads which are quite good.

Yes these are ads for Apple computer things, but this is by no means an endorsement.  The ads are good though, so don't be surprised if you end up starting to yearn.

Both of these ads have been cut down into more presentable :30 second ads for traditional advertising, but to appreciate them, you need to look at them in their complete form, because they do tell a great (and relatable) story.

The first of the two ads is from last year.  It's about a plucky team in some nameless company who gets an opportunity to pitch an idea to the big boss.  It plays out well; with recognizable moments from the business world. Here is 'Apple at Work':

But the better of the two ads is the follow up ad, 'Work From Home,' and it seriously deserves an award.  Our same plucky team is back, and now they have an even bigger challenge...with boxes.  Same people, but more engaging because it captures the modern work from home world many of us have to navigate.  Twice as long, but better than the first one. 

That's a good ad.

Finally tonight is the shocking demise of the Bon Appetit You Tube Channel.  It was only a few months back I was featuring these guys regularly on the Friday Link.  Currently they are on "hiatus."  When a media outlet is getting 10 million hits on videos and they suddenly go dark, something bad happened.  

It was systemic racism in the test kitchens, exposed after an executive had displayed unGodly bad judgment and was caught having done brown face a few years back.  That horrible action aside, the test kitchen clearly wasn't a happy place to work for many of the chefs and minority staff (including one of my favorites Priya). The dam finally burst a few weeks back. Six of the channel's chefs have resigned and there doesn't seem to be any new videos in the works with the remaining staff.  

The You Tube channel Jack Saint has a good breakdown of what exactly happened. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Be safe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

One More Time, With Feeling!

I want to repeat something about this upcoming election I feel is being overlooked:  EVERY Republican will once again vote for Trump in 2020. 

There's this feeling with groups like the Lincoln Project, and voices like Governor Kasich, a large portion of the Republican Party is ready to abandon Trump and vote for Joe Biden in 2020.  I've no doubt a few will.  A few.  Some might vote straight Republican ticket and just leave the Presidential race empty, but those handful will be the exception not the rule.

Back after Trump won in 2016, I made the comment 'there were three groups of people who voted for Trump:

1) The Wealthy,

2) The Racists,

and 3) The Idiots.'

I stand by this assessment.  As a matter of fact, I'm more convinced of this being the truth today.

The Wealthy are easy to understand.  It seems every few months Trump and the Republicans pull a Brinks truck up to the wealthy people's front door, open it up, proceed to shovel a few million dollars in taxpayer money into their house, tip their cap and promise to be back in a dozen weeks.  The Right obscenely rewards wealthy people just because they're wealthy.  They do so to ensure they get campaign donations while they run for office, and the cushy lobbying gig when they decide to return to the private sector.  It's a vicious cycle of economic malfeasance.

The Racists are easy to understand.  These people used to scatter when the lights showed their racist ways, but Trump embraced them. 'Hey little racist cockroaches!  There's no more need to scramble for the darkness with me in charge.  As a matter fo fact, I'll validate your ignorance and hatred like no politician has done in 60 years!'  Trump has made bigotry a political point of view, and for that, the Racists will ALWAYS love him.

Then there are the Idiots.  I've taken a lot of grief from Democrats who feel my labeling these people Idiots is out of line; Exhibit A for why Trump voters embraced Trump.  I'm not calling Trump voters Idiots because they're rural, Christian, pro-gun or even against abortion.  This isn't Democratic arrogance screaming 'Idiots.'  I'm calling Trump voters Idiots for the same reason Trump himself thinks they're Idiots.  Trump voters are EASILY manipulated.

To understand the Idiot Trump voter, you have to understand their one true guiding principle; the only thing that matters to them.  The primary goal of Republicans today is emotionally hurting Democrats and Progressives by rubbing Trump's victory, as well as his dangerous and incompetent policies, in their faces, otherwise known as "Owning the Libs."

