February 2008 Archives
February 29, 2008
Free Agent Alert II

Madieu Williams, introduced to you earlier this week on the VU, will be a Viking. Several outlets are reporting Williams has agreed to parameters on a six-year contract that is believed to average about $6 million per year.

Former Gopher Thomas Tapeh has agreed to join his home-town team. Buh-bye Tony Richardson.

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Lastly, Bernard Berrian is getting the full-meal-deal treatment with the Wilf's providing personal transport to Winter Park. At least the number should stay south of $9 million a year. Anything more than that, and the Vikes will have over paid.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 12:56 PM
The Toy Fairy

A little non-football entry today. Hopefully I'm providing a good mix for readers of this blog. The last thing I want to do is bore you to death.

COD Jr. is a young lad. He loves animated movies. He is also a collector in the way that squirrels store away food for the winter. When something involves a set, he can't have just one thing...he has to have the whole set. Now is not the time to get into a "you as parent just need to say NO" discussion. Believe me, "NO!" is the most used word in my lexicon each day.

Still, there are times that I want to lad to have joy and have something to look forward to. Especially during the long winter months of the northern winter.

Whenever there is a huge animated movie launch, either Burger King or McDonalds have a toy release to go along with the movie. Remember Star Wars I? Burger King had the movie tie in and had a huge toy release. COD Jr. had to have each character and being a big Star Wars fan myself I thought it would be cool to collect them.

If I only knew what a day-consuming chore that would become. I was visiting every dang Burger King in a 50-mile radius and begging the have certain toys to fill out the collection, such as the elusive Darth Vader BK toy.

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Not to mention the fine nutritional value we were all getting by eating Whoppers nine times a week. Then I got smart.

Along came the Spongebob Squarepants - Lost in Time movie, and true to form Burger King annoucned they would be bringing the characters to its restaurants for customers to enjoy. The promotion would give Spongebob buffs more than 20 exciting toys when they purchased a Kids Meal at BK.

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I was not about to repeat my Star Wars experience. I simply went to eBay and searched for Burger King SpongBob set and was amazed at the number of complete sets immediately available. I found one with a good seller rating, cheap shipping and placed my Buy Now order. The complete set appeared on my doorstep within short order.

Then there was the question: Do I give the lad the complete set right away? What value would I be teaching him by doing so. After some thinking, I decided to take the following approach: I spoke to my son and told him that I had just received a call from the Toy Fairy. If my son were to do his daily chores, be kind to others, and do his best in school the Toy Fairy would visit each night while he slept and leave ONE of the SpongeBob toys as reward.

For almost a month, my son would race out of bed each morning and race to the breakfast table to see what toy awaited him. It become fun for him as well as my wife and I. It gave him incentive to do as he was told and learned that by doing so he would be rewarded.

Since then, sets for Fantastic Four, Snoopy, and other movie-tie ins have appeared. I have been able to get complete sets via eBay for usually less than $20. If you take into account paying for the meals, running to the eatery, and the poor diet....this was a bargain.

This week, the lad has begun to get a visit from the Toy Fairy in response to the release of the Spiderwick Chronicles movie. The mornings have been fun-filled. And another cold winter has become a little less drab.

Coming Saturday: My 1997 interview with then defensive coordinator Foge Fazio

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 28, 2008
Free Agent Alert

Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams have released veteran receiver Isaac Bruce. Any interest from the Vikes? Probably not.

Don Banks has a story that has Tavaris Jackson taking notice. Banks covered the Minnesota Vikings for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (1996-99) and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (1999-2000), so he has his connections. Banks says that the Vikes have offered a third-round selection for Sam Rosenfels, the Houston Texans backup. Ooooh, back to '92 when we had either Rich Gannon or Sean Salisbury. I'm all atwitter. He wasn't even mentioned on the NFL Networks recent coverage of the top FA QB's.

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How's about getting rid of one Pro Bowl fullback (Tony Richardson) for another? The San Diego Chargers have released Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal. Nah, let's keep browsing. I'm heading over to the bread section. You scope out the deli. We'll meet back here in 10 minutes.

Find anything? Me either. But I did hear these two ladies talking about Bears receiver Bernard Berrian. They were squeezing the tomatoes and one of them said they heard Berrian is expected to be over-paid by either the Vikings or the Titans as of midnight tonight. I guess one of these idiots is about to shell out over $12 million for this dude. Can you believe them apples?

This just in, Reds 6, Twins 1. When does football season start?

So what did you learn over in deli, anyway? Say what? They are saying besides Cincinnati S Madieu Williams, the Vikes might target Oakland QB Josh McCown, Cincinnati DE Justin Smith and Philadelphia FB Thomas Tapeh? Are they serving some bad cole slaw back there or something? Go back and ask if you heard correctly.

Excuse me, do you carry that in a sage color? You see, we might have a new QB named Sage.....excuse me? The Vikings and Texans have ended talks about Sage Rosenfels in exchange for a third-round pick? Whew! My hair color does not work with sage. Just would not have been right. What's that? J.P. who now? Come again? The Vikings are now turning their attention to J.P. Losman of the Buffalo Bill? The same J.P. Losman who was twice benched last season? For the love of, excuse me...where's the liquor section?

Can I borrow your phone for a long-distance call to Boston, please. Yes, hello Mr. Belichick? Can we talk shop? I have two gently used camcorders that would fit inside a lapel pin and all we're asking for is to talk to...

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...and we'll even throw in a nice deli tray. Otherwise, the game attendance in the Metrodome next season will be a bit like this...(key sound of crickets chirping)

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Oh gosh, thanks Mr. Belichick! Thanks! Yes, my son will be right over to sweep up your house. I've been training him since he was two.

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Yes Mr. Belichick, we did T.P. the house of Mr. Jerry Jones per your instructions. Now then, what was the number of Mr. Moss again. Hello? Hello? Operator, I think we've been disconnected.

I saw this cartoon over on the magazine aisle. Man, this Zygi guy is going to blow his stack over that cold-hearted penguin one of these days!

Yawn, time for a break. Hey! Here is another Zygi-Chilly comic! Yah! (Click on comic to create larger pop-up)

I'm going to mosey over to the dairy section. Hey, bud! What was the name of that long-toothed WR the Vikes had last year. A former Cheesehead if I recall correctly. Robert Ferguson, yeah, that's the dude. Do we still have him on the team or what? Uh-huh, I see. So let me get this straight, it appeared at one point that a deal with Ferguson would get done, eh? That ol' Fergie expressed a desire to remain in Minnesota after the season. Well, I could take him or leave him. So it looks as if a deal coudn't get done and Fergie will explore the market? What do those Frenchies say? Yeah, "c'est la vie!"

