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

A house reminding of U.S. Civil War - morris mn

A house reminding of U.S. Civil War - morris mn
Click on the image to read about the historic Stanton house of west Morris.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tigers rule after 0-0 first quarter, win 33-6

Oh well, that was pretty easy. Some MACA fans were concerned that Litchfield might mount a pretty good challenge vs. our Tigers. Instead we had rather a breather, here at Big Cat Stadium in Morris. The Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers were in command in this 6AAA football contest. It was a Saturday affair coming two days before Halloween.
Previously we had gotten a bye. Once again, Big Cat Stadium gave a wonderful backdrop as the Tigers excelled. And again, Jacob Zosel won a large share of the cheers. Zosel carried the football 40 times and gained 178 yards in this 33-6 win.
Now we're getting ready to face Albany. You're familiar with Albany: that town along I-94 that has that golf course right next to the highway. When I was in college, I'd stop at the Dairy Queen there en route and order a large chocolate shake, a break that sometimes annoyed one of my passengers who was eager to get home and see his girlfriend.
Zosel
dominated the running game. Some other rushing yards were picked up by Toby Sayles and Ryan Dietz. Passing the football, Sayles completed three of five attempts in a typically economical attack. The three completions gained 59 yards, and Toby threw no interceptions. The pass catchers, one each, were Eli Grove, Chase Metzger and Camden Arndt. Sayles did our punting. Zosel intercepted a pass.
The first quarter supported some of the concerns our fans felt, as neither team scored. The second quarter changed all that. Zosel got us on the board on a run from the two. He plunged into the end zone again for our second score, and this time the conversion was good on a pass from Jared Rohloff to Dylan Gillespie. Litchfield scored on a pass from Josh Prahl to Brandon Nelson.
MACA scored the game's last three touchdowns. Sayles completed a 20-yard TD pass to Chase Metzger. Sayles carried for a two-yard score. Gillespie kicked the point-after. Camden Arndt caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Sayles, and we had our nifty 33-6 win. We came out of the game with an 8-1 season record. Litch closes things out with a 6-4 record.
Logan Nelson was Litch's top ballcarrier with 107 yards on 19 carries. My goodness, Litchfield totally spun its wheels in passing. They would have been better off just running the ball more. In passing the stats looked like a typo: three-for-22 for 35 yards and an interception. Brandon Nelson caught two passes. Kal Jackman sacked the quarterback once.
Our next game will be at St. Cloud State University, Friday, at 5:30 p.m.
 
Big fuss in election campaign
We have this ridiculous controversy now over the continuation of Hillary Clinton's email trouble, and it's ridiculous because of how prolonged it is. The late Hank Stram would call this a Chinese fire drill. The Beltway folks appear deserving of a laugh, even from schoolkids. It's not unprecedented. My formative years were during Watergate.
I am going to offer a guess here as to what is now happening. If I'm right I can point with glee to today's post. I think law enforcement is just following Investigations 101. I think they have this Huma person painted into a corner. Law enforcement will use this as leverage. Anthony Weiner is cooperating with the government.
Perhaps Huma can be shown to have been in possession or co-possession (with Anthony) of absolutely classified, off-limits info for private email. Maybe Huma will fear prolonged incarceration, but of course there's one way out for her: implicating someone higher up. That would of course be Hillary. Huma's brand has been one of 100 percent loyalty to Hillary. But all these relationships can break down through the arm-twisting re. prison prospects.
Huma
could implicate Hillary and then it's all over. That's how people often get nailed in investigations. And then what becomes of the election outcome? Regarding the Weiner element, considering his past scandal, if a script about this were to be presented to a Hollywood producer, it'd be rejected on the basis of being too unbelievable.
- Brian Williams -morris minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 29, 2016

MACA girls begin 3AA climb with sweep

The race is on for post-season honors. Our Morris Area Chokio Alberta volleyball Tigers took step #1 in routine fashion, as expected, sweeping to victory at home. Our opponent was Eden Valley-Watkins. Scores at the home gym were 25-15, 25-4 and 25-7.
We're striving to climb the ladder in Section 3AA. Our next challenge will be to play Paynesville at 7 p.m. Tuesday, here. The Tigers have had state-ranked status throughout the fall. We now have a record of 22-3. Eden Valley-Watkins has languished with a record quite below .500.
Ashley Solvie was aggressive and sharp at the serving line, achieving eight aces. Koral Tolifson had two serving aces while Riley Decker and Cassidy Fehr each had one. Karly Fehr was the cog in setting, true to form, on this night achieving 19 assists. She was complemented by Jenna Larsen with four assists and Decker with one.
Ashley Solvie went up to perform four ace blocks. Larsen and Nicole Solvie each had two ace blocks, and Karly Fehr had one. Brooke Gillespie reached a nice career milestone Friday, in digging. She had eight digs and reached the 1000 mark in career digs. The other dig contributors were Karly Fehr (14), Ashley Solvie (6), Decker (11), Tolifson (7) and Cassidy Fehr (6).
OK, let's get to the crowd-pleasing hitting department: Gillespie was the standout with her eleven kills. Jenna Howden and Ashley Solvie each socked five kills. Nicole Solvie added four kills to the mix, and Karly Fehr and Larsen each had one.
 