This one Republican Principle to Rule them All is the product of 25 years of Republicans turning off the real news and only focusing on opinion validation.  You could see this cab coming when they all downplayed W. Bush's unjustified Iraq War (4,487 dead US Soldiers) as "sour grapes," or a "nothing burger."  But when four people died at Benghazi, Republicans voters instead THAT was the greatest injustice of all time.  When I confronted Republican callers to my radio show about those numbers, they immediately insisted the Iraq War numbers were far less than actually reported (!), and the ONLY thing that mattered were the four dead Americans at Benghazi.

Trump saw this Republican need for option validation as an opportunity.  As a manipulator and a showman he was able to hide his complete lack of credentials for the job by offering Republican voters the buffet of their dreams.  "You were always right!  Democrats and Liberals were always wrong!  I will insult them and demean them to their faces, while you cackle and chortle with approval.  And we'll force them to accept our victories by jamming it down their throats while tears stream down their faces.  I am here to validate you!"

Seriously, THIS is the guiding beacon for Republicans today.  It's such an aggressive desire to hurt the Left they've gotten to the point where nothing matters to them outside of the suffering of the Democrats.  They hear us saying "sweet Jesus he's putting babies into cages," or "look how many people have died due to Trump's mismanagement of Corona Virus," and all they hear is 'Boy those Liberals are angry! Trump must be doing something right!'

They'll even cheer on policy which outright hurts them directly as long as they can hear one Democrat say "Wow, that's horrible." Trump runs up the deficit giving tax payer dollars to the wealthy, and they cheer. Trump starts taking away healthcare from them, and they cheer. Trump wipes out farmer's trade markets, and they cheer.  Trump double crosses them and allows their jobs to be wiped out, and they cheer.  The Trump Republican will destroy themselves as long as they feel Democrats are suffering worse.  They'll gladly sink on the Titanic as long as they feel they're ten feet higher up on the deck than the Left.

Republican Trump voters will do everything to prevent from having to admit they were wrong.  That's not an easy thing to avoid when the Master Class of incompetence is your hero. This is why the Right has embraced fanatical conspiracy theories.  They're so desperate to keep the Wizard behind the curtain, they've come up with insanely stupid excuses for everything:

  • Every time negative news comes out about him, it's just more proof every major media outlet is biased against him, including all the international ones
  • The FBI and all US intelligence community are working to undermine him
  • There is an international child sex ring run by Democrats in the basements of pizza places...which don't have basements
  • Any evidence of Russian interference, even admissions from the Trump team themselves, are all lies!
  • Corona Virus is being spread by Democrats just to make Trump look bad, and the dead are just crisis actors REALLY committed to their role
  • You can treat a disease with medications not designed to treat said disease, or by directly ingesting toxic chemicals.  No matter what, don't do what the rest of the world is doing successfully
These would be the more sane conspiracy theories.  The ones which read like crappy fan fiction in a tornado are something to behold: "Anti-Trump hysteria is just a byproduct of chem trail, 5-G spray being disturbed by Antifa, combined with Hillary's emails, and MS-13 lozenges distributed by minorities, Canadians and New Zealanders.  You know SCIENCE!"

When the conspiracies become so outrageous that even most Republicans know it makes zero sense, that's when Republican Trump voters get quiet and ignore the problem.  They have to maintain the idea Trump is always right, so they'll ignore the bad, even if it's hurting themselves, because the option of admitting Trump is wrong means (at least in their warped minds) the Democrats win.

THIS is why I'm expecting the vote total for Trump in 2020 to be pretty close to 62,984,828, the same number he got in 2016.  This is the Trump Republican id; their fragile psyche.  If they turn away from Trump, then they'll start asking if the other problems they've had in their lives might be their fault too. They never want to look into the mirror and accept they're to blame for their problems, so Trump gets their vote!

2020 is not about convincing Republicans to vote for Joe Biden.  2020 is about the 110 million registered voters who sat out 2016.  Most of those voters are Democrats, or lean Democrat in their ideologies.  If the Democrats can get 30 million of them to the polls, it'll be the greatest political thrashing in this country's history.  

Vote.  Get everyone you know registered to vote.  Make sure they turn up in some capacity in November.  Know the playing field and be prepared to fight! 


Friday, August 14, 2020

The Friday Link for 8/14/20

Two of my favorite posters this week, and with both of them : warning! Some more adult content and context.

