"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)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Strange tale of ass't Stevens County attorney

Timothy Rundquist, RIP
What was up with that assistant Stevens County attorney? I wasn't aware of that incident until I glanced at the front page of the Morris newspaper on the front of a vending machine.
That story was definitely an "above the fold" kind, not that I was induced to push five quarters into the machine. Who has five quarters on him/her to buy a paper that way? Five quarters? Upon buying it, you'd grab that pile of advertising inserts and heave them into the nearest waste receptacle. Then you'd get into your vehicle and breathlessly read that sensational article.
An assistant Stevens County attorney was killed while fleeing police. That's definitely man-bites-dog.
I wrote about the Stevens County attorney's office last year for a different reason. We had that little scandal of serious criminal charges filed against a local school administrator. Those charges were dropped with a disturbing lack of clarity over why they were dropped. Were they dropped because the accuser's story was false or made up? Did the county attorney's office just want us to assume that? Or not? They could have just made things clear with the facts. They had no problem making big public pronouncements when they were aggressive and trying to nail that administrator.
Now we have an assistant county attorney killed while trying to flee police.
I wasn't happy seeing a police car's flashing lights when I got pulled over for no seat belt a couple years ago. I was pulled over for seat belt as a primary offense. I was transporting my parents home from the senior center, so I would like to think I didn't conform to any criminal profile.
When Jesse Ventura was governor, he said peace officers should be "courteous to the public" in these situations. I suppose there's a contrary theory that asserts that if police officers are terse and stern, that's part of the punishment for what you did, like going to a website to try to pay your fine and finding it's not user-friendly, or finding there's a "convenience fee" for paying online. I wrote an email to State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen about the latter and got no response. Why should I be assessed extra simply for taking advantage of "convenience?" Isn't "convenience" something we all seek? Is it not an ideal?
The police officer who came up to me could have scored points by just saying "How are you all doing today?" Takes two seconds. But no, there was a terse request for license and proof of insurance. He came back and said "do you realize that when you don't wear your seat belt, you can become a projectile?" And I felt like saying: "Do you realize that when you pull over someone like this, you can become an 'asshole?' "
I talked to someone who actually served on some kind of law enforcement commission locally, who told me that even he doesn't wear his seat belt all the time. He said if it was a short routine jaunt, he might not bother. I told him he damn well better buckle up at all times, because all it takes is being spotted for a split second, and then you're toast.
If seat belts are absolutely essential, why then wasn't there such vigorous enforcement, say, 30 years ago? Were we hopeless Neanderthals then?
Today if you experience sex with an unmarried partner, you have the risk of that person going to law enforcement (over feeling under-appreciated, maybe?) and having the rest of your life tarred.
 
Theory re. the fleeing attorney
So, what was up with the assistant Stevens County attorney? My theory is that he had been consuming alcohol. Continuing with this theory, I think he was perfectly capable of driving safely, but had had some alcohol and realized that legal charges could be life-changing for him.
Many people have a perfectly sound mind and can drive safely after doing a little social drinking. But, all that matters when you get pulled over, is what that testing machine shows. If it's over a certain level, my, the consequences are oh so drastic. Maybe they are too drastic, except for cases where the consumption was obviously reckless and excessive.
Oh, but even minor impairment can endanger people, right? Well, I suppose that's true, but human beings can have all sorts of limitations. Let's consider people over the age of 80 who continue to drive. You might bristle and say "My dad is 85 and I know he can drive safely." I'd respond by saying that "by the same token, many people I know can have a couple alcohol drinks with supper and drive safely." They'd retort: "Oh no, you're impaired." And by the same token I'd say "people over age 80 are going to be impaired."
In the world of pro baseball, it is a known fact that at the age of 33, you begin losing your reflexes. I'd say that age 80 is quite a bit further down the road.
What about sleep-deprived people at the wheel? What about people on certain kinds of medication? What about people driving vehicles that aren't optimally maintained, as with tires not properly inflated? If we are going to be this severe with DWIs, then I would quote Mike McFeely of KFGO Radio, Fargo: "Maybe it's time we made alcohol illegal."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boys defeat Lac qui Parle, fall to Melrose

Tigers 54, LQPV 44
The Tigers worked to a 24-19 halftime lead and went on to defeat the visiting Eagles of Lac qui Parle Valley on Thursday, 12/18. Fans at the MAHS gym enjoyed this 54-44 boys hoops triumph over the Eagles.
MACA drew up to .500 but would lose that standing on the following night at Melrose.
Against the Eagles we made 22 of 46 field goal tries and were seven of 15 in freethrows. Noah Grove made a pair of three-point shots. Grove scored 12 points and was edged on the scoring list by Eric Staebler who scored 13. Andrew Goulet added nine points to the winning mix.
Sean Amundson scored seven followed by Jacob Zosel (5), Riley Biesterfeld (4) and Jordan Arbach (2). I realize these individual totals add up to 52 points, not 54. I got 52 from the West Central Tribune and then just now got the same on the Morris newspaper website. Maybe I'll get coach Torgerson to clarify this.
Sorry to be so pesky adding up the totals all the time. Math isn't even my forte, it's coach Torgerson's forte.
Staebler completed a double-double with his 13 rebounds. He and Zosel each performed three assists, and Goulet stole the ball twice.
LQPV's field goal shooting numbers were 17 of 47. In freethrows: three of six. One Eagle scored in double figures: Lucas Strand with 16 points. Noah Jensen scored seven followed by Garrett Olson (6), Brandon Hill (5), Austin Hass (4), Kellen Kessler (3) and Jon Nielsen (3).
Strand was a deadeye from beyond the 3-point stripe, making four long-rangers for LQPV. Jensen was Lac qui Parle's top rebounnder with seven. Olson and Nielsen each had three assists, and Olson performed two steals.
The Tigers' defense earned kudos. Take a look at the cool 36 percent shooting performance by the Eagles.
 
Melrose 68, Tigers 59
Melrose kept its unbeaten record intact with a win over the MACA boys on Friday (12/19). The Tigers slipped to under .500 with this 68-59 loss at the Melrose gym.
Melrose built a 36-27 advantage by halftime. The Dutchmen enter the new week with a 6-0 overall record, 5-0 in conference. Our Tigers sit at 4-5 with a disappointing 1-5 conference showing. The squad will strive to regroup to show a more competitive stance for the new year.
The Dutchmen had eight more field goals than the Tigers. They were awarded just eight freethrow attempts but made all eight. We had 20 field goals and were 16 of 26 in freethrows.
Three Tigers scored in double figures led by Noah Grove and his 15 points. Eric Staebler put in 13 points and Jacob Zosel had ten. Sean Amundson and Andrew Goulet each scored five. The list continues with Riley Biesterfeld (4), Austin Hills (3), Nic Solvie (2) and Ian Howden (2).
Grove made a pair of 3's while Hills made one. Staebler topped the rebound list with his seven. Zosel had five assists and Grove had two steals.
Dillon Haider made a pair of 3's for the winning Dutchmen. Cesar Cervantes and Drake Meyer each made one. Meyer collected the team-best seven rebounds. Cervantes dished out five assists.
Tyler Braegelmann was the game's scoring standout with 24 points. The balanced Melrose scoring list included Isaac Herkenhoff with eleven points. Meyer scored eight followed by three Dutchmen each with six: Dillon Haider, Zak Luetmer and Blake Gerads. Colton Meyer scored four points and Cesar Cervantes three.
When I was in high school, Melrose had one of the best basketball players in the nation in Mark Olberding. He went on to NCAA Division I and then the pros.
 
The cemetery chimes
Years ago we saw a skirmish in the Morris newspaper's letters section over the cemetery bells or chimes. Apparently we gained no resolution. The matter is erupting again.
Does anyone think it will go away, minus some drastic action to quiet the public? The conflict is unsettling. So is the sheer stupidity. I am angered.
The issue here isn't the merits of the music or whether the U.S. is a Christian nation and must be affirmed as such. There is a fundamental American principle at stake here: "A man's home is his castle." There is something sacred about a person's personal property and personal residence.
Simply put: We are all entitled to peace and quiet around our residence if we want it. It's that simple. Once again, I'm starting to feel like the only sane person in an insane asylum. Maybe I'm in a "Twilight Zone" episode.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Girls apply clamps in first half, beat Monte

Tigers 79, Monte 63
Once again the MACA girls and boys basketball teams played on the same night. The girls supplied the main highlight on Tuesday, Dec. 16: a 79-63 win over Montevideo in another high-scoring game.
Coach Dale Henrich's squad sealed the deal in the first half. The 51-18 score at the halfway point showed MACA well on its way to its third win of the season.
The MACA offense was a share-the-wealth system. Lauren Reimers topped the scoring list with 19 points and was closely followed by Becca Holland and Correy Hickman each with 17. The fourth Tiger in double figures was Tracy Meichsner with eleven. Lacee Maanum contributed seven points, Kayla Pring five and Piper Gibson three.
Holland zeroed in from three-point range, making three long-rangers. Hickman sank two from beyond that arc, and Reimers did it once. Meichsner led in rebounds with nine. Holland was the top assist producer with seven. Reimers stole the ball five times.
The orange and black made 25 of 56 field goal tries. We were 23 of 40 in freethrows. Monte was 20 of 53 in field goals and was quite good in freethrows where their numbers were 21 of 28. MACA had substantially more freethrow attempts.
Three Thunder Hawks were proficient in scoring, each with 12 points: Lexi Quigley, Natalie Feldhake and Morgan Reidinger. Abby Olson put in eleven. The list continues with Nikki Erickson (6), Eric Nalken (4), Alexis Schmitz (4) and Kalley Maroney (2). Olson and Erickson each made a 3-point shot. Quigley and Reidinger each had five rebounds.
Our next assignment is to play at Melrose on Friday.
 
