"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)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Storm and Tigers wind down January

Boys hockey: Storm 4, Luverne 2
MBA shone in Saturday (1/26) boys hockey action at the Benson Civic Center, led by Tanner Picht. Picht performed a hat trick in the Storm's 4-2 win over Luverne.
Picht's three goals were complemented by one goal by Brody Gimberlin. The 4-2 win kept the feeling of momentum building for the rapid-skating crew. It ended Luverne's win skein of nine. Meanwhile the Storm could savor having won seven of their last eight games - quite the surge. Their stock is rising in the Southwest Conference. Marshall is a high-flying team in that conference.
The Storm limited the Luverne Cardinals to one goal each in the first and third periods. MBA took off with one goal in the first, then added two in the second and one in the third.
Picht began his hat trick by scoring MBA's first goal at 12:06 of the first period, with assists from Mac Beyer and Brody Gimberlin. Picht scored the second MBA goal at 4:31 of the second, assisted by Andrew Rentz. Brody Gimberlin then got his goal scored at 4:58 and with assists by Jordan Staples and Taner Gimberlin.
Picht completed his hat trick at 16:44 of the third in shorthanded style. Staples and Beyer assisted.
Hats off to our winning Storm!
The goalie work was done by stalwart Kyle Kennedy who picked up 19 saves. Kendall Meyer was the Luverne goalie.
Boys basketball: Sauk Centre 60, Tigers 52
The tide turned at halftime in the MACA vs. Sauk Centre boys basketball game on Friday, Jan. 25, at Streeter country of Sauk.
The trip home must have seemed long for coach Mark Torgerson's boys. They led at halftime by a margin of ten points, 33-23. The score ended up not representative of the game as a whole. Because, Sauk Centre turned on the jets to outscore the orange and black 37-19 in the second half.
The Tigers were stunned. Whatever seemed to have gone right in the first half dissipated. Still they came out of the night quite fine in terms of won-lost at 12-3 (2-1 in conference). Sauk Centre's record: 9-4 overall, 4-1 conference.
The final horn sounded with the score 60-52.
Are we in the North half of the WCC? We used to be in the South. And is it true there were no divisions in volleyball? I can't keep up with all this. Too many changes. I'll try to refrain from using conference terminology.
Nick Adams helped Sauk Centre surge to the win as he put in 20 points. His team made five of 16 three-point attempts.
The Tigers meanwhile were cool with three of 15 stats from three-point range. Chandler Erickson had two of the makes and Jacob Torgerson the other.
Lincoln Berget led the team in rebounds with five followed by Nic Vipond and Austin Dierks each with three. Torgerson had two assists and Erickson one. Erickson and Dierks each stole the ball three times while Logan Manska had two steals.
On to scoring: Here, Erickson and Dierks each scored 12 points and Nic Vipond had ten. Joining these double figures scorers were: Berget 8, Manska 5, Torgerson 3 and John Tiernan 2.
Boys hockey: Storm 6, Northern Lakes 5
The Lee Center was abuzz with overtime hockey action on Thursday, Jan. 24. Our MBA Storm athletes were flying up and down the ice against Northern Lakes.
It was a non-conference battle in which the victor was crowned in that OT extension of play. And it turned out to be MBA!
Fans watched anxiously as the athletes battled around the puck as the first few ticks of overtime elapsed. A total of 17 seconds went by before the decisive moment occurred. Brody Gimberlin scored for the Storm! The MBA fans were ecstatic, savoring this hard-earned tenth win of the season (against seven losses). Northern Lakes came out of the day at 7-10.
Actually the Storm came close to winning this game in regulation. They led 5-4 during the third period before Aspen Florey of Northern Lakes got the puck in the net. The Storm were going to have to work a little harder. Work harder they did, and Gimberlin's goal had assists from Tanner Picht and Jordan Staples.
Kyle Kennedy was the goalie and he accumulated 23 saves on the day. Mitch Stangel guarded the Northern Lakes goal.
Each team scored two goals in the first period. Picht made the score 1-0 in favor of MBA. He scored with an assist from Gimberlin at 3:28. Northern Lakes scored the next two goals. Then it was Mac Beyer scoring with an assist from Picht at 9:27.
The second period was a standoff like the first with each team adding a goal to its total. First it was Jake Hyytinen scoring for the visitor. Picht answered with the MBA goal at 16:58 which had assists from Gimberlin and Staples.
On to the third period: Northern Lakes scored first, then Beyer scored for MBA assisted by Eric Johnson at 4:51. It was Beyer scoring again at 8:46, assisted by Gimberlin and Staples. But Florey got that complicating goal at 12:21 with assists from two of his mates, so MBA was going to have to win this game in overtime. MBA took care of business.
The 6-5 win was savory for the energized Storm.
Girls basketball: Sauk Centre 53, Tigers 22
Sauk Centre put on an exhibition with depth at the expense of our Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls hoops squad Thursday (1/24).
There were few highlights for our fans at the home facility to savor. Instead it was the solid Mainstreeter squad from Sauk Centre providing an abundance of highlights, this en route to their 53-22 win over MACA.
How much depth? Twelve players put in points for the smoothly-humming visitor.
Sauk Centre is building a juggernaut reputation. They came out of this late January action with a 14-1 overall record, 6-0 in conference. They took advantage of a somewhat depleted Tiger squad that was without post player MaKenzie Smith. Smith was no-go due to illness. Her height and her basic court presence were missed.
It was a special night for Mainstreeter Macy Weller. She scored just ten points but vaulted past a coveted career plateau: 1000 points. Ali Peterson scored ten points for Sauk Centre and Jena Klaphake eight.
The Streeters were pretty steady, scoring 27 points in the first half and 26 in the second.
Becca Holland made the only three-point shot for MACA. As a team the Tigers were a cold one of six in that category.
Total field goals saw the Tigers cold too: seven of 36. The freethrow stats were seven of nine.
None of the Tigers scored in double figures. Kaitlin Vogel gave some stability with her seven points, a modest total with which to lead the team. Credit the Streeters' defense. Becca Holland's three-pointer was part of five total points scored. Beth Holland put in four points followed by Katie Holzheimer, Tracy Meichsner and Abbie Olson each with two.
Vogel's eight rebounds put her on top of that list. Meichsner collected five boards. Becca Holland came through with an assist. And it was Beth Holland leading in steals with two.
The Streeters made five shots from three-point range. Klaphake and Peterson each had two of those bombs, and Jordan Gamradt had one.
Bring on February! The Tigers and Storm are primed.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 28, 2013

