August 29, 2006
Hold the phone!
Wait a minute here ... I can't believe I missed this before, but I was reading this article about Hennepin County voting to approve funding for a new Twins stadium when I chanced upon these snippets. I am really quite stunned:
"The county levy will go up by 0.15 percent, which works out to an additional 3 cents on a $20 purchase.
Though Tuesday's outcome was expected, several protesters were on hand to vent their anger that it was done without a referendum."
What? Did I just read that correctly? There won't be a referendum? And the county is going to tax me 3 cents on every $20 purchase? This is an outrage! How could I have missed this important information for so long? This is taxation without representation! But it gets worse! Check this out:
"In May, the Legislature approved a financing plan for the $522 million stadium project. The sales tax increase will finance three-quarters of the stadium's cost. The Twins will pay $130 million and get all game-day revenue and in-stadium advertising proceeds. The team's annual revenue is estimated to grow by at least $40 million."
The Twins are only paying $130 million of the $522 million cost? Why wasn't I told any of this? Next thing you'll tell me is they're going to build this monstrosity next to a garbage burner!
That's it! I am now officially anti-stadium! If I had known any of this was going to happen I would have fought this long ago. Please write your representatives! And write your senators! We can't let this go forward!
In addition, I just found this great web site, CCARL.com, which is trying to fight against this tyranny! I encourage you to visit this site and sign their petition! Although only a little over 200 people have signed it I think we could make our voices heard here and make a difference!
Who is with me? Is it too late?
The final hurdle
The final hurdle has been cleared. Let the good times roll...
August 27, 2006
A Fun Time at the Fair
Click on the image to see a larger version.
Overall, it was a great day at the Fair. Have a good one!
P.S. -- Sorry you are missing all the fun at the Fair, Kevin in AZ! I ate a Pork Chop on a stick in honor of you!
August 25, 2006
Going to the Fair
Well, I'm going to the Fair today. It should be a good day for it, too. Not a lot of people and a little overcast. I plan on eating a lot, seeing some shows, and looking at the displays. And speaking of shows, this reminds me of a reaction I had to a couple of the shows I saw two years ago, and the method they use to get the crowd to cheer louder. Very annoying:
We also saw the 3rd Lair skate show, and the Extreme Team diving show. My kids, especially my middle child, really liked both shows. The skate show featured skate boarding and in-line skating and I was more impressed than I thought I would be. And the dive show, while a little hokey, definitely had me squirming in my seat. I don't know how anyone can climb so high and then jump. I could barely watch.
Both shows also aggravated me. I'll tell you why. In their attempts to get the crowds to cheer louder, both shows constantly used the old "We can't hear you" method to get us to yell and scream. You know what I am talking about:
Announcer: Do you want to see some diving?!?!
Crowd: Yaaaaay! Woooo! Yes! We would like to see some diving, thanks for asking!
Announcer: Oh, come on! I could barely even hear you. Now, do you want to see some diving?!?!?!?
Crowd: YEEEESSSS!!! Please dive for us! Woooo!!!! We are being louder!!
Announcer: I still can't hear you! I swear, we will just pack up and leave if we don't hear some REAL cheers this time! One more time, DO YOU WANT TO SEE SOME DIVING!?!?!?!?
Crowd: WOOOOOO!!!! CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE LET US SEE SOME DIVING!!!! YOU HAVE WORKED US INTO A FRENZY THAT CAN ONLY BE SATISFIED BY PEOPLE JUMPING FROM OBSCENCE HEIGHTS INTO A SMALL POOL OF WATER!!!! YAAAAY!!!!!!
You get the picture. I have come to a point in my life where I find this tactic to be extremely annoying. I might do it once a show, but both the skate show and the dive show went through this cycle at least three times. I just had to stop cheering. That's right, I came to a point where I would risk not "seeing some diving" because I refused to play their little game anymore! So, if any would be announcers are out there reading this please spare your crowds this method of forcing cheers. We can probably handle it once, but three times is a little excessive.
I expect more of this today. Anyways, see you later. I'll let you know how it goes.
