Non-Football Archives

May 3, 2008
And We're Back

Wow, it has been a while since my last post. I've just been rather busy and the unimportance of a minor football blog will find itself on the short side of the stick.

Last Sunday, I had my first duathlon of the season. And I ended up getting in an extended workout. I'm just glad I considered this a C race otherwise I'd be plenty torked.

To set up the story, you need to know this du had both a long and short course. Both events were run using the same course, only the short had desginated turn-arounds which were indicated by orange spray paint on the road surface. I bet you already know what is going to happen by story end.

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At the start of the race, the long-course runners went off. About 10-minutes later, off went my short-course. I ran with the leader for 3/4's of the first run, falling back just before T1 in order to conserve the ol' muscles as I'm 47 and while I can run with the young bucks, I need to save some for the bike. Now the short-course "fast" runners are mixing with the long-course "slower" runners.

So, I came into T1 in 4th (guessing about 145 in the race) just about 7-10-seconds back of the leaders.

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Now we're biking. I'm going very well and I recall passing one of the leaders (remember we're mixed with the long-course people) and I get into a comfy rhythm. I start thinking about the lack of check-points. I see a few volunteers stationed along the road but no one is providing any directions (ala "3 miles to short-course turn-around) other than an occasional "whoo-hoo, way to go".

Looking at the trip odometer, I know I should be at or nearing the turn-around. The riders that I thought came out of T1 ahead of me have not started to come back and I'm pretty sure I didn't pass all three (or did I!?!?)...recall once again we are mixed with the long-course people. I'm yelling at everyone, "where's the short-course turn-around" and get nada. Still no one is coming back so I figure I'll just keep going. I pass a two volunteers and they have no idea about the turn-around when I yell at them.

So, guess what? I ended up riding the long-course route. Somehow, I missed the turn-around for the short-course bike. I talk to the race director and express my dismay over not having 1) any volunteer standing at the turn-around with a bullhorm screaming at riders, 2) not having vertical signage to indicate the turn-around; 3) depending on orange spray paint in the middle of a road while one is biking at 25 mph to somehow notice race markers.

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I spoke to other people who also had issues with the turn-around. One woman couldn't figure out the course (she was a long-course participant) and just gave up, turned around and finished with the short-course. Another short-course male had to stop, get off his bike and wait for a volunteer to communicate with the race director via walkie talkie to figure out what-was-what.

Frustrating as hell. Guess what, despite riding 6-miles longer I still finished 3rd in my age-group....which made me even more mad. After I got back the results, I adjusted my bike time and figured out that I would have finished no worse than fourth overall and could have finished as high as second. Too bad, as the course was a nice one.

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Again, just glad I was treating as a C, otherwise I'd still be seething.

The very next day I was off to New Jersey on a long business trip. I hate business travel. Long days, airport food, and bad offices.

Friday my good friends at Halsten Entertainment came over and I upgraded some of my home theater entertainment components. I also upgraded my DirecTV dish to a 5LNB model and I now pull in over 90 programs in HD. You haven't seen SpongeBob until you've seen it in true HD. I also jumped in and had the boys install a BluRay DVD player for me. Wow! I didn't think I would notice much difference but the picture quality is fantastic. I've heard and read about various equipment issues with the BluRay stuff so we'll see how mine holds up. It's going to be a movie feast-o-rama here this weekend.

Next week looks as busy for me. It's still 50-50 that I get out to attend a Vikings mini-camp session. Just too much going on. I'll let y'all know if I do get to one.

Have a great week ahead everyone! Sorry for the dearth of blog entries.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 10:54 AM
April 17, 2008
The Golf Cap

The 2008 Summer Olympics are coming up later this year. My first duathlon of the year is coming up on April 27 and my first triathlon of the year will be May 17. So, I'm in the mood to talk about some of my favorite runners.

I start you out with David ("Dave") James Wottle. In the Olympic year 1972, Wottle equaled the world record over 800m of 1:44.3 at the US Olympic Trials. In the Olympic 800m final, Wottle immediately dropped to the rear of the field, and stayed there for the first 500m, at which point he started to pass runner after runner up the final straight, finally grabbing the lead in the final metres to win by just 0.03 seconds. This was one of the most exciting running races in Track & Field for a young lad of eleven stuck in North Dakota.