Relishing memories of Maynard Ferguson

"How's your embouchure?" Jimmy Stewart asked the young trumpet-playing character standing next to him. I can't remember the movie.
"Embouchure" is a term that circulates among brass players. You somehow press your lips up against a "mouthpiece," get them to "buzz" and make music.
Many brass players probably learn the word "diaphragm" as they take lessons. You have to produce wind to make those lips buzz right. Of course, the instructors who give these lessons seem to get too analytical about this process. It can screw up your head. Just make music, man!
Maynard Ferguson dropped out of high school at age 15. So it's perfectly logical, I guess, that in his long musical touring heyday he played countless college campuses. He and his band visited UMM twice. The first was in the mid-1980s. The second was after 2000 and he was in his performing twilight. Both times this powerful jazz-infused music was at the P.E. Center. It was on the floor now named after James Gremmels.
Maynard left us in 2006. I doubt he's interested in playing the harp up in heaven. But if anyone could incorporate the harp for playing jazz, Maynard could. He crossed boundaries in his career. He defied easy categorization.
Jazz purists and jazz writers were always hesitant about putting him in any pantheon of jazz icons. Yet, when you listen to an album like "Six by Six" (the Maynard Ferguson Sextet), it seems he's right in league with the pure jazz icons of the '50s and '60s. Surely he had a jazz mind equal to anyone's.
But Maynard clearly wanted to "do his own thing." To the extent he got commercial at times, was it due to simply wanting to make more money? Or did he just "dig it?" Or did he just want to see a few more seats filled at his concerts? Touring was his life. Such a lifestyle might have had appeal for young musicians in a bygone time like in the so-called "big band era." Finding excitement was harder back then.
By the time Maynard was done, touring was equated with drudgery to a large degree. A tribute DVD to Maynard captures the road lifestyle. It was a "home movies" approach and it showed with no doubt that Maynard loved getting out and around in the world, seeing any little hamlet that might want to host him. He played at Minnewaska Area High School once.
The last time I saw Maynard was at Dawson High School. Yes, Dawson, MN. It was about a year before his death. Playing Dawson (or Minnewaska) didn't mean he had gone "small time." He didn't have the stature of when he had his Columbia Records contract, naturally. But he still played the most prestigious jazz nightclubs in America's cultural hubs.
The band he had at Dawson was as good as any he ever had. Once again I felt that jolt of a thrill as his name was announced at the start of the concert, and there was Maynard, coming out from the side of the stage with that same genuine twinkle in his eye as always. We never could have predicted back in "the day" that he'd still be performing at this pretty advanced age. But his "embouchure" was just fine.
He played the usual mixture of pure jazz charts (e.g. "Newport Suite") and arrangements of pop tunes ("Rocky"). Members of the Dawson High School jazz band came onstage at concert's end to join the Maynard band on "Rocky" - something I'm sure those young musicians will never forget.
I first became familiar with Maynard Ferguson because of our high school band director. He brought a Ferguson vinyl record to school. Was this a good thing or not? You see, despite Maynard's fame and his status as idol among many, he didn't play the trumpet as would be recommended for young people learning the instrument.
Maynard's "brand" as a musician was to play high notes. If you remembered nothing else about him, that's what would stand out. So our band director played a selection from the record and then anxiously looked at us to gauge our reaction. A trumpet player hearing Maynard for the first time is supposed to practically faint.
Our band director, initials J.W., had a twinkle in his eye. Maynard's notes cascaded upward as the record played. How could you not be enthralled? Well, let me put in this way: Young male trumpet players were definitely enthralled.
Now that I'm older and wiser, and trumpet playing has been behind me for decades, I'm not so sure it's a thrill. What saved Maynard's playing is that he was always trying to play music.
Us young trumpet players who were so giddy learned that our perception wasn't always shared by others, like our parents. To this day, a friend of mine talks about whether a particular Maynard souvenir DVD can be enjoyed in "mixed company." That says it all, as it implies a sort of cult category for Maynard fans. We collected his vinyl records and found it frustrating that his style wasn't embraced by everyone, that his name never quite became a household word.
Critics could be harsh. Critics who were focused on jazz got frustrated by Maynard doing a disco version of the operatic "Pagliacci."
I remember a critic after Maynard's "Hot" album came out, saying Maynard's trumpet sound was "irritating." OK, kudos for frankness. I would attribute the problem on the "Hot" album to less than stellar engineering. Don't underestimate engineering on those albums. Buddy Rich had a longstanding problem with his powerful band not coming through well on albums. A rumor was that Buddy himself would go in the booth and screw things up.
Maynard put out an absolute stream of albums. His career was already very mature when he put out his "breakthrough" album. On it, he departed from the more pure jazz of previous years to lead his band through some very tight arrangements. The album was "M.F. Horn" which later came to be known as "M.F. Horn 1." That's because the albums that followed were called "M.F. Horn 2, 3 and then 4-5."
The "4-5" release was a live recording from a New York City nightclub. Many years later I was discouraged to hear it wasn't really a pure live recording. A cynic can handle such news as with Beyonce at the inauguration. Maynard over-dubbed his part. Great as Maynard was, he couldn't always be counted on to hit the notes with total precision. His "fluffs" in this regard were always easier to take in person (in the audience) than when listening to a recording.
As he grew older, his issues with consistency became a little more pronounced. Like Frank Sinatra, Maynard had some difficulty staying on top of his game in his later years.
I read a fan saying once that when he brought someone to a concert with him, he'd always say "no matter what you think of Maynard tonight, keep in mind he's a legend."
Maynard's long-time fans never got bothered too much by their idol's drop-off from his highest standards. This is probably a tribute to his true greatness. His fans stayed loyal and interested even when his hair had become quite white, post-70 years of age.
Another tribute, one that can be overlooked, I feel, is that even his "worst" albums drew considerable discussion and scrutiny. Would we bother discussing a lesser artist's "worst" recordings? Maynard put out an album called "Ridin' High" when he was floundering in the late 1960s.
For the record, the 1960s were terrible for big bands. Maynard left the USA for a while. He put out "Ridin' High" on sort of an experimental basis as he was heading in a more pop-oriented direction. During his later heyday, that album would be painful to listen to. But fans hardly ignore it today.
Fans have also been known to put down his "Hollywood" album from about 1980. This was his last Columbia album. I always felt the criticism of "Hollywood" was overblown.
I would rate that seminal "M.F. Horn" (or "M.F. Horn 1") as his most solid overall recording. "M.F. Horn 2" which came on its heels had its merits. Not so with the odd "M.F. Horn 3" which seemed to have completely different creative minds behind it. The "3" recording got lost in the dustbin. (The jacket design was nice though.)
"Alive and Well in London" (although that title didn't appear on my jacket) was as solid as any of Maynard's recordings - a bit more commercial than "M.F. Horn."
The "4-5" live release from "Jimmy's" nightclub was just fine, then came a departure in Maynard's career into quite unabashed commercial music. We got "Chameleon," an album I felt was overrated. Then came disco. Our nation was immersed in disco for a while. Maynard was on board fully, first with his "Primal Scream" album (a title you know was coming eventually, using the "scream trumpet" theme).
Maynard's fans had no trouble living with his disco phase. There was still artistry interwoven. The band's powerful sound attracted legions of young people.
The decline of disco corresponded to the decline of Maynard's commercial heyday. He kept right on going, incorporating more pure jazz, "going back to his roots" as it were. He seemed to be happy and fulfilled throughout.
Today we hear that his daughters are trying to organize a new tribute DVD, to be called "Get on the Bus." I hope it's a blast. We can be reminded of Maynard's "embouchure" when it thrilled us all.
Maynard Ferguson RIP.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 25, 2013

MACA boys overcome Falcons with freethrows

The Tigers were dead-on with their freethrow shooting eye in a Tuesday (1/22) home win. They gained their 12th win with spectacular freethrow shooting numbers of 24-for-27, 89 per cent (wow). ACGC couldn't overcome such a potent weapon.
Click on the permalink below to read about some other Tiger hoops and Storm hockey athletic contests of late. Included in this post, on "Morris of Course" (my companion site) are: the 57-39 win by the MACA boys vs. Ortonville, the 10-4 win by the MBA Storm boys over Worthington, the heartbreaking 48-47 loss experienced by the MACA hoops girls vs. Milbank SD, and the 60-35 girls hoops loss vs. BOLD. Thanks for reading - B.W.
Home hoops success
The Tigers of Morris Area Chokio Alberta turned back the Falcons of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 64-57. Coach Mark Torgerson's squad owned a shimmering 12-2 mark at night's end. ACGC was quite the worthy opponent and ended the night at 11-5.
Sizzling as the Tigers were at the freethrow stripe, the same couldn't be said of the three-point shooting performance. In 3's the Tigers languished with two-of-19 stats. Jacob Torgerson had both of the makes.
Logan Manska shot in a way that reflected the team's fortunes on this "paradoxical" night. Manska, who often is a long-range shooting force, made just one field goal in eleven tries but was a sizzling 10-for-10 at the freethrow line. Austin Dierks batted a thousand in freethrows too, six-for-six, and had a point harvest of 14.
The dynamite freethrow performance hardly kept this game from being suspenseful toward the end. My goodness, the Tigers had to actually surge from behind! ACGC was on top by a margin of six, eyeing victory, with four minutes left to play. Nic Vipond applied the spurs for MACA, achieving a three-point play. Vipond had a harvest of 19 points on the night.
Jake Torgerson then sent the ball through the twine from three-point range, creating a whole new ballgame with a tied score. Torgerson's two 3-pointers on the night represented his only scoring, but at least one of those was "clutch" to the max.
MACA pulled away from that tied score with - you guessed it - that freethrow-shooting weapon.
The Tigers led 23-22 at halftime. They outscored ACGC 41-35 in the second half.
The Tigers made 19 of 60 shots in total field goals. Vipond with his 19 points, Dierks with his 14 and Manska with 12 were followed in scoring by: Chandler Erickson (7), Torgerson (6), John Tiernan (4) and Lincoln Berget (2).
Vipond led in rebounds as well as in scoring, collecting nine rebounds followed by Torgerson and Berget each with eight. Erickson led in assists with five and Manska was tops in steals with four.
Taylor Larson topped the ACGC scoring list with 22 points. He built that total with the help of four 3-pointers. Dylan Hoerchler scored 16 points and made a pair of 3's. Jacob Belgum put in 12 points including one three-pointer.
Viva MACA basketball for the (chilly) winter of 2012-13!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