First up Ze Frank and his animal videos!  This week the strange truth about hummingbirds.  Seriously, Humming-beuurds are weird!  You'll get the reference fairly quickly...

And the other video this week comes from Cinema Sins and 'Everything Wrong With...' 

I miss summer movies.  I think they'll be back, but by the time they do you're going to have a lot of people who prefer to watch streaming services at home or on their phones.  Will people return to the theaters if there is still the obscene cost?  I think the family of five $100+ price for tickets and snacks will get old really fast when compared to the comfort of your own couch.

With summer movies, lets talk about some blockbuster franchises.  There's an observation about the Original Cast Star Trek movies.  The even numbered ones are the best (The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, and The Undiscovered Country), while The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, and The Final Frontier are weak, especially the 5th one. 

Die Hard was copying this trend.  The first Die Hard was fantastic, one of the best action movies ever.  The second one wasn't bad, but has a fatal flaw.  So the planes can't land at Dulles in DC.  Why can't they land in Baltimore, or in Virginia.  There are seriously about 20 commercial and 10 military landing strips quick distance from Dulles and they're all reachable via the radio.  Salt Lake City or Boise would have been the place to stage that movie.  That flaw makes Die Hard 2 unwatchable for me.

Die Hard with A Vengeance was a shockingly good (and unexpected) movie.  But then came Live Free or Die Hard.  I initially liked it, but the longer the movie ages, the worse the movie gets.  It got caught in the techno-babble plot lines which ruined many movies from 1997-2010.  It's like drinking a Zima; it's a cultural reference to a certain time which doesn't hold up today.  Live Free or Die Hard is now unwatchable, but don't take it from me.  Cinema Sins Will give you their breakdown.

By the way, Die Hard did break out of that pattern of alternating good/bad movies with their 5th unGodly bad movie A Good Day to Die Hard.  There is talk of maybe making a 6th...(yikes!).

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Last Game

On Tuesday night, I headed out to watch my son, Charlie, play in his last baseball game of the summer, and likely the last game of his youth.

Number 45.

When my kids were really young, we had the same idea many other parents had.  We were gong to have well rounded kids.  Along with limited screen time, and embracing the arts, all of our kids would be participating in a sport throughout their entire time in our house.  

My son, my oldest child, initially went back and forth between soccer and baseball, but he eventually fell in love with baseball.  He loved playing it, going over stats, and flipping though his baseball cards.  His favorite player was former Boston great David Ortiz.  He's currently a big fan of Minnesota Twin Miguel Sano.

He started at t-ball.  I remember trying to help the coaches, all father's of players, as we realized how hard it is to explain baseball to a 5 year old. You realize you have to strip the game down to the bare; hit the ball and run to the right, over to first base.  If you're in the field, once the ball is hit, run to it, and throw it to the first baseman.  I couldn't help but laugh when after the first hit, every player, from the catcher to the outfielders, all ran for the ball, leading to a 5 year old Battle Royale, all wanting to throw the ball to the first baseman (who was also fighting for the ball).

My son got better, learned the basics, and went into Little League.  Coaches were touch and go.  One year  he was on the worst team in the league.  Most of the kids looked up to my son, as he was the only one on that team who knew how to play.  That was a hard year.  The next year, he had really good coaches and they won the title, something he still cherishes.  

In his final year of Little League, he had a coach, Brian Zimmer, who saw real potential in Charlie.  He saw a power hitter, a kid who with a little work could play to high school and beyond.  Charlie hit his first home run that year, and made the All Star team.

Thirteen years old was the time where the ugliness of kids sports became undeniable.  Some kids, whether they deserved it or not, were predetermined to always make the best teams; either the kids with undeniable talent who were going to play in college and beyond, or the kids of the parents who were a) wealthy or b) volunteering for the sports organization their kids played in.  Their kids didn't have to try out.  Their names were written into the rosters with sharpie.  It was at 13 where money and connections decided on who got the opportunity to go to the next level, and who was labeled an also ran.

With his Grandfather at the old MetroDome for a game.

Not surprisingly, it was also where many kids walked away from the sport.  These leagues would cost up to a thousand dollars, a major sacrifice for 95% of American families today.  You can't convince families to pay a ton of money to never have their kid make the top squad.  The attrition rate of kids away from the sport was a consequence of the select few being put on a specific course.  The team, and the league overall, existed to make sure a handful of kids got their college scholarships, at the expense of the sport itself.

Charlie, undeservedly, was always on the level below, but he loved to play so we made sacrifices.

Charlie always deserved to be playing on the top teams.  His disappointment eventually turned to an understanding his 'demotions' had nothing to do with his ability.  EVERY season, we'd have 3/4ths of the upper echelon team's parents scratching their heads, asking why Charlie wasn't up playing with them.  Regardless of the non ability reason my son was kept down, it was a jerk move on behalf of the parents who made those decisions.  The only person they really hurt was Charlie, a kid who only wanted to play baseball.  Like I said, he eventually accepted this had nothing to do with his abilities, but I'll never respect any of those clowns and their self serving machinations.

Still, we got to watch him play, and boy did he love baseball.  He would cheer on the other players from the dugout, get frustrated when he struck out and celebrate when he got a big hit or made a big play.  His mom and I would always smile when we catch him looking over towards us with a 'did you see that' in his eye.

He hit a lot of homers, pitched a three pitch inning, had three games with two homers (but never a grand slam), made a lot of great plays, primarily at 3rd and 1st.  He gunned out five runners from the outfield as they tried to advance.  He picked off at least 25 runners at 1st and 3rd over his career.  And man did he hit the ball a mile.

He played Junior Legion one year, but that's when he himself no longer wanted to be part of these heavily competitive teams.  He tried out for a second year of Legion.  He was the only kid to hit the ball out of the park on the tryout days, but knew at least 8 kids who were guaranteed to be on the roster who weren't even at the "mandatory" tryouts.  He knew at best he'd be bench player.  He made the decision to play High School ball in the Spring and a far more relaxed, less expensive, and fun City Ball in the Summer.  

He was so proud of being the first kid on any team to officially homer at the new Hopkins High School field. He hit that ball a mile, somewhere around 390 feet.  He had a huge smile on his face as he rounded the bases.

He played Fall Ball last year for the final time, and at the post season banquet, the coach told him Charlie could easily play college ball, Division III.  Charlie informed him he was going to the U of M.  He might do the walk on day (if they have one) but likely this is the end.  He's happy with it.  He's choosing to not play anymore, and choosing your path is always far more satisfying than having life's choices thrust upon you.

Tuesday's game was a loss, with him striking out twice.  For the season, he hit .289, on base percentage was .460, slugging percentage was .657, with an OPS of 1.117.  He also hit three home runs and finished with an 1.355 ERA from when he pitched.  He ended the game with a smile.

That's baseball.

Courtesy of Nick Gardener Photography


Friday, August 7, 2020

The Friday Link for 8/7/20

You know I love history.  I spend a lot of time on Minneapolis/St. Paul history, Minnesota history and Civil War history, but one of the things I enjoy is lost history, stories which make you sit back and ask "how did we ever forget this happened?"

Let me introduce you to The History Guy!  His tag line is 'History Deserves to be Remembered' and he does not disappoint.  Here's a guy who is incredibly smart, a very polished presenter and willing to talk about lost history with passion and urgency.  Watch this and see how good this guy is, but also watch because you'll ask how did we ever forget this stuff!

First up, the case which pretty much ended the idea of frontier justice in America, a gun battle which lead to a lot of local officials dead.  It happened in 1912, little more than 100 years ago!  The History Guy takes on the Hillsville Massacre.

Next up is the somewhat gruesome story of the cadaver trade in America in the 1800's, and the case which pretty much created laws to end such barbaric behavior. The History Guy tells of the grave robbery of the only man who was the son of one President and father of another, the Harrison Horror.  YES!  They stole that guy's body!  It's easy to understand why some people did not trust science and medicine back then when you realize what the doctors were up to.

Finally, a lost piece of World War II history.  The first major amphibious landing of Allied forces in the war was the attempt to take French Vichy Madagascar.  It didn't go as planned, but lessons were learned which aided in future assaults by Allied forces. 

