"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)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MACA football shines with 48-14 road win

Tigers 48, Benson 14
MACA football has been coming on like gangbusters since its sluggish start to the season. On the heels of its high-scoring win over Sauk Centre, the Tigers did it again Friday, downing rival Benson 48-14.
The site was Benson. The trip back on Highway 9 was most pleasant for the Morris Area Chokio Alberta student-athletes and their fans. The orange and black spirit is sky-high. This sets the stage for Homecoming week. The Tigers will make their triumphant return to Big Cat Stadium.
Seven touchdowns spelled victory for coach Kevin Pope's squad on Friday. The Tigers came out of the starting gate in an overpowering way. My goodness, the first quarter saw MACA overpower Benson to the tune of 20-6.
Benson did score first. After that the MACA engines really got humming. First it was Trent Wulf scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard run. The pass try on the conversion was no-go. Then it was quarterback Trent Marty breaking loose for a 35-yard scoring run. Noah Grove kicked the point-after.
Wulf went to work on a 13-yard scoring scamper that was followed by another good Grove kick. Wulf closed out the first half scoring with a big 36-yard scoring run, and again Grove kicked the ball between the uprights. The Tigers were up 27-6 for the halftime break, ready to cruise for the second half. But the Tigers did not stand pat. They added three touchdowns to their total, leaving the Benson side of the field pretty quiet.
Isaac Wente took off on a 28-yard TD run. Grove kicked the PAT. Following a Benson score, Wente was off to the races for a 25-yard scoring scamper. Again Grove's toe was true. Wulf turned in the biggest play of the night: a 66-yard run that closed out the evening's scoring. Grove kept kicking 'em through, and the final horn sounded with that 48-14 score and the Tigers (and fans) most exhilarated.
The Tigers rushed for over 400 yards on the night. Passing wasn't that much of a factor but there were no interceptions. Marty completed three of six pass attempts for 53 yards and that pleasing "zero" under INTs. Toby Sayles completed his only pass attempt. Eric Staebler made two of the catches for 32 yards. Sean Amundson and Chase Metzger had the other catches.
Sayles and Grove did the MACA punting. Grove picked off a Benson pass.
Wulf accumulated 220 yards rushing the football on 18 carries. Wente charged forward for 88 yards on eight carries. Chase Metzger had eight carries for 34 yards, and QB Marty added 36 rushing yards to the mix. Indeed the Tigers had a multi-pronged attack.
Defensively, Wente and Charles Nagel each had two sacks. These Tigers each came through with half a sack: Nate Vipond, Brady Jergenson, Paul Hockert and Ryan Dietz. 
Aaron Ahrndt passed for 164 yards for Benson, but his completion percentage was not impressive. Layton Connelly led Benson's rushing with the modest total of 35 yards. Jacob Connelly was very impressive in the receiving category with seven receptions for 61 yards. Adam Lindahl had five catches for 109 yards. Layton Connelly added three catches to the mix. Tyler Smith and Dakota Watkins recovered fumbles for the Braves.
Our coach Pope would like to get his team's fumble total down to zero. The Tigers are now readying to host the BOLD Warriors for Homecoming 2014.
Volleyball: Tigers 3, BOLD 2
The Tigers played their second straight marathon five-game match on Thursday, Sept. 25. Exhausting it was, but MACA could savor victory in both contests. Both were on the road.
On the heels of upsetting New London-Spicer on Tuesday, coach Kristi Fehr's squad went to work beating BOLD 3-2 at Olivia on Thursday. BOLD actually went up 2-0. Scores in those first two games were 25-20 and 28-26.
Were the Tigers deflated? Not at all. They summoned fresh focus and disposed of the Warriors in the next three games. Those game scores were 25-11, 25-20 and 15-10. MACA hiked its season record to 6-4 (5-3 in conferernce).
Kayla Pring racked up three ace serves. Lacee Maanum and Kourtney Giese each batted two ace serves at the Warriors. (The Willmar newspaper spelled Kourtney's name "Courtney.") Haley Erdahl, Brooke Gillespie, Karly Fehr and Lindsey Dierks each had one ace.
Karly Fehr was the busy setter, showing stamina through this five-game match to achieve 33 set assists. Tracy Meichsner added three set assists. Pring had two ace blocks followed by Erdahl and Fehr each with one. Gillespie stood out in the digs category with her 27. Giese had 17 digs, Fehr 14 and Dierks 12.
Let's close out this stat review with hitting, where Maanum pounded down 16 kills on this long night of volleyball. Pring racked up 15 kills and Gillespie 11. Peyton Weis had 14 kills for the host Warriors. (When I was a kid, whenever I heard the town name "Olivia" I thought of Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins!)
Whitney Haney had five ace blocks for BOLD. Ashley Schmitz accumulated 35 digs. Lauren Kopel had five ace serves.
