July 2005 Archives
July 30, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. This podcast comes to you straight from Oakland Raider country as we check in with Raider Greg on seeing how Randy Moss is doing in the silver and black. We talk about how Moss is adjusting as well as a stadium issues, private seat licenses (PSLs), ticket prices, and podcasting.

I hope you enjoy this one. I know I did.

Since I'll be getting new readers this week...some football fans don't wake up until training camps open...let's review podcasting.

Important Link: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

What is a Podcast?

Below is a definition of podcasting pulled from Wikipedia that provides you with information about podcasting, its roots and some of the techincal aspects surrounding podcasting. The following is provided free from editing and I take no credit for this wonderful explanation.

Podcasting, created by former MTV VJ Adam Curry, is a term that was devised as a crisp way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the "pod") or other audio player that supports mp3 at their convenience. The term podcasting is meant to rhyme with broadcasting and is a derivative of the iPod platform. While not directly associated with Apple's iPod device or iTunes music service, the company did contribute both the desire and the technology for this capability. Podcasting is not unlike time-shifted video software and devices like TiVo, which let you watch what you want when you want by recording and storing video, except that podcasting is used for audio and is currently free of charge. Note, however, that this technology can be used to push any kind of file, including software updates, pictures, and videos.

Podcasting uses an XML-based technology called RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. Content publishers describe new content in an XML RSS file which includes dates, titles, descriptions, and links to MP3 files. This auto-generated file is called an RSS feed. The key to making podcasting work with RSS is enclosures, a feature supported by RSS 2.0. Remember that Important Link from above? Here it is again: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

What makes podcasting special is that it allows individuals to publish (podcast) radioshows, that interested listeners can subscribe to. Before podcasting you could of course record a radio show and put it on your website, but now people can automatically receive new shows, without having to go to a specific site and download it from there.

If you are already using an RSS aggregator (i.e. NewsGator, FeedDemon, MyYahoo! or Bloglines), then you can just add a podcast feed to your subscriptions.

If you use iTunes (you don't need to have a iPod!) all you have to do is click the Subscribe button next to a podcast in the iTunes Music Store, iTunes downloads the latest episode of the podcast. When you click the Get Episode button next to a podcast episode in the Music Store, iTunes downloads that episode. You can also subscribe to a podcast in iTunes if you know the podcast feed URL. Choose Advanced "Subscribe to Podcast" and enter the URL. Here is how my podcast appears on iTunes:

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If you don't use iTunes, my podcasts are now listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley and also leave a comment! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And I'm quickly moving up the podcasting charts now ranking 425 out of 5218 total podcasts on Podcast Alley while coming in 20th out of 195 total sports podcasts. And with the special guests being lined up in the coming weeks, I'm sure I'll keep climbing!

Have a great start to the week by taking a few moments to listen in to the Viking Underground podcasts!

Training Camp Update

According to The Insider, first-rounder Erasmus James is very, very close to signing. Stay tuned.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:01 AM
July 29, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the twelfth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to the City of Mankato for hosting the Minnesota Vikings training camp for the 40th year! Are you going? If so, feed me a report on what you saw and it will be posted on this blog as soon as I open the e-mail.

A SHOUT OUT! to Patrick Tribett of Ohio who just has to be a Packers fans at heart. Everyone knows that Cheeseheads love to smell paint thinners. Tribett took it a bit farther.

A SHOUT OUT! to the United Kingdom for once again coming up with another game to help me make it through the day.

Sorry, that's all I hav e time for today. We have confirmed 150 people for the Bright Beginnings Garden Tour this Saturday. The Wife® has lined up quite an extensive list of things I am to accomplish between now and then.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this last July weekend. It's a tribute to my blog master who gave me a little gift this week:

1) Zoo Station by U2
2) One by U2
3) Bad by U2
4) The Wanderer by U2 & Johnny Cash
5) I Will Follow by U2
6) The Electric Co. by U2
7) Walk On by U2
8) In a Little While by U2
9) When Love Comes to Town by U2 & B.B. King
10) Running to Stand Still by U2

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. On the podcast, I'll be speaking with Raider Greg to see how Randy Moss has been doing wearing silver and black.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:12 AM
July 27, 2005
Podcast Service Announcement

The good news is that my podcasts seem to be a big hit amongst all of you. The bad news is that you are eating up bandwidth on a global scale. What that means is I'm taking it in the shorts to pony up more and more of the almighty dollar to keep the podcast host happy. I can just imagine what will happen when the season starts!

So, I cannot honestly say how long podcasting will be around on the Viking Underground. I can't keep pouring money into podcasting at this rate. I will keep podcasting through August and then reassess. But I have made a few changes this week.