August 23, 2006
I can't stop watching. It is like passing by a train wreck ... I can't keep my eyes off of this spectacle. And even worse, I am now convinced. Yes, I have had a change of heart.
|The future of Minneapolis|
After listening to all the testimony I am now convinced that Minneapolis will literally blow up if we go through with this. I'm talking atomic bomb style. If we dig one shovel full of dirt ... KABOOM!!! In addition, all of the testimony tonight has also convinced me that after Minneapolis blows up Hennepin County will become a lawless, rancid smelling, rat infested wasteland. I am now convinced all of this will happen if we allow this plan to go forward. I fear for our future! Not only that, but monkeys and ninjas will run wild through our city streets killing and stealing bananas without anyone to stop them! It will be pure anarchy.
When this happens, people will look at America as a whole and say democracy is dead because after 10 years of debate and 1) the vote of the elected House of Representatives, 2) the vote of the elected state Senate, 3) the vote of the conference committee 4) the second vote of the House of Representatives and Senate, 5) the signature of the elected governor, and 6) the vote of the elected Hennepin County Commissioners ... well after all of these votes it is obvious that representative democracy is dead! How can this be denied?
Theocracies, autocracies, and dictatorships around the world will look at America and say, "Ha! Democracy doesn't work because Minnesota is building a place where people can watch a game, eat a hot dog, and spend time with their families and friends! We win!"
I am now convinced of all of this.
Hennepin County Commissioners, please find it in your hearts to do the right thing. I am praying for you. Because we all know that the Gorgons on the planet Nebulon will see us as a laughingstock if this plan goes through.
(There. I feel better now.)
And now for something a little different. What, I ask you, is the purpose of putting make up on? In other words, why do women wear makeup? Anyone? Yes, I think it can be agreed that women put makeup on to make themselves look better. In fact, I would wager that after a woman puts makeup on she says to herself, "There. I look better." Does anyone want to dispute this?
So, Curt in Grand Forks and I were at the Mall of America (boondoggle alert!) a few weeks ago with our wives. After a couple of hours walking through the mall, we decided to meet up again at Nordstroms, where Curt and I were stunned that people could live with themselves after charging $90 for a belt. And it was on sale! Simply stunning.
Anywho, our wives come up and inform us that they had just had some makeup applied at the cosmetic counter by a trained professional.
"How do we look?" they asked us.
Curt immediately answered, "Angelic!" While my response was:
Now, much to my amazement, my answer was for some reason not the right thing to say. In fact, that would be an understatement. While they both agreed Curt's compliment was an adequate response to their question, my response was deemed grounds for divorce. Honestly, I will never understand women!
I ask you again: why do women put makeup on? To reiterate, it is my opinion that women put makeup on to make themselves look better. You would think then that the compliment of "vast improvement" would make my wife happy since I am telling her that her goal of looking better has been met. In fact, one could argue that the compliment "vast improvement" signifies that she has exceeded expectations. That she now looks phenomenal! Am I wrong?
Apparently I am. Anyway, I don't write this to argue the point. I write this as a word of warning to all the men out there: "vast improvement" is not a good compliment for your significant other.
Thanks for your time.
August 22, 2006
The good old days
Ah ... today was a day just like the good old days. A little debate, a little controversy, a little helping of people blubbering and blabbing about one issue or another. Good times. Good times.
So, I watched. While watching I alternated feelings of euphoria with feelings like I was being bludgeoned with a hammer. Honestly, I was thankful I didn't go. It was like watching a cow dying: a lot of moaning, groaning, and hot air.
If you are looking for anything particularly insightful, I am sorry to disappoint. I am tired of the same old arguments and the same old speeches. It has all been said before. We are in the bottom of the ninth inning and the opposition has two more outs to go. And then we can finally move on.
So, say what you want. Say your little speeches. Get all angry or be all happy. Make your threats or express your gratitude. But remember this: you only have an opinion. You do not have the truth. None of us do.
I'm sorry if you disagree with me. And I'm really sorry if you disagree with me so much that you attempt to silence me. Because really all I have is an opinion, too. Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, I find it quite ironic that in all your blubbering about "democracy" and "listening to the people" you would attempt to silence someone who has an opinion that is different than your own. Regardless of where it is expressed. It is hypocritical and shameful.
