April 26, 2007
Some light reading material for everyone! These are the County documents detailing the lease agreement signed by the County, the Twins, and the MBA yesterday. The first four documents are the executive summaries and as such they are short and sweet. The final three documents are the actual "legal" documents and they are huge. Download those at your own risk. All of the documents are PDFs.
It is my hope that we can all look over these together and find interesting tidbits to discuss. So, take a look and if you find anything interesting, confusing, or up until this point unknown, please share with the rest of the group!
(Download these at your own risk! They are very, very large!)
By the way, Sid reports today:
Jerry Bell, president of Twins Sports Inc. and the team's point man for the new stadium, said everything is signed and sealed to start construction except for an agreement with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. "We thought everything was all set, but they came back with some other things," said Bell, who is still confident all will be worked out.
This is the final hurdle (at least as far as the ground breaking is concerned). I asked my contacts about this and they all said that it is "working out" and that it shouldn't be a problem. So, I'm not going to worry about it. Quite simply, the County and the Twins would not have made these agreements yesterday if it looked like a deal wouldn't be made with the RR. So, I think we can take yesterday's lease agreement signing as a very good sign that we will be completely out of the woods soon. Things are moving along as they should. 2010 can't come fast enough!
Having said that, I have to tip my hat to Mike Opat who has steered all of this through very troubled waters. All of you naysayers, quite frankly, have no idea how difficult this project has been to get to this point. No idea whatsoever. Without Mike Opat's leadership during the past 3 years we would not be talking about outdoor baseball in 2010. You can try to tell me all you want that with someone else in charge we wouldn't have seen all these problems, but the fact of the matter is no one else stepped up. No one had the guts. So, I say thank you to Mike Opat and the rest of his staff for their tireless efforts on our behalf. This is the most complicated building project in Minnesota state history. For us to finally be at this point takes solid leadership. Thanks Mike!
And to all of you that don't want a ballpark at all, and think that it is unjust and criminal and all that other mumbo jumbo, yes, I get it. Thanks for sharing. That ship has sailed, though. You better get used to the idea of people enjoying themselves in the sunlight while watching a little outdoor baseball, as sickening as you find that activity to be. Since this inevitability is a Minnesota state law I'm going to keep on talking about it and keep on being happy about it.
April 25, 2007
Discussion topics for today:
1. The Twins pitching rotation is beginning to tick me off. I can handle Bonser pitching erratically, but Santana? That is upsetting. So, assuming that Ponson's days are numbered, who would you bring up to replace him?
Garza or Slowey?
2. I'm reading 1776 by David McCollough right now. It is an enjoyable book. Obviously 1776 was an important year for America, but quite frankly most Americans don't know much about it besides the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The book details the military campaigns of that year including the bloodless defense of Boston (by taking the Dorchester Heights under the cloak of night) and the Battle of Long Island where Washington made the most celebrated retreat in the history of warfare. Yes, retreat. Anyway, good book.
What are you reading? Anything good?
3. The Vikings draft is this weekend and I will definitely tune in for their first pick. In order, I would like the Vikings to draft one of these players:
- Adrian Peterson
- Brady Quinn
- LaRon Landry
If none of these players are available at 7, I say trade down and stock up. Any thoughts?
4. And speaking of the Vikings, I was absolutely flummoxed by their stadium design unveiling. Bamboozled. Here I thought moving the plans to downtown Minneapolis, razing the Metrodome, and building on that land might actually save money! How naive can I be?
I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head about this. For example, my immediate thought is that Zygi should have stayed in Anoka County because at least he had a partner there. Now he has to hope for a metro-wide sales tax that will surely be subject to a referendum AND Anoka County will fight tooth and nail to defeat it after how shabbily Zygi treated them.
I've said this many, many times before but the only hope the Vikings have right now for new digs is if they 1) renovate the Metrodome (I think the legislature would throw money at them) or 2) if Zygi contributes at least 70% of the cost. Right now, neither of these are even remotely going to happen.
So, much like the Twins stadium debacle, we've got about 10 years more to wait before a stadium solution presents itself. Sometime around 2011-2012 Zygi will start threatening a move to LA. Then, and only then, will we start seeing some action on this.
April 24, 2007
Best Beatles Album
Freealonzo has requested that we keep things going around here by just posting simple questions that can hopefully generate discussion. I think it is a great idea and I will use a post by Freealonzo himself to get things going. Yesterday Free wrote an entry discussing Abbey Road and why it is his favorite Beatles album. I wrote a comment agreeing that it is a great album, while also adding I think Revolver is better.