Effective immediately, my XML link has changed. This is the link you would plug into iTunes or another RSS reader in order to subscribe to the podcasts. The new podcast XML can be found at the upper left of this very blog. One immediate change you will notice in iTunes is a more detailed entry including a podcast show description and my own artwork.

Also starting this week, I'll be using a new podcast host. We'll see if that ends up being a dollar saver for me or about the same as it is now. One of the huge advantages of this new host is the ability to create a podcast by phone. Pick up the phone, record, and post. I used this feature on Wednesday when I spoke to a Raider's fan about Randy Moss (look for this podcast next Monday!).

If you have been using Podcast Alley to listen to my podcasts, nothing has changed as they will eventually update my new link behind the scenes. You can still access my podcast history via the Podcast Alley Viking Underground page. I'll let you know when that change to the new XML feed has happened on Podcast Alley.

And there are some rumblings at the University of Minnesota UThinks, the host of this very blog, on granting additional storage space. That means, my podcasts may eventually be moved to that server. So bear with me initially as I continue to work through Podcasting 101.

Let's review:

Change the XML address if you've been using iTunes or another RSS reader to capture my new address.

Podcast Alley link remains the same. So, if don't want to use iTunes, you have this option which provides a free, on-line player.

This most likely will not be the last server change for podcasting.

Stop The Madness!

This is a rant that is not football related. But I have to get it off my hairy chest. They're called Dove Promises. Little nuggets of yummy dark chocolate wrapped in a shiny bit of tin foil. The chocolate is great but then the company goes and places an inspirational quote or saying on the inside of the foil. Chocolate AND cheesy life advice. What the f**k? I don't need inspiration. My inspiration is Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) of the Fantastic Four who utters, "It's clobberin' time!" whenever trouble appears. That's inspiration.

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Today, courtesy of Dove, I've learned:

"Decorate your life": Yes, I did, in Vikings colors and then The Wife® made me put it all into boxes and was stored in the garage!

"Sing along with elevator music": What, and get punched in the gut by a music hater?

"Naughty can be nice": Wow! Sex AND chocolate. OK, so I liked that one. Wouldn't you?

"If they can do it, so can you": Oh just SHUT UP!

Have you run into these? If so, leave a Comment below and let me know what your Dove inspirations were.

Posted by maasx003 at 11:53 AM
Winter Park Revisited

On Tuesday I paid another visit to Winter Park to check on the progress of the ship renovation. When I visited back on July 3rd, it was in very bad shape and new owner Zygi Wilf made it a priority to upgrade.

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There was a crew working on the ship and the renovation was well under way. All the crumbling, rotted planks had been removed and new ones nailed into place. I'd say another week for construction and then a day to paint and the ship should be a much better representation of this world class organization.

Little Help

Chris e-mailed me Tuesday to ask the following:

"The Thursday before the draft (4/21) I was listening to the 'Bumper to Bumper' show on KFAN and he had a guest on who was a draft guru of some sort. I believe his name was Marty Wexler III. I have searched that name with no luck, perhaps I'm wrong on his name or spelling. He writes very detailed book every year on the draft, some 900 pages. Ten or so teams actually pay him for his services. As the interview progressed he took some calls, made a few vague comments on some top prospects. One caller asked about Braylon Edwards and if Marty thought he was the best WR in the draft. He flat out said no. He then went onto say that there is one player in this draft that has superstar even Hall of Fame type of talent and intangibles - he said flat out - Troy Williamson, South Carolina. He said he shares many of the same type of characteristics as Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, and some others I can't remember. Honestly I was half listening so some of the details escape me. I didn't think much of it until after we picked Troy. I wished I had paid more attention to what it was about Troy that he though made him so special. I even tried to call the station a few weeks later to see if they had any info - they never called me back."

Since I don't listen to KFAN, I was not able to help Chris out. Can any of my thousands and thousands of valued readers help Chris out?

Training Camp Update

The date of my visit to Mankato is set. The city will be rolling out the red carpet for me on Monday, August 8. I'll be attending the morning practice session. Then it will be back home to start posting photos and hopefully some podcast interview and comments. Mark your calendars!

OL Marcus Johnson, the Vikings' second-round pick from Mississippi, has now signed.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:00 AM
July 26, 2005
That's Mr. Haas to You!

You should learn how to spell a person's name in Journalism 101 class (as a close, personal friend uttered to me Monday). What in the name of Valhalla am I talking about?

While in Chicago last week, I received a call from the Mankato Free Press wondering if I would be available to do a interview on blogging. They got lucky, catching me in between my two martini lunch and reading yet another Steven Spielberg script (I turned him down again). So I spent 15 minutes or so chatting happily with the reporter about the art of blogging.

The second sentence of the article, published Sunday, read:

"Since last October, the blog's writer, Brian Haas of Plymouth, has managed to develop a site that is the top-read blog on the University of Minnesota server."

