Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lowering the Drinking Age

The president of Johns Hopkins University, one of many top college officials who supports lowering the drinking age to 18, makes some great points here:
"Kids are going to drink whether it's legal or illegal," said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18. "We'd at least be able to have a more open dialogue with students about drinking as opposed to this sham where people don't want to talk about it because it's a violation of the law."

Will a change in the drinking age ever take place in this country? Other nations with less stringent drinking laws seem to have far fewer issues with binge drinking and alcoholism. But perhaps that's just a cultural thing.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Behind Enemy Lines

When reports first began to materialize that Brett Favre was considering coming out of retirement and returning to the NFL (for the 15th time) but was had been told that he was not welcome to return to the Packers, many Vikings fans chuckled at the outrageous thought of their long-time rival coming to play in Minnesota.

For a while, the idea was nothing but a silly rumor. Yet, recently, it has moved beyond that stage, with Star Tribune beat writer Judd Zulgad reporting that the Packers would now consider trading Favre to an NFC North rival such as the Bears or Vikings "if backed into a corner by the National Football League and public sentiment."

This is a weird situation for Vikings fans. They've spent the better part of the last two decades criticizing Favre and cheering for him to fail, and now the 38-year-old quarterback might represent the team's best opportunity to upgrade at its weakest position. Reports indicate that Favre wants to come to Minnesota, and it stands to reason that the Vikes would happily send a draft pick to Green Bay in order to acquire the future Hall-of-Famer.

My thoughts? I've always found Favre to be an extremely overrated player, and that's not going to change anytime soon. I hate watching announcers and analysts drool over him, and the idea that he's the quintessential team player is nothing short of absurd when you consider all the shenanigans he pulls to put the spotlight on himself every offseason. As a player, Favre is creative and sometimes entertaining, but also reckless to a fault.

With that said, he showed last year that he's still got something left in the tank and there's little question that he provides a significant upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson. Quarterback is really the only position that remains a question mark on this stacked Vikings roster, and adding an experienced veteran like Favre would round out the roster and make the Vikes an easy Super Bowl favorite. His presence would also make the Vikings a hot story and would draw tons of media attention, which would be nice. And of course, for all those Vikings fans who have had to deal with Packer-backers goading over Favre's greatness for so long, it would be fun to stick it to the Green Bay crowd in a major way.

I still think it's pretty unlikely that Favre ends up playing in Vikings uniform this season, but the notion is becoming more and more realistic by the day. And as much as Favre continues to bother me, I can't sit here and say that his addition wouldn't make the Vikings a better team.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bayless Does It Again

Skip Bayless, a zany blowhard who spews worthless and idiotic opinions each day on ESPN, was debating the topic of Batman today with the almost equally moronic Stephen A. Smith.

Bayless' argument: Jack Nicholson played a better Joker than Heath Ledger, and Aaron Eckhart is more deserving of an Oscar nomination for his role in The Dark Knight than is Ledger.

The sports-related arguments produced by Bayless are bad enough, but it is now painfully clear that the lunacy is even worse when he wanders onto other topics.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Reviewing the Wolves Draft

I sit groggily at work here at 7:30 on a Friday morning, I figured I would come on here and write up a few quick thoughts on the Wolves' draft last night. Then I came on only to learn that Devin has already written up a post this morning offering his thoughts. (See below.)

I half-expected an angry rant, which is what I've been hearing from just about every basketball fan in the state of Minnesota so far. Instead, Devin said that he is "pleased" with Kevin McHale's draft, only furthering my suspicion that Devin is smarter than most earthlings.

For those who are unaware, the Wolves owned the third overall pick in the draft and used it to select O.J. Mayo, a guard out of USC. This year's draft class was considered to have two surefire guys in Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, and most people considered Mayo to be the third best player and a lock to be picked third. The Wolves did indeed select Mayo, but shortly thereafter they packaged him with Marco Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner in a trade with the Grizzlies that brought back Kevin Love (the fifth overall selection in the draft), Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

This move was met with much outrage. Mayo, who has drawn extensive media coverage since he was in seventh grade, was surrounded by huge hype and many were excited to see what he could do in the pros. Love is a bit of an undersized white power forward who doesn't have nearly the "wow" factor that you'd like to see in a lottery draft pick. Yet, prior to the draft I was in favor of the Wolves trading down to get someone like Love, so I'm quite satisfied that they were able to tab him while also adding a very nice player in the form of Mike Miller.

Here's what I see when I look at O.J. Mayo:

I see a guy who is a good jump shooter, especially from three-point range. I see a guy who is probably going to be a decent defender. But I also see a guy who is a prima donna of the Sebastian Telfair ilk. I see a guy with poor ball skills who last year posted one of the worst turnover-to-assist ratios I've ever seen from a hyped college guard. I see a guy who will never play point guard adequately in the pros and would have provided the Wolves with another 6'4" shooting guard. I see a bust. I'll say it right now and go on record: I think O.J. Mayo will be an outright bust in the NBA and frankly I'm glad that the Wolves dumped him off on another organization.

I'm really not as high on Kevin Love as Devin seems to be. I think he's got a very good chance to be a serviceable player, but I sincerely doubt he'll develop into a star. At 6'9", it'd really be nice if he were a couple inches taller. He's only an option at power forward, which will force Al Jefferson to play out of position at center when both are on the court. That's unfortunate, but I really don't know which player I would have rather seen the Wolves get short of Rose or Beasley.

I'm not fan of McHale, but I really think he made a savvy decision last night. Even though the pundits around the country are sure to lambast him for it. We'll see how Mayo turns out. Those who have ever gone to a Subway restaurant with me know I like to load up my sandwiches with a considerable amount of mayonnaise, but this is one instance where I most definitely did not want "plenty of Mayo."

T-Wolves Drafted Correctly??

Did the Timberwolves actually just have a good draft night? I'm not even too concerned about the players we got (though I think Love could be solid for us, and it will be nice to have the scoring of Mike Miller to balance out the floor), getting rid of Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker is enough for me to call this a successful draft night. Marko Jaric was one of the biggest disasters in a team with a series of big disasters. It will be so nice to not have to yell relentlessly at the TV anymore, at least not at him. And I am actually really excited about the prospect of Love and Jefferson in the post game together. I think Love will be a surprise and could easily turn into a Carlos Boozer type NBA player (I am a huge Duke fan and I thought Boozer would flop in the NBA - too small and not a great shooter. Of course I was dead wrong, and even though Love went early in the first round and Boozer in the second round, I think Love will be surprisingly good). I am really excited to have Miller's 15-20 points every night. We were like 15-2 when we scored over 100 points last year, so anything to boost our scoring is going to help. I mean, we gave up maybe 7 points a game in Jaric and the same in Walker, and got 15-20 in one player out on the floor instead of two. Good trade to me. I am pleased.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Three Random Annoyances - Vol. 3

1) Street hustlers.
Every day I walk down Washington Ave. to go to work (and back) and there are these people in green shirts with clipboards that ask me, "Do you have a minute for the environment?" I love the environment, it kicks ass... but I have no desire to be hustled for money while I'm trying to get to work. Yet EVERY TIME I walk by these people approach me, along with everyone else. I have to come up with different ways to look busy so that they won't pester me. Sometimes I pretend to be on my cell phone. Sometimes I act like I'm intently fidgeting with a button on my shirt. Sometimes I walk up and just punch them directly in the face before they can say anything to me. (OK, I haven't tried the last one yet, but it's next on my list.) Obnoxious.