And who could forget the controversy over the men's 100m? At the 1972 Munich Olympics, two American sprinters (Eddie Hart and Reynaud Robinson) missed the 100m finals due to a misunderstanding about the starting time of the heats. After Russian Valeri Borzov won the 100 m sprint with relative ease, the Americans promised they would beat Borzov in the 200m competition.

However, with all three Americans in the final this time, Borzov won again in a great style. As a consolation, the Americans won the relays with the Soviets taking second place.

Then there was Lasse Virén. I bring up Virén because this was my first introduction into athletic controversy with blood doping. You see, Virén had an uncanny ability to peak at the Summer Olympic Games. And it raised many questions.

At the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich, Virén won both the 5,000 and the 10,000 meter events. At the 10,000 meter final held on September 3rd, Virén broke Ron Clarke's 7-year old world record despite falling in the twelfth lap after getting tangled with Frank Shorter. In less than a lap, Virén caught up with the leading pack, after losing about 100 meters. With 600 meters to go, Virén dropped the hammer and started an unprecedented lap-and-a-half kick that only Belgium's Emiel Puttemans was able to respond to, but not outmatch. The Finn won the race in 27:38:40.

Perhaps even more impressive...and just as eye-brow raising....was at the 1976 Summer Olympics, Virén again won both events, becoming the only repeat winner of the 5,000 meter race in Olympic history. In the 5,000 meter final, he held off all-time greats Dick Quax, Rod Dixon, and Brendan Foster (all world-class at 1,500 m) with a devastating display of front-running over the last few laps. To those who watched him, the display was awesomely inspiring to the point that his last 1,500 meters in that final would have placed him 4th in the 1,500-meter final held at those Games. Remarkably, 18 hours after the 5,000-meter final, he competed in the men's marathon and finished fifth in 2:13:11.

Virén was alleged to have been involved in the practice of blood boosting which involves freezing blood plasma, then having it returned to the body later to improve the oxygen content by increasing the red cell count. The practice was legal at the time but many still considered it cheating on moral grounds. Virén himself has never acknowledged any involvement in this practice. In fact, he was once offered $1 million by a magazine to reveal the truth of that matter. When he explained that the truth was that he never doped, the magazine rescinded the offer. Virén figured he could only tell the truth.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:02 AM
April 11, 2008
Friday. Must Be Time To Dance


Incredible! from kwest on Vimeo.

Oh, and this is how it looked at the bus stop this morning. Again, it is April 11. Most of the country is basking in glorious spring weather. Then there is Minnesota.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:02 AM
April 5, 2008
Anndddddd, We're Back

That spring break went by fast. It was certainly nice to have some down time. I am a person who will float into retirement very easily. I will not miss work at all.

I found these two articles very interesting. Take a moment and read them....especially if you are a fellow blogger. Both good and bad news:

PAPER: The internet could be made obsolete...
'Death by blogging'...

So, what did I do while on spring break? Let's recap some of my "fun with the son" week:

- We took the dogs in for teeth cleaning. $1150 later, the young dog (going on four) had three teeth extracted, a cyst removed from his head, and antibiotics injected into some other gum areas. The oldest dog (going on twelve) was found to have an extra tooth (which was left in), a cyst removed from her neck, and the general teeth cleaning. Doggie medical insurance anyone?

- The Wife and I were able to watch "Sweeney Todd", "The Namesake", "Atonement", and "Beowulf". Of the four, Namesake was the best of the bunch.

- The Boy and I were able to watch "Willow" at home and "Horton Hear's A Who" in the theater. I was happy to see the young lad like "Willow" as much as I did. Except he hated those love scenes.

Madmartigan: Did I really... Did I really say those things, last night, in your tent? Sorsha: You said you loved me. Madmartigan: I don't remember that. Sorsha: You lied to me. Madmartigan: No, I... I just wasn't myself last night. Sorsha: I suppose my power enchanted you and you were helpless against it. Madmartigan: Sort of. Sorsha: Then what? Madmartigan: It... went away. Sorsha: Went away? "I dwell in darkness without you" and it 'went away'?

Of course "Horton" had the young lad laughing as well:

Katie: In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies.

- I bought my first wetsuit as it looks like at least one of the triathlons I will be in this summer makes a requirement of wearing one. Something about swimming in the Missouri River (outside Bismarck, ND) and rattlesnakes. Hmmm.

- We discovered a fast food chain we really, really like.