So, the question for all of you today is, what is the best Beatles album and why? Is it as simple as Abbey Road vs. Revolver? Or should more be added to the mix?
April 19, 2007
I know! I know I haven't updated this god-forsaken site for quite some time. There is too much stuff to do and not enough time to do it. Here are some things I'd like to talk about, but haven't had the time to do so:
- The differences in the stadium naming poll from this week's results compared with last May's results. People really seem to like Summit Field in both polls.
- I went to see The Merchant of Venice last weekend at the Guthrie. It was without a doubt the most anti-semitic thing I have ever paid money to see. Wow. At times it was quite uncomfortable. Anyone else see it?
- The new Vikings stadium designs/plans are coming out today. As always, they will probably be nice to look at, but all I have to say is "Show me the money!" I would be surprised if anything is done about the Vikings stadium before 2011. Very surprised.
- Cheesehead Craig, Freealonzo, and I will be traveling to Miller Park in May to watch the Twins. Anyone else going to that? Maybe we could have a little Greet Machine get together in Milwaukee?
- I was evacuated from my building yesterday here at the U (I work in Walter Library). That was an interesting experience. As you all know, nothing happened, thank goodness, but what a weird thing to have happen to you in the middle of a workday.
I would love nothing more than to expound further on all these topics. Maybe later!
April 15, 2007
Let us consider the name
Greetings and salutations of the day, Greet Machine reader! Today the home team lost, but that certainly didn't dampen my spirit as the mercury soared to a wonderful 62 degrees. Ah, what a day for outdoor baseball! It is a shame the Twins play indoors ... What? What's that you say? The Twins will begin playing in an outdoor stadium in 2010?!?!? O frabjous day! But won't the people that hate America, apple pie, and their own mothers be upset? Yes, I agree this is an unfortunate reality. Luckily it doesn't matter since building a ballpark is actually a Minnesota state law now! What a deal!
Now that we know that a ballpark will be built, I think we should turn our attention to what it will be called. I think it is a given that it will not be named after Target, Xcel Energy, or TCF Bank. Those entities have already made their name available to other locations. So, I present you with this list of the possibilities. Please vote for what you think the ballpark will be called!
Betty Crocker Park is for all the anti-stadium types since the nickname of the park can be "The Crock"!!! Get it? So, hopefully you can see I do care about you!
If I have forgotten any potential name please put it in the comments. If there is a really good suggestion we may have to create another poll.
Vote early and vote often! Or just once a day since that is all I'm allowing you!
April 12, 2007
It warms the heart
Before I get to my pathetic attempt to review the new ballpark designs, I gotta say that it absolutely warms my heart to see all the anti-ballpark types complaining. Wow, are those comments fun to read! Fun, fun stuff. Every negative comment that comes in to this site, or the Pioneer Press, or MnSpeak puts a big smile on my face. First of all, it is so predictable. What, you don't like the ballpark designs? What a shock! I didn't see that coming. But what really makes these comments so heartwarming is that they are completely meaningless. We are getting a new ballpark and there isn't anything anyone can do about it! So complain all you want if it makes you feel better. It makes me feel pretty good too!
On with my pathetic attempts to review the designs. I must admit that I am not a ballpark design expert. I know, that is probably shocking for you to read (heavy sarcasm), but I am probably more of an expert on the political side of things. So, I am definitely looking forward to Rick Prescott's take on the stadium over at Twins Ballpark 2010. Rick also may not consider himself to be an expert on ballpark design, but I would disagree. I expect he'll have his review up soon and I expect it will be well worth the read.
First, I'd like to quote something from the official Press Release announcing the designs:
Minnesota’s new ballpark promises to be one of the most accessible sports facilities in all of American sport. The ballpark site sits at the convergence point of the Light Rail Transit (the existing Hiawatha Line and future lines such as the Central Corridor), the future Northstar commuter rail line, the Cedar Lake Bike Trail and Interstates 394 and I-94. Moreover, fans will take advantage of the more than 20,000 parking spots within a five-block radius of the ballpark.
Derek has been harping on this for a while, but this is a pretty good location. First of all there will be many, many different ways to get to the ballpark. The tight quarters also require quite a unique design highlighted by the pedestrian bridge in right field, fan proximity to the action, and the stacking of the upper decks. It is hard to envision right now, but I am very excited to see just what the most "intimate" ballpark in America will actually look and feel like.
I know we all would prefer that the ballpark is at the site the Guthrie now sits on, but this location will do quite well. By the way, if all the anti-ballpark types would have just shut up 10 years ago we would already be playing in that ballpark on the river, with a roof, for probably two-thirds of the cost. Nice work, anti-stadium people! I look forward to seeing how much you can make the new Vikings stadium cost in your efforts to save taxpayer money.