Tiger sports enthusiasm will be sky-high for Homecoming week 2014! Bring on more football and volleyball!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PR aims for MACA sports should be wide

I wish I could post today (Wednesday, 9/24) on the significant MACA volleyball win over New London-Spicer last night. The MACA girls prevailed in five games in an outcome which was termed an upset.
NL-Spicer can always be counted on to be competitive in girls sports. Last winter I personally wrote extensive posts on the NL-S girls hoops team as it climbed in the post-season, to state. I "adopted" the NL-S girls because the MACA hoops teams, boys and girls, lost right out of the starting chute in the post-season.
Of course I prefer writing about the Tigers. I cannot post today about the Tigers' volleyball triumph because there are no match details in the Willmar newspaper. Plenty of other matches are reviewed in today's paper, but not MACA vs. NL-Spicer.
Also, I have not been able to post on the Friday football game in which the Tigers beat Sauk Centre in what must have been a very exciting affair, 33-28. I could have posted on that game on Saturday, and would have been delighted to. The Willmar paper had no details either in its Saturday or Monday papers. The Monday paper had "late Friday" details on the Minnewaska Area football game. There was a complete whiff on the MACA game.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta football had a sluggish start to the season, then had a win over YME that might have been a given, due to YME's long stretch of mediocrity in the sport. (That's strange, given that Granite Falls by itself was once a feared power in football. How do these things happen?)
Finally the Tigers beat Sauk Centre in a game that must have been particularly uplifting for the program. I'm not necessarily indicting the Willmar paper. The MACA coaches and boosters could ensure that some nice online-based coverage could treat the fans in a timely way.
I once saw Mike Martin lose his temper on what he alleged was a lack of timeliness in sports coverage (in the Morris paper). We need a little of that anger again. I realize that Mike was the sort of guy who could get a little obsessed over sports. Still, what he asserted had merit.
I have heard that Morris school board members have been known to say that Mike Martin was such an outstanding administrator, he will never again be matched. I really don't like to hear that kind of talk. No one is irreplaceable. It's bad for the morale of current administrators to hear that kind of idol worship.
Martin addressed certain priorities in his tenure here - fine - and then the school moves on to a somewhat different agenda. Let's be forward-looking. To hear some people talk, you might think we should have a huge statue of Martin erected by the high school entrance. That would be quite an erection.
The people at UMM tell me it's essential to have details of athletic contests posted promptly after every event. UMM of course prioritizes public relations. But why shouldn't MACA accent this aim also? Public schools do in fact "recruit" because student movement is fluid today (i.e. with open enrollment).
How hard would this be? Someone needs to put together a simple game review. Coaches have long submitted raw information to the usual corporate media outlets. Please don't defer to these outlets just because they're "corporate." Just because they seek advertising (i.e. fleecing local businesses) shouldn't give them any special standing.
You can use Pheasant Country Sports which I assume is an open door to publishing game reviews. I have a better idea: a given sports program could simply launch a free (yes, zippo cost) blog site - don't be soured by the word "blog" - and have game reviews linked on your "Maxpreps" page. A child of six could do this. A blog is simply an online platform.
As of yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) I could not find details of the Tiger football game on the newspaper website. I'm writing this early Wednesday morning. Perhaps it's there now, but it's still late and would most likely be brief and unimaginative in its presentation. You could consult with the radio station and ask to have links to game reviews appear on their site. Maybe a business could even sponsor this.
I typed various keywords into Google yesterday and could find no game review anywhere. It would be so incredibly easy to resolve these lapses. I'm just shouting from the nearest rooftop about this.
I am not taking photos of Tiger football like I did the last four years. I am getting too old to continually walk circles around the perimeter of the field in the second half. You will find links to my Tiger football Flickr photo albums of the last four years along the right-hand column of this blog site. I'm proud to have done that, and I encourage you to check it out if you haven't before. I do not wish to be "on the run" at these games anymore, as I do not appreciate being stalked.
I think the fans like any and all media people at the games, including (and maybe especially) me. Marie Hansen once said to me "the more the merrier." Amen to that.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Volleyball success for MACA: two home wins

MACA volleyball enjoyed abundant success on the home court last week. The action was on Tuesday and Thursday.
On Tuesday (9/16) the home fans cheered for the 3-0 win over ACGC. Those cheers resonated still more on Thursday when the outcome was 3-1 over Yellow Medicine East.
Tigers 3, ACGC 0
The Tuesday scores show that Morris Area Chokio Alberta wore down the Falcons of ACGC. Scores were 25-18, 25-17 and 25-12.
Lindsey Dierks had three serving aces followed by these three Tigers each with two: Kayla Pring, Brooke Gillespie and Karly Fehr. Fehr was all over the court to produce her 34 set assists. Lacee Maanum and Gillespie each had an ace block.
Kourtney Giese and Gillespie topped the digs list, each with 12. Haley Erdahl had nine digs, Dierks 7 and Tracy Meichsner 6.
