February 2005 Archives
February 28, 2005
Monday Melancholy

On this Monday, I give you a quiet, melancholy look at things that have been lost. And sometimes that which has been lost can never be found again.

In the March issue of National Geographic there is a great photo of a funnel cloud of starlings. This reminded me of an experience I had as a teenager when our family made its annual fishing trip to Yellowstone National Park for cutthroat trout.

It was always a two-day excursion to reach the park from North Dakota. The first day we would usually get to Billings late and set up camp along the Yellowstone River. On one such occasion, as I was sitting along the riverbank at sunset, a huge flock of starlings flew in from over a bluff.

The starlings wheeled like a giant blanket flung into the sky. Like sentient smoke, they banked and turned in unison, passing so close overhead I heard their wings ripping the air. When the flock flew in front of the setting sun, the world grew darker. I shivered even though it was early June and warm enough for me to be shirtless.

The sheer numbers were amazing, maybe 50,000 birds, like the flock in the National Geographic photograph. The bird vortex moved east, over the bluff until the sun brightened again, pressing pleasant heat against the back of my hands and torso.

I had brought my binoculars to look for wildlife and now I used them to follow the flock. Through the lenses, the birds became singular and I could follow discrete groups. They swirled, coming straight at me for a moment, then sliding away. I continued to scan the flock until I reached the leading edge: birds on one half and sky on the other. They switched direction and the leaders became the followers. I took the binoculars away and blinked at their loss of individuality.

In the middle, where the birds were thickest, the shape was black, a sinuous, twisting dark cord. One dot separated itself from the others, flying against the current. I saw it only for a second, but it was distinctly larger than the starlings, and its wing beat was different. I focused the binoculars again, my breath coming fast, and scanned the flock. It would be unusual for a single bird to fly with the starlings.

There was nothing for several minutes but the horde streaming by. Then the strange bird emerged with long, slender wings whose tips were very sharply pointed, making a striking and unique silhouette. And it was fast - much faster than the starlings and twice their size. The cloud shifted, swallowing it, as the entire flock drifted slowly east, farther into the plains.

I consulted some of my bird guides later that evening back in camp and learned that it had been a peregrine falcon. The peregrine is the fastest bird on record, reaching horizontal cruising speeds of 40 to 55 mph. When swooping, the peregrine flies at much greater speeds, however, varying from 99 to 273 mph!

This falcon had swooped into a flock of starlings in the tens of thousands. It hadn't even thought twice about doing so. It changed the entire dynamic of the flock and stood out with its great speed, strength, courage and determination. It was one amongst thousands.

Starlings are great in numbers worldwide; in some states, the American peregrine falcon is listed as endangered -a rare, fast bird. While the starlings were exciting to watch, the falcon swooping amongst the flock took my breath away.

When the Minnesota Vikings traded Randy Moss this week, they took away the peregrine falcon that has excited us since 1998. They took away the single player that took our breath away.

Now, all Vikings fans have left to watch is a flock of starlings. Our peregrine falcon has been taken away. Is there another one out there?

Family Plug

For those who enjoy The Wife's® blog, she has written a new entry...Spring Fever. Head over to her blog and catch it!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:35 AM
February 25, 2005
Play Ball

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Time to cleanse the palate. And besides, I had this entry in the can prior to the Moss trade so I'm going to run with it.

With their season right around the corner I just have to chime in on my thoughts for the soon-to-be-World-Series Champion Minnesota Twins.

Wait a doggone minute! This is a Vikings site! How dare you right about America's second favorite pastime. Hey, it's my blog. And I feel like hot dogs and Cracker Jack at the moment.

And besides, there are plenty of baseball artifacts interspersed with my Vikings artifacts in my office. Right next to the 1991 World Championship photos in my office is a signed photo of Kirby Puckett holding grocery goods and a Supervalu cap for a spot he had done with the local grocery distributor a few years back. It was given to me by the former Vice President of Frozen Foods with Supervalu. It is a cherished piece of memorabilia in my sports collection.

My wife and I fondly recall the 1991 season. That team had her favorite Twins player of all time. She nicknamed him Dirt Ball. Can you guess who that was? Leave some comments on who you think that might be. If no one gets it, I'll start leaving some clues.

We've only attended a few games at the Metrodome since that time. The issue? We just cannot bring ourselves to go inside on a beautiful summer night to watch baseball being played. Build a new outdoor stadium, and the Maas family would probably buy a ticket package to attend a dozen or more games each season.

So, with that in mind, which stadium should the Blow Hards at the Minnesota State Legislature be concentrating on funding first?




But Is It Sponge Worthy?

I'm going to give this a try. Based on Elaine Benes of the great Seinfeld sitcom, each week or so I will introduce another blog that I have come across and have begun reading on a regular basis. You, my valued reader, will decide if it deserves a permanent link on my site under the category of Sponge Worthy Links.

You recall the Seinfeld episode. Elaine only uses the sponge as her form of birth control. When the sponge is to be discontinued she scavenges the city buying in hordes any sponges she can find. From then on, if a man was not sponge worthy, then he was not worth Elaine's troubles.

The blogs chosen at random, may have nothing to do with football..or even sports. If you have a favorite blog, please pass it along to me by leaving the web address under the Comments section found at the end of each entry.

So, is this site, Stick and Ball Guy, worth our attention? Is this blog truly Sponge Worthy and deserving of a permanent link on the Worlds Number One Vikings blog?

Voting will be open for one week, ending next Friday (3/4) morning.




Oh, Right. This is a Football Blog

I'm sick of talking about with Reggie Fowler has the bling or not. My emotions have just about bottomed out on the Moss trade. So let's talk running backs.

Earlier this week, the running backs that were to be the most coveted by other teams during free agency received the nasty tags instead. Seattle's Shaun Alexander and Indy's Edgerrin James, both were slapped with the franchise tag, meaning that they'll change teams only if picks change hands. It previously was announced that the Bengals would tag running back Rudi Johnson.

That means Bills running back Travis Henry, Broncos running back Reuben Droughns, Chicago's Anthony Thomas, the Chiefs Larry Johnson and maybe the Steelers Jerome Bettis would be front runners and possibly provide their teams with some high draft picks.

What a doggone minute! The Vikes have Michael Bennett, Onterrio Smith, and Mewelde Moore. Maybe the Vikes chances of turning one of their running backs into some picks and/or help on defense just increased.

The Vikings have enjoyed depth at running back, especially considering that veteran Moe Williams also played extensively last season. I think one of the aforementioned can be cut loose.

Wide-Receiver, Anyone?

Last week at this time I had no idea the Vikings would be in play for a WR, and by the looks of things, they had better act quickly if they plan to pick up a veteran with half the grapefruits that Moss had.

The Jags have confirmed that they've talked to agent Peter Schaffer regarding the possibility of signing former Titans WR Derrick Mason.

The Redskins ability to trade WR Laveranues Coles apparently hinges on whether they can restructure the contract of LT Chris Samuels. The 'Skins, based on Joe Gibbs' ill-advised statements from last week, have been secretly in contact with the agents for receiver Muhsin Muhammad and/or Plaxico Burress.

Maybe The Brains at Winter Park are snowed in and can't reach their phones?

Giddy in Oakland

Yesterday I spoke of how Howie, one of the super fans of the Raider Nation was giddy over getting Moss. He was standing in his front lawn with both hands in the air dancing around. Now the media is reporting that the front office at headquarters in Oakland is feeling much the same.

Word is that the Raiders believe that Moss and Jerry Porter will create an "unstoppable" 1-2 punch at wideout, given the arm strength of quarterback Kerry Collins.

They believe there will not be a better tandem of receivers in the league. And with the development of Ronald Curry, the Raiders might conjure memories of the Vikes' "Three Deep" lineup of Moss, Cris Carter, and Jake Reed, which propelled the team to a 15-1 record in 1998 in Moss' first season in Minnesota.

The Raiders believe they "stole" Moss. As one Raiders official said, "The Vikes, I think, have lost their minds."

So have I.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:20 AM
February 24, 2005
Server Crash (The Moss Curse Starts!)

Shortly before noon on Thursday, the legions and legions of readers (cough, cough) that come to this blog daily for provocative insight into the world of Minnesota Vikings football were subjected to a whiteout. There was nothing more than a blank screen staring dumbly back at you. Just like the look on Brett Favre’s face after a six interception playoff football game (Jan. 20, 2002 against the Rams).

The whiteout was due to the fact that the Viking Underground and Greet Machine blogs were getting hit so hard from people searching for Moss news that they brought the University of Minnesota servers to their knees.

(Pause for artistic effect)

OK, the truth is the U of M’s library web servers crashed. One side effect was the crashing of PHP capabilities on the blog server. Any page that uses PHP (.phtml), such as the Viking Underground, no longer came up. But the issue has been resolved and I humbly apologize for any distress this may have caused you.

We now return to your regularly scheduled reading.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:27 PM
February 23, 2005
Moss Leaps Into Raider Nation

I'm very, very sorry but the Sponge Worthy entry that was to appear today has been delayed a few days, maybe even until early next week. You see, one of those life changing events has come up. And for the first time, it has hit home not only personally, but as a father as well.

Last football season, my good friend Mark Gresbach had made his annual pilgrimage from Milwaukee to attend a Vikings game with me. Mark and I go way back to the early days of the Internet when message boards were little more than e-mail distribution lists. During the early 1990's, Mark was the guy in charge of the biggest Vikings message board going at that time.

My first posting was something along the lines of, "The Packers suck and always will." Mark sent me a note saying to the effect of, "you gotta tone that down a bit." This from a guy who has Vikes #1 on his Wisconsin plates. We've been buds ever since.

Anyway, Mark brought a special gift for The Boy® this time around. It was a statue of Randy Moss running down a catch. It has been kept in the section of the room that The Boy® reserves only for the most precious of his things.

When The Boy® arrived home from preschool late Wednesday afternoon; I had to explain to him that Randy Moss had been traded to another team. The Boy® immediately went to his room and got his Moss statue and was quietly sad. I captured this photo of him later that evening, statue still in his hand.

The Boy® and I had greatly enjoyed the 2004 campaign. Now four, The Boy® was beginning to understand the game. He even attended his first game with me. He loved it. And when Moss lead the Vikes over lowly Green Bay in the opening round of this past seasons playoffs, Graham was yelling and dancing with me the entire game. It was a special father-son moment.

There is another person for whom I am concerned for tonight. That's Syd Davy of Winnipeg, Canada. Syd and I also go back a few years. We both sit in row 1 of Section 101 at Vikings home games. I've caught Moss twice when he has leapt into the stands after scoring a touchdown.

Syd? Well, Syd has become somewhat famous for catching Randy. Very famous. Leads off the Monday Night Football television introduction famous. This past season, Syd paid a visit to Moss at Winter Park. Moss signed one of Syd's huge arms. Syd had the signature permanently tattooed for eternity.

One wonders what Syd is thinking tonight as he looks at that autograph and recalls the good times.

Another part of the population to worry about is the '98 Fan Base. Just how deep does their love for the Vikings go? This is the part of the Vikings fan base that came aboard the ship during the infamous 15-1 season. Before then, the words blackout and not a sellout were often heard on Vikings game days. Then Randy Moss was drafted and that was followed by 64 consecutive sellouts, attendance records, and a waiting list for season tickets.

One wonders if the '98 Fan Base will erode if the Vikes get off to a rough start this coming season. Will there be empty seats in the upper deck? To the '98 Fan Base, Moss was the Vikings. Even with 9-7 records, fans could still count on Moss to make any game exciting. Now, with Moss gone will the fans return?

Another segment of the population certain to be affected will be the local children's charities. Yes, there will be the nimrods who say that Moss leaving is a good thing. That he was a bad role model. These are ignorant, sorry ass people that only read the headlines in the morning paper and then sit their fat asses at the local coffee shop and talk about what is wrong with the world today but don't want to do anything about it. Moss was not one of those people. He cared deeply for the local youth.

The only thing I heard out of any of Moss' spokespeople on Wednesday night was that the Randy Moss Invitational Celebrity Bass tournament to raise money for the Smile Network on June 29 on Lake Minnetonka will still be hosted by Moss. Vikings player or not. The Smile Network International is a Minnesota based, non-profit, humanitarian organization that provides life altering, reconstructive surgeries and related healthcare services to impoverished children and young adults in developing countries.

Moss will be missed by the kids most of all. Just ask The Boy®. I had to pry the Moss statue out of his hands only after he fell asleep last night. I'm sure it was the same in other households across the Vikings Nation as well.




Ownership Questions

So, what does this trade say about Reggie Fowler's bid to become team owner? I think it shows a certain vote of no confidence by Red McCombs. I think that McCombs inked the Moss trade knowing that Fowler is going to be shot down by the NFL Owners. So, it didn't even faze the ol' car salesman to trade the biggest playmaker in the NFL today with a deal on the table.

"What's that sir? You ordered a fully loaded Cadillac? I'm sorry, the order must have been messed up. I'm afraid you are receiving a Geo Prism. Read the fine-print of the contract, please."

And what if Fowler was completely aware of the trade? What if McCombs provided full disclosure to him prior to the hand-shake?

Just last week, Fowler spoke about his plans for the team, and made it clear that his group would have no plans to trade Randy Moss.

"I think we all have to have a set of standards," Fowler said. "I think Mr. Moss is, if not the finest, one of the finest receivers in the league today. And I think he's a winner. A lot of times when you want to win, you get excited.

"So I look forward to working with Randy, and I think he'll do all the things we need him to do. I don't know that you take some of the best players in the league and start trading them. We need those people to help us win, and I think Randy's one of those guys."

Excuse me. I have to go take a shower. Back in twenty.