St. Francis school board creating spectacle

Amy Kelly (ABC Newspapers photo)
Maybe cigarettes served a purpose we didn't all understand. An op-ed writer opined this once, wondering if cigarettes as a sedative helped keep us more relaxed than we seem to be today. People have trouble overlooking the slightest oversights or flaws in human nature.
So we have that minister in Rochester shooting and injuring his granddaughter who he thought might be a burglar outside the house. He's charged with a felony. Police are busy not with basic issues of the public staying safe and property being secure, but with giving citations on matters where no immediate dangers can be perceived.
All this is a prelude to the main topic I'm addressing in this post: the St. Francis school board. I have no connection to that Minnesota community. I have written about that board once previously. I could have sworn that would be the only time.
But oddly, that school board is in the news again on the same matter that brought it notoriety not that long ago. Maybe if this board met in a smoke-filled room, they'd all get along a little better. Remember how the World War II generation smoked? And drank? They were also very good at keeping matters in their proper perspective. Having dealt with the Depression and WWII, they knew what real problems were.
Today we have kids suspended from school for playing "cops and robbers" in which they merely point fingers as simulated "guns." Such playing has been common from time immemorial.
Maybe it would be good for all of us to have a super-duper depression again.
The St. Francis school board burst into the news initially by ousting a member. This wasn't a recall election, it was an ouster. An election I would respect.
Board members there have the obligation or "chore" of submitting columns for a newsletter. Board member Matt Rustad got the heave-ho for lifting some paragraphs from a blog, or I guess it was a "comment on a blog," and he had fingers pointed at him for the "p" word: "plagiarism."
Oh, and it seems he wasn't totally forthcoming about this act when confronted with the accusation.
There are certain questions I wouldn't care to be forthcoming about. "Have you ever taken a pee along the side of a road?"
I hope some legal wheels are still turning on behalf of Mr. Rustad, and that this isn't a completely settled matter now. David Lindberg, the St. Francis district's human resources director, makes the pronouncement about why exactly Rustad had to be excised. Lindberg proclaims that the accused party "lied" about his actions.
Don't we all lie when we want to deny a minor infraction? A politico on TV asserted during the campaign that a politician is in fact justified in lying "if the question is unfair."
Rustad was not lifting paragraphs from a commercially published book. He saw some interesting material on a website, material he wanted to share, and apparently lifted some sentences for his newsletter submission. The Internet is all about sharing. Wikipedia entries are prepared by people not motivated by wanting to make money from such entries - how would they make money? - but by people with a passion for wanting to share information.
There needn't be an economic motive for wanting to share information. Young people understand this as they constantly broaden their grasp of new media. Older people have gotten over some of their mistrust of the new media. But only some.
It's also older people that are keeping newspapers alive for the time being. Media analyst Allan Mutter wrote recently that based on data, a trend just since 2010 has seen the average newspaper reader become markedly older. Sorry newspaper guys, we're just reciting facts.
It's a cliche that "information wants to be free." It's a cliche based entirely on truth.
The "overhead" once required in sharing information, i.e. a printing press, is out the window. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming.
I'm a former newspaper writer who has found new life online. I could hardly have predicted it. What started as a blog that I felt might just have a handful of personal friend visitors, has developed into something more. I don't make money but I don't spend any either. Such a media universe could never have been foreseen when I was a kid.
Writing was a rather narrow specialty when I was a kid. Today it's ubiquitous. Information flows all over. And while a writer would never want to steal a section of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and present it as his own, one can "share" from the endless sea of impulsive thoughts, commenting and reporting out there, and not have a Federal case made of it.
A majority of the St. Francis school board is stuck in the old days. Or, more likely, a majority is uncomfortable with this Mr. Rustad for other reasons, and is using a trumped-up charge.
Was Mr. Rustad not an elected public official? Yes or no? If he's not, if in fact he's a "school district employee," I'll eat my hat.
We want schools to be overseen by elected officials because we want the proper checks and balances. Elected officials will look after the interests of the public and their collective pocketbook. Boards have enough trouble as it is. Look at the University of Minnesota and its board of regents that can't seem to keep an eye on things.
What's with the chutzpah of the St. Francis "human resources director" making such a vicious pronouncement - "lying" - about a young man who simply wanted to serve on a small community school board for what can be presumed to be the right reasons?
This whole kerfuffle has now taken on a new wrinkle. On page 5B of the January 17 Star Tribune, via a big headline, we learn - gasp! - that a second member of this notorious school board has now been accused of plagiarizing. This individual is the board's new chairwoman, Amy Kelly.
Holy copy and paste! What's going on here?
Kelly was fulfilling her obligations for that school district newsletter, the Courier, which I would suggest is now more trouble than it's worth. This was a column  in August, 2011, which presented the story of a boy who threw a starfish into the ocean. A plagiarism-checking Internet site was used to identity this alleged ethical faux pas by Amy Kelly. It was found that Kelly's column was "67 per cent plagiarized."
Kelly is going to have to explain herself at a January 28 school board meeting. Does this board realize it's becoming kind of a laughingstock?
Kelly so far has offered a very lame defense of her actions. She asserts that she "assumes" other people had heard this story numerous times previously, i.e. that it was in popular circulation. I'm offended by that. I have a B.A. degree and consider myself to be pretty well-read and worldly, and I cannot recall ever hearing this story. If I have, I've forgotten it.
So it would have been nice for Kelly to attribute to a source. In this case the source is a book entitled "The Unexpected Universe," from 1969. So it's not like it's old folklore from The Brothers Grimm or anything like that.
The author who got ripped off here is Loren Eiseley.
Kelly could have taken the trouble to give the proper background. She had actually been critical of Rustad.
Rustad does have his defenders such as board member Marsha Van Denburgh who felt Rustad wasn't treated fairly. Another sympathetic party is Suzanne Erkel who simply felt the Rustad issue was "overblown."
The perceptive Van Denburgh isn't calling for Kelly's removal or resignation but she sees a problem with precedent, which is something that elected officials must be attuned to.
Again, are school board members elected public officials? A synonym for that is "politicians." Aren't politicians accused of "lying" all the time? Heaven help us if politicians could be removed from office simply because of a "lie."
Didn't Michele Bachmann campaign for re-election by asserting with no subtlety that her opponent, Jim Graves, had "lied" about his involvement with the United Way? If he in fact did, would he be ineligible to take office as congressman? I mean, after all, the St. Francis school board has made a determination like this.
Let the voters decide. Unless you find that to be inconvenient, St. Francis school board members.
The topic on which Rustad was sharing was "paperless schools." Maybe this represents too much of a change in our education system for many board members to comprehend or enact right now. So maybe they feel uncomfortable.
I am absolutely cheering for the continued retreat of the "paper" media. Change can be unsettling. Maybe we could all handle it a little better by just "lighting up a smoke."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Boys' offense picks up steam in 77-45 win