And I'm sick of it.
Sunset at Many Point Lake. Last week I went camping with my son and his Boy Scout troop. Wow, we had a blast. Words cannot express how beautiful it was on this lake. Especially at night. Beginning with sunset, every night we were treated to the most beautiful colors mirrored on a clear, unadulterated lake. Breathtaking. This was followed by a night sky so bright and full of stars it almost brought out tears of happiness.
Everyone should try to experience this before the summer is over. Pick a night and drive out into the country. Look up in awe and thank God for such a beautiful sight. Take a deep breath, and put it into perspective.
August 14, 2006
Turtle in the Sky
August 9, 2006
Worst songs ever written (that are also overplayed)
As promised, here is my list of the songs that I feel are so horribly awful that I actually hurt myself trying to change the radio station in my efforts to spare my ears from bleeding. They are so bad they make any Britney Spears song seem like an important contribution to Western Civilization. They are so bad that God actually cries every time they are played. And not because the songs are bad necessarily, but because the talent he gave these musicians has been so obviously wasted. They are so bad that if George Carlin could actually go back in time in a phone booth to save the future, he would travel back in time to stop these musicians from writing these songs. So, without further ado, here is the list:
- "Hotel California" -- The Eagles
Seriously, why in the world is this song so popular? And why is this song played so much? And why can't I GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD? Argh! Will anyone admit to actually liking this song? Anyone? How the Eagles are so popular based on this pile of junk baffles me to no end.
- "Wonderful Tonight" -- Eric Clapton
If this song could be tapped, the sap would pour out of it like a waterfall. And those whiny guitar chords. Wow, this song is painful. Sheesh! Just thinking about it makes me want to change the radio station, and I don't even have a radio on right now. Do women even like this sap-fest?
- "You Shook Me" -- AC/DC
AC/DC is a blight on the kingdom of music. AC/DC shouldn't be able to play at a high school dance let alone to a stadium crowd. The lead singer wears a stupid hat, sings like a drunk water buffalo (didn't know that, did ya?), and you can't understand him even if you wanted to. This song is the height of their badness (and badness in a bad way, not a good way).
- "Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo" -- by Who Cares?
I listen to KQRS every once and a while, and I swear every time I turn on that station they play this song. It is like a curse. I don't understand why KQRS plays this song at all. There are a phenomenal number of great classic rock songs out there they never play (how about "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin?). And yet they choose to waste valuable air time playing this song probably 53 times a day. It is one of the big mysteries of life.
- "Sex and Candy" -- Marcy Playground
Speaking of mysteries ... why? Why must we be subjected to this song? Why is this song considered even remotely worthy of listening to, let alone recording? Let me put it in a way you might understand: this song is so horrible that every time it is played the very fabric of the space-time continuum almost collapses under the weight of its crappiness. Yes, our lives are in danger ... no, even worse, humanity as we know it is threatened every time this song comes on the radio.
- "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is" -- Chicago
Oh my goodness. Even thinking about this song puts it into my head for a good 12 days. And yes, I do know what time it is: it is definitely time to stop playing this song. The last time I heard this song was at Snuffy's Malt Shop in St. Paul. Here I was, enjoying a delicious chocolate milk shake, when all of the sudden I noticed my milk shake started to taste different ... almost like a combination of cauliflower and brocolli with a little beef gristle thrown in. Yep, this song came on and ruined everything. You owe me $4.30 Chicago!
- "Light My Fire" -- The Doors
I've already talked about this one, but how this song can be considered a classic is mind blowing to me. Even though I know Jim Morrison didn't write these lyrics (and he is overrated to begin with) the chorus features this stroke of brilliance: "Come on baby light my fire, try to set the night on fire!" What? They couldn't come up with a rhyme for "fire?" I suppose they had already used "mire" and "pyre" but this is the chorus for goodness sakes! How about "tire?" Or "conspire?" Or "wire?" Everytime I hear this song I try to come up with something different before deciding any song featuring a 3 minute organ solo of questionable quality isn't worth it.