Yep, just got off the phone with my close, personal friend Mike Mayock of the NFL network. Seems Mike liked my story on the Vikes targeting Limas Sweed and opted to rank him numero uno WR draft prospect. Do I know my stuff or what?

Time for bed. I can find out where we screwed up in the morning. Or maybe I'll raise one eye-brow in mild astonishment.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 7:04 PM
ESPN Makes a Free Agent Move

Back on 2/28, I named Sean Salisbury as the VU Nut Job of the Week. This was due to on-air attempt at levity by referring to fellow ESPN analyst John Clayton as the "Cryptkeeper." There is a YouTube video available at that former entry if you haven't seen the segment yet.

This, and the knowledge that Salisbury had been previously suspended for showing cell-phone photos of his "family jewels" to colleagues at ESPN promoted my thought that ol' Sean would soon be looking for work. Well, he is out. Another former Viking, Cris Carter, is in. That's like going from A-Hole to Class-A in one simple action.

I have disliked Salisbury ever since he basically destroyed the Vikes during the '92 season. Rich Gannon was benched in favor of Salisbury. Gannon was later quoted as saying, "For a guy who wasn't much of a player, he's a heck of a talker. And for a guy who didn't take many snaps in the league, he has a pretty good idea of how to play the position.''

Ba-ba-boom.

True to form and Gannon's accurate assessment, Salisbury does not seem to concerned about making payments on outstanding bills.....

"I have grown as much as I can at ESPN and decided to expand my horizons," Salisbury said in a statement. "I have created a brand and it's time to expand into other opportunities in TV, radio, Internet, publishing, movies and public speaking, among others. My resume speaks for itself as a football analyst, and I believe I can talk all sports with the best of them."

So it would seem reality is still a foreign concept for Sean. Who knows? Maybe he can get job as assistant jock strap inspector for an Arena League or CFL team.

Thank-you ESPN. Welcome Cris. My week has become a bit brighter.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:05 AM
February 27, 2008
DE May No Longer Mean Dead-End

On Monday, I discussed who the Vikes may be targeting in the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft. That would be Limas Sweed out of Texas. That may not bode well with the defensive minded Vikings fan but just because the DE position may not be addressed with the first round of the draft one must not forget the Vikes are a billion dollars under the salary cap this year.

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I really wanted the Vikes to be able to pursue Jared Allen. But then along came the nasty viral tag and it could be closed...or is it?

Allen was given the Franchise Tag by the Kansas City Chiefs. But more importantly, the Chiefs used the "non-exclusive tag", meaning that Allen could still be in play. Dumb, methinks, on the part of the Chiefs. Clearly they are not serious about keeping Allen. Why is the non-exclusive part of the equation so important?

Had the Chiefs used the "exclusive" tag, it would have paid Allen more money (for one season) but makes it impossible for other teams to even try and get him. With the "non-exclusive", other teams can sign him, in return for two first round picks. Tempting, but perhaps too much of a gamble. Still worth a consideration.

There are two other note-worthy names that I wanted to put forward for consideration. One is Antwan Odom of the Titans. Odom is a 6-5, 274 lb John Randle-esque of a man who burst onto the scene in 2007 accumulating eight sacks in limited duty. I worry that the Vikes could get into a bidding war and over-pay for the services of Odom as he has already stated that he'll give the Titans the first chance to sign him before free agency begins. In addition, prior to the 2007 campaign, Odom never had more than two sacks. Lastlly, Odom's production could have been a product of teams focusing on Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The other name could be off the board before long: Chris Canty. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to tender Chris Canty at the highest level. What that does is force other teams to pay compensation of first- and third-round picks to get them in the event Dallas didn't match an offer sheet. Not impossible, but I'd hate to lose two draft choices for a player you may be rolling the dice on.

Whichever route the Vikes take to address DE and WR will be fun to watch. And it will give bloggers enough fodder to make it to spring.

Coming Later This Week

- a podcast with Foge Fazio from prior to the 1997 season. Fazio was the Vikes defensive coordinator

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:02 AM
February 26, 2008
Ice Walk

We'll take a one-day break from football talk and share some photos and video from this past Sunday.

The temperatures were creeping into the upper 30’s as we decided to head outdoors and take a stroll on the frozen lake near our home. It is always a fun time for young COD Jr., as he gets to explore; the dogs as they get to romp unleashed; and for listening to the ice creak-pop-snap-crack under our feet as we ask ourselves, “what the heck are we doing out here??

Here are the key players:

Pont: A 3 & 1/2 year old whippet. Neurotic to the point of lunacy. Loves to run.

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Glynis: A 12 year old whippet. Could have easily won the Frisbee Dog Worlds at one point. Now, she loves to sleep in the sun.

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Boy: Of unknown origin and age. Knows everything about anything. If he can't explain it to you it is because, "it's too complicated for you to understand."

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Here are two YouTube videos to let you southern types enjoy romping in the snow. The first is actual video footage. The second are photos set to music. Enjoy!


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:00 AM
February 25, 2008
That's Limas, Not Linus

Ol' COD may be getting up there in years, but I've still got a connection or two around town. I had a name whispered into my ear late last week as one of the players the Vikes have rated high, high, high on their big board at Winter Park.

Last year, the Vikes selected Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson despite concerns about his injuries suffered during college and was heavily noted by the media and potential NFL teams. That's probably why the team was able to select him at #7 overall despite being rated as the best player in the draft by ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr.

This coming draft, the Vikes could be sticking with the Big 12 Conference for their first overall pick once again. The man expected to be on the Vikes short list was hampered by a preseason wrist injury that eventually shut his last year in college ball down. His potential was never really reach during his 4 years at the University of Texas, but he will always be known for his great fade route in the end-zone to defeat Ohio State in the Horse Shoe 3 years ago on national TV.

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It is wide receiver Limas Sweed.

The best way for me to introduce you to Sweed is to view the following video. Keep your eye on the 0:49 second mark. Watch that catch and then think back to Troy Williamson. Try not to salivate too much on your keyboard. That's not good for the electronics.

At 6-foot-5, Sweed was often a mismatch for cornerbacks and a big target for Texas quarterbacks. He averaged 33.3 yards on his touchdown catches. Insiders suggest that he'll shatter the estimated 4.55 forty times given by NFL scouts previous to this season at the combine (I haven't seen the times from Indy yet...anyone?).

All I could find was one concern: Sweed managed to convert just 2-of-12 third-down passes thrown to him. Alright, so he's no Cris Carter. But his size reminds me of Jake Reed and his hands have to be an improvement over Williamson.