2) Disappointing summer movies.
Let me preface this by making note of something else that annoys me -- then the theater shows previews for a movie that doesn't come out for like two years. They'll show some badass preview of like giant robots blowing up retirement homes with Hugo Weaving doing the voice of a missile-launching mechanical wizard, and you'll be like, "This movie looks awesome, I can't wait!" Then at the end it goes, "Coming in Summer 2013." WTF. I'll be sure to mark that on the calendar. Anyway, sometimes you'll see these previews and spend like two years building anticipation for the movie, and when it comes out it absolutely sucks. It happened with The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan rules, but the movie is currently registering like 19% on RottenTomatoes.com). It looks like it's happened with Get Smart (haven't seen it yet, but the initial preview I saw like a year ago looked hilarious and now it's getting mediocre reviews across the board). If it happens with The Dark Knight (sequel to Batman Begins), I'm going to start blowing things up.

3) The moon.
Most things in the universe serve a purpose. The sun provides us with light and heat. Trees create oxygen. Garbage cans dispose of waste. Devin makes me laugh. But what exactly is the point of the moon? It's just a big stupid rock floating around in space. It has no water, no gravity and no Sonic Drive-Thru's. Why would anyone want to go there? Every nation should combine all their nuclear powers and aim every weapon at the moon, hopefully destroying it and ridding the night sky of its worthlessness.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The World's Worst-Kept Secret

Every day when I walk to work, I go past a big sign on the side of one of those bus stop waiting booths. It's an ad for Killian's Irish Red beer, and above a picture of a bottle of the beer is the following phrase: "The Secret? Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt." And I always think to myself, that has to be the absolute worst secret of all time.

I mean, really, if you felt like this secret brewing strategy was putting your product a notch above all the competitors, would you truly want to share it with absolutely anybody who walks down a busy street? It would make sense if the ad said that, "The Key Ingredient? Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt," or "You Know What's Delicious? Some Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt." But the usage of the word "secret" is patently false in this instance. I'm pretty sure printing an ingredient in large letters on a billboard makes it the exact opposite of a secret.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


History was made tonight, and Minnesota played a special part. Barack Obama will be the nominee for president for the Democratic party. It's pretty sweet to be able to type that, after so many months and states and debates and scandals and outrageous statements. It is only the beginning, with John McCain ahead, but tonight I will pause to take it all in and think about what this really means. Get involved, give back, and serve this country and this world in some small way. That is Obama's call to all of us. Answer it.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Geraldine Ferraro had an article in the Boston Globe today complaining (once again) about the sexism that has been shown toward Hillary Clinton during this campaign season. Says Ferraro:
That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know. But I do know that it will never happen again as long as women are willing to stand up and make sure that it is just a one-time bad experience.

No, Hillary did not lose because she's a woman. And Obama did not win because he's black. I'm sure that residual sexism and racism (including the racism displayed by Ferraro herself, which got her kicked out of Hillary's campaign) played some role in how this primary election played out, but in the end I think the nation came to realize that Obama is simply a better campaigner and a better candidate. Why the Clinton supporters continue to deny this possibility so stubbornly is beyond me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


"It was West Virginia that made it possible for John Kennedy to become president," [Hillary] Clinton told 400 supporters at a local high school. "John Kennedy didn't have the number of delegates he needed when he went to the convention in 1960; he had something equally as important - he had West Virginia behind him."

The support of West Virginia, a nearly all-white state with the 37th-highest population of all U.S. states, is "equally as important" as owning a lead in delegates, which by definition determines the presidential candidate. Hey, whatever supports your lost cause, Hill. Next she'll be telling us that the support of James Carville is more important than the support of every superdelegate combined.

"Democrats don't get elected president unless West Virginia votes for you," Hillary said. She failed to note that they also don't get elected if the vast majority of Democrats nationwide do not support their candidacy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Time To Go, Hillary

When I tuned in and start following as the results were tallied in last night's Democratic primary processes, I found myself less than surprised. Early in the evening, Barack Obama had a humongous lead in North Carolina (where he has consistently dominated in the polls) and Hillary Clinton had a single-digit lead in Indiana (where she has led polls).

Yet, as the night went on, Clinton's lead in Indiana slowly began to shrink. From eight percent, to six percent, to three percent. By the end of the night, it actually appeared that Obama might pull off a major upset and take Indiana, but in the end he fell short by about 1.5 percent of the total vote.

Meanwhile, Obama crushed Clinton in NC. Several weeks ago, polls showed him with a nearly 25 percent lead in North Carolina, a state where the electorate demographics heavily favor him, but in recent days polls have shown that lead shrinking into the single-digits. Nevertheless, Obama defeated Clinton by about 16 percent, and in doing so, he effectively erased the gains she made with her victory in Pennsylvania.

It was a great night for Obama, and one that allows him to regain any "momentum" that he was thought to have lost over the past month or two. It's time for Hillary to drop out of this race. She has a 147-delegate deficit which she stands almost no chance whatsoever of erasing, and at this point she's only wasting her money and Obama's time/effort (which could be spent focusing on John McCain) by remaining in the race.

The arguments being made by Clinton's campaign and her supporters are nothing short of ridiculous. They cherry-pick election and poll results to make her case. "She wins the big states!" ... "She leads McCain in the polls in battleground states!" ... "She wouldn't be getting spanked so bad if Florida and Michigan were counted!"

Yeah, sorry to all those of you in the 32 states which have voted Obama (many in landslide fashion), your votes don't matter. Hillary should win because she's getting the majority of the votes in some of the larger states. That's democracy at its finest folks. Obama is winning BY THE RULES. Everything else is irrelevant. The rules dictate that the candidate with the most delegates is the winner, and Obama has a substantial delegate lead which will not dissipate. Michigan and Florida chose to break the rules (a set of rules which were supported by Clinton, by the way), so their votes aren't counted. It's that simple.