Now, I've been called a lot of things in my life. Haas has not been one of them. And this reporter had exchanged e-mail with me throughout the week and so should have know it is Maas and not Haas!

Oh well, I enjoyed it nonetheless. And any press I can get I'm going to happily take. Give it a read when you get a chance. Hell, I even warranted a photo illustration. That doesn't happen every day of the week. Better than a court related artist illustration, right!?!?

Third Wide Receiver

I thought it very interesting that Ol' Pencil Ear is following a school of Bud Grant credo. That being "no rookie shall start in his first year." Take this quote from my close, personal friend Sid Hartman's column from Monday:

"You want my opinion? (Um, no Sid we don't!) I think Tice and his coaching staff were the least ecstatic about the performances of [Troy] Williamson, especially regarding his ability to catch the ball, and [Erasmus] James, who was inconsistent, at minicamp. The coaches are anxious to see what both do when they put the pads on. They might not play a lot early."

Hmm. Sure, I pointed out to you in my May Mini-Camp Report that Troy had a little bit of the dropsies, but nothing major. He made some very nice snares as well.

So, if it won't be The Kid at the number three wide-out, who will it be? I've posted a new poll to the left asking that very question.

I believe it will be Travis Taylor who looked especially on his A-Game during Development Camp. And why not start out with a veteran to make sure Daunte Culpepper starts out the season with a seasoned WR corp? The Kid can always make his splash returning kicks, as I saw during Development Camp. Once he returns three or four to the house in the first couple of games, Ol' Pencil Ear can then insert Williamson into the lineup to stretch the field even further.

Who do you think should be penciled in at the #3 WR to start the season? Vote your thought and leave a Comment below if you want to elaborate.

Training Camp Update

I'm not sure when I will be down in Mankato yet. I hope to confirm my date very soon with the team so that I can gain field access in order to bring you some more photos.

The team has signed some rookies and continues to negotiate so that all rookies are in camp from the get-go. Yesterday, the team signed fourth-round RB Ciatrick Fason and seventh-round CB Adrian Ward .

Coming Tomorrow

We'll revist Winter Park and check on the progress of the ship renovation. When I visited back on July 3rd, it was in very bad shape and new owner Zygi Wilf made it a priority to upgrade.

See you then.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:12 AM
July 24, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. If you don't use iTunes, my podcasts are now listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And I'm quickly moving up the podcasting charts now ranking 691 out of 4982 total podcasts on Podcast Alley while coming in 33rd out of 186 total sports podcasts.

Check out my podcast from this past weekend. It was a discussion between myself and Mark Gresbach, the former owner of the old Vikings e-mail distribution list. Mark, a Milwaukee resident, has some good insight into the Vikes from Packer country. And this was my first telephone recording.

The quality of the audio is something I'll have to work on.

And if you are keeping up with our gardening we are expecting 150 guests next weekend as part of a garden tour. So why not try out The Wife's® blog this week to see how we are doing.

The podcast next Monday (8/1) will come to you straight from Oakland Raider country and we check in with Raider Greg on seeing how Randy Moss is doing in the silver and black. Come back then!

New Desktops!

Cindy at Forever Purple e-mailed me this past weekend to let me know she has been busy designing some new desktops. Wow! Some great new additions. Check them out and download some in time for training camp.


Posted by maasx003 at 7:13 PM
July 22, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the eleventh edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

I'm actually just back from the Windy City. I love Chicago. I just wish I would have had time to enjoy it as this was a business trip. One of those rah-rah team meetings that also had us going from 7 in the morning to 10:30 at night. Oh, I did pop out of the hotel when I could to enjoy the sunshine and architecture during breaks. I hate being confined!

Perhaps even worse than confinement is being in lock-down in a hotel that had no high speed internet. I had hoped to keep up the blog from Chicago but it was not possible given the dial-up only choice.

While in Chicago, I was phoned by the Mankato Free Press for an interview. No, it was not about the fees for training camp, but just blogging in general. I'll let you know if/when that story appears.

And speaking of training camp, new owner Zygi Wilf gets this weeks first SHOUT OUT! Wilf has donated the money necessary to keep Vikings training camp free. Nice, very nice. I'm sure the same issue will rise in 2006, and every year forward until such time that the training facility is found slightly north of the Twin Cities instead of south. This relationship between the team and Mankato is only going to worsen in the coming years.

A SHOUT OUT! to super agent Drew Rosenhaus who has given the Vikes a lock on the NFC North and NFC, period. Rosenhaus represents the Packers Javon Walker and Eagles Terrell Owens, both of whom are likely to sit out training camp.

A hungry SHOUT OUT! to Ryan Madera for supplying pizza at work Thursday evening.