- "Lady" -- Kenny Rogers
A latecomer to the list. I just heard a snippet of it on a commercial for Kenny's appearance at the State Fair and I thought to myself, "If they had played more than 5 seconds of this song I might have had a seizure before driving this car straight into a lightpole." So, based on that revelation, it makes the list.
|Ugh. What a bunch of untalented hacks.|
Well, there you have it. I know there are probably some more, but these songs quickly rise to the top of my psyche when thinking about the truly awful. Feel free to add you own!
August 8, 2006
With a nod towards MNSpeak ...
And yes, I hope Liriano is OK.
August 7, 2006
Joe Mauer and the Electronic Library for Minnesota
I don't subscribe to Sports Illustrated. And I'm not much of a collector so purchasing a magazine just for one article seems like a waste of money. I still wanted to read the cover story about Joe Mauer, though, and more importantly I wanted to read the article from the comfort of my home. How did I overcome these problems? Easy! I used the Electronic Library for Minnesota.
Fortunately, being a Minnesotan gives me online access to literally thousands of magazines and journals just by virtue of having a public library card. Here is how you, too, can read the Joe Mauer article for free, and online:
- Point your browser to ELM
- Click on "Databases Alphabetically" under the "Quick Links" menu on the left side of the page.
- Click on the first choice: Academic Search Premier
- Enter your public library barcode (found on your library card).
- Do a search for "Joe Mauer"
- Click on the first article entitled "The Perfect Catch" and read the article online for free!
And that is all there is to it. And SI isn't the only magazine/journal this database has the complete online text for. You might also be interested in:
- The Sporting News
- Consumer Reports
- Good Housekeeping (ha! I slay myself sometimes!)
The list goes on and on. I don't subscribe to any magazines because of all the ones I can get for free using this method. But that is just me. Anywho, hopefully you'll find this helpful. Until next time!
August 6, 2006
Songs I am ashamed to say I like
|Why do I like this movie? Someone please help me!|
Songs I am ashamed to say I like
- "Ray of Light" by Madonna -- Yes, I am ashamed to say I like this song. I actually like a bunch of Madonna songs, but this one is probably my favorite. It is kind of catchy. There is little doubt that Madonna is a gifted musician. It is too bad she is as goofy as a bed-bug.
- "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince -- When the opening line starts, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today 2 get through this thing called life." Goosebumps, people. Goosebumps! Pathetic? Yes. Will I apologize. Ummm ... no. Besides, if you have ever seen Prince's guitar solo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" you know that Prince can really rock when given the opportunity.
- The Entire Foreigner Catalog -- Fricken' Foreigner! I don't know what it is about them, but I will stop to listen to any Foreigner song on the radio. They were talented musicians and songwriters! Can you deny it? Plus, along with Iron Butterfly, REO Speedwagon, and Foghat they will undoubtedly be making an appearance at a "Monsters of ROCK!" show near you very soon.
- "Elephant Love Medley" on the Moulin Rouge Soundtrack -- This is particularly shameful, I know. Combine this with the fact that I actually like this movie and ... well ... I should probably just turn in my penis at the nearby hardware store tomorrow. Admitting I have a problem is the first step.
- "The Boys are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy -- Oh yes. When I found out this song is actually a part of a rock opera, I could no longer deny my love for it. Curt, you have shown me the light! Thin Lizzy forever, man!
That's it for now. Please let me know if you have any additions. Stay tuned for popular songs which I just plain hate. That will probably be a longer list. Until next time!
August 3, 2006
August 2, 2006
The Mother Tongue
You poor sap. While I can't say for certain, I am pretty sure you are a slave to your television. And in the summer this is especially tragic due to the poor quality of television currently on display. It is so poor, that the week of July 4 was the least watched week in television history. Well, at least as long as we've been keeping track. What on Earth are you doing still watching this idiot box? Unless it is the Twins, of course. If so, then carry on.
As for me I have been passing the hot summer days reading. Man do I love to read. My thinking has always been this: right now in my local library sits the greatest book I will ever read. All I have to do is find it! The search continues, but in the meantime I have read some really thought provoking books.