Here is an important point that seems like it's getting overlooked by all these rabid Hillary supporters who claim she is the most electable candidate. I think Clinton has clearly proven during this process is that she is a shitty campaigner. She entered this race as a clear favorite, but she has been completely overmatched by a young and inexperienced senator out of Illinois. Obama's campaign has out-earned Clinton's, and he's shown an impressive ability to overcome adversity (we've been hearing nothing but Rev. Jeremiah Wright for the past few weeks, yet look how much effect that had on his performance last night). I think people have really grown tired of the Clintons' "whatever it takes" philosophy -- which some have gone so far as to label "lying and cheating." I don't trust her ability to effectively campaign against McCain in the general election when she has been so thoroughly outperformed by Obama in the primaries.

Clinton can't win, and there's no reason for her to stay in this race. Time to bow out.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bee in my bed

So the most bizarre thing happened to me the other day. I wake up for class, like any other day, and hop in the shower. Weird huh.


No, the weird part actually happened after the shower. I got dressed. Crazy, isn't it.


I lied again, really the abnormal part was I went to class. Odd, huh.


Ok I'll stop fooling around. The REAL weird thing was, after the shower, I went back into my room to get ready, and on my pillow, inches from where my head rested moments earlier, was a GIANT bumblebee, sitting there motionless, just staring at me with it's little bee eyes! It was so eerie. After a few seconds it buzzed into the air and flew up to my ceiling fan... How did it get in?? I left my window open all day and upon returning that afternoon it was gone. But I have to say, I can think of no worse way to wake up than to get stung in the head by a giant bumblebee. What could be worse than that? I defy you to think of a worse way to wake up (within reason).

Oh also that night I went to bed. What a crazy day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cell Phones are for Phone Booths, Duh

Thought I'd share this story, as it was quite bizarre.

I'm walking to class today and I'm chatting with Devin on my cell phone, catching up on various things as he and I are wont to do. So suddenly this old man walks by and says to me, and I quote, "It's not a phone booth." Then as he's walking away he loudly mumbles, "... Prick."

I would have loved to have countered with some witty retort, but in truth, I was too blown away by his comment. This guy was lividly pissed at me, as if I had wronged him some horrible way. Apparently, in the mind of this senile old coot, cell phone usage should be restricted to phone booths. Now granted, I haven't paid much attention to state legislature as of late, so it is entirely possible that this may indeed be a law that was recently enacted, in which case I guess I'm just an ignorant criminal. Then again, I spotted at least three other students walking on the sidewalk and speaking on their cell phone as I finished my walk to class, so I guess this campus is just full of delinquents.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Every Day is Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. I hope that you were able to enjoy some of it out in our world, enjoying the weather.

Every single day is Earth day. How could it not be? Can you imagine a day not being a day sustained and made possible by the Earth? When we wake up tomorrow, will it somehow be human day, where the only thing we all need to live is humans? Will it be Mars day? No, it will always be Earth day. Maybe the calendar should have a little fine print on every square that says "This day made possible by the generous contributions of Mother Earth." I think a lot of people these days forget how intertwined we are with our natural world. Think about it. If I can urge you to do one thing on this day, change one behavior, it would be to look for the links.

When you prepare your dinner tonight, or order it in a restaurant, stop and think. Where did that pasta come from? Grains that were grown in the soil, given life by the Sun, and then mashed into long thin strips to be boiled in water which was recycled by the water cycle that has been persistent for billions of years. What about the tomatoes, or the lettuce in a salad? They were also grown in the ground. Where? On a farm, probably hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from where you are consuming it. Who brought it to you? People, human ingenuity, life. What about the meat, if you choose to consume meat today? The meat came from an animal that was raised on a farm, where a farmer diligently woke up every morning before you or I could ever imagine waking up unless we have some flight to catch. And the farmer woke up every day before the sun to feed and hopefully care for that animal. What did the animal eat? Corn, wheat, rice, soy. He sure as heck didn't eat chips, cookies, crackers, frozen pizzas, canned soups, or anything else that has to be processed. He ate from the ground. And he spent months and months growing up off of this food, living his life. Eventually when it came time for slaughter, the animal was butchered up, packaged, labeled, and shipped by human beings, far away from your table. What about your drink? Wine, beer? Grapes, hops, barley, etc, all grown naturally. Milk? Same story as the animal. Water? That one's a given. It may seem like you simply bought or ordered your food and then ate it, but it was not chance or coincidence that the food was made readily available for you. It all traveled from thousands of miles away to meet on your plate tonight.

Thinking about where our food comes from connects us to the land, to nature. Consider just where your meal came from. If you truly can't say, maybe think twice about putting it into your body.

What about the building you are living in or studying in? Was it built from the land? Yes. The wood was cut from trees in some forest far off, hopefully sustainably harvested (but not likely). The concrete came from cement; sands, limestones, water, and a few other natural products. The plaster in the walls (the drywall) is made from a mineral called gypsum which is mined from the Earth. How about bricks? Well they are natural too. Nails, steel, iron. Mined.

The paper in your book or notebook? Trees. The gas in your car - like it or not, came naturally from the Earth, by decomposition over millions of years of marine organisms. The electricity I am using to type this post with was generated from coal, which is mined from the ground, either in Wyoming or West Virginia probably. The coal was created naturally too, like oil.

It can be easy to forget this day-to-day, when we drive in our cars and live in our rooms, work in our offices, all which have benefited from human ingenuity to be the way they are, but have lost the obvious qualities of the natural world. If the car wasn't painted and looked like the rocks the metal was mined from, we'd see. If the walls had chunks of sand and rocks in them, we'd know. And if we wrote on slabs of wood, we'd get it. While we get a lot of use from our natural world, it is the idea of separateness, of us vs. nature, of nature being there solely for us to exploit, that is the problem. Understand that we rely on nature to sustain life, but also that nature is precisely that itself. Nature is life! So when you sit under a tree or simply pass one on your way to class or work, think about how much you share with that tree. How the tree sustains your life, but how you sustain the tree's life just the same.

If we could see those connections, then caring for the Earth would no longer be a feel-good virtue that we strive for or hope that we can "figure out," but rather a natural impulse, as organic and innate as caring for oneself.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Seriously, Hillary??

After a debate Wednesday night in which moderators trained their ammunition on Barack Obama in what many view as an unfair manner, Obama complained about the line of questioning, which was aimed more at campaign blunders and trivial political matters than actual issues. Never missing a chance for a cheap shot, Hillary told the following to a FOX affiliate in Philadelphia:
"I know he spent all day yesterday complaining about the hard questions he was asked. Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House. In fact, when the going gets tough, you just can't walk away because we're going to have some very tough decisions that we have to make."
Isn't this the same woman that once said "maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow" during a February debate? She was playing off of an SNL sketch in that instance, and my guess is that she was half-joking, but she's made no secret of her long-held viewpoint that the media goes too easy on Obama. Yet, when the tables are turned and Obama complains about being treated unfairly, she paints it as some sort of character flaw.