Big fuss over emails
I remember the first time I dealt with someone's email at the Morris newspaper. It was someone involved with the swimming/diving program. It seemed so exotic and exciting to me. Email! I had heard about it on TV. Now, there it was in front of me for real. "Email" in those days tended to be spelled with a hyphen: "e-mail." Today the hyphenless form has taken over.
I remember when faxing first came around. There was a similar fascination for me as I went to our machine one night and discovered a fax from the Pat Buchanan campaign for president. This was at the apex of his bid for president, when he made noise for a while as a niche conservative candidate. "Wow," I thought as I examined the fax: History in the making! I was being naive as I concluded this was historic news: Buchanan's success was in an early primary. He of course would fade.
And then faxing technology would fade. It deteriorated over time as more and more "junk" faxes rolled in, like from Senator Rod Grams. Plus, all those travel deals to the Bahamas.
Hillary Clinton has created a royal mess with her email adventure. My take? Let's look at the generational aspect. Hillary like me is a boomer who did not grow up in the digital world. Even Hillary can show a little naivete and lack of perception when it comes to sweeping new communications technologies. She short-sightedly thought she could set up a private email server.
I remember a peer of mine, a Morris resident, saying of her parents: "They're just not intuitive about (this stuff)." The parents were having trouble understanding one of those transitions in cable TV service, the kind of transition most younger people grasped easily.
I held off on getting a "cable box" until I had to. I still don't have a cellphone or Smartphone or whatever. What I need, I guess, is a female friend who can coach me into adopting a lot of this new tech stuff. I shared this with a friend who said, "I can give you a lot of tech tips but I can't help you with the girl."
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Award from Vikings no cause for exuberance

News can get screwed up a little as it gets dispensed word of mouth. Last Wednesday evening (10/19), I caught wind of how our high school football team was named "best in the state." My first thought: Didn't we lose to BOLD? I articulated this and was met with a puzzled look. Another person said we were honored as the "best football program in the state." So I wondered: better than Eden Prairie? Cretin-Derham Hall?
Turns out the award is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Vikings. Getting this award is like being honored by a tobacco company. The Minnesota Vikings are a behemoth commercial entertainment enterprise. It presents us with a product that abuses its player/employees, rendering them in a delicate state with serious impairments in many cases. The mental impairments have been getting special attention over the last couple years.
I don't see the point of awards like what Tiger football got. It probably comes down to a good application writer, as in grant application writer. We were chosen from among 140 programs that were "nominated," we learn through the local newspaper.
Notice how small the Morris newspaper was Saturday? Twenty pages, which is being seen more often as the print media continue its retreat. If it's this small now, a couple weeks before a national election, how small will it be right after Christmas, the traditional "down" time for papers? You're getting less of a product for your money.
If Senior Perspective can be free to readers, why can't the Morris paper?
How can 140 high school football programs possibly be compared in any meaningful way? Is this just public relations for the Minnesota Vikings?
I remember being at Pizza Hut once to photograph the winner of a trip to see the Vikings. The person was chosen at random coming in the door. Turns out, this "winner" belonged to a local church that has no time for professional football. She turned down the prize. At the time, I thought her position a bit extreme, but today I'd say amen and hallelujah. I remember talking with her when the matter was settled, and she said "I don't support it" in regard to NFL football. More and more people are adopting that stance, making them seem less like outliers. Television ratings for the pro game are steadily going down, especially for the prime time games.
Surely our Big Cat Stadium fueled our pitch for getting the award. We wouldn't have that plum, if it were not for the presence of UMM in our community. So the scale was tilted toward us, unfairly one might argue.
I smiled as I realized how this award would be cause for such parochial chest-thumping in Morris. "We're best in the state!" People in the Twin Cities (like in Eden Prairie) would be amused at this exhibit of local pride among us Greater Minnesota folks. (It's a better term than "outstate.")
I'm being harsh but also realistic because there's no cause for pride in connection to football. The health revelations should cause us to close the door on this in short order. The empirical data is irrefutable.
We see a photo on page 1 of a couple females in short skirts and uniforms, what many men (like Donald Trump) would call "babes," holding a banner saying "congratulations Morris." (Trump might rate them an "8".) An announcement is being made in front of a packed MAHS gym, where it appears a spirit rally was called in connection to the award.
Our school gets $10,000 in connection with the award. Representatives of the Vikings were here. An MACA player was quoted saying he was "speechless." But he found the word "amazing."
The award affirms a strong connection between team and community, we're told. We read that "the turnout at the games is amazing." Cheers are in fact the elixir that keeps boys playing the violent sport of football. If the fans would stop coming, the game would wither away. Fans are the essential lifeblood.
The article quotes a player saying the Tigers were 7-0. That can't be, considering we lost to BOLD. But the ecstasy is such, maybe a little embellishment can be excused.
Brett Taber, a Vikings representative, was quoted saying our "marching band" is part of the mix. I haven't attended a game this year. But I'm skeptical we have a "marching band." If we did, it would perform in the Homecoming parade, which I did attend. It would be nice to see a high school marching band in the Prairie Pioneer Days parade. I have even suggested that Hancock's marching band, which performs for their July 4, come to Morris and march for Prairie Pioneer Days. Might be embarrassing for us, though.
We certainly have a viable high school football program that benefits from Big Cat Stadium. I would have preferred seeing UMM get Humanities Phase III constructed, over that football field which sits cold and empty all winter. Our sense of priorities can get thrown off-kilter.
Our high school football program is good enough to fill its purpose nicely, but I'm not sure we should seek some puffy award co-sponsored by the entertainment company known as the Vikings, whose purpose is a world apart from high school activities. NFL football is brutal.
Mike Barnicle of MSNBC says "if you ever sit at field-level for an NFL football game, you'll never allow your son to play football."
Page 1 of the fishwrap also announced an upcoming featured speaker for our community: Ben Utecht, a former pro football player. My, how we keep feeding the beast. Let's all step back, take a deep breath and be more restrained in our enthusiasm about all this. For the sake of the kids.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Where to Invade Next" (2015) a gentle agenda