I dunno. This is a very intriguing option for the Vikes should they want to forego using their #1 on a defensive end, the other pressing need. What do you think? Vote below:




Coming Later This Week

- why the Vikes may be able to expend a draft pick on a WR and still address the weakness at DE
- a podcast with Foge Fazio from prior to the 1997 season. Fazio was the Vikes defensive coordinator

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 24, 2008
Madieu Williams

This captured my eye in Sunday's STrib buried in a story about Larry Fitzgerald:

"The Scout.com reports the Vikings are expected to pursue Bengals free safety Madieu Williams when free agency opens Thursday."

OK, I'll be the first to admit....I ain't ever heard of this here dude (picture of country bumpkin COD and fellow friend below). But it should come as no surprise when safety went from a possible need position for the Vikings to a high priority following the sudden release of veteran Dwight Smith (the Daily Norseman stated it best referring to Smith as Dead to Me).

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Williams seems like a tough sort of character. Perhaps in the mold of Mr. Joey Browner?

And picking up Williams would be a 180-degree upgrade in character over the exploits of Mr. Smith (see the VU Culture of Accountability Wall of Fame on the right navigation screen). Williams has his own web site, featuring the Madieu Williams Foundation, "a fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, focuses on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and education. Through his foundation, Madieu reaches out to youth and teaches them at an early age the importance of a healthy lifestyle."

I think Smith had a foundation for taking security cameras out of public stairwells.

The connection with the Vikings is defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier coached Williams in Cincinnati from 2003-2004. Williams started 13 games before ending the year on injured reserve with a quad injury. Williams had 74 tackles (58 solo) with two interceptions, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. Williams is a unrestricted free agent.

Another reason to like Williams: During training camps Williams would fight with world-class clown Chad Johnson. Any one who would try to put a seal on the lips of Johnson is a great guy in my book. Let's get this guy.




Come back Monday for a inside scoop on a college player the Vikes have very high on their list of possible first round selections. Then you'll learn why they gave permission to Troy Williamson to look for a trade.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 12:13 PM
February 23, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Seven

This week's podcast is back to actually talking Vikings football. Back in 1997, I had conducted a series of interviews with Vikings coaches and front office personnel. Back then, I had used an old micro-cassette recorder to conduct the interview and then set to transcriping it for the ol' Viking Underground. You see, there were no such things as digital recorders or podcasts in those dark days of yore.

I recently located those old tapes and have set to making them available via VU podcasts. While they are dated, they make good listening. For example, this week's podcast is from min-camp (circa April) 1997 when I sat down with Brian Billick, then offensive coordinator for the Vikings. It is interesting to hear Billick speak to such players as Robert Smith, Brad Johnson, and Randall McDaniel knowing what we know now.

So sit back and listen to the good ol' days. I think you'll like this one. Next week, we'll look back at my interview with Foge Fazio, the defensive coordinator in 1997.

Subscribe to Podcasts/Videocasts

MP3 iTunes Podcast link

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:24 AM
Troy Gone?

My good friends at Pro Football Talk are picking up on the story that Troy Williamson will not be back with the Vikings next year. For those with short memories, here is a short reminder why the Vikes are actively pursuing a trade:

Agent David Canter claims that more than eight teams are interested in Williamson.

"It's a very positive situation," Canter said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "They're letting us put together the trade. There's already been some offers and preliminary discussions. Troy is really excited and he's just anxious to see where he ends up."

Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Dolphins, Jaguars, Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks, and Titans all could be interested in Williamson, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2005 draft.

I dug back into the VU archives as I recalled having the opportunity to speak with Canter on March 6, 2006. That podcast is still available on the VU Podcast page (VU Podcast Forty-Six) so after listening to the Billick interview, take a listen to my interview with sports agent David Canter as well. Here's a direct link for those without iTunes or are unable to use my embedded media player on the podcast page.

David Canter Podcast

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 21, 2008
Eclipse

The lunar eclipse was very fun to observe Wednesday night. This one was special for many reasons. The presence of Saturn just to the southeast of the moon and the bright star Regulus just north of the moon during the eclipse provided me with extra information to spoon the sponge-like brain of young COD Jr. who watched the eclipse with his Cub Scout binoculars...and his tongue never quieted during the whole thing.

Second, the color of this lunar eclipse was fantastic. We watched the moon turn an orange/deep red hue, due to the indirect sunlight that passes through the Earth's atmosphere and casts a glow on it. If you missed this one, you'll have to wait until December 20-21, 2010 to view another lunar eclipse.

I did set out to take some photos. My busy work schedule prevented me from proper preparation so I apologize for the quality of the photos. I'm better than that. But, it was five below zero making me fidget to make camera setting corrections. And it was more important to me to share the moment with my son than try and capture it all on film. But have a look anyway (click on image for larger view). Hope you had a great time viewing as well!

Music Recommendation

If you have never heard of Feist, you are missing something. Here is their cover of the Bee Gee's song Inside and Out.

Coming Saturday

This may be my last blog entry for the week as lots of the plate with a Cub Scout winter camp-out and other family events. But come back Saturday and you'll be able to download my 1997 interview with then Vikings offensive coordinator Brian Billick into your iTunes/iPod. Actually, it is available now on the VU Podcast page but I know many of you like 'portability'. If you choose to listen "early" via the podcast page, just be sure to hit the play button twice on the embedded player. Otherwise, those subscribing via iTunes will have the podcast available for download Saturday.

After you listen, come back and let me know what you thought about hearing this 'blast from the past." I hope to post my '97 interview with Foge Fazio next Saturday (March 1).

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 20, 2008
It's the Stadium Stupid

It's that time of year when my thoughts often turn to the warmer climates. I believe there may be some truth to Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), especially as March approaches and we know there may be six weeks more before we see our first buds and song-birds.

Los Angeles has a nice climate. And as I've been speaking to for years, it may be one day that our beloved football team is relocated to sunny California and I'll have to decide if I am to follow, stay put, or completely cut the cord in disgust.

To tell you the truth, I don't believe that the Vikings will ever move. It will come down to some back-room deal (oh, Hubert H. Humphrey we need you!) or a last minute savior will step in and barter some type of financial deal. Be that as it may, I found myself in this funk over a recent posting by my close, personal friend Sid Hartman who penned this exceptionally annoying diatribe:

"Zygi Wilf made the mistake of saying he would never move the Vikings under any circumstances when he purchased the team.

Well, the NFL representatives who met recently with the staff of Gov. Tim Pawlenty painted a different picture, making it pretty clear the Vikings can't make it financially and would continue to finish last in the league in revenue if a new stadium isn't built before the Vikings' Metrodome lease runs out after the 2011 season.

Unfortunately, the current economic climate makes it tough to build stadiums. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl that the NFL wants to return to the Los Angeles area but doesn't want to expand, so fans of teams such as the Vikings, Buffalo and Jacksonville need to be concerned about relocation."