I do not like Hillary Clinton. I really don't. I would strongly consider voting for McCain if she was the Democratic nominee.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now That's a Ballpark

Star Tribune Twins beat writer La Velle E. Neal mentioned this tidbit about the new Twins stadium on his blog yesterday:
It’s unfortunate that there’s not a retractable roof on the ballpark, but it should be a great place to watch a game. Just remember, the last row of the upper deck of the new ballpark is equal to where the first row of the Dome’s left field upper deck is. Wow.

Wow indeed. After visiting a few other baseball stadiums over the past couple years (Milwaukee, Kansas City, and to a lesser extent Oakland), I can barely bring myself to watch games at the Metrodump anymore. 2010 could not get here soon enough.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Issa is a Moron

I'd like to nominate my candidate for biggest douchebag in Congress... Mr. Darrell Issa!

Say hi, Darrell!

Issa is a GOP Rep. from San Diego. At a hearing last week, he suggested that the federal government had already done enough to support New York in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, which he referred to as "a fire" caused by "simply an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center. Classy.
So today, Jackie Speier, a DFL Rep. from California participated in a mock swearing-in ceremony in Washington. Making her first speech to Congress, Speier spoke out against the Iraq War.
"The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately," she said, as several Republicans loudly booed. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Vista Republican, bolted from his seat and left the floor.
So, let's get this straight. Issa will not tolerate any opposition to this war, which he apparently supports adamently. A war which was first authorized in large part as a response to a terrorist attack which he downplays as "simply" a plane crash. Wow.
Electing Issa is the worst thing San Diego has done since drafting Ryan Leaf.

Monday, April 7, 2008

On Ineptitude

So, back in the day, people would write books on subjects and call them "On..." something, like "On Race," "On Poverty," or "On Democracy." They would choose such a title, I presume, because they thought it would be the be all and end all to these discussions. They would finish writing that last page and think, "well, that's that - no one could possibly have anything more to say about this subject." Well, this is my attempt to close the conversation on the ineptitude of human beings, by telling you a tale of this weekend past.

On Ineptitude

Let me set the scene for you. A party is occurring at my apartment, in honor of a mutual friend of both my roommates, Jordan, whom I had never met. My roommate Ed invites a few friends, and Jordan brings an entourage of four friends, two male, two female. Drinks are had and laughs transpire. I did not partake for the festivities as I had other plans, but I returned to find Jordan leaving the party. Naturally, my two roommates and I only assumed that with this departure his friends would follow. Not the case. So, the scene is set. An apartment, alcohol, and strange guests.

Thinking nothing of the matter, I retire to my room for some snacks and TV. Roommate Akbar follows behind, as he is not drinking either, and wants to chat about the strangers. We chat a bit, then decide its time for sleep, and head out to get ready. As we are in the kitchen, we notice one of the unknown girls is getting up to go to the bathroom. With a stumble, she nearly topples over, almost taking a flimsy Ikea chair with her. However, she successfully reaches our half bath.

After some time, a knock greets our ears with a muted thud. Thinking it may be the coppers, we quiet down and Ed opens the front door, only to find the emptiness of the hallway staring back at him. Continuing our conversations only momentarily, we are again interrupted by a thud, thud, thud. This time, recognizing that the knock is indeed coming from inside the apartment, a few of the guests head towards the bathroom.

In the kitchen, Akbar and I discuss the prospect that our stumbly guest is vomiting in our half bath, and we agree on the notion that this is just "not-cool." However, after a minute of this, we hear from the hallway the friend of the girl in the bathroom say, "do you see my credit card? Did it make it under the door? Can you see it?" Absolutely perplexed, we walk to the bathroom, to find the friend on the ground, peeking under the door, and sliding multiple credit cards underneath it. "What is going on?," I ask.

"She is stuck in the bathroom!"

Thinking that there must be something wrong with the lock, I suggest unscrewing the doorknob. However, they persist with the credit card strategy. Convinced we were getting nowhere, and increasingly becoming aware of the fact that the girl in the bathroom couldn't even find the credit cards being slipped to her (mind you the floor is all of 3X3 feet), I decide I have to ask... "Uhh, so I have to ask the obvious question... did anyone suggest that she just unlock the door..?"

The answer may surprise you, as it did me. "No!"

No, the first response of the people assisting was not to see if she had tried the lock, but instead to slip her credit cards! Beyond me... So then becomes the task of having her unlock the door (keep in mind that no less than 5 minutes earlier, she herself had locked said door... keep that in mind). This proved harder than you'd ever imagine. One of the reasons being, as I noticed, the lights were off in the bathroom. Again, I said, "Uhh, did anyone suggest that she turn on the lights..?"

Again, "NO." Shocked. This itself took 3 minutes for her to get the lights on (contextual note: the bathroom has TWO light switches on opposing walls, including one that is LIT UP itself!! This gave her a 50% chance that if she just chose a wall and felt around, she'd hit that oh so elusive switch). Three minutes of struggling finally produced light. Success! Now she'll clearly be able to just unlock the door and come out. Wrong.

"Do you see the doorknob?" says the friend on the floor. "No..." replies a paranoid voice. "Find the doorknob, and look in the middle of it, do you see a lock? What position is it in, hot dog style or hamburger style?" (I kid you not this is what actually transpired). "I can't find the doorknob.." In the background pipes in one of the male unknown guests with "I am about 3o seconds from calling the landlord." Yes, I can see that now (after said male guest awkwardly asks the tenants for this phone number) - "Uhhh... hey, Felix..." "Who's this?" "Uhh, there is a girl locked inside the bathroom at this apartment... can you come let her out?" Felix replies, "Is there something wrong with the lock?" "Uhhh, no... she's just really drunk, and can't figure it out..." Click. Felix hangs up, and goes back to sleep, because it is 3 am.

Finally, understanding that this girl just wasn't going to figure out how to unlock the door (again, the same one she locked herself only minutes earlier, and which she really only need to twist the same piece of metal the opposite direction, just 90 small degrees) it was decided that we would pick the lock. So we found a small metal object and picked the lock, at which point the girl, who was on the floor the whole time (of a 3X3 foot bathroom, meaning that the credit cards were undoubtedly right in front of her), literally spills out onto the floor.

15 minutes later her friends and the girl somehow managed to trek the 15 feet from the bathroom door to our apartment door. How it only took them that long I'll never know...

Thus, let it be known that the ineptitude as the subject of this treatise should not only be the girl who locked herself inside a bathroom (which is indeed truly inept... I mean besides basic functioning like eating and sleeping, twisting of the hand is something that many of our friends in the animal kingdom of lesser intelligence have mastered as well... and unlocking a door is a learnable skill for even our canine and feline friends). No, no, the ineptitude lies equally on the shoulders of the 3 friends of the girl, who's first reaction was not to ask if she'd tried the lock, or to notice that the lights were off (there is a window at ceiling level that makes this determination all the more obvious)... No, their response was "this girl is too drunk to unlock the door herself, but clearly she'll be able to use these credit cards to jiggle the door open..."