How to evaluate "Where to Invade Next?" Shall we look upon it as a political statement or artistic work? As art I thought it was rather weak. It struck me as more suited to the small screen than the big screen. It's on the big screen thanks to the stature of Michael Moore.
"Where to Invade Next" is Moore's 2015 documentary, coming across as a travelogue. As entertainment it is surely not riveting. About halfway through I felt it was becoming redundant. There's a set of progressive ideas as the underpinning for this movie. They all work consistently with each other. If I were to identify a common thread, it would be European-style socialism.
The Republican Party of America recoils at this, or at least they have been showing a profound distaste. There is an extreme conservative strain in America that looms as a real impediment. The strain seems almost designed more for entertainment purposes than anything. Following Mitt Romney's loss in 2012, the renowned analyst David Frum wrote about the "conservative entertainment complex."
What Americans really want, of course, is greater relief from the economic anxiety that continually seems to seep in. European-style socialism provides a buffer to all the economic vicissitudes. "Oh, but that's not America," many would proclaim.
The naysayers seem dragged along by that old notion of frontier self-reliance. "Here in America, we have the freedom to be all we can be." Problem is, many common folk around this great land are finding futility as they try to carve out the good life. In misplaced angst they affirm the candidacy of Donald Trump.
"Freedom" in terms of trade deals doesn't seem very uplifting. We are in fact drifting toward European style socialism. People increasingly live well beyond their productive years. What is to become of them? Government is now being asked to bail out people whose health insurance premiums are shooting up. Why not get rid of the insurance industry completely for health care? Insurance companies do not provide health care.
The morons of Fox News would say "government-run health care? You mean, health care being run like the Post Office?"
Well, government seems to do fine administering Medicare and Social Security. We are already a socialist nation to an extent. All advanced industrial nations are a blend of free enterprise and socialism. Americans like the socialist-oriented programs we already have.
"Liberalism" is so often put forward as a boogeyman. But as Chris Matthews of MSNBC points out regularly: "Liberalism always wins in the end." Progress is often halting.
"Where to Invade Next" was Moore's first film in six years. I might criticize the movie based on its title. The casual observer might think it was a movie about war and our questionable "invasions" like of Iraq. Cinema history is dotted with examples of movies that could be titled better. Examples that pop into my head include the early Steve Martin movie "The Jerk," and the 007 movie "A View to a Kill." A movie I greatly liked, "A History of Violence," had a title that suggested it was some sort of documentary. Oh no, it was terrific drama.
"Where to Invade Next" is a rather cumbersome title in addition to possibly being misleading. I commend Moore for the movie's content and its implications for America. We're overdue paying attention to these ideas. One of those ideas is, getting women more into positions of power. What if a woman had been at the top of Wells Fargo? Women have an instinct of wanting to preserve and nurture. The instinct is directed to everyone - i.e. a human life has inherent value.
When General MacArthur began planning the rebuilding of Japan after World War II, he called on women to get the vote. He called for trade unions. Get the point? The Japanese empire had been built by men with destructive impulses, perhaps caused by their own hormones. Did the head of Wells Fargo get carried away by impulses consistent with that, a "slash and burn" set of impulses? Women are not wired like that.
Moore visits a host of nations to learn how the United States could improve its own prospects. He gleans information on worker benefits, school lunches, early education, college education, worker inclusion, decriminalized drugs, low recidivism, women's health care and women's inclusion.
I say "hallelujah" to the no-homework policy of Finland's schools. No standardized testing there either. In my personal background, I was absolutely scarred by how public education took over my life when I was an adolescent. I couldn't come up to breathe. Everything I did was built around what the public school wanted me to do. These included weird reading assignments that had a political agenda consistent with what was happening in the 1960s. We were supposed to support avant garde ideas that ended up looking faddish. To this day I'm bitter about that. Why was I required to take home my band instrument each day? Wasn't one hour of rehearsal enough?
You could not challenge any of this. It was a model of totalitarianism.
Moore speaks with the Finnish minister of education. He goes to Slovenia and learns about debt-free, tuition-free higher education. Germany accents its labor rights and work-life balance. Norway has a quite humane prison system. Women's rights in Tunisia are celebrated. Women have shown wisdom in power in Iceland. Iceland went after bankers in a way that could have been a template for the U.S. after the 2008 crisis.
I question the movie on entertainment criteria but here is some good news: "Where to Invade Next" got good critical reviews. Moore's movies are all about people learning to become decent human beings through social systems. Moore pretends to "invade" the various countries. Whatever you want to say about these countries, I'm sure their young men weren't forced to go fight and die in Viet Nam in the 1960s. Why do you think we had the "British invasion" in music? The English were not distracted by the hellish specter of military conscription.
Hillary Clinton's election will highlight the humanitarian ideals of a female leader. Bernie Sanders may have seemed more liberal. But I assure you, Clinton as a true politician will move to the left if she senses there's a mandate from the American people.
I'd like for Moore to hear my song "Michigan, We Need You to Win again," on YouTube. If you know how to give him a heads-up, please do it for me. God bless.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