The MACA boys nudged their point total higher than what has been the norm for them on Thursday (1/17). Most importantly they won. They did so with a point total of 77. This was at the Yellow Medicine East court.
Their offense looked well-oiled and free-flowing in this 77-45 triumph which was the team's tenth.
In the first half in particular, the Tigers scored with high frequency to establish themselves as the superior team. They were less deliberate than usual with their look on the court. Early-season had the Tigers developing a reputation as a deliberate team which some fans translate to "boring."
There was nothing at all boring in watching the Tigers work to score 43 points in the first half. Meanwhile the defense was asserting itself nicely also, limiting the host Sting to 20 points. The Tigers' superiority frankly was not surprising, as YME has managed but one win thus far.
The Tigers came out of the Thursday action with a 10-2 season record. They outscored the Sting 34-25 in the second half.
The Tigers were conservative with three-pointers but made the most of their attempts. They were right at 50 percent at three-for-six with three different individuals having the makes: Jacob Torgerson, Chandler Erickson and Nic Vipond.
In total field goals the Tigers wee 28 of 52. In freethrows: 18 of 27.
Lincoln Berget excelled as a post man with his seven rebounds. He was followed in that category by Austin Dierks with four.
Tom Holland and Erickson each picked up two assists. In steals there were four Tigers sharing the team lead each with four: Dierks, Logan Manska, Berget and Erickson.
MACA fans watching the 43-point first half by their squad might have felt they were watching a different team. While the scoring pace might be deemed more appealing, the orange and black crowd realizes winning tactics are of the utmost importance, whether it involves playing with abandon or deliberateness.
Don't worry, I'm not forgetting to include the individual scoring list for Motown. Here it is: Austin Dierks 17, Lincoln Berget 16, Logan Manska 14, Nic Vipond 10, Chandler Erickson 5, Tom Holland 4, Jacob Torgerson 3, Beau Keimig 3, Dillon McNally 2, Marcus Cannon 2, Aaron Goulet 1.
I'm typing this post on Saturday at the Morris Public Library, where I'm thankful to have arrived without getting blown away by the wind! "The weather isn't fit for man or beast," to quote "Yukon Cornelius" from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
The Sting's top scorer was Blake Lindstrom with 13. YME came out of Thursday at 1-9.
The Sting held their own in 3's, making four of nine attempts. Lindstrom connected for three of those long-rangers, and Jordan Zens had the other. Austin Vikander, a Sting player with Morris connections through family, scored five points plus he had two assists and one steal. Austin's mother Anna was a superb track athlete in her MAHS days. (I covered her for the "dead tree" media.)
A check of Pheasant Country Sports shows that the 77 points scored by MACA Thursday was the season-high! Keep burning the nets, guys.
Girls basketball: Tigers 64, ACGC 38
The Tigers took charge on the court Friday (1/18) in Grove City. Grove City is part of ACGC. They're the Falcons. They had great difficulty trying to make three-pointers against our Tigers. They were one of 15 in this department (Shelby Schroeder with the make) as they failed to keep pace with a fired-up group of Tigers, coached by Dale Henrich.
The Tigers led 33-22 at halftime. They were on top at the sound of the final horn, 64-38. They outscored the Falcons 32-16 in the second half. Coach Henrich's crew came out of the night at 10-4.
Katie Holzheimer made two 3-pointers in the win. The Tigers were more conservative than the Falcons trying the long-rangers. As a team the Tigers were two of six in this department. In total field goals they were 23 of 54. In freethrows: 16 of 25.
MaKenzie Smith and Nicole Strobel each collected five rebounds. Tracy Meichsner was the assist leader with four. Meichsner and Holzheimer were the steal leaders with eight and five respectively.
Beth Holland stood out with her 19 points scored. Holzheimer achieved double figures too with 16. Smith and Becca Holland each scored six points. Meichsner and Strobel each put in five. Abbie Olson scored three points followed by Moira McNally and Kaitlyn Vogel each with two.
Sydney Larson topped the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City scoring list with 14 points. Katie Moore added 12. Schroeder was limited to the three points scored on her '3'.
Larson and guard Erica Melbie were hampered by early foul trouble - three each in the first half.
Viva Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls and boys basketball for 2012-13!
Boys hockey: Storm 6, Breckenridge-Wahpeton 1
The MBA Storm continued their surging ways with a Tuesday (1/15) win before finally being humbled with a loss on Thursday. The win was by a 6-1 score over the skaters of Breckenridge-Wahpeton in Wahpeton, ND.
The Storm scored in each period as they upped their win skein to five. There was one Storm goal in the first period, two in the second and three in the third, as the feeling of "mo" just picked up steam all evening.
Breckenridge-Wahpeton scored its only goal in the first period.
Brody Gimberlin put the Storm on the board, getting the puck in goal at 8:16 of the first, assisted by Tanner Picht and Mac Beyer. B-W got the scored tied up, then MBA owned the rest of the evening.
Riley Blake scored the first of the two Storm goals in period No. 2. Corey Storck assisted. Then it was Beyer scoring the first of his two goals on the night, assisted by Picht at 12:20.
On to period No. 3: Beyer scored in a shorthanded situation at :41. Picht scored with an assist from Gimberlin at 6:39. And it was Bo Olson finishing up the night's scoring for the MBA crew, getting the puck in the net at 14:18.
Kyle Kennedy worked in net all game for the Storm and had 17 saves. Michael Withuski was the B-W goalie and his save total was 43.
Boys hockey: Marshall 5, Storm 2
The Storm tasted defeat for the first time in a while on Thursday, Jan. 17. Their foe was Marshall in Marshall. The host Marshall skaters scored one goal in the first period, three in the second and one in the third.
The Storm were shut out in the opening period. Mac Beyer scored the only Storm goal of the second period. Beyer scored with an assist from Tanner Picht at 5:49. Andrew Rentz scored the only MBA goal in period No. 3. He scored on the power play, assisted by Brody Gimberlin at 1:27.
The Storm bowed to Marshall in the 5-2 final. Action was at Lyons County Arena in the southern Minnesota community of Marshall.
Kyle Kennedy was the Storm goalie. Mason Campion wore the goalie equipment for Marshall.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Girls win on back-to-back nights, here

Tigers 53, YME 40
The Tigers treated fans to a winning homestand at the start of this week. The Tuesday chapter was a 53-40 win over Yellow Medicine East. There was little doubt from the early stages who was going to win.
Coach Dale Henrich's squad seized the lead and cruised into halftime owner of a 35-20 lead. There was no need to push so hard in the second half. The second half was basically a stalemate as the Tigers went on to win by that margin of 13.
It was win No. 9 for the smoothly-executing MACA crew, against four losses. YME has had a struggling look this season.
The orange and black will be on the road Friday, Jan. 18, to face ACGC.
The Tigers' surging was despite a cool hand in 3's. The team's three makes in the Tuesday win were by Katie Holzheimer, Becca Holland and Beth Holland. The three makes were among 13 attempts.
The Tigers were a quite proficient 10 of 13 in freethrows. Total field goals saw the squad make 20 of 63 tries.
Tracy Meichsner attacked the boards for double figures in rebounds: 11. MaKenzie Smith and Nicole Strobel each collected six rebounds.
Meichsner and Becca Holland each dished out four assists. Meichsner stole the ball five times to lead there.
Let's roll up our sleeves for the scoring list: Here Becca Holland led the way with her 13 points. Sister Beth made double figures too, posting ten. Then we have Smith (9), Strobel (6), Meichsner (4), Kaitlin Vogel (4), Holzheimer (3), Abbie Olson (2) and Moira McNally (2).
The visiting Sting were just one of nine in 3's with Danie Roden having the make. The Sting were 15 of 39 in total field goals and nine of 13 in freethrows. Kelly Anderson was their top scorer with 12 points.
Tigers 62, West Central Area 42
Monday needn't be a "blah" day of the week (not even in mid-winter) as shown by the MACA girls who won 62-42 on 1/14.
The Tigers played at home on Monday and Tuesday and showed a winning flourish.
The Monday story had coach Dale Henrich's crew taking off with a burst of second half momentum. The Tigers escaped the stalemated situation of halftime (a 30-29 score, MACA up) to distance themselves from the foe. That foe was West Central Area. In the end the Tigers won by that decisive margin of 20 points.
It was win No. 8, coming amidst a demanding stretch of the schedule. The Tigers are playing six games in a span of just eight days.
The Tigers outscored the Knights 32-13 in the second half.
Katie Holzheimer with her two 3-point makes finished as the night's top scorer with 16 points. Beth Holland made the other three-pointer as MACA posted three of ten numbers. In total field goals the Tigers finished 29 of 69. In freethrows they had just one make in six attempts.
Tracy Meichsner led in rebounds with nine followed by Beth Holland and Abbie Olson each with five. Meichsner also led in assists with five followed by Holzheimer with four. Becca Holland was the pacesetter in steals with four.
Holzheimer was followed in scoring by Becca Holland with 14 points. MaKenzie Smith and Beth Holland each scored eight. Meichsner and Olson each added six points to the mix, and Moira McNally had four.
West Central Area has been hovering around .500 this season. The Knights' leading scorer was Holly VanKempen with 12 points. Kristina Kruize put in ten points. The Knights had no three-point makes.
Viva Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls basketball for 2012-13!
Boys hockey: Storm 7, Windom 4
Tanner Picht was hard-charging on the Benson ice to help lead the MBA Storm boys to another win, this one coming by a score of 7-4 on January 12.
The whole Storm team was hard-charging but it was Picht who scored four goals and had an assist too. The win was the fifth straight and elevated the Storm's record to 7-6.
The Storm led 2-0 after one period and 4-1 after two.
Picht got his assist on the first MBA goal of the night which was scored by Brody Gimberlin at 5:25 of the first. Jordan Staples also assisted on that goal. Then it was Picht putting the Storm up 2-0 with a goal at 13:36. Staples and Mac Beyer assisted on this goal.
On to period No. 2: Windom scored first, then it was Picht on the attack again to score a goal at 12:39 assisted by Beyer and Gimberlin. Picht put the Storm up 4-1 with a goal at 16:51.
Windom scored the first two goals of the third and final period. Picht put the puck in the net with an assist from Gimberlin at 6:32. Windom scored its final goal at 9:36. Beyer and Gimberlin showed scoring chemistry on the ice at 8:53 as Beyer got the goal and Gimberlin the assist.
Staples sent the puck into an empty net in shorthanded fashion at 16:32, ending the night's scoring. Darion Helberg picked up the assist.
Kyle Kennedy was the winning goalie and his save total was 15. Tyler McGowan was the Windom goalie and he finished with 34 saves.
Viva Morris Benson Area Storm boys hockey for 2012-13!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hoops and hockey: no shortage of highlights

Boys basketball: Tigers 60, Benson 48
MACA is up on the nine-win plateau thanks to the neat win it carved out Friday (1/11) over Benson, here. Bad weather seemed to be looming. No matter, fans at our MACA varsity gym saw the Tigers shake some first half problems.
The weather turned out to be not that bad. It's just Minnesota.
The basketball game ended with the Tigers on top of the Braves 60-48. We trailed at halftime 31-26.
The first half problems were a bit of a surprise because Benson came here with a quite struggling look. The Tigers came out of Friday at 9-2, Benson at 2-10.
Austin Dierks was at the fore when the Tigers embarked on their decisive stretch. Dierks would finish this night with a double-double in the stat report: 20 points and 16 rebounds.
It was the first third of the second half when Morris Area Chokio Alberta punched down on the accelerator and excelled. Much of this was actually done on defense. The Braves fell into a drought. The Tigers outscored the Braves 34-17 in the second half.
Dierks was one of three Tigers finishing the night in double figures scoring. Chandler Erickson put in 12 points and Jacob Torgerson ten. Torgerson made three 3-pointers while Erickson had two. The team numbers in long-rangers were five of 17. In total field goals the numbers came in at 22 of 51. In freethrows: 11 of 20.
Dierks' 16 rebounds put him on top in that category. Jacob Torgerson and Erickson led in assists, each with four, and Tom Holland was the top steal producer with two.
Dierks, Erickson and Torgerson were followed in scoring by Logan Manska who had seven points. Then we have Tyler Henrichs with four points and Lincoln Berget with three. John Tiernan and Holland each scored two.
Matt Ahrndt of Benson showed a keen eye with his long-range shooting, making four 3-pointers. He finished with a team-high 20 points. Daniel Lee made two 3-pointers for Benson, and Colin Ose one.
Boys hockey: Storm 4, Prairie Centre 1
The MBA Storm boys continued a skein of success with their 4-1 triumph over Prairie Centre on Thursday, Jan. 10. Action was at the Sauk Centre Civic Arena.
Kyle Kennedy worked in goal and picked up 17 saves. The success brought the Storm boys up to .500 in won-lost, at 6-6. The Storm scored one goal in the first period, two in the second and one in the third.
Each team scored a goal in period #1. It was Prairie Centre striking first with a power play goal at the 10:41 mark. Tanner Picht answered for the Storm with the first of his three goals on the night. Picht put the puck in the net at 16:17.
The Storm seized the lead in period #2 as Mac Beyer scored at 3:27 assisted by Picht. Picht scored at 7:13 of the second period, assisted by Beyer.
Picht scored his third goal in the final period and this was an empty-net job, finishing things off nicely in this 4-1 win.
Kennedy's rival in goal was Clay Deters who had 26 saves. This was a non-conference game.
Boys hockey: Storm 8, Redwood Valley 0
Tuesday night, Jan. 8, was a time for MBA Storm boys hockey to really shine. The night's outcome was a shutout win. The Storm dominated Redwood Valley at the Benson Civic Center.
Three goals in the first period, two in the second and three in the third buried the visitor. The 8-0 win was the Storm's fifth.
Tanner Picht was at the fore of MBA's productive attack with a hat trick. By night's end he owned 22 goals for the season. And, 14 assists. He scored the evening's first goal at 2:54 of the opening period, assisted by Jordan Staples. Then came a goal by Riley Blake, assisted by Corey Goff and Corey Storck at 7:55. Picht struck again for a goal at 15:19 with assists from Brody Gimberlin and Bo Gullickson.
On to the second period: Picht got the puck in the net with an assist from Mac Beyer at 4:59. Storck scored the other MBA goal of this period which came at 6:10 with assists from Riley Blake and Eric Johnson.
The Storm polished things off with three third period goals, the first coming from Beyer with assists from Picht and Staples at 4:29. The onslaught grew with Beyer scoring at 7:47. Then came a shorthanded goal by Storck assisted by Blake at 9:39.
Two MBA athletes worked in goal to share credit for the shutout: Austin Crow with seven saves and Kyle Kennedy with nine.
Boys hockey: Storm 11, Worthington 4
Fans at our Lee Community Center got to enjoy lots of highlights supplied by the home team on Saturday, Jan. 5.
The MBA Storm boys took the ice with an aggressive and determined stance. Their assignment was to play Worthington from southern Minnesota.
Brody Gimberlin scored shortly after the game started. This goal would be the first of eleven for the Storm. Tanner Picht and Mac Beyer assisted on that goal. It was the first of four goals by MBA in the opening period en route to the 11-4 win.
Worthington was able to tie the score at one-all. Worthington then took the lead 2-1 before MBA's Picht got the puck in the net at 7:45 assisted by Bo Gullickson. Tanner Mikkelson put the Storm up 3-2 with a goal at 10:44. Then it was Bo Olson scoring for the Storm with assists from Taner Gimberlin and Beyer at 11:56.
Worthington scored the last goal of the period.
Morris Benson Area dominated the second period, outscoring Worthington 3-0. Picht scored on the power play at 3:05, assisted by Riley Blake and Beyer. Andrew Rentz put the puck in the net at 5:45. Lincoln Pahl wrapped up the Storm's second period scoring with a goal at 8:05 assisted by Taner Gimberlin and Darion Helberg.
The Storm's flurry of goals continued into the third period. Beyer scored the first of four Storm goals in the period, assisted by Brody Gimberlin at 1:48. Worthington followed with its only goal of the period.
Picht struck with a goal at 11:42 with an assist by Brody Gimberlin. Beyer got the puck in the net at 14:40 with assists by Rentz and Nate Vipond. 
It was Brody Gimberlin scoring the Storm's 11th and final goal at 16:13 of the third, assisted by Beyer and Picht.
Austin Crow worked in goal for the Storm and picked up 22 saves. His goalie rival was Alex Purdy.
Viva MBA Storm hockey for the winter of 2012-13!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hoops: Boys thump P-ville, girls down Benson