The playing field dimensions are also quite interesting:
Left Field: 339 feet
Left Field Power Alley: 377 feet
Center Field: 404 feet
Right Field Power Alley: 367 feet
Right Field: 328 feet
All of the dimensions but one are shorter than the Metrodome's dimensions. Would it be safe to say that this ballpark will also produce more offense? That would, of course, be very entertaining. Unfortunately these designs also require that the wall in right field be almost as tall as the hefty bag in the Metrodome. I was hoping to leave that behind, but at least it isn't as bad as the Green Monster. Other stuff I like includes:
- I like the fact that the design compliments the Minneapolis Public Library and the Guthrie. Good move there. Some people are complaining that the design looks like the Best Buy headquarters. Your point?
- I like the Minnesota limestone on the facade and how the fissures and cracks will allow people to see the action without a ticket at certain locations around the exterior. Good gimmick there.
- I like that the foul territory is twice as small as the Metrodome's (and probably four times as small as the Oakland Coliseum)
- I like that the seating in the lower deck will have 8 inches more leg room than in the Metrodome. For a 6' 5" guy like me that is music to my ears.
- I like the wide concourses and the fact that the game will still be visible when I am getting my hot dog.
But most of all I like knowing that when the ballpark opens in 2010, people in the state of Minnesota will be giddy. When that ballpark opens there will be happiness! Everyone will forget about the 10 years of teeth gnashing, everyone will forget about all of the complaining, everyone will be happy. Well, maybe not everyone. There will still be a vocal, whiny minority thinking that we would be better off with a few more pennies in our pockets. But I'll still be laughing. Just like I am now.
April 11, 2007
Odds and Ends
First things first, Freealonzo and I will be at the new ballpark unveiling tomorrow at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. So, if you see me and Free, stop us and say hello.
Needless to say, I am quite excited about seeing the new designs. Very, very excited. Mylometer gave a nice little synopsis of Jerry Bell's description of the new ballpark design on the game tonight:
If you're watching the game right now, they're talking to Jerry Bell. Just showed some pictures of the stadium but not too detailed. Looks like 10-15 rows of seats in left field from LF line to the LF gap and green trees in CF. Gates to be named after retired numbers.
The retired number gates looked pretty slick. Bell mentioned gates 29, 3, and 34. So, when going to the ballpark we could be entering through Gate 34, for example. Man, I can't wait to see those designs!
The County sent me the text of the resolution itself (07-184) that was approved yesterday. Just so we keep reality in check, here is what the resolution says about the negotiations with the railroad:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board authorizes the County Administrators to execute the authority granted in the Act and by the court in the Action to acquire the property for the ballpark site through quick-take procedures by depositing the County's amount of the appraised value, $13.35 million, into a court escrow account; provided, however that (1) this authorization to the County Administrator does not take effect until the Twins, the Authority and the County have jointly proposed to the BNSF Railroad a legally binding agreement sufficient to satisfy the County and the Authority that the Twins are responsible for all BNSF insurance, indemnity and liability concerns as provided in the 2007 Principles; and (2) the County Administrator shall not exercise such authorization or execute quick-take unless the Team and BNSF railroad have provided a legally binding agreement sufficient to satisfy the County and the Authority that the Twins are responsible for all BNSF insurance, indemnity and liability concerns as provided in the 2007 Principles ...
Phew! So, the Twins and BNSF need to button up the liability (insurance and indemnification) issues of the railroad. Then the county administrator will have the authority, without another Board action, to deposit $13.35m to the court escrow. It sounds like they have until April 30 to get this done. From what I hear, it shouldn't be a big deal, but we should all be aware that this is happening. If anyone has any other insight into this, please feel free to share.
I also have a copy of the 2007 Principles. I may scan those in, if anyone is interested in them. I expect they will be made available on the Hennepin County web site soon.
There has been some good discussion concerning building a ballpark without a roof, and I apologize for not participating. A lot of these arguments I've already written about over the 3 years writing on this blog. For example, back in May 2005, I wrote a pretty detailed analysis of weather conditions and called games in other northern climate cities that already have open air stadiums like Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
To summarize, Minneapolis gets less precipitation in April and October than any of these cities, and far less yearly rainfall than any of these cities. Minneapolis is a little colder in April and October, but only by a couple of degrees:
|Apr. Hi/Lo||Oct. Hi/Lo||Apr. precip||Oct. precip||Ave. year rain|
|Boston||56/40||63/47||4 in.||3 in.||42 in.|
|Chicago||59/39||63/42||4 in.||2 in.||35 in.|
|Cleveland||58/37||62/44||3 in.||3 in.||36 in.|
|Detroit||58/37||62/41||3 in.||2 in.||34 in.|
|Minneapolis||56/36||59/39||2 in. (+ 2 in. snow)||2 in.||29 in.|
I also looked at the games postponed due to weather in all of these cities for the years 2002-2004:
So, on average, all of these cities have to call about 2-3 games a year on account of weather. As the Rational Actor says, this is not worth the $125 million extra it would take to put a roof on the ballpark. We may be seeing some interesting weather this year, but I think most years will see patterns comparable to what we see in the weather statistics above.
There is a little more in my post, so check it out if you are interested.
Ramon Ortiz! Looks like a good pickup, and it looks like he is paying attention to the coaching of Rick Anderson. Hopefully Ponson, Silva, and Bonser will start paying attention too.
April 9, 2007
Everything is peachy ... right?
As tato has pointed out, MPR is running a story claiming that the "logjam" between the County, the Twins, and the land owners has finally been broken. The Hennepin County Board is expected to vote in favor of taking the land through eminent domain:
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would authorize the county to take the eight-acre ballpark site through eminent domain. According to the county's lead negotiator, Commissioner Mike Opat, the county still has to finalize an agreement with the railroad. Those negotiations involve a plan to move the train tracks, so they're not so close to the ballpark.
This is good news. No doubt about it. Reading further we find out just what shape the Twins new contribution will take:
"Actually the team will assist us with non-land infrastructure primarily," Opat said. "The bridges and plazas are proving to be a little more expensive than we had thought. So we're going to get a little help from them. We're not going to talk about the details. But that's their additional involvement."
In other words, Opat isn't saying how much the Twins have agreed to kick in.
Personally, I don't care how much extra the Twins are kicking in. I'm just happy they are bridging the gap. Derek R. wrote a funny comment today where he suggested that all of this, all the worrying and gnashing of teeth, was orchestrated by the County and Land Partners II to extract more money out of the Twins! Ha! That is so funny ... man ... funny, funny stuff. If that ever turns out to be true, though, I will kill someone. Preferably someone involved. Just want to throw that out there.
Now, to throw a wet blanket on our celebration, I have received an email suggesting that things might not be as peachy as they seem. Someone is telling me that there is a rumor that the County will vote on whether or not to proceed with a "conditional quick take." In other words, the quick take we are all so excited about may not actually proceed unless certain conditions are met. Actually, probably, only one condition is important. That's right: the fricken railroad. I'm being told that the negotiations to move the railroad, while positive right now, could derail everything (pun intended).
So, the MPR article does a good job of spelling out some of the stuff we still may have to worry about, but this is the first I've heard about this so called "conditional" quick take. Let me be clear that this is a rumor, though. Needless to say I'll be paying close attention to what the county actually votes on tomorrow. Hopefully it is a normal quick take, but we'll see.
April 8, 2007
Prepare for Glory
Last Thursday, Cheesehead Craig, Freealonzo, and I went to see the film 300 on the Minnesota Zoo's IMAX screen. Wow. That was a good movie. It probably depends on who you see it with. For example, I doubt I would have enjoyed it that much if I had seen it with my wife. But seeing it with two friends was perfect.
The film is, without a doubt, the manliest movie I have ever seen. That title was formerly claimed by Fight Club, but honestly, that movie is now a distant second. And maybe it was the IMAX experience, but watching 300 on that huge screen was like being bathed in testosterone for 2 hours straight. The film had it all: sacrifice, honor, war, glory, and many, many appendages being sliced off with blood shooting everywhere and stuff. Dude, it was awesome.
As Criag, Free, and I walked out of the theater and into the parking lot, I asked Free, "Which one of us do you want to fight first? Me or Craig?" As if channeling the voice of King Leonidas himself, Free answered in a booming voice, "Both of you!!!"
Harooh!! Harooh!! Harooh!!
Now, it has come to my attention that there are a lot of people that didn't like this movie. That is certainly understandable. What has surprised me, however, is how many different reasons there are not to like it. For example:
- Some people see the film as homophobic, especially when King Leonidas puts the Athenians down by calling them "boy lovers."
- Some people see the film at best as historically inaccurate, and at worst a horrible misrepresentation of Spartan life and the Battle of Thermopylae itself.
- Some people see the film as pro-war and pro-Bush, especially when the Queen says the line, "Freedom is not free at all. It is paid for in blood."
- And some people, especially people of Persian descent, see the film as culturally insensitive given the Persians are portrayed as monsters. And this is putting it lightly. The Persians are not portrayed in a flattering light at all.
So, what camp are you in? Did you like the movie? Or did you not like the movie? Please fill out the poll below:
April 7, 2007
Thy Kingdom Come
Longtime readers of the Greet Machine know that periodically I go off on some unexpected tangents. While stadium news and commentary is my bread and butter, like anyone I get sick of writing and reading about just a singular topic, especially a topic as aggravating as stadiums in Minnesota. One thing I like to think and write about is religion, specifically Christianity, which I think is particularly appropriate on Easter weekend.
Usually I write about Christianity in the context of popular culture and news. I have written about Intelligent Design, and the infamous Christian right. I've also written about Christianity in the context of the music of U2, namely the songs I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, The First Time, and Until the End of the World. So, there is somewhat of a precedent here.
Today I'd like to take a look at a couple of themes in the Gospels. In fact, one could argue that these themes are very central to the entire message of Jesus. These themes come from two books about Jesus that I've read this year: Jesus : uncovering the life, teachings, and relevance of a religious revolutionary by Marcus Borg and The real Jesus : the misguided quest for the historical Jesus and the truth of the traditional Gospels by Luke Timothy Johnson. Interestingly enough, the two authors are somewhat at odds with each other. Marcus Borg is a key member of the infamous Jesus Seminar, and Luke Timothy Johnson's book is a direct attack on their findings. I must admit, I found Johnson's book a more compelling and accurate account on the life of Jesus and the historical importance of it.
Having said that, I still really enjoyed Borg's book. It was hard to put down. While his view that many of the miracles of Jesus are nothing more than intentionally constructed metaphors is troubling (including the resurrection), his description of what he argues as the central theme of the Gospels is both fascinating and thought provoking. In fact, the theme that he focuses on the most is so prevalent that it is easy to overlook. Of course, as the title of this post would suggest, I am talking about the concept of the "Kingdom of God."
The phrase "Kingdom of God" is mentioned in the New Testament over 100 times. Of the importance of the concept, New Testament scholar John P. Meier writes:
The central aspect of the teaching of Jesus was that concerning the Kingdom of God. On this there can be no doubt and today no scholar does, in fact, doubt it. Jesus appeared as one who proclaimed the Kingdom; all else in his message and ministry serves a function in relation to that proclamation and derives its meaning from it. A Marginal Jew (Volume 2) : Mentor, Message, and Miracles
Jesus himself most famously mentioned the Kingdom of God in the prayer he gave to his disciples that we commonly know as the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer is mentioned in both Mark and Luke in a form that looks something like this (depending on your translation):
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Note, of course, the line "your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven." There is little doubt that the phrase "Kingdom of God" has numerous meanings. The Kingdom of God as spoken by Jesus throughout the Gospels suggests something that can be entered and appreciated immediately, while at the same time being a kingdom of the future, one to strive towards and look forward to. The second meaning is probably dominant today, that the Kingdom of God is primarily an eschatological, or an "end times" type of concept, or that it primarily speaks about heaven. However, in the Lord's Prayer, the Kingdom of God would seem to to be specifically about God's potential kingdom on Earth. In fact, a closer examination of the beginning of the prayer suggests we could further simplify this line as saying "your kingdom come on Earth."
What does the Kingdom of God on Earth look like then? First I think it is important to understand what the term "kingdom" would mean to a person living in Galilee, Judea, or anywhere in ancient Israel. Some scholars have suggested that the rulers of Israel in the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire, never actually referred to themselves as an empire. They referred to themselves as a kingdom. So, when Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, his contemporaries would immediately understand it as a direct contrast to the other kingdoms of the day, namely the kingdom of Rome. For Jesus, the Kingdom of God promised something very different than what people had grown used to under Roman rule.
So, according to Borg, the Kingdom of God would be simple to understand for a person hearing Jesus' message. It is what life would be like on earth if God were king, and Caeser wasn't. What then would the world look like with God as king? Again, according to Borg, unlike life under the Romans (or really any domination system where authority and resources are in the hands of the few) there would be justice: political, social, and economic. In fact, looking at the Lord's Prayer again maybe we can further understand the next line in the prayer in the context of the Kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of Rome: "Give us this day our daily bread." In God's Kingdom, everyone's basic needs are met. Everyone has something to eat.
Again, while there are other, possibly deeper, meanings to the phrase "Kingdom of God," Jesus clearly asks us to pray that the Kingdom of God comes on Earth. As Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan famously states, "Heaven's in great shape. Earth is where the problems are."
How then will the Kingdom of God come to Earth? Who will help bring the Kingdom of God to Earth? Enter The Real Jesus by Luke Timothy Johnson. After a scathing attack on the Jesus Seminar, Johnson gives a wonderful summary of the general theme of the Gospels when taken on the whole. While it is intended to be a a succinct commentary on the folly of searching for the historical Jesus at the expense of dismantling the Gospels line by line, it also nicely paints a picture of what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus:
The four canonical Gospels are remarkably consistent on one essential aspect of the identity and mission of Jesus. Their fundamental focus is not on Jesus' wondrous deeds nor on his wise words. Their shared focus is on the character of his life and death. They all reveal the same pattern of radical obedience to God and selfless love toward other people. All four Gospels also agree that discipleship is to follow the same messianic pattern. They do not emphasize the performance of certain deeds or the learning of certain doctrines. They insist on living according to the same pattern of life and death shown by Jesus.
What kind of life did Jesus live? Jesus was a wonder worker, healing the sick and feeding the multitudes. Jesus was a servant, famously washing the feet of his disciples. Jesus also suffered greatly. All four Gospels end with the climax of the Passion, the ultimate sacrifice for mankind. Jesus lived a life of total self sacrifice. Mark 10:45 states, "For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the many." If we are to follow him we must take up our own cross and give up our lives (Mark 8:35-37) and be like children and servants of all (Mark 10:43). Essentially, we need to follow what Jesus would call the greatest commandment, love the Lord God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31).
In other words, we have been called to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth. We have been called to be disciples of Christ and as such we are called to live by his example. Jesus obviously cared greatly for the Kingdom of God which is a radical change from the kingdoms of today. We then are expected to somehow bring it to Earth. I believe that God has planted in all of our hearts a desire, he has planted in all of our hearts a calling, some kind of passion, to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. For me that passion is most certainly feeding the hungry. For you it might be something different.
This is my interpretation anyway. I won't presume that I am a Biblical scholar, or an expert on the subject in the least. I do believe, however, that the Kingdom of God has profound implications, not just for our eternal life, but our life here on Earth. How would Jesus have Christians respond to his words concerning the Kingdom today? Much in the same way as he would during his time on Earth, I believe he would have us follow his example of self-sacrifice and love for all of humanity.
Happy Easter everyone! He is risen!
April 4, 2007
Let us consider these books
Will Young tagged me a while back with these book related questions. I must admit, it took me a long time to put this list together because it was hard to answer these questions. They are tough. There are so many good books, it is really hard to pinpoint the most meaningful. Here is my best shot. Of course, I want to hear from you! What books would you put on your list?
1. One book that changed your life
The toughest question of them all (and I assume the Bible is not an acceptable answer). I gotta go with Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Reading this book set off a life-long love of science fiction. I picked this book up on a whim thinking that the cover looked cool. Inside is a story so thought provoking and compelling that it absolutely blew me away. I have yet to read a science fiction book that has meant more to me. It is one of the few books I have no trouble recommending to everyone I meet. You will like this book. I don't care who you are. It will have an impact on you. Anyone disagree?
2. One book that you’ve read more than once
I don't re-read books. In fact, I usually mock people that read books more than once. You mean to tell me that of the billions of books ever written, you couldn't find a new one to read? You had to re-read a book? That is pathetic. Having said that, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is one of the few books I have read more than once. I will concede sometimes a book is so magnificent or thought provoking you have to read it again. I have read this book twice, and I still could probably read it again. It is that good. It may even be Ender's Game good. A Short History of Nearly Everything is a history of scientific discovery. How do we know the things we know about? Fight the good fight against your own ignorance and pick up this book! Can I get an amen?
3. One book you would want on a desert island
Who picked these questions? Man, this is a tough one. Again, I assume the Bible is off limits, but the book would have to be something like it. Spiritual, historical, meaningful, timeless, thought provoking, and hefty. Something I could go back to over and over again. I think the Complete Works of William Shakespeare would probably do the trick. Plus, when I go bat-guano crazy, me and my coconut buddies can put on a performance of Hamlet and seal the deal.
4. One book that made you laugh
You've probably heard of A Confederacy of Dunces, but you probably don't know the interesting story behind it. John Kennedy Toole tried to get this book published during his lifetime, but was unsuccessful. It is speculated that this caused him a great deal of depression which eventually led to Toole's suicide in 1969. His mother read the manuscript and liked the book so much that she sent it to the novelist Walker Percy begging him to read it. Reluctantly, Percy read it, loved it, got it published, and the book went on to win the 1981 Pulitzer Prize. Intrigued? You should be. The book is a great read. It is funny (hilarious actually), thoughtful, and very unique. It is also considered the classic novel of New Orleans and includes one of the most memorable characters in the history of fiction: Ignatius J. Reilly. I loved it. Intelligent humor is tough to pull off in fiction. This book nails it. Highly recommended.
5. One book that made you cry
I must have been in a contemplative mood the day I finished this book. But honest to goodness A Day in the Life: the Music and Artistry of the Beatlesby Mark Hertsgaard made me a little misty-eyed. I can still remember sitting in the Indiana University Main Library cafeteria and wiping away the tears as I considered the importance of this band and the circumstances that resulted in their demise. It is just a beautiful book. If you are a Beatles fan it is a must read. It gives proper coverage to both the music of the Beatles and the historical context around that music and caused by that music. If you are a fan of the Beatles, I don't think I can recommend any book higher than this one.
6. One book you wish had been written
OK, I take that back, this is the toughest question. A book I wish had been written? How about The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Wife and Her Varying Moods? That would be handy. On a more serious note, even though Ender's Game above stands alone, it is also the beginning of a 4 book series. The last book in the series, Children of the Mind sees the death of Ender, but it also ends before the Lusitania attack fleet reaches the planet. What the heck happens next? That is what I'd like to know.
7. One book you wish had never been written
Without a doubt, The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. The most painful book I have ever read. Boring, Victorian, pretentious, confusing, and boring. I was forced to read this in high school and I think my love of book reading took a vicious hit because of it. I realize some people may like it, but not me. Blech.
8. One book you’re currently reading
Well, I just finished The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. That was a good book. A better book was his first: Old Man's War. That was without a doubt one of the best sci-fi books I have ever read. I seriously had a smile on my face the whole time. It is right up there with Ender's Game, Dune, The Mote in God's Eye, Calculating God, Pastwatch, etc ... and that is really saying something. I suggest you check it out.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read
Oh man ... I've always wanted to read Catch 22. Never have. I'd also like to read Starship Troopers but the political and philosophical overtones have always turned me off. The Once and Future King I'd put up there too. That should keep me busy.
But six isn't enough. The rest of you (David Howe, STM if you are still around, Snyder, Derek, Tim_R, CTM, Drake33, The Tube, spycake, kevin in az, Jiminstpaul, barry, zooomx, DaveT, CJ, Vicki, Kaz, mullen, victor, MOJO, Jeff A, pragmatic_cynic, tato, Rational Actor, JBN, Ray, Jimmy Jack, Aaron, GK, mlb2131, Alex, AA, Waldo, Wing-nut, Moe, Boof, Stadiumshill, BP, Erik, RichP, BMac, phil, Ray, Mylometer, jlichty, Podunk, Tommy, bjhess, Casual Fan, John, charles, LarryH, Ray Kinsella, Moonlight Graham, Vince, and everyone else that I may have forgotten, including those of you that have never commented) I want to hear from you too! I'm always on the lookout for new books.
Until next time.
I was really ...
freaked out by this scene.
If only ...
this was real.
I used to enjoy ...
I miss this too ...
I miss ...
April 3, 2007
Can we actually talk about baseball?
Well, the game lived up to the hype. I was in heaven. Santana struggled a little bit, but Morneau and Hunter more than made up for it. What a way to start the season! Jon has it right. The funniest moment last night came when Gardy read the starting lineup for the game. After mentioning the batting champion Mauer, AL MVP Morneau, and Gold-Glove winner Hunter Gardy was half way through and quipped, "we should win, shouldn't we?" Indeed! Maybe Freealonzo is right: the offense will carry this team through the year. Let's hope Boof can give us a good effort and keep it going tonight.
And how about those Brewers? I gotta admit it was nice to see Sheets have a nice game. The guy can't catch a break, so here is hoping he is healthy the whole season (and doesn't pitch during the Twins series in May). That's for you Cheesehead (and Vicki!).
Back to bidness ... Sid writes today:
"The Burlington railroad situation is still the problem, but we think we can solve it and start building on time," St. Peter said. The stadium will require the adjacent railroad tracks to be rerouted.
So, it would appear the hold up is no longer the land acquisition but the railroad, as was suggested yesterday on these fine pages. My question is, what would St. Peter consider to be not "on time"? I'm of the opinion that they are a little off schedule, but it sounds like there is some wiggle room. Hopefully they don't use it all up in the beginning.
Life is looking up, ain't it? And with the snow coming tonight all I can say is thank goodness for the Metrodome and indoor baseball! Just kidding, I will welcome a little snow storm to open the new ballpark. Let's hope we are playing the Angels or the Rangers when the season opens in 2010. Show those pansies what outdoor baseball is all about!
Any thoughts on the game?
April 1, 2007
The obligatory post about the Twins on Opening Day
Welcome to the obligatory post about the Twins on Opening Day! I am of the opinion that you haven't quite read enough about the Twins or their prospects for the season, so I'm here to pontificate on that plus a myriad of other topics. So, let's begin.
For three years you have come here for stadium related information so we should talk about that first. I have been writing to some of my contacts about just where we are at and I received a pretty optimistic sounding response:
Sid's got it about right. All of these things -- agreement with the Team on land acquisition; agreement with the railroad on moving some track and building the park near some existing track; planning and rolling out the schematic design -- they all travel together. It's impossible to do one without the others, so the County has to button up absolutely everything before going ahead on just one of them.
So, there you have it. It sounds like the agreement between the team and the County is set, but that the negotiations with the railroad companies is now a sticking point. Once that is worked out I would think the designs would be released and we can all officially breathe a sigh of relief. Actually, I took care of that about two weeks ago, but I think it was MOJO who said he won't be convinced until they start digging. That is probably a good policy.
Secondly, the death of Herb Carneal came as quite a surprise, especially considering it is just a day before the home opener. I will miss Herb. I will miss his dedication and work ethic, and as many people have already mentioned I will miss his smooth baritone. With Bob Casey and Herb gone, it flat out isn't the same. Hopefully there are a couple of people with the same dedication of these two that my kids will listen to as they grow up.
Also, I like John Gordon. I know a lot of people have a problem with him, but I like him. A lot. I think he is a great announcer. I could listen to him read the phone book. I also like Dan Gladden when he provides the color. Less so when he provides the play-by-play. But all in all, I like the Twins radio broadcast team of John Gordon and the Dazzle Man. I think they'll do fine.
A few of you have written in asking me to ban STM from posting here. Well, I can assure you that will never happen. I have only banned a commenter a couple of times (and quite frankly it is difficult to do). I have banned a commenter once for using my site as a means to advertise his product or idea. So, for "spamming" if you will. I have also erased comments that were blatantly off topic or so disruptive that they were pointless. For example, I have had to erase comments when the commenter just writes "NO NEW STADIUM" 500 times. That is neither intelligent nor thought provoking.
So, having said that, STM is both intelligent and thought provoking, even though he is straying off topic. However, even then I found the discussion interesting.
It would also appear, though, that STM may think he is the only person ever to write into this site with an anti-stadium bent. As many of the long-time readers know, that is far from the truth. My all time arch-rival and arch-nemesis on this site will always be David Wintheiser. Man did that guy give me fits. I would write a wonderful pro-stadium piece and David would just rip my argument to shreds. It was brutal.
And the nice thing about David was that he wrote as himself. Like me, there was no anonymity. David did not hide from his opinion but was proud of it. I have all the respect in the world for that. It is easy to create a moniker and start laying into people and ideas as an anonymous contributor, but to write as yourself for all the world to see and critique takes some guts especially when it comes to writing about stadiums in Minnesota. Believe me, I know. I've had a few people contact my superiors (including the president of the U) asking for my head on a platter. That is no fun.
But STM is right, ideas should not be silenced no matter how much you disagree with them. I am just adding to that by saying ideas have a lot more merit when you have the guts to stand behind them as yourself. Like David. I don't know where David is now, but we came to a grudging respect for each other after a while. He even asked me to be a reference for a job he applied to here at the U. Anyway, if you are out there David, I think I owe you a steak dinner. Let me know if you still want it!
PS. -- If you all want to read when David first made his appearance, check out this post from October 2004. Read on from there for some epic battles, the bulk of which I'm not too sure I fared so well.
And please, don't think I am knocking you if you have an identity other than your own on the great big world wide web. Please still write in and contribute and do so anonymously if it makes you feel more safe. I understand that is just the way it is and that, quite frankly, people are encouraged to be anonymous. I just think it is sad that this is the case.
To wrap it up, this is how I think the AL Central will shake out this year:
4. White Sox
I wish it were different, but I think the Twins starting rotation in April and May will kill the Twins' chances come October. The combination of Ponson, Silva, Ortiz, and Bonser is not a formula for success. And while we all think Silva will stink it up out there, I'm not so sure about the rest of them either. SBG is right when he suggests that this is more a move to stop certain players from being free agents sooner (Garza for one). I really hope I am wrong, but we'll see. If not, I hope Gardy and Ryan decide it is worth winning right now and bring up some of these new pitchers like Garza, Perkins, and Slowey before it is too late.
Oh man, bring on Opening Day! I am pumped to watch some real-life baseball!