And We're Back

So, where does this take the team? Let's look at it from several angles.

We'll start off with Napoleon Harris. Oh yeah, he looks like a team player. Has his own web site and everything. Go there now and sign-up to be part of the N-Army.

Uh-huh. I'll get right on that Mr. Harris, sir!

KFAN radio reported yesterday that they had contacted Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune. McDonald is the preeminent NFL guru on the West coast and saw Harris play over the last several years on a weekly basis. Here are some of the more positive things McDonald had to say.

A terrible player.

Fast, but often out of place.

Injury prone.

Doesn't understand a complex defense.

Often had to be removed from the game.

Totally lost in space.

And again, that was the good stuff. But more on Harris later.

The Draft

The Vikings also get the number seven overall pick from the Raiders. This is where the whole trade hinges. Looks like we can write off Harris as nothing more than serviceable. And the late round pick from the Raiders? So we get a Mr. Irrelevant ala Ryan Hoag of Gustavus Adolphus. Whatever.

In two years time the make or break status of the Moss trade will come down the number seven pick. Do you trust the current brain trust at Winter Park to make the correct call? That is if the team once again understands the 15-minute time limit when they are on the clock. They'll screw this one up again. It's inevitable. But then again.....

Looking at Mel Kiper's Big Board, the first five projected picks are all offense.

1. Cedric Benson Sr. RB Texas
2. Braylon Edwards Sr. WR Michigan
3. Ronnie Brown Sr. RB Auburn
4. Alex Smith Jr. QB Utah
5. Aaron Rodgers Jr. QB California
6. Dan Cody Sr. DE Oklahoma
7. Adam Jones Jr. CB W. Va.
8. Mike Williams Jr. WR USC
9. Derrick Johnson Sr. LB Texas
10. Carnell Williams Sr. RB Auburn

That means the Vikings stand to pick up no worse than the second best defensive player on the board. Maybe it is a can't miss opportunity. But then again, there is the whole clock thing.

And then there are some very good free agent wide receivers currently available to assume the number uno receiver position to compliment Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper. (No, Nate Burleson is not there yet.)

The Vikes would do well to go out and grab Laveranues Coles, or Plaxico Burress, or my pick, Derrick Mason. And do it fast.




What the Raider Nation is Saying

I have the great honor of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton as a member of the inaugural group of fans ever so honored. So I know quite a few of the fans from around the NFL. I've had beer with Barrel Man of the Broncos. And no, he does not wear anything under the barrel. I've attended a Super Bowl with the Browns' Big Dawg. I've sipped wine with Boss Hoggette. And we keep in touch.

So late Wednesday evening I reached out to two Raiders fans. First up was Hardcore. Hardcore knows his football. Finished third in our Pigskin Pick'em group for HOF fans this past season. If you must know, I finished seventh.

Hardcore said, "I think Moss is a good move, the Raider franchise lends itself to people who march to their own drummer, and I cannot fault Moss too much for his actions, he is a player who wants to win but doesn't know how to convey it correctly to the world. If I remember correctly he has been a model citizen the last 2 seasons (well atleast for him anyway), I think that him and [Kerry] Collins will work great, this will be a GREAT receiving tandem now, [Jerry] Porters problem is he is a #2 receiver, but has #1 ego so this will put him in his rightful role again, and the person who will get the most [out] of this is Ronald Curry."

On Harris, Hardcore said, "Nap Harris had a bad season last year, but is not a bad player, he couldn't get accustomed to the new D last year, and it showed every time we played the Chargers and got scorched by their TE. Who knows if this trade might fall through with your new ownership though, weirder things have happened, we'll see when press conferences happen."

Then I was unable to reach Spike. Spike is cool. Spike is the epitome of the Raider Nation. He and his brother stayed with The Wife® and me in 1999 when we were expecting The Boy®. The Vikings opening home game that season was against the Raiders so the boys made a road trip to attend the game with us.

Spike's brother Howie kept trying to lay hands on The Wife's® pregnant tummy in order to turn the contents in favor of the Raider Nation. And I'm happy to say it didn't work!

So, I heard from Howie. Howie summed us his feelings easily enough. "What the f**k were you guys thinking out there?! I'm thrilled to be getting Moss. I'm standing outside on my lawn with my hands up in the air! I'm giddy, dude. Just f**king giddy."

Howie also told me that he had been cheering all the way home after picking up his daughter from daycare and went on to say that Harris is a solid player who will be a good, serviceable (there's the S-word again) middle linebacker for the Vikings.

Howie also thought that Moss will bring "that Barry Bonds thing to the stadium. The fans will simply show up to see what he can do after watching all the highlight reels from the previous years with the Vikings." There's that '98 Fan Base thing again.

I queried Howie why he should be so excited, especially with all the perceived baggage that Moss will be bringing.

"Talk to the Eagles about Owens first and then get back to me," replied Howie.

Well said, Howie. Well said.

Favorite Memories of Moss

It may help to ease your suffering if you leave a favorite memory of Moss using my Comments link at the end of this entry. I'd be interested in hearing about your memories on Moss. So take a few minutes and jot some down!

From the Sidelines

You can read more about The Boy® at The Wife's® blog and read how he is now into his third language. Smart boy, indeed.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:02 PM
Moss Reported Traded to Raiders

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Randy Moss has been traded to the Oakland Raiders for starting linebacker Napoleon Harris, the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft and a 2005 late-round pick. The Star Tribune has also posted a similar story.

I can hear people cutting up their season tickets as we speak. Remember the plexi-glass they had at the Dome for Twins games? They'll now have to install that once again but this time for Vikings home games to keep fans from charging the field looking for the culprits that OK'd this trade. People scream about a referendum to pass a stadium bill. How about a referendum to let the people of Viking land have a say in who goes and who stays?

Even though New England has proven you don't need to have a superstar player in order to be a winning team, Moss was beloved by Vikings fans. If this trade is indeed true, a huge void will be left when #84 laces up in silver and black instead of purple and gold.

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Yes, I feel like the Tin Man looking for a heart. As mine has broken. The Vikings Front Office could be compared to the Scarecrow.....still looking for a brain. Let's just hope that Daunte Culpepper and the rest of the players are not cowardly lions and can show a lot of courage this coming season.

Let's hope a lot.

I plan to call up my friend Spike of the Raiders this evening. First order of business will be to have Spike FedEx a Raider's Moss jersey to me as soon as one is available. It's the jersey I will be wearing to Vikings games this coming season.

So, how about you? Are you against the trade or opposed to it? Will you show up in silver and black this coming season to voice your opposition to the trade? Who should the Vikings nab with the Number Seven pick in this year's NFL Draft? If the Vikes keep it, that is. Just leave a Comment below and let's get some dialouge going!

Posted by maasx003 at 3:38 PM
Vikings Survivor: Week Four

Vote a Player off the Ship

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In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Who will be booted in Week Four? Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (3/2). Make your vote count!




Moss Off the Table For One Team

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Yesterday I had told you of Moss trade rumors heating up once again. Said source said a deal was to be made this week.

Per the source, the Raiders were poised to send a first-round pick, a seventh-round pick, and linebacker Napoleon Harris to the Vikings in exchange for Moss.

With Raiders receiver Jerry Porter signing a new contract, the Raiders won't be swinging a trade with the Vikings for receiver Randy Moss.

And that's the deal that was in place a day ago, but on which the source couldn't elaborate at the time.

So, that's one bullet avoided in this game of Randy Moss Trade Russian roulette. We just don't know how many bullets are left in the revolver. Is it one? Is it two or more? Only time will tell. Let's hope that the chamber is currently empty and that #84 will be streaking down the sideline for the Vikings next year.

From the Sidelines

Besides celebrating Chinese New Year's last weekend, my son Graham also had his practice for the upcoming 2005 St. Paul Celtic Connection celebration taking place at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on March 6.

Four-year old Graham has been taking weekly Irish Dance classes with the St. Paul Irish Dancers for some time now. This will be his first recital and should be very fun to watch.

You know the Maas name is one of those long-lived Irish names. We and the Kennedy's go way back and you'll often find us at clam bakes off Martha's Vineyard in the late summer.....along with Reggie Fowler.

So, if you aren't doing anything March 6, stop by the O'Shaughnessy. I just hope they have pints of Guinness flowing freely!

Coming Thursday

That blog is great, but is it sponge worthy?


Posted by maasx003 at 7:49 AM
February 22, 2005
More Moss Rumors

Pro Football Talk published a few stories late Monday that essentially relayed that a deal is for all intents and purposes completed to launch Randy Moss out of Minnesota. Oh, and that the deal would occur this week.

Didn’t we just read recently that prospective new owner Reggie Fowler said publicly that he doesn't plan to trade receiver Randy Moss?

Pro Football Talk went on to pontificate that they “know the team and the terms, but our source on this one has yet to give us the green light to divulge those details.”

After their first posting of the story, they received an e-mail came from Moss' agent, Dante' DiTrapano.

"There are a lot of rumors but no deal even close," DiTrapano told Pro Football Talk. "He will most likely be a Viking next year.

"As you know, the new year in football is March 2nd so anything you may hear is just speculation at best. I would be the person who knows if there were any activity and there is not."

Well, I don’t know what to think of it. So much in the media these days is to be the first to break a BIG story even if it means the source has not been confirmed.

But on the other hand, season ticket invoices went out a few weeks ago. What would you think the team would be saying at this time? That they are shopping Moss and then watch as the season ticket base erodes by tens of thousands of tickets?

We’ll have to watch this story for any future updates.

Reminder for Vikings Survivor

A reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that started a few weeks ago.

In Week Three of the series to vote one Vikings player off the ship one-by-one, we have a real close battle between Kelly Campbell and E. J. Henderson. They are only a few votes apart. If you haven't voted yet, get your vote in today!

Then come back Wednesday as I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! We'll be down to seven survivors. Who will be the fourth player to walk the plank?

New Blog

The Wife® is turning 40 this March. She has always loved to write and has been published several times. When The Boy® was born life became very hectic and things, such as writing, were put aside. The Boy® is almost five now and can fend for himself. So, with the help of Shane Nackerud at the University of Minnesota, Through the Garden Gate was created to be an outlet for The Wife's® creative prose. Drop in on her blog every so often and check it out. You never know what you might find out about me!


Posted by maasx003 at 7:53 AM
February 21, 2005
Happy President's Day!

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The Maas' have taken the day off to celebrate President's Day so this entry will have a distinctive non-football flair to it. Well, I took the day off. The Wife® actually got to observe the holiday as she is a state employee. She's lucky that way. Get's Columbus Day and other non-significant holiday's off as well.

But President's Day is significant. I have always loved studying the U.S. Presidents. A look at my grade school (Washington Elementary) library card would have shown numerous references to presidential related tomes. Couldn't get enough of it. Going to be playing presidential trivia? I am your ringer. Let's try a couple.

His hands shook with palsy, and most of his teeth had fallen out. He refused to wear dentures, and thus, talked with a lisp. Although he was beset with illnesses, he was the longest-living president.

Know who that was? If you do, leave a comment by using the Comments link at the end of this entry. Here's another:

His health was generally poor. At 24, he suffered a nervous breakdown and spent several weeks in a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Mich., run by the breakfast cereal king, Dr. J.P. Kellogg. He returned there for rest from time to time. He hated confrontation. He was humble to the point of admitting his own limitations.

And one more:

In law school, he was acquired the nickname Gloomy Gus because of his sober demeanor. This president's personality has spawned many books exploring his psychological makeup. He played golf, bowled and swam. He was a sharp poker player.

For more on each President, try this great link at the Detroit Free Press.

Here's an interesting story on the favorite foods of the U.S. presidents. It's a great idea for a cook book and also is amazing to see how past presidential estates were gushing to assist.

Here are some Presidential recipe's you can try for yourself!

And did you know that the U.S. Presidents are some damn fine dancers?

And had really, really good penmanship?

And some of the most interesting historical presidential tidbits often comes from their own presidential campaigns. To wit, here are some actual presidential campaign slogans from past presidents and wanna-be challengers:

1844 Henry Clay: Who is James K. Polk?

Well, Henry he became 11th President of The United States.

1860 Abraham Lincoln: Vote Yourself a Farm.

It was always about the farmers. Even way back then.

1884 Grover Cleveland: Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine.
1884 James Blaine: Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa, Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha.

Wow. And we thought the last few elections were bitter. 1884 sounds like it was a hoot!

1900 William McKinley: A Full Dinner Pail.

He was standing in a receiving line at the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition when a deranged anarchist shot him twice. He died eight days later.

1916 Woodrow Wilson: He kept us out of war.

In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy."

1928 Herbert Hoover: A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.

His election seemed to ensure prosperity. Yet within months the stock market crashed, and the Nation spiraled downward into depression.

1976 Jimmy Carter: Not Just Peanuts.

I'm not going there.

1988 George Bush: Kinder, Gentler Nation.

Uh-huh.

1992 Bill Clinton: Putting People First.

Especially female interns.

Now then, it's time for you to participate. Who was the greatest president of all time? I've tried to play it even-steven between the Donkeys and the Elephants but if one of these nine doesn't suit your taste, just leave a comment within the poll itself.




Posted by maasx003 at 12:26 PM
February 20, 2005
How to Help the D-Line

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Back on February 14th, I had told you about the Vikings needing to look towards Denver to possibly help in adding another dominate defensive lineman to work along side of Pro Bowler Kevin Williams.

At that time I had indicated that the Broncos were shopping former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Trevor Pryce. That has been rekindled as the Broncos are now saying that up to eight teams have articulated genuine interest in Pryce. Those teams include the Vikings, Seahawks, Cowboys, and Raiders.