And this my friends, is the story of the most inept I have ever seen any one human being be.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Devin the Liar

Once I knew this kid named Devin. Good kid. Looked a little like a broken radiator, but I suppose that's to be a expected by a kid who was raised in South Korea. Anyway, me and Devin made this cool blog, and Devin (a liar by nature) told me he'd be a regular contributor. I should have taken into account at the time Devin's lying nature. There have been many examples over the years I've known him to illustrate his lying ways.

One time, he told me his middle name was "Devin." For the first four years of our friendship, I thought his name was Devin Devin Ellsworth. Seemed reasonable enough at the time. Sometimes I'd see him at school in the morning and I'd say, "What up DDE?" Little did I know that he and all his pals were laughing at me behind my back.

On another instance, he gave me a key and told me it would open any door in the country. I had no reason not to believe him; he'd always been a good friend and he was a pretty good Connect Four player. So I got in my car and made the 13-hour drive to Denver, CO, because I wanted to use the key to get into a ski rental shop and get some skis and then go skiing on a ski mountain where people ski. I got there, and naturally the key did not fit the lock. Fortunately, it was during business hours so the door was unlocked. I entered the building and said, "Two skis, please." The man said, "That will be sixty dollars, sir." I reached for my wallet and remembered that I didn't have it... I had given it to Devin before I left because he told me that bringing your wallet with you on a road trip can increase your risk for cancer. After consulting several doctors regarding the matter, I learned that, indeed, it was another classic Devin Lie.

The tales of my history with Devin and his chronic dishonesty are heart-wrenching, as I'm sure you can tell. A huge hole in my heart has been ripped open over the years. But ol' Dev could do a great deal to fix that hole by coming through on his most important promise ever and posting more often on this little blog.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Break Review

I just got back yesterday from a spring break trip to Orlando, FL with five friends. The trip was amazing; we experienced beautiful weather almost without exception, partook in all sorts of entertaining activities, and stayed at a kick-ass resort (for free -- thanks Beth!).

Orlando is a great city, but also kind of annoying because its overall design is so slanted toward tourism. They are gouging you for money from the second you leave your plane (almost literally -- there's a toll station on the freeway about 100 feet from the airport) and almost every street is lined with gimmicky crap. Yet, amidst all this, one can't help but enjoy the warm and breezy climate and the amazingly attractive women who litter the streets.

We didn't go to Disney World, but we did go to Universal Studios. This excursion proved both fun and monumentally disappointing. I loved some of the rides -- the "Twister" ride simulated a real-life tornado and featured plenty of Bill Paxton involvement and the "Disaster" ride placed you on a subway car in the middle of an earthquake, with narration by Christopher Walken. However, some of the rides were a bit lame, most notably the E.T. ride which can best be described as a real-life simulation of a bad acid trip (you can watch a very dark video of the ride here). I didn't go on this ride when I visited Universal as a young child, but if I had, I have to imagine I would have been scarred for life. Aside from being horribly crappy overall, the ride didn't even make sense. It is supposed to take place on E.T.'s home planet (cleverly named "The Green Planet"), yet all of the planet's alien inhabitants speak perfect English. In the movie, E.T. learned VERY LIMITED English by observing the behavior of humans during his time on Earth... how the hell would his friends at home be able to speak the language fluidly?!

Despite my hatred for this ride, it did not mark the low point of our trip to Universal. Oh no. The worst part, by far, was that the Back to the Future ride no longer exists. This ride was by far my favorite memory from my previous trip to the theme park (you can see a video of it here, but it doesn't do it justice because you're not sitting in the moving De Lorean), but some complete morons apparently decided that it was too fun and needed to be removed. But yeah, leave the E.T. ride there for sure, because no day at the theme park is complete without some stupid plastic aliens scaring the shit out of innocent and unsuspecting little kids.

Replacing the Back to the Future ride is a brand new ride based on The Simpsons, which looks absolutely incredible. I couldn't even find a picture of it online, possibly because its sheer awesomeness exploded every camera that ever attempted to capture it. It's basically a giant replica of "Krustyland," a fictional theme park from within the show. Nearby is a life-size Kwik-E-Mart:

Pretty sweet, huh? Unfortunately, all I can tell you about is the attraction's external qualities, because it's NOT EVEN OPEN YET! So, in short, I managed to go to the park during the period of time after my favorite ride closed down yet before its replacement -- a perhaps far cooler ride -- opened. Talk about timing!

The rest of the trip was a blur of sun-bathing, drinking, mini-golfing, eating, taking philosophical late-night walks, throwing the old baseball around (or, in Beth's case, into a lake... repeatedly), skim-boarding in the ocean, free-styling, playing Game, and devouring Ci-Ci's Pizza (which is by the way the most incredible place on Earth and should be located on every corner in Minnesota).

All in all, a wonderful time and a great way to spend my last college spring break. Now if only Devin had posted over the course of the week like he was supposed to...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Exciting Vikings Offseason

There are few things in this world that warrant as a level of enthusiasm on par with a Minnesota Vikings offseason under head coach Brad Childress. Maybe having a tooth pulled without Novacaine, or having your head stomped on with spiked cleats. But even those lovely activities probably can't match the sheer pain caused by a Vikes' free agency period. Last year, the team's big acquisitions were Visanthe Shiancoe, a former backup tight end with the Giants who ended up being entirely worthless, and Bobby Wade, a slot receiver from the Titans. I could barely contain my excitement. This year, Childress is at again with his crazy hijinx.

Last season the Vikings did two things well: run the ball, and stop the opposing team from running the ball. Everything else, they basically sucked at. The ranked 28th in the NFL in passing offense, and dead last in pass defense. As such, it makes sense that the team would seek to improve in these areas during the offseason.

Step one: replace departed safety Dwight Smith with a quality player who actually gives a damn. The Vikings' solution here was to sign Madieu Williams, apparently trying to maintain the team's "Williams quota" after the departure of Tank Williams. Some analysts say that Madieu is a good, hard-hitting safety and a solid acquisition for the Vikings, but let's look at the facts: Williams played last year for a Cincinnati secondary that was fairly awful in its own right (26th in the NFL) and the Bengals made no effort to maintain him despite the fact that he is only 26 years old and they had no obvious replacement waiting in the wings. Last year in Cincy, Williams collected two interceptions and was credited with seven passes defended. Dwight Smith last year intercepted four passes and defensed nine with the Vikes. Looks like a big upgrade for the pass D there.

