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April 30, 2009

Twins April Report Card

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The Minnesota Twins finish their first month of the season at .500, ½ game out of first in the AL Central. Considering that Baker and Liriano haven’t won a game and Joe Mauer hasn’t played one inning yet, these results are ok. However there are some troubling trends. Here’s a one month review:

The Good: Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey

The o.k.: Blackburn, Gardy, Morales, Punto, Delmon Young, Buscher, Harris, Liriano, Joe Nathan

The ugly: Baker, Casilla, Gomez, Cuddyer

The Twins have looked awful at times and Gomez, Casilla, and Cuddyer have been absolutely wretched. One hopes that Gomez and Casilla can turn it around. I think Cuddyer is destined to be a mediocre player. Hopefully with Mauer back, not only will we get more timely hitting, but our defense can improve too.

The A.L. Central is wide open and it should only take about 90-92 to win it all. Hopefully a little more consistent hitting, and better relief pitching can bring the Twins another Central Division championship. At least on May 1st, it’s still a possibility.

What do you think of the Twins chances?

April 29, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days

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It’s really a meaningless benchmark but everyone is talking about it so what the heck, how’s Obama doing after 100 days?

One thing Obama has going for him was that the bar was set so low with GWB. Most people wanted Guantanamo closed, unrestricted stem cell research, more reliance on science in policy considerations, the tax system more reliant on the those with higher incomes, reduction of troops in Iraq… I think most rationale people are relieved that grown ups are running things now.

However, grumbling isn’t coming just from a dying republican party, fox news, and old white cranks uncomfortable with a black president. Liberals too have complained about Wall Street getting off scot-free in the bailout measures, torturers not being prosecuted, state secrecy policies closer to the Bush Administration than most feel comfortable with…Obama has not been the Great Liberal Messiah some had hoped.

Me, I am generally pretty happy with how things are going. Any concerns that this President didn’t have the cojones to be president have long been set aside. Has he done everything I hoped we would in the first 100 days? No way. But neither has my boss, wife, kids, or anyone else I know. It’s unreasonable to think that anyone would act the way you always want them to. Has Obama gotten the important things right? In my opinion he has and that’s why I look forward to the next 7-3/4 years of an Obama Administration.

Overall Grade: B+

April 27, 2009

Noah and the Whale -- 7th Street Entry

Because my 15-year old daughter’s musical tastes are too cool for her Catholic high school, she couldn’t talk anyone into going to see Noah and the Whale this past Friday night at the 7th Street Entry for an all-ages show. We’ve raised her right and she didn’t want to go by herself so she was kinda bummed. Since I am a nice dad, I volunteered to tag along and accompany her to her first event at The Entry.

Now I never heard of Noah and the Whale so I quickly checked out a you tube video before we hit the road and it seemed like they would be ok. I put on my black Elvis shirt and since the weather was coolish, put on an unbuttoned flannel shirt over it. Wanted to look the part of a Entry denizen and cool dad. Doors opened at 6:00 with Noah and the Whale set for around 8:00. We got there in time to see most of the opening act, a sensitive singer songwriter on acoustic guitar.

It’s been a couple of years since I was at the entry and it was as dark as usual. The all-ages crowd ranged from about 16-20 (mostly female) and I don’t think I saw another dad or mom in the crowd. We were able to easily snake our way to the front of the stage. I also went to see if they would serve beer to grown-ups. No such luck which is probably a good thing for an all-ages show.

Noah and the Whale were actually pretty good and I enjoyed them a lot. Very pop sounding and their M.O. was to start off very slow and then would ramp it up until by the end of the song, they were jamming. It wasn’t Nirvana-like slow then explosion, but more a gradual increase in intensity. Many songs ended with much thrashing and wailing.

They played for about an hour and then set up camp by the t-shirts where anyone could talk to the band members and get pictures, which was a nice way to connect with the kids. My daughter had a blast and I was glad she was enjoying guitar-based music, as opposed to the stuff you usually hear on KDWB. On the way home I regaled her with stories of Entry shows past (edited for age-appropriateness) and we stopped at Pizza Luce for a slice before we got home. By 10:00 we were in the drive-way, with band t-shirt and good memories to remind of us of her first show at the 7th Street Entry.

April 24, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Right now the NHL playoffs hold a lot more interest for me than the NBA playoffs -- although I will tune in for a Kobe-Lebron final. NFL Draft? zzzzzz. What about a random top 10?

1. Desire -- Hank and Ruth
2. Blowin' Down the Road -- Woody Guthrie
3. Wordless Chorus -- My Morning Jacket
4. Newest Industry -- Husker Du
5. Star Spangled Banner -- Jimi Hendrix
6. Nothing But Blood -- Rev. F.D. Kirkpatrick
7. I Zimbra (live) -- Talking Heads
8. Berkeley Mews -- The Kinks
9. Pressure Drop -- Clash
10. Beautiful World -- Devo

Bonus: Shutup -- The Replacements.