- We finally reached 60-degrees in the Twin Cities. So, all the outside Xmas lights and decorations have finally come down and been stored away. Oh, and more snow is in the forecast for the week ahead.

- We bought some new outdoor furniture which is another way of hoping to entice summer to actually make an appearance this year.

- I hooked up with my home entertainment installers, Halsten Entertainment, about upgrading some of my current equipment. I have highly recommended them for years. If you live in the Twin Cities, bypass the Big Box stores and head to Halsten's. They are going to come out and upgrade my downstairs home projection system to handle Sony's Blu-ray high-definition DVD player as well as some other component upgrades around the house. Sweet! Here's a look at my downstairs home theater.

- And there was the whole Blue Man experience. Which was a lot of fun. Great show for the family. As you can see, we had great seats.

And everyone was having a great time.

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Here is a video my brother-in-law captured at the concert.

- Enjoying Curly's ribs (from Costco) on the grill. Oh man, when can we start tailgating!?!?!

Vikes Stuff

Yeah, yeah. Give me a few days to get back into the swing of Purple talk. But just a few quick comments and such.

Season ticket renewal is running about 80% currently. Last year it was over 92%. I'd say its the economy, stupid. But this has to be worrying for the Brothers Wilf. Especially after a dynamic season by Adrian Peterson.

One of the regular VU readers, Patrick asked:

"Any chance the Vikes will look at Devin Thomas of Michigan State at wide out and returner?"

I thought this over and finally replied that since the Vikes picked up free-agent running back and return man Maurice Hicks I'm not sure if Thomas would be a target for the team. But, there are better eyes and ears out there than me. Any thoughts on Thomas? What if he were available in the later rounds? The kid has some wheels.

And there have been some questions if I'll be at a mini-camp in May. Well, I plan to be working out with Mike Morris at the time and not really sure I want to waste my time taking photos at a optional camp. Okay, bad Matt Birk dig there. But yes, I do plan to attend at least one session as long as I'm not doing a triathlon that weekend. Stay tuned.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 8:32 PM
March 21, 2008
Clearing the In-Box

Today's blog entry will be a rambling dissertation with no particular purpose than a stream of consciousness. I sometimes refer to these as a 'mind vomit'.

First up, some Vikes football. There are more and more mock drafts taking place these days. Everyone has an opinion and its quite literally a turkey shoot. I no longer participate in mock drafts as it is purely conjecture which can be upset as soon as teams start trading picks on draft day. I think one has a better shot at selecting which position the team will choose.

(If you want a good mock draft analysis, go to the Daily Norseman....great work there!)

Keeping in mind the free agents the Vikes have picked up already this off-season, and also hoping that they pick the best possible player irregardless of need, I see the Vikes possibly using their #17 overall selection on the following positions (ranked in order):

- DE
- WR
- OL
- QB

As you have seen, I have been providing some tongue-in-cheek video interviews on YouTube with some of the possible players the Vikes could draft. I'll see if I can put some more together. If nothing else, the videos introduce you to the player and provide some first impressions. Watch Joe Flacco handle himself with poise, the humor within Limas Sweed, the anxiousness of Derrick Harvey.

So, even though the Vikes track record at drafting a DE in the first round hasn't been good since they drafted Carl "Moose" Eller in the '64 draft, I still see them rolling the dice again at DE and hoping that the law of averages finally weighs in their favor. How bad has it been lately at selecting a DE? Consider:

Talance Sawyer (1999)
Dimitrius Underwood (1999)
Michael Boireau (2000)
Willie Howard (2001)
Kenechi Udeze (2004)
Darrion Scott (2004)
Erasmus James (2005)
Ray Edwards (2006)
Brian Robinson (2007)

Uff-da! That's some bad lutefisk.

I hope to create a VU video with Chris Long, even knowing the Vikes have no chance, as one immediately compares the young man to his famous father Howie. And Chris, well, he ain't no Howier when it comes to coming across as intelligent. Sorry, I know that is mean....but its the first thought I had.

Moving along, I apologize for the number of posts this week. It's the annual rush to get your kid signed up for all the summer camps to fill out the days. My wife and I both work so the young lad needs to be addressed. We feel guilty that he may never know the true joy of 3 months of no school and no place to go....but it's also reality that both his parents need to work. But I also didn't get a chance to spend a week learning or playing lacrosse. Nor was I able to spend a week in flag football camp. I think its a fair trade.

It is also time for me to step up the ol' training for any duathlons/triathlons I plan to do this summer. Especially since I didn't swim all winter. Now I have to make time to swim as well as bike (hopefully outside soon) and run. I'm not sure why, at age 47 (on April 26) I push myself this way. I think I go back to the days when I was 20-something and could effortlessly do it all, and in some weird way I hope tro stave off aging and return to the glory days.

I was just remembering this week about the time I raced against Lance Armstrong. I don't bother to tell anyone that he whooped my rear-end by 35-minutes in a triathlon.

On May 13, 1989 at Speegleville III Park outside Waco, Texas there was a certain buzz in the air as the athletes were all saying, "watch this kid, he's really something." This tri was a 0.6mi swim, 28mi bike, and 6.5mi run. Lance (then just 17-years old) finished in 1:54:05. His closest competitor finished over 6-minutes back. All I remember is Lance was finishing up the run as I was coming in off the bike. Here's a image of the race summary. Unfortunately, splits were not available.

That's some of the stuff that makes me feel old. As does watching the Oscars and fondly remembering an actor who appears in the Oscar tribute to people who passed away the previous year. People you thought would just go on living forever.

Or you watch legends age before your eyes in what seems to be a very short time span.

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Wow, did that last 40-years just fly by or what?!?!? OK, enough on aging. But be forewarned: We baby boomers aren't going to go gently into the good night. I promise not to wear black socks with my Bermuda shorts in promise to not throw up when I take off my shirt to get into the pool. Now, get off my lawn you punks!

The Wife and I watched 3:10 to Yuma the other night. Nothing like a great Western, is there? Even if Russell Crowe is a pain-in-the-toushie, he is fun to watch on screen. He plays the ultimate baddie, Ben Wade, in this film...and you don't reference a baddie's mama....ever.

Ben Wade: I've always liked you Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas.

But stealing the film in Yuma was Ben Foster who played Charlie Prince, Wade's right-hand and truly rotten human being.

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Charlie Prince: Morning, Pinkerton. Name's Charlie Prince. I expect you heard of me.
[steps on Byron's hand]
Byron McElroy: Well, I heard of a balled-up whore named Charlie Princess. That you, missy?
[Charlie shoots Byron in the stomach]
Charlie Prince: I hate Pinkertons.

Not sure how Foster was bypassed for a Oscar nominee in the Actor Supporting Role category, but he was. But is was a very well done film. Not quite Tombstone (John Randle's fav film) but then what film can compare to classic lines like these (which Randle would scream at the QB):

Doc Holliday: I'm your huckleberry...

Wyatt Earp: Are you gonna do something, or just stand there and bleed?

New Music

Whilst listening to BBC Wales over the weekend, I was lucky enough to catch some songs from a Welsh group called Catatonia. Pretty damn good stuff. Anyone else aware of their music or am I just that much in the dark these days. Here's a clip:

Coming Saturday: It is back to 1998 and the press conference with Red McCombs on the next VU podcast.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 13, 2008
That 3am Phone Call

Back to politics for just one day. By now, you are probably familar with the "3 a.m. phone-call'' ad that the Clinton campaign aired in Texas. Some called it a fear-mongering message. SNL did a whole skit on it:

Let me ask you a question: Suppose you had to choose between two Presidential candidates, one of whom had spent 20 years in Congress plus had considerable other relevant experience and the other of whom had about half a dozen years in the Illinois state legislature and 2 years in Congress. Which one do you think would make a better President?

If you chose #1, congratulations, you picked James Buchanan over Abraham Lincoln.

Here is my point for today. (And please remember I have yet to make up my mind on which candidate I will vote for in November). If Hillary Clinton believes her “experience counts? song and dance, she needs to elucidate why she voted for her husband over George HW Bush back in ‘92. Bush the Elder, had a massive amount of know-how on the national political level (including, of course, four years as president), while Bill Clinton had not an iota, save for losing a House election in 1974.

All his skill was on the state level, as is Obama’s up until Wild Bill’s election in the Senate. If Hillary wants to suggest that Obama’s not ready for the 3am phone call, she should explain why she felt her husband was, back in ‘92. Has someone asked her about this?

Speaking of Politics

How they are dealing with important issues in Wisconsin. Another example of the boon-doggle that is politics in America. Barf!

Something Lighter

Something to cleanse the palate after the all the heavy talk. Check out this Amazing Fact generator. Some examples:

Baseball anthem, Take Me Out To the Ball Game, actually has two main verses. During the 7th-inning stretch, fans traditionally sing just the refrain. Ironically, the man who wrote the song, Jack Norworth, had never been to an actual game when he wrote the song.

The 'french' in french fries actually describes the way the spuds are sliced, not their country of origin.

Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey has an older brother, Randy, who makes a living as a Rod Stewart impersonator.

Bolivia is home to a few of the world’s most unusually-named lakes, including Titicaca and Poopo.

Coming Friday: A new theory on lactic acid. And, does that oxygen on the sidelines really help Adrian Peterson after those 80-yd TD runs?


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:07 AM
March 11, 2008
Spring Around the Corner?

I spent last weekend pouring over my duathlon & triathlon racing possibilities for the upcoming season. For those unfamilar with the sports a duathlon is an athletic event (not to be confused with biathlon) that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format bearing some resemblance to triathlons.

I first got hooked on the sports when I lived in Texas during the late '80s. I was getting bored with simply running and wanted to do some other disciplines that would be a little easier on the old joints. Before I knew it, I was training 3 to 5 hours each day and racing every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend. It was fun as hell and I was in the best shape of my life. In my first big triathlon, held in Waco, I went up against a young punk by the name of Lance Armstrong. Perhaps you've heard of him? He was all of 16 or so and he dominated the field.

Here is a photo of myself and Frank Shorter taken after a Dallas duathlon circa 1988. Shorter won the gold medal in the marathon race at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

I wasn't too bad either, winning the state Texas triathlon championship in 1988. Now-a-days, I'm just happy to participate.

The racing season is a bit shorter in Minnesota. Stupid snow. But I have signed up for my first duathlon for 2008. It will be the Winter Begone! duathlon on April 27. It will probably be a chilly event but maybe the weather will cooperate for us.

I elected to compete in the Short Course, which will be a 2 mi. run, 12 mi. bike, 2 mi. run. No need to tear/pull/rip any muscles out of the shoot.

I also received a very nice note from the race director:

"Hi Brian,

I just wanted to take a minute to welcome you to our newest multi-sport event in Minnesota. Thanks for coming down to the Rochester area to have a fun day with us. I don't know about you, but I am ready to get my bike out on the open road and off of my Kinetic trainer. I see you have done plenty duathlons in your time, so I know you know what to expect. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Anyway, take care for now, Brian.

Kona or Bust!"

Bill Nevala
Event Executive Director
USAT Certified Race Director
Winter Begone! Duathlon

Should be fun. Besides a long-sleeved t-shirt, I hear tell one also gets a commemorative pint glass. Maybe I can rig up a helmet cam and take some live action video from the race!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:07 AM
March 10, 2008
Milestone!!

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I recall a time many, many moons ago when my Dad piled everyone into the ol' Chevy Impala for a momentous occasion. My sister and I thought that meant another family dinner at the local A&W drive-in for some hamburgers and french fries whilst sitting in the car. But not on this trip.

Dad started to head out to the country and then asked everyone to keep an eye on the car's odometer. I peered over the back-seat...there were no required seat belts in those days. We kids were referred to as "sliders" as we would slide across the vinyl seats in the opposite direction of what the car was turning. My Dad always made sure he turned the corners a biiiiittt faster than required just so my sister and I could pretend we were on a ride at the fair.

My Dad pointed to the odometer and proudly announced, "You see! The car is about to hit 100,000 miles!" And sure enough...there were the figures for all to see. 99,997 and scrolling. Then 99,998....then 99,999. The last mile seemed to go on for ever. Finally, the odometer turned over and we were at 100,000. The whole family whooped and hollered as if it were Xmas Day.

This little old blog's odometer has just turned over. Per my StatCounter, I have now received 200,000 hits. As far as I can tell, this occurred at 12:26 pm CST and the hit came from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Jason Taylor

To help celebrate this milestone, here is a VU Videocast created to discuss the on-going Jason Taylor issue that he wants out of Miami. Hmmmmmm. Where is Zygi's jet?

iTunes Video

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 11:26 AM
March 7, 2008
Bad Karma

John Lennon once sang about how "Instant karma's going to get you". I often think I must have been a very bad person in a previous life.

Last year my health took a bit of a dive and we're still dealing with a bit of that. Yes, it did have a bit to do with my year-long hiatus, but I'm not going into more detail at the moment. Maybe another day. Back to today's topic.

Thursday I woke up and started my usual routine for heading into the office. One of those steps is putting in "my eyes" as I have every day for nigh 25-years now. Boy, contacts have come a long ways since the old days of hard lenses and heated cleaning schedules.

On this occasion, I placed in my left lens. Then my right. I had immediate pain in my right eye and just assumed that the soft lens was inside out and I went to grab it so as to reverse it. It happens a lot since I now wear daily disposable lenses and they are super thin.

Only, when I went to grab it....nothing. My eye is now in pain and I feel the lens but it is nowhere to be seen. My wife looks and looks and looks with a flashlight.....she can't locate anything. Now I have a large hematoma on my upper eye-lid. I can still feel the lens in my eye. I half-joke to my wife that the lens has "gone behind my eye-ball". She is not laughing.

So, I rush over to my eye doctor. After some initial frantic moments he is able to extract half of the lens from way back-back-back-back in my upper eye socket. The other half? Not there and can't be found. But my eye immediately felt better so we think we got everything.

Instant karma's going to get you. Be nice in this lifetime. Otherwise, your bad deeds may carry over into your next.

Anyone else have a "karma" story they wish to share? Leave a comment.

Not familiar with the song? Check out the video below complete with scrolling lyrics (yet another neat "just discovered" function under the "wow" category):


Song lyrics | Instant Karma lyrics

Coming Saturday: VU Podcast Fifty-Nine with former special teams coach Gary Zauner.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 6, 2008
Best Movie Line Ever?

For the movie buffs among you, what movie is this classic movie line from and who uttered it?

"Gozer the Traveller - he will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveller came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants, they chose a new form for him - that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!"

Need a clue?

C'mon, take a day off from football...and that Packer press conference...and lay down some great movie lines in the Comments area. Maybe I'll have some football Friday, maybe I won't.

I do know one thing. We need to win the Super Bowl and in a hurry. Our time is short. What you are looking at is a spectacular rotating pinwheel system just down the astronomical road from Earth. A mere 8,000 light years away, which just happens to include an unstable Wolf-Rayet star that could explode. A Wolf-Rayet star is the last step on the way to a supernova — the explosion of a star at the end of its life. Earth's box-seat view might put us in the firing line when the system finally explodes.

Even a short gamma-ray burst at supernova strength could zap away half the Earth's ozone layer, drastically increasing the amount of deadly space radiation that penetrates our atmosphere. One leading theory blames the Ordovician mass extinction of 443 million years ago on such an interstellar gamma-ray burst.

We probably have hundreds of thousands of years before it blows, so Zygi & Chilly have plenty of time to come up with some answers...and a ring or two.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:41 AM
March 5, 2008
Politics & Links

Time to take one day off from football. This will be just a rambling jumble of thoughts thrown together to see if anything makes sense and sticks.

For those who remember the band Chicago, you are probably familiar with their song "Harry Truman".

"Harry Truman" is a song written by Robert Lamm for the groups album Chicago VIII (1975), with lead vocals by Lamm. The first single released from that album, it reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Written after the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon, the lyrics are a tribute to a former President that Lamm felt the American people could trust -- straight-talking Harry S. Truman. "America needs you, Harry Truman." A sampling of the lyrics:

"America needs you Harry Truman Harry could you please come home Things are looking bad I know you would be mad To see your favorite men Prevail upon the land you love

Americas wondering
How we got here
Harry all we get is lies
Were gettin' safer cars
Rocket ships to Mars
From men who'd sell us out
To get themselves a piece of power

We'd love to hear you speak your mind
In plain and simple ways
Call a spade a spade
Like you did back in the days
You would play piano
Each morning walk a mile
Speak of what was going down
With honesty and style"

Good stuff that.

As you know, I've yet to make up my mind on who I shall vote for in the upcoming presidential election. I have a choice between a Progressive Republican (which means a right leaning liberal) in John McCain, a socialist (two lefts don't make a right) in Barrack Obama . Or someone who just cries a lot and stamps her feet when she doesn't get her way.