NFL on slippery slope downward

It is news that the TV ratings for NFL football are down. The Drudge Report regularly has links about this. The NFL problem has persisted long enough that we can begin drawing conclusions. I'm greatly relieved. Logic suggested turning away from this game a long time ago.
There was a big obstacle: our addiction to this form of entertainment. Withdrawal is never easy. But it appears that more and more of us are succeeding with it. We know it's complete when no longer do we get drawn into a conversation about "How are the Vikings doing?"
The Minnesota Vikings are a mammoth business interest that has given us a sugar high of fun each week. We began to learn that players got punished physically with consequences lasting a lifetime. We easily understood a few battered knees. We felt players were OK with such nicks to their body. Such nicks might even be a badge of masculinity. "How did I get my limp? I got it playing football." Gee, did you win the conference? Who cares?
A sea change has been going on. The movie "Concussion" with Will Smith dramatically showed us the downturn in fortunes the old former players experience. Pulling your teeth out and super-gluing them back in? No thank you. I have no taste for an activity that leaves its practitioners in such a state.
Is all this realization the reason why TV viewers are turning away? Actually, several theories are getting bandied about. The excitement of the presidential race? Really? People are choosing cable TV news coverage over football? That sounds most implausible. Some observers say the retirement of Peyton Manning and suspension of Tom Brady hurt the entertainment value. I'm surprised that a guy in his late 30s, Manning, could reach the championship game. The top quarterbacks ought to be between approximately 28 and 32 years old. Brady is good but he cheated. I fail to see how these two guys could be so indispensable.
One-sided games? Historically this element has not meant much in terms of attracting a TV audience. Back when Monday Night Football had its run as an entertainment phenomenon, much was made of how the famous broadcast crew could "make a bad game hip."
The prime time NFL games of today, games starting at 7 or 7:30 p.m., seem to be suffering the most. Bad or dull matchups have been cited. However, bad or dull matchups have never been rare in the NFL. There was a time when the game's leaders were afraid that parity among teams was equating with mediocrity. I shook my head regarding that, reasoning that it was more likely that football simply had "cosmetic" issues. I would assert fans weren't getting to see enough exciting plays, i.e. passes where the receivers were catching the ball in stride downfield. Rule changes came along to remedy this.
Back when the Vikings lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl, there were fears that defense would totally take over the game. The game can always be manipulated to solve such problems.
What about players kneeling for the National Anthem these days? That behavior is so easy to ignore. I personally respect their message. But, a source of erosion for the league? I think not.
So, to what do I attribute football's current problems with keeping TV ratings up? Awareness of physical injury is definitely a factor. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, I think all we need do is look at the nature of entertainment itself. Why do you think songs "climb the charts" and then go down? It's because we get tired of popular things. These things run their course, like a TV sitcom, even the best sitcoms like "Hogan's Heroes." My God, "Star Trek" couldn't survive in the 1960s.
It has taken considerable time, but the rest of the entertainment industry has been catching up to football. We shouldn't be surprised. Football was the golden goose for so long. Human greed then takes over. It was a bridge too far when the NFL felt it had to move into Thursday. The saturation effect has finally shown itself.
I suppose it's a tribute to football that its popularity had such staying power. But the entertainment industry cuts no favors to anyone. A popular product will have its prime, wringing all the returns it can get, striking while the iron is hot, and then it fades. Many new TV programs are genuinely stimulating, replacing a lot of the old stale fare. We have the phenomenon of "binge watching."
It's about time these forces work relative to the NFL and its crude product.
So, how are the Vikings doing? Let's change the subject.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Are DWI laws misplaced with their message?