Boys: Tigers 66, Paynesville 29
There was no suspense in the MACA boys' Tuesday, Jan. 8, game at Paynesville. The game had a blow-out look from the very early stages.
How much so? The score at halftime was 24-5. The eventual 66-29 victory was No. 5 in the conference for coach Mark Torgerson's boys.
It was a young Bulldog team that looked outmanned in the first half. Coach Torgerson lauded his team on its defense. Meanwhile the Bulldogs struggled with their shooting eye.
The orange and black entered mid-week with a 5-0 conference record.
The Tigers had eleven points on the board before the green-clad host could manage its first points. The Tigers allowed only two field goals and a freethrow in that decisive first half.
Logan Manska continues to impress with his shooting eye. Again he looked poised putting up 3's. The guard had two such long-rangers in the first half.
Austin Dierks made sure the Tigers' inside game would be well-oiled. He and Lincoln Berget connected for several inside baskets in first half play. Dierks scored nine of his team-best 13 points in the first half.
Fans must have wondered how much incentive the Tigers would have, coming out for second half play. The second half proved to be more high-scoring for both teams. Was that by design? The Tigers punched down the accelerator to put in 42 points. Paynesville got untracked somewhat to score 24.
The second half was a share the wealth proposition for Tiger scoring. In all, eleven of the orange and black members put in points, as Morris Area Chokio Alberta worked to actually increase its lead. By night's end every roster member showed up in the scoring column - a real delight.
Several Tigers put the ball through the twine from three-point range. There was no letup on defense either. The Tigers suffocated a Bulldog team that had four sophomore starters and one junior. None of the Bulldogs scored in double figures. Andrew Topp led them with eight points.
For MACA it was the rangy Dierks leading in scoring with 13. Manska's 3's helped elevate him to eleven. Tyler Henrichs sprang from the bench to make timely contributions. His night's scoring output was nine points. Post man Berget also finished with nine.
The Tigers attacked the boards with far more success than the green crew, owning a 34-16 advantage in rebounds. Dierks vacuumed the boards for ten rebounds and Berget for eight.
The 20 team assists certainly spelled "teamwork." Jacob Torgerson dished out six of these while fellow guard Chandler Erickson had five.
Erickson was a terror stealing the basketball. He posted a team/season high of six. Coach Torgerson singled out senior point guard Erickson for special defensive kudos.
John Tiernan scored seven points. Bryce Jergenson had four, followed by Beau Keimig, Erickson and Torgerson each with three, while Aaron Goulet and Marcus Cannon each put in two.
The Tigers made seven of 17 attempts from three-point distance. Manska finished the night with three makes while four of his mates each made one: Keimig, Henrichs, Torgerson and Erickson.
In total field goals the Tigers were 28 of 61. In freethrows: three of nine. Berget and Dierks each blocked a shot.
Girls basketball: Tigers 59, Benson 35
The MACA girls worked to pick up their win No. 7 Thursday night (1/10) on the road.
The Tigers knew they'd have to overcome productive Benson scorer Emma Peterson. You can't expect to hold down this Brave completely. She in fact made noise with her scoring talent Thursday, with 23 points, but MACA had enough weapons to overcome.
Scoring balance was one of those weapons. Nine different Tigers put in points. The charge was led by Tracy Meichsner whose output was 12 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Joining her in double figures was Katie Holzheimer with eleven points and five rebounds.
MaKenzie Smith and Becca Holland each scored eight points. Beth Holland and Nicole Strobel each put in six. Abby Olson scored four points, and Moira McNally and Cassey Hickman two each.
The final score was 59-35.
Holzheimer made all three of the Tigers' successful three-pointers. The team was an efficient three of five in that category. In total field goals they were 25 of 58. Freethrows: six of 12.
Meichsner and Olson each had seven rebounds to lead. Holzheimer collected five boards.
Peterson had her usual prominent spot in the Benson scoring list. The next highest scorer, Hannah Ricard, had four points. Peterson and Alexa Nissen each made a '3' for the Braves. Benson was a cool two of 13 here. Peterson led Benson in three other categories too: rebounds (11), assists (3) and steals (5).
Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers built a 30-12 lead at halftime. He has to be happy about the 7-4 record his team owns. Benson came out of the night at 5-8.
Girls: Pelican Rapids 51, Tigers 43
The Korf girls, Mackenzie and Madison, were smooth in scoring at the expense of our MACA girls hoops squad Tuesday (1/8). This was a matchup of winning teams. Both were comfortably over .500, Pelican Rapids especially so.
Pelican Rapids came here with an 8-1 record and left at 9-1. The Tigers had a still quite good 6-4 mark.
Mackenzie and Madison Korf scored 34 points between them in this 51-43 win for Pelican Rapids.
The Tigers trailed by just two points at halftime, 23-21.
Mackenzie Korf scored 21 points in this contest, Madison 13. Each made one 3-pointer.
Katie Holzheimer made two 3-pointers for the orange and black. Becca Holland had the other '3' as MACA posted three of ten numbers in this category. In total field goals the MACA numbers were 15 of 52. In freethrows: ten of 15.
Holzheimer was the only Tiger achieving double figures scoring with her ten points. Then we have the Holland sisters: Beth with her eight points and Becca with seven. Continuing with the list are Nicole Strobel with six, and a trio of Tigers each with four: MaKenzie Smith, Tracy Meichsner and Kaitlin Vogel.
Smith and Strobel each vacuumed the boards for six rebounds. The assists were spread around as four Tigers each had three: Becca Holland, Holzheimer, Meichsner and Strobel.
Becca was aggressive on the court, stealing the ball five times.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

East coast media make U of M a poster child

Is Eric Kaler defensive now?
"You can't buy publicity like this," the saying goes.
We may be in Flyoverland but one of our institutions is very much under the analytical eye of the Beltway press. It started with the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post then rode piggy-back.
Our state's chief newspaper then re-ran the Washington Post piece. This happened on January 3 in the op-ed section. (When I was a kid we called them "the editorial pages.")
The Star Tribune gave us a provocative headline: "Let's shove back at higher ed."
A headline like this might have been unthinkable a decade ago. We used to see higher ed as a bastion of purity and enlightenment. To some extent it still commands such respect. A critical eye is much more permissible now.
Today we look at educational institutions and see the bureaucratic and ossified aspects more clearly. We are more apt to question all that. The need for cumbersome institutions with expensive assets and individuals seems more and more cause for skepticism.
The Beltway press somehow discovered that our University of Minnesota may be exhibit 'A' in how bureaucratic bloat ought to be seen for what it is. The Beltway press passed over all the institutions in the east and came out here. Why?
If such expose-writing is accurate, and it certainly seems so, we have some hard questions to answer. Charles Lane wrote the Washington Post piece. He comes right out and mentions that the Wall Street Journal piece was the source of much of his information. Lane states that alleged bloat is "typical" of American higher ed - "depressingly typical." If so, why did these elite papers single out the U of M?
It's not even easy reporting on the U of M. I can state as fact that the U employees don't exactly grease the skids when it comes to talking to newspaper reporters. They figure that reporters have an inordinate aim of writing stuff that might be deemed embarrassing or revelatory. And they're right!
U employees refer reporters to higher-ups, who in turn do likewise. So I think it's incredible that an outside newspaper could glean enough information to write a defining piece on how higher education is operating today. The venerable Wall Street Journal did that. The Washington Post then got inspired.
You remember the Washington Post: It's the paper whose reporters were once portrayed by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Attorney General John Mitchell got so upset he said the publisher would "get her tit in a wringer" if she kept pushing things.
Newspapers didn't realize it then, but they were at the apex of their power. And it really had little to do with journalism of the "All the President's Men" kind. It had to do with the business model. Newspapers are hardly what they once were. But they can occasionally break through the restraints and do something significant.
It's interesting and maybe even a little funny that the Star Tribune is just relying on the Washington D.C. writers.
The Washington writers feel some alarm bells need to start sounding about the resources given our traditional higher ed institutions. All this makes me wonder about our board of regents. Are they just ceremonial? I would hope they aren't just glorified stooges.
Certainly there are individuals in the system quite gifted at getting resources directed their way. That involves influencing politicians. The Democrats are feeling their oats in Minnesota now. Does that suggest a little less vigilance when it comes to government waste? A Democrat would cringe at that sentence. Democrats would argue that in order to get people to believe in government, government must be vigilant and accountable.
If the state is to be a partner with the U of M, there must be emphasis on maximizing resources for the benefit of all including those who come from limited means, maybe especially those who come from limited means. And the economic model isn't trending that way now.
The Post's Lane writes that "in the past decade, Minnesota's administrative payroll has gone up three times as fast as the teaching payroll, and twice as fast as student enrollment. Oh, and tuition more than doubled in that same period, to more than $13,000 per year."
Lane further writes that "the bloat on many U.S. campuses is now a significant cause, along with cutbacks in state spending, of the surge in tuition which in turn is an obstacle to upward mobility for an entire generation of young Americans."
Lane talks about "many college campuses" as if the disturbing trend is far-reaching. Which it apparently is. But somehow, he and the Wall Street Journal singled out our University of Minnesota like it's a special red flag. And somehow these scribes were able to penetrate the U's resistance to unflattering media attention.
The Star Tribune should be so motivated.
The Star Tribune's decision to re-print the Lane piece was significant.
I remember when our beloved Strib turned over space in the op-ed section to what I considered an undistinguished puff type of essay on the U from its president, Eric Kaler. I wrote a post at the time about Kaler's misuse of the English language right at the top: "everyday" instead of "every day." He wrote something to the effect that the U needs to "make the proper commitment everyday [sic]." We're not talking "everyday low prices" here.
Anyway, I shared an email exchange with an acquaintance of mine at Minnpost. I wondered if the Strib intended to turn over precious op-ed space on a regular basis to what amounted to selling jobs by our (beloved) University. My contact there, who's the same age as me, responded that the Strib had a long history of "puffing" the U of M.
With that as the backdrop, it's interesting the Strib would re-print Lane's incisive and embarrassing piece, alerting us to the Wall Street Journal piece also, in the January 3 edition.
Beth Hawkins of Minnpost is now engaged on the matter. That's not the person with whom I communicated.
Inspired by the Washington D.C. media, there may be watchdogs sprouting from within our state's own media. The Minnesota legislature ought to feel discouraged by what's revealed. There ought to be pressures for accountability from within.
The regents and legislature need to be aware and committed. We shouldn't need "Woodward and Bernstein" poking around. But it seems to have come to that.
The Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall. That's only a minor obstacle today. Other online pieces (like Lane's) can quote liberally from it. Not only that, at least one blog has re-printed it in full. Hawkins links to that blog. Gee, can you do that? Well, according to one of the Righthaven legal cases, an online writer can re-post a newspaper article in full and be protected by the "fair use" clause of copyright law.
Righthaven is a company that tried vainly to protect the "rights" of newspapers, to the detriment of the free and unfettered exchange of information in our society. It was knocked on its heels. It never succeeded with any cases that actually got to court. It only succeeded for a while by sending out intimidating letters to people who would get scared and just "pay up." This is still an evolving area of communications law. But judges are tilted in the right direction.
The Internet relentlessly pounds through all barriers. The old media behemoths are on the defensive.
What made our U of M so averse to newspaper attention? Maybe it goes back to that old bugaboo of athletics. The first big disaster to be noticed by my generation was the "knee to the groin." This happened during the absolutely fascinating tenure of Bill Musselman as U of M men's basketball coach.
(Back then we said "basketball" and not "men's basketball.")
Without doing any special research, I can come up with the names of some of the principals then. It was Corky Taylor who applied the knee to the groin. It was center Luke Witte of Ohio State who received it. An absolute brawl broke out on the court of Williams Arena, prompting Athletic Director Paul Giel, a gladhanding salesman of an AD if there ever was one, to say something like it was the worst thing he had ever seen in sports.
There would be more bad things coming for the U athletics. We can remember the image of the champagne glass cut into the hair of Mitch Lee. The way I recall, this U of M basketball player who didn't exactly seem like a scholar, had been exonerated on a matter that he should have been ashamed of anyway. The coach then was Jim Dutcher.
Jim's daughter Judi later appeared to cost the Minnesota DFL the governorship by not being able to answer a question about "E85."
Musselman left here with significant baggage. Only in America? His failings didn't prevent him from returning and being christened as the first-ever coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
We'll never forget the Gophers team of Taylor, Ron Behagen, Jim Brewer and Clyde Turner, and later Dave Winfield. Wasn't Winfield recruited off the intramural teams?
No chapter in Gophers history has been as memorable since. Even Musselman's pregame show, styled after the Harlem Globetrotters, is etched in our memory.
Musselman was definitely a "man in the arena." He "let it all hang out" to use an expression common in my youth.
Clem Haskins came along and left a legacy that wasn't exactly shimmering. His very involved academic tutor caused a stew of disapproval and scandal. I understand it was this scandal that really caused the U of M to try to retreat from that notorious nosy "news media."
Except the media have a way of poking through barriers that might seem impervious. We are being reminded of that thanks to the intrepid souls of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Thanks, guys.
The ball is now in your court, regents and legislators. Ski-U-mah.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hoopsters surge into new year winning

Girls basketball: Tigers 64, Paynesville 49
The Tigers downed Paynesville Friday (1/4) in a seesaw kind of game.
Playing at home, everything looked rosy for the Tigers at halftime. The scoreboard showed a 15-point lead. The Bulldogs proved to be tenacious for a time in the second half. They came here with a winning record. They weren't to be taken lightly at any point in this game. The Tigers got a reminder of this as the green crew steadily shaved the margin.
The margin got whittled all the way down to three. The time remaining: 12 minutes.
Coach Dale Henrich signalled for a timeout to try to settle down his crew. Whatever he said must have been precisely what the team needed. The Tigers surged back to own a lead of 17 points just two minutes later!
The final horn sounded with the score 64-49 and the Tigers owning their sixth win of the season. In conference they have yet to be beaten. Surely the new year is beginning with lots of optimism.
The Tigers overcame the 18 points scored by Bulldog Kayla Schaefer and the 13 put in by mate Erika Schlangen.
MaKenzie Smith was the Tiger topping the home team scoring list. This she accomplished with 18 points, and close behind her was a teammate whose presence on the court was closely watched because she's seeking to shake the effects of injury. Katie Holzheimer scored 16 points. Katie has been nursing an ankle problem.
The Tigers and Sauk Centre are tied for the WCC-North lead, both at 2-0 in this early stage.
Beth Holland was another Tiger scoring in double figures with her 12 points. Becca Holland and Tracy Meichsner each put in seven points. Nicole Strobel and Kaitlin Vogel each added two points to the mix.
The Holland sisters aren't tall in stature but they were more than capable in rebounding. Together they collected nine rebounds.
Abbie Olson was the top assist producer with five followed by Smith with four. Smith produced five steals followed by Holzheimer and Meichsner each with three.
The three-point shooting story was a quite fine five of ten. This could be a shaky department for the Tigers pre-holidays. On Friday Holzheimer found the range to make three of these long rangers. Beth and Becca Holland each made one.
In total field goals the Tigers made 21 of 45 tries. In freethrows the numbers were a sterling 17 of 22.
Bulldog Rachel Rittenhouse collected ten rebounds.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta enters the new week with a 6-3 overall record, 2-0 in conference.
Boys basketball: Tigers 65, BOLD 45
The Tigers made a third of their three-point shot tries in a Thursday (1/3) victory. Coach Mark Torgerson, a math teacher, probably isn't impressed that I can deduce "a third" from the four-for-12 numbers. But he's most pleased with his team having achieved its seventh win of the season.
The opponent was BOLD at home. The 65-45 triumph by the orange and black put the W/L numbers at 7-2 as we charge into January. The new year promises quite a bit of excitement for Morris Area Chokio Alberta fans.
Logan Manska made two of the 3-pointers in the win over BOLD. The other long-range successes were from Jacob Torgerson and Chandler Erickson.
The Tigers were 28-for-48 in total field goals and five-for-12 in freethrows.
MACA owned a 36-17 lead halfway through. The second half was basically a stalemate. BOLD came out of the night at 4-5.
The MACA offense was spearheaded by Austin Dierks. Dierks put in 28 points while also leading in rebounds with seven and steals with two. John Tiernan pulled down four rebounds. Two Tigers each had four assists: Torgerson and Manska.
Eleven Tigers total had their names show up in the scoring list. Dierks was followed by Manska who finished the night with eight points. Tiernan's output was six points. Jacob Torgerson's '3' was part of five points scored.
Lincoln Berget added four points to the mix. Erickson and Nic Vipond each scored three points, and four Tigers got onto the list each with two points: Tom Holland, Beau Keimig, Dillon McNally and Tyler Henrichs.
Two players scored in double figures for the visiting Warriors: Tyler Rock with 14 points and Tyler Lothert with eleven. The Warriors were 17 of 51 in shooting from the field, four of 17 in 3's and seven of nine in freethrows. Lothert made three of the 3's.
Viva MACA boys and girls hoops with 2013 underway!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ushering in the New Year with Jack Benny