I found this annoying because it didn't tell us anything new. It was just more blathering to stir the pot and cause angst amongst the anti-stadium crowd and heartburn amongst the pro-stadium crowd.

Without a doubt, 2011 is quickly approaching but there is still time to get a deal done. But this late in the game means that the Vikes would need to find a temporary home while the Metrodome is razed and the new stadium built....which is Zygi's wish. Where goest though, then?

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Pure logic would dictate that the Vikes would play in the new Gopher stadium....and it is a beaut. The new college stadium opens on Sept. 12, 2009. I think I'd get me a sky-box as these look very plush.

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The important thing to note is that even with a late deal to agree upon funding for a new Vikings stadium, the team would not be homeless. I think we could all put up with a outdoor stadium in a college atmosphere for a few years until the new Vikings home is completed.

As for L.A., Buffalo is going to end up in Toronto. The Vikes are staying. And I doubt the NFL would let a stadium that is on the menu of Super Bowl rotations move very easily. The NFL is not going to expand at this point. So what happens? Status quo. Los Angeles will continue to hold other teams hostage in stadium plays. But they have their own stadium issues.

In April of 2006, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, Councilman Bernard Parks, left, and members of the Coliseum Commission toured the stadium and gave a news conference to discuss a presentation to the National Football League and stadium improvements.

Then came these telling quotes. First, Mayor Villaraigosa released a statement in which he said, "While I remain committed to bringing a professional team to Los Angeles, it is time to read the scoreboard: the Coliseum is no longer a viable option for the NFL."

Coliseum general manager Pat Lynch, a spokesman for the Coliseum Commission, said if the potential of the NFL horning in on USC's place as the stadium's main tenant is the school's major objection, then that obstacle could be overcome.

"We're not holding our breath on the NFL. We're moving on," Lynch said this afternoon. "That's why we're engaged in these negotiations with USC. So nobody's sitting here holding out any kind of place-holder for the NFL."

"Over the last two years, the city has made every effort to bring an NFL team to the L.A. Coliseum . . ." Villaraigosa said in the statement. "The Coliseum is and should remain the home of the USC Trojans. I am committed to seeking a long-term agreement with USC that protects the public interest, preserves jobs and benefits the entire community of South Los Angeles."

Hmmm, doesn't seem like such a slam-dunk to relocate a team only to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire of another stadium debate.

Thoughts?

Real or Staged

Go ahead and take two minutes and view this little video and let me know if you think this is real or staged. If it is real.....I may never drive again.

Eclipse

If you plan to watch the lunar eclipse tonight and don't know what time to beging viewing in your area, this animated site provides you with what you can expect to see by time zone. For us in the CST, the eclipse will begin at 7:43 pm, but gets real neat from 9 pm on as the moon enters the umbra (Earth's shadow) and takes on an orange-red glow.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:11 AM
February 19, 2008
Damn Ice Dams

Over the weekend the temperatures were basking near the upper thirties here in the Tundra of the Great White North. Suffice to say I was not surprised to find a small puddle of water on the wood floor of our Great Room caused by a leaky drip-drip=drip from the ceiling above. "Friggin ice dams!", I roared to the wife. This was followed by my yearly soliloquy of how this was going to be our last winter in Minnesota and how we would be moving to the southern warmness of Arizona or Texas ASAP.

What the heck is an ice dam you ask? For those of you who have never lived north of Nebraska let me explain. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. The following shows a cross section of a home with an ice dam.

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Now, we really don't have a huge issue with these. This is only the 3rd time in 17 years that we've have to deal with it. It seems to take the right combination of heavy snow, followed by very cold temperatures with periods of thaws and the whole cycle kicks in. Usually, I deal with it by occasionally shoveling snow off the roof. This year, I had been lazy. Removing snow from the roof eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. So, here is me from the last weekend. Thinking about moving to Minnesota soon? This may be one thing you'll have to deal with. I'll take my chances in Arizona and tolerate an occasional gecco in my house over this crap.

I'm Going to Pee My Pants

There was a huge television event last night? Did you catch it? Was it circled on your calendar and spoken about 23 of the 24 hours each day for weeks leading up to the prodcast? If you have no children, you may have let this one slip by. It was the season opener (season seven) for the Fairly OddParents.

The Fairly OddParents is an Emmy-winning American animated television series shown on Nickelodeon, where it is currently one of the most popular shows (second only to SpongeBob SquarePants). COD Jr. eats them up. He also enjoys the classics, such as Jonny Quest, but loves the fast pace of this show. Mom and Dad like it too.

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The episode was called Fairly Odd Baby and was a hoot. After Timmy wishes that Cosmo and Wanda would have a baby, the Pixies and the Anti-Fairies join forces to kidnap the baby and use his/her untapped power for world domination. It will be up to Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda, Jorgen, and some explosive burritos to save the first fairy baby born in 10,000 years.

Did you happen to catch it?

Coming Saturday

My 1997 interview with then Vikings offensive coordinator Brian Billick.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:07 AM
February 18, 2008
Yo Vikings!

We are avid book readers at the COD House. Every so often I hope to bring a book to your attention. This past weekend, COD Jr. enjoyed a book entitled, "Yo, Vikings!"

Written by author/illustrator Judith Byron Schachner, she proclaims, "I live in a constant state of third grade bliss—making up stories and drawing pictures. Isn't that what we all did as children?" The same could be said for the heroine of her book, Yo, Vikings!, as a young girl named Emma immerses herself in a world of imagination and drawing when she prepares a speech for her class' World Discovery Day about Erik the Red, the hot-tempered Icelandic explorer and founder of Greenland.

With the help of her young brother, Ollie, Emma heads to the library, where a kindly librarian named Mr. Sigurd guides her research. Suddenly Emma's mind and journals are filled with Vikings, runes, swords and sailing ships. One day, she discovers that an actual Viking ship is for sale, so she and Ollie pool their money and baseball cards to try to purchase the artifact. They send off a letter and wait patiently for a reply. Meanwhile, Emma tells all her friends that she is going to get the ship for her birthday. Her pals are used to her wild tales and simply call this latest "Viking voodoo."

I won't spoil the ending, but I assure you that this book, perfect for elementary school children, is a tremendous blend of imagination and reality. It also sneaks in some history. We enjoyed it. If you have a youngin' in the house, give it a try as we think they'll like it too.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:51 AM
February 17, 2008
Fav Music

Here are three songs that are dominating my iPod at the moment.

First up is “God Gave Me Everything,? off Mick Jagger's The Very Best of Mick Jagger released in 2007. It is a song that Jagger cowrote with Lenny Kravitz. The CD is solid throughout.

Second is off the Raising Sand CD which is an amazing collaboration between rock and blue-grass greats Robert Plant and Allison Krauss....an unlikely pairing if there ever was one. Here is "Gone,Gone,Gone (Done Moved On)" from that CD.

Third is a selection from the new Jack Johnson CD. I really enjoy Johnson's stuff. I can feel the ol' ticker just slow down when I play his music. Our son loves his music as well and usually is dancing and smiling whenever Johnson's music is on. Enjoy the first single "If I Had Eyes" from Jack's newest Brushfire Records' release Sleep Through The Static.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:43 AM
February 16, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Six

This week's podcast is another of the non-football variety. It features the music of Boz Scaggs along with snippets from two of my favorite podcasts that we at the COD house listen to all the time.

Snippet One: This is from BBC Wales and is the Rhod Gilbert show. Gilbert started stand up in early 2002. Within eighteen months, he was the only person in the UK to reach the finals of every major new talent competition in the country, winning an unprecedented four awards, including the most prestigious BBC New Comedy Awards. He's now emerged as one of the most promising and exciting talents on the UK and international comedy scene.

Subscribe to Rhod Gilbert's Best Bits podcast

Snippet Two: This is from BBC Radio 5 and features Mark Kermode who discusses the latest film releases with Simon Mayo. Lively, controversial and unmissable movie discussion. Hilarious to the point of tears.

Subscribe to Kermode's Film Review podcast

If you know nothing about Kermode and Mayo all you need to see is the infamous YouTube video of Kermode's rant on Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

Enjoy the VU podcast and subscribe to the other two! You'll thank me for it!

Subscribe to Podcasts/Videocasts

MP3 iTunes Podcast link

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:00 AM
February 15, 2008
Blue is the New Red

Nope, this is not going to be about Democrat's versus the Republican's. It doesn't have anything to do with Valentines Day. Yes, my significant other got her three dozen red roses (Thanks Costco!!) delivered to her office. Nope, I wanted to proudly announce that the COD family will be attending their very first concert...which is saying something since the youngest member is a few weeks short of 8-years old.

You got it! We'll be attending the Blue Man Group: How To Be A Megaster Tour at the Xcel Energy Center on March 29. We'll be on the floor very near the stage. From other people that have taken their kids to a BMG concert, we hear it is a great time. We'll be bringing along those Viking game day ear plugs just to be safe. We're not sure how far the "splash zone" extends but we figure to be close enough to pick up a sprinkle or two of BMG goo or whatever it is they tend to use to highlight their very visual performances.

So, what do you think? Are we being nuts in taking our son at this early stage in his "development"? I mean, it's not like we're caught running a red light with beer strapped in with a seat belt but a toddler is not.

Have you been to a BMG concert? If so, let us know what to expect! Leave a comment.

Coming Saturday, another VU podcast.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day

So, my Significant Other got her Valentine's Day gift. Yep, a big ol' tattoo:

trampstamp.jpg

I believe those are called "tramp stamps". OK, here is what she really got:

That's right, three dozen red roses. A WKW (Well Kept Woman).

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:17 AM
February 13, 2008
Season Ticket Renewal

Yep, that time of year again when the ol' season ticket renewal notice arrives. It usually arrives about the same time that I'm also dealing with Uncle Sam looking for a handout.

Now let me make it crystal clear that despite the history of price hikes that I'm about to give you, I still consider the Vikings ticket to be one of the most economical in town for entertainment bang for the buck.

Time for your history lesson.

seasontics001.jpg

Back in the 1993-94 NFL season, I paid $25 a ticket for four season tickets in section 201. My total package price for these four season tickets in the upper bowels of the Metrodome was $1000.

For the 1994-95 NFL season, I was moved up to section 101 in the end-zone. That's where I am today except that then I was in row seven and today I'm in row one. In any event, I had to dish out an extra $4 per seat for those four season tickets. A decision that took me about 15-seconds to decide upon. Total package price sky-rocketed to $1160 for four prime season tickets.

Reflecting back on those prices I realize those days are long gone and never to be seen again. The prices really started to sky-rocket when ol' Red McCombs decided to raise prices again and again and again.

Before we discuss the latest rate hike under the Wilf's, let's look at some more history for further perspective on this matter.

When prices started to rise and we had to make some tough financial decisions, I decreased the number of season tickets I was holding from four to two. This was not a decision made lightly and I often regret doing it. But the extra money afforded did allow my wife and I to attend other entertainment venues offered by the Twin Cities such as the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Gotta spread the wealth, ya know. But let's return to the history and the math.

For the 1996-97 NFL season, I paid $33 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $660.

For the 1997-98 NFL season, I paid $37 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $740.

For the 1998-98 NFL season, I paid $37 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $740. That's right. Prices actually held. But that was just before Red McCombs purchased the team. And that's where things really got interesting.

For the 1999-00 NFL season, I paid $45 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $900. An $8 per seat (17.7%) increase over the year before and largest yearly increase during my 12-year tenure as a Vikings season ticket holder. My salary increase that year was 3.8%.

For the 2000-01 NFL season, I paid $48.50 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $970. That one wasn't too bad to swallow but one would have thought that after a hefty $8 per seat increase that perhaps no increase was warranted? But wait, it got even better for Red the Menace.

For the 2001-02 NFL season, I paid $53 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1060. A $4.50 (8.4%) per seat increase. My salary increase that year was 4.2%. And keep in mind that just 10-years earlier I was getting four, not two, season tickets for that price. And Red wasn't about to stop there.

For the 2002-03 NFL season, I paid $58 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1160. A $5 (8.6%) per seat increase. My salary increase that year was 4.5%.

For the 2003-04 NFL season, I paid $62 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1060. A $4 (6.4%) per seat increase. My salary increase that year was 4.2%.

For the 2004-05 NFL season, I paid $64 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1280. A $2 (3.1%) per seat increase. My salary increase last year was 4.0%. Wow! I actually kept pace with ticket inflation!

For the 2005-06 NFL season, I paid $71 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1420. A $7 (9.9%) per seat increase. My salary increase this year will be a meager 4.2%.

For the 2006-07 NFL season, I again paid $71 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1420 as the Wilf's held the line. Amazing for a team ranked thirty-second in revenue in the NFL. That was appreciated.

Now for the latest and, ahem, greatest. Drum roll, please Maestro.

For the 2007-08 NFL season, I will pay $74 a ticket for two season tickets for a total package price of $1480. A mild 4% which will probably hold line with whatever my salary increase will be. That's not bad considering the fact the team has a blossoming star in Adrian Peterson, a exciting field of home opponents, and the aforementioned team revenue issue.

I still have reason to groan. Since first purchasing season tickets in 1993 for $25 a seat per game my cost has risen almost 66%. Using this inflation calculator, what did cost me $25 per seat in 1993 should only have risen to $36.52 per seat in 2007. Recall that I will be at $74 per seat for 2007.

Had my salary grown to 66% during this same period, my wife wouldn't have to work. Heady numbers indeed!

How 'bout you? Did you get your notice? Any huge price increase? Will you renew? When will enough be enough? Leave a comment.

YouTube Video of the Day

When late-night television was like putting on a old pair of comfortable jeans. Hereeeeeeee's Johnny!

Video Extra

The cast of "Spongebob Squarepants" lend their voices to classics from Hollywood's Golden Age of Internet lip-dubbing.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 12, 2008
The Guy Still Irks Me

I'm trying so hard to love Vikes head-coach Brad Childress. I'm from the "40 for 60" Joe Kapp generation of Vikings fans in which I truly try to get behind the entire team, ownership, and coaching staff. It's a tough sell for me when it comes to the head-coach.

While the rest of the sports world refers to Childress as "Chili", I prefer the nickname "Chilly" as in Chilly-Willy the penguin from the old cartoon days. That's one cold fish we've got over on the sidelines.

This past Sunday, Judd Zulgad had a piece in the STrib which had several quotes from Chilly that hammer home my point. Here are some examples followed by what I'd rather hear:

The 10-6 Giants, a wild card team, winning the Super Bowl: "I think if you look at the playoff run and you look at [quarterback] Eli Manning's play throughout the postseason, he played turnover-free basically, aside from the one the guy batted in the air [that led to an interception in the Super Bowl]. I think I mentioned the last time we talked, what were we, 10-1 in the last three games? Turned it over 10 times, got one takeaway. That's always what's the most significant stat. You watched the Giants take care of the football. Was it always pretty? No. Was it always clean? No. But you saw Eli get a little bit better from our game [a 41-17 Vikings victory in late November in which Manning threw four interceptions] on, and he just kind of grinded away at that."

Would have rather heard: “No matter how much you've won, no matter how many games, no matter how many championships, no matter how many Super Bowls, you're not winning now, so you stink. And right now, we stink.?

Tarvaris Jackson as the Vikings' starting quarterback: "I don't want to characterize it any way. Logic would dictate that he started at the end of the year, and I know he's going to spend time [working] on his trade. He'll be that much better with the wideouts, etc. But it's always a fluid situation and you know that change is part of this deal. Provided there is no change, that will be the guy."

Would have rather heard: “There will be changes here, there's no doubt about that.?

On making it clear to Jackson that he is the guy: "He knows how I feel about him, and that's the most important thing. I feel like he's progressed; he knows we stepped back a little bit toward the end of the year in terms of taking care of [the football]. When we were on that pretty good run [a five-game winning streak late in the season], we were taking care of it, at times, decently. He knows what he has to eliminate: those multiple-turnover games."

Would have rather heard: “In this climate of football as we've witnessed, you have to show some progress or there's a good chance you won't be in some place for very long.?

The NFL's upcoming free-agent class, which Vikings officials spent last week discussing: "It's not devoid of talent. There are some talented guys that are going to command big bucks. ... I think there's also probably some value. We [evaluate] all of them. All the way down the line, no matter how many snaps they have. Are they showing an upside? Do they fit our system? All of that. Whether they fit at the top of the roster or the bottom of the roster."

Would have rather heard: "I got problems here, I got problems there, ... I'm trying to get mentally organized.?

What needs to happen to turn around a pass defense that has finished at the bottom of the NFL for two seasons: "Different things in different situations. Obviously, we upped the sacks from 30 to 38, which this year put us eighth in the league. Probably just the steady pressure, continuing to change up with blitz and coverage. This is a roundabout way of saying rush and coverage. There are times when we need to rush better and somebody needs to beat a 1-on-1, and there are times where we flat need to cover better. ... Those are things that you look forward to working on in terms of cleaning up some of your technique in the offseason and then getting it on the field of play as we start the fall."

Would have rather heard: “When you don't know that you don't know, it's a lot different than when you do know that you don't know.?

The above "would have rather heard" are direct quotes from a Mr. Bill Parcells. What I'm trying to state is instead of trying to sound like any politician at election time and not actually answering any question, it may be better for Chilly to loosen up a bit and have some fun. Chilly, and the front office, need to figure out that there will be continued issues breathing life into a weakening Vikes fan base with the coach spouting cerebral dialogue and finding appropriate emotional beats amongst the beer-swilling crowd.

Maybe Chilly can attend a seminar sponsored by those wacky Coors Light commercials. He can attend classes given by Parcells, Dennis Green, Jim Mora, and Mike Ditka. Those are some boys who know how to have some fun. Maybe they can get Chilly to warm up.

chilly-willy-electric-blanket.gif

Agree? Disagree? Am I being too harsh? Not harsh enough? Let me know..leave a comment.

Your YouTube Video of the Day

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 11, 2008
Monday Morning Jive

Wow. Some real legends jamming out in the Netherlands. Your Monday just got better.


Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis
Uploaded by Hanvak

Coming Saturday will be another podcast. I usually only do podcasts when time permits and time has been sorely lacking as of late. I'll try to do better. The upcoming podcast will feature some snippets from two of my favorite podcasts from the BBC and hopefully you'll add them to your podcast menu as well!

And you can start to get ready for St. Paddy's Day by sending your own Lepregram, courtesy of Bennigans. Here is my own special VU Lepregram. Enjoy!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 10, 2008
Sunday Acoustic

Just because this artist was the first musician that I ever spent money on. And a cassette tape at that. So kick back with a cup of Joe, sit down with the Sunday paper and enjoy a little John Denver.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:58 AM
February 9, 2008
Back To Politics

Patrick Nielsen Hayden explains why he voted for Obama in the primary (he did it by absentee ballot). His reasoning:

I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice?. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.

Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.

In listening to the libs around the water cooler, it sounds like many of them will probably end up voting for Obama. They think he has a chance to be a generational candidate — someone who will bring new voters into the process. If this ends up a contest between Obama and McCain (and it’s pretty clear McCain is going to be the Republican choice, since Mitt has packed it in), this election has the potential to go down as one of those watershed elections in American history, something that hasn’t happened since my guy, Ronald Reagan. I could stand a bit of watershed at this point in time.

That said, as Patrick notes, there are worse things than Hillary Clinton. Many of the Hillary supporters are stating that she isn’t getting much of a fair shake in the media, which clearly seems to loathe her and which also has a swoon going on for Obama. This is a fair complaint, but it’s also worth noting that life isn’t fair, and that little fact has worked for Clinton in the past; I don’t doubt she could have had a fine political career if she’d never met Bill Clinton, but the fact she did has worked considerably to her benefit to date. Now she has to deal with the downside of all that.