A reverse SHOUT OUT! to our guy, Mensa Mike Tice. According to my close, personal friend Sid Hartman, Tice said he couldn't understand all the concern about NFL scouts covering the team if admission was charged to training camp. "I would have moved what practice we thought could help any the opposition to the field nearest the dormitory, where nobody could see," Tice said. Aw, hell. I was going to make a mint renting out binoculars to the scouts. But now that camp is free of charge.....

In this past weeks podcast, I mentioned that I'd be posting a photo of a person you would never expect to see sporting a cheesehead. Well, a SHOUT OUT! to Ron and Paul of my very own company for this practical joke played on me after the season last season. The resident Packer fans of New Jersey did not like my reference of LamBUTT field after the Moss moon and were gunning for me. But the Vikes will have the last laugh again this year!

Sorry for the short SHOUT OUT! post. Still playing catch-up from my time in the Windy City. See you Monday for another podcast!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:29 AM
July 16, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. I'll be doing a podcast each and every Monday for the foreseeable future.

You do not need a iPod to listen to podcasts. You just need iTunes. Once you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes automatically checks for updates and downloads new episodes to your computer. And if you do own a iPod, when you sync your iPod to iTunes, all your podcasts come along for the ride. You get on-demand radio, delivered automatically. Including my own podcast of Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground. Just use the link found on the upper left of this blog. Plug it into the Podcast area of iTunes, and that's it!

My podcasts are now also listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And for those who simply do not want to use iTunes, download the MP3 file for the 7/18 podcast and open using a MP3 player such as Windows Media Player.

This weeks podcast was a round-table discussion between myself, Shane of the Greet Machine, Stick and Ball Guy, and Cheesehead Craig. We talked Twins, Vikings, Wisconsin sports, and stadium. And we also enjoyed a special cake!

It's a long podcast, coming in at just under 45-minutes. Please let me know if that was too long or just about right. In any event, be sure and save your favorite VU podcasts. I have limited space for podcast storage so when I need room, the oldest podcasts will be deleted.

I'll be in Chicago until Thursday on business. See you then! If you are bored, why not try out The Wife's® blog? Lot's a great garden photos, themed cake photos (ever see a Marvin the Martian cake!?!?), and preparation detail for the upcoming Hennepin County and Minnesota State fairs.

Links for 7/11 Podcast Subjects

Shane's Greet Machine

Stick and Ball Guy

Oracle of Cheese

Music for the 7/11 Podcast

I Feel So Good by Richard Thompson

In the Real World by Roy Orbison

I Won't by The Replacements

Posted by maasx003 at 10:44 AM
July 15, 2005
The Burg of Mankato Wants Your Cash

Note: The blame was initially blamed on new owner Zygi Wilf for a fee to be placed on Vikes fans wishing to attend training camp. But thanks to a Comment left by Proud Purple Rx (hey, us Licensed Drug Dealers do more than save lives ya know!) the blame is on the city of Mankato which probably just ensured that Wilf will be moving training camp to a Twinc Cities location eventually.

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When I got home late from work Friday night, I had a voice-mail from a reporter asking for a quote for a local newspaper. The reason? They wanted my response to Mankato's decision to begin charging fans to attend practice. Want to attend training camp practice in Mankato Sunday through Friday? $5 a head, please. Oh, you want to see a Saturday practice? Please make our your check for $10. That's Greater Mankato Training Camp LLC. Parking? $2 please. Special events? That hasn't been determined yet but I'm sure it will be approaching game-day prices.

I can't say that I am surprised by the decision. I'm only surprised it took so long for the city to try it. But it will end in a very negative backlash from fans. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder tried a charge-for-training-camp back in the 2000 season. It failed miserably and has been free to the public ever since. The Redskins had been charging $10 a head and $10 a car to park.

I know other teams, such as the Chicago Bears will charge for two evening workouts this year, but the rest of their training camp is free.

Many families from around the country decide to attend Vikings training camp as part of a vacation regimen. Now they'll have to tackle higher gas prices AND a fee. I can understand that the team, and new ownership, needs to find every possible avenue to make the almighty dollar. But I feel training camp is sacred. It should be free, especially to the youth who watch their favorite Vikings players practice on a hot summer’s day and dream that they could someday be training with a NFL franchise.

On this very blog not too long ago, I did a retrospective study (Dear Red: How High Can You Go?) of showing that during the McCombs era my season ticket prices increased 61%. And I bet a dollar to a doughnut that once a new Vikings stadium is approved, PSLs (Private Seat Licenses) will be on the menu.

The NFL no longer belongs to the common fan. It belongs to the corporate world. And that's very sad indeed for the families trying to eke out a living and also be supportive of the sport. Perhaps Mr. Wilf can meet with the city and work out something to delay the fee? Perhaps it is out of his hands...except for bringing camp to Blaine someday!