The all-important kills category had Maanum at the fore with her twelve. Pring pounded down nine kills, then we have a trio of Tigers each with six: Erdahl, Gillespie and Meichsner.
Kaitlyn Moore had five kills for the visiting Falcons. Maree Lee had 14 set assists. Taryn Reinke and Kendra Miller each had a serving ace. Miller came through with three ace blocks for Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. Payton Wilner had 12 digs.
Tigers 3, YME 1
The Thursday success at home pushed the Tigers' WCC record over .500 to 4-3.
The Tigers and the visiting Sting of Yellow Medicine East split the first two games. MACA was solid at the outset, winning game 1 by a 25-12 score. The Sting found some sting for game 2, eking out a 27-25 win over MACA. But YME would have no more winning spark. MACA took games 3 and 4 by scores of 25-15 and 25-11. Game, set, match!
Karly Fehr focused on getting that ball up for the focused spikers. She totaled 41 set assists. Brooke Gillespie took advantage of lots of those sets, pounding 22 kills at the beleaguered Sting. Lacee Maanum pounded 18 kills. Kayla Pring came through with eight kills.
Maanum, Pring and Tracy Meichsner each had one ace block. Gillespie had 20 digs followed by Riley Decker (11), Haley Erdahl (10), Lindsey Dierks (8), Maanum (7), Fehr (7) and Pring (5).
Several Tigers each came at the Sting with two ace serves: Erdahl, Pring, Gillespie, Fehr and Decker. Anika Mundal had one ace serve.
Jordan Hinz had six kills for the Sting. She also had three serve aces for the YME cause. Kalli Knudson tallied 18 set assists. Chyanne Sand, Rachel Johnson and Makayla Dyrdahl each had three ace blocks. Madison Hagert led the Sting in digs with 12.
Football: Tigers 33, Sauk Centre 28
The MACA gridders climbed to .500 with an exciting win over the Streeters of Sauk Centre Friday.
The sport of football found itself at the vortex of controversy last week. It's hardly surprising. There's so much money, attention, celebrity and power wrapped up in the pro sport, implosion has seemed inevitable for a long time.
Are you going to watch NFL football tomorrow (Sunday)? Test your conscience, please.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwily73@yahoo.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

Splendid fall day for running at Little Crow

Cross country: New London-Spicer Invite
There's nothing like an early-fall trip to New London for a cross country meet. A mass of runners gathered on the glorious green. Competition was at Little Crow Country Club, following a long tradition.
And they're off! This was on Thursday, Sept. 11. A mass of competing prep runners is quite the spectacle. This meet is called the New London-Spicer Invite. The Willmar newspaper described the "rolling, thick green grass." Autumn certainly seems to be setting in, in a hurry. Let's hope summer isn't down for the count.
Over 20 teams had their harriers in action. Some fans had to park way out. The Little Crow venue will be used again for the Section 6A meet on October 23. The Tiger harriers of Morris Area Chokio Alberta were part of the spectacle. What an exhilarating day. It was much more enjoyable, I'm sure, than being at the Friday MACA football game which was pathetic with its one-sidedness.
The MACA girls impressed with their fifth place showing at Little Crow. Savannah Aanerud was No. 11 to the finish line with her time of 16 minutes flat. Maddie Carrington placed 14th, timed at 16:12. Lauren Reimers arrived at the finish line No. 29, clocked at 16:57. Wasn't Lauren the Tiger who was knocking the cover off the ball in softball last spring?
Correy Hickman placed 36th for the Tigers with her 17:15 time. Midori Soderberg was No. 47 with her 17:40 performance.
Lac qui Parle had the top girls team. Alaysia Freetly of the Eagles was the runner-up behind champion Emily Donnay of Eden Valley-Watkins. Jordyn Sterud of LQPV placed sixth with her 15:41 time, and again I see the name of "Ali McGraw" of Litchfield, and I wonder if she's named after the old movie actress (who worked so well with Steve McQueen).
Jon Jerke of the MACA boys team covered the course in 18:28. The only other reported male runner was Travis Ostby (19:53). Glencoe-Silver Lake had the top boys team. Andrew Zachman of Holdingford was the boys champion, timed at 16:10.
Volleyball: Monte 3, Tigers 2
Montevideo got a whole lot of "mo" in game 5 of the Thursday (9/11) match in Montevideo. The Thunder Hawks excited their fans with a string of 14 unanswered points in the deciding game 5, at the expense of our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers.
Monte gained just its second win of the season. For a time, MACA appeared to have seized the momentum in this match. The orange and black prevailed in games 2 and 3 by scores of 25-17 and 25-14. This was after dropping game 1 in a 25-21 final.
Starting in game 4, Monte really came to the fore with quality play. Monte took game 4 by a 25-15 score, then polished things off with total dominance in game 5.
