"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Local newspaper in spasms of retreat

The newspaper that purports to be the Morris newspaper is going through changes again. The changes all fall in the category of retrenchment. The ownership tries putting lipstick on a pig of course. What would you expect them to do? The strings are being pulled from elsewhere. The local management can always just claim that it is responding to directives from elsewhere.
It's like those poor Wells Fargo employees who had to do terrible things. There was no local owner who had to face his customers in church on Sunday. In this sense maybe we can bemoan the loss or severe decline of mom and pop businesses in America. A local bank owner would never do the kinds of things that Wells Fargo was caught doing. Now we have the local newspaper with non-local ownership cutting expenses to try to keep profit margins up, extracting enough money from legacy customers to keep profits decent at least in the short term.
I saw the "new" Morris paper on Monday. I was at the Morris Senior Center. I did what I always do: check out the size of the product. Surely this "new" product, which purports to include the discontinued Hancock Record, would be larger. A business friend of mine on main street told me that he had been told by a paper rep that the typical size would be 20-26 pages. I'm not sure we should even be wowed by that. Didn't the paper put out many editions of at least 20 pages in the days when it was still twice a week? The paper was twice a week through my whole tenure there. We didn't charge to run obituaries.
The June 17 edition of the paper, newly named the Steven County Times, is 18 pages. There is no increase in size. And yet the paper trumpets that it now includes the Hancock paper. I might suggest this is outright fraud, right out of the Wells Fargo playbook.
What will happen when fall comes? Hancock residents will expect to see a decent amount of space allocated for Hancock sports coverage. And if the paper does that, it will alienate many Morris readers. Katie Erdman, when she was at the Hancock paper, would devote considerable space to photo spreads on the Hancock Homecoming coronation, the graduation and some other big events. If the paper remains at 18 pages, can this really be in the works? My closing months at the paper eleven years ago, an experience somewhat like being waterboarded, exposed me to lots of talk about how the paper's website would be so super dynamic - apologies to Willie Martin, RIP. I don't check the paper's website often. I doubt that it's a full-service site for local news and sports - it's more of a tease.
I actually got along well with the Forum when it first took over from the Morrisons. This was despite the fact I knew I wasn't their type. The co-existence worked for an extended time. And then the climate changed abruptly as if a directive came down. The Forum is like that. I was able to parachute out of there. And then the paper went through stages of retrenchment or downsizing. That was also "spun" as something positive.
Now we have an 18-page paper, same as before, that presents itself as now including the Hancock Record. Surely my fellow Morris residents will see what's happening.
The names "Morris Sun Tribune" and "Hancock Record" appear under the new "Times" nameplate. But surely there is more to Stevens County than just Morris and Hancock. Is the new paper going to try to usurp the role of the Chokio Review? Oh, of course not. The paper is just toying with names and cosmetics. It's like these "redesigns" that newspapers are always trumpeting. As if a redesign will have any substantial positive impact on how the paper fares. They are just a turn-on for the paper staff. Paul Gillin of "Newspaper Death Watch" calls them "lipstick on a pig."
The Canary supplement has shrunken down to an average size of 16 pages, whereas in the past we only saw the 16-pagers during the typical "slow" times for the press. The current Canary has "filler" feature articles, of all things, and other fluff just to try to pump up the size. The Canary is supposed to be advertising. Wait until Jim Gesswein catches up with the times and starts cutting back on his print advertising. Car dealers don't have to advertise as much because cars are made better today. People don't have to buy cars as often. I used to take car photos for three major dealers every week for a long time, and I often wondered: Why are people buying cars so much? Can't they keep their old ones going a little more? Well, now I think they do.
Of course, car dealers now use the electronic media like all get-out. All of our other local institutions should do that too. Let's get local sports reporting established online. The sites could be like what we see for the UMM teams. It would be fun. You could click to see a schedule page, a roster page, a coaches page etc. I actually expected this trend a long time ago but it didn't happen. "Maxpreps" already has pages set up for the Morris teams. But we need more coaches and fans submitting material for those pages. I write lots of local sports and submit links to the Maxpreps pages. It's fun.
A big difference between now and when I was with the Morris paper, is that now I'm not expected to cover every team all the time. I write what I feel like writing. I don't pretend to cover anything comprehensively. The sports section of the local paper is like a political football: It strives in vain to report, promote or puff all the teams that consider themselves important. The great Marv Meyer once said to me: "Brian, there are people who read your articles because they have an ax to grind, and that's the only reason they read them."
How nice to be away from that now. I don't have to work with Trent Oberg anymore. I don't have to work with Steve Harter anymore. In the late 1980s the whole Morris community blew up with controversy over the management of high school sports. Anyone at the paper would have had trouble navigating through all that.
 