Boys hoops: Benson 65, MACA 57
The Tuesday story wasn't so rosy for the Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys: a 65-57 loss at the hands of Benson. The orange and black slipped below .500 with this setback. Benson is having a .500 campaign. Benson got up on the Tigers by a score of 30-21 at halftime.
Aaron Ahrndt helped pace the Benson victory with his 16 points and five assists. Layton Connelly was right behind with his 15 points, and this Brave used three-pointers in a big way, making three. Ahrndt led in a variety of categories as he grabbed six rebounds, dished out five assists and stole the ball four times.
There are two Lindahls on the scoring list but the Willmar newspaper doesn't provide us with first names.
Eric Staebler topped the MACA scoring list with 14 points. Sean Amundson and Andrew Goulet joined Eric in double figures with 12 and 10 respectively. Noah Grove added nine points to the mix. Jacob Zosel came through with nine and Riley Biesterfeld added three.
Amundson found the range to make two 3-point shots. Staebler swept the boards to collect 17 rebounds. He led in steals with three. Zosel dished out five assists. The orange and black made 19 of 47 field goal attempts. We were pinpoint in freethrow shooting where the numbers were 17 of 22.
Our won-lost numbers coming out of Tuesday were 3-4 overall and 1-4 in conference.
 
Girls hockey: Marshall 5, MBA 4
The skaters of Morris Benson Area flirted with victory Tuesday night. It was a heartbreaking affair as we went up 3-0 only to get edged in the end in OT.
Marshall like MAHS has the "Tigers" nickname, but in hockey there's little potential for confusion as we're the "Storm."
The score was 1-0 after one period. Kelsey Rajewsky scored that initial MBA goal, assisted by Kamri Kalthoff and Hanna Lindblad. MBA went up 2-0 with a goal by Kayla Benson in the second period. Assists came from Kalthoff and Nicole Berens. Then it was Abby Daly scoring unassisted for the Storm, making the score 3-0.
Marshall began clawing back with a goal by Allie Bladholm, assisted by Tessa Coudron and Mikenna Radke. Miranda Fischer injected more "mo" for Marshall in period #3. Fischer's goal was assisted by Sara Antony and Hanna Peterson. So now the score is 3-2.
It was Marshall's Peterson scoring at 6:40 of the third, assisted by Radke and Alysia Rupp. Bladholm put the puck in the net at 4:12 assisted by Fischer.
Berens got things tied up for the Storm at :56, setting the stage for overtime. An air of drama prevailed as the Storm and Tigers assembled on the ice again. Fischer scored for Marshall to end this contest with a score of 5-4. Courtney Mauch assisted.
Abbey Hoffman was the goalie for MBA and had 27 saves. Her goalie rival was Morgan Morrill whose save total was 27.
 
Girls hockey: Windom 5, MBA 4
In another recent close and heartbreaking loss, MBA was on the short end vs. Windom at Windom. The score was the same as versus Marshall: 5-4.
The Storm came on strong in the game's early stages. Holli Christians put the puck in the net with an assist by Hanna Lindblad. Then it was Kelsey Rajewsky scoring for the Storm assisted by Hallie Watzke. So the score is 2-0.
Windom got on the board with a goal by Molly Boyum. Windom outscored the Storm 3-2 in a wild second period. Kaylee Jansen scored for Windom assisted by Addison Beaty. Jolyssa Higley-Purrington kept Windom surging with a goal assisted by Boyum. Boyum scored at 11:55 of the second. MBA scored the last two goals of the period. Watzke scored both of these, assisted each time by Emily Walz.
Beaty of Windom scored the game-winner at 16:51 of the third period. It was an unassisted goal with nine seconds remaining. Heartbreak for the Storm!
Abbey Hoffman had 16 saves as the MBA goalie. Emily Steen saved 39 for Windom.
 
Wrestling: Grant County Invite
Travis Ostby highlighted MAHACA's appearance in the Grant County Invite. Ostby took champion honors at 138 pounds. MAHACA had a modest seventh place showing among the 12 teams. The "United" team took No. 1. Ostby had a 3-0 day to pace the Tigers. Dalton Rose was 0-2 at 106 pounds. Matt Munsterman had a 1-2 showing at 120 pounds. Jared Rohloff took fourth place at 126 pounds, going 2-2. Trenton Nelson went 2-2 at 132 pounds to place fifth.
Dakota Luepke won two bouts and dropped two at 145 pounds. Levin Strand had an 0-2 day at 152. Trent Ostby went 0-2 at 160. Steven Koehl manned the 170-pound category and placed third with his 3-1 showing.
Toby Sayles went 0-2 at 182. Jacob Sperr had a 2-2 showing good for fourth place at 220 pounds. Alec Gausman went 3-1 for second place at 285.
The Grant County Invite was wrestled on Saturday, 12/13, at Barrett.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"You'll Know It's Christmas Time" w/ music

Debra Gordon sings my song.
The photo at right shows your blog host, Brian Williams, meeting Santa Claus at Dayton's Department Store, Minneapolis, in about 1958. I remember being scared of ol' Saint Nick. See that in my eyes? I'm sure the character was played by a real nice gentleman.
 
Every songwriter should try to ply his craft with a Christmas theme. I have done so with a song called "You'll Know It's Christmas Time." I invite you to listen to this song from YouTube. Get in your frame of mind with Christmas cheer and click on the link below. Thanks to Gulsvig Productions of Starbuck for getting my music online.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEuxg0dL9SQ
 
Nothing is more personal than Christmas. It inspires memories that can make you misty. "I'll be Home for Christmas" makes me misty.
Last year I wrote a post about my favorite Christmas song: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." That song conjures up an image of stillness and of contented contemplation.
In my song, there is the repeated line: "Look around and you'll know it's Christmas Time." Originally I planned this line as the full title for the song. In my last email communications with the demo recording producer, he had a notation at the bottom referring to the song as "You'll Know It's Christmas Time." I don't know if he did that for brevity or if he thought this would be a better (more compact) title.
One other twist: All through my creative process I had "Christmas Time" as one word: "Christmastime." Mr. Michels in Nashville TN had "Christmas Time" in his notation. Hey, I think I like that better! Whether he really intended to modify my song title, or was just engaging in hurried communication, he influenced me to make the changes.
A songwriter can get so involved in his song through development, you can't see the forest for the trees sometimes.
It is very common for musical works to go through an assortment of "tweaks." When Paul McCartney was developing "Eleanor Rigby," he used the name "Miss Daisy Hawkins" for a time. "Eleanor Rigby" sings better. Paul saw the name "Rigby" on a storefront, legend has it.
The Lennon/McCartney collaboration was so terrific because the two could iron out each other's flaws or tamp down each other's excesses. Some of those flaws came out after the two went their separate ways. McCartney in particular could get careless and loose at times.
I have learned to greatly respect the music talent in Nashville TN. It covers the spectrum today, not confined to what might be called the "twangy" country of days gone by. There is nothing wrong with the "twangy" genre if the songs are composed tastefully. A steady diet of any kind of music can get to be too much.
 
"You'll Know It's Christmas Time"
My song begins with a reference to tinsel, those silver-colored adornments on the Christmas tree. My late father was fond of that decoration. We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. In my adult years, my father began a practice of making sure I got a 12-pack of Mello Yello soft drink every Christmas. Peanut brittle was another staple for us. 
I move on to the subject of Santa Claus. Look at the photo accompanying this post. Enough said.
"There are presents lying on the floor," my song continues. Yes, we placed the gifts at the base of our Christmas tree. You could find the jigsaw puzzle by shaking them! "Carolers at the door." The neighborhood kids of Northridge Drive made the rounds in the 1960s. We'd sing "We wish you a merry Christmas. . .We won't go until we get some!"
I'm pleased to include a direct reference to the Christ child in my song. My favorite Christmas video is "The Little Drummer Boy" with narrator Greer Garson. It gets at the essence of Christmas. BTW the drummer boy story isn't in the Bible.
"In the eyes of the little ones. . ." Yes, Christmas is for children, which I make clear in my chorus. "Say it loud, say it all around." Yes, openly share the spirit of Christmas.
The last verse begins with a reference to "oyster stew." I wouldn't be familiar with this Christmas staple were it not for the late Delmar Holdgrafer, the cartoonist/artist of Donnelly.
"It's a sentimental journey every year." Remember the song "Sentimental Journey" sung by Doris Day? It was a rather somber WWII-era song.
"Watch the spirit of the season come to every man and beast." Our family pets added to our tapestry of Christmas immensely: Sandy, Heidi and Misty.
The Christmas spirit envelops us, as you will note if you pay a visit to Northridge Drive, out by the soils laboratory. We're counting down the days.
 
The timing for Christmas music
How soon is too soon to start enjoying Christmas music? Certainly you shouldn't play any of this before Thanksgiving. I used to think any time after Thanksgiving was OK. This is all very subjective of course. A daughter of a co-worker once admonished me for playing some pure Christmas carols at a time she thought was a little premature, perhaps the first week of December. I was playing a Garth Brooks CD.
I can see where these carols are best enjoyed in the days leading up to Christmas. I used to play Christmas CDs late at night at the old Sun Tribune building in the time leading up to Christmas. Today I'd be told I'm crazy to consider working such late hours. I would be prohibited from even doing it. I'm an "old school" journalist who feels our craft needs to be plied at odd hours sometimes. Such a disposition is quaint. The public doesn't want its journalism provided by sleep-deprived or manic people.
I used to produce two full pages of sports for the Hancock Record every week - a task that (among other tasks) kept me working until about 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I remember once riding home on bike on that dirt road in the field in front of ShopKo, and a police car took chase. Today, given the behavior of police officers, there's a chance I could be shot and killed.
Of course, I no longer work for the newspaper. Today the paper's top priority is to see we get our Elden's advertising circular every week. And Fleet Farm, and Target, and Trumm Drug, and Running's, and Sears, and Menards et. al. Where are all these stores in Morris? (Who shops at Sears anymore?)
 
A monotone memory (charming)
We all have unique Christmas memories. I'll never forget a classmate whose initials were S.S. being a complete clueless monotone singing as part of an elementary Christmas concert. I had to bite my cheeks to keep from laughing during "Silver Bells." Close your eyes and imagine a monotone singing "Silver Bells." Priceless.
Nevertheless, the Christmas spirit is all that matters.
Merry Christmas, and "look around and you'll know it's Christmas Time." God bless all those who make music. The singer of my song is Debra Gordon. I can tell she's a vivacious individual.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Grove and Staebler stoke offense in road win

Tigers 68, 'Waska 57
The Tigers came on strong to turn back the Lakers of Minnewaska Area Tuesday night (12/9).
The orange and black built a 26-18 advantage by halftime. The scoring pace quickened in the second half. MACA surged to score 42 second half points, putting their game total at 68. We won this conference contest by a score of 68-57 at 'Waska. We put in 24 field goals and made 17 of 27 freethrow attempts.
MACA takes a 2-2 record into tomorrow's (Thursday) home game against Montevideo. The Lakers of 'Waska have a 1-3 record in conference and overall.
Noah Grove had a hot hand for the Tigers Tuesday. Noah made three shots from beyond the 3-point arc. He finished with a team-best 28 points. Right on his heels on the scoring list was the always-productive Eric Staebler. Grove and Staebler were quite the 1-2 punch with 28 and 27 points respectively. These two were complemented by: Sean Amundson (five points), C.J. Nagel (4), Ian Howden (3) and Jacob Zosel (1).
Minnewaska made 19 of 68 field goal tries and was a proficient 10/12 in freethrows. Austin VerSteeg led 'Waska in rebounds with 12 and assists with three. Michael Gruber stole the ball five times. Matt McIver was an imposing presence on the court with his 27 points.
The remainder of the 'Waska scoring list includes: Riley Thompson (8), Michael Gruber (7), VerSteeg (5), Jackson Hendrickson (3), Thorin Erickson (3), Justin Amundson (2) and Greg Helander (2).
 
Hancock boys 87, RCW 75
This game had a complexion of potent offense. Hancock's proved to be superior. Their foe was Renville County West. Noah Kannegiesser had the hot hand for Hancock, scoring 35 points in this 87-75 triumph. It was Hancock's second triumph of the young season.
Kannegiesser also contributed nine assists. Collin Brown paced the Owls in rebounds with ten and in steals with six. The Owls made 34 of 57 field goal tries and were sharp at the freethrow line with their 10 of 12 numbers.
Long-range shooting was a forte shown by Kannegiesser: five 3-pointers made. Let's review the whole scoring list: Kannegiesser (35), Logan Kisgen (19), Brown (17), Chandler Gramm (6), Tyler Reese (4), Andrew Shaw (2), Brandon Shaw (2) and Bryce Schmidgall (2).
The Owls outscored RCW 40-36 in the first half and 47-39 in the second.
Three RCW players scored in double figures: Ian Engstrom (25), Colin Thompson (18) and Brady Holwerda (16). Four RCW players each made one '3'.
 
Boys hockey: River Lakes 4, MBA 3
MBA took the ice on Tuesday to vie with River Lakes on the River Lakes ice. The ice is on neither a river or lake, of course. This puck action was in Paynesville and required overtime.
Regulation ended with the score deadlocked three-all. MBA had a 1-0 lead after one period. Brennden DeHaan scored that initial MBA goal. Assists came from Colden Helberg and Corey Goff. Alas, River Lakes owned the second period. Grant Thompson scored with an assist from Cody Pulsifer; and Hunter Sjoberg put the puck in the net assisted by Ethan Parsons and Jake Jenson. The Sjoberg goal came on a power play.
MBA fought back, scoring the first two goals of the third period. First it was Kevin Meixel with an unassisted job. Then came a goal by Tyler Bergman with assists from Helberg and DeHaan. River Lakes answered with a goal by Matt Prozinski, assisted by Connor Beltz and Jake Kuhlman.
The OT story had Grant Thompson scoring at 6:43, bringing jubilation among the home team fans. Beltz and Prozinski supplied assists on the game-winner. River Lakes could savor their 4-3 win.
Tony Bruns worked in goal for MBA and had 48 saves. Nick Skluzacek had 23 saves as the River Lakes goaltender.
 
A thank you
Thanks to Wanda Dagen, MAHS band director, for sending me a personal email saying the upcoming Monday (12/15) band concert had been changed from 8 p.m. to 7:30. The school calendar had 8 p.m.
In recent weeks I have expressed consternation at so many events in Morris having details changed from what was originally announced (starting time and even the date in one instance).
A couple months ago there was an event at Federated Church where the posters around town said "coffee and rolls in the morning," so, we show up at about 8:30 a.m. and were told the serving wouldn't begin until 9. In fact, we found the tone of the clarification to be a little rude. One person said "that door is supposed to be locked," as if I were personally responsible for the door being locked. The posters around town should have made clear the serving would begin at 9 a.m.
Thanks to Wanda I know the upcoming concert at MAHS will be at 7:30, so I won't have steam coming out of my ears that night if we arrive at the wrong time.
The worst part of being corrected in this situation is sometimes being scolded as follows: "Don't you listen to the Morris radio station?" Well, I only rarely listen to the radio. If I were to state this, I'd be scolded: "Well, then it's your problem."
Sometimes as when bad weather is approaching, I'll turn on the Morris radio and within a couple minutes, I'm forced to listen to a rock 'n' roll song from the 1950s. I'm irritated by that, blaring as it does from a cheap radio's speakers. "Well, get a better radio." Sorry.
I have a better idea: Maybe the school calendar should be online-only, then any changes can get typed immediately onto the calendar and the calendar will be correct and accurate at all times. How about that?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tigers and Owls win in girls basketball

Tigers 62, ACGC 25
MACA evened up its record at 1-1 with a most impressive win over the ACGC Falcons. Coach Dale Henrich's squad began like gangbusters, outscoring the Falcons 40-17 in the first half of this game played Thursday (12/4) at ACGC.
Nothing much changed in the second half. The Tigers had a 22-8 advantage to finish things up. The 62-25 win left MACA fans in an especially upbeat mood with the holiday season building.
The Tigers made 24 of their 56 field goal tries. They were eight of 12 at the freethrow line. Lauren Reimers found the groove from beyond the 3-point line. Lauren made three long-rangers followed by these three Tigers each with one: Liz Tiernan, Becca Holland and Correy Hickman.
Hickman was all over the court, leading the team in rebounds (5), assists (5) and steals (5).
Reimers' three-point shooting helped put her on top of the scoring list with 12 points. Let's continue with that list: Holland (11), Hickman (9), Kayla Pring (6), Piper Gibson (5), Liz Tiernan (5), Ashley Solvie (4), Moira McNally (4), Tracy Meichsner (2), Nicole Solvie (1) and Madi Wevley (1).
These totals add up to 60 points, not 62, but this is how it was reported in the Saturday Willmar newspaper. The same kind of discrepancy happened after the Tigers' previous game. I contacted coach Henrich about that, to see if he could clear it up for me, but he did not answer my email. So I won't try again. I'm just trying to report accurately on MACA girls basketball. That's a laudable aim, is it not? I invite your feedback. 
The ACGC Falcons made just eight field goals on the night. They were eight of 21 at the freethrow line. Maree Lee and Kendra Miller each scored six points. Payton Wilner and Madison Whitcomb each scored four. Katie Moore completes the list with five points. These totals do add up to 25.
 
Hancock 62, Ortonville 28
Season opener night finally arrived for the Hancock girls on Friday (12/5). It was no contest as the Owls showed a winning flourish. The opponent was Ortonville. The final score was 62-28.
Lexi Steege was a cog in the Owls' smoothly operating offense. Lexi put in 19 points and stole the ball ten times. Kassandra Algarate came through with 12 points and nine steals.
The Owls led 25-15 at the half and really came on strong in the second half, outscoring the stunned Trojans 36-13.
Algarate was the rebound leader with nine and topped the assists list with seven. Steege put in three 3-point shots to build her team-leading point total. Sabrina Mattson also connected three times from 3-point range, and her point total was eleven.
In all there were four Owls scoring in double figures. Claire Hanson put in ten points. The scoring list continues with Tess Steiner (6), Kayla Crowell (2) and Ashlyn Mattson (2).
The Owls' dominance was despite not making any freethrows. They were 0-2 in that department. In total field goals the squad was 28 of 70.
Rachel Hoerneman led Ortonville's scoring with eleven points. Madison Stegnar scored eight, Kristen Erickson and Alisha Ross four each, and Stephanie Rausch one.
The Owls' next foe will be Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tigers pounce on NL-Spicer in home BBB

Tigers 73, NL-Spicer 51
A win over New London-Spicer is a plum in the world of Morris Area Chokio Alberta sports. Let's accentuate that, if it were to happen in the post-season. We're a long way from the post-season now. We're not even to Christmas.
How will these teams develop through the course of the season? There will be a lot to digest and observe. Right now the fans of the orange and black can feel most exhilarated. That's because our boys defeated the NL-Spicer Wildcats Tuesday night (12/3) at home. It wasn't even close. Led by Eric Staebler and his 33 points, the Tigers downed the Wildcats 73-51.
The MACA lead was modest at halftime - eight points - with the score standing 33-25. Coach Mark Torgerson's squad revved up its engines in the second half. We outscored the Wildcats 40-26.
The game was the NL-Spicer season opener. MACA had one previous game which was a loss.
Staebler vacuumed the boards for 19 rebounds. Look at the freethrow stats! The Tigers were an absolutely sizzling 25 of 29 at the line! Six of Staebler's points came on his two 3-pointers. Noah Grove sank four 3-point shots to lead in that department. Jacob Zosel led in assists with seven, and Andrew Goulet was tops in steals with four.
Staebler and Grove were the Tigers' double figures scorers, Eric with his 33 points and Noah with 19. Goulet and C.J. Nagel each put in six points. Zosel had five points, and Robert Rohloff and Sean Amundson two each.
A look at the NL-Spicer scoring totals shows balance but no real standout. Here's the list: Shane Zylstra (11 points), Devin Fostervold (9), Ethan Bohlsen (7), Jacob Klavetter (5), Alex Goff (4), Derrick Laudenbach (4), Tanner Walstrom (4), Jaden Hansen (3), Brandon Meyer (2) and James Magnuson (2).
Zylstra made two 3-pointers and Hanson had one. Klavetter led the squad in rebounds with seven and in steals with two. Zylstra dished out three assists.
The Wildcats made 20 field goals in 47 attempts. In freethrows their stats lagged markedly behind MACA - they were eight of 22.
Will the Tigers reach the holiday break with sizzling momentum? It will be fun to see.
 
Girls basketball: Sauk Centre 94, Tigers 81
There was no shortage of points in this hoops affair. Unfortunately it was Sauk Centre with the superior number of points. The Streeters sizzled with 94 points in this offense-dominated game, played Tuesday.
This was the MACA girls' season opener. Playing on the Sauk Centre court, the Tigers fell in the 94-81 final. But they sure had no problem scoring points.
Lauren Reimers was in the groove to score 17 points. Lacee Maanum and Kayla Pring each contributed 14 points, and Becca Holland had 12. The list continues with Correy Hickman (8), Tracy Meichsner (5), Sam Henrichs (4), Nicole Solvie (4) and Elizabeth Tiernan (2). I think there's a point missing there, but this is how the Willmar newspaper reported it.
The orange and black will resume action Thursday at ACGC.
 
Wrestling: ACGC 57, Tigers 21
Wrestling came back to the Hancock gym on Tuesday evening. Hancock once had a storied wrestling program all by itself. Coach Spencer Yohe was one of the most colorful sports personalities in the history of West Central Minnesota. He lives in southeastern Minnesota now.
Those old glory days of Hancock Owl wrestling belong in the history books now. Today we have the MAHACA wrestling program that includes the Hancock student athletes. I have hated the "MAHACA" name. But that's just me.
On Tuesday night the Tigers were defeated by Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City at the Hancock gym. The score: 57-21.
At 106 pounds, Dalton Rose lost by fall to Brennan Arndt in :38. At 113 pounds, Gideon Joos lost by fall to Aaron Long in :35. At 120 pounds, Matt Munsterman lost by fall to Ryan Molinaro in 1:42.
At 126 pounds, Jared Rohloff dropped a 6-0 decision to Brennan Holien. At 132 pounds, Brady Cardwell lost by fall to AJ Schmidt in :47. Yes, it's a tough slog on this night.
Trenton Nelson at 138 pounds showed winning form vs. his ACGC adversary, Tyler Mortenson: a fall outcome in :39. Travis Ostby at 145 pounds was a victor by fall over Jacob Whitcomb in :33. Philip Messner at 152 pounds got his arm raised in victory via his 7-5 decision over Cullen Hoffman.
Trent Ostby at 160 pounds was on the short end by fall, in 1:41 vs. Jase Peterson. Steven Koehl lost by fall in 1:01 to Derek Dengerud. Matt McNeill was the fall loser at the hands of Tanner Fester, in :57. Gage Wevley lost by fall in :51 at the hands of Sheldon Rasmussen. Jacob Sperr was the fall loser to Cody Berghuis in :54.
Alec Gausman, the 285-pounder, pinned Ty Soine in 4:33.
I think coach Yohe would work his squad extra hard in the week after a match like this!
I remember when coach George Graff talked about "the ghosts of the old Hancock wrestlers up in the rafters" at Hancock. I ran that by his successor, Paul Court, who tersely said he never noticed any such ghosts. For my part, I think they're there!
We're in a time of year when we're supposed to believe in Santa Claus!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Solid second half not enough for MACA boys

Sauk Centre 57, Tigers 49
Eric Staebler made his presence felt with 19 points (including three 3-pointers) and 15 rebounds. This was in the Tigers' season opener. In their only game before the Thanksgiving break, the MACA boys took on the Streeters of Sauk Centre. Sauk Centre picked up its second win of the season, 57-49 over the orange and black.
Staebler was a force but the Tigers had trouble summoning momentum, as they only had 14 points at halftime. The Streeters had 25. The second half was more upbeat for coach Mark Torgerson's squad. The orange and black had a 35-32 advantage over the visitor in the second half.
Overall the Streeters had just too many weapons. Their main weapon was Matthew Moritz who put in 21 points. Cole Neubert complemented that total with his 14 points. Austin Nelson scored seven, Riley Primus five, Shariff Silas and Carter Kranz four each, and Jay Friedrichs two.
Moritz sank three 3-point shots and had two steals. Primus and Nelson each made a shot from 3-point range. Neubert collected eight rebounds. The victor was 18 of 44 in total field goals.
Meanwhile the Tigers made 18 field goals in 37 attempts. We were nine of 20 in freethrows.
Noah Grove made one 3-pointer to go with Staebler's three long-rangers. Grove's point total was ten. Sean Amundson scored six points, Riley Biesterfeld five and C.J. Nagel four. Jacob Zosel had two points and dished out the team-best four assists. Grove executed three steals. Andrew Goulet scored two points and Robert Rohloff one.
 
Boys hockey: Willmar 6, MBA 3
MBA played a home game on the Benson ice on Tuesday, Nov. 25. This was MBA's second game of the season and Willmar's first. Willmar seized the key momentum in the first period. Josh Tinklenberg and Isaac Kobienia scored to put Willmar up 2-0. Riley Grabow and Kobienia assisted on the Tinklenberg goal. Grabow supplied an assist on the Kobienia goal.
Brennden DeHaan got MBA on the board with a second period goal, assisted by Corey Goff. But Kobienia proceeded to put the puck in the goal again for Willmar. Nate Ackerman assisted.
MBA began the third period scoring with a Taner Gimberlin goal, with Goff and Eric Johnson assisting. MBA got the score tied 3-3 with an Eric Johnson goal that had Gimberlin and DeHaan assisting.
Willmar owned the rest of the  period (and the game). Austin Smith was the Cardinal scoring at 10:55. Then, Sawyer Delp scored for the red crew at 14:20, assisted by Smith. Tinklenberg finished the night's scoring with a goal assisted by Kobienia. So, it's a 6-3 final score with the red team up.
MBA was left with a 1-1 mark.
Tony Bruns worked in the goal for MBA and had 25 saves. Jacob Anderson had nine saves as the Willmar goalie.
 
More on UMM coaching
In the wake of UMM's tepid announcement regarding the football coaching situation - the incumbent is out - I tried gathering a little background. The Morris newspaper gave us smoke signals, as it were, forcing us to surmise exactly what happened.
What happened, if you read between the lines, is that this is an involuntary departure. It's very common in college sports. I would have preferred that the newspaper not "tease" us in this manner. If a coach is not going to return, then he either resigned or got fired. There should be some direct indication which it was.
Well, I surmised this was an involuntary departure, so I then tried to glean exactly why this happened. I knew UMM football had a struggling 2014 season, but I didn't realize until doing an online check that the Cougars failed to win a single game.
It is amazing how far UMM football has fallen since its heyday of the 1970s. I remember going to Ithaca NY to cover a playoff game. I remember the atmosphere there wasn't like here. "Minnesota nice" was absent. I remember lots of black-haired people with a southern European complexion who could be loud and rude. But I have also heard it said that those "rude" east coast people would actually be the first to help you if they notice you're in trouble! Cultural relativity.
Today UMM plays a schedule vs. virtual no-names. Even if we win, I'm not sure how impressed I'd be. But we sure didn't win.
What an informed source tells me, is that the UMM coaching staff "gave up" during the season. They seemed to "quit on the team." I do believe this is a pretty serious sin. You have to play the percentages at all times. Reportedly there were lapses in that regard.
Coaching University of Minnesota-Morris football seems to have its discouraging aspects. Well, then just set a minimal goal of "one win," like the Marshall (WV) football team in the movie about that school's recovery after a devastating plane crash. Remember Matthew McConaughey? Coach Hickman should have been a little like Matthew McConaughey.
Whatever the case, jobs at UMM are considered plum jobs. A hard-hosed attitude would be advisable regardless of the wins and losses.
Now what? Wouldn't it be wonderful for UMM to use this opportunity to just cancel its football program, based on the wave of opinion coming down on the sport (due to head injuries etc.). I don't think that will happen. What will happen? I don't know, but I'm not sure I'm going to care. ("I don't care" easily passes the lips of those in my generation: "baby boom cohort No. 2.")
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's "news": coach simply isn't returning

Todd Hickman
I'm seated at the Senior Center and looking at the November 22 edition of the Morris newspaper (a.k.a. Alexandria advertising shopper). There is an article at the bottom of the first sports page that strikes me as rather odd. It's a very short article that is stretched along the width of the page. The article came from "UMM Sports Information."
This six-sentence article tells us that Todd Hickman, UMM football coach, is not returning. That's it. Did he resign? The article doesn't use the word resign. What are his future plans? The article doesn't touch on this at all. It's a tersely-worded piece that simply informs us that we cannot look for Todd along the sidelines anymore.
He is not quoted. An article like this might quote him talking about the joys and challenges of his stint here. But, nothing like that. It is not unusual for college sports coaches to be told, in effect, to mosey on down the road. Sports reporting is one area where you can report that a coach "got fired" and it doesn't come across as cruel or sensational to do so. I don't know the facts in this particular case, other than coach Hickman is simply not returning - something that UMM feels is very important for all of us to know at this time.
I remember Todd as a high school athlete with the Morris Tigers. I remember thinking he might have pro potential in baseball.
UMM football may not be in the most robust state right now. I'm indifferent about that. UMM is a progressive, quite forward-leaning institution that might be expected to watch the sun set on football as a sport. The facts about football's hazards keep pouring out. It seems incongruous for UMM to keep thumping its chest about its football team at a time when science and all learned individuals are rapidly suggesting skepticism about the sport.
UMM is a progressive place that is represented much better by the "University Register" than that other student publication that purports to be conservative but seems really to exist just to have a chip on its shoulder. It is political conservatives who are giving the benefit of the doubt to football today, not progressives.
Rush Limbaugh can talk about how "we're becoming a nation of wusses" but his voice is an echo of the past, a past where football was equated with "macho" and the football captain would be expected to date the "cutest cheerleader." Football players could be misogynistic. Limbaugh is a relic representing the regressive set, predictably dissing the enlightenment brought about by science, as with climate change denial.
You see, political progressives base their ideas and opinions on demonstrated truth - science. Conservatives turn to their emotions. UMM is a place celebrating fact, science and reasoned opinion. Therefore, assuming the student body reflects that, we can expect football to have a real uphill battle staying viable here. And it might not matter who the coach is. All the more power to soccer.
Looking at football, I miss the days when we really knew who our opponents were. We all know what a "Moorhead State" is, or "Winona State" et. al. Since joining the UMAC, UMM is matched against teams that seem quite obscure, almost oddball in some cases. Success would mean more if we played the old opponents.
Whatever the case, the death of football seems inevitable, it's just a question of what the pace will be.
UMM has announced a "national search" for a new head coach. Even if we win more, I have to wonder how much the interest can be bumped up. So many colleges are on this carousel of having to try to win to stoke interest and fuel campus pride, as if a bunch of ruffians wearing helmets ought to have anything to do with this anyway.
A perfectly intelligent and capable coach puts in his "hitch" for a few years, and then when the winning percentage isn't quite up to par, he's jettisoned. The whole mode seems regressive. Everyone can not win. Each game has one winner and one loser. There always has to be a loser. Only 50 percent of teams win on a given Saturday.
Yet these colleges set the bar so high for evaluating coaches, as if it's a legitimate expectation imposed on all of them, to win. What a blessing for a son or daughter to be interested in the humanities instead, or some other non-sports field where the criterion is not set in such an unforgiving way.
I have no idea if Mr. Hickman was let go in the way typical of a coach who failed to "cut it." But the article sure makes it sound that way. Maybe the announcement could have waited until the new coach was found (and thrown into the lion's den).
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, November 21, 2014

The specter of Phil Spector surrounds "Let It Be"

Maybe it's time for a fresh look at the Beatles' "Let It Be" album. We can strip aside all the background drama. The Fab 4 had conflicts of the type satirized in the movie "This is Spinal Tap."
We know the timeline of production was long, indicating indecision. The four guys recorded most of the material in January of 1969. I was turning 14 years old during that month. The Beatles were this mesmerizing backdrop for my growing-up years.
January of '69 pre-dated the recording and release of the "Abbey Road" album. "Let It Be" and "Abbey Rod" were the end of the road for the mega-famous group. "Let It Be" came out in May of 1970. The news had already passed that the Beatles' era was over.
The creative people went through contortions with "Let It Be." It was supposed to come out in mid-1969 under the name "Get Back." The Fab 4 thought some more tweaking was needed. Thus, postponement.
On comes Phil Spector with his creative input. Discussions about "Let It Be" inevitably revolve around Spector as much as John, Paul, George and Ringo. Hearing his name, you are no doubt prompted to think of criminal notoriety. You're right. He was convicted of second degree murder in 2003. He was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison. He was found guilty in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in California.
Putting that notoriety aside - we'll have to do the same thing with Bill Cosby, it seems - Spector was quite the cog in the music business. He knew what he was doing. He knew the kind of treatment the Beatles' music needed in 1970. That's my opinion.
I didn't get around to listening to this album until 1973. I thought "The Long and Winding Road" was absolutely beautiful. This was a song where Spector had added quite a bit of embroidery. The simple beauty of the song remained. Paul McCartney took exception, to the extent this conflict is cited as a reason the Beatles broke up.
Man, if everyone was getting so uptight and caffeinated over musical quibbles, I guess the time really had come for the Beatles to go their separate ways. They had a wonderful collection of songs for "Let It Be." The guys should have been relaxed and prideful and moved on. Males of that age can get restless. They see greener pastures.
John Lennon was in a withdrawn frame of mind. George Harrison had conflicts with both McCartney (the perfectionist) and Lennon, and with Lennon it got so bad, there were reportedly punches thrown. Beatles historian Mark Hertsgaard suggested that one doesn't bother having such intense conflicts with someone you don't care about. Hence the emotional bond was doubtless still there.
My theory is that "fishbowl fatigue" had taken over. Lennon had been right: The Beatles were bigger than Jesus - certainly more popular, which was his whole point. That quote indicated that Lennon was shocked at the sheer immensity of the group's fame. It made him uncomfortable. The Beatles could have had one-third of their popularity and been rich, popular and successful for the rest of their lives. They could be playing casinos today.
The Beatles were more than just popular in the '60s. They were a phenomenon. Who wants to be a phenomenon?
I have written before that Lennon had a hard time handling fame - he disintegrated in some ways - while McCartney seemed to hold together better. Harrison should never have tried to become a solo artist. Ringo? He was lovable Ringo all along, and still today.
What was the Beatles' last album, "Abbey Road" or "Let It Be?" An asterisk or some explanation would have to be attached to each answer. I suggest "Let It Be" because it was the last album released.
Lennon actually suggested Eric Clapton as a permanent replacement for the disgruntled Harrison. McCartney and Starr said no. Harrison wandered back into the fold.
McCartney wanted "The Long and Winding Road" to be a simple piano ballad. Like a mere demo recording? A songwriter may always prefer the simplest treatment of his/her song. Professionals must collaborate. Ah, they can be very passionate. Music is an intensely personal or emotional thing. Professionals in the music business can be at each other's throats.
The perceptive Mr. Spector, with his fine track record, dubbed in orchestral and choral accompaniment with McCartney's "Long and Winding Road." McCartney tried to get the embellishments removed, to no avail.
Was McCartney serious or was he just having a hissy fit to try to show his importance? Man, if someone felt one of my compositions would be enhanced by orchestra and chorus, I'd be flattered beyond words! Lennon, for what it's worth supported Spector. The "Winding Road" song and "Let It Be" both shot to No. 1 in the U.S.
Spector's embellishments did not disrupt the basic structure, lyrics or messages of the songs. He applied all this stuff to three songs on the "Let It Be" album: "The Long and Winding Road," "Across the Universe" and "I Me Mine."
"Across the Universe" is one of my favorite Beatles songs. I think Spector's work enhanced it. The embellishments create a sort of surreal quality, coaxing your mind to a place of solitude. It's therapeutic. Spector was the consummate professional. He would later say that McCartney had no problem accepting the Academy Award for the "Let It Be" soundtrack.
The song "Let It Be" has lyrics that are a classic. "Get Back" is a pleasing, hard-charging rocker.
A "raw" (organic?) version of "The Long and Winding Road" came out on "Anthology Vol. 3." I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing: alternative versions of a song. I feel a firm decision must be made at some point about the intended version. A performer has the latitude to change the interpretation in live performances - that's fine. But alternative recorded versions create ambiguity. Which are we supposed to embrace more?
George Martin agreed with McCartney on his objections. So did engineer Geoff Emerick. John Lennon must have held all the cards because he's the one who called in Spector who then employed the harps, chorus, orchestra and women's choir. Again, I'd be speechless and euphoric if someone felt my compositions could be enhanced this way!
McCartney could be an assertive bastard. I guess he gets his way today. His "Wings" albums included a lot of "filler."
After all the emotional and personal sniping, the Beatles watched the "Long and Winding Road" single top the chart. It had a ten-week-long chart run. It sold 1.2 million copies in the first two days. I guess McCartney should have just taken the attitude of "Let It Be" (LOL).
It's sad how my generation invested so much, got so emotionally devoted, to four guys who were simply gifted at creating the three-minute song. Those times were quite pre-digital. We defined ourselves not by what we ourselves created, but by what artistic material we consumed. We can forget how unsatisfying that was.
The Beatles were in a fishbowl. I suggest Lennon had problems with this. Consider how Lennon looked in 1970 compared to how he looked in "A Hard Day's Night." He was ragged and depleted.
"Let It Be" is a terrific album, getting through the turmoil just fine. Let's strip away the extracurricular concerns and appreciate it. It is an underrated album.
I haven't even mentioned (yet) the "rooftop performance" in this post. No matter what the Beatles did, it would bring fawning attention far and wide. They could have strolled over to a coffee shop and sung some a cappella, and the result would be the same: an iconic image! What unbelievable power. Beyond reasonable bounds, I would say, but in pure musical terms, there were volumes of great stuff to appreciate.
The breakup seemed like a Shakespearean tragedy. We weren't ready. Really, though, the four guys bequeathed tremendous musical enjoyment for us to sift through.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time has been kind to Beatles' "Abbey Road"

How iconic they were
The power of the three-minute song was incredible in the 1960s and '70s. Perhaps this music was like an opiate helping us get through our day. This was done listening to the radio.
As kids we listened to KDWB Radio out of the Twin Cities. "Tac" Hammer was a favorite deejay. Remember their jingle? "KDWB, Channel 63." Certain hit songs just got seared into our consciousness, like the Association's "Windy." Or, the Association's "Cherish."
I continue to be fascinated trying to understand what separates hit songs from non-hit songs. I am fascinated that science cannot explain this. This in an age when science purports to be able to explain everything. Maybe the creationists and climate change deniers are right after all. Just kidding.
The Beatles were the masters of all that developed in pop music in the 1960s. These four guys mesmerized us. My generation suggests that the Beatles' "run" was too short. The breakup of the Beatles is presented as some sort of earthshaking tragedy. Actually the Fab 4 put out a tremendous amount of music. After the breakup, they gave us plenty of music even though much of it seemed watered down.
At their best, all four - OK, all three - were capable of mesmerizing us, even post-breakup.
"Abbey Road" was the Fab 4's eleventh album. It was released in the fall of 1969 in the U.S. These sessions were the last where all four members participated together. It's confusing because the "Let It Be" album (initially titled "Get Back") came out later. Most of the "Let It Be" material was recorded before "Abbey Road."
The Beatles were at their zenith when in October of 1969, the double-A sided singled with "Something" and "Come Together" came out. This was when Billy Martin was getting fired as manager of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. The Twins had won the Western Division title in the first year of the divisional system. We did it with dominance, but we just didn't have a prayer against the Baltimore Orioles, in 1969 or in '70. We ought to remember those seasons better than we do. Being a division winner is special. It sure would be today.
In '69 Jerry Koosman climbed to the heights of glory with the New York Mets. He's a West Central School of Agriculture graduate, from here in Morris! So, maybe my baseball references give you a little frame of reference for understanding the Beatles' twilight time.
The Fab 4 went out in a blaze of glory. They left my generation wanting more. 
"Abbey Road" gave us a mixture of blues, pop and progressive rock. We got lots of Moog synthesizer. It would be easier to appreciate a lot of the Beatles' music today without a lot of the studio gimmicks. Eventually the "unplugged" wave came forward in music, as a way of saying "enough!" regarding the amplifiers, gimmicks etc. Just give us good music! Amen.
I have recently played some of the Beatles' CDs of the 1960s. I now realize, lest there was ever any doubt, this was John's group. John Lennon seemed truly the foundation. His energy and consistency were a backbone for the sound.
Paul McCartney was arguably brilliant. His best songs rank with the best, obviously. But he could be kind of a pain. What was truly accomplished by "Maxwell's Silver Hammer?" This was one of four tracks on "Abbey Road" where Lennon didn't perform. John privately left the band before the album was released. McCartney quit publicly the following year. All us boomers were left disconsolate, I guess.
Time has been kind to "Abbey Road." Initially the critical reviews were mixed. Today there is more of a unison approval of the work.
One of the greatest albums ever? Just think if I as an amateur songwriter wrote "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and submitted the demo to a publisher. I would have the door slammed on me so hard, my nose would be broken. Same with "Strawberry Fields Forever" and numerous others. But, once you've been allowed past the "velvet rope" and are considered a success, you can perform idiosyncratic material (or stupid material) and get by with it.
George Harrison was an enigma. Long ago I formed the theory that some of Harrison's best stuff may have been written in concert with Lennon, or actually "slid under the table" from Lennon to Harrison. How do we know the truth behind how all these songs get written? Why would Lennon do this? He was such a prolific creator of great music, he had some to spare, probably, and by helping out Harrison some, he'd be helping the Beatles' image as a group with multiple talents.
Yes, my thinking comes across as conspiratorial! But hey, my recent research shows I'm not exactly out in left field. Regarding the classic song "Something," which is attributed to Harrison, I read: "John Lennon gave George Harrison songwriting advice during the composition."
Songwriting advice! Maybe a few actual phrases, right? I have to wonder because once Harrison got out on his own, especially after his first solo album, he struggled so much trying to produce consistently appealing material. A fan of his wrote that he put out "treadmill albums" - in other words, going through the motions with pretty pedestrian stuff.
Lennon played piano for "Something" but most of that got removed. Traces remain in the song's "middle 8."
Frank Sinatra said of "Something" that it's the greatest long song ever. How much of this song is Lennon's? We'll never know. You don't just give "advice" without making concrete contributions.
"Oh! Darling" is kind of nice, in my view, because it resonates with a doo-wop quality, a music genre I have always felt was under-appreciated.
What if I wrote "Octopus' Garden" and submitted it to a publisher? Another broken nose scenario. But we all loved Ringo Starr.
"Because" was inspired by a piano rendition of "Moonlight Sonata." Ah, then we come to the famous "medley" on side 2. "Jethro Tull" milked the medley approach to the maximum extent. "Thick as a Brick" was a Tull classic with this "concept" approach, while "Passion Play" was quite forgettable.
Ringo has his only drum solo ever in the side 2 medley of "Abbey Road." It's heard in "the End."
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Genius? I don't know, but it came from the Beatles so we assume it's profound. I might suggest it's just a phrase that could be written on a napkin in an idle moment. Really.
Lennon had an IP (intellectual property) issue come up in his career, but it's not well-remembered today, if it ever was. This is in connection to "Come Together." I never really cared for that song. We learn it's an expansion of "Let's Get It Together," a song Lennon wrote for Timothy Leary's California gubernatorial campaign vs. Ronald Reagan. Morris Levy sued, based on the opening line "Here Come Old Flat-top." It's lifted from a line in Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me."
A settlement was reached in 1973 with Lennon promising to record three songs from Levy's catalog. I have heard that many songwriters are discouraged from the profession today by a fear of inadvertently repeating something previously written. This problem is easy to understand.
Belly Preston played Hammond organ for "I Want You (She's so Heavy)." Recording went into hiatus for Ringo's commitment to the movie "The Magic Christian."
August 20, 1969, was the last time all four Beatles were in the studio together. Yoko Ono was a chafing presence of course. Lennon seemed sullen as the project got released. He described the medley as "junk, just bits of songs thrown together."
Lennon was known to not exactly fawn over much of the group's work. Due to being a perfectionist? Or, just having a sullen streak? What kind of person would he be today? It's so fascinating to speculate. We have no clue.
I will state one thing very firmly: It was totally unethical and mean for the three surviving Beatles to re-work and release "Free as a Bird." This song had never been released before, which means Lennon never intended it for release. For a reason. Not only that, his voice was recorded in a crude way which was embarrassing for him. He would be indescribably angry if he were still around.
Another "new" song was released at that time: "Real Love." My friend Del Sarlette of Sarlettes Music said he thought "Real Love" was better than "Free as a Bird." A critic, trying to be generous, said "Free as a Bird" was like an ELO song. No musician wants his work to be praised simply on the basis of being like someone else's.
Truth be told, both of these "new" releases were a waste of time and embarrassing, although they may have helped some cash registers ring. It's sad because my generation was so starved and desperate to hear some new Beatles music, as if the guys were still together.
Let's all slap ourselves over this. "Abbey Road" was the Beatles' final recording effort, and history books aren't going to be changed on this. "You can't go home again," Thomas Wolfe wrote. And, you can't go back in time. You can't replay the 1969 American League divisional playoffs!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

The right beliefs can have collateral damage

The famous "Sgt. Pepper" cover
I recently wrote that the Beatles had a rather odious effect with their values. I saluted them on their sheer talent. Talent can be a dangerous thing. The people who entertain us don't necessarily show the best discretion with how they live. This certainly applies to sports heroes too.
I'm not sure the Beatles even lived day-to-day in a manner reflecting their espoused drug use. I observed that Dean Martin was known to be at "cocktail parties" with a glass of apple juice. And, that Hunter S. Thompson made a name for himself from days when he lived very straight-laced. These people learn that the wild and irreverent traits captivate their young fans.
John Lennon said the Beatles were like a "Trojan horse." They got to the top by being reasonably clean-cut. Yes, their "long hair" was a little edgy. But outside of that they were pretty well-scrubbed. However, nothing stayed placid or predictable for very long in the 1960s. I say this with no real sense of nostalgia.
The movie "Almost Famous" tried to get us feeling nostalgia about the 1960s. Nice try. We can always pull some positive memories from any era. But the 1960s were fundamentally disturbing. It's true that the young pushed forward with some very positive values. However, the need for that was due to the Viet Nam War. It was also due to the need to crush Jim Crow. The female gender needed uplifting. There was a time when women's obituaries in newspapers reviewed not the accomplishments of the women, but rather their husbands.
There was a time when women's names in newspapers were preceded by "Mrs." or "Miss," and if it was "Mrs." the husband's name would be used. "Mrs. Bill Dripps."
The 1960s were a time of eradicating lots of bad things. The youth who were at the fore had to adhere to different values. It went beyond promoting new models for living. It went in dysfunctional or destructive directions. Collateral damage? On a cultural level, well yes.
The Fab 4 became household names. At that point, they seized on the opportunity to sing about drugs and sex. Sex? Every generation thinks it's the first to discover sex.
A turning point in the cultural tumult was when John made his comment about Jesus. Katy bar the door! You remember that, don't you? John observed that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." A Monty Python satire would report years later that the iconic Beatle was misheard, and that what he really said was "the Beatles are more popular than cheeses."
If you want to cause everyone's hair to stand up, just make a comment about Jesus. I believed John when he said his comment was misunderstood. But such a comment was guaranteed to bring a tempest, as anyone with savvy in the media would readily say. I remember when a letter to the editor writer in our Morris Sun Tribune posed the question "Who would Jesus vote for?" Katy bar the door! There were countless letters to the editor following that, while the "instigator," in effect, crawled out from under the pile.
Poor John Lennon. He was a tremendous musician who was ahead of his time. As fame escalated, I think he got a little crazy being in the fishbowl. I think Paul McCartney understood much better what this was all about. Paul adjusted and continued to see the big picture. John was probably thinking "jeez, all I do is create these catchy and clever songs, and I have the world at my feet."
So, John said the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus." The quote first appeared inconspicuously in a lengthy profile article in the London Evening Standard. The excrement hit the fan when a U.S. teen magazine used the quote out of context, five months later. Christian fundamentalists got all in a dander. We saw public burnings of Beatles records. Yeah, like that will accomplish anything. The Beatles got death threats.
John was just saying that while young people were largely quiet and indifferent toward established religions, they were gaga over the Fab 4.
Hostile reporters tried to get John to apologize. He did deliver a tepid apology. But he had hardly drawn a breath when he moved on to another hot-button topic. It's hard to believe in 2014 that being against the Viet Nam war could get you in trouble. But hoo boy, it sure could in the mid to late 1960s. Brian Epstein had tried keeping the Beatles from making comments about the war. Elvis famously said, when posed the question, "Hey, I'm just an entertainer."
Yeah, and Mitch McConnell says "I'm not a scientist" in regard to global warming.
 
Impartial about war? No
Lennon and George Harrison got uncomfortable with their silence. They would say they felt "ashamed" staying silent. They finally warned Epstein that they were going to start commenting freely. The Beatles began speaking freely, at least John and George.
"Moreover, they went beyond condemnation of the war to a critique of the larger social and economic structures that lay behind it," Mark Hertsgaard wrote.
Lennon commented in 1968 that the war was "another piece of the insane scene."
The Beatles had power with their music. Even so, they were never as incisive as Bob Dylan in his formative years. The Beatles made statements but in a more subtle way. By being subtle, they might connect with listeners who otherwise might tune them out in a knee-jerk way. They showed a sensibility that left no doubt as to their ideas and opinions.
"Sergeant Pepper" was a prime example. I was late in gaining appreciation of that album. It was in the summer of 1973, through a roommate, that I borrowed his headphones and really began delving in.
First and foremost, I thought "Sergeant Pepper" had a surreal quality. I actually thought the quality of the music was rather uneven. "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite." I thought it was hokey, just like the later "When I'm Sixty-Four." But hey, this was the Beatles.
The musicians constantly prodded us to try to envision a kinder, more peaceful reality. Popular music could break through to the mass psyche. The sad part is that the Beatles were never truly deep thinkers or philosophers. They were tremendous cutting-edge musicians who used simple seat-of-the-pants judgment to try to tell us what was right. They were like the boy saying the emperor has no clothes.
Today the media report as fact and not opinion, that the Viet Nam War was a mistake and that the U.S. lost. Yes, Wolf Blitzer has said this. And, the anchorman at NBC news who has the same name as me.
The Beatles' story is also sad because of the embrace of drugs. Long hair and colorful clothing built the iconoclast image further. You could see them as heroes or outlaws. But truly they were socially relevant.
In later years the Beatles would actually pooh-pooh their role. They would say they simply reflected larger forces. Poor John would say it was like the Beatles were "just in the crow's nest." I say "poor John" because I think he never properly understood his position in the world. It was an important position as music composer extraordinaire. As philosopher or political leader? It was a mirage. John was simply a highly talented song man. He got his raw material from the macro picture of what was happening around the world. But he was not truly a part of that.
Paul was more realistic and prescient. Paul probably wanted to grab John by the shoulders and shake him. John was insecure. He felt he had to lose weight after a columnist described him as "the fat Beatle." Losing weight may not have been good for him.
Those were the days when "fat people" invited a sort of stigma, whereas today many such people are among us, and no one thinks anything of it, at least in the general population. We may not appreciate how people in entertainment, all those "talking heads" on TV for example, feel pressure to keep weight down, even today. Candy Crowley has to fight the stigma.
How cruel we are, demanding that the people we see on TV and in the movies be borderline anorexic. An example is Frances McDormand (from "Fargo") who I've read is just tiny. John Lennon was unnerved being called "the fat Beatle." It stuck in his craw. If he was that sensitive, heaven knows how disrupting the other stimuli around him could be.
It would be so wonderful to see John today and how his values would project themselves. Would he finally be happy just being himself? Would he insist to kids that drugs are wrong? He ingested heroin. Why?
Maybe he'd just say "All You Need is Love." I'd be happy with that.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, October 31, 2014

Teachers need to join real world of 2014

Image from "Time"
Teachers nationwide are calling for a boycott of Time Magazine. My first response: I didn't know people even bought Time Magazine anymore.
We all know Time Magazine is a dinosaur. It doesn't exist as it once did. It was once a weekly news digest. The need for that has disappeared due to the Internet. You might argue that the need for Time has disappeared completely.
I might argue this about the Morris MN newspaper too. Years ago we might have predicted their demise. However, the same tech that prompted such speculation has enabled print-based products to survive due to reduced overhead. A community newspaper no longer needs a photo "darkroom." A photo darkroom is the most antiquated thing I can imagine, like using horses instead of power equipment in a farm field.
To be more specific, a photo darkroom is the most Rube Goldberg-esque thing I can imagine. It's so bad I'm pained to even write about it. I had to ask myself: "When do you stop spending money and just start taking pictures?" Never, it seemed.
I'm reminded of how Johnny Carson used to joke about backyard barbecuing. No matter how you did it, Johnny said, a visitor would say you're not doing it quite right.
There is a right way and wrong way to do everything. I wish when I was around 20 years old I had gotten a firm, vo tech-type instruction on how to set up a photo department. And even if I had, my knowledge would have had to be updated often, like maybe every three months. The pace of change was too much. It was too unstable and chaotic.
Your common citizens would take photos on a low-quality Kodak Instamatic, or comparable low-end camera, and then "take film to the drugstore" where it would be "sent in," and then you'd wait about a week to get the pix back. Have you noticed how old Instamatic photos don't scan well at all for online purposes? Many of those photos have faces that are "washed out."
How I would love to live my life over again and get the proper instruction in photography. And even then, it wouldn't be easy. The photo instructor I had in college was largely of the "artsy" kind. In other words, next to worthless, or actually destructive of your ambitions. The kind of photo instruction I got in college was in line with a lot of the "deconstructionist" trends we saw in colleges in the 1970s. Let's call it avant garde. It's the kind of thinking that went into designing the University of Minnesota-Morris science auditorium.
You had to survive those classes, not benefit from them. State colleges were probably the worst. The infusion of more private money into colleges has helped solve this. Private money forces people into the real world.
Anyway, I started this post by writing about the teachers' push for a boycott of Time Magazine. Time is pushing for public school teachers in America to become more accountable. We have heard this clarion call for a long time. Teacher unions have become increasingly on the defensive. That's totally understandable.
I was angered in the 1970s at how the teachers unions asserted themselves with so little resistance. Any time I engaged someone on the street in conversation about this, they agreed with me: teachers had too much power and autonomy, and it was corrosive. And yet, the status quo remained for some time.
Then it started crumbling. The Time Magazine cover story is another shot across the bow. Time wouldn't have dared have a cover story about this 30 years ago, or even 20. In a time when change is the norm throughout our institutions across America, caused by the irresistible forces of tech and connectivity, the old norms cannot remain in public education.
Teachers can't be fired. Well, no one among us would cheer for anyone being fired - it's an unsavory and depressing thing. Teachers would say it's a myth that they cannot be fired. They would say due process simply must be followed.
But we all know what happens in the real world. It becomes more trouble and more time-consuming than it's worth for administrators to go through with this process.
Here is the fundamental problem with teachers having job security so far beyond the rest of us: What are the effects on a human being of having such rigid job security? Otherwise good people, people who entered education for the right reasons and with the right motivation, can develop bad traits. They become defensive, lazy, ossified and combative with perceived critics.
People in "normal" jobs, outside of education, have to be accountable even when they have to mutter obscenities under their breath sometimes. They go home sometimes convinced "life's a bitch." Which it indeed can be. We might be inclined to change jobs.
But teachers behave like they think they can operate out of a fortress. And, this is the model that I think Time Magazine is seeking to shoot down. And teachers don't like it. They are behaving in their usual visceral manner, calling for a boycott.
I saw the Morris public school teachers do this back in about 1987 or '88. It was a dark chapter in this community's history. It also seems rather quaint. I don't think it would happen today. Today I think that if the faintest rumor got out that the teachers (and their families and network of friends) were going to boycott someone, the administration would have the tools to intercept and shoot it down. Back in the '70s, we might expect certain administrators to even support the teachers. Today there is more of an appropriate management/worker dichotomy in education - the way it should be, and should have been.
Teachers naturally are calling for a boycott of Time Magazine. I would say that these news reports are doing more for Time Magazine than anything else could. Either way, Time Magazine is vestigial - barely a shadow of what it was, or what it once meant in America.
It's nice to be reminded that Time Magazine even exists. Now I'll go online and research reaction to that piece. But I wouldn't spend a nickel on any magazine.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cross country and football: autumn thrills

Making state as a seventh-grader? It's an incredible feat. When I was a seventh grader, varsity sports seemed a very distant world from me. I was a fan, not a participant. Actually, when I was a senior, varsity sports still seemed pretty distant from me - I played in the band. I wrote about it.
I'm delighted to still be writing about Tiger sports, and to be giving a tip of the hat to an MACA seventh-grader. She's Maddie Carrington. Maddie is a cross country runner who is meeting the highest standards. She'll be off to state this weekend. Maddie and teammate Savannah Aanerud have the privilege of vying in the state meet which will unfold on November 1 at St. Olaf College, Northfield. Savannah is a sophomore.
Maddie and Savannah were in top form for the Section 6A meet which was held at Little Crow Country Club, New London. Aanerud placed fifth in section with her time of 15:34.30. Carrington was No. 13 to the finish chute with her time of 16:15.75.
Midori Soderberg placed 43rd for the Tigers, time of 17:21.14. Then we had Lauren Reimers coming in at 53rd, time of 17:34.43. Continuing: Correy Hickman (17:36.90, 57th), Malory Anderson (17:50.40, 65th) and Becca Holland (18:18.96, 81st).
This was a huge spectacle with 23 teams in the running. The girls champion was Emily Donnay of Eden Valley-Watkins, time of 14:42.46. Holdingford took first in both the girls and boys team standings. The top two female runners both had the "Donnay" last name. Anna Donnay was runner-up with her time of 15:03.27.
Here's a list of the MACA male runners who vied on the New London course: Ryan Gray (18:58.51), Jonathan Jerke (19:17.84), Tyler Reimers (20:05.81), Travis Ostby (20:07.62), Brock Anderson (21:09.18), Dalton Uphoff (21:40.93) and Trent Ostby (22:25.09).
The boys champion was Ben Burgett of Community Christian School, time of 16:20.59.
 