Karly Fehr put up 28 set assists for the Tigers. Brooke Gillespie produced 12 kills followed by Lacee Maanum (9), Kayla Pring (7), Haley Erdahl (4), Tracy Meichsner (4) and Fehr (3). Pring produced three ace blocks.
Kourtney Giese, the "libero," was at the fore in digs with her 22. (Kourtney does a nice job waiting on us at DeToy's Restaurant. Stop by and dine sometime soon.)
Gillespie had 13 digs followed by Erdahl (11), Fehr (6) and Dierks (5). Three Tigers each had two serving aces: Fehr, Giese and Dierks.
Alyssa Stern had 12 kills for Montevideo, and Abby Olson was right behind with eleven. Grace Sulflow was busy in setting with her 39 set assists. Natalie Feldhake and Alexis Schmitz each had four ace blocks.
Stern led Monte in digs with ten. In serving it was Sulflow leading the way for the victor with her four aces.
I'm not writing about the football game vs. YME. I don't think that game accomplished any purpose for anybody, sorry.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Magical Mystery Tour" survives its critics

(Part 2 of 2)
A picture of the "Magical Mystery Tour" album cover could appear with the dictionary definition for "maligned." Maybe the problem was following "Sergeant Pepper" too closely. "Sergeant Pepper" was not only artistically significant, it was a breakthrough work.
"Magical Mystery Tour" includes some indisputably appealing stuff. One problem is that it lacks a sense of conceptual or thematic unity.
I have written two extensive posts on the 1967 baseball season. I was 12 years old. Well, the year 1967 was when the Beatles gave us "Magical Mystery Tour," at year's end. "I Am the Walrus" seemed to be the favorite song among my peers. It had a silly quality if you considered the animal name in the title. We were too young to consider much symbolism. "I Am the Walrus" wasn't even the 'A' side of a single. It was the flip side to "Hello Goodbye."
"Walrus" warranted inclusion in the contemporary movie "Across the Universe." It must have stuck in the minds of many.
The title song of the album was effective but we might overlook how much the instrumental aspect helped it. The organ! Also, the song had a psychedelic type of intro - that sound that spelled a certain other-worldliness.
The "Magical Mystery Tour" album has been maligned, and by that is meant: criticized without total justification. The Beatles probably could not have matched "Sergeant Pepper." But the quality of "Magical Mystery Tour" is anything but a weak encore.
My praise is in spite of the inclusion of "Strawberry Fields Forever," a piece I reject as overrated and somewhat sickening. I don't care about any symbolic or hidden messages in this tripe. The organ here, or synthesizer or whatever, just sounds mushy and unappealing. The song has no sense of tempo. The voice sounds like it's lost in some pathetic stupor. Nevertheless, if you're trying to appraise the album "Magical Mystery Tour" on its appeal or commercial reach, you'd have to cite "Strawberry Fields Forever" as a strong point.
There are forgettable songs on "Magical Mystery Tour." But the strong ones are very strong, like "Fool on the Hill," "Penny Lane" and "All You Need is Love." As with the title song, "Penny Lane" employs a fantastic and unique instrumental embellishment. "Embellishment" is perhaps not a generous enough term. The piccolo trumpet passage in "Penny Lane" is a defining element. I'm sure it's the most famous piccolo trumpet showcase ever.
"All You Need is Love" is in that collection of iconic Beatles songs, going beyond the realm of mere music. 
Was John Lennon really such a deep thinker or did he just seize on some popular philosophical thoughts of the day, thoughts that might actually have come from pop culture? Of course, pop culture reflects the deeper things that are going on in society.
"All You Need is Love" was written for the "Our World" global TV broadcast. I'm amazed at how the great songwriters can suddenly, almost impulsively, seize the inspiration to write a classic. Is it a button they suddenly push? They actually can't do this every day, so, what magically happens when the time arrives for the genius to spring forth? From what part of the brain does it spring? Is there some divinely-inspired element?
Someone at Abbey Road mentioned to John that the "Our World" show was only days away. John said "I suppose we'd better write something." He and Paul McCartney were both at work for this. Paul wrote something called "Your Mother Should Know." It was nostalgia-based and lacking in social meaning. The two readily agreed that John's "All You Need Is Love" was the winner.
Beatles historians agree that John penned this song quickly. Was it his idea to apply the rather unusual twist of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise," at the beginning? What a legacy. Many of us to this day, when hearing the anthem (as in the Olympics), expect that segue into "All You Need is Love." What power songwriters have.
After that embellishment we hear the opening refrain which is like "Three Blind Mice." My goodness, the song has a (mostly) single-note chorus! Can you believe it? But it works, so I totally understand the appeal of this song in contrast with "Strawberry Fields." It's a sing-along type of chorus. No effort expended in memorization!
Lennon dropped a beat at the end of each verse line. Normally I don't like this type of thing, as when Wade Hayes recorded a cover of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman." But with Lennon's masterpiece, I was hardly aware of this characteristic until I read about it. The trait gives the song a greater sense of momentum, although I generally view it as having a disrupting effect, as if there's unwarranted urgency to "get on with it."
I read that "All You Need is Love" went through 57 takes! Many overdubs were applied. Finally the Beatles played it live for the world, and I was a little bothered by John's gum-chewing, just like what we saw with Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice. Tice also gave us the pencil in the ear. He was a "maligned" Vikings coach. I'd like to know about Tice's dental bills. Of course, baseball is worse with all the tobacco.
The pre-broadcast session allowed the Beatles to come up with a basic rhythm track that we would hear behind the live performance on June 25. The recording, we learn, would "reduce the chance of an egregious error in front of millions." Aha! People had much more "stage fright" going on live TV back in those days. That's because TV had an exclusive quality. 
Today, TV is so fragmented, with an endless array of channels, people really think it's no big deal to be on TV. You don't instantly become a "celebrity" by "going on TV."
Being a child star on TV in the old days (like when I grew up) meant you couldn't even go to the grocery store without perhaps being mobbed. Today we see those young actors on the Disney Channel and I'm sure they can go anywhere unbothered.
Back when the Beatles played live, howling crowds would cover up their mistakes, to say the least. On "Our World" their performing would in fact be under a microscope. Today we'd say "big deal." But it really was a big deal then.
Historians tell us the Beatles actually were nervous that day. The performance went off without a hitch. Yes, the Fab 4 could still perform live if they wanted to.
Part of the problem with the Beatles performing live, was that many of the songs beginning with the "Revolver" album, like "Paperback Writer," were not easily performed live, rather they were crafted more in the direction of a riveting recorded sound. Know what I mean?
"All You Need is Love" belongs in the pantheon of classic musical moments. It proclaimed the counterculture of the time, certainly. It appealed to many people who had never paid much attention to the Beatles. It was a high point, and yet many historians are not apt to really applaud the "Magical Mystery Tour" phase of the Beatles' career.
Forget the film of the same name. Judging "Magical Mystery Tour" by the film would be like judging a major league baseball pitcher on his ability to hit. The film was really a low-key art project or an understated experimental film, an endeavor that became a needless distraction, really.
All hail the album, or should. I would have no problem saying "Magical Mystery Tour" is my favorite Beatles album, OK? All hail "I Am the Walrus." The walrus was Paul?
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Aging like fine wine: Beatles' artistry

I bought this album at "Johnson Drug"
(Part 1 of 2)
I remember a friend wondering if the schools of the future would teach the Beatles, the way schools of our generation taught Mozart and Beethoven. I'm pretty out of touch with what schools are doing now. I know that when I was young, the "classical" composers were the ones that belonged in the classroom. The intelligentsia would have scoffed at studying the likes of the Beatles.
The old NBC anchor Chet Huntley dissed the Beatles during an objective news broadcast, so certain he was that his "sensible" generation would accept his view without controversy. Of course, that was totally knee-jerk. It was borne of the cultural clashes of the mid-20th Century. Young people seemed tuned in to a world completely alien to their parents.
The "generation gap" was real and troubling. It was troubling just on the face of it, this seeming schism that was like a 180-degree contrast. Us kids might as well have been space aliens. And we loved the Beatles. Oh, there was a whole treasure trove of new music coming our way. Our parents described it as "noise."
I have read the theory that our parents - that "greatest generation" - knew full well what we were all about, and didn't mind it. They were so thankful being past adversity like the Depression and World War II. So thankful, they let their own kids "run wild." They may have acted chagrined but really they just shrugged.
Our fathers had a background of respecting strict discipline in the military service. They learned you had to respect (or defer to) some SOB sergeant. They often talked like they thought such discipline was a good thing. They would absolutely love to have been spared the military stuff. They may have seen buddies blown to pieces around them. They acted like such experiences made them stronger. Instead, I could cite what "the great and powerful Oz" said to the cowardly lion at the movie's denouement: "Where I come from, there are men who march with (the accoutrements of military service), and they are no more brave than you." Ah, but they had "testimonials."
The Beatles were not themselves baby boomers. Generationally speaking they probably didn't fit into any neat category. They were young and talented guys who developed a passion for music. Why not the kind of music taught in schools? How could they seize on such a totally new direction? It was rebellious by its very nature. But there was no stopping this stuff, the Chet Huntleys of the world notwithstanding.
Making money was no slam dunk for many of these new young musicians. Their fans were kids! Ironically their ability to make money would be much greater after they became "oldie" attractions like at casinos. Those former "kid" fans were now well-heeled adults!
Back when the Beatles were current, kids defined themselves by the pop art they consumed. Well, that's elementary, isn't it? Not so fast, because remember, that was the pre-digital and pre-Internet age, before we could all define ourselves by material of our own creation. It is so incredibly uplifting to live in this new empowered age. We can take it for granted.
In the '60s and '70s your identity might be impressed by whether you were a Beatles or Rolling Stones fan. Rock groups of all shapes and colors came along. I decided to associate myself with the group "Yes."
It was rather unfulfilling, of course, because we were just consuming the work of others. Those "others" got a springboard to fame that could become destructive for them. They were in too much of a fishbowl.
Today we have such a fragmented media world, the sense of "celebrity" with these people has been greatly diminished. I'd have a hard time recognizing many so-called celebrities on the street, as we all would. The world of celebrity icons like Bob Hope and Johnny Carson has faded into antiquity.
The Beatles? They rocketed to fame on a level that surprised everyone. John Lennon may have slowly started to go mad toward the end of that. Some of the disgusting stuff he did may have been a gesture of resentment toward all that fame. Perhaps this even explains the friction between him and Paul McCartney. Paul seemed to hold together much better, keeping a realistic sense of himself.
George Harrison was an able musical hand but couldn't pull his own weight as a full-fledged solo artist. Oh, Harrison definitely gave us glimpses or snippets of greatness. His solo albums started out well ("All Things Must Pass"). He later took a tumble as the overall musical quality became mostly stagnant.
Ringo Starr loved being along for the ride.
It was John's group. He had the power to break it up at the end.
Imagining there was no breakup
I'm sure there's a huge "hobby" out there of putting together "imagined" Beatles albums using songs the four put out post-Beatles. Such faux Beatles albums would come across as wholly legitimate and believable. The creative empowerment of the new media is harnessed for doing this - even carefully crafted album covers with themes.
So it's easy to imagine the Beatles never really broke up. Just cull out the tepid stuff, of which there was much. Paul McCartney could have greatly condensed his material in the 1970s. He had so much power, he could put out anything. He'd "run it up a flagpole" and in many cases, people would salute it. After all, he was a (former) Beatle.
My generation clung to this as if the Fab 4 spoke for us. Really, these were just four talented guys, non-boomers, who crafted a musical style that happened to captivate the new young crowd. Their music was surely sophisticated. The education establishment should have at least accepted that. Change causes disruptive waves.
There is very little awareness of how the Beatles benefited from the advanced recording industry in Great Britain. I heard a lecture about this once. In the U.S., young men who might be interested in this industry were distracted by the military draft. Today's young people should be reminded what a nightmarish distraction that was. Young people had to rise up in a nearly all-out revolution to eradicate the draft and get the U.S. military out of the tragic Indochina enterprise.
Lennon decided to write about "love." He felt sheer love could help the world get past the regressive and destructive stuff. Simply writing about love shouldn't have been recognized as a stroke of genius. But it was.
In my next post I'll explore the album often seen as a low point in the "Fab 4's" career, but one which I like: "Magical Mystery Tour." Kids my age were really taken by "I Am the Walrus." We might be surprised to be reminded that this song was the 'B' side to the single "Hello Goodbye."
Such wonderful artistry. It ages like fine wine.
Addendum: George Harrison's "This is Love" should have been a major hit. That was on the same album as "I Got My Mind Set On You."
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, September 8, 2014

Girls shine on home court, sweeping Paynesville

Tigers 3, Paynesville 0
Karly Fehr was nearly perfect as setter in the Tigers' Thursday (9/4) win over the Bulldogs of Paynesville. The busy and proficient Fehr posted 55/56 numbers in good/attempts. Her set assist total was 21. She surely facilitated the Tigers' hitting in this sweep win in front of appreciate home fans.
This was MACA's second sweep win of the young season. Scores vs. Paynesville were 25-20, 25-13 and 25-14.
Lacee Maanum and Brooke Gillespie each had one ace block. Gillespie put up 13 digs followed by Kourtney Giese (8), Haley Erdahl (6) and Kayla Pring (5).
Gillespie was a cog in hitting with her eleven kills and 21 of 24 in good/attempts. Pring was 15 of 19 in G/A with nine kills. Maanum spiked for eight aces and put up 20 of 26 numbers. Fehr was two of two with two kills, Tracy Meichsner was four of four and Erdahl 11 of 13.
Two Tigers each had two serving aces: Maanum (15 of 15) and Pring (seven of seven). Three Tigers each added one serving ace to the mix: Erdahl (11 of 12), Gillespie (8/9) and Fehr (18/19). Lindsey Dierks was a perfect nine of nine in serving, and Bobbi Jo Kurtz a nifty three of three.
Ashley Froelich pounded down six kills for the visitor, and she also had an ace block. Bulldog Sydney Riley had ten set assists. Ella Johnson attacked well from the serving line, notching five serve aces, but the Tigers were able to overcome. Johnson had 14 digs for the green cause.
The Tigers will seek to get above .500 on Tuesday, 9/9, at Sauk Centre. They're 2-2 at present.
Football: Montevideo 26, Tigers 6
MACA football has been pretty uneventful so far in the 2014 fall. The Tigers have been held to six points in each of their two games.
Word is, injuries are a factor including at least one concussion. I hope the individual with the concussion is very cautious about returning. There's no point in risking a lifelong problem just to play a game.
Even the other injuries will need to be treated with caution. Years from now, few people will remember or care how these games turn out. Again, I'll say I wish Morris had a good soccer program for its young male athletes. When I stopped by the Tigers' season opener and saw such a large crowd, I shook my head. We should be behaving in a more enlightened way and backing away from the needlessly violent and dangerous sport of football.
Maybe in a past era, football was some sort of badge of masculinity or being "macho." We don't think like this anymore. Any sport that is too dangerous for girls is maybe too dangerous for everyone.
Anyway, the Tigers were defeated Friday by the Montevideo Thunder Hawks at Monte, 26-6. MACA had zeroes through the first three quarters. Finally we got a score in the fourth as Chase Metzger caught a 25-yard pass from Toby Sayles.
Four Montevideo touchdowns preceded that score. Jimmy Jorgenson scored on a 37-yard run. Markus Kranz found the end zone on a run from the 13. Kranz scored again on a five-yard scamper. Then, Bryce Maurice hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jorgenson. Hever Valenzuela kicked for two PATs on the Monte scores.
Isaac Wente rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries for Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Trent Wulf had 21 rushing yards on eleven carries. Trent Marty completed four passes for 17 yards and had one interception. Sean Amundson had two pass receptions while Noah Grove and Chase Metzger each had one.
Wulf intercepted a pass. Nate Vipond was a tackle chart standout with eight solos and two assists.
Kranz was all over the field carrying the pigskin for Monte. He nearly gained 200 yards. Passing wasn't much of a factor for the T-Hawks. Isaac Douglas had two completions and Jimmy Jorgenson one. Bryce Maurice and Matthew Henriksen each had one interception.
The Tigers resume play this Friday vs. YME at Big Cat Stadium.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 4, 2014

MACA girls turn back Minnewaska 3-0

Tigers 3, 'Waska 0
Bump, set, spike! We're into the new season of prep volleyball. MACA has had an off-and-on start. Fans got to see the "on" aspect on Tuesday (9/2) when the outcome was a (sweet) sweep win. The Tigers took charge vs. Minnewaska Area at 'Waska.
Kayla Pring was precise at the net, going a perfect 21 of 21 in hitting (good/attempts) and notching nine kills. Lacee Maanum posted 29/35 in G/A and slammed down ten kills. Brooke Gillespie was a force too with 30 of 35 stats and ten kills. Haley Erdahl went eight-for-ten with two kills, and Tracy Meichsner was 6/7 with one kill.
All that spiking elevated Morris Area Chokio Alberta to this sweep win by scores of 25-22, 25-15 and 25-19.
Maanum went up to execute three ace blocks. Gillespie had two, and Meichsner and Karly Fehr one each. Fehr facilitated the hitting with her 24 set assists.
Now we come to digs where Kourtney Giese had 15, Gillespie 14 and Fehr seven. And, let's not forget serving: Gillespie powered two ace serves at the Lakers and was 11/13 in good/attempts. Erdahl was a perfect 17/17 with one ace. Pring added an ace serve to the winning mix.
Ariel Ostrander powered the 'Waska attack with her 12 kills on 39 of 45 in G/A, plus she had an ace block. Taylor Amundson of 'Waska had 18 set assists.
Football: Melrose 14, Tigers 6
Yours truly stopped by Big Cat Stadium shortly before halftime of the season opener. Things looked pretty bleak for MACA. Not only that, the game seemed boring.
Halftime arrived with the Melrose Dutchmen up 6-0. The score was 14-0 after three quarters. A big crowd was on hand, so it was unfortunate the Tigers couldn't get their offensive engines humming. Finally the Tigers scored in the final quarter but it was no-go for the conversion. So, the Dutchmen went home happy, gliding along I-94 going east, owners of a 14-6 opener win.
It's back to the drawing board for our orange and black crew. We'll be on the road Friday (9/5) vs. Montevideo. MACA fans seemed optimistic going into this season. They'll surely want to see a little more offensive productivity.
Trent Wulf scored the lone MACA touchdown Friday on a 19-yard run. The PAT kick try went awry. Wulf looked productive on the night as he covered 128 yards rushing the football, on 19 carries. Isaac Wente carried for 57 yards in 13 carries. Austin Hills contributed 19 yards on four carries.
Trent Marty had some trouble completing passes but he got good mileage from his completions: He was four of 14 for 84 yards and had one picked off. Noah Grove had two of the pass receptions for 23 yards. Olson and Wulf had the other two catches.
Grove handled the team's punting. Wente was a tackle chart standout with nine solos, four assists.
Blake Gerads scored both of the Melrose touchdowns. He caught a 29-yard TD pass from Matthew Beste, and another scoring aerial from Beste covering seven yards. Beste ran for two after the second touchdown. Back when I covered the Tigers for the Morris newspaper in 1973, I remember an area quarterback named Loren Beste, quite good as I recall. I think he played for Sauk Centre and wore No. 7.
Zach Pierskalla rushed for 82 yards for Melrose, on 21 carries.
Beste had passing stats roughly comparable to Marty's: five of 12 for 64 yards but no interceptions. Turnovers will haunt! Pierskalla had the interception for Melrose.
Boy, it sure looks like football is retaining its popularity despite all the revelations about the health consequences of the sport. Big Cat Stadium seemed most full and festive. I'm not sure we should be happy about that. I'd rather see soccer pick up steam as a sport.
But, we're into a new year of fall athletics at MACA now, so the attitude should be "full speed ahead!" Don't look for the newspaper to provide award-winning coverage.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Songwriting has a big reach with few words

Journalists ought to be very jealous of songwriters. We both deal in words. How wonderful to be able to put together a small collection of well-crafted words and gain near-immortality for it.
A pop song grabs our attention like no journalist's tome would. A rare journalist's product comes along that grabs our attention, like "All the President's Men" or "In Cold Blood." Most of the time, even the best journalists' work has a fleeting, transitory quality.
"All the President's Men" was made into a totally commercial movie. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, even. Looking back it seems perverse, the idea that two mere newspaper reporters could emerge as the heroes of Watergate and as household names. This they accomplished in the lawyer-infested world of the Beltway around Washington D.C.
Reporters did what lawyers and politicians failed to do: get inside the Watergate mess in such a way as to unravel it. Politicians took over in the end. But reporters were fodder for the movie and our pop culture.
The wonder of songwriting is that mass appeal can be generated from just a few words. How many of us stop to think about that moment in time when a song was conceived? There is nothing dramatic about such moments, as songwriters get through their normal day the way we all do. A song might start churning around in their mind when doing the most mundane of things: brushing your teeth etc.
They will grab a pen and write down a musical idea on any available piece of paper. Perhaps the back of a receipt or a napkin. If they're afraid of forgetting the melody, they'll quickly draw a barely serviceable musical "staff." Five slashes, hurriedly. I once viewed a museum exhibit with such modest notations of lyrics/words. Snippets of musical ideas on scrap paper can be transformed into finished products that stay in our consciousness forever. I can think of few things more fascinating.
I think any journalist, the type of person trained to be a craftsman with words, would have to be totally, indescribably in awe at how good songwriters ply their craft. Think of such simple songs as "Tiny Bubbles" or "Please Release Me." Think of how these songs first sprouted in a songwriter's mind. And once conceived, they go through a process that ends with the words and music coming across juke box speakers in hospitality establishments everywhere!
I have attempted to write a song just like this. It's called "How Long Has It Been?" It has gone through a metamorphosis. At first it was what you might call a "buddy" song, as it was written from the perspective of a male individual communicating with an old male "buddy." No they're not gay. It's ridiculous I'd have to be defensive about this, but such are the ways of our society. With time I decided this issue could be an impediment to the song so I began tweaking the lyrics. I floundered for a time attempting to do this. Then, on one of those days that inexplicably comes along and puts you in a "stream of consciousness" or some such thing, I re-worked the song successfully. It's all set now if I choose to have a "demo" recorded.
These days it costs about $400 so I'm not eagerly jumping off the couch to do it. For $400 you can get a good mid-range studio in Nashville to do it. You can always spend more of course. But that's not real practical since this is entirely a "spec" project with no assurance of reward. You can spend less too, and hire a studio "mill" that records several songs an hour - no real tender loving care.
I have identified a studio that I feel could satisfy my needs. I would never be doing this, if this was the only song I have ever written. You don't achieve success in this field if you have only written a handful of songs, and certainly not if you've written just one.
I had a professional demo recorded for a song I wrote about Kirby Puckett in 1997. I had several other demos made in the early '80s. Bet you didn't know this about me. Of late I even wrote a song about Morris, Minnesota. It's called "Morris Minnesota." (Comma or no comma? The Beatles went back and forth on this with the song "Hello Goodbye.")
My song about Morris uses the narrative approach for the verse portion which is extensive. Narration means no melody. Remember the song "Uneasy Rider" by Charlie Daniels? My song is like that. Johnny Cash was known for the approach, as in "One Piece at a Time," a humorous novelty song.
My song about Morris has a rousing melody for the chorus portion. Harmony voices would break in. Is it good? The audience would ultimately decide. Anyone else who thinks you can do better, go for it. A successful song of this type could be the theme or a backdrop for our town's sesquicentennial in 2021. That is, if our town is even fired up enough to mark the occasion. Sometimes I wonder.
As a long-time journalist and songwriter by avocation, I feel special fascination with the latter field. The economy of words fascinates me. Ah, the way songwriters can condense or simplify thoughts or concepts, and make cogent points about our world. Mesmerizing us with story-telling.
Five words to guide the world: "All You Need is Love." Did John Lennon write it on a napkin?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com