Let's detach more
So, the days of being interested in how the Morris (or Morris/Hancock) paper is functioning are waning. The local paper and its non-local ownership is rapidly making its product less relevant. Do you really need to pay to get an obituary published? Isn't the funeral home website, or better yet an independent website, good enough for this? Change takes time.
The paper has completely axed its free-circulation shopper, the Ad-Viser. Cut, cut, cut. The newspaper will remain stable only to the extent that it accentuates pure service, and of course it is not doing that. Willie's Super Valu is now forced to use direct mail to get its flyer out. I actually get to see the Willie's flyer now. Many years ago I informed the paper that I didn't want that bulky Ad-viser in our mailbox, so full of Alexanrdia stuff. Our family hardly ever visits Alexandria, and besides, we're a low-consumption family. More and more of our local families or individuals are going to be like that now with our "graying" demographics.
Stop buying the paper and stop advertising in it. Sheesh, stop supporting those "sucker ads," like even for the honor roll. The paper should just publish the honor roll. It doesn't need "sponsors" though I'm sure they're glad to get some sucker businesses to do that.
Wake up and smell the coffee. The paid circulation of the Morris paper is only about 40 percent of what it once was. And it won't even help to "absorb" Hancock (not that the paper is really going to do that). Forum Communications is a charlatan in the Morris business community.
 
Addendum: The Elbow Lake newspaper gives its customers 26-28 broadsheet pages a week. Why the disparity vs. Morris? Also, the cutting of the Ad-Viser has apparently opened the door, as expected, to the Lakeland Shopper making a new invasion here. I even noticed the Lakeland Shopper using a Senior Perspective display stand at the entry to DeToy's Restaurant Wednesday morning. I advised Jim Palmer of this. Detoy's often has a biscuits and gravy special on Wednesday a.m. I recommend it. 
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, June 17, 2017

County fair confuses us once again

The Stevens County Fair appears to be sticking with the format it had last year. As I left DeToy's Restaurant this morning (Saturday), I noticed a flyer on the billboard that had August 8-13 as the fair dates for 2017. Last year I got totally confused as to what was going on.
The community supper was switched to Tuesday. I thus thought the fair would be open to all, including all the standard attractions, beginning on Wednesday. I felt the fair had simply expanded. We were shocked upon arriving at the fairgrounds and seeing "private parking" signs at the entry road north of the ethanol plant.
"Private parking?" I couldn't believe it. I drove all the way in to find someone I could personally ask. I was told that yes, it was indeed private parking. On an official day of the fair, Wednesday.
The fair was promoted on at least one billboard as beginning on Tuesday. What if an out-of-town person were to drive by, see those dates and plan accordingly? I know that the year I went to the Appleton fair, I probably saw the dates on some promo material. What if I had driven all the way to Appleton only to find that the fair wasn't really on yet? I'd be very upset.
Did the Stevens County Fair switch its community supper to Tuesday just to try to accommodate the Superior Industries people, so they could attend both that and their own private event? Why has the fair board allowed a big local private company to essentially reserve a chunk of our county fair for private purposes? Do they cut a nice big check to the fair board for having that privilege?
I realize we're living in times where private business interests are absolutely paramount and we're supposed to defer to all these business interests just like we elected big business tycoon Donald Trump. I remember a time when public interests and public purposes were really important. They in fact had primacy. I guess no more.
Whether I like it or not, the big business interests are taking over. We're not even supposed to question them. We're supposed to bow down to the Apostolic Christian big business bigshots who reflexively vote for Trump (that famous groper of women) and Republicans. They no doubt support the health care proposals coming from the GOP-controlled House and Senate.
I'd like to share some questions about these health care proposals, as presented by Eileen Gleason, a retired Federal prosecutor who has been a judge and in private practice. Her questions originally appeared in The Advocate, May 31, 2017.
 
- Who asked you to strip health insurance from 23 million Americans? Really, exactly who? And why?
 
- Do Americans want the freedom to not have insurance they cannot afford? They had this freedom all their lives and didn't like it.
 
- Why hand out windfalls to the wealthy? Why not write a bill providing the most protection using funds available without a tax cut?
 
- Why not fix the problems with the ACA? Why throw the baby out with the bathwater just because the baby was dubbed Obamacare?
 
- Why rush to vote without a Congressional Budget Office score? Now that it is out, why not repudiate this bill?
 
- Do those with mental illnesses want no coverage for mental illness or lifetime coverage limits?
 
- After this bill, who will care for the uninsured mentally ill? Prisons? Homeless shelters?
 