Hows that for eclectic! What's your top 10?

April 23, 2009

Monkey Fighting Snakes

O.k. I get it. You can't say mofo on TV. But "Monkey Fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane?" That's just inspired. Still doesn't top the edited for TV version of The Big Lebowski however. There are tons of howlers in that one.

April 22, 2009

Outdoor Baseball

Sorry, light blogging lately. Look for a spring revamp of LFAD soon! Over the last 7 days I have been to 4 outdoor baseball games (1 college, 3 Jr. High). I have sat in 70 degree weather in shorts, eating a frozen lemonade to shivering in gloves, hats and blankets in 40 degree weather and 30 mph winds. Believe me the former is much more enjoyable.

Whether it's college kids or or 14 year olds, its pretty amazing how similar the game is played. Good pitching is key, execution in the field is a must, and timely hitting plays a big part in if you win or not.

The Gophers have a pretty decent team and games at Siebert Field are a blast. There are upcoming home games this weekend and next and I encourage anyone to go out and see Gophers play. If you can't get to the U, check out your local Babe Ruth or High School games, they really are fun, and when it's warm, a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

April 17, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

First day this year rode my bike to work. Feels great!! Don't forgot that Saturday is support your local record store day. Minneapolis is blessed with a number of independent record stores. I plan to go to Roadrunner Records, probably to purchase the new Los Campesinos! disc. What store are you going to? Here's a top 10 to get you in the mood:

1. Vertigo -- U2
2. That's Me Trying -- William Shatner
3. In Dreams -- Roy Orbison
4. I Mean You -- Thelonious Monk
5. Jackson -- Johnny Cash w/ June Carter
6. Round Midnight -- Thelonious Monk
7. Hash Pipe -- Weezer
8. Livin' for You -- Al Green
9. Strange -- R.E.M.
10. C'mere -- Interpol

Bonus: Echos Myron -- Guided By Voices

Well of course I had to have a GBV in there, plus a rare Thelonious Monk double shot! Plus 3 one word songs by 3 sort of one word bands. What's your top 10?

April 15, 2009

Iowa Approves Gay Marriage

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With the Iowa Supreme Court approving gay marriage a few weeks back and the Vermont legislature following suit a few days later, it appears that we are close to a tipping point in the legal acceptance of gay marriage in this country. Personally I think this is a good thing as I don’t feel my own marriage is weakened by gays marrying any more than it is weakened when Britany Spears is married and divorced in a 36 hour drunken span in Las Vegas or skanks compete to win the hand of a bachelor on Fox TV. Plus any means by which loving couples, regardless of gender, are legally committed to each other strengthens our society, not weakens it.

Anti-gay groups are fighting this trend with all they have, trying to get constitutional amendments on the books outlawing gay marriage. They have to fight because they know time is not on their side. Even though polls show that Americans are split on gay marriage, it’s really an age difference that makes up that split. People over 65 strongly oppose gay marriage, while those under 25 do not. The problem for the anti-gay folks is that those over 65s are dying off while younger folks are more accepting of gays and gay marriage. For college age kids, someone being gay is like someone being left handed. A trait that is interesting and different for about 5 minutes.

The effort to approve gay marriage in Vermont and Iowa is very interesting and Salon.com has a pretty good article outlining those efforts. Vermont is a perfect example of what happens when states take slow but steady steps toward equality. That state approved Civil Unions in 2000. Nine years of civil unions showed “allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legally binding partnerships did not herald the end of the world. Fire and brimstone didn't rain down on the land, plagues didn't smite their iconic maple trees and most important of all, children in these nontraditional families were just as well-adjusted as their peers with straight parents.”

Nate Silver at the site 538.com has an interesting analysis of the political acceptance of gay marriage and has built a model on how popular a gay marriage ban is in each state and given the falling support of such bans, when gay marriage is likely to be approved. Given his analysis, he sees gay marriage being approved in each state in the following time frame. (you’re gonna have to read the whole post to get the analysis but it’s pretty dang good)

2009 (now)

Vermont
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
Maine
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Nevada*
Washington
Alaska*
New York
Oregon*

2010

California*
Hawaii
Montana*
New Jersey
Colorado*

2011
Wyoming
Delaware
Idaho*
Arizona*

2012
Wisconsin*
Pennsylvania
Maryland
Illinois

2013
Michigan*
Minnesota
Iowa
Ohio*
Utah*
Florida*

2014
New Mexico
North Dakota*
Nebraska*
South Dakota*

2015
Indiana
Virginia*
West Virginia
Kansas*

2016
Missouri*

2018
Texas*

2019
North Carolina
Louisiana*
Georgia*

2020

Kentucky*

2021
South Carolina*
Oklahoma*

2022
Tennessee*
Arkansas*

2023
Alabama*

2024

Mississippi*

If Silver’s analysis is correct, sometime in 2013 over half the states will approve gay marriage with only the deep south not accepting gay marriage. That right there is why the anti-gay forces are trying so hard to ban gay marriage, time is working against them. So hats off to Iowa, approval of gay marriage is no longer something found on the coasts, but brought smack dab into the middle of the heartland. The promise of America is that all are created equal and that we move toward that equality slowly, sometimes awkwardly, but always forward.