Have your seen those PSAs that warn about the very severe penalties for DWI? They warn that "buzzed driving is drunk driving." In other words, the hammer of our law enforcement will come down on you if you've simply had "one too many," as the old saying goes.
The PSA on TV shows typical young adults in a lively party scene. I find these PSAs so uncomfortable to watch, I have to sometimes switch channels. The PSAs warn that a DWI will cost you an astronomical amount of money (to use terminology associated with the late Willie Martin). Up to $20,000? That's what we hear. I suppose all this money goes to fuel our law enforcement/legal system. How convenient. Same as those seat built fines which I recall started out at $40 and are now over $100. Oh, but we all need to promote absolutely safe driving, right?
What explains my discomfort at the reminder of such harsh penalties? Surely we can't turn a blind eye to impaired drivers, can we? Surely we can't turn a blind eye to people not bothering with their seat belts, can we?
A little age perspective comes into play here. I am 61 years old. I remember the generation of my parents, the so-called greatest generation, being quite fond of frivolous weekend behavior, going to someplace like the VFW, or attending a Shriners or Legion convention, or going somewhere on New Year's Eve and becoming stumbling drunk. My own parents did nothing like that. But I observed plenty of that behavior. I was familiar with families where such behavior became a family issue and caused sadness, particularly with the kids.
Maybe we gave a pass to the World War II generation, allowing them to pursue their diversions as a means of overcoming the anxiety they felt earlier in their lives. Weren't GIs given free cigarettes in World War II?
There's more to the background I'm offering: The drinking age was lowered just as I graduated from high school in 1973. It was lowered so we could have the privilege of consuming alcohol, based on how young men were being forced to fight and die in Viet Nam. If young men were being tasked with this hellish proposition, their peers should be allowed to behave fully like adults, it was argued. My generation invaded the bars.
Of course, this notion of drinking being equated with maturity came from the alcoholic beverages industry with its incessant commercials. Guys my age grew up watching football on TV with constant beer commercials. Is this still the case? I hardly watch football anymore.
Beer commercials had such a light air. They suggested that beer was to be equated with a carefree feeling about life, as if their product might liberate us in some way. Kick back, watch football and make sure plenty of beer was in the refrigerator.
When young people engage in the typical lively party behavior, are they following their own organic impulses, from within their own generation, or are they reflecting a long and ignoble legacy that has been passed down? I would suggest the latter. We can conclude that we as a society bear the burden of the consequences of excessive party behavior. Young people are taking cues. They see alcohol and drugs as a liberating sort of thing that signals adulthood, something to relish.
We see this quintessential party behavior in those PSAs that warn us about drunk (or "buzzed") driving. And then we're told that your life will become hell - you'll lose everything - if you drive having had "one too many." Of course, it's highly subjective to determine what constitutes "one too many." There has been debate about whether that line should be made more stringent. Maybe you could get nailed if you had just one beer with your pizza some evening. The law could wipe out all social drinking. I don't know about that. Is the purpose really to promote optimally safe driving, or is it to simply punish a form of behavior that our society now looks down on? The latter would be perverse.
But we want optimal safety, right? In an ideal world, right? But alcohol is just one form of impairment. It is sad if anyone gets hurt because of someone having done a minimal amount of social drinking. But what about sleep-deprived drivers? What about drivers who might be on a certain type of medication? And on a broader scale, what about all those senior drivers, drivers over the age of 80 for example, whose reflexes aren't close to being what they once were? Shall we clamp down on all these categories of drivers?
If seniors were to be forced off the road, their middle-age children would all scream about how their parents ought not be deprived of their independence. Our population is aging. If elderly people lose their driving privileges, we'll have to pay more in taxes, which we'll do anyway, to assist these people in their more limited lifestyles.
We start taking risks when we get out of bed in the morning. These draconian punishments for DWI offenses seem out of proportion. Extreme offenses must be handled like the truly problematic things they are. As for "buzzed driving," let's cool it a little. This obsession to punish, as with people not wearing seat belts, has developed a life of its own.
Back when seat belt laws were before the states, surveys showed that people overwhelmingly wanted this to be treated as a secondary offense. What happened to that plurality? You should know that our Morris Police Department still treats seat belt as a primary offense, so be careful. And if I go to Pizza Hut to have a pizza, I will definitely order a Pepsi now.
It's odd that the first time I was pulled over for seat belt, I got a ticket, and the second time I got a warning, just recently. The officer the second time was far more friendly than the first time. That helped a lot. The first time, I went through great duress trying to pay the fine, which I eventually found out (through an employee at the court administrator's office) was due to a clerical error at the Morris Police Department. So, I don't have warm and fuzzy feelings about the Morris Police. The police chief needs to lose some weight. Law enforcement doesn't give me a sense of peace.
I'm an old acquaintance of the person who was the long-time person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling case, Daniel Rassier. That guy was totally railroaded. Please realize that defense attorneys play a very important role in our legal system and our very way of life. Government overreach is always out there as a many-headed hydra. Government (i.e. law enforcement) is made up of human beings who are always trying to impress their own importance.
Take care. Skip the booze. Live your life as if alcohol and cigarettes don't exist. You'll be happier.
The law has been slow to catch up with distracted driving.
- Brian Williams -morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hitting errors take toll for MACA in rare defeat

The photo shows Del Sarlette (left) and the late Tom Hesse in their tradition of wearing their MHS letter jackets for Homecoming. Tom Hesse, RIP.
 