- Why abolish the Medicaid expansion, which allowed life-threatening conditions to be diagnosed and treated, and saved lives?
 
- The experience of states with underfunded high-risk insurance pools is not good. Will you commit to adequately fund these pools?
 
- Why leave it to the fifteen male Republican senators to negotiate behind closed doors about this important issue? Why are birth control and maternity services in jeopardy?
 
- Why defund women's health services at Planned Parenthood, while funding treatment of men's health conditions (erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer), without limiting where men can be treated?
 
- Why are Republicans threatening to withhold cost-sharing insurer subsidies and destabilizing the insurance marketplace?
 
- Why let insurers charge the elderly five times the premiums charged to the young?
 
- Why permit the sale of policies which do not cover the current essential health benefits, thereby sharply increasing costs to those covered?
 
- Why are the AMA and AARP, among others, against this bill?
 
- How about a waiting period of one week between finalizing the Senate bill and voting on it? Are you afraid of the feedback?
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, June 12, 2017

Listen to my song re. Sam Smith, his statue

A striking monument at our Summit Cemetery: Samusl Smith
The years pass and the U.S. Civil War becomes ever more remote. We get refreshed in textbooks. We have emotional distance because our forebears fade into the mists of time.
Us Morris MN residents can feel a surprising connection to those mid-19th Century events. You might think we are too far to the West. No we are not. A stroll through Summit Cemetery can reveal for you a most striking reminder. There is one monument that will jump out at you. You will notice the "running rifleman" statue. It's the final resting place of Samuel Smith, Civil War veteran on the Union side of course.
Samuel was a significant early resident of the Morris area, a farmer. He and wife Catherine had 12 children, eleven of them boys. Thus the name has gotten passed on pretty well. You have likely crossed paths with at least one of the descendants. I believe it's important that we continue to remember the significance of the monument.
I have written a song called "Ballad of Sam Smith." It was recorded at the Nashville TN studio of Frank (Franklin) Michels. I invite you to listen by clicking on this link from YouTube. Thanks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5HLk17oubM
 
Thanks to Brent Gulsvig of Gulsvig Productions of Starbuck for his wizardry getting the song online. It wasn't until about three years ago that I realized you can get music placed online with such ease. It seems like a miracle.
Frank Michels' studio is what you'd call a demo recording studio. I first had some demo recordings made in the 1980s. Back in that pre-digital age, the purpose of a demo recording was to pitch your material to a music publisher. In other words, the goal was to have the song become commercially successful. I suppose you'd want the song to end up in the proverbial "top 40." You can imagine what the odds are of this. It was very hard getting any kind of audience for your work. You'd have to play a cassette for someone.
Today the whole landscape is much different. Songs can be placed on YouTube pretty routinely, at least for someone like Mr. Gulsvig. You won't make money but you can get a fair number of people to listen to your work.
The doors have been opened just like for those who self-publish books. As a C-Span commenter put it, "the barriers to distribution have come down." Self-publishing of books has become respectable, as opposed to the days when self-publishing companies were treated almost as unethical. "You too can be an author."
Doug Rasmusson of the Morris area self-published delightful collections of his writing. It was tough getting your creative material out. Not at all today. Blogging has enabled me to feel like a legitimate writer still.
Meanwhile the legacy media crumbles. The Hancock paper is now discontinued. The free advertising shopper called "Ad-Viser" is no more. Of course, the more the newspaper company reduces its services, the faster its decline will be. I would advise everyone to just move on from the print media.
Now, how do I work with a demo recording firm? I send a package that includes a melody sheet with chords, a lyric sheet and a rough tape of me singing. I had to special order a cassette recorder because you can't even buy these things at RadioShack anymore. The Nashville people do not work with microcassette players/recorders.
The studios can get the job done surprisingly fast. Michels sends me an email with a song attachment. Bob Angello, another pro I work with, puts the song in an online "drop box." An advantage to Bob's approach is that he can make changes and adjustments right at the source and doesn't have to send me the song again.
I enjoy writing topical songs. My next one to be recorded might be about the First Minnesota Regiment in the Civil War, called "Take Those Colors." That song title is based on the abrupt order given by General Hancock on the night of the First Minnesota's fateful charge at Plum Run, Gettysburg. The First Minnesota had to plug an opening in the Union line while reserves were on the way. "Take Those Colors." Sam Smith was assigned to the ambulance corps for the Battle of Gettysburg.
Here is the link to a blog post I wrote on Sam Smith and his statue. This post is on my companion blog site, "Morris of Course."
http://morrisofcourse.blogspot.com/2013/12/our-samuel-smith-us-civil-war-vet.html
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MACA softball girls finish season 17-6