Not a whole lot to choose from. I still think people need to study the fall of the Roman Empire when idiots and certifiable loony's were running the country, taxes went sky high, and the whole darn thing collapsed.

So, we need a new song. "America needs you, Ronald Reagan." He'd know what to do.

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McGovern

Many of you are going to be too old to remember George McGovern. McGovern lost the 1972 presidential election in a landslide to incumbent Richard Nixon. In the general election, McGovern suffered a 60%-38% defeat to Nixon which at the time, was the second biggest landslide in American history, with Electoral College totals of 520 to 17. McGovern's two electoral vote victories came in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. That means he lost 49 states out of 50 for those keeping score at home.

The right has come out swinging against Obama. Here is a snippet from an article I read on the Timesonline (I can't read the crap printed in the States so I usually read news from across The Pond):

"Obama has the voting record of a “hard-left? socialist, from his time in the Illinois state legislature to the US Senate. He was recently judged by the nonpartisan National Journal to have the most liberal voting record in 2007 of any senator."

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and Republican guru, recently described Obama as:

"the most leftwing candidate to run since George McGovern?

And then that became the big story. Socialists have pretty much destroyed every country they've ever led, why should we think any differently here?

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But it gets even messier. Obama is tainted by his long association with Antoin “Tony? Rezko, a Chicago property developer was scheduled to go on trial for extorting kickbacks in return for political favours on March 3, the day before the Ohio and Texas primaries.

Obama bought his family home in Chicago for $1.65m, $300,000 less than the asking price, on the day that Rezko’s wife Rita bought an adjoining lot at the full price of $650,000. Obama later paid her $105,000 for a sixth of her yard in order to expand his garden.

The seller insisted on both plots being sold together, which suggests that Rezko did Obama an enormous favour even if the deal was not illegal. The seller has so far evaded press inquiries, but he is regarded as a potential “ticking timebomb? should he decide to go public.

Clinton briefly raised the question of Rezko, whom she described as a “slum landlord?, in a televised debate with Obama in California, but was silenced when a 1990s picture emerged of her with Rezko and President Bill Clinton. Nice research Hillary. But to be fair, Obama has returned around $85,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko.

What this means is that Hillary has put the issue into the bloodstream, but it didn’t get focused on. If I know my Republicans they wil somehow use the well financed “527? attack groups to mercilessly pursue Obama over his ties to Rezko.

It was a conservative “527? group, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who did grave damage to John Kerry’s reputation as a war hero in the 2004 White House race.

Obama could run into further difficulties over his relationship with William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois and former member of the Weather Underground, a leftwing terrorist group that planted bombs in the Capitol and the Pentagon in the 1970s.

Ayers told The New York Times on the day of the September 11 attacks:

“I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.?

It emerged last week that Ayers served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund, an antipoverty group, from 1999 to 2002, and donated $200 towards his Illinois state Senate campaign in 2001.

I bring that up not because I would believe Obama to agree with that assessment - as it require quite a leap of logic to assume that Obama agrees with William Ayers or condones what he did - but that this would be an additional line of attack from the right.

Of course, in a voting field that is already sick to death of mud-slinging and salvos fired without due cause, if the Elephants go too far in their attacks, it may backfire. Additionally there is a lot of apathy among the Republican ideological base. I just don’t see a level of energy there this time around.

Meanwhile, the left is already running with taking obvious quotes of of context from McCain. To wit:

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be sick of this election by the time Mother's Day hits. I just want a civil election this time around. Enough with the mud-slinging, the raised voices, the finger pointing. I just don't think we're going to get there this time around. I hope I'm wrong.

McCain and VP

If McCain wants to get back the conservative crowd, and bring along the African American vote as well, I think he should consider this man below:

Know him? If you don't, you can read about him here.

Links

The VU Nut Job of the Week goes to "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo.

I'm going to have to watch the Weather Channel a whole lot more! I'd love to see Gore spanked.

Let's ask her if she thinks Holocaust was made up as well. Like I told my wife while watching the Oscars recently, "these people do not live in the real world."

OMG! You won't find this in the STrib.

I don't know what to say. On one hand, you are repelled. On the other, strangely attracted.

Take your cell phone away from your significant other....and do it now!

Coming Saturday: VU Podcast Fifty-Nine with former special teams coach Gary Zauner. And iTunes has once again listed me as an "official" podcast. Cool!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:21 AM
February 29, 2008
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 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