Special note: The Morris Sun Tribune newspaper recently published its "statement of ownership" which has circulation numbers. Paid circulation is down about 40 percent from where it used to be. That's quite a drop.
 
Fans were treated to some fine back-and-forth rallies Thursday night (10/13) at the MACA gym. The habitually winning Tigers did not win on this night.
Everybody knew the orange and black would have its hands full against a high-caliber opponent. That opponent was Sauk Centre. The Streeters have played several more matches than the Tigers. They turned back our orange and black crew in an intense match Thursday, 3-1. Sauk came out of the night with the quite rich win harvest of 25 on the season. Wow! The Tigers came out of the night with a 20-3 season record, with two of those losses having come in a Twin Cities tournament.
Here are the Thursday scores with the MACA numbers first: 20-25, 25-9, 25-27 and 14-25. Yes, game 2 had quite the promise for MACA taking charge. Sauk Centre was able to make adjustments to squeak out the win in game 3, and continued on a solid course through the end. The Tigers were dealt their first conference loss of the season.
Click on the link below to read about the MACA football team's first loss of the season, experienced Friday at BOLD (Olivia). This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." As always, thanks for reading and God bless. - B.W.
 
Sauk Centre 3, Tigers 1
Sauk Centre entered the night as the No. 11 state ranked team in AA. The Streeters and Tigers have battled twice this season. Previously the teams fought through the maximum five games with the Tigers winning 3-2. The Streeters have not lost since.
Why did the Tigers fade Thursday following that most promising game 2? The best explanation is hitting errors. We had 35 such errors in all. Sauk Centre was quite sharp in the blocking department.
Karly Fehr had three serving aces for the Tigers. In her specialty of setting, Karly put up 43 assists. Brooke Gillespie, Nicole Solvie and Koral Tolifson each had one set assist.
Gillespie and Ashley Solvie each pounded down 14 kills. Two other Tigers had double figures in kills: Jenna Howden with eleven and Nicole Solvie with ten. Karly Fehr added one kill to the mix. Ashley Solvie executed five ace blocks and Jenna Larsen had one. Riley Decker excelled in the defensive phase with 30 digs. Gillespie dug up the ball 26 times and Karly Fehr had 15 digs. Koral Tolifson came through with ten digs, and Howden and Larsen each had seven.
Coach Kristi Fehr was quoted in the media: "(Sauk Centre) did a good job blocking and we just made too many errors."
 
Tigers 3, Minnewaska 0
Prior to the Sauk Centre match, MACA took care of business vs. the 'Waska Lakers, winning by sweep. Scores were 25-16, 25-9 and 25-8.
Karly Fehr's set assist total on this night was 25. Jenna Larsen had two set assists, while Riley Decker, Koral Tolifson and Bailey Marty each had one. Tolifson produced three serving aces while Brooke Gillespie and Karly Fehr each had one. In the crowd-pleasing hitting department, it was Gillespie at the fore with ten kills. Ashley Solvie had eight kills, and the list continues with Nicole Solvie (7), Jenna Howden (6), Karly Fehr (6), Larsen (1) and Riley Decker (1).
Ashley Solvie had three ace blocks and Gillespie had one. It was Decker excelling in digs with 12. Karly Fehr had nine digs, Gillespie had eight and Cassidy Fehr five.
For Minnewaska, Taylor Amundson had ten set assists. Carley Stewart was team-high in kills with five. Abby Ver Steeg and Ellie Danielson each had four kills. Amundson and Danielson each had one ace block. Amundson dug up the ball ten times.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Music soothes for 2016 UMM Homecoming