Tigers 9, 'Waska 4
The Tigers came on strong to beat rival Minnewaska Area 9-4 in what would turn out to be the Tigers' second to last game. Our triumph was on Saturday, May 27, down south at Marshall.
The score stood 1-1 through the first three innings. Then the Tigers began pulling away. Coach Mary Holmberg smiled as she saw her team score three runs in the fourth inning, four in the fifth and one in the sixth. We outhit the Lakers 10-8.
Liz Dietz was a factor both at the plate and on the pitching rubber. At bat she had two hits in four at-bats and scored a run. She pitched the whole way. She struck out one batter, walked one and gave up eight hits and four runs (three earned) in her seven innings.
Ashley Solvie had a two-for-four line and scored two runs. These Tigers each had one hit: Bailey Marty, Emma Bowman, Piper Gibson (a double), Brooke Gillespie, Nicole Solvie and Kalley Hottovy. Carley Stewart rapped two hits in four at-bats for Minnewaska. She drove in a run and scored one. Bailey Stewart went two-for-three with a run scored. Morgan Hess had a hit and a run scored. Abby Ver Steeg had a one-for-three line. Kaitlyn Lange doubled, drove in a run and scored one. Ashley Blom doubled and picked up an RBI. Hess took the pitching loss.
 
New London-Spicer 11, Tigers 1
The Wildcats of New London-Spicer slammed the door on our Tigers to end our season on Tuesday, May 30, again at Marshall. It was actually a close game through five innings, then the Wildcats erupted with a nine-run sixth. The Tigers had their season end with an 11-1 final score. The Wildcats pounded 13 hits while we were anemic with just two. Fielding totally favored the Wildcats who had one error while we had five.
Our hitting was anemic but give credit to Olivia Christopherson who pitched the distance for NL-Spicer. She gave up just the two hits and set down eight Tiger batters on strikes. She walked just one and gave up the one run which was earned. Liz Dietz took the pitching loss this time. She worked 3 1/3 innings and struck out one batter. Ashley Solvie and Devin Fuhrman also pitched.
Our hits were by Nicole Solvie and Kalley Hottovy. Katelyn Nordmeyer connected for a home run for the Wildcats. She had two hits as did these other Wildcats: Courtney Hanson, Morgan Swenson, Jordan King and Shea Oman. Also hitting safely were Christopherson, Michelle Johnson and Brianna Deming. The final 2017 won-loss record for the orange and black is 17-6.
 
Baseball: NL-Spicer 7, Tigers 1
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta baseball Tigers were dealt a 7-1 loss in what would turn out to be their second to last game of the season. This loss was at the hands of New London-Spicer on Saturday, May 27, at New London.
Our bats were kept quiet by pitchers Matt Spaulding and Will Roguske. Spaulding got the win with his six innings of work in which he fanned three batters, walked three and allowed three hits. He allowed one run which was unearned. Roguske had his pitching arm called on for one inning. He struck out two batters, walked none and allowed one hit.
Toby Sayles was the losing pitcher for the orange and black. Toby got roughed up a bit as he allowed eleven hits in five innings. He struck out six batters, walked two and allowed seven runs all of which were earned. Chandler Vogel was the other Tiger hurler. Chandler mopped up with no hits allowed.
We were outhit 11-4. Spaulding had two hits in three at-bats for the victor. He drove in two runs. Jake Schmidt went two-for-three with a run scored. John Perkins had a two-for-three line with an RBI and run scored. These Wildcats also picked up a hit: Roguske, Wyatt White, Josh Soine, Evan Haugen and Derek Dolezal.
We had one player with a multiple-hit game: Chas Metzger with two hits in three at-bats. Sayles and Ryan Bowman each had a hit. Sayles had an RBI. We had three errors while NL-Spicer had two.
 
Paynesville 6, Tigers 5
The double-elimination format meant we'd be out with one more loss. That loss came on Tuesday, May 30, at Montevideo, at the hands of Paynesville. My, we led 5-1 thanks to a rally in the top of the sixth. Paynesville owned the rest of the game. The green crew rallied for three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh. The final score had the green on top 6-5 over the orange and black.
We outhit the green 10-9. But we had four errors compared to the green's two. We had two pitchers working: Tim Travis and Chandler Vogel. Vogel was the pitcher of record with a stint of just 2/3 of an inning. Travis allowed just one earned run among the four total runs he allowed. Errors must have loomed. Travis struck out three batters, walked three and allowed six hits. Vogel allowed two hits.
The winning pitcher was Austin Imholte with one inning of work. Sam Oehrlien and Spencer Imholte also pitched for the green.
Ryan Dietz socked a double for the Tigers. Parker Dierks was spectacular with four hits in four at-bats including a triple. Parker drove in a run and scored one. Ryan Bowman went two-for-three with a run scored. Denner Dougherty had a hit and a ribbie. Travis added a hit to the mix. Jared Rohloff hit safely and drove in a run.
Sam Haines shone for Paynesville with three hits in four at-bats including a double. Sam drove in a run and scored one. Garrett Leusink's bat made noise at three-for-four, and this Bulldog tripled, drove in a run and scored two. Grant Ludwig tripled, drove in a run and scored two. Gavin Stanger and Grant Fuchs each hit safely.
This is my final MACA sports post for the 2016-17 school year. It is a pleasure to stay journalistically involved. I hope more than a handful of players, parents or fans visit my sites occasionally.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Hidden Figures" (2016) has misplaced nostalgia

I was reminded of a past movie while watching the contemporary "Hidden Figures." I was reminded of "Hairspray," the version with John Travolta in drag. A criticism of that movie was that it tried to get nostalgia out of the civil rights movement. Nostalgia was way too light a tone for something that could be so difficult and unpleasant.
The process of civil rights advancement was halting and marked by pain. It was dangerous for all who fought to move forward. People have a legal shield today for asserting the basic rights of which they are deserving. Jim Crow is gone. Back when it was real, it was more than an annoyance. It reflected the specter of white dominance and supremacy, a way of thinking that dated back to the Civil War and its aftermath.
The kind of racism we see in "Hidden Figures" seems almost amusing. We get the feeling from early-on in this movie that no one is really going to get hurt. Certain white people came across as annoying. They just seem pathetic as a throwback, not empowered to hurt people of color in a fundamental way.
We do hear a news bulletin at one point about something truly tragic but we are spared a graphic depiction. It's as if the moviemakers consciously wanted to insert this as if an admission of guilt about the veneer of innocuousness. Yes it's innocuous - the mere obligation of a black woman to have to go out of her way to use a "colored" restroom. As if this was as bad as it could get.
My point about "Hidden Figures" is affirmed right away when we see a law enforcement person accosting the three heroic characters. I sensed: "Oh, this could be very bad." We get the feeling that the officer is racially motivated. But the scene quickly turned into something innocent. The officer became pacified and helped our heroines move along.
We even get humor: the officer wonders about NASA hiring. . .(blank). He obviously appears to be leading to the word "blacks" or "Negroes" or another term we're familiar with. He is interrupted: "women?"
A racist Deep South officer from that time period would not back off and facilitate so routinely. The movie audience is expected to break into smiles. The movie "Hairspray" inspired similar warm thoughts. The barriers to racial equality seem like nothing more than transitory annoyances, destined to come down as all the white people become readily aware of the errors of their ways.
The Kevin Costner character breaks down the "colored" sign with a hammer. He looks heroic. But how could such intelligent people - the people mapping our space program - ever have tolerated this situation at all? NASA reflected "the Feds" who were the force that invaded the Deep South and didn't put up with any funny business at all. Remember Gene Hackman in "Mississippi Burning?"
Wouldn't the Feds have established systems anywhere in the U.S. that were free of the most regressive ways of the Deep South? The Deep South was literally dangerous to the physical safety of non-whites and could readily be fatal to all who stood up to the racial status quo. We see no such hazards or consequences in "Hidden Figures."
Those ignorant white people, like the librarian who reminds of the "colored" section of that place, just seem misguided and foolish - an inconvenience. They maybe seem almost apologetic? Oh, that's not the way racism really asserted itself in the old Confederate states. Nostalgia? The civil rights movement was noble in that it pushed for goals that had to be accomplished. In reality it was like a minefield much of the time. 
We see the unpleasant stuff in "Free State of Jones." People lost their lives.
The myth of nostalgia comes from behind the protective shield of 2017 America which legally does not permit the Deep South shenanigans of the earlier time. Let's just pretend that we all just needed a little time to learn to all get along better.
We can accept "Hidden Figures" and "Hairspray" as entertaining movies. And let's laud them on acknowledging the force of goodness. But I would suggest it's revisionist history. As long as we all accept that, fine.
 
Space: winning the competition
The so-called "space race" certainly inspires nostalgia. I was in early elementary school where we saw our astronauts in their glorious silver-colored suits as heroes. They were heroes against the evil Soviet Union, right? Well, it was the fear of this thing called "communism" that lurched us into the horrific Viet Nam war. "Communism" was the boogeyman.
It wasn't enough to just want to explore space. I guess the government felt we had to be motivated by wanting to beat some competing force, as if Americans would yawn otherwise.
Visiting space opened the way for scientific inroads that brought revolutionary things into our lives. It was either that or the flying saucer that crashed at Roswell NM, right (LOL)? Remember the "Tang" powder for mixing beverages? Remember "Space Food Sticks?"
The Cold War was this dark and disturbing backdrop for my growing-up years. There is no nostalgia to be found in it, not even in Alfred Hitchcock movies (LOL).
 