And yes, that does work in Obama’s favor. But there are the Dems that have the mind-set (however blind they appear to be) that feels the Elephants fundamentally fear a Clinton candidacy, because the Clinton crew is the only one on the Democrat side that is fundamentally unafraid of the "GOP smear machine"; they hit back, and they hit below the belt. With Hillary as the Donkey candidate we'll have another nasty election. Maybe with Obama we'll get some true rhetoric flowing between he and McCain. But as I stated a week or so ago, McCain and Hillary seem to like each other..scary as that may be.

As far as Obama or Clinton; the race is too close. I do think at this point momentum is with Obama. The longer the race goes, the more likely it is he’ll be the one to finish it. And McCain looks to be the most feared (and electible) over either of the Donkey choices at this point:

My vote will continue to be thoroughly undecided for the time-being. McCain is just too moderate for me. Hillary scares the bejezus out of me. Obama seems to be able to vocalize one word, "change" without any substance. But here is the thing that frightens me the most: Senators make piss-ass Presidents. And it looks like we'll be voting a Senator into the White House irregardless.

Never before have two senators run against each other for the White House.

Only 5 Presidents, Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson were Senators before they were elected President. Of those Harding never held another elected position, and Truman only held a judgeship and the Vice-Presidency. Why?

Perhaps the reason lies in what makes a successful Senator: a diplomat. Unfortunately, “diplomat? and “leader? don’t make good bedfellows. Rare is the Senator that can a) strike the populous as a leader of the country, and b) can execute once they get there. History has not been kind to Harding or Lyndon Johnson, and the jury is out on Nixon and in some circles on Kennedy.

Let's dive into this aspect just a bit deeper.

Obama, Hillary, and McCain are all sitting Senators. A whopping total of two sitting Senators have been elected president - and even there, there's a mixed record:

Warren Harding, our disgraced 29th president, was notable for three things:

1. He was the only newspaper man to occupy the oval office. (The press and politicians regularly make the bottom of the list of trusted professionals. So Harding was a double whammy.) 2. He had the largest feet of any president (size 14), all the more surprising that he and his wife had no children - though he did sire a child out of wedlock with mistress Nan Britton. (By the way William Howard Taft wore "gout shoes" which are sized differently.) 3. He presided over the most scandal-tarred presidency in history. (Give the guy credit: He was in office for less than one term.)

John F. Kennedy is the other president to have been elected while still serving in the Senate. His record, of course, is better, even if things began disastrously with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Still he was elected only narrowly (the definition of "narrowly" being "a bunch of dead people in southern Illinois") and perhaps only because his competition was Vice President Richard Nixon, a sweaty unlikable guy hobbled by a title that rivals Senator in presidential unelectability. (When V.P. George H.W. Bush was elected president in 1988, he was the first veep to do so since Martin Van Buren, 152 years before!!)

It's not as if Senators haven't tried for higher office. During this presidential election alone, Six senators have thrown their hats in the ring.

So why else don't Americans like to give Senators the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

The President is Chief Executive Officer. So the prize has gone overwhelmingly to governors, our states' highest executives, who in many ways are like mini-presidents. (Among other powers, the governor is the commander-in-chief of his/her state.) Senators, on the other hand, rarely can take credit for doing anything singlehandedly, so they're rarely seen as leaders. They co-sponsor complicated, often shady, legislation - legislation they can sometimes shirk responsibility for when the legislation turns out to be a liability. Sure, they have power to "advise and consent." But they can't order anyone to do anything.

Go back to the last election. Remember John Kerry? He seemed to have the makeup of a successful Senator: flexible, nuanced, a horse trader of sorts. Yet he didn’t have what appeared to be the makings of a good President: decisiveness and direction.

And this is where Obama will nail the coffin shut on Hillary. After several defeats Dem's were asking, “What happened to standing up for the little guy"? That’s what the Democrats were always about. Instead, in '04 they got this eastern, blueblood, upper-crust pansy who seemed to have absolutely no connection to the common man. And now they have a choice between Obama and another East Coast blueblood upper-crust pansy. Yeah, Hillary may be a yokel from Arkansas but she's all New York City now.

On the other other hand, the best Senators master the art of compromise, a skill sorely needed after 7 years of runaway White House power mongering. And if a Senator does manage to slog through the procedural morass and come out with something to show for him/herself, that's a real accomplishment.

At least, we better hope so. Because we're about to elect our third sitting Senator to be leader of the free world.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:12 AM
February 8, 2008
Nut Job of the Week

There is only one candidate for this week's VU Nut Job of the Week: Sean Salisbury. It wasn't even close.

I have never liked Salisbury even when he was playing with the Minnesota Vikings (1990-1994). The constant pompous attitude did me in. It's as if he has never actually had it made known to him that he was a horrible QB, a horrible person, and a complete and utter ass. Many of my buddies refer to him as ESPN's resident retard NFL analyst. And that's a pretty high distinction. Apparently, Sean hasn't learned a thing. Let's backtrack for a moment.

In the fall of 2006, Salisbury was suspended by ESPN for one week, for alleged misconduct at ESPN. That was because he thought it cool to go around the studio showing pictures of his private parts. Sean took a picture of his "tool" on his cell phone and was quite excited to show it to everyone at the company. "Hey, looky here what I can do with this phone!!"

Well, he has done it again. Ol' Sean recently thought he could be funny by demeaning John Clayton's appearance, comparing him to the the Crypt Keeper and calling him a clown. This was during one of those fake on-air debate segments with Clayton.

Here it is:

I think it is time for Ol' Sean to be fired....not suspended. Let him try to get a job in the real world. He can always put VU Nut Job of the Week on his resume. He could list it right under his "tool" cell phone picture.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:22 AM
February 6, 2008
Playing Around

Just playing around with a new application. Here are some of my personal photos from a game a long time ago from a moment that seems far, far away......

Updated note: I decided to pull the slide show as I wasn't able to give it a "false start" to prevent it from automatically starting when the blog was first opened. Win some, lose some.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 7:24 PM
Biggest Upset of the Weekend

The world does not revolve around American sports. I've always had a problem with crowning our sports teams as "world champions" when 90% of the world may not even play the sport. How can you deem yourself as a world champion when the sport you play may only take place in America?

I like to consider myself something of a world sports nut. Yeah, I still like American football the best but you can just as easily find me watching snooker (Google it if you have no idea) or my secret passion....rugby. Whenever I travel to Great Britain, I make a point to purchase as many rugby jersey's as my wife will allow.