Remember when New Year's Eve was celebrated right at New Year's Eve? That was the whole idea: to watch the clock as that magical time of midnight arrived. It was literally the new year, so raise a toast at midnight and make merry.
A trend developed for more and more celebrating to be done earlier in the day. A New Year's Eve party might be held in the evening or even the afternoon.
I was reminded of the more traditional approach when following a personal ritual of mine last night (New Year's Eve). This ritual is to watch a DVD of an old Jack Benny New Year's special. I bought this DVD on a whim at our old Coborn's store once. It includes both a Christmas and New Year's Eve special.
We're reminded of the 1950s in these specials. The New Year's Eve special is a total delight.
Sorry, not so with the Christmas special - too bad - because we see an unenlightened aspect of that fading-away time. The Christmas special gets "humor" at the end from the Mel Blanc character committing suicide - we hear a gunshot - as he is annoyed by the Benny character who plays a department store customer. Today we understand suicide as a reflection of mental illness.
The Benny show creators meant well scripting this episode I'm sure. They also gave us a panorama of 1950s adult culture in the New Year's Eve special. The New Year's Eve special was artistically terrific, better than I would have expected. I love the whole premise of Benny and his troupe approaching a holiday with such verve.
It wasn't entertainers performing from a stage or studio. It was entertainers as they might have celebrated the holiday as real people.
There is some ignorance in this program just as in the Christmas program but I can dismiss it as innocent, or let's just say it's easier to dismiss it as innocent. The Jack Benny New Year's Eve special gets humor in several places from the idea of excessive alcohol consumption.
We are getting further removed from a culture that thinks getting drunk is funny or harmless. Mothers Against Drunk Driving had a lot to do with the change. This group was the driving force but I feel there was some inevitability behind it anyway.
I see the old humor as epitomized by Benny as reflecting innocence. The suicide bit at the end of the Christmas special was just a little too much for me.
I think we all wax nostalgic when we think of the days when the Greatest Generation - yes, I'm afraid they're associated with those cultural traits - lived life with some excess and detachments. We see on the Benny show the great spectacle of people jammed into nightclubs, filling tables left and right, waiting for the clock to reach midnight. Noisemakers, funny little hats and confetti are everywhere. You'd need a bulldozer to clean it all up afterward.
There's live music with instruments like saxes and clarinets, not guitars. Inhibitions? Forget it, there aren't any. The booze flowed.
Everyone knew there were certain individuals in their midst who wouldn't be able to handle it well. Was drunk driving even enforced then?
The Jack Benny special gets some of its humor from this activity but there's so much other stuff that's good and endearing. The camaraderie of Benny's little troupe is a distinctive quality. They seem sort of like "good old boys," the truly good kind. We don't even know what some of their talents are. They're "buddies."
We should all be so lucky as to belong to networks like this. These were men who wore suits and ties. They were respectful.
We definitely know the talents of Dennis Day. Day breaks into song during an informal gathering of the guys. This was anything but a token song. It was about "being an Irishman." Day is able to intone various foreign accents as he celebrates the nationality. Other troupe members play instruments. The spirit of sheer fun and innocence pervades.
This was fun as defined by the Greatest Generation, the generation that won World War II. The gang wraps up their music and then departs for their "night on the town," leaving Benny behind who presumably has a date. This is a setup for misfortune of course.
It turns out his date cancels because she's called upon to work a shift as a waitress. He visits the restaurant where she's working. The prices are staggeringly low.
He goes out on the streets where the spirit of the nightclubs has spilled out. A couple drunks befriend him. One of them forgets if he's been drinking Scotch or bourbon.
Finally Benny ends up in his apartment suite, bemoaning how the evening turned out and seeming lonely. Except that he ends up not lonely at all. There to share his company is - guess who? - Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.
You probably remember "Rochester" as Benny's valet/chauffeur. As an African American he broke a comedic barrier. The prescient Benny treated him as an equal, eschewing any racial stereotype. The valet could one-up his vain, skinflint boss.
Rochester opens champagne and he and Benny usher in the new year together, seated on a sofa. You can hear the sounds of revelry from outside. This was "the old days" when New Year's Eve celebrating was literally at New Year's Eve, midnight, not at an evening dinner gathering.
Am I implying it's more pure? I'm really only implying it's somewhat dated. I myself ushered in 2013 at an evening dinner gathering at our Morris Senior Community Center. It was wonderful. Does the Regional Fitness Center still host something for New Year's Eve Day? That used to be a big family-centered celebration.
I'm writing this post on New Year's Day morning. Can you imagine how in the old days all those people felt on New Year's Day morning, presuming they could roll out of bed at all? The "hangover" was just as funny as what they did the night before.
But we all love the Greatest Generation. They did some careless things in a time when we all were so much more undisciplined and unenlightened. But they defeated the Third Reich. They defeated the empire of Japan. They deserved a little slack.
Let's all remember Jack Benny. He became an entertainment icon as a comic penny-pinching miser. He was perpetually 39 years old. His violin playing left something to be desired. His comic timing was oh so precise with a mere pause or expression. His radio and TV shows were popular from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Hey all you people who think we need more rigorous academic standards today: Benny was expelled from high school! He became a friend of Zeppo Marx and began his rise. He was a product of vaudeville. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War I, when he found that his violin playing could bring some boos. The boos gave him some inspiration. He discovered he could "ad lib" his way out of such situations.
The comic blossomed. He took on the name "Jack" because this was a common sailor's nickname. Previously he was "Ben" and came under pressure to change due to the lawyer for someone named "Ben Bernie."
Well, my name is Brian Williams, same as the NBC News anchorman, but I'm under no pressure to change. Still, when I send an email to someone who might be confused, I sign it "Brian Williams, not the anchorman."
The violin became mainly a prop for Benny. Low-key comedy became his stock in trade. He got on Ed Sullivan's radio show in 1932.
Benny hosted his own weekly radio show from 1932 to 1948. His stage image of being cheap, petty and vain was totally unlike the real Benny.
The supporting characters like Dennis Day were an important part of the formula - easy to overlook some, like "straight men."
Benny was the lovable "everyman."
In 1948 television was on the horizon. Benny was most surely ready. He had his own TV show from 1950 to 1965. CBS dropped the show because of demographics in 1964. Those darn demographics! NBC picked him up for a year but the show got fewer viewers than Gomer Pyle USMC (Jim Nabors).
The regular TV show ended but Benny hosted occasional TV specials which I'm sure most boomers like me remember. He and Bob Hope became stalwarts with this. Hope especially seemed to become a cultural anachronism. It was easy to love Benny throughout his career.
I love ushering in the New Year each year with the Jack Benny DVD from 1954. It's like entering a time machine. The entertainment is so well-crafted and inspired. This was the Greatest Generation at its cultural zenith.
Let's have a toast (maybe with grapefruit juice).
Addendum: Did it really help to put a hot water bottle on one's head to deal with the hangover? Or was that just a stereotype from the comic strips?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com