What do all the squiggles mean?
The African-American women in "Hidden Figures" can really do a job on a chalkboard, filling it with figures that reminded me of the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (the original version). A blackboard gets full of numbers and symbols that reflect absolute genius. But in the movies, do all those squiggles really make sense? Are they just random, made to look sophisticated?
I smile as I imagine the moviemakers conjuring up such stuff: a bunch of figures and equations that explain space travel. 
"He's almost got it," we hear "Klaatu" say in the classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
 
Another space-centered flick
"The Right Stuff" was a movie showing the conquest of space, remember? I remember that movie as being typically pretentious for the time in which it was made. It was ponderous. People sit around at bars. In the immediate post-WWII years, the idea of sitting around consuming alcohol really took root, maybe as a way of allowing veterans to deal with post-traumatic stress. They drank and they smoked. Unfortunately their children began to think that was cool too. We got the lowered drinking age right at the time I graduated from high school.
I could go without ever seeing "The Right Stuff" again. We see an astronaut on a bar stool watching comedian Bill Dana play an astronaut on TV. The astronaut laughs even though the scene wasn't really funny. Dana became famous playing a Hispanic who conformed to stereotype. He had a brief window of fame that I suspect he was not real proud of. Kids became fond of "Jose Jimenez" jokes.
You sense that I'm not particularly enamored of the 1960s. I loved the movie "The Reluctant Astronaut" starring Don Knotts. How sad that such an innocent movie came out in a time with such tragedy unfolding as the Viet Nam war and the civil rights movement with its minefield of danger.
The civil rights proponents would have been fortunate had they confronted such innocent and misguided souls as the "racists" in "Hidden Figures." Sorry, I can't get on this bandwagon.
I compliment the movie on its portrayal of John Glenn the astronaut. The actor nails the role with the air of a true hero: breezy in temperament and confident. He wouldn't want to bother with racism. He had the air of a future politician: a real "people" person. Remember, he would become a Democrat!
I laud the three women who played the African-American heroines in "Hidden Figures": Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. And a big hats-off from yours truly to Glen Powell who plays John Glenn.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, May 26, 2017

Brooke Gillespie fans six in 11-2 triumph

Tigers 11, Montevideo 2
Montevideo showed the courtesy of taking the field to play our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers. Remember, the Thunder Hawks recently showed the arrogance of refusing to play the Tigers after the Tigers took the trouble of traveling all the way to Montevideo. The T-Hawks were making a display of supporting their coach, Kyle Goslee, who had been suspended based on a dispute with an umpire.
The whole episode did not seem to make the T-Hawks more competitive. The May 23 game in Morris saw coach Mary Holmberg's Tigers thump Goslee and the T-Hawks 11-2. The game seemed over after the first inning. We raced out to a 7-0 lead. No point arguing with an umpire during a game like this. We went on to score one run in the fourth inning and three in the sixth.
Our eleven runs scored on ten hits while Montevideo was anemic with three hits in the face of our pitcher Brooke Gillespie. Gillespie pitched a gem as she set down six batters on strikes and walked none. One of the two runs she allowed was unearned.
Monte also had a pitcher go the distance, Breanna Welling, and she obviously got roughed up a little: ten hits allowed and two walks. She fanned one batter. One of the runs she allowed was unearned.
Piper Gibson created excitement with a home run for the orange and black. She had a two-for-three line. Gillespie socked two hits in four at-bats and drove in three runs. Bailey Marty had a two-for-four afternoon. Also hitting safely were Emma Bowman, Ashley Solvie and Karly Fehr. Add those hits up and you get nine, whereas the line score in the Willmar paper reported ten.
Three T-Hawks each had a double: Sydney Zindel, Sydni Streich and Kaylee Glomstad. Each team had two errors. The Willmar paper is owned by Forum Communications, same as the Morris paper. The Morris paper appears to be reeling now, having canceled its partner paper, the Hancock Record, for which I toiled for many years.
I can't believe that the Forum is totally cancelling the free shopper, the Ad-Viser. Man, back when I drove the van for the Morris Sun Tribune, I'd pull out of Quinco Press, Lowry, with the van packed with Ad-Visers. Donna Vosberg of the Quinco staff teased me one day: "Is there room in there for you, Brian?" Those Ad-Visers must have served a good purpose back in the day. Now it's gone.
If these developments suggest that the print media is simply dying, maybe it would be best to just expedite the process. Let's just get it over with. Let's build up a totally online ecosystem for reporting and information-sharing. Let's get a reputation for being a leader in this. I think it would be a fun challenge.
The MACA softball Tigers will play Martin County West at 12:30 tomorrow (Saturday, May 27) in Marshall. This is a Section 3AA game.
 
Baseball: Minnewaska 6, Tigers 1
The 'Waska Lakers came at our Tigers with a triumvirate of pitchers. The starter was Colin Richards in this 6-1 'Waska triumph. Richards pitched three innings and fanned three batters while walking one and giving up one hit and one run. The winning pitcher was Matthew Gruber whose stint was three innings. Gruber struck out three batters, walked none and gave up no hits or runs. Shawn Stumpf had his arm called on for one inning and this Laker struck out one batter, walked none and gave up two hits and no runs.
The pitching mound was a revolving door for the Tigers. These four pitched: Ryan Bowman, Chandler Vogel, Toby Sayles (the loser) and Tim Travis. Bowman, Vogel and Sayles each fanned one batter while Travis fanned two.
Five Tigers each had one hit: Chase Metzger (with a run scored), Sayles, Travis, Denner Dougherty and Jared Rohloff. Bowman didn't have a hit but he drove in a run. We were outhit 12-5 by the Lakers.
'Waska data: Jake Hoffman had a two-for-four line. Jake Heid doubled and drove in a run. Connor Westberg had a hit and two runs scored. Stumpf went one-for-four with a run. Chris Claussen had a hit, an RBI and a run scored. Drew Opdahl had a hit in his only at-bat, drove in a run and scored one. Gruber doubled and picked up a ribbie. The hit parade was joined by Ryan Christenson and Sean Kelling.
'Waska pulled away on the scoreboard with six runs in the fifth and six innings combined. The Tigers committed the game's only error.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, May 22, 2017

MACA girls own conference crown for 2017

First, here's a comment from a reader re. the distressed situation with our local print media now:
 
Well I guess we knew it was just a matter of time before this occurred. Why the Morrisons sold out to this outfit is a mystery. Will the Chokio paper be the next one to fold and become part of the Morris paper?
 
Now, on to softball and great success. Congrats.
 
MACA softball owns the West Central Conference crown. It became official when the Tigers took the first game of a doubleheader against BOLD on Friday, May 19. The site was Olivia for this West Central Conference action.
 
Tigers 12, BOLD 2
Extra-base hits were frequent for the MACA crew in Game 1. There was no suspense as the Tigers took charge in the early innings. Clearly we were on our way to the conference championship.
We charged forward with three runs in the first inning, two in the second and four in the third. Finishing touches were applied with a three-run rally in the fifth. The action was confined to five innings. Our 12 runs came on ten hits. Our pitcher Brooke Gillespie held BOLD to four hits. Fielding was rather sloppy across the board as each team committed five errors.
Gillespie struck out two batters, walked one and gave up four hits and two runs neither of which was earned. The losing pitcher was Taylor Sagedahl. Sagedahl struggled with control as she issued seven walks. She fanned two batters and gave up ten hits and 12 runs (just seven earned). The frequent errors suggested that some of the runs would be unearned.
The four BOLD hits were by Brenna Weis, Elsa Skeie, Makenna Steffel and Devyn O'Halloran. Skeie's hit was a double. Steffel drove in two runs.
Let's review the extra-base hit barrage by the Tigers. Emma Bowman doubled, drove in a run and scored two. Piper Gibson doubled, drove in two runs and scored three. Brooke Gillespie went two-for-three with a double, drove in three runs and scored two.
Liz Dietz doubled, drove in a run and scored one. Ashley Solvie's bat resonated with a double and she drove a run across. Nicole Solvie joined the hit parade with her double, part of a two-for-three showing, and this Tiger drove in a run. Kalley Hottovy went one-for-three with a run scored, and Jenna Howden had a hit and a run scored. Bailey Marty was hitless but scored two runs.
 
Tigers 6, BOLD 1
The second game was hard-fought with a tie score going into the seventh inning. The Tigers and Warriors were deadlocked at one-all. Each team scored one run in the third inning. Then in the seventh, MACA rallied to establish breathing run on the scoreboard. Five runs came in to make the score 6-1 which was the final.
Our six runs came on eight hits and we committed one error. The BOLD line score was 1-5-2.
Kalley Hottovy had two hits and drove in a run. Bailey Marty went one-for-three with a run scored. Emma Bowman had a two-for-four line and crossed home plate once. Brooke Gillespie doubled and drove in a run. Ashley Solvie went one-for-four with a ribbie. Nicole Solvie went one-for-three with an RBI.
BOLD's Makenna Steffel had two hits in three at-bats. These three Warriors each had one hit: Taylor Sagedahl, Elsa Skeie and Sierra Weiss.
Ashley Solvie was showcased on the pitching rubber for MACA. Ashley struck out one batter, walked one and gave up four hits and one run (earned). Sagedahl pitched the whole way for BOLD and fanned four batters while walking six and giving up eight hits and six runs (all earned).
 
Tigers 11, Brandon-Evansville 4
Piper Gibson handled the bat like a true marquee performer in the Tigers' robust 11-4 success on Thursday. It was actually a close game going into the sixth inning. The complexion changed as coach Mary Holmberg's crew put seven more runs on the scoreboard. We matched the eleven runs with eleven hits.
Gibson's part in it all? Her bat sizzled at five-for-five. She connected for a home run. She connected for three doubles and drove in four runs. Jen Solvie had a hit in her only at-bat and drove in a run. Jenna Howden doubled and drove in a run. These other Tigers connected for a hit: Liz Dietz, Ashley Solvie, Emma Bowman and Nicole Solvie.
For Brandon-Evansville, Morgan Stelzer and Carrigan Okerlund each doubled.
Liz Dietz pitched the whole way for the winning Tigers. She held the B-E bats to four hits. She sat down six batters on strikes, walked three and gave up four htis and four runs (three earned). The pitching loss went to Sadie Roers. B-E committed four errors while MACA had two.
 
Click on the link below to read about the Tigers' two recent games against Minnewaska Area. The highlight was a 3-1 win that had homer bats. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." My sports updates appear on both my blog sites. You'll also find links on the MACA softball and baseball pages of "Maxpreps." Thank you so much for reading. - B.W.
 
Baseball: Tigers 3, Lac qui Parle 2
The baseball Tigers got a win that was good therapy on Friday, May 19, here. the team has found victory elusive in recent action, but against the LQPV Eagles they eked out enough momentum in the sixth and seventh to prevail.
A hero was Tim Travis whose single in the sixth drove in the tying run. The winning run came when LQPV did us a favor with an error in the bottom of the seventh. There were two outs when the decisive run came across to give the orange and black a 3-2 win.
Note: This was a non-conference game. (I need reminders on that.)
The Tigers sort of manufactured their run in the sixth. A batter got hit by pitch. Then the Eagles committed a passed ball. There was nothing manufactured about the Travis hit: it was authoritative.
In the seventh, Jared Rohloff tossed his bat aside and went down to first with a walk. Chase Metzger laid down a sacrifice bunt. Up to bat comes Mitchell Dufault who rapped an infield grounder. The LQPV defense had a lapse which opened the door for MACA victory. Rohloff scored our third run.
We scored one run each in the second, sixth and seventh. Lac qui Parle got its two runs right away in the first, then was stymied. Travis pitched six innings but Toby Sayles got the win with his one inning. Sayles hung in there while giving up four hits and walking four. The two runs he allowed were earned. Sayles fanned two batters and walked two while giving up one hit and no runs. Chalk up the 'W' next to his name.
The losing hurler was Payton Mortenson who pitched all seven innings, giving up six hits while fanning one. We outhit the Eagles 6-5. Our fielding was clean: one error.
Travis went two-for-three with two RBIs. These Tigers each had one hit: Chase Metzger, Toby Sayles, Mitchell Dufault and Denner Dougherty. Here are the Eagles who hit safely (one hit each): Cole Bungarden, Braiden Kittelson, Evan Benson, Brett Baldwin and Korbin Kells.
 
Baseball: Melrose 2, Tigers 0
One of those recent losses was against Melrose: a forgettable contest for MACA as we got shutout, 2-0. Yawn.
Brady Birch was the Melrose pitcher who showed control over the Tigers. Birch tossed a nifty three-hitter, fanning five batters and walking four. Ryan Bowman pitched solidly for MACA, the full seven innings but he got no run support. Ryan struck out five batters, walked two and allowed six hits. The two runs he allowed were earned.
Our three hits were by Mitchell Dufault, Ryan Bowman and Denner Dougherty. Jordan Klaphake hit a home run for the Dutchmen. Dillon Haider went two-for-three for the victor. Melrose scored both its runs in the first inning. Melrose outhit the Tigers 6-3, and we had the game's only errors: two of them.
This game was played on Thursday, May 18.
We need more sunshine for the post-season!
 
Click on the link below to read about the MACA boys' recent games against Montevideo and Sauk Centre. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course."
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com