This is a very bad decision. Charging fans to attend training camp practice is like the Titanic steaming for its chunk of polar ice, like the Hindenberg looking for its Lakehurst, like the guy at Chernobyl wondering what that switch would do.

Boom!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:07 PM
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the tenth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to David Key who got up at an ungodly hour to arrive at the Vikings ticket office and I did get his tickets to the GB game (plus KC). He got there at about 5:30am, and was 86th in line!

A Texas sized SHOUT OUT! (seriously) to Red McCombs who has donated $30 million of Zygi Wilf's money to cancer research.

A SHOUT OUT! to Corey Chavous who is keeping his supposed displeasure with his $1.9 million salary for 2005 in house, for now. Better that than publically airing dirty laundry ala the Twins players and manager this season.

A SHOUT OUT! to, um, me for keeping you up-to-date with the ever present LA-NFL scenarios.

A reverse SHOUT OUT! to New Ulm, Minnesota Mayor Joel Albrecht who has raised the bar for stupid politicians everywhere. (Gawd, I'm so embarrassed for Minnesotans!)

Speaking of being embarrassed, how about a SHOUT OUT! to women who most likely would not think of trying this idea.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this July weekend. Start out with something for the BBQ and then some songs for under the stars later on:

1) Get a Haircut by George Thorogood
2) It All Went Down the Drain by Boz Scaggs
3) Pocahontas by Neil Young
4) The Comedians by Roy Orbison
5) Alone With You by The Outfield
6) Violino Tzigano by Achille Togliani
7) Stardust by Willie Nelson
8) Figure of Eight by Paul McCartney
9) Watching the Wheels by John Lennon
10) How to Be Dead by Snow Patrol

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. On the podcast, the longest one yet, I'll be talking with some fellow local bloggers about the Minnesota sports scene! Who the hell needs Sid Hartman any more!?!?!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:54 AM
July 14, 2005
Aretha Sang It "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"

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Which Twin Cities sports franchise is most respected? That's the question behind the latest poll now posted.

This all came about due to an exchange of comments left on a blog entry over at the Greet Machine. If you want more history on it, just mosey over there today.

I'm afraid this is all I've time for today. I'm prepping for the biggest, baddest, "protect the woman & children" blogger and podcast party this side of Medicine Lake. See you tomorrow for SHOUT OUT! Friday!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:31 AM
July 13, 2005
All I Want is to be Loved

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An interesting exchange took place on the Greet Machine blog yesterday. The original entry had discussed that the Twins have acquired Bret Boone. I left the following Comment:

"Boone? Bah! Do they want Aaron Boone and his .211 batting average, too? Daniel Boone could hit better with his flintlock rifle. The Twins season is over. Time to start talking Purple...the only true P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L team in town."

Now, those that know me well are familiar with my sarcasm and dry humor. But I still did not expect this reply to my Comment from a person named Vince:

"God, I can't stand Vikings fans sometimes. It isn't enough that I have to listen to the superstar dribble about every possible development even though we are months away from the regular season. "The vikes are interviewing for a new assistant to the equipment manager, the organization prefers someone with more starching experience than the last assistant." "Tice decided to wear his pencil in the right ear today in support of gay pride month, he also is considering making it the ear of choice for in-game use since he thinks going across his body to reach it is quicker and because it doesn't bump into his mic and earpiece as much."

12 months of Vikings Hype a year when there are other games going on in town makes me care less and less about mounting losses to the Packers and Bears each season. Unlike the other teams in town the Vikes are proven under achievers and have brought more bad apples to the Twin Cities than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined."

Wha-wha-what!?!? So I offered this first reply, more or less blowing it all off as just another malcontent Twins fan:

"Vince: Take a chill pill and look up sarcasm in the dictionary."

But the more I thought about it, the more I resented the implication that the Vikes are thugs are crooks while the Twins are model citizens. (Well, there is Mike Tice and his second line of work but I digress.)

So, I then posted this more expounded response:

"You know, the more I think about it, I do take exception to this bashing of the most popular sports and entertainment franchise in town, bar none. Let the debate begin!

If the Twins are such a friggin' model organization Vince, please explain this season?

First order of business is to make sure your coach and players air their issues behind closed doors and not through the media. The Twins have been failing in this all season and I think it has lead to some clubhouse problems.

Example One

After the Twins lost to the S.F. Giants on July 15, skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say: "I thought we really chased a lot of pitches out of the zone today and really didn't have a good night offensively," he said. "It looked like if we were a little more patient tonight, we probably could have drawn a few more walks."

To which Torii Hunter responded with: "Don't say we weren't patient. I hate to hear that. It's easy to say that when you're sitting down, trust me. Very easy."

Example Two

When catcher Joe Mauer had to take some time off in early June due to a groin injury, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek spoke not so glowingly of Mauer by uttering: "The kid has been pretty well pampered the majority of his career. At that position, if you're going to play 125, 135, 140 games, if you think you're going to be 100 percent every single day, you're crazy. I think we'll have to see how he responds to these nagging injuries, and if they keep up, then he doesn't help us out as a catcher."

Added Gardy: "If his knee were blowing up, then I would say, yeah, we need to move him. But a groin muscle, it has nothing to do with catching. So if his knee is fine, then he should be our catcher. The thing here, you're going to have to start deciding what your body can and can't do. It's a pretty hard game at this level. You're going to be beat up. You're going to have to play through something. And he's going to have to learn that."

To which Mauer responded, again through the press: "I want to be out there, any chance I get. If the trainers and doctors say I can go, I'm going to go. If you're telling me that I can't, then I might want to listen. But I want to be out there."

Example Three

Justin Morneau missed four starts because of a sore left elbow that required a cortisone shot in early June. One would have thought he would have gotten a little moral support from teammates and coaches. In fact, Morneau was ready to return to the lineup for a June 7 game but didn't see his name in the starting lineup.

Instead, he got this from Gardy: "We've had guys here before who were actually happy to be on the bench -- I won't name names. Guys have to understand that. I want most of my players to play every day. I don't want them to be content sitting on the bench."

Morneau also got an indirect verbal assault from Hunter who a day earlier had suggested that younger players need to step up and play through injuries. Morneau didn't care for how it was delivered.

"I don't think the paper is the place to do it," he said.

Hunter, responded: "I never mentioned any players' name."

Uh-huh. Team unity in the Twins clubhouse has to be a question mark as they charge to try and overtake the front running White Sox. And they better start looking in the rear view mirror as the Tribe is surging as well.

Me thinks this airing of issue through the local press is bad for the team. These internal issues should be handled behind closed doors like men. The Vikes have not publicly aired dirty laundry this season. Current contract issues with Chavous and B. Williams have remained behind closed doors. Jacque has used the media all last season and this preseason to play out his contract concerns. Hunter has used the press to get Ryan to make (or not make) personal moves. Again, shouldn't the Twins be big enough boys to discuss in house? So, who's franchise is more professional in that regard?

There has been no finger pointing this off-season with the Vikes. Even Moss and Pepper made up after the trade.

There are black sheep in every organizations closet. And I can't help it if the Vikings are more popular than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined.

Note: This comment has been 100% sarcasm free."

So, what do you think? Who is the more professional sports team in town? And why or why not? Was Vince right? Was I out of line? Will the space shuttle have a successful launch today. Why aren't there more marshmallows in Lucky Charms?

Leave a Comment below at the end of this entry.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:20 AM
July 11, 2005
They Are Here!!!!

Season Tickets: Games 1-5

Season Tickets: Games 6-10

Posted by maasx003 at 5:23 PM
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

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And we're back with another podcast. I'll be doing a podcast each and every Monday for the foreseeable future.

You do not need a iPod to listen to podcasts. You just need iTunes. Once you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes automatically checks for updates and downloads new episodes to your computer. And if you do own a iPod, when you sync your iPod to iTunes, all your podcasts come along for the ride. You get on-demand radio, delivered automatically. Including my own podcast of Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground. Just use the link found on the upper left of this blog. Plug it into the Podcast area of iTunes, and that's it!

And for those who simply do not want to use iTunes, download the MP3 file for the 7/11 podcast and open using a MP3 player such as Windows Media Player.

Tailgate Recipes Discussed in 7/11 Podcast

Grilled Shrimp & Scallops with Teriyaki Sauce

2 lbs shrimp (about 12 and use brownies)
Dozen scallops (dry packed)
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients, except shrimp/scallops. Mix well. Skewer your shrimp and scallops and add to marinade. Marinate for minimum 45 minutes. Grill for 4 - 6 minutes, turn and brush with marinade. Cook until done.

Bratwurst & Beer

1-lb bratwurst
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
Hot dog or bratwurst buns
Mustard

Place foil pan in center area of cooking grate; pour beer into pan, then add onions and green pepper. Place bratwurst beside pan on cooking grate. Cook bratwurst (use tongs to turn) and watch closely until lightly browned. Place bratwurst in beer mixture and cook 25 minutes. Serve on buns and top with mustard and additional chopped onions, if desired.