It's so much more soothing to celebrate the UMM Homecoming by attending the music concert, rather than the football game. It's so soothing to be away from the emotions connected to sports. Music is wholesome and uplifting.
This year I noticed the announcement that the Homecoming concert would be on Saturday. I wondered: "Is this how it was scheduled before?" I could have sworn the Homecoming concert was held Sunday in past years. I wondered if I was experiencing age-related confusion. I called Sarlettes Music to confirm that the concert would indeed be on Saturday. "Yes," I was told.
I wondered how this would work, given that the football game wouldn't be over by 2 p.m. But then I found out a couple things: The Homecoming concert had indeed been held on Sundays in past years. My mental soundness was affirmed. And then I found out, on Sunday, that the football game was moved to a later start time.
I haven't paid any attention to UMM football for a very long time. I do sense, though, that political correctness has probably had a very positive effect on the program. Consider the recent hullabaloo over "locker room talk" prompted by the past behavior of the Republican presidential nominee. Yes, Republicans, you own this guy, I think. A general discussion regarding locker room talk and its misogyny, not to mention other words that could describe it, has developed, as we as a nation examine our navel again.
Well, if you want to consider a prime example of locker room talk, taken to the extremes of parody, you need only consider the UMM football program of the 1970s, full of "cock of the walk" types. If you get upset with me for pointing this out, I'd be happy to tell stories at some future time about the skits of the annual "Cougar follies." It was an annual event during the heyday of Cougar football, when the team could beat legitimate programs (like Northern Iowa) on a regular basis. The wins were great but the culture was disturbing.
Back then the fans were all too happy to just indulge Cougar football. Its cultural shortcomings could be overlooked. "Boys will be boys," I guess. But that's the attitude being overcome by political correctness (the good kind) now.
Far be it from me to understand why certain trends take hold on our august liberal arts campus. I'm not sure why the football program had to slide from being breathtaking to breathtakingly mediocre. I'm not sure why such a long and painful transition was needed before we could land in a conference where we'd have a chance again. We could play Bible schools. We're at least not making news by perpetually losing.
We once had a program that produced some NFL prospects. I guess that was exciting. But today I'm far more interested in taking in the Homecoming music concert. It's free!
I must continue this blog post in the spirit of constructive criticism. Has the HFA ever struck you as a strange place, architecturally speaking? Upon entering you're struck by the cavernous nature of the hallway - the high ceiling. I'm assuming the energy cost is unreasonable. I once heard from a good source that this building was originally designed for a school in Texas, then it got transferred to here.
I would suggest the planning reflected misplaced priorities. A hallway is merely functional, a means of getting from here to there. Our UMM HFA has a performance facility for music that is too small and gets too easily cramped and hot. More than one director at this year's concert sort of joked about the hot (i.e. stuffy) atmosphere. The place seemed filled to absolute capacity. It's called  a "recital hall." A recital is a more low-key event than a concert.
UMM needs a full-fledged concert facility. I once heard about the "Humanities Phase III" proposal. Have people contributed money earmarked for that? It has become a totally phantom thing. A UMM-oriented person told me this project became unfeasible once our public school constructed its state of the art concert hall (although I think it could use an extra aisle or two). Morris is too small, this person told me, to have two massive concert halls, but this leaves UMM with the short end of the stick.
The HFA ought to have normal hallways with doors that lead into decent-size performance venues. I mean, St. Cloud State has this.
I felt the UMM choir under Brad Miller was the highlight of the 2016 UMM Homecoming concert. It finished up the program. UMM music seems to have an aversion to "encores." When the concert was given honoring my late father, the audience clapped loudly and persistently after the last tune, seeming to hint that an extra little ditty would be appropriate. But no. That concert had audience-pleasing offerings as opposed to the more esoteric fare that UMM often presents. I guess that was because of a hint from my family.
The Homecoming concert could have used a little encore, and I of course would suggest the two-minute-long "UMM Hymn" which drips with sentiment. Garrison Keillor loved that song. He started clapping before the singers let go of the last note, when his show came to the P.E. Center. This tune is conducive to encouraging audience members to open their purse strings for contributing to UMM, eh?
I would like to see Miller direct this tune once, partly so he could develop his own appreciation of it, and so he could be ready to direct it if it's requested. It was performed for Tom McRoberts' funeral.
My father directed the Hymn so the singers slowed down for the words "varsity." I don't think Ken Hodgson directed it like that, so you might wonder: do I have a preference? Oh no, I don't. Hodgson did it in a totally pleasing manner. Maybe Hodgson could guide Miller into it. Miller strikes me as brilliant as a choir director. His "5 o'clock shadow" seems to be a natural condition. As for me, I just don't shave very often. I don't need to shave because I'm unemployed.
I may be unemployed because of UMM, specifically because of the goalpost incident of 2005. I don't know why that was even my problem. The goalpost incident in which a student was killed happened on UMM property, so why couldn't UMM take full responsibility of telling the public all about it? Instead I was at my office all weekend with phones ringing incessantly. I felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I found a nice eyewitness description on the ESPN2 website. It was quite the national story, maybe even international. I got calls from the NBC Today Show.
I had been at the football game in the first half and then left. I returned to the campus for the volleyball match. But I was not at the field for the hellish goalpost incident, which apparently left many onlookers with PTSD-type symptoms. Is it true that the UMM mischief-makers were discouraged from doing their deed at the north goalpost? I have heard the story of the "mystery gesture" by a campus security person, seeming to indicate (according to legend) that the students ought to go to the south end. Go to the south end they did. A number of them climbed onto the goalpost, to where their weight eventually caused it to snap. A student named Rick Rose from the Pacific Northwest was killed.
When I finally saw video of the whole thing on KSTP-TV, I was struck by how bad it really was, i.e. out-of-control. It was worse than how I envisioned it.
Some sanctimonious types jumped on me after our paper came out. Perhaps I was scapegoated. Within a year I was gone from the paper, having felt an onslaught of duress.
I probably would have left the paper within a year or two anyway, given the increased need for me to be at home with my aging parents. Newspaper management wanted me to attend a Blandin retreat. This was asinine. Such things are meant for new people in the community, partly as a means for them to get acquainted. "Everybody knows you," Liz Morrison said to me.
Everyone knew my parents were getting to the stage where they needed me around, so I was uncomfortable about committing to the feel-good Blandin retreat. Initially I did commit but then I withdrew, risking the disapproval of management.
Thinking back to that Blandin event, I'm reminded of an old quip from a trombone-playing friend of mine, Leroy Bushing, who said regarding a National Legion convention: "That sounds about as necessary as having two assholes."
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 8, 2016