Step two: find a competent receiver to replace Troy Williamson, who was quite possibly the single worst draft pick in the history of American sports. Here the Vikings signed Bernard Berrian from the Bears. Now, let's be fair here -- Berrian is a pretty decent receiver, and I have no problem paying him a few million bucks a year to slightly improve the Vikings' receiving corps. Unfortunately, the Vikes saw fit to sign Berrian to a six-year deal that makes him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the NFL. Here's all we need to know about the Berrian signing:

Bernard Berrian, 2007 stats: 71 rec, 951 yds, 5 TD
Berrian's contract w/ Vikes: 6 yrs, $42M ($16M guaranteed)
Randy Moss, 2007 stats: 98 rec, 1493 yds, 23 TD
Moss' contract w/ Pats: 3 yrs, $27M ($15M guaranteed)

In the world of logic and reason, these moves might not make sense. But in that big, bald, arrogant head of Brad Childress, they make all the sense in the world.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Three Random Annoyances - Vol. 2

For Matt's viewing pleasure, another edition of Three Random Annoyances, where I lament about three things that have bothered me during the past week.

1) Cold weather.
Every morning I wake up, get dressed and head to class (or work). And it seems like each time I step outside, I feel like one of the helicopter pilots in The Day After Tomorrow (10 Blog Points to anyone who gets that reference). Seriously, it's March. These slashing icy winds and single-digit lows need to go away. Last I checked, I live in Minnesota, not Pluto.

2) Fast food joints with no public napkin dispensers.
Any restaurant that serves food should have napkins readily available to customers. To me, it is inexcusable for such an establishment to keep napkins behind the counter, forcing messy eaters to go and ask the cashier for more. Specifically, I'm talking about Subway here, although I know there are other places that engage in this shady practice. I went in there today, and I got one measly napkin with my footlong sub. This turned out to be grossly inadequate when I was scarfing down my sloppy mayo-filled sandwich. My single pathetic napkin was soaked and I needed more, but of course since there was not a napkin dispenser sitting next to the drink/condiment area, I had to assail one of the employees for more napkins. This took a while because the sandwich makers were busy, you know, making sandwiches. Are napkins really that valuable of a commodity, that Subway must horde them behind the counter and hand them out sparingly to paying customers?

Favre retired. You might have heard. I mean, I don't think I would have been aware of this piece of news if not for the 6 billion Facebook status updates whining about it.

"We'll miss you number 4!"
"I can't believe Brett's gone!"
"Thanks for the memories!"

I also would like to thank Brett for the memories. I look back fondly on each of his 288 interceptions. Also, that time in the NFC Championship Game last year when the Packers got first ball in overtime and Brett proceeded to promptly throw the ball directly into the hands of an opponent, setting up the Giants for a game-winning field goal. Good times. And of course, there's my most recent memory of Brett, which was watching him blubber like Adam Morrison during his farewell press conference. I find it deliciously ironic that the NFL's all-time "Iron Man" can't stop himself from crying like a baby on national TV.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary the Hypocrite

Alright, I know there are people out there who think we write about politics too much on this blog (Matt Skolnick, aka Otis Nixon, being the most vocal of this crowd), and that's something that Devin and I will work feverishly to change. Unfortunately, this is going to be a post about politics. Well, I don't know if the word "post" really describes what this is going to be... "angry keyboard-mashing rant" might be a more accurate descriptor.

Yes, I'm pissed off. I'm pissed off because of the things Hillary Clinton's camp have been coming out and saying in the wake of her victories in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday. Specifically, Clinton's chief spokesman, Howard Wolfson, has come out and criticized Barack Obama for stating that he intends to increase criticism of Clinton's record. Here's your quote:
"After a campaign in which many of the questions that voters had in the closing days centered on concerns that they had over his state of preparedness to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he has chosen instead of addressing those issues to attack Senator Clinton," Wolfson told reporters in a conference call. "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president."
It almost seems like this man has to be joking, because this has to be the most blatantly hypocritical thing I've ever heard in my entire life. If Obama decides to engage in negative tactics -- a strategy which has mostly avoided throughout his campaign -- it is only because his hand has been forced by Clinton's continual use of those tactics.

As Devin pointed out out on Tuesday night, Clinton's "red phone emergency" ad, which painted Obama as a man incapable of rising to the occasion in the event of a crisis (while of course Hillary has all sorts of experience in this arena as a result of having been the President's WIFE), was disturbingly effective and may have been a large part of the reason she won in Texas. This was quite clearly a negative ad, and it continues a long trend of outright criticism toward Obama that Clinton has engaged in throughout her campaign. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, in essence -- it's politics after all. But I have a great deal of respect for Obama because he has mostly shied away from such tactics (tactics which are hurtful to the Democratic party in the long run), and for Clinton's lead aide to come out and criticize Obama for announcing his intentions to use the same tactics that Clinton has been using for months and comparing Obama to Kenneth Star is absolutely ridiculous.

This criticism is tantamount to the New York Yankees getting angry at the Twins for going out and signing an expensive high-profile free agent in order to improve their chances of winning. Hey, it's all well and good when we do it, but when you do it, it's morally wrong and unethical. Shame on you, Barack Obama!

Clinton still trails in delegates and it has become quite clear that she is willing to do just about anything to get back ahead in this race. If anyone is deserving of criticism for the way they've run their campaign and the potential damage it will cause to the eventual candidate's chances against John McCain in November, it's her.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Responses to comments

I was responding to the comments on my previous post from Alex and decided it was getting too long and I'd better just post another topic. So here goes.

I agree that a Clinton-Obama ticket is more likely than the reverse, solely for the fact that 1. I don't think Obama would offer it (Hillary does less to make up for Obama than Obama does for Hillary.. for example, Barack's weakness appears to be experience, but John McCain would run on experience against Clinton too, because in comparison she has NONE) and 2. Hillary wouldn't take it.. I think it's all or nothing for her. I don't see her taking a back seat. The only reason why I can say that it's sliiiightly more likely for Obama to take the VP slot is because he's young and could say to himself that in 8 years he'd be poised to take the reigns. That said, the time is right for him. This year. It's his time.

Swing states that Obama won: Minnesota (unfortunately they talk of us as a swinger), Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado. Granted they are not Ohio, or Florida (which Hillary didn't really win) but the dems can win without those states. It can be done. What other swing states has she won? New Mexico (which McCain would win due to proximity), Arkansas, New Hampshire (again, they love McCain there). That's not many swing states. And as for winning the big states that the Dems need to win for the general election? California, New York. If those states go Republican I'll buy everyone who reads this post a nice four course dinner. The notion that winning those big states prove she'll carry them and Obama won't is ludicrous. Nonsense.

As for Obama staying away from the negative... You can criticize without being negative. At least by my definition, criticism is founded, negative attacks are not. There is substance to questioning what experience Hillary really does have (Obama's current line of attack which makes me very happy). There is no substance to saying in a low voice and dark room with sleeping children "Who do you want answering the phone?" No, that's a stupid leading question that has no substance. I think if you asked that to people without the theatrics people's responses would be split. So Obama can criticize, if its founded. The politics of new does not include baseless attacks. It can still include well reasoned arguments. Screaming at Ohioans saying "Shame on you Barack Obama" is theatrics. It's theater to her. Maybe that's why she seems more fake to me, because she seems like she's an actor.