So suffice it to say the biggest upset this past weekend was not the Giants beating the Patriots. Nope, not even close. It took place during the Six Nations tourney. The Six Nations is an annual competition to determine the top rugby nation in Europe. It is played between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. The top clash of Round 1 saw Wales journey to Twickenham, where the hosts England were out for revenge following a 27-18 loss in the last game of the 2007 tournament.

This past Saturday, Wales came from 13 points down to beat England 26-19 in the Six Nations on Saturday for its first win at Twickenham for 20 years. Twenty years. Can you imagine if the Vikings had not won at Lambeau for 20-years and went there and won?

Have a secret sports passion that you'd like to share? Leave a comment!

Go Wales! And go Vikes!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:00 AM
February 5, 2008
Viking Kick Sled

I'm still very upset about the Carter-McDaniel snub. It is clear that the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee is political and has taken on what has shamed the film academy for so long: That being to recognize people it had previously overlooked. In 2006 Martin Scorsese won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed, which also won Best Picture. It was thought to be long overdue, and some entertainment critics subsequently referred to it as Scorsese's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar, or the "Taxi Driver/Raging Bull/Goodfellas" Oscar.

Carter was snubbed for Art Monk. McDaniel for Gary Zimmerman. I do not begrudge the fact that either Monk or Zimmerman got selected. Both are deserving and were over-due. What is an issue with me is that two more deserving players were left out in the cold because of previous over-sights made by the selection committee. It ain't right, no matter how it is painted.

Enough. Time to move on.

This past weekend my son and I were able to attend the Plymouth Fire and Ice Festival. Being that my wife was in charge of the volunteers staffing the event, I could say we were obliged to attend.....but we enjoyed ourselves and would have gone anyway.

One thing that my son and I did was to try our hand at the Viking Kick Sleds. Yeah, the name alone drew us to the exhibition area.....but we had a blast with them.

Google Viking Kick Sled and the description you get is:

Take a funny, wooden chair and place a crossbar handle on the top. Attach this contraption to two metal runners. Voila, you have one of the most versatile means of transportation on snow there is, a kick sled or what the Norwegians call a spark or sparkstøtting.

Much like a scooter, you hold on to the crossbar handle, place one foot on a metal runner, then kick with the other. Hence the name spark, which means kick in Norwegian. But why the seat if you stand on one of the runners?

Whole families have been know to travel on one spark, one adult on the runners, the other on the seat with the children. The crossbar handle doubles as hooks for shopping bags, and a backpack can rest on the seat if the straps are secured around the handlebar.

The origins of the spark is somewhat unclear, but it's related to the sledge which predated skis by several thousand years. The oldest known sledge, found in Heinola, Finland, dates from 6500 B.C. The spark is much younger since steel runners couldn't be manufactured until the mid 19th century.

The modern version of the spark first appeared in a Swedish newspaper back in 1872 near Pitea on the Gulf of Bothnia. It is believed to have entered Norway about 1885 from Norrland near Tarna in Swedish Lappland. When the spark crossed the Atlantic is unknown, but chances are it was brought here by Scandinavian immigrants.

Go Vikes...literally! See you on the ice!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:15 AM
February 2, 2008
Travesty

It is now official: The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Caton, Ohio is a complete and utter joke. It has become crystal clear that unless you are a wearing at least one Super Bowl ring on a finger, it doesn't mean diddly-squat how many Pro Bowls you went to; how many All Pro first teams you made; how you rank in career statistics; or if you "just catch touchdowns. Almost the entire national media had Cris Carter and Randall McDaniel as shoo-in's in this years balloting. Just how much of a travesty was the voting this year?

Consider, this man is in the Hall of Fame.

Yep, Michael, "I Like Coke" Irvin is in Canton. Cris Carter is not. Lets compare stats:

Coke Man
Pro Bowls - 5
All Pro - 3
Career Receptions - 750 (24th all-time)
Career Receiving yards - 11904 (16 all-time)
Career Receiving TDs - 65 (39th all-time)

CC
Pro Bowls - 8
All Pro - 4
Career Receptions - 1102 (2nd all-time)
Career Receiving yards - 13899 (6th all-time)
Career Receiving TDs - 130 (2nd all-time)

Makes sense to me that the Coke Man is crushed by CC in those five categories but still has a HOF jacket and Carter does not. Riiiiiigggghhhht.

On to Randall McDaniel. Dan "I Don't Know When to Shut the Hell Up" Dierdorf is in Canton. McDaniel is not. Let's compare, shall we?

The Mouth
Pro Bowls - 6
All Pro 6

McDaniel
Pro Bowls - NFL record 12 consecutive Pro Bowls
All Pro - 11

McDaniel does a ton of work for schools and other community service. He has never stopped giving back to the community that roared for him each and every Sunday.

Diedorf blathers on, oblivious to the fact the mute button should have been named for him.

So if you were to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the near future, you will see the likes of Irvin and Dierdorf enshrined there. But don't look for Carter or McDaniel. No wonder the hall is located in one of the armpits of Ohio (sorry Ohio....I'm pissed!). It has to be. If it were located in a real city it would have been burned to the ground by now.

Someone cue the soft music...I'm going to be sick for a few days.

CC's 1000th Reception Musical Slide Show

CC's 65 yard winning TD Minnesota Vikings over Bears

The Man's Nothing Box

Just in time for the Super Bowl, a special YouTube video for husbands and wives everywhere. Enjoy!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 2:16 PM
The Minnesota Vikings Want Your Opinion

I got this e-mail from the Vikes earlier this week. I figured I'd pass along to everyone to have a turn at providing feedback as well. Go at it!

Dear Minnesota Vikings Club Season Ticket Holder:

The Vikings value the feedback and support of our fans. With the help of the National Football League, we are working to ensure that we are meeting your expectations in every way. Because your continued support is so important to us, we need to hear your voice!

In the spirit of continuous improvement, we invite you to share your thoughts with us by completing the following survey. Please take the next 15-20 minutes to express your opinions on a variety of subjects relating to your game day experience.

To access the survey click here:

http://vikings12.turnkeysurveyor.com

If your e-mail program does not support links, copy and paste the web address into your browser. All responses will be kept completely confidential. We sincerely thank you for sharing your views as we continue to do our best to make each season a memorable one.

Sincerely,

The NFL & the Minnesota Vikings

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 12:17 AM
February 1, 2008
Dogs vs. Cats

I own two (and love) two dogs. They are fabulous pets....and a lot of work. I was sent this following funny article. I'm sure dog/cat owners every where can relate!

DOG DIARY

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing !

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing !

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing !

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite
thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

CAT DIARY

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow - - but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now...

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:00 AM