MACA football scores 40 in another win

The Tigers continued to roar in Friday night (10/7) play. This time the winning outcome had a 40-14 final score. And once again, Jacob Zosel performed up to his reputation as a marquee runningback. Zosel fueled the offense with 278 rushing yards on 35 carries. He scored two of the MACA touchdowns in this win No. 6 for the orange and black.
We're undefeated! Sauk Centre has won just once.
Click on the link below to read about the MACA volleyball sweep wins over Montevideo, ACGC and Benson. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
 
Tigers 40, Sauk Centre 14
Host Sauk Centre scored all of their points in the third quarter. Meanwhile the Tigers put points on the board in all four quarters.
The momentum started with Ryan Dietz plunging into the end zone from the one. Eli Grove kicked the point-after. Our second score of the first quarter came when Toby Sayles ran the ball in from the four. Then in quarter No. 2, we went up 20-0 thanks to a Sayles pass of 14 yards to Camden Arndt. Grove's toe was true on the point-after.
Sauk Centre got on the board with a two-yard run that had Dylan Hafkamp clutching the football.
Jacob Zosel was off to the races on a 32-yard scoring run to build our scoreboard cushion. Grove kicked the PAT. The Streeters got their second score when Simon Weller passed ten yards to Cade Neubert. Weller ran for two on the conversion.
The Tigers came on strong over the rest of the game, scoring two more TDs. Zosel found the end zone on a run from the six. Then it was Nathan Beyer breaking loose on a 23-yard scoring run, after which Grove again found the middle of the uprights. Game over. An impressive 40-14 win.
It's terrific to acknowledge Zosel on his substantial ground yardage, but it's unfortunate the offensive linemen don't get more recognition. Back in the days when I interviewed Jerry Witt after each game, we saw to it that players across the whole range of positions got their names in print. Offensive linemen were acknowledged routinely.
The type of "scoring summary" that appears in the Willmar paper can leave out so much. A player scores on a one-yard run but what preceded that? When I interviewed coach Witt, we always sought to acknowledge "big plays" along the way. Will the Morris paper ever do this kind of reporting again? Can we even count on the Morris paper to do the actual reporting/writing, or will we have to accept articles recycled from the Willmar paper, articles that appeared in the Willmar paper a week earlier?
"News is perishable," former MAHS Administrator Mike Martin said during his tenure here, as he constantly twisted arms to get the best possible coverage, even to the extent of taking over the work himself. He had naysayers when it came to this: his investment of time in work outside of his school duties. A school board member remarked to me: "Doesn't he spend any time with his family?" And the manager of the Morris paper reflected in a meeting that "Jim (Morrison) was getting phone calls" about Martin's burdensome moonlighting. Can you describe it any other way?
 
Statistics from Friday
Toby Sayles rushed for 33 yards Friday. Dietz and Beyer each gained 28 yards on the ground. Conner Koebernick charged forward for 14 yards. The monster ballcarrier was of course Zosel.
Again our passing attack was limited. Sayles completed two passes in five attempts for 48 yards and had no interceptions. The two catches were by Dylan Gillespie and Camden Arndt. Sayles handled the one Morris Area Chokio Alberta punt. He also made our only interception. Hunter Gades made a fumble recovery.
The defensive side of the football had Dietz with five solo tackles and one assist. Chase Metzger made four solo tackles. Sayles had six solos and one assist. Jared Rohloff executed three solo tackles. Denner Dougherty had two solos and one assist. Dakota Luepke put up 1-1 numbers, and these Tigers each contributed one solo: Brendan Goulet, Koebernick, Mitchell Dufault, Zosel, Matt McNeill, Andrew Messner, Arndt and Brady Cardwell.
Sauk's top ballcarrier was Dylan Hafkamp with 28 yards on ten carries. Weller completed eight passes in 20 attempts for 131 yards and had one interception. Cade Neubert made five of the catches for 114 yards.
The Tigers will next play BOLD at Olivia. Hey, BOLD's undefeated! The game will be quite the attraction. