Thursday, March 23, 2006

Raving On

Hi All!

I must revisit this Rave thing. On the way to Wal*Mart to return a vacuum cleaner (sick of replacing Eurekas every year and ordered a Dyson) I put in a different disc from the new collection and found it not very bad at all. Orchestral, electronic and somewhat gentler beat. Darned near soothing!

Keeping an open mind, so as to keep letting the sun shine in.

Catie is displaying her work at The Night of the Notables at Roseville MS tonight. The kids dress up as historical figures and the visitors can ask them questions about their lives.

Catie has a full Victorian black dress and an impressive tri-fold poster board. She downloaded an an image of an original letter and used a match to age the edges. What a kid.

Catie plays Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Confederate spy. My own little rebel. Gotta love it. In character, I asked her how she died, assuming some form of execution, but she lucked out and drowned before the Union could string her up.

God Save the South!

Raving Mad

Hi All!

My latest Cheapo find, a three disc compilation of "Rave" um, "music?" has spent some time in Laura's fancy car CD player (upside of her downside is I get to drive the "fancy" Buick Land Yacht, er, "Century."

Best way to describe this genre, is to imagine a great intro to a rocking tour de force which never gets to the tour de force, rather, gets totally stuck on the intro for endless minutes.

Now I understand why ravers used so much Ecstasy. It's the only way you can tolerate the drone. I have never wanted to try it, but if I leave the CD player on too long, I get an urge... Fortunately, Rave is getting pretty passe' and I'd choose it over rap any time, damning it with faint praise.

To heck with all the politically incorrect "torture" methods at Guantanamo. Just pipe this stuff into the PA system 24/7 and you'll get those coddled terrorists babbling like crazy.


Dawn Brings Snow, and a Brighter Day

Hi All!

Drew could not bear to miss any more school, so he felt well enough to go today. I think he wants to prove he is ok to try out for baseball. I hope he can -- doctors can be wrong.

We'll see.

Some say it is lazy to refer a blog reader to another writer's work, but my favorite Reagan speechwriter cum author and columnist, Peggy Noonan, coughed up a true pearl today, which should be read by all with the least interest in goverment and politics. Fascinating stuff.

I am gonna lay low today, but hope to get back to my Pioneer Press story.

The chairperson of our Lions Club's Sunshine Committee called to ask whether Laura would like flowers or a plant. I suggested a useful and hardy plant...won't tell you what kind, but even this seasoned citizen got the joke and replied that she'll grab a couple of organisms from the basement hydrophonic chamber ;-)



Linking Practice

Hi All!

Not quite ready to collapse into a snoring heap quite yet, so here are a couple of items from The Smoking Gun that are fun to read.

Note how modest VP Dick Cheney's lodging demands are concerned versus my favorite local talent of all time, Prince.

Okay, 'nuff said for this wee hour.

Will try to catch some ZZZs before preparing the two remaining school attendees for another day at the office.

Over and out.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Health Update - What Next?

Hi All!

Drew, just recovered from pneumonia in both lungs, developed pleurisy tonight and couldn't breathe. The initial diagnosis was a collapsed lung. He needed a ridiculously expensive ambulance ride to Childrens, where he had chest xrays, ekg, morphine and God knows what else. Thankfully, he is home and resting comfortably courtesy of Vicodin.

Alex took him to a place with a batting cage, where he took many mighty swings and felt fine until after he got home. The irritation of the act of swatting at the orb apparently revealed what was bound to occur in any case.

Cretin baseball tryouts are on Saturday. My little (big, actually) Kent Hrbek-type great fielding 1st baseman power hitter is benched for this season.

Sometimes one just wants to go out, look to the sky and shout, "Why US?"

Then you sense the answer. "Your family is alive and well and will survive and thrive. Count your blessings."

Thanks, God!

PS. For those new to reading blogs, colored, underlined words are links to further info on the topic. Seems obvious to me, but many readers think it's just a highlight. Click, learn and come back to the post. Neatorama!

Health Update

Hi All!

Laura spent 5 days at United after nearly expiring in the ER. Scary stuff. Thank God for Pharmaceutical companies, device inventors and the expensive progress of Medicine in general.

She is still recuperating at home.

Drew was finally rid of his double pneumonia and finally went back to school. 4.11 GPA in second trimester, so I don't think he fell too far behind.

When Laura got home, Drew touchingly apologized to her for "making you sick." Alex, Catie and I came through unscathed. Weird but I have enough health issues to not mind dodging this particular bullet.

Thanks to all who relayed their good wishes.


Trying to Live Without "The Paper"

Hi All!

My beloved St Paul Pioneer Press has been bought by the owners of the "Enemy Paper," the Mineapolis Star Tribune, and although they promise to sell it off, many fear that our beloved Presspatch will go the way of the dodo.

To prepare the household for the potential shock, I let my delivery expire after having neglected to renew my subscription.

It immediately became clear that everyone from my wife on down to the three urchins went into mourning. Personally, I don't mind getting the lowdown on the web, but it is undeniable that it is a bit handier to lug the Metro Section into the WC for morning business than lugging the wireless laptop. I mean, if you should happen to, um, "soil" the paper, you can finish reading it and recycle it. Also comes in handy if you run out of TP.

This is a tease. More to follow. I'm at my favorite local NTN Trivia establishment and the darn battery is going dead.


Early Thursday update. Really, the good story is coming, but as you might guess from the latest post, there was a bump in the road that more than distracted.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Thank God for AFSCME

Hi All!

No, I haven't lost my mind quite yet.

As an 8-year Teacher Assistant for Special Education kids at Falcon Heights Elementary, my better half makes less than a janitor, but the benefit of a gold-plated insurance package has been worth tens of thousands to our chronically ill family.

Yesterday my 15-year old Drew was treated at Children's for double pneumonia. After suffering for over a week (during his school vacation, no less) and a misdiagnosis on Friday, big spots were found in both lungs. He was pumped full of good stuff and sent home.

Today, he is bouncing back strongly.

Today, my wife Laura went to her pulmonologist with a similar complaint. Doctor Flink plopped her immediately into a wheel chair and literally ran her across the street to United's ER.

Unlike Drew, she is being admitted. Her dad is with her, as she wished me to stay with Drew. We enjoyed an awesome Blur DVD concert together. Nice bonding moment ;-)

I have my political opinions on public employee unions, which will always make me seem like a hypocrite based on the benefits we have received. I am certainly far more understanding of why the unions work so hard to keep or improve the status quo.

I play trivia with a couple of public employee union high mucky mucks and the respectful and honest dialog we have is helping each perspective better appreciate each other.

More snow tonight? Hm.... Seems like over time, whenever the weatherfaces are proven correct, they go overboard and start hyping every cloud spied in Nebraska. But again, I hope they are right. Snow rocks this time of year. Fun to practice winter driving skills again.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

More Proof of Global Warming

Hi All!

After a few weeks of the weather handsomes and cuties crying wolf, I think they might have it right this time. Just came in from provisioning at Super America and it is snowing like the Halloween trick Mother Nature played on us in '91.

Big differences -- we won't get 21 inches and the snow won't stay for 6 months.

But if you are a native Minnesotan, you have come to expect the Tournament Storm.

If looking out the window is more accurate than fancy radar... Well, if it doesn't snow more than 6" I will start believing in GW, not as in GWB, but GWS as in "Global Warming Scam".

What fools we mortals be to think that we can screw up Mother Nature. We are but simple organisms enjoying our 10000 year sliver of Earth's history.

Time to go out back and start a bonfire.


Hockey Hangover

Hi All!

As I write, am all puckered out.

Had a seat right behind the Cretin/Grand Rapids bench for Friday's semi-finals.

Rapids totally upset "evil" Hill Murray, but at great cost. Lots of barfing as the kids got back to the bench after a line change. Rumour had it that half the players had the flu."

They gave everything they had. I really admired them. Not sure about the bleached blond hair to signify "Team Solidarity" but I'm old fashioned that way. Heck, I have longer hair than any of them, but it's never been anything but black...with a bit of grey sneaking in. In my genetics, the beard greys first, but having reunited with my classmates, I can see what's coming.

I cheered for Grand Rapids HS. I have loved underdogs from "Up Nort" Since the hated Edina "Cake Eaters" mugged Warroad's superstar, Henry Boucha and still had to go to overtime to finally knock the "stump jumpers "off.

I knew that they would have nothing left for the title game against my dear old alma mater. The Rapids fans were loaded for bear. After Friday's upset, I got a free ticket from a devastated Hill hockey mom. What was supposed to be the Hill Murray end of the ice was saturated with Orange/blonde people who knew in their hearts that there were no miracles on ice to be performed Saturday night.

I had a first row "club" seat. Special access, fawning X employees. Oh, to live like the other half. Well, I guess I did for about 90 minutes. I had to use my natural good natured charm to convince the Rapids Rabids in our little seating community that despite the hat I wore with old buttons from my own Cretin career with captions like "Massacre Hill", "Cretin Boosters" and "Foam on the Range, 1974", not to mention the purple and gold hankey that was stuffed in my pocket and came out over the edge of the deck after every goal.

"Foam on the Range?" That'd be the traditional kegger held every year in the far reaches of Crosby Park where the cops were too lazy to walk from the end of the access road to the scene of the crimes. Probably were all Catholic School graduates.

Ah, different times Not quite so Young and Innocent Days, but society was quite a bit more laid back than since. (Ironic, as the late 60's radical is likely to be 10 times more puritan (PC) and anal retentive (PC) than your average conservative. Note "Average." extremists are not "Average." and they exist on all levels of religion and politics. Just seems to me like average conservatives are seemingly imbued with more common sense than today's average liberal.

Sorry -- that edit was supposed to be a new post. Back to the story. Thanks for your forbearance.

The poor Rapids kids came out looking like they were skating on slush with dull blades and flat sticks.

Thankfully, I guess, Cretin went up 2-0 in the first 9 minutes and took the Rapids supporters (75% of the 18,000 ticket holders) out of it. Very quiet the rest of the way, except noise from the Cretin end as they went on to a record-tying margin of victory of 7-0.

Read the story.

The only thing about Friday that annoyed me somewhat were the chants :

"Catholics Suck";

"Private Schools Suck";

"Public Schools!";

"Public Schools Rule!"

One would have thought that "The Taliban Suicides" hockey squad would have been treated with sensitivity by these young, people who have been taught every which type of "diversity and Global Understanding at their Government Schools -- Christians in general, Catholics in particular, are still fair game for hate.

Ah well, Y2K, Global Warming, Save the Whales, Elect Kerry crowd runs the show and I guaranty that this young heads full of mush could speak eloquently on those subjects.

Unfortunately, I doubt any single one could find Iowa on a map, let alone the Middle East.

"It's only a few Muslims who want to kill us" said a guy in line with me in line outside of the pisser.

Sure. Out of a billion Muslims, only a million or so want to kill us. Reassuring?

Had to get this rant out to get my blood pressure out of "Puck" range. Pun intended.
What a great weekend.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Lyrical Interlude

Hi All!

Haven't done this in awhile, so at the risk of wasting bandwidth, here is a lyric that has spoken to me since the '70s and improves with age.

The Ballad of Mott, 1973
(ian hunter/overend watts/mick ralphs/verden allen/dale griffin)

I changed my name in search of fame
To find the midas touch
Oh I wish I’d never wanted then
What I want now twice as much
We crossed the mighty oceans
And we had a few divides
But we never crossed emotion
For we felt too much inside

You know all the tales we tell
You know the band so well
Still I feel, somehow, we let you down
We went off somewhere on the way
And now I see we have to pay
The rock’n’roll circus is in town

Buffin lost his child-like dreams
And mick lost his guitar
And verden grew a line or two
And overend’s just a rock’n’roll star
Behind these shades the visions fade
As I learn a thing or two
Oh but if I had my time again
You all know just what I’d do

Rock’n’roll’s a loser’s game
It mesmerises and I can’t explain
The reasons for the sights and for the sounds
We went off somewhere on the way
And now I see we have to pay
The rock’n’roll circus is in town

So rock’n’roll’s a loser’s game
It mesmerises and I can’t explain
The reasons for the sights and for the sounds
The greasepaint still sticks to my face
So what the hell, I can’t erase
The rock’n’roll feeling from my mind

From my mind...from my mind...from my mind
From my miiiiiind...from my miiiiind...from my miiiiiiiiind
From my miiiiiiiiiiiind

Go Cretin Raiders!

Hockey Ducats and a Visit to Cheapo

Hi All!

This is a lazy post as it is something I wrote for the Kinks fan club, but I feel guilty for being so infrequent a contributor to this blog. So allow me to plagiarise myself...

Long story short, I got in line at 7:00 am to get tickets to the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament at the "X" which is what we lovingly refer to describe the XCEL Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild. My alma mater and teacher of my kids, the unforunately named Cretin High School. When I matriculated in 1974, it was a Christian Brothers/ROTC, boys-only place for working class, mostly St Paul Catholics to get God and Military in equal and emphatic measures. No wonder I am confused to this day, as I push 50.

What fun to have short hair in the mid-70's and having the Twilight Parade of the Cadets picketed by angry hippie jerk wads protesting Vietnam. Hey guys, we were just HS kids and you would find more informed and dedicated radicals (myself included) who could run intellectual circles around youse...and I still have long, mostly black hair.

After I got the tickets for the 15,000+ seat sold out HS hockey game (hockey is to MN as football is to TX) I stopped by Cheapo Discs, an establishment that goes back so far that I used to by used "Albums" from them.

Here's what I scored -- all CD, alas, as the album store was broken off and located across the street:

Spendy at $8.95 per:

Classic Queen
The Great 28 Chuck Berry
REO Speedwagon, The hits
The Who, The Millenium Collection
Graham Coxon, Happiness in Magazines

Also Led Zepp Song Remains the Same DVD - same price!

Remarkable, ain't it?

Well hold onto your shorts.

Playing on the PA system was a new album by an obscure artist called Ray Davies.

As I clicked thru hundreds of discs, I heard the whole thing.

It must be one of those great albums that "grow on you" 'cos I was left a bit cold. For one thing, I'd heard many of the tunes before and wondered why it took 6 years to get it out for a guy who once coughed up 3 pearls of albums per year.

Harsh, but this is my honest impression. This is less a work of art than a tortured artist wringing out the last of his remaining (still exceptional) talent.

That said, I enquired of the storekeeper whether the CD could be considered "used" as they were playing it. No dice. It came in Friday night, USED! The fellow behind the counter had pounced on it before sale to the huddled masses. He had an interesting take on why someone might get rid of it so soon. "People are buying this CD expecting the Village Green Preservation Society." Fairly well said.

I am now going to mine my Kinks Kollection and try to bribe him to trade, say "Story Teller" for Other Peoples' Minds. Or perhaps a signed '60s promo photo, a poster for Dave's last visit to MN at First Ave, where Ray will be 4/4, etc.

Lest I draw fire, people, I am one of you! I hold my heroes to high standards and I know that some of my favorite albums were the ones that improved with repeated playing.


Thursday, March 02, 2006


Hi All!

My oldest child and youngest adult gained acceptance to my alma mater, St. Thomas. He was turned down by the U of M.

In my day, things were the other way around. St Thomas was tougher to be accepted to than the U, which was considered by some to be just a bit better than community college.

Now the U is more selective (of white catholic males, anyway) than St Thomas.

Well, justice is served. Alex got his letter of acceptance from the U the other day. Seems he was on a waiting list.

This presents a conundrum: where should he attend?


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

When I was a kid at St Mark's, this day was the beginning of a very heavy time.

Starting with Mass with the blessing of and distribution of the ashes of leftover Palm Sunday fronds and ending with Easter Sunday, we picked a bad habit to abstain from. As I got older, I graduated from giving up candy to giving up beer. Giving up sex was not necessary pretty much through college (smiley).

Like everything else except Islam, my religion has been diluted a lot during my life.

The best reminder my kids have is that we get cheap McDonalds fish burgers on Fridays. My wife and little girl and I are about to go to the Cathedral to get the good old ashen cross rubbed on our foreheads. The boys got theirs at Cretin today.

Traditions, however quaint or strange they seem, are important grounding points for we lowly creatures. I'm happy to have a few to hold on to.