The Rocky Mountain News also suggests that the Broncos would consent to a third-round pick for Pryce. But with so many teams engrossed with Pryce, look to Denver to up the ante.

Of course, the most captivating opportunity is the Vikings. With a possible change in ownership possibly to occur and with current owner Red McCombs' unwillingness to fork over a bunch of his own money in signing bonuses, Pryce would the perfect offseason asset to bolster the defensive line, since Pryce requires no signing bonus of any kind.

Assuming Pryce stays on the outside, he'd unseat Kenny Mixon. Mixon could still add depth at the position. If, however, the Vikings would move him to the inside, Pryce and Williams could form a potentially assertive interior tandem, the likes of which the Vikings haven't seen since Henry Thomas and Keith Millard were clogging the middle of the line.

Pryce, a once dominant defensive tackle, moved to defensive end in 2002 and remains the best defensive lineman on the Bronco’s roster. He missed most of the 2004 season after undergoing back surgery in September.

The team's willingness to part with Pryce arises from its impending shift from a 4-3 front to the 3-4. The thinking is that the need for a high-priced defensive end is reduced in this new alignment, since the ends primarily are expected to tie up blockers so that the linebackers can make plays.

Pryce, 29, was the 28th player taken in the 1997 draft.

Links and Tidbits

The Keep Moss In Minnesota Petition is now up to 168 signatures. If you haven't signed yet, please take a moment to do so.

Interesting Packer view on the Curse of Max Winter.

The Wife® made the paper last week. Both photo and story. Check it out.

And an interesting start to one of my mornings last week. Read about it at my dog blog.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:29 PM
February 18, 2005
Year of the Rooster

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Happy Year of the Rooster to you and yours! This weekend, The Boy® has been invited to participate in Chinese New Year festivities this Saturday with a classmate from his preschool. I’ve done a bit of research on this cultural New Year so that The Wife® and I could converse with The Boy® and use it as a cultural learning experience. Some very interesting facts have come to light that I will share with you today. (Besides, I need a few days away from football news!)

The Wife® has always thought me a snake. I think women typically think that of most men. I truly believe it is something they learn while in Home Economics class in high-school. One day, little girls go into class all happy and giggly towards boys. That dreadful day, the Home Economics teacher closes the door tight and places brown paper over the window in the door so that no one can peer in. Sixty minutes later these young lasses emerge with The Look.

If you are male over the age of four, you have received The Look from a mother, girlfriend, or wife. The Look is nothing more than the expression one gets from a female when one does something incredibly moronic. Women are born with a natural ability to give The Look. I think The Wife® is up to 4002 instances of when she has given me The Look judging by the notches in the headboard of our bed where she keeps track.

Anyway, back to Chinese New Years. Said wife was born in 1965. Imagine my glee upon learning that 1965 was the Year of the Snake. Hah! And she thought I was the snake. I now know the truth and she will learn of it as soon as she receives the letter I will mail to inform her of this. Ain’t no way I’m going to tell her this in person. She’s still upset that on The Boy®’s daily animal calendar a skunk appears on her upcoming birthday. And The Boy® made the mistake of pointing this out to the The Wife®. At least The Boy® and I experienced some good father-son bonding time in the garage that evening. We were even allowed a space heater.

Me? I was born in the Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese New Year’s legend, oxen are born leaders, inspiring confidence in everyone they come into contact with. Yep, that’s me. A born leader. However, they can be too demanding. Can’t let The Wife® see that. And I probably shouldn’t have left that list of things on the counter for her to accomplish while home today.

The Boy®? Why, he was born in the Year of the Dragon. Dragons tend to be popular individuals who are always full of life and enthusiasm, with a reputation for being fun-loving. They make good priests, artists and politicians. Hmm, a priest in the family? That might be useful for last rites when The Wife® finds out that in addition to being a skunk, she was born in the Year of the Snake. (If you don’t hear from me by Monday, please send the authorities).

Links and Tidbits

Denny Wants Bennett? Vikes Want Feely? Is Reggie Married Or Not?

Cheesehead Craig has posted a Packer version of Fowler's fact sheet. Quoting Bugs Bunny, "Of course, he knows that this means war!"

PR advice for Fowler: Stop being such a mystery!

Fowlers 'Facts' lead to other alarming questions

For Twins fans, here is a great take on the stadium issue.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:53 AM
February 17, 2005
The Hunt for Reggie Fowler

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Yokel: Also see rube, hick, yahoo, hayseed, bumpkin, chawbacon. Defined as not very intelligent or interested in culture.

Flyover country: The middle class Midwest that is typically "flown over" by scheduled airlines in their hops between their major hubs. Flyover country is populated by yokels, rubes, hicks, yahoos, hayseeds, bumpkins, and chawbacons.

This has happened once before. On February 5, 1998 Tom Clancy signed an agreement to purchase Minnesota Vikings for slightly more than $200 million, an NFL franchise record at that time. You would have thought that the financial geniuses at Winter Park would have done some homework to see if the check would actually clear the bank. They did not, and Vikings fans were embarrassed nationally when the deal fell apart after Clancy became embroiled in an expensive divorce.

Jump ahead to 2005 and Reggie Fowler has offered Red McCombs somewhere between $625 and $635 million for the Vikings franchise. There are questions about Fowler’s ability to actually write the check. And now this.

Evidently, Fowler's resume needed some fine-tuning in order to eliminate a couple of, well, falsehoods. And I find that to be, frankly, unfortunate. Black, white, purple, green, yellow, or calico, truthfulness should matter. And superfluities, exaggerations, and/or flat-out lies on a resume typically are the easiest way to spot a person of questionable character.

On Wednesday, Fowler said that, contrary to a biography that had been previously distributed, he never played in the NFL or the CFL. He apparently was in camp with both leagues but never made a final roster.

Fowler claims that he never saw the erroneous version of the "Reggie Fowler Fact Sheet," and that a new version was issued by his public relations firm after the Minneapolis Star Tribune discovered that the first version contained numerous inaccuracies.

The new version also omits reference to the fact that Fowler participated in the Little League Word Series. Apart from the question of how in the world such a barefaced untruth made its way onto the fact sheet, I can't even begin to understand why anyone would deem that information relevant more than 30 years after the fact, even if it were true.

The revision likewise clarifies his college degree, which previously had been identified as business, with an emphasis on finance. Now, the fact sheet states that Fowler earned a degree in social work.

Even if Fowler didn't see the first version of the fact sheet containing the various untruths, someone working for him is either a manifest liar or grossly inept. So in my judgment it doesn't say much about Fowler's assessment when it comes to hiring folks to work on his behalf.

As far as Fowler’s team of investors, it seems like some embellishment is also par for the course as well. My close, personal friend Sid Hartman reports today:

Alan Landis, one of the partners of prospective Vikings owner Reggie Fowler, told some people connected with Fowler that he is a big stockholder in the Yankees and the YES Television Network. According to the Yankees, Landis owns about 1 percent of the team and YES. Landis was one of about 15 people connected with Fowler who toured the Metrodome following the Fowler news conference Monday. The word is that Fowler and his developers are going to look into the possibility of remodeling the Metrodome so it could create a lot more income.

So Fowler and Landis apparently missed school the day that truthful resume' writing class was in session.

Since Fowler be doing a lot of hiring when he assumes full ownership of the Vikings, I don't hold out much hope for a rebirth of the franchise under his leadership.

Sorry, for the short entry today but I must work on my resume' so I can submit to Winter Park for any job openings should Fowler get approved. You know, I was NFL Assistant Commissioner from 1994-1997. That's got to be good for Director of Pro Personnel with the team, don't you think?




Reminder: Keep Moss In Minnesota Petition

I decided to try a on-line petition to see how many signatures I can gather from people in favor of keeping Randy Moss in Minnesota. I'll then take it over to Winter Park to deliver to Reggie Fowler if/when he is approved as the new owner of the Minnesota Vikings. Here is the link.

After just one day, there are 94 signatures. Pretty amazing. Not bad. So let's keep it going. Please pass the link along to friends and co-workers and let's try to break 100!

Housecleaning

There are some features to point out on the Viking Underground blog. First, on the left navigation bar, you will now notice a custom rolling 30-day calendar. Here, you will find significant NFL and Vikings dates as well as current and past player birthdays. Also included will be key dates in Vikings history. I'll be adding things over the next few days. If you have any suggestions for the calendar, or even birthdays, just pass along to me and I will load it in. The calendar has its own XLM feed so feel free to use on your own blog as well. Under the calendar you will see the Topix Vikings news RSS feed and the local weather.

I've moved all the links, calendars, search functions, archives, etc. to the right navigation bar. Here, if you have a RSS feeder you can even add my site to your feeder by using the Syndicate This Site link at the top right.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:56 AM
February 15, 2005
Viking Survivor: Week Three

Vote a Player off the Ship

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In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Who will be booted in Week Three? Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (2/23). Make your vote count!




Keep Moss In Minnesota Petition

I decided to try a on-line petition to see how many signatures I can gather from people in favor of keeping Randy Moss in Minnesota. I'll then take it over to Winter Park to deliver to Reggie Fowler if/when he is approved as the new owner of the Minnesota Vikings. Here is the petition and the link:

Vikings fans and Randy Moss share a common goal. That goal is to bring a Super Bowl championship to Minnesota. That goal will be in danger of not being met if Moss were to be traded from the team.

We must, as fans, not allow for this to happen. We need as many signatures as possible to make a difference. We must not allow Moss to leave the Vikings. Once Reggie Fowler is approved as the new owner of the Vikings, it will be up to him to decide the fate of Moss. After the NFL has approved Mr. Fowler, I will take the signed petition to Winter Park and personally deliver it to him.

Please sign.

Foes of Anoka Stadium Strategize

And speaking of people doing petitions, up in Anoka County Tuesday evening there were fourteen people attending a meeting at the Anoka County Library in Circle Pines who have plans to derail a new Vikings stadium before the first shovelful of dirt is dug.

The citizens group Taxpayers Against an Anoka County Vikings Stadium were meeting to strategize how to block any increase in the county sales tax to fund a stadium.

Under a plan endorsed by the County Board, Anoka County would contribute $240 million toward construction of a proposed $700 million stadium in Blaine, with the team owner and state contributing equal amounts.

"We need to tell [Vikings bidder] Reggie Fowler to assume his adult responsibilities and pay his own bills," said Burt Hanson, a retired trucker from Anoka who attended.

The group has a petition, which has gathered 139 signatures. I think we should be able to get that many to keep Moss in Minnesota, don't you think?

Posted by maasx003 at 4:05 PM
February 14, 2005
Why Would Fowler Pay $625 Large?

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If Reggie Fowler ends up owning the Minnesota Vikings, he will need to look no further than recent Super Bowl history to find a blueprint from which he can draw up a path from which he can hope to hold the Lombardi trophy high over his head.

Look at the participants from the recently played Super Bowl XXXIX in which the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. Both these teams matched up very closely when it came to measuring their finances. Both teams played in brand-new stadiums, and each team contributed more than $300 million to the stadium cost.

The Pats are one of only three NFL teams that play in privately financed stadiums. The Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins are the others. Patriots owner Robert Kraft financed the entire construction of what is now Gillette Stadium by borrowing $312 million. The Eagles contributed $330 million to the building of their home, Lincoln Financial Field.

So, to follow suit, one should expect Fowler and his minority interest to put up $300 million plus towards a new Vikings stadium. Even that is a small portion of the reported $1.5 billion needed to build a hotel, corporate headquarters, housing, a theme park, and shops surrounding the centerpiece stadium that the Fowler group has been quoted as being interested in building in neighboring Anoka county.

The huge price tag is because we are talking sports complex, not just a stadium. According to the Anoka County web site, there would be a 70,000 seat fixed-roof domed stadium; 20,000 surface parking spaces ideal for tailgating; 100,000 sq. ft. team headquarters and training facilities; 300,000 sq. ft. medical center; two 250 room business-class hotels and conference center; 100,000 sq. ft. of Vikings-themed retail and hall-of-fame. Retail Shops at the Preserve - 650,000 sq. ft. of retail and entertainment with public plazas and pedestrian corridors. Also included in the complex would be a Corporate Center – 1.3 million sq. ft. of corporate headquarters, offices and commercial space; the Residences at the Preserve – 200 units of upscale townhomes; and The Rice Creek Conservancy – 250 acres of preserved wetlands and trails.

Why would Fowler put up $625 million for a team and then drop that much coin for a stadium and other things? Both the Eagles and Patriots stadiums generate a ton of revenue for their teams. The Patriots' home boasts 6,000 club seats costing $5,000 per season on average. The stadium's 80 luxury suites sell for $165,000 on average. The Eagles' 172 luxury suites and 8,200 club seats cost $135,000 and $2,300 per season, respectively.

According to Forbes magazine, both teams earned $38 million per year from their premium seating last year. The Patriots made $26 million last year in sponsorship revenue from pricey deals with companies like Bank of America, Ford Motor and McDonald's. The Eagles made $23 million in marketing revenue, which came from the likes of PepsiCo and Sovereign Bancorp.

Think what the Vikings could do with the likes of corporate heavyweights Target Corp., United Health Group, Best Buy, Super Valu, 3M, US Bancorp, General Mills, Northwest Airlines, Cenex Harvest States, St. Paul Cos., Xcel Energy, Medtronic, Land O'Lakes, and Hormel located within the Minnesota border.

While lucrative stadiums put the Pats and Eagles near the top of the league's financial hierarchy, every NFL team (except the Arizona Cardinals last year) is profitable, thanks to a strict player-salary cap and a lucrative TV deal. Owners paid out 64% of revenue to players last season. Each team received a total of $81 million last season from The Walt Disney Co., Viacom and News Corp. as part of an eight-year TV contract worth $17.6 billion. The salary cap and rich TV deal gave NFL owners a cumulative operating profit of $850 million last season, compared with collective losses for both Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

The Pats and Eagles are among the NFL's most valuable franchises. The value of both teams has jumped more than 50% over the past two years.

Pats Franchise Value: $861 million
Pats Value Rank: Fourth
Pats Total Revenue: $191 million
Ad/Sponsor Revenue: $26 million
Premium Seat Revenue: $38 million
Naming Rights (Gillette): $95 million

Eagles Franchise Value: $833 million
Eagles Value Rank: Fifth
Eagles Total Revenue: $198 million
Ad/Sponsor Revenue: $23 million
Premium Seat Revenue: $38 million
Naming Rights (Lincoln Financial): $140 million

If you are looking to build a winner for a future Super Bowl, consider this: Since Forbes started valuing NFL franchises in 1998, the Super Bowl winner has been the more valuable franchise each year. This includes 2002 and 2003, when the winning team was the underdog going into the game.

When picking a Super Bowl winner, it pays to follow the money.

2004 SB
Winner, New England with a franchise value of $756 million
Loser, Carolina Panthers with a franchise value of $642 million

2003 SB
Winner, Tampa Bay with a franchise value of $606 million
Loser, Oaklnad Raiders with a franchise value of $421 million

2002 SB
Winner, New England with a franchise value of $524 million
Loser, St. Louis Rams with a franchise value of $448 million

2001 SB
Winner, Baltimore Ravens with a franchise value of $479 million
Loser, N.Y. Giants with a franchise value of $387 million

2000 SB
Winner, St. Louis Rams with a franchise value of $390 million
Loser, Tennessee Titans with a franchise value of $369 million

1999 SB
Winner, Denver Broncos with a franchise value of $320 million
Loser, Atlanta Falcons with a franchise value of $233 million

So, up front, it would appear that Fowler is crazy. Crazy like a fox.

Note: I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts about Fowler now that 24-hours has passed since the annoucement. Do you think another outside party is the best fit for the Vikings? How does this change the plan for improving the defense via free agency? Does this improve the chances of getting the stadium issue resolved? Leave a comment using the Comment link at the end of today's entry.

Reminder for Vikings Survivor

Reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that started recently.

Chris Hovan was voted off the ship in Week One. Morten Andersen appears headed for Davey Jones' locker in Week Two. If you haven't voted yet, get your vote in today!

Then come back Wednesday as I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! We'll be down to eight survivors. Who will be the third player to walk the plank?

Fantasy Racing Reminder

For all you NASCAR buffs out in football land, its your last chance to sign-up and enjoy fantasy NASCAR racing with your football buddies.

In order to join the group, just go to the game front page and click on the "Sign Up" button to create a team. After completing registration, or if you already have a team, click the "Create or Join Group" button and follow the path to join my existing private group. Then, when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 24451
Password: purple

Good luck! And let's have some clean racing!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:45 PM
Mr. Fowler, Meet Mr. Moss

Perhaps the principal football matter related to the pending sale of the Minnesota Vikings is whether Reggie Fowler will choose to keep or to trade receiver Randy Moss. The question would most likely be driven by the possible local reaction to such a move.

It’s common knowledge that Fowler will be trying to get a new stadium for the team from the time he is approved by the NFL and signs his name on the check that he will give to Red McCombs. For any hope of a new stadium, Fowler will need the public on his side. Trade Moss and he'll risk alienating the people who are in best position to rally around new ownership in its inevitable quest for the new venue that McCombs and his car salesman demeanor simply couldn't obtain. If Fowler gets the Vikes, my bold prediction is that Moss stays.

Moss and the Broncos

Word out of Denver is that the Broncos are shopping former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Trevor Pryce.

Pryce, a once dominant defensive tackle, moved to defensive end in 2002 and remains the best defensive lineman on the roster. He missed most of the 2004 season after undergoing back surgery in September.

The team's willingness to part with Pryce arises from its impending shift from a 4-3 front to the 3-4. The thinking is that the need for a high-priced defensive end is reduced in this new alignment, since the ends primarily are expected to tie up blockers so that the linebackers can make plays.

Pryce, 29, was the 28th player taken in the 1997 draft. In 2001, there were rumors of a possible trade of Pryce straight up for Vikings receiver Randy Moss, before Moss signed a long-term extension to stay in Minnesota. If Pryce is healthy, look for those rumors to rekindle.

Links and Tidbits

Vikings Set to Name QBs Coach.

Taxpayers Against an Anoka County Vikings Stadium.Wow, they even have a petition. Maybe I could start a Taxpayers Against the Taxpayers Against an Anoka County Vikings Stadium?

From the Sidelines

What Social Security Crisis?

Social Security's first beneficiary was Ernest Ackerman of Cleveland, Ohio, who retired one day after the Social Security Act was signed into law 14 August, 1935. A nickel was withheld from Ackerman's final paycheck, but he received his one-time lump-sum Social Security payment, which was 17 cents.

That 12-cent return was the beginning of unforeseen things to come. Soon, congressional amendments added benefits for spouses, minor children and survivors, and by 1950 the program assured virtually universal coverage. 1972 saw the addition of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program (AKA "welfare"), and by 1975 the addition of annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) assured the SS juggernaut's exponential growth. In 1977, Medicare became an independent entitlement, spun off from the Social Security system. Today, despite its humble beginnings, the Social Security system confronts our young people with the grim prospect of paying for unfunded promises made to past generations.

Notwithstanding the "welfare reform" acts of the 1990s, when Social Security turned 65, SSI benefits covered 6,688,489 Americans at a cost of $32,165,856,000, while Social Security itself disbursed some $431,949,000,000 to 45,877,506 beneficiaries. However, those staggering numbers are mere chump change compared to what lies ahead.

President George W. Bush's modest proposal to reform Social Security appears to be a good start at diverting this behemoth from its collision course with insolvency. Predictably, though, the latest retort from the Left is, "What insolvency? What crisis?" Indeed, these do-nothing Demos claim the Fed's IOUs in Social Security's so-called "trust fund," combined with minor tweaks to the system, will keep it solvent for generations.

The President's three-year PRA opt-in for SSI taxpayers born after 1950 would allow them to put up to four percent of their wages in their PRAs. At retirement, those invested in PRAs would be guaranteed to receive at least what their payout would be if they only had SSI income. But those beneficiaries whose PRAs have a higher return can share in that return, which reduces the burden on the SSI fund, and the principal balance is fully inheritable.

Quote of the week...

"Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to [members of Congress], because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets [you] deposit a portion of [your] paychecks into any of five different broadly-based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans." --President George W. Bush

Good idea....

"My financial adviser Ric Edelman...thinks the time to start educating people about money is when they are children. He's set up a retirement plan called the RIC-E-Trust that can provide retirement security. A $5,000 one-time tax-deferred investment at birth, with an average interest rate of ten percent compounded, means that a child would have $2.4 million when he or she is 65 years old. Who needs Social Security with that kind of nest egg?" --Cal Thomas

This week's "Democrat Jackass" award

"Do I know of a senator who will support privatization of Social Security? The answer is no. No, I don't know of a single Democratic [sic] senator. They all agree that there should be no privatization of Social Security. I agree with them." --Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nial)

This week's "Braying Jackass" award

"Back on September 11, terrorists attacked our metropolitan cores, two of America's great cities. Years later, we are given a budget proposal by our commander in chief, the president of the United States. And, with a budget ax, he is attacking America's cities. He is attacking our metropolitan core." --Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley, comparing President Bush to Mohamed Atta & Co.

Posted by maasx003 at 2:25 PM
February 13, 2005
It's Fowler! (For Now)

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BY CHARLEY WALTERS, Pioneer Press

The word leaking out of the Reggie Fowler investor group trying to buy the Vikings is that an announcement that Red McCombs has agreed to sell the NFL team to the Arizona businessman will come Monday.

If true, the NFL's finance committee would have to complete a background check on Fowler and his New Jersey partners to determine whether they, especially Fowler, are adequately capitalized. The NFL owners would then vote whether to approve the sale. The next owners meeting is March 20-23 in Hawaii.

The Pioneer Press reported last week that Fowler's group registered itself this month as Minnesota Vikings Football, a licensed liability company, in Delaware, where many national companies are incorporated.

If a sale to Fowler's group turns out to be legitimate, the price could reach $635 million. McCombs paid $246 million for the Vikings in 1998.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has said he is willing to spend $600 million for the Vikings.

• People close to the situation say the pursuit of the Vikings by Fowler and Taylor could turn ugly before it is decided who ends up with the team.

• Before McCombs purchased the Vikings, an agreement was announced that novelist Tom Clancy of Maryland had bought the team from 10 Minnesota partners. That deal fell apart when it was learned that Clancy, because of divorce proceedings, didn't have the required finances and the NFL wouldn't approve the deal.

Twenty-four of the 32 NFL owners would have to approve a Vikings sale to Fowler or Taylor.

• The Arizona Republic newspaper estimates Fowler's net worth is more than $400 million. It is unclear how much debt he has on his assorted business holdings.

There is skepticism whether a net worth of even $500 million is enough to become a general partner of an NFL team. People in the know say a net worth of $1 billion would be necessary.

Whether the NFL would approve a sale to Fowler is questionable. A general partner, which Fowler would be, would need enough liquidity to withstand capital losses and to be able to use available capital in case some partners eventually wanted out of the deal.

• Some people speculate that Fowler's trio of New Jersey real estate partners are so well-heeled that the group might not need public funding for a new stadium on 700 acres in Blaine and instead would try to develop the area on their own.

However, other NFL owners might frown on such an idea because it could set an awkward precedent for stadium building. Because Taylor would want public approval for a stadium, NFL owners might favor a bid for the Vikings by him, among other reasons because it might be in their best interests.

• If the Vikings franchise, which is considered among the least valuable in the NFL because of its Metrodome lease, were to sell for more than $600 million, the value of some other franchises could approach $1 billion within a few years.

• If Fowler's bid is accepted by McCombs and subsequently rejected, there could be a rebidding process for the team, the same as when Clancy's deal fell through.

Regardless of its true worth, Fowler's bid could become the established price for McCombs. That's obviously McCombs' sale strategy.





Posted by maasx003 at 5:03 PM
February 12, 2005
Breaking News On Sale

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Some very, very remarkable information coming out of the Diamond State.

Within the last few days we’ve seen a step up in information pertaining to the sale of the Minnesota Vikings. From Delaware there now comes factual corroboration a sale could be imminent.

The Delaware Secretary of State's web site now has this interesting listing showing that on February 4, 2005, an entity known as Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC was formed. Near the bottom of the page insert Minnesota Vikings into the Enter Entity Name and up pops file number 3917457. Sort of like watching the X-Files all over again, isn’t it?

Why Delaware? Delaware is an exceptionally frequent locality for the establishment of business organizations.

So, someone be it Reggie Fowler or Glen Taylor set this association in place to receive the assets of the Vikings once the sale is finalized. We could be very close folks. If it is Fowler, do recall that the NFL will still have to approve the final sale.

Follow-Up: I received a tip from a co-worker who lives in Rhode Island about this information. It appeared that his e-mail was a cut & paste job so I edited to my taste and immediately posted it while also e-mailing him back to inquire about the source of the information. I now know that Pro Football Talk was his source and deserves full credit for breaking this news.

Follow-Up II

I had contacted Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune about the Delaware information and heard back early Sunday morning. Here was his e-mail response:

It's Fowler. We saw it here at Strib a few days ago, but didn't get too
excited. Red has the Vikes incorporated in Texas. At first, we thought
he had switched to Delaware, but found out this is where Fowler will be
incorporating if he gets the Vikes. Reusse.

Posted by maasx003 at 5:06 PM
February 11, 2005
Ownership Battle In the Making?

The Vikings are about to be sold again for the second time in eight years. Back in 1998 the rumored potential buyers were Shruti Misra, Carl Pohlad, Roger Headrick, Tom Clancy, Glen Taylor, J. Bruce Llewellyn, and eventual winner Red McCombs.

Back in 1998 I recall being in Phoenix on business. One evening as I flipped through the various channels available at my resort hotel, I came across an all-time movie classic, Patton. Early in the movie, George C. Scott, as the volatile World War II commander, directs his driver to a deserted battlefield, littered with shards and stones from a millennia-old massacre of Carthaginians by Roman legions.

"Two thousand years ago, I was here," muses Patton. In the background, unobtrusively, though hauntingly rendered, is a somber, scintillating ghostly piece of music marked by soft trumpet flourishes and the steady throb of a bass drum. And the musical score put me in deep thought.

Yes, here we are again as in a time before.

Again, we must battle through another ownership bidding war, possibly just as hard on us, the troops, as it was in 1998. Which general will emerge to take the Viking legions to the ultimate victory? Unlike 1998 there are only two leaders emerging to take over the reigns of the Minnesota Vikings Football Club.

Reggie Fowler: Last time I checked, a person still couldn’t make a snowball in Hell, and that’s about the odds of this bid being accepted. Fowler may have a lot of rich friends, but it's become pretty apparent he doesn't have the net worth to qualify as a majority owner, and it doesn't sound like his buddies want the role. Oh, and his buddies are New York and New Jersey investors who could give a rats ass whether the Vikings stay here or not.

And Fowler doesn't have a Minneapolis area code yet. I haven't seen his East Coast buddies start digging on the proposed Anoka sight. What if the stiffs over at the Minnesota State Legislature tune out the stadium talk again and the lure of big money elsewhere drives Fowler's group to LA or elsewhere like McCombs threatened?

We will start to read more and more comments coming from NFL HQ's that states the next owner of the Vikings won’t go to the highest bid, but the one they feel is best for the team and community. This isn’t it.

Glen Taylor: Yes, I have saved the best for last. Does Taylor have the money? Taylor is was reported to be worth over $1.9 billion. Since 1998, Wall Street's love of printing companies, whic h is Taylor's claim to fame, has grown stronger, and Taylor's company has become even more valuable. Using the estimates of DeWese, who consults on printing company deals nationally with Compass Capital Advisors in Radnor, Pa., and a revenue figure of $900 million, Taylor Corp. could be worth $2 billion later this year, after subtracting its relatively modest corporate debt.

That would value Taylor's ownership interest at $1.78 billion, making him the richest Minnesotan. Already a saint in the Twin Cities for saving the Timberwolves franchise from moving to New Orleans, Taylor would most assuredly keep the team in Minnesota. No question about it.

There just is more information that Fowler about how Taylor runs a sports franchise. The Timberwolves are debt free, and only lose money based on how the leagues Collective Bargaining Agreement, and television contract are divided. If the situation warrants where some public funding is needed for a stadium, fellow Minnesotan Taylor is clearly better positioned to get it. Who is going to pay for the roads to and from the new stadium afterall? I also like the idea of both teams getting a better bargining rights with local vendors, radio contracts, and advertising.

And Taylor would be the perfect owner. He just signs the pay checks and hands over the operations to those nearest the game. With the Timberwolves, Taylor hired Duluth native and Boston Celtic great Kevin McHale to run the show. Rest assured that Taylor would bring in a football-minded person, very close to the game, to be the Viking GM.

But back to the all-important stadium issue. In 1998, Taylor talked with, and had the endorsement of, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. Both parties were on friendly terms. Jump ahead to 2005 and we see that Minnesota Majority leaders Steve Sviggum of the House and Dean Johnson of the Senate favor a Taylor-owned Vikings in order to get a new stadium built or the Metrodome renovated.

And you just know that Taylor’s marketing department is ready to move in and sell the Vikings to a community hungry for next season to start.

So what’s my reservation about Taylor? I'd like to know just who are Taylor's partners. Should Taylor, God forbid, meet an untimely death or sell his share of the team, a non-local could feasibly become majority owner by just purchasing the necessary amount to put him or her over the required thirty percent.

Then it would be a matter of time for a rare Vikings losing season to come along and dwindle the ticket base, giving the new owner the impetus to move the team to Los Angeles, for example.

But Taylor receives my endorsement, albeit not a ringing one. And he is certainly capable of being the General Patton we need to go toe-to-toe with the State Legislature and the Minnesota public to get a Vikings stadium resolution completed.

Meet Glen "The Tank" Taylor, new majority owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Links and Tidbits

Patrick Reusse, of the Star Tribune has posted a story on Taylor's hope to eventually own the team.

Reusse also has another post about the current stadium hierarchy in Minnesota.

A Future Father - Son Talk at the Maas'

A young man was about to finish his first year of college. Like so many others his age he considered himself to be a very liberal Democrat and was for
distribution of all wealth. He felt deeply ashamed that his father was a rather staunch Republican which he expressed openly.

One day he was challenging his father on his beliefs and his opposition to higher taxes on the rich & more welfare programs. In the middle of his heart felt
diatribe based upon the lectures he had heard from his far left professors at his school, his father stopped him and asked him point blank, how he was doing in school.

He answered rather haughtily that he had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain. That he had to study all the time, never had time to go
out and party like other people he knew. He didn't even have time for a girlfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of spending all his time studying. That he was taking a more difficult curriculum.

His father listened and then asked, "How is your friend John?"

The son replied, "John is barely getting by", he continued, "all he has is barely a 2.0 GPA", adding "and all he takes are easy classes and he never studies." But to explain further he continued emotionally, "John is so very popular on campus, college for him is a blast, he goes to all the parties all the time and very often doesn't even show up for classes because he is too hung over."

His father then asked his son, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your 4.0 GPA and give it to your friend who only had a
2.0?" He continued, "That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair equal distribution of GPA."

The son visibly shocked by the fathers suggestion angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I worked really hard for mine, I did without and John has done
little or nothing, he played while I worked real hard!"

The father slowly smiled and said, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

Posted by maasx003 at 10:42 AM
Rugby Fans vs. Football Fans

Welsh Fan in Balls Up
Feb 8, 2005

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The Welsh national flag flies right below Old Glory on the Maas flag pole. Suffice to say we fell in love with the country many years ago and keep tabs on friendships struck while visiting. We also track stories coming out of Wales. This one caught our eye.

A Welsh rugby fan cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby, according to British newspaper reports.

Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Sunday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, "If Wales win I'll cut my balls off", the paper said.

Friends at the club in Caerphilly, south Wales, thought he was joking. But after the game Huish went home, severed his testicles with a knife, and walked 200 metres back to the bar with the testicles to show the shocked drinkers what he had done.

Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in a seriously ill condition, the Daily Mirror paper said. Police told the paper he had a history of mental problems.

Wales's 11-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was their first home win in 12 years.

Wow! And we think we're tough! Funny thing is, I've been to Caerphilly. Great little town. Fantastic castle. If I ever go back, I may elect to stay out of the pubs!

If we lose to the Packers next year I'm going to cut off my.....

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Another Find Courtesy 89.3 FM

Back on January 26, I told you about a new radio station in the Twin Cities at 89.3 FM (The Current). I also told you about a new band that had caught my attention one morning as I drove to work.

The group is called Two Time Polka. No, I haven't gone bonkers and started listening to polka music. This is a Cajun band. Think John Fogerty and you have a rough idea. It is truly good stuff.

Now 89.3 has come through again introducing me to great Jazz singer. Madeleine Peyroux's voice carries a unique blend of jazz and pop. Some people think she sounds like a postmodern heir to the smoky-voiced Billie Holiday. I also hear a little Ella Fitzgerald, a little Rosemary Clooney, and a dash of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

This is great music to have on at dinner time or relaxing with a cocktail or glass of wine. I suggest you give it a go for Valentine's Day. You won't be disappointed.

Housecleaning

It's Friday so time to clean stuff off my desk that has been building up as of late.

I've slowly made some additional changes to the site over the last few weeks. Sometimes I keep them for a few days and then decide I really don't like that change and delete it. Others have stayed.

Along the left sidebar you can now see:

Under Movies: A little video of me from the 1997 season that appeared on ESPN. Recall the game?
Under Links: I have added the Dogs of Our Lives (a blog dedicated to my past and current dogs); the Spiking Viking personal web site; and the Astronomy Photo of the Day. Also added under the "Keep thy enemies close at hand" category is the Oracle of Cheese which is the personal blog of none other than frequent commentator to this blog, Cheesehead Craig. And at the top is the George Washington of Blogs at the University of Minnesota, the Greet Machine whose author is responsible for the look of the Viking Underground.
Under Shameless Plugs: This is a entirely new category and seems to be a popular thing for bloggers to do. Here is where you can find what I am reading, watching, and listening to, with links to each for more information.
Under RSS Feeds: I have decided to stick with the Topix Vikings feed. This will update automatically whenever new Vikings news stories hit. Also under this category, is a live weather update so you non-Minnesotans can check out our misery factor anytime during the winter.

Along the right sidebar you can now see:

A PayPal donation button: This is a service by PayPal wherein you can send a on-line donation directly to me. You need to have a PayPal account in order to do so. Any funds raised will go back into the blog. What costs? For instance, I might attend a minicamp and post all my photos for everyone to see. That can cost a handsome sum. For an example of past stuff here are two links:

Vikings mini-camp 2001

Carolina Panthers at Vikings from 2001


Posted by maasx003 at 7:41 AM
February 10, 2005
Dynasty?

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Anyone else think that the New England Patriots are the greatest team of all time? I'm willing to bet all you arm-chair quarterbacks that with two weeks to prepare, head coach Bill Belichick could come up with a way to beat the '85 Bears, the '72 Fins, the '75 Steelers, the '66 Packers, and any other team that you want to offer up as the Greatest Team Ever.

Belichick has carefully hand-picked and nurtured each player to ensure that each is willing to do whatever is necessary to beat you. I really enjoyed watching the Patriots this year. Anyone who can beat the conceited Peyton Manning and also dash the hopes of the worst fans in the league (Eagles) is A-OK in my book.

Anyone else agree? Anyone not? If so, why?




Moss Talks

In an interview that will air in its entirety Thursday night on KFAN, Randy Moss wil address recent trade rumors for the first time publicly, saying the speculation hasn’t bothered him and expressing desire to remain a Viking.

“I don’t really get caught up in trade rumors, ‘cause this is a business,” Moss said. “…If I get traded from here…I’m gonna probably be a little sore, a little mad, but not at the organization – probably just because I’m leaving here, and (losing) the love that I’ve developed here of growing to love the game and Minnesota.”

The interview, conducted with Vikings play-by-play voice Paul Allen, was recorded as a promotion for Moss’ celebrity bass fishing tournament, which will take place on Lake Minnetonka in late June. Half the proceeds from the tournament will benefit the SMILE Foundation.

The interview will air in its entirety during KFAN’s Outdoors program Thursday night. FAN Outdoors airs from 7-9 p.m. Those out of the Twin Cities should be able to hear the broadcast via live streaming.

And it looks like Daunte Culpepper is wondering if Moss will be back with the team. He even appears ready to move on. He believes Minnesota should keep together as much of that offense as possible, reserving its biggest changes for the defense.

"There are a lot of things we can do to improve on defense, and some of that you might be able to do with a trade,'' Culpepper said. ``We've also got a lot of guys who can get the job done if we just play together. That's the most important thing: all of us playing together as a team.''

Could We Steal Some Bucks, er, I Mean Bucs?

If the Vikings were to lose backup QB Gus Frerotte, could it be that we would see Opie back in purple? Who the hell is Opie, you ask? If you don't know who Opie is, then consider yourself a '98 season bandwagon jumper. You know who you are. Didn't know squat about the Vikings until the infamous 15-1 season. Wouldn't know Carl Eller if he passed you in the street. Thought Fran Tarkenton was in the Ring of Honor because he once hosted Monday Night Football. All us die-hards from the 60's turn up our noses at your kind.

OK, enough smack. Opie is none other than Brad Johnson. From Black Mountain, North Carolina with a face that resembled Opie (Ron Howard) from the Andy Griffith show (don't start with me you youngin's!). So, during his 7-year stint with the Vikings, his teammates called him Opie. Uh-huh.

I once interviewed Brad's mother, Ellen during the 1998 season when I co-hosted a weekly radio show with Ragnar. Ellen Johnson, an assistant principal at Safety Harbor Middle School in Black Mountain, was as genuine as they came. And a hoot to interview. I should pull out those old show tapes sometime and see if I can upload them.

Anyway, here's the Dilly-O. A report posted at PewterReport.com compiles a list of Buccaneers who could be walking the plank unless they go through a contract restructuring, and those who likely will be gone regardless of their willingness to take a pay cut. And plenty of recognizable names could soon be on their way out. Here are some the Vikings should at least take a look at.

Quarterback Brad Johnson is even money to be let go by the Bucs. And with prospects of a trade of the 37-year-old veteran looking slim, especially in light of his current contract, which pays him like the starter that he no longer is. But he has what Daunte Culpepper needs if Frerotte should go elsewhere. A mentor, a friend, a coach, and a shoulder to cry on when the chips are down. All things Frerotte has done to assist in elevating Culpepper to being a Pro-Bowl quarterback.

New Miami Dolphis coach Nick Saban wants a veteran QB to serve as a backup. Frerotte has a leg up in that he knows newly hired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's offense as he played in it for two years with success as Culpepper's back up. So, unless something changes, Frerotte will most likely be gone and Culpepper will need a backup. That's why I'm putting forth a plug for Opie to come home....and then hope he never sees the field!

Others who likely will be released from the Bucs include fullback Mike Alstott and cornerback Mario Edwards. If James Kleinsasser comes back full strength, we have no need for Alstott. If Kleinsasser is slow getting up to speed by the time of the May mini-camp, it would mean Alstott's name could be uttered deep in the bowels of Winter Park.

Edwards would just provide much needed depth in the defensive backfield but I doubt he gets a look.

Those other Bucs who face a restructuring (or trade, perhaps) could include cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Derrick Brooks, linebacker Ian Gold, receiver Joe Jurevicius, and defensive end Simeon Rice.

Hold the fort!

Close your eyes and think of the 2005-06 campaign wherein the defensive for the Vikings has names such as Barber, Brooks, Gold, and Rice to go along with Williams and Winfield. Kinda of makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it?

Of course, we have about as much chance as that happening as me buying the Vikings from Red McCombs. But even if we could get one of those defensive gems.....

Any of these Bucs names do anything for you? Or should the Vikings pass on them?

From the Sidelines

Something for parents on how the trend of increasing the responsibilities of the public schools has accelerated in the last several decades. Goes back to my stance that parents, not schools, should be primarily raising our children while schools should be primarily educating our children.

I'll never forget when doing some relief work at a local pharmacy one of the highschool cashiers told me how he was taking a class that taught kids how to wash clothes. I was incredulous, but it was true. I feel that is something that's a learning experience which should be taught at home, not at school. Anyone else have some examples?

Where will it end?

Links and Tidbits

Check out this billboard on the west end of the Sunset Strip. Yeah, baby! Thanks to the Greet Machine for giving me a heads-up on this one.

For all my Brit readers....Scottish men can now marry their ex-mothers-in-law following legal changes by the Scottish Executive. Explain that one to me!

More stuff for my fellow pub lovers....A Dutchman sick of noise from the Irish pub next door nailed the doors shut, drilled a hole in the wall and flooded the crowded bar with his hosepipe. Don't you just hate the Dutch!?!?

And for my female Brit readers (and my wife!)....Tom Jones has asked women who come to his concerts to in future remove the price tag before they throw knickers onstage.

I wish someone had video-taped this...Mugger picks on wrong pensioner.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:00 PM
February 8, 2005
Viking Survivor: Week Two

Vote a Player off the Ship

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In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

Now comes Week Two. Who will be booted this week? Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (2/16).




Injury Updates

As reported by KFAN reporter Tom Pelissero and summarized as follows:

*Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze will be sidelined two-to-three months following arthroscopic surgery last week on his problematic right shoulder.

*Right tackle Mike Rosenthal, who underwent surgery in September to repair a fractured foot, remains on track to return to the field in May.

*Tight end Jim Kleinsasser (knee) and cornerback/safety Ken Irvin (Achilles’) remain on schedule in their recoveries. Center Matt Birk (abdomen) will be reexamined after he participates in the Pro Bowl this weekend, but isn’t expected to miss any offseason workouts.

Links and Tidbits

Stellablue of the KFAN Rube chat site posted that he had the honor of speaking with ESPN's John Clayton on Tuesday night on KJR (Seattle Sports Radio Station). He called in and asked Clayton about Moss's status with the Vikings.

Clayton reported that he talked with one of the Vikes VP's for 45 Minutes on Sunday night and that he is convinced that Moss will be wearing Viking purple next year. Clayton went on to say that the Vikes would entertain offers but the Vikings will be asking an arm-and-a-leg in a trade and no NFL squad would pay what the Vikes are asking.

But then this from Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press:

By trading controversial wide receiver Randy Moss before selling the Vikings to Glen Taylor, Red McCombs could save the Timberwolves owner the dirty work. Still, the best bet for a Moss trade is to Oakland for the Raiders' No. 7 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft and cornerback Philip Buchanon.

Looks like everyone has an opinion right now and one has to wonder if people are just tossing out guesses to see if anything sticks. Just like with all the rumors being tossed about in regards to the possible change in ownership.

Oh, wait! An actual story with quotes and substance! Glen Taylor appears ready to charge in on his white steed to purchase the Vikings afterall! And legislators saying the best chance for a new stadium lies with a Taylor ownership. Whoa, Nelly! Stay tuned.

From the Sidelines

From my 7-part series on how to be married and stay alive, I bring you the Romance Quiz. Something you can do with your wife. See how you score!

In the world of romance, one single rule applies: Make the woman happy. Do something she likes, and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played. Remember, we men didn't establish this system, but we gotta live by it

Here is a guide to the points system:

SIMPLE DUTIES
You make the bed ....................+1
You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows.........0
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets..........-1
You leave the toilet seat up.............-5
You replace the toilet paper roll when it is empty............0
When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex...........-1
When the Kleenex runs out you use the next bathroom...........-2
You go out to buy her extra-light panty liners with wings..........+5
in the snow...............+8
but return with beer..........-5
and no liners....................-25
You check out a suspicious noise at night....... 0
You check out a suspicious noise and it is nothing............0
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something..........+5
You pummel it with a six iron...........+10
It's the dog.........................-40

AT A PARTY
You stay by her side the entire party.........0
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a College drinking buddy.........-2
Named Tiffany.............-4
Tiffany is a dancer...........-6
With breast implants..............-18

HER BIRTHDAY
You take her out to dinner................ 0
You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar.........+1
Okay, it is a sports bar..........-2
And it's all-you-can-eat night.........-3
It's a sports bar, it's all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colors of your favorite team.........-10

NIGHT OUT WITH THE BOYS
Go with a pal.........................+5
The pal is happily married............+4
Or frighteningly single...............-7
And he drives a Ferrari...............-10
With a personalized license plate (GR8NBED)........-15

A NIGHT OUT WITH HER
You take her to a movie...............+2
You take her to a movie she likes (chick flick).........+4
You take her to a movie you hate............+6
You take her to a movie you like...........-2
It features Cops and shooting ...............-3
Which features Aliens or Cyborgs that eat humans.........-9
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans.........-15

YOUR PHYSIQUE
You develop a noticeable pot belly.............-15
You develop a noticeable pot belly & exercise to get rid of it......+10
You develop a noticeable pot belly and resort to loose jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts............-30
You say, "It doesn't matter, you have one too."........-800

THE BIG QUESTION
She asks, "Do I look fat?".

You hesitate in responding (even .5 second hesitation is too much)........-10
You reply, "Where?"............-35
Any other response.............-20

COMMUNICATION
When she wants to talk about a problem:

You listen, displaying a concerned look........... 0
You listen, for over 30 minutes...................+5
You listen for more than 30 minutes without looking at the TV...........+100
She realizes this is because you have fallen asleep........-20

How did you do?

Posted by maasx003 at 7:42 AM
February 7, 2005
Moss On Table or Not?

It's a freakin' soap opera over at Winter Park these days. And it is the off-season! It's suppose to be quiet. The place is suppose to be boarded up with signs that say Headed south, back in May hanging on the front door.

We're suppose to be watching basketball (the Gophers...not the 'Wolves!) and there was also that other game called h-o-c-k-e-y or some such. Instead, we are hearing that Randy Moss is going to be traded one minute and the next we get a flat-out denial. What in the name of Valhalla is going on over there?

One would think that the idea for the Super Bowl Careerbuilder.com ad must have come after a visit to Winter Park. You know the ad, monkeys Xeroxing their butts then later, a group of monkeys set up someone for a whoopee cushion gag and laugh uncontrollably at the person after they sit on it. That's the stuff of Super Bowl ad legend. Not what should be going on at a NFL team headquarters. Certainly not at Winter Park.

So the BIG question is, why are there mixed signals regarding the question of whether the Vikings are ready to trade Moss? On Sunday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Vikings owner Red McCombs has given management the green light to initiate negotiations. OK, Mort has been wrong before but somehow I think the story had legs. Remember way back in December 2001? Mort reported that McCombs was arranging to sack then-coach Dennis Green. Everyone dismissed that story as hogwash as well. But within a matter of days, McCombs was watching Green make his exit with a hefty severance package. Green decided to take the high-road and get out before he received a pink slip on his desk.

Back to Mort’s story on Moss. Monday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that no such authorization to trade Moss has been given.

"I don't know why this thing keeps being brought up," V.P. of football operations Rob Brzezinski said. "It hasn't even been discussed at all."

Well, I'm no Sid Hartman (thank God!) but here's why it keeps coming up. One of those butt-Xeroxing-whoopee-cushion-tricksters within the Vikings organization wants to see Moss go. Said person is leaking spurious information to guys like Mortensen in the hopes that Moss ultimately will get his 'fro out of joint and request to be traded.

So if the Vikes aren't earnest about dealing Moss, I hope that someone like Mike Tice is in persistent contact with Moss and his agent Dante DiTrapano regarding their intentions. Otherwise, Number 84 will in due course say or do something in reaction to a report regarding a potential trade. And knowing Moss, he would do so in a way that would make it impossible for his relationship with the Vikings to continue.

As reports (and denials) disseminate regarding the question of whether the Vikings will field trade offers for receiver Randy Moss, my Raiders guy (Spike) tells me that the Raiders tried to pry Moss away from Minnesota during the season when he was limping around with a bad wheel.

Per Spike, the Raiders offered cornerback Philip Buchanon straight up for Moss. The Vikings declined. Spike was the Raiders HOF fan inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with me in 1999. He has contact with the front office. Take it for what it's worth. Look for the Raiders to try again, especially since Buchanon has made clear his desire to get out of Oakland.

But it could be tough to trade Moss due to his current contract. Moss is listed to earn $7.25 million for 2005, $8.25 million in 2006, $9.75 million in 2007 and $11.25 million for 2008. So any team to whom the Vikings might trade him would have to be willing to take on a contract that, as a practical matter, will require a renegotiation (and likely a signing bonus of $20 million or more) by the end of the 2006 season.

Equally, any team interested in Moss will be smart enough to realize that the Vikings are getting to the point where they need to decide whether Moss merits such a huge piece of cap pie in 2006 and beyond. Clearing him off of the books would set up cap room that could be committed to other positions, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. Duh.

So, perhaps the most that the Vikes could hope for is an established starter with a cap-friendly contract and a first-round draft pick. For any team that truly wants Moss, putting together that kind of a package should be a no brainer. I can think of many teams that would be willing to structure such a deal.

In the end, the Vikes will not likely see anything vaguely close to the package of three ones, three twos, a three, and a six plus five players whom the Vikes sent to Dallas for an aging tailback with plenty of miles on his tires, plus two third-round draft picks and a ten. That resulted in three Super Bowl wins in four years for the Cowboys shortly thereafter. No, I really don’t think we can see that. Leave a comment if you disagree with me.

That is, unless some other team also has some monkeys running around the front office....

Reminder for Vikings Survivor

Reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that started last week.

Looks like Chris Hovan (currently leading with 68% of the vote) will be booted off the ship. If you haven't voted yet, get your vote in today!

Then come back Wednesday as I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! We'll be down to nine survivors and Hovan won't be among them. Who will be the second player booted?

Best Super Bowl Quote

"In this situation, other people like Brett Favre, they would have been called a warrior. For me, they said I was selfish. If I'm selfish, I'm selfish because I want to help my team win."

Terrell Owens in reference to playing despite surgery to repair a fractured right fibula and torn ligaments in the ankle.




Links and Tidbits

Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome says that he has had no discussions with the Vikings about a possible trade for WR Randy Moss.

Two friends of Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper were busted for marijuana possession while driving the Pro Bowler's SUV.

Kevin Higgins (who?) and Rich Olson (I said, who?) are the finalists for the quarterbacks coaching job in Minnesota.

Trade bait for Moss from the Redskins? Progress of LB LaVar Arrington in rehabbing a knee injury is going well.

I just started tracking the hits to my blog on Sunday. Imagine my surprise to see some hits from The Republic of Korea. I let my wife know that we should be on our toes because it looks like some Commies are watching us. Then I thought, perhaps it is some of our great local service men and women stationed overseas. Nothing better than being a Vikings fan and protect our country at the same time. At any rate, I'm glad to see that someone in Korea is reading this slop.

From the Sidelines

From my 7-part series on how to be married and stay alive, I bring you Male Language Patterns. Provide these to your wife so she can understand you.

"I can't find it," REALLY MEANS:
"It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

"That's women's work," REALLY MEANS:
"It's dirty, difficult and thankless."

"Will you marry me?" REALLY MEANS:
"Both my roommates have moved out, I can't find the washer, and there is no more peanut butter."

"It's a guy thing," REALLY MEANS:
"There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

"Can I help with dinner?" REALLY MEANS:
"Why isn't it already on the table?"

"It would take too long to explain, "REALLY MEANS:
"I have no idea how it works."

"I'm getting more exercise lately," REALLY MEANS:
"The batteries in the remote are dead."

*"We're going to be late," REALLY MEANS:
"Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac."

"Take a break, honey, you're working too hard, "REALLY MEANS:
"I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

"That's interesting, dear," REALLY MEANS:
"Are you still talking?"

"Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love, REALLY MEANS:
"I forgot our anniversary again."

"You expect too much of me," REALLY MEANS:
"You want me to stay awake."

"It's really a good movie," REALLY MEANS:
"It's got guns, knives, fast cars, and good looking women."

"You know how bad my memory is," REALLY MEANS:
"I remember the words to the theme song of "F Troop", the address of the first girl I kissed, the Vehicle Identification Number of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

Posted by maasx003 at 11:44 AM
February 6, 2005
Irvin & C.C Part Deux

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More on Michael Irvin missing out on being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (like yours truly) in his first year of eligibility. And why Cris Carter won’t be inducted in 3-years time either.

As I wrote on Saturday, Irvin's failure to qualify on the first try was not that unusual for a wide-receiver. If Irvin had actually received enough votes this year, he would have joined Raymond Berry and Steve Largent as the only receivers to get in on the first try. But Berry and Largent, unlike Irvin, retired with most of the career receiving records on their resume’. They also weren’t jerks….not that that has stopped anyone getting in before (see Lawrence Taylor).

Irvin might have thought that his blend of solid career numbers plus three Super Bowl rings would be enough to facilitate him to make it. If so, he failed to take into account another guy who could make the same argument. And this former player is still waiting. That player being former Washington Redskins great Art Monk. Let me explain.

Monk has more catches than Irvin.

Monk has more yards than Irvin.

Monk has more touchdowns than Irvin.

Monk also has three rings.

So while Irvin got his three rings as a member of the so-called triplets, with Troy Aikman throwing the passes and Emmitt Smith moving the chains, Monk earned his trio of trophies with Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien throwing the passes, and John Riggins, Timmy Smith, and Earnest Byner/Gerald Riggs moving the chains.

And as Irvin was left on the outside looking in on his first year of eligibility, Monk retired nearly a full decade ago.

Could it be that Monk's delay likely has been fueled by the fact that he kept a low profile, during his career and after it? Monk wasn't showy or flashy (or coked up or pimped up). Today, Monk isn't on the television screen wearing $5,000 suits, flashing a million-dollar smile, and using two-bit verbiage.

So Monk waits. And if Monk ends up waiting longer than Irvin, the irony will be that Monk's demise was his resolution to live his life in a manner that upholds the morals that any Hall of Famer is supposed to sanction.

What's the message that this sends to all the impressionable youngsters out there? Be loud and controversial. Sin big. Be remorseful only after the fact. Because while guys like Joe Buck always will rant about wideouts being “disgusting”, the sad reality might be that, if a receiver doesn't bring attention to himself, no one else is going to do it for him.

Cris Carter’s numbers are also amazing. Number two all-time with 1101 receptions. Number four all-time with 13,899 receiving yards. Number three all-time with 11-seaons of 50 or More Pass Receptions in a season. Carter once held the record for most pass receptions in a season with 122…and it did it twice (1994 and 1995)! He had 8-seasons of 1,000 or More Yards, Pass Receiving. And Carter is number two all-time with 130 career reception touchdowns.

Carter isn’t as flashy as Irvin. He isn’t as loud or controversial. But he didn’t even reach the Big Show and that, in the end, may prevent him from being a first-year eligible inductee. And that will be a shame.

It's Not Football.....

...but it's still fantasy! I've played the NASCAR Auto Racing fantasy game on Yahoo for a couple of years now. Always fun and always competitive. Now, this year you can compete with me.

In order to join the group, just go to the game front page and click on the "Sign Up" button to create a team. After completing registration, or if you already have a team, click the "Create or Join Group" button and follow the path to join my existing private group. Then, when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 24451
Password: purple

Good luck! And let's have some clean racing!

Links and Tidbits

Chad Pennington throwing deep to Randy Moss again?

If Red McCombs sells the Vikings, it's expected to take three months before the sale is official. Gateway computer founder Ted Waitt, who has been interested in acquiring the Vikings, reportedly plans to sell $97 million worth of Gateway stock. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's handful of primary limited partners in his attempt to buy the Vikings are expected to invest at least $50 million apiece.

The Vikings issue another round of exasperated denials of another national report regarding the future of receiver Randy Moss.

Super Bowl Ads Test Limits of Credulity.




From the Sidelines

From my 7-part series on how to be married and stay alive, I bring you a review of Key Female Words. Study these and you'll live to be 80:

1. "Fine"
This is the word women use at the end of any argument when they feel they are right but can't stand to hear you argue any longer. It means that you should shut up. (NEVER use "fine" to describe how she looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.)

2. "Five minutes"
This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so women feel that it's an even trade.

3. "Nothing"
"Nothing" means something and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with the word "Fine."

4. "Go Ahead" (with raised eyebrows)
This is NOT permission; it's a dare! If you mistake it for permission, the result will be the woman will get upset over "Nothing" and you'll have a "five-minute" discussion that will end with the word "Fine."

5. "Go Ahead" (normal eyebrows)
This is NOT permission, either. It means "I give up" or "do what you want because I don't care." You will get a raised eyebrow "Go Ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine" and she will talk to you in about "Five
Minutes" when she cools off.

6. "Loud Sigh"
This is not actually a word, but is still often a verbal statement. Very frequently misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are a complete idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing!."

7. "Soft Sigh"
Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. "Soft Sighs" are one of the few things that some men actually understand. It means she is momentarily content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe in the hope that the moment will last a bit longer.

8. "Oh"
This word -- followed by any statement -- is trouble. Example; "Oh, let me get that". Or, "Oh, I talked to him about what you were doing last night." If she says "Oh" before a statement, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. She will tell you that she is "Fine" when she is done tossing your clothes out the window, but do not expect her to talk to you for at least two days. "Oh", as the lead to a sentence usually signifies that you are caught in a lie. Do not try to lie more to get out of it, or you will get a raised eyebrows "Go ahead," sometimes followed by acts so unspeakable that I can't bring myself to write about them.

9. "That's Okay"
This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding what the penalty will be for whatever you have done. "That's Okay" is often used with the word "Fine" and in conjunction with a raised eyebrow "Go Ahead." Once she has had time to plan it out, you are in for some mighty big trouble.

10. "Please Do"
This is not a statement, it is an offer. The woman is giving you the chance to come up with an excuse for what you have done. In other words, a chance to get yourself into even more trouble. If you handle this correctly, you shouldn't get a "That's Okay."

11. "Thanks"
The woman is thanking you. Don't faint and don't look for hidden meaning. Just say "you're welcome."

12. "Thanks A Lot"
"Thanks A Lot" is dramatically different from "Thanks." A woman will say "Thanks A Lot" when she is really ticked off at you. It is usually followed by the "Loud Sigh." This signifies that you have hurt her in some callous way. Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the "Loud Sigh," as she will only tell you "Nothing."

Posted by maasx003 at 8:19 AM
February 5, 2005
Vikes Win (or Lose) Through Expansion?

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We’ve all heard the rumors. Red McCombs backs up the moving vans to Winter Park and moves the team to the number two television market in the United States. That’s Los Angeles for you fly-over-country bumpkins.

On Friday down in Jacksonville, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue implied that the league might fill the void by expanding.

Tagliabue explained that, if the league determines by May the arrangements for the building and use of a stadium, "[T]hen we'll move on to the question of what team do we send there. Is it an expansion team? Is it a relocated team?"

But why expand beyond thirty-two teams? Particularly since the addition of four teams since 1995 has given the NFL the structure that former Commissioner Pete Rozelle once envisioned.

So in the name of Bud Grant is going on? I think that the NFL has figured out that in order to give both the New Orleans Saints and the Vikings (and possibly the Colts, whose stadium situation might not be as resolved as believed) the most possible leverage in landing a new stadium in their current locales, the league needs to create the impression that if both the Saints and the Vikings get new venues, the league will simply plug the hole in L.A. with a 33rd franchise.

Here is another way to look at it. Call it my Black Helicopter theory. The NFL is concerned that the folks in Minnesota and the folks in New Orleans are watching each other's situations very closely. If, eventually, it looks like the Saints won't get a new stadium and likely will move, the folks in Minnesota suddenly won't feel the same pressure to get the process finalized or risk losing their team to the same city that almost stole the Timberwolves.

That's the only problem with using the vacant L.A. market to squeeze a variety of new, publicly-funded stadiums. Eventually, it will be down to two -- and when one of that duo realizes the other will be moving, the nuclear scenario disappears. And with it goes the, "If you build it, they will stay" mantra that has resulted in plenty of taxpayer dollars going to projects aimed at squeezing even more money out of our pockets.

So let’s say I’m not mixing my vitamins and wine incorrectly and am right about this. The most reprehensible aspect of the NFL's plan is that there remains a possibility that both Minneapolis and New Orleans will spend a lot of time and money working out plans for a new stadium, but that one of them will move anyway if, in the end, the NFL decides that it's not quite ready to begin stretching the rubber band beyond 32 teams.

Here's more from comments from The Commish from Friday:

He's personally aware of details regarding the possible sale of the Vikings to Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler.

A regular season game could be played outside the U.S. by 2005.

He doesn't favor expanding the so-called "Rooney Rule" to front-office positions.

He defends the choice of Jacksonville for the Super Bowl because, in his words, "Some of us have become a little too high-fallutin'."

There's "a long way to go" in negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association on an extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The NFL might assist in the launch of a new sports network to televise games -- which might be a shot across the bow at the ESPN monopoly, and could lead to an eventual partnership with Fox.

Irvin Misses Out, Will C.C. Also in His 1st Year?

The biggest non-surprise for me from Saturday's announcement of inductees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame was that former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, one of six finalists, did not get the necessary votes in his first try.

Of the six finalists, Irvin and former Giants linebacker Harry Carson failed to garner the 80-percent "yes" vote necessary to secure induction.

The other four finalists, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Bennie Friedman, and Fritz Pollard, all made it.

The reality is that only two receivers, Raymond Berry and Steve Largent, ever have made it in the first year of eligibility, following the mandatory five-year wait.

Though winning championships has helped guys who might never have made it (such as Lynn Swann and John Stallworth), those three Super Bowls weren't enough to make up for the fact that, when he retired, Irvin wasn't among the all-time leaders statistically, like Berry and Largent.

And that raises an interesting question for Cris Carter who comes up as eligible in three years. Even though he's currently second to Jerry Rice in catches and touchdowns, my guess is he will be left behind in his first year as well. If Irvin can’t make it in with his Super Bowl rings, neither will Carter in his first year and who has no Super Bowl appearances, let alone rings.

In fact, the only guy who's currently a lock to make it in his first year of eligibility is Rice. Tim Brown has a chance, and time will tell whether Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss get to that level.

Links and Tidbits

Remember last week when I said I'd like the Vikings to bring in Patrick Surtain for a workout? Don't bother calling! Surtain says the only teams for whom he won't play are the Packers and the Vikings. Wow! A shot to both me and Cheesehead Craig at the same time. Won't see that everyday.


Posted by maasx003 at 1:57 PM
February 4, 2005
Saturday Sidelines

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From the Sidelines

My wife's 40th is coming up in March. She is traumatized by this somehow. As if she will awaken that morning, look in the mirror, and see the old hag from Snow White staring back at her. When I hit 40 a few years back, I figured that meant I could now sit around in my underwear watching sports more often and just feign Alzheimer’s (which hasn't worked yet, by the way).

Why is it that women become very vain as they age and men just roll with it? I mean look at the pressures women put us through! Demands after demands such as the list my wife presented me with the moment I placed the wedding ring on her finger:

"What I Want In A Man!"

What I Want in a Man, Original List

1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. An imaginative, romantic lover

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)

1. Nice looking (prefer hair on his head)
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Seeks romance at least once a week

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 42)

1. Not too ugly (bald head OK)
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach.
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)

1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't retell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)

1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)

1. Breathing
2. Doesn't miss the toilet

So far, I'm right on target. But oh, the pressure!

Links and Tidbits

Use of the franchise tag for quarterbacks this year requires a one-year tender offer of $8.078 million (or a 20 percent raise over their 2004 cap number, whichever is higher).

For running backs, it's $6.323 million (or a 20 percent raise over their 2004 cap number, whichever is higher).

Kevin Seifert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune offers another perspective on Daunte Culpepper's recent "loan" of his "ice" to a disabled fan.

The Redskins won't be hanging the franchise tag on CB Fred Smoot, since the one-year tender for corners is a whopping $8.816 million; "He'd sign that in a minute," said Redskins exec Vinny Cerrato.

Former Vikings WR Chris Walsh, a hard-nosed throwback who played hurt and hit big, will be joining the coaching staff in some capacity.

Players voted the last two remaining green cement fields -- in St. Louis and Indy -- as the two worst playing surfaces in the NFL.

Community ownership of the Twins? Could the Vikes also do this?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:05 AM
February 3, 2005
It's Friday & that means Vikes, Bush on Social Security, and Bad Movie Dubbing

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I spoke of the rise in season ticket prices on Thursday. I neglected to note within my renewal packet that there was a letter from Vikings Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Steve LaCroix who explained why it was necessary to raise prices yet again.

And while I can be against the price increase, I can agree with the reasoning behind it. From the letter it states, "Unfortunately, the price increase is necessary to help offset financial challenges presented by the lack of adequate revenue opportunities in the Metrodome, as well as rising team expenses."

I think the Twins could have used this same letter when they sent out their season ticket renewals earlier.

But good news from the Minnesota Legislature as they have added a new author to House bill HF18. You know, the bill introduced requiring cell phone use in motor vehicles to be hands-free except in case of emergency.

Uh, I have an emergency! There is a moving van pulling up to the back of Winter Park! Help!!!! Anyone? Please, help. With sugar on top.

Looks Like Hovan Will Get Booted?

Reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that just started this week.

In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

Leading vote getter so far is Hovan. So unless there is a sudden flurry over the next few days, come next Thursday we'll be down to nine survivors and Hovan won't be among them.

From the Sidelines I

Not all that long ago, the Democrats gave Billy Clinton a standing ovation during one of his State of the Union speeches for suggesting private Social Security accounts. Jump ahead to 2005 and these same Democrats are jeering President George Bush for saying the same thing. Typical.

After Bush's SOTU speech this week, I saw that the evil CNN presented some video of a previous State of the Union speech by Clinton. I didn't catch the year of but it had to be '98 because '98 was Clinton's year of save Social Security first.

On the tape, Clinton suggested private accounts for Social Security. He was talking about the surplus that they had, a $5 billion surplus that was projected for the next ten years and he wanted to take 60% of that and put it into Social Security to save Social Security first.

Recall that when a Democrat was in the White House back in '98 there was a crisis in Social Security? All the Democrats gave him a standing O when he mentioned this private account business.

So, you know, fast forward seven years and you find out that the same Democrats who were applauding the concept of private accounts are now doing everything they can to defeat them today.

Clinton also talked about a lot of things that needed to get done, terrorism for one, but didn't do diddly-squat on any of them. Enter Bush, and he arrives on the scene and starts tackling these things, with the express purpose of getting it done. But the Democrats just put up those obstructionist roadblocks, and it's doing nothing but harming themselves.

The State of the Union speech by Bush spoke of ambitious goals and on every one of them the Democrats are in opposition. They're in opposition to success of the war on terror, they're opposed to what we're doing in Iraq, they are opposed to Social Security reform. They are opposed to Bush's judges. They're going to be opposed to the president's budget. They're opposed to everything.

And at some point in the near future, their opposition is going to be obvious to one and all. The positions the president is taking are a win-win, because the Democrats are never going to be able to say "we helped" when these solutions come to pass and when they work. And if the Democrats on some of these issues succeed in blocking the president's agenda, the failure to fix these problems will someday show up and they will be known as the ones who stood in the way of the solution. So they've once again politically maneuvered themselves into a no-win situation with whatever position, any position that they are taking.

Fine by me. I want to be responsible for a portion of my Social Security. I manage both my wife's and my retirement accounts. I'm in there daily. I have grown it beyond our wildest dreams. I want to have my own Social Security account (you don't have your own account now....that's a misconception....it's all in a big pot people!). I want to manage it myself.

Get it done George. And if you have to leave Democrat road-kill to get there, so be it.


From the Sidelines II

Ever watch those poorly dubbed movies from the Far East? Their lips stop moving but the words keep pouring out. Funny stuff. Well, the shoe fits on the other foot as well. The following are actual English subtitles that have appeared in Hong Kong films:

• I am darn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.
• Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.
• A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries.
• Darn, I'll burn you into a BBQ chicken
• Take my advice, or I'll spank you a lot.
• Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?
• This will be of fine service for you, you bag of the scum.
• I am sure you will not mind that I remove your toenails and leave them out on the desert floor for ants to eat.
• Quiet or I'll blow your throat up.
• I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out! I will surround their house by myself.
• You daring lousy guy.
• Beat him out of recognizable shape!
• Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can
now deliver you violently to your doctor for a thorough extermination.
• I have been scared silly too much lately.
• I got knife scars more than the number of your leg's hair!
• The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?
• How can you use my intestines as a gift?
• Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some of the giant lizard persons.
• Your western eyes will be fingered from your face.
• This hot sword will pierce your family dynasty.
• The Americans will not save you for Christmas.
• Both of you will die when the sun hits the bell.
• Feeling sexual we will invade into your women.
• You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous rice.


Posted by maasx003 at 10:40 AM
February 2, 2005
Another D-Back Looking at Minnesota?

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With no contract extension expected, Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain has consent to work out a deal with another team according to the Miami Herald.

Surtain was granted permission to seek a trade after his agent and the team failed to work out a contract extension the team needed in order to get salary cap relief.

Surtain, 28, will cost the Dolphins more than $8.3 million against the cap for the 2005 season, the final season of his contract. The Dolphins have until March 2 to trim more than $17 million off the cap. The team can save a little more than $6.1 million by trading Surtain.

A litle Google research indicates that Surtain has played like one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL during the past five years, during which he has a league-high 25 interceptions. Among a group including Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, Charles Woodson and fellow Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison, Surtain has six more picks than the next best on the list (Rolle with 19).

In addition, Surtain has 4 ½ sacks, which is second among that group and is considered an excellent run-support corner.

So, what would it take to get Surtain up here wearing purple next season? Maybe one of our running backs? Recall that the Dolphins lost Ricky Williams to a sudden retirement last season. The Vikings can afford to unload one of the Big 3 (Bennett, Moore, or Smith) and probably some cash to get Surtain. But they better hurry up.

The Dolphins are also trying to work out a trade for Bills running back Henry, and team officials have spoken with Henry's agent Hadley Engelhard, a club source told the Miami Herald last Friday.

Uberstine declined to speculate on what Surtain might be worth in terms of a trade or a new contract. In all likelihood, the Dolphins will seek a deal involving a draft pick after Saban said two weeks ago that he felt the Dolphins would need to rebuild through the draft.

However, getting a the Vikings to not only give up trade value, but also give Surtain a contract he likes could be difficult. But recall that the Vikes have a little bit (OK, a ton!) of salary cap room to get this done. It would be a great disservice to the fans if Surtain was not brought in for a visit.

Vote a Player off the Ship

In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

Here is Week 1. I selected the players at whim and fancy. This should be fun!




Links and Tidbits

Hey Vikes marketing people, don't even think of trying this! The Redskins have dropped their policy requiring season ticket holders to purchase their seats with a Redskins Extra Points Master Card only a week after announcing it.

And speaking of season tickets, my bill came today. $1364 for two season tickets. That's $68 per seat per game. A $4 dollar increase over last year. I am not happy. I recently did a whole piece on the price increases that Red McCombs has implemented. There will be a breaking point in the future. I'm just not sure what the price will eventually break my back. I may never reach that breaking point, but I know it hurts just a bit more each year that I write the check.

From the Sidelines

Almost that time of year again. Personal Performance review at my real job. Before I started going in for prostate exams, I thought nothing could be worse than to have your nuts splayed open in hopes of getting that coveted 3 or 4 percent bump in pay.

A few years ago, I ran across actual supervisor quotes taken from employee performance evaluations. I have long since lost the link. But here are the quotes. Which ones represent people you have had the thrill to work with over the years?

1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."

2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."

3. "This employee is really not much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."

4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

5. "When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change feet."

6. "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."

7. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

8. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

9. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

10. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better."

11. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together."

12. "A gross ignoramus --- 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."

13. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."

14. "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."

15. "He's been working with glue too much."

16. "He would argue with a signpost."

17. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

18. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

19. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."

20. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."

21. "A prime candidate for natural DE-selection."

22. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."

23. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming."

24. "He's got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it"

25. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."

26. "If you gave him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."

27. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."

28. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."

29. "One neuron short of a synapse."

30. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

31. "Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.

32. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."

Posted by maasx003 at 9:56 AM
February 1, 2005
Heavy on the Sarcasm

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Happy Groundhogs Day! I see six more years with no Vikings stadium!

Our fine Minnesota legislators are hard at it folks. Yep, the sleeves are rolled up high on the arms and the sweat is dripping from their high foreheads. Our finest minds figuring out a way to keep the Twins and Vikings in Minnesota and solve the stadium solution just like their counterparts did in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, New York, Indiana, Texas, and Washington D.C.

Let us take a quick look at the number of bills currently being presented in either the House or the Senate.

Vikings, oops! Not a single bill. Only football bill I can find is 2005 Senate Resolution 24 which is to congratulate the Minnetonka High School football team for winning the state championship.

Twins, hmmm. That must be a mistake. Nothing? Oh, wait. There is House Bill 130 which is about keeping Twins and Triplets in the Same Classroom.

But wait! There are five bills for getting a University of Minnesota football stadium built! Hooray, hooray!

2005 House Bill 263 (U of M Football Stadium)

2005 Senate Bill 237 (U of M Football Stadium)

2005 House Bill 53 (U of M Football Stadium)

2005 Senate Bill 115 (U of M Football Stadium)

2005 House Bill 33 (U of M Football Stadium)

Only, I thought the U of M football team was pretty much locked into staying in Minnesota. Or was there a recent outcry to build the Gophers a new stadium or "we'll lose 'em to Los Angeles!"

I must have missed that one.

Must be then that if we don't build the Gophers a new stadium that the NCAA will fold the franchise. One less team in the Big Ten to deal with. Yeah, that must be it. I was probably out of town the week that one was discussed.

Yeah, ya betcha my fellow Lutefisk eating, ice-fishing, mosquito slapping, snow loving Minnesotans. Can't you just imagine all the extra time we'll have to enjoy our native Minnesota once the Vikings and Twins are gone! Whhhhoooo-hooo! Honey, where is our travel map to St. Cloud? I hear they have a fine Space Aliens restaurant there!

Sad Day for Cheesehead Craig Ahead?

Looks like ol' #4 for Green Bay is about to cash it in. Unfortunately, many Packer fans think Brett Favre retired against the Vikes in January.

Packers receiver Donald Driver predicted on Tuesday morning that he believes quarterback Brett Favre will retire in lieu of returning for a 15th NFL season. It also looks like current Packer head-goat, er, I mean coach Mike Sherman is forcing Farve's decision.

If Sherman really does force Favre's hand, Sherman could end up incurring the wrath of the Green Bay faithful. And with only one more year on his own contract -- and with his G.M. title recently stripped -- Mike might decide that it's time to move on after 2005.

If, as Driver suggests, Sherman wanted an answer from Favre by March 2, one guess is that the Pack will be making a play for Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who grew up in the Packers' system before being traded to Seattle. Hasselbeck will be a free agent next month, and it's unlikely that the team will use the franchise tag to restrict his movement, especially since the one-year tender for franchised quarterbacks is in the neighborhood of $9 million.

Finally, if Favre does retire, look for new G.M. Ted Thompson to "blow it up" (as they say in the bidness) and rebuild the roster. The time for an overhaul could, in the end, be now.

mossfavre.jpg

TSN All-Pro

Go back to the start of the 2004-05 season. You are told to select the which side the of the ball, offense or defense, from which a single Vikings player will be selected to The Sporting News' All-Pro team. I'm willing to bet that not a single Vikings fan would have selected defense. Well, that is what happened.

Defensive tackle Kevin Williams was the only Vikings player selected to The Sporting News' All-Pro team. The team was determined by the voting of 23 NFL pro personnel directors. Here is the entire team:

OFFENSE

• WR: Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis; Terrell Owens, Philadelphia.

• TE: Antonio Gates, San Diego.

• OT: Walter Jones, Seattle; Orlando Pace, St. Louis.

• OG: Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh; Brian Waters, Kansas City.

• C: Jeff Hartings, Pittsburgh.

• QB: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis.

• RB: Edgerrin James, Indianapolis; Curtis Martin, N.Y. Jets.

DEFENSE

• DE: Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis; Julius Peppers, Carolina.

• DT: Richard Seymour, New England; Kevin Williams, Vikings.

• LB: James Farrior, Pittsburgh; Ray Lewis, Baltimore; Takeo Spikes, Buffalo.

• CB: Champ Bailey, Denver; Chris McAlister, Baltimore.

• S: Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia; Ed Reed, Baltimore.

SPECIALISTS

• K: Adam Vinatieri, New England.

• P: Shane Lechler, Oakland.

• KR: Terrence McGee, Buffalo.

• PR: Eddie Drummond, Detroit.

Links and Tidbits

Friday will mark seven years to the day that best-selling novelist Tom Clancy's then-NFL record bid of $206 million was accepted by the Vikings' board of directors for Clancy to become majority owner of the team. Read Charley Walters' recent interview with Clancy.

Imagine yourself on an elevator with Emmitt Smith. How would you handle it?

From The Sidelines

Yeah, I'm going to be all over the map today....so sue me. I said that now and then I would break out of the football mode and bring some other things on my plate direct to your house and force feed it to you. So, blah! If you don't want to read a political piece, just turn back now.

In response to a new Star Tribune Minnesota poll that shows Senator Marshall Fields' (Mark Dayton) approval rating dropping by 15%, the non-partisan "Hotline" national political briefing ran the following headline, "That Dayton Approval Rating Ain't Great, Particularly For A Star-Trib Poll."

NSS (No Sh*t Sherlock)!

By highlighting the liberal bias of the Star Tribune poll, "Hotline" is raising the point that in reality Dayton's approval rating is probably worse than the Star Tribune poll indicates.

As the MNGOP has pointed out in the past, the Star Tribune poll has been historically inaccurate because it tends to include more Democrats than Republicans in its samples.

Dayton's low approval is clearly a reflection and result of the rash and bizarre behavior that has come to define his tenure as a United States Senator. It is also a result of the fact that Dayton has allied himself with the Ted Kennedy wing of his party. Just last week, Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio that he would stand with Kennedy "anytime."

"But, the other twelve-eleven Democrats, and one Independent who voted the same way that I did [against Secretary of State Rice]; very solid, long-standing senators -- Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy, others -- I'll stand with them anytime." (Minnesota Public Radio's "Midday With Gary Eichten," January 28, 2005)

Hmm, Senator Dayton....would that be the same Senator Kennedy who just one day before called American troops "Part Of The Problem" in Iraq? Let's review.

On January 27, 2005, Senator Ted Kennedy called the United States Military "Part Of The Problem" in Iraq. "'The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution," Kennedy said in a speech to Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies." (Lolita C. Baldor, "Kennedy Calls For Troop Withdrawal, Says Military Is Fueling Insurgents," The Associated Press, January 27, 2005)

Senator Kennedy recently said the Bush Administration "wants" to have a crisis in Iraq, the Federal Judiciary, Social Security and "everywhere" and give the benefits to Wall Street.

"[W]hat this administration wants to do is to have a crisis in Iraq, a crisis in the federal judiciary, a crisis in Social Security, and they want a crisis everywhere so they can give the benefits of the Social Security for a third of all the Social Security funds to Wall Street." (Senator Ted Kennedy, Speech at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., January 12, 2005)

Senator Kennedy also labeled Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam." "This [Iraq] is a disaster because it's a result of blunder after blunder after blunder. And it is George Bush's Vietnam." (CBS News' "Face The Nation," January 16, 2005)

Going to be population two in the ol' Dayton-Kennedy camp my boys. Have fun standing together. Reminder to Dayton to stand clear of Kennedy once he starts in on the sauce.

Also according to Dayton, Condoleezza Rice lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Oh really, Senator? Who else do you suppose "lied" about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction?

In September 2002, your guy Teddy Kennedy gave a speech at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in which he said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that it was imperative that he be disarmed.

Sen. John Kerry spent two years telling the networks about how dangerous Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction were. Hans Blix, Jacques Chirac, Al Gore, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton all have been quoted saying that Saddam needed to be relieved of his weapons of mass destruction.

Even former President Bill Clinton said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and used that to justify his bombing incursions into Iraq.

So if Rice was lying about the weapons of mass destruction, what does that say about the truthfulness of Dayton's Senate colleagues, as well as Chirac and former President Clinton?

I find the silence on the "lies" of Kerry, Kennedy, Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton to be astounding given all of the coverage of Rice's supposed "lies."

It looks like Sen. Dayton made a New Year's resolution to try to be more relevant in 2005. I've seen him in the press quite a bit lately. This begs the question: Where has he been for the past four years?

Too little, too late, Senator. Most Minnesotans already know that the "lights are on but nobody is home" with respect to your performance in the Senate.

Yes, Sen. Dayton, next November we all will recall who fled his Capitol office fearing terrorism, yet found the courage to call Rice a liar over weapons of mass destruction.

Everyone knows the difference between an error and a lie. There is absolutely no excuse for Dayton making this shameful and baseless charge.

I understand Rep. Mark Kennedy has started exploring a run for Dayton's Senate seat. After this latest performance by Dayton, the 2006 election can't happen fast enough.

Posted by maasx003 at 11:34 AM