Enjoy browsing this guys videos.  They are addictive.  Have a great weekend everyone! 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

All Republicans Will Vote For Trump

Right now there's an optimism in America.  After three plus years of the biggest mistake ever made as President, the feeling is our long national nightmare will finally be over.  Not only are Democrats truly united for the cause of a Vice President Joe Biden victory, but many independents are shifting dramatically towards Biden.  Even moderate Republicans are signaling they too are leaning to vote for the Democratic challenger.

Don't believe that last sentence for a second.

Let's face facts.  Republicans knew Trump was Trump, and they still voted for him.  They knew there were questionable business practices at best with Trump's record, and they all still voted for him.  They knew he'd paid a porn star and a playmate to keep quiet about something, and they all still voted for Trump.  They saw him openly mock a disabled man, something he initially bragged about doing, and they all still voted for him.  They heard Trump's own words, bragging about sexually assaulting a married woman, talking about how if you move on them quick they'll do whatever you want, sounding shockingly like a serial sex abuser (something else there was copious evidence of) AND THEY ALL STILL VOTED FOR HIM, EVEN THE EVANGELICALS!

They will all vote for Trump again in November of 2020.

This election was never about getting Republicans to vote with Democrats.  It wasn't!  It's always been about getting a large portion of the 110 million registered voters who sat out 2016 to the polls on November 3rd.  You can not trust Republicans.  They're desperate to never have to admit they were wrong, even though history will undeniably show they turned to an openly racist jackass AFTER the first black president.  They still try to excuse their 2016 vote by saying "Democrats shouldn't have made Hillary Clinton the nominee."  This was never about the Democrats.  This was always about Republican voters.  They voted Trump!  They created this catastrophe, with a smile on their faces.

Sometime around mid October, the White House and Fox News will accuse Biden of...something, beginning three weeks of non stop coverage of the "Biden Scandal."  The goal of this smear campaign won't be about stopping Democrats from voting for Biden.  This will be about giving Republican voters culpability.  The argument will be "sure Trump hasn't been the best President (160K dead - "It is what it is."), but Biden has THIS scandal too.  Even though he's a disaster, you can vote for Trump with a clear conscious!"

And most of them will.  Of course, on November 4th the truth will come out; the made up Biden scandal was completely fabricated (although if Biden wins, Congressional Republicans will keep insisting there are unanswered questions, with calls for 8 or 9 investigations).  Regardless of who wins, Republicans will insist they were right to vote for Trump again because of "uncertainty."  Remember, Republicans love the mantra "never ask for permission; ask for forgiveness."  

You might be saying "Fine, but if all Democrats show up, we're good!"  The Left as a whole is HORRIBLE at voting.  THEY ARE.  There are Democrats screaming for change today, who on November 3rd will suddenly be "wait a sec?  That's TODAY?!?  I was going to  hang out with friends all day.  What the big deal if I miss it?  The rest of the country will cover for me."  

NO THEY WON'T!!!  Most of the 110 million who couldn't be bothered to vote with Trump on the ticket in 2016 were Democrats!  They were hanging with friends, or sleeping in, or too tired, or binge watching a TV show in 2016.  The good news is there should be early voting and voting by mail which really does remove any excuses, but still...HOUND YOUR DEMOCRATIC FRIENDS TO VOTE!  Tell everyone "if you didn't vote in 2016, let's look at early voting options to make sure you don't leave this until the end."
My biggest fear right now is a Blackwater/Russian/Saudi hit squad killing Biden in the days before the election.  The chaos which ensues will lead to Trump bragging how even though he was 20 points behind in the polls, he knew he would beat Biden, dead or not.  If this country has another four years of Trump, it'll take a century to undo all the damage he'll have caused.  THEN Republican voters will insist they never supported Trump...whom they voted for twice.  They'll probably come up with a conspiracy of how the Democrats were the actual voters for Trump.  "Wasn't me! They bused in Muslims, black people, and Antifa from the cities and they all voted for Trump!" 

Like I said, they'll never freely admit they were wrong.