April 13, 2009

My Favorite Things -- Crazy Republicans

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10.31 Project
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

There nothing like two consecutive election loses and a black president with a Muslim sounding funny name to bring out the crazies in the Republican Party. From Minnesota's own Michelle Bachman espousing armed rebellion to Fox News' Glenn Beck channeling Howard Beale to GOP leader Michael Steele trying to bring "hip-hop" sensibility to an über-white political party with its base of support in the rural south, it appears that the Republican's are having a nervous breakdown right in our living rooms, all in glorious HD television.

In the last month, Republicans have offered alternative federal budgets with no actual numbers, elevated Rush Limbaugh to national spokesman, and come out against volcano monitoring funding literally days before a volcano began ominous rumblings in Alaska. Republicans were against the stimulus, except for those project that benefited their own districts and states and against helping out the car makers in Detroit because the foreign manufacturers in their states wouldn't benefit.

The nadir was probably this weekend when on the Sunday talk shows Republicans like Newt Gringrich were practically rooting on the Somalian pirates, blaming President Obama for the ultimate death of the kidnapped captain. Of course it was only a few hours later when Special Forces snipers, on orders from the President, ended the kidnapping and killed three pirates.

Now of course it's a lot of fun watching Republicans and conservatives fall on their face, rely on the same old tired ideas that have been discredited and rejected, and be spoofed tirelessly on television (see video above). Unfortunately there is a dark side to their wackiness. By all accounts the gunman in Pittsburgh who killed three cops was driven to his murderous behavior by the rantings on the right, worried that his guns were going to be taken away. Three families no longer have a father and husband because someone was led astray by lunatics on the right. Who's next, when will someone actually take Michelle Bachman seriously and try armed resistance? So we can laugh at the crazies but let's keep on our toes. Point out the hypocrisy, the nuttiness. The republicans are digging their own graves, let's make sure we keep handing them shovels.

April 10, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Back from Florida tanned and rested. There is a need for a random top 10:

1. Pop Phenomenon -- The Push Kings
2. Pilot Can at the Queer of God -- Flaming Lips
3. I Got You Babe -- Sonny and Cher
4. The Who vs. Porky Pig -- Guided By Voices
5. Fear, Bitterness and Hatred -- Young Fresh Fellows
6. If I Fell -- The Beatles
7. Blame it on Cain -- Elvis Costello
8. At Home He's a Tourist -- Gang of Four
9. Draglines -- Deborah Silverstein
10. Stranger in the House -- Elvis Costello

Bonus: Man in Black -- Johnny Cash.

Wow, nice list. Good variety, not a loser in the bunch. What's your top 10?

April 6, 2009

Florida, Twins Golden Ticket

I'm in Florida and it's 80s and muggy. I've kayaked and played golf today. But the best thing about Florida is that I haven't had to waste my time looking for the frakkin' TWINS GOLDEN TICKET. Which remains to be found.

So slow blogging this week, but to all who have stopped by to comment on the search, thanks for coming. I hope you check out the blog some more. I usually talk about music, sports, and other things of interest.

So go Twins, Go Go is gonna hit 20 homers this year and Slowely will be in the running for Cy Young. I can't see the game down here in Fort Myers but I will be rooting on those Spartans.

When I get back, let's form a posse and take out who ever came up with those Golden Ticket Clues

April 3, 2009

Friday Random Top 10

Obsessing over the Twins Golden Ticket. Check clues below and help out!! Here's your random top 10:

1. Another Day -- Roy Harper
2. Scarecrow Song -- Landisfarne
3. Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart -- Whiskeytown
4. It is Divine -- Guided By Voices
5. The Ascended Masters Grogshop -- Guided By Voices
6. Behind the Wall of Sleep -- The Smithereens
7. Faith -- Suburbs
8. Peaches -- Stranglers
9. Deliah (live) -- Koerner Ray and Glover
10. Tiny Voices -- Bad Religion

Bonus: Settin' the Woods on Fire -- Hank Williams

Another GBV double shot plus a couple of obscure ones. That KRG song is from their last show ever. What's your top 10?

April 1, 2009

Deerhoof Show in My Garage -- TODAY!!!

I recently found out that my cousin’s boyfriend is in the band Deerhoof. The whole band is in town to celebrate my Aunt’s birthday (cousin’s mom). They are kind of bored so I decided to invite them over, set up a P.A. in my garage and jam.

It’s going to be kind of cold so dress warm. Don’t know how long the cops will let them play so get there early. Let me know in the comments if you need directions.