Football: New London-Spicer 48, Tigers 30
The MACA Tigers hung in there for an extended time vs. the No. 1 seed in Section 6AAA football Saturday. It was the Tigers scoring first in this section semis showdown. Trent Marty passed seven yards to Riley Biesterfeld for a touchdown in the second quarter, following the scoreless first.
The Wildcats of New London-Spicer entered this game with a 7-1 record. They got to host the game. Trent Wulf kicked for the point-after after the opening MACA score.
The second quarter became rather wild from a scoring standpoint. The host Wildcats got going with a Trey Austvold two-yard run. They then went up by one when Ethan Bohlsen completed the conversion pass to Cody King.
The Tigers wrested the lead back when Wulf ran the ball in from the six. He also carried successfully on the conversion. Austvold asserted himself again with a touchdown run from the six, followed by a failed conversion play. We're now at halftime with the score 15-14, MACA up (and hopeful).
But NL-Spicer went on an extended run when second half play unfolded. Jared Travis scored a TD on a run from the one. The conversion play was no-go. Shane Zylstra ran the ball in from the three, after which the Wildcats again sputtered on the conversion. NL-Spicer widened its lead further when Zylstra passed to Austvold on a play covering nine yards. Blake Shuck kicked the point-after.
MACA finally scored again as Bo Olson caught a 26-yard pass from Wulf. Noah Grove put his toe to work on the point-after. But NL-Spicer scored the next two touchdowns. First it was Austvold carrying the ball in from the four. The kick try failed. Then, Jared Travis found the end zone from the one, after which Shuck kicked successfully.
The Tigers' Eric Staebler scored on a 20-yard pass reception from Wulf. Isaac Wente carried successfully on the conversion. NL-Spicer tacked on two more points with a safety.
Austvold obviously had major impact in this 48-30 win for his Wildcats. His TD total on the night was four. NL-S fans were heartened seeing him perform so well, as he had missed much of the season due to injury.
NL-Spicer is now set to play Melrose at 5 p.m. this Saturday at St. Cloud State University. Melrose has an 8-2 mark and has won six straight. Keep an eye on Melrose's Zack Pierskalla.
Our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers close out the season with a 5-5 record. NL-Spicer sits at 8-1.
Looking at the stats, Wulf and Wente were the rushing cogs for MACA Saturday, Wulf with 73 yards on the ground, Wente with 66. Both had 15 carries. Marty and Wulf did the Tigers' passing. Marty passed for 45 yards, Wulf for 46.
Olson had three of the catches for 42 yards. Biesterfeld had two catches, and Wulf and Staebler one each. Grove did the Tigers' punting.
Austvold had 89 rushing yards for the Wildcats in 21 carries. Bohlsen had 75 yards on the ground in six carries, and Zylstra covered 64 yards in nine carries of the football. Bohlsen was very sharp in the passing department, completing eleven tosses in 16 attempts for 116 yards and no interceptions. Zylstra had one completion.
James Magnuson had five of the catches for 69 yards. Zylstra and Austvold each had three catches. Alex Goff had one reception. Ethan Parsons had an interception, and Derrick Laudenbach had a fumble recovery. Brandon Knisley had two quarterback sacks.
 
A quick reminder once again: A song I wrote in 1997 about Kirby Puckett is now online, on YouTube. I'm very pleased this can be shared now. Here's the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDQjIVH735A
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tigers sweep Lakers to begin 3AA-North play

The post-season is on for prep volleyball. The second-seeded Tigers of MACA got things going Friday night (10/24) with a home win. It was a sweep style of success.
Coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers turned back the Lakers of Minnewaska Area. Scores were 25-12, 25-11 and 25-20. The Tigers now own 18 wins on the season.
The next step on the tournament ladder will have them matched against Redwood Valley. Again the home court will be in use. Redwood Valley has the No. 3 seed. We're in Section 3AA-North. Tuesday will bring the semi-finals.
'Waska closes the books on its season with nine wins.
Montevideo and New London-Spicer are the other teams still going in the North sub-section. Those two squads will vie at New London-Spicer. The team to beat in this sub-section is New London-Spicer. The Wildcats can always be counted on to be strong in girls athletics. They're flying high in the volleyball campaign with a 23-5 record.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta enters further conquests with an 18-8 record, indicating we quite possibly have the tools to challenge New London-Spicer! Never bet against coach Fehr. Stay tuned. First we have to get past Redwood Valley, the same school whom our football athletes defeated on Tuesday. MACA football is facing NL-Spicer today (Saturday).
Two Tigers each had 12 kills in hitting in the Friday success. Lacee Maanum and Brooke Gillespie had identical hitting stats: 28 for 32 with 12 kills. Kayla Pring pounded down eleven kills on 24-for-25 in G/A. Haley Erdahl came through with four kills on nine of ten. Karly Fehr and Tracy Meichsner each added one kill to the mix.
Karly Fehr was in her usual prime setting role and she produced 35 assists. She also topped the serve aces list with three. She was a perfect 17 of 17 in serving good/attempts. Erdahl had two serving aces on 18/19 G/A. Maanum had an ace to go with flawless six of six in G/A.
"Libero" Kourtney Giese was eight of eight in serving. Lindsey Dierks was 17 of 18, Gillespie three of six and Bobbi Jo Kurtz one of one.
In digs it was Giese topping the list with 17, followed by Gillespie (12), Fehr (9), Dierks (9) and Erdahl (8).
Ariel Ostrander was all over the court for Minnewaska Area, leading her team in kills with eight, ace blocks with two and digs with 13. The Tigers had no ace blocks. Four Lakers each had one serving ace: Abby VerSteeg, Ashlyn Guggisberg, Kaylee Glover and Taylor Amundson. Amundson was the chief setter and had 14 assists.
I'd like to give MACA fans the heads-up that a song I wrote about Kirby Puckett in 1997 is now online. I invite you to give a listen by clicking on the link below. Thank you. - B.W.
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MACA football wins big - watch for details?

It is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, as I put up this post. I wrote this post on the assumption that there would be no details of the Tiger football team's playoff victory in the usual media sources yet. If this assumption is wrong, I would not be putting up this post. But I'm pretty sure I'll be right.
The MACA football Tigers played in Redwood Falls Tuesday night. It's unlikely the info would get phoned in to the Willmar newspaper from Redwood Falls. Actually this has been a terrible fall for following the football Tigers in the Willmar newspaper.
If the West Central Tribune cannot come through with coverage, where else might we find it? Step 2 in this process would be the Morris newspaper website. You know, the newspaper that told us on Saturday that we need to toss Senator Al Franken out of office. Franken has been very good to Morris and to UMM. He is no stranger here. He is gracious and supportive. He spoke for UMM's graduation.
But Forum Communications, the Fargo-based owner of the "Morris newspaper," tells us we need to elect the Republican guy, McFarlane or McFadden or whoever he is. I suppose he just wants bigger tax cuts for the very wealthy, as if that'll solve everything.
The Forum cleverly endorsed Collin Peterson who'll probably roll over Torrey Westrom regardless. The Forum protects its backside that way - it can try to claim it's not overly partisan. They did this with Amy Klobuchar too. Everyone knows the Forum is Republican. The local managers have no say in these endorsements.
The Forum endorses Republican candidates in the truly pivotal races. Then, when the occasional Democratic blow-out presents itself, those execs will say the Democrat is really OK, holding their noses of course. If you don't like how the Sun Tribune is in effect taking a dump on Senator Al Franken, then stop supporting the newspaper financially. It's not hard.
If I cannot find coverage of the Tiger football playoff win in either the West Central Tribune or the Morris newspaper website, I'm not sure where else those details will surface. (A check at 11 a.m. today shows the Willmar paper has two sentences on the game, one of which simply announces when MACA's next game is. The Tigers beat Redwood Valley 42-13 Tuesday in a game that I'm sure had lots of highlights.)
Sans the game details, we'll have what could be called an "issue." It's important that these school programs be high-profile. Back when the Morris newspaper was twice a week, it was much better positioned to provide a service. Today it's totally peripheral, really just an advertising vehicle. Have you noticed?
My solution, as I have suggested in the past, would be for MACA school programs to develop their own reporting and PR systems, online naturally. Let's not dismiss these PR objectives. Let's not shrug with the typical dismissive line, "I don't have time." Already the coaches have to oversee some sort of system where info gets to the usual corporate media sources. One problem with that, is that some games fall through the cracks, like the Tuesday night MACA football win.
I was at Willie's Super Valu this morning trying to find out the outcome of the game. A couple people who I thought would know, did not. Finally I got the news. A person shouldn't have to ask around town. We invest a lot in these high school extracurricular programs. We shouldn't just sniff at the need for good public relations and outreach.
Let's use our imagination. I hope the community appreciates that I'm still interested in all these activities.
Oh, and the Tigers will resume play on Saturday against the No. 1 seed, New London-Spicer, at NL-S.
- Brian Williams - morris mn - bwilly73@yahoo.com