Links for 7/11 Podcast Subjects

John Madden's Ultimate Tailgating Book

Coastal Seafood

Music for the 7/11 Podcast

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda

Sing Along by the Blue Man Group with Dave Matthews

Next Week's Podcast

This should be a fun one. It will be a roundtable discussion of the local sports scene with myself, Stick and Ball Guy, Cheesehead Craig, and Shane from the Greet Machine.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:03 AM
July 8, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the ninth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! comes from Tyler in Janesville, Wisconsin. I know Janesville very well having visited numerous times when I had a client (Mercy Health System) there. Tyler writes "I'd like to give a SHOUT OUT! for the Vikes fans who bleed Purple and live in Cheeseland. We do battles against insurmountable odds here every year. We have the best seat in the house when we blast the Packers at Lambeau!!!!!!!! Look for us during this NFC North Championship Season of 2005!" Tyler also provided the Star Tribune photo you see below which shows him abd Cris Carter from the 2000 season. Tyler is in the white jersey. I do believe I even recall that TD!

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A animal SHOUT OUT! to seven-year-old chimpanzee, Rudi, who shows us just how much talent is needed to play golf, which is as Twain uttered "a good walk spoiled."

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A five-ring SHOUT OUT! to London for winning the bid to host the 2012 summer Olympics. Don't you just love it when the Frenchies get it in the shorts?

And speaking of the Frenchies, a red-white-and-blue SHOUT OUT! to Lance Armstrong and Team Discovery Channel who set a team-time-trial record in the fourth stage of the 92nd Tour de France cycling race, between Tours and Blois.

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If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this July weekend are:

1) You Got Lucky by Tom Petty
2) Disco Medley: I Will Survive/Funkytown/Last Dance/The Hustle/On the Rad by Selena
3) Food for Thought by UB40
4) Wild Wild Life - Extended Mix by the Talking Heads
5) Comes a Time by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
6) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson
7) Dance With My Father by the late great Luther Vandross
8) Universally Speaking by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
9) True Love by Glenn Frey
10) Talent Show by The Replacements

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast and article. On the podcast I'll be talking about a few of my favorite tailgate recipes. Yum yum!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:42 AM
July 7, 2005
Podcast Feedback

Sorry, but I've got no time today for a lengthy entry. Instead, I'm going to put you to work.

Earlier this week I started podcasting. My intention is to provide a new podcast each Monday going forward.

What I'd like to know from you is:

1) Have you listened to the test podcast? If so, what did you think of the quality keeping in mind it was a test podcast?
2) Will you listen to future podcasts via your iTunes/iPod or just listen to the MP3 file using software on your computer such as Windows Media Player?
3) What types of podcast content would you like to hear? Interviews? Music? Game sounds? Any other subject matter?

Just use the Comments link at the end of this entry to provide your thoughts or just e-mail directly (see links at upper right).

Oh, and hopefully many of you received a e-mail from the Vikings this week like this one:

Dear Season Ticket Owner, The Minnesota Vikings would like to thank you for renewing your seats for the 2005 season. This email is to inform you that your tickets have been mailed via first class mail and you should receive them in 3-5 business days. Remember to keep an eye out for a white envelope, approximate size of 12”x 12”.

Once again, thank you for your continued support of the Minnesota Vikings.

So, keep an eye peeled on your mail box!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:00 AM
July 6, 2005
Tonic for Relaxation

Have a high pressure job? You know the type I'm speaking of. The type of job that requires a bottle of Maalox be kept on top of your desk. For me, my primary job is to ensure that 13 million plus Americans receive the correct copayment for their presciption drug. And then because I want to keep up the practice of pharmacy I moonlight at a local retail pharmacy. All that involves is to ensure that you walk away with the right medication instead of one that may kill you. I'm there to save lives, not take away.

High pressure indeed.

Last Friday, The Boy® and The Wife® were off from work so I invited them down to my office for a picnic lunch. As soon as I saw The Boy®, all work-related pressure evaporated. I wonder if that is the same for you? Does your blood pressure immediately decrease 50% as soon as you see your spouse and child/children? Good, that's the way it should be.

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We enjoyed sandwiches and Cheetos. We stopped to smell the flowers. We walked to a pond to see how much the goslings had grown since they were born.

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Later that evening, I sat in the backyard and watched The Boy® and our youngest dog (Pont, a whippet) play chase. The Boy® was playing the part of the Road Runner and he had somehow talked Pont into taking on the role of Wile E. Coyote.

They played chase well past dark when Pont's eyes started glowing at which point it became a chase between Duck Dodgers and Marvin the Martian's dog K9.

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At that point, I finally felt like summer had hit. Summer picnics. Beautiful summer evenings under the stars. A boy playing with his dog.

I could have tackled the world's biggest issues at that point. Instead I simply got up from my chair and assumed the role of Marvin the Martian and gave chase with my Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator. Work could wait another day.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:00 AM
July 3, 2005
It Does Look Bad

Back on June 17, I had written that new Owner Zygi Wilf wants to fix the old Vikings ship that fronts Winter Park, home of the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-Champion Minnesota Vikings.