To respond to Nick's comment - I think its a bit much to say "I hope Obama can rebound." It's not time for a rebound. Last night I may have said so too, but when the dust settled, Obama is fine. He is still up 96 delegates. She made up less than 10 last night. If they split every race from here on out (on average, obviously he'd win some and she'd probably win some) and the Super Delegates split from here on out he'd end with more overall, and enough for the nomination (that's without Florida or Michigan, and without the Super Delegates deciding it - notice how I said they would split the remaining Super Delegates, which would mean that overall Hillary would still be up 40 in Supers and would still lose the nomination, which means the Supers wouldn't have decided it). Retool, yes. Rethink strategy, some. Rebound, nah. He is in almost as good of shape as before.

Plus, if his margin holds in the Texas caucus (which counts for 1/3 of their delegates) he will win that third by 12, while Hillary won the primary by just 3. When you think about it, and do some simple math, she won 1/3 by 3 and 1/3 by 3, so 6 total, while Obama would win 1/3 by 12. 6-12 Obama. If that happens, how many pundits will be saying Obama won Texas? Watch for it. (Of course if his margin is erased this point is moot).

I am more hopeful than last night. Still cynical when it comes to the voting public (until people vote with their heads and not their fears, I'll reserve my right to doubts), but hopeful about Obama's chances. Besides, today he looks as strong - or stronger - than ever, smartly criticizing Hillary on points she is weak on.

Gripes about the voting public

So it's a bit extreme for me to say that tonight's results have made me cynical to the whole political process, but I am on my way. I think the most disheartening thing about tonight's results is that Hillary's negative attack ads (mainly the "who do you want to answer the phone at 3 am ad") actually worked. I am so sick of politics of fear. That is so George Bush/Karl Rove, I thought we were done with that. Not to mention I would so much rather have a president who respects diplomacy as the first option answer that phone, than a trigger happy president who is afraid of looking weak on defense and thus would get us into another mess like our current war. Isn't it ironic that the very actions that make you appear strong on national defense and security actually seem to make our country less safe? I don't think Clinton understands this..

But that's not the point. What makes me fed up with the general voting public is exit poll results like those out of Texas. Something like 62% of respondents said they thought Hillary was more qualified to be president, and those who decided in the last 3 days (which includes the debut of that ad) went heavily for Clinton, suggesting the ad worked. That's fine I can deal with that if that's how they felt for good solid reasons. It was the next exit poll that made me lose it, where CNN asked "who do you think unfairly attacked their opponent more?" The results - overwhelmingly people responded, guess who, Mrs. Clinton (like 62-38).

This isn't just true of Texas voters, its true of most voters. People say openly that they hate negative attack ads, that they are sick of them, they are sick of politics of fear, and this is what Obama has been trying to tap into, running a positive campaign about building people up instead of tearing down your opponent (notice how Clinton has run away with the few "scandals" of Obama's past, while Obama hasn't mentioned a SINGLE one of the scandals Hillary was involved in during Bill's years - and there were more than just Whitewater). Obama has stayed positive and apparently was punished for that. People say they hate negative ads, but they work. They say openly "Hillary unfairly attacked Obama" and yet the VERY same attack sways their vote to her. Makes no sense. The logic entirely escapes me.

I despise negative ads. I think if you can't run on your own merits alone you shouldn't be in the race. Anyone can tear down another person, but it takes real character to build everyone else up and focus on your own ideas. The math still looks good for Obama, but I am cynical. I don't know if this country is ready for change like I thought it was...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Born to be Exiled

The latest news on Senator John McCain is that his eligibility for the presidential election may be in jeopardy due to his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. Now, by no means do I want McCain to be our next president, but I've got to say that the qualification that a presidential candidate must be born in the United States seems out-dated and stupid.

In this, the land of freedom and opportunity, isn't it a bit counterintuitive that we restrict anyone born anywhere else from having an opportunity to run for our nation's most prestigious office? Does the fact that McCain was born south of our borders really make him any less qualified to run the country? If Barack Obama were born in Indonesia (where he lived for several years early in his life), would it intrinsically cause him to be a less patriotic or trustworthy person?

I'm always surprised by how well some of this country's archaic rules have held up over time. The Constitution, for instance, still guides are laws with relative fairness. But this is an out-dated rule that needs to be done away with. I strongly doubt that McCain will lose his eligibility over this ordeal, but the fact it's even in question seems silly to me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Three Random Annoyances

Three things that have annoyed me today:

1) My toaster
I hate it when I'm making toast, and when it's done it pops up but it stays pretty low in the toaster slots. So then I have to reach in and try to dig the toast out, but the medal around the toaster is extremely hot so I burn my fingers. Then I have to go get a fork and try to reach in and drag the toast out, and it gets all ripped apart. Then I realize I wasn't even making toast, I was trying to deep-fry a shark.

2) People who read while walking
I was walking around campus today behind some girl who was reading a paperback. She was zig-zagging her way around, bumping into things, and just generally moving like a drunkard. I don't know what she was reading, but I can't imagine that it's so incredibly engrossing that she can't put it down to watch where she's going.

3) Ross Perot
I realize we don't hear much about this guy anymore, and in fact for all I know he may be dead*. But Perot really grinded my gears, with his big ears and general lame-ness.

* Typing this reminded me of the time in Flight of the Conchords when Jumaine was kidnapped, and Murray solemnly acknowledged that his friend "may be dead." Except, when he said it with his cute little New Zealander accent, it sounded like he was saying "he maybe did." This confused Arj Barker's character, who repeatedly asked Murray, "Yeah, he maybe did what?" Good times. Now I must go search a labyrinth of marbles for my lost Eggo waffle.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bring On Nader

I am not too concerned with the addition of Ralph Nader into the presidential foray. That is, assuming Obama is the Democratic nominee (which is looking good right now). I am not worried for a few reasons. One, I think since the 2000 Florida Gore-Nader debacle, a lot of would-be Nader voters have become a bit disenchanted. I mean, they have to be kicking themselves just a tad, if you consider what we've had for the last 7+ years now. In fact, according to the all knowing Wikipedia, Nader received an impressive 2.74% of the popular vote in '00, compared to just 0.89% in '04. People know the stakes. Some may say that John McCain is slightly less scary than Bush was in '00 or '04, but I wouldn't be so sure. Secondly, a lot of Nader's vote comes from the farthest left portion of the spectrum, these potential would be Democratic voters. The reason why I say "if Obama is the candidate" is his broad coalition of support. Being the most liberal Senator this past year, Obama touts his support from independents and even some straying Republicans - something we've all heard about. And that is impressive. But he also does very well with this farthest left group. I would be surprised if Nader gets more than 1% in this election. And if its so close again that 1% will make a difference than we are doing something wrong in drawing contrasts with the GOP. I mean if we can't beat a "moderate" pro-war, pro-quagmire, from a fractured, wounded party - by more than 1% - we don't deserve to win. So I am not worried.