Take this book I just finished, for example: The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way by Bill Bryson. You might think to yourself, "What a boring sounding book. I hated English in school." Bah! That is what I thought until I picked it up and started reading it. The history of the English language is fascinating. Actually, the history of any language is fascinating if someone knows how to tell it properly. Take, for example, this passage:
"Of course, every language has areas in which it needs, for practical purposes, to be more expressive than others. The Eskimos ... have fifty words for types of snow -- though curiously no word for just plain snow. To them, there is crunchy snow, soft snow, and old snow, but no word that just means snow."
Thrilling, heh? Personally, I had no idea. This book is full of interesting tidbits like that as it goes through languages of the world before delving into the specific history of English, the varieties of English, American English, where words actually come from, and even a chapter on swearing. What I found particularly interesting about the English language is how much it has changed over the years and how much it continues to change. English is a very fluid language and we are constantly adding words and phrases without any real regard for the purity of the language (unlike the French who freak out over any intruding foreign words). As English speakers, we love it when new words are added. And we don't seem to mind when old words are dropped. Check this out:
[W]e have a large number of negative words--inept, disheveled, incorrigible, ruthless, unkempt--for which the positive form is missing. English would be richer if we could say admiringly of a tidy person, "She's so sheveled," or praise a capable person for being full of ept or an energetic one for having heaps of ert. Many of these words did once have positive forms. Ruthless was companioned by ruth, meaning compassion. One of Milton's poems contains the well-known line "Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth."
Isn't that tragic? I think we should all endeavor to bring back the word "ruth." And why not? If Snoop Dog can enter phrases like "fo shizzle" into the English lexicon, surely we can do our part to bring back such a positive word such as "ruth." Who is with me?
Sheesh. I could go on and on. Check out this passage:
"Neck was once widely used to describe a parcel of land, but that meaning has died out except in the expression "neck of the woods." Tell once meant to count. This meaning died out but is preserved in the expression bank teller and in the term for people who count votes. When this happens, the word is called a fossil. Other examples of fossils are the italicized words in the following list:
hem and haw
rank and file
raring to go
not a whit
out of kilter
spick and span
to and fro
kith and kin"
What continually amazed me about this book were all the examples the author could come up with to back up his statements. The quote above is but one example where the author goes on and on with examples which just floored me. It is readily apparent that Bryson knows his English and has a deep love for it.
Lastly, I found the chapter on "Wordplay" particularly fascinating, especially for its description of "Cockney Rhyming Slang." We get a surprising number of phrases from this phenomenon, namely the phrase "put up your dukes" and the word "arse." Common rhyming slang that you might hear today on the streets of East London include "use your loaf" which comes from the rhyme of loaf of bread with head. "Use your loaf" means "use your head." Or "how you doin' my old china?" which comes from china plate rhyming with mate.
Above I mentioned the phrase "put up your dukes" which comes from the Duke of York rhyming with fork which is used by your hand. Or fist if you grip the fork really tightly I suppose. And the word "arse," although it is somewhat profane, actually has a fascinating history. Bottle has long meant ass in Cockney (bottle and glass rhyming with ass). Bottle also ryhmes with Aristotle which was shortened to arse to describe a person's posterior. Now you know. You can thank me later.
Anywho, The Mother Tongue was just a fascinating book. We take so much of the English language for granted. It was nice to read about some of its rich history.
And now I will leave you with a picture of James Murray, the man we have to thank for the uncomparable Oxford English Dictionary. Murray worked on the dictionary for 36 years (he was working on the letter "u" when he died in 1915). The OED is perhaps the greatest piece of scholarship ever produced, and because of it we know more about the English language than any other language on the face of the Earth. It has well over 600,000 entries, well over 2,400,000 supporting quotations (proof the word has been used somewhere), and it is contained in 12 large volumes and numerous supplements (to detail new words, of course). You should travel to your local college or public library and take a look at it out sometime. It is an impressive piece of work which usually takes up an entire library shelf. It is mind blowing to think how difficult it must have been to put together (if you are interested in the history of the OED specifically, check out this link).
My hat is off to you James Murray. Especially because you loved to have your picture taken with a long black robe and a mortar board on your head. If only I could keep it as real as you.
Until next time, my homies!
August 1, 2006