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I had written that Zygi was probably unawares that the ship is supposed to look shipwrecked. A look that suggests the Vikes wrecked on that spot and decided to set-up camp. And from afar it really doesn't look too bad.

But, this past weekend, I received an e-mail from Rob asking that I post some photos since he had never heard of the ship until reading about it. So, with family in tow off we went for a little jaunt to Winter Park to check it out.

Ugh! I wish I hadn't! The ship has not aged with time. The condition of this Viking longboat is so bad that yellow caution tape now lines one side of it in an effort to keep people off of it.

It does need a fix, don't you think? Something more representative of this classy organization.

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So, after second thought, Zygi is spot on with his assessment that the ship needs a makeover. I'll keep you informed of the developments on this front as they happen.

Podcasting Coming

Ten years ago I got my first home computer. I discovered a Vikings related e-mail distribution list. No, not a message board as there were no such things as message boards back then. An e-mail distribution list. Look it up.

Then I met up with Dan Hildreth, the creative genuis behind the original Viking Underground site. Dan allowed me to write and take photos for that web site for a number of years before we both just got burned out. A person can only do this for so long before one tires of the non-paid work we do 24/7 for the love of a football team.

Charge ahead to the fall of 2004. I see an article in the STrib about blogging. The urge to write had been nagging at me for some time. I take it up. Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground is now the most visited blog on the UThink University of Minnesota server. Number one out of about a thousand blogs. I've got another monster on my hands.

So I've decided to raise the bar one step higher. Podcasting. Maybe you've heard of it. Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "radio shows," and gives broadcast radio programs a new distribution channel.

This past holiday weekend I jumped in. The second test can be accessed off to the upper left under the Podcast link. I just deleted the first test.

If you have iTunes on your computer, and if you haven't already, download iTunes 4.9 which has the Podcast upgrade on it. Then you just double click on the Podcast folder, click on Advance, plug my XML address into the Subscribe to Podcast and away you go. Simple as that.

If you don't have a iPod or a MP3 portable device, simply download the MP3 file and listen via Windows Media Player or other suitable sound program.

This 21-minute podcast was a very weak effort to just feel my way through. Each of the coming test podcasts will show improvement as I learn the ropes. My hope is to post a new podcast each Monday to help you start off your week.

What does the future then hold? I hope to have sounds from mini-camp, player interviews, coach interviews, and sounds from the regular season games.

At least, that is the plan for now. Until the next great 'Net improvement comes along. Or I burn out again. Whichever comes first.

Posted by maasx003 at 4:33 PM
July 1, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the eighth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Cris "All He Does is Score TDs" Carter. CC shared first-person accounts of failure, excessive partying and bad decisions at the NFL Rookie Symposium June 26th. He had a lot to say and had a very attentive audience.

A Cold War SHOUT OUT! to Ruskie President Vladimir Putin who recently walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring.

A growling SHOUT OUT! to the Cincinnati Bengals who will introduce a new Bengals-themed Ohio license plate to its fans. A fantastic idea. I'll be calling my close, personal friend Zygi this morning.

A I Wish I'd Thought of That SHOUT OUT! to Glarkware for developing some unique notification cards. These will come in handy when I visit the State Capitol next week. Also when the Packers come to town.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled SHOUT OUT! Friday to bring you this important announcement, “Oh No! You sank my battleship!!!”

A SHOUT OUT! to the NFL for fining our guy, Mafia Mike, for scalping Super Bowl tickets. Oh, and a secondary SHOUT OUT! to my very goods friends at the IRS who just may be interested in Mafia Mike's taxes.

A Nooooooooooo! SHOUT OUT! to plastic surgeon Dr. George Khoury who has just ruined beach volleyball for me.

A Beat the Friggin' Frenchies SHOUT OUT! to my hero Lance Armstrong who begins his quest for a seventh Tour de France title. It was back in 1989 when a seventeen year old Armstrong kicked my ass by 34 minutes in the Waco Striders Triathlon down in the big state. I recovered to eventually win the Texas State Triathlon Championship but even then we all knew something special was brewing with Lance.

Finally, a warning SHOUT OUT! for all you fellow bloggers from MSN.com. Be careful what you write or you could be standing in the soup line.

If Any One Cares

My iPod (where Petty rules and Pink Floyd drools) favorite tunes for this rockin' Fourth of July weekend are:

1) Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz
2) Perfect Situation by Weezer
3) I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down by Elvis Costello
4) Slow Burn by David Bowie
5) Let's Go For A Ride by Cracker
6) Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart
7) Funky Broadway by Wilson Pickett
8) Italian Leather Sofa by Cake
9) Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground by Willie Nelson
10) The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

For All You Summer Book Readers

The Wife® has posted her summer reading list for anyone interested over at her garden blog.

Have a wonderful Fourth everyone!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 AM