Tonight was a great night for SLP alumni. Congratulations to the Coen bros., you consistently make us proud. I only hope that the success of so many SLP alumni bodes well for us...

On a serious note, I was asked to blog about a problem that doesn't get a lot of attention. The request came from someone we all know well, but will remain anonymous. I think you'll be able to guess. Capital letters are posing a real danger to local eyelid farms. Please direct donations to the Nick Nelson Local Eyelid Farm Awareness Fund, or NNEFAF.

That is all.

Damn You Nader

That is all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

That's Debatable

The best and worst moments of last night's Democratic debate:

Responding to Hillary's charge that Obama and his campaign need to "get real," Obama said:
The implication is that the people who have been voting for me or have been involved in my campaign are somehow delusional. And that, you know, the 20 million people who've been paying attention to 19 debates and the editorial boards all across the country at newspapers who have given me endorsements, including every major newspaper here in the state of Texas. You know, the thinking is that somehow, they're being duped, and eventually they're going to see the reality of things. Well, I think they perceive reality of what's going on in Washington very clearly. What they see is that if we don't bring the country together, stop the endless bickering, actually focus on solutions and reduce the special interests that have dominated Washington, then we will not get anything done.
Clinton could only smile, with a look on her face that seemed to say, "Damn he's good."

Criticizing Obama for "plagiarizing" the words of his friend and campaign ally Duval Patrick, Clinton said, "Lifting whole passages is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

This whole line of criticism from from Clinton's camp has been horribly stupid (by all accounts, Patrick suggested that Obama use the lines in a speech) and it seems especially lame to accuse someone of using repeated lines and then attacking that person with a line like the "Xerox" one, which came off as tacky and rehearsed. When she continued to press Obama on the subject, the crowd started booing Hillary.

With all that said, I will give Clinton due credit. Her final piece, coming in response to a question about challenging moments that have tested the candidates, was engrossing and compelling. Here is the full transcription:
Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. ... And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. ... I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign. And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest — and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored. Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about.
I did think that Hillary seemed more resigned to defeat than ever before during last night's debate, and it does seem like she might be preparing herself for a defeat that is become increasingly inevitable. However, I don't know if I'd agree with the political pundits who have opined that the above statements were "valedictory" and that they signal that she's ready to give up. I think she will continue to work hard for the next couple weeks. But if she doesn't win both Ohio and Texas on March 4, I do think she'll withdraw from the race.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bill's "Temper"

Talk show hosts and members of the anti-Clinton camp have been leveling a lot of criticism at Bill Clinton over the past week after he lashed out at some pro-life activists who were protesting at a rally for his wife (here is a link to the video for those who haven't seen it). Many people have made a case that Bill has done more to hurt Hillary's campaign than to help it. That's just blatantly untrue.

The criticism of Bill for "losing his temper" at the pro-lifers is completely unfair. How exactly would one expect him to act in that situation? He didn't become physically aggressive, he didn't curse. He just raised his voice and was very firm with a couple people who are, frankly, idiots.

I have no problem with people who take a pro-life stance on abortion. It's not a viewpoint I agree with, but I certain respect people's right to feel that way. What I don't respect is the way these people chose to express their views. Taking signs to a rally for a liberal candidate that is sure to be filled with a bunch of hardcore pro-choice people and heckling the speaker are not actions that are going to get people to sympathize with your viewpoint. All it will do is build more animosity around a topic that is already very contentious in this country. I think Bill was perfectly within his rights to lash out at these people, and to be honest I thought he kept his temper in check pretty well.

Furthermore, the idea that Bill is hurting Hillary's campaign is nonsense. He was an extremely well-liked President, and having him as a surrogate who can go around and preach Hillary's message and draw support is of crucial importance. The media choose to blow his minor run-ins with hecklers out of proportion, but I don't think there's any questioning the amount of good he has done for his wife's campaign.

In The Balance

Hello All. First, let me thank Nick for the nice introduction and plug for my previous blog, a joint venture with fellow blogger Alex Blanski, in which we tried the world of vegetarianism for a month. Check out the link, the stories are decently funny and still relevant, and maybe it will inspire you to give it a try as well. Let me also sing Nick's praises for a second and mention that he has a widely successful blog of his own, the Nick and Nick's Twins Blog which has received its fare share of accolades.

On to the matter at hand. I am in the balance over how to approach this blog. I admit that I am a huge Obama-phile. And if this were to take a political turn, I could post daily about my opinions about the race. However, they would be both quite opinionated and more serious in nature, and thus I feel as though I should shy away from the subject a bit, and find more light-hearted musings. Serious or humorous? You may say to yourself, "Devin, you're not that funny, don't worry about it." And you know... that's a good point. Either way I look forward to this joint project and am anxious to reestablish myself in the blogosphere (is that really not a word yet? probably for the best). (By the way, I use an unhealthy amount of parenthesis in my posts, so bear with me). (Like this!). So if I get too serious, talking about Obama or the environment or whatever, just slap me, or at least send me an angry message.

I look forward to hearing your comments, as they are always more welcome than you can imagine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just Words

Hillary Clinton continues to hammer home her main point in criticism of Barack Obama -- that his skills as an orator are unimportant because speeches and words are outweighed by solutions and results. Let's do a quick tally here:

Problems solved by Barack Obama as President of the United States: Zero.
Problems solved by Hillary Clinton as President of the United States: Zero.

Just checking.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



This is the beginning of a joint project between me and Devin. The title of the blog is intended to be a clever play on words, as I will be doing my writing from the Midwest (the great state of Minnesota, to be specific) while Devin will be doing his blogging from Massachusetts. Or Mass. Or Masses. Midwest to the Masses. Get it? Yeah, it's lame.

Anyway, this blog will likely be a channel for opinions on various topics. Being that this is an election year, many of the posts will undoubtedly relate to the upcoming presidential race which is just beginning to heat up. It should be noted immediately that both Devin and I are supporters of Barack Obama; however, I think we are both fairly open-minded fellows and the hope is that this can be a place of civil discourse, should anyone choose to express their own differing viewpoints. I also suspect there will be commentary on other current affairs, including sports and entertainment.

I don't know what's going to happen with this thing. It's entirely possible that this will be the only post ever written on this blog, but I hope not. What I do know is that Devin is a funny kid who did some great work with his own unfortunately short-lived blogging project, and I have too much free time on my hands. Plus, we both have a lot of opinions. All of these factors have made it absolutely necessary that this project at least be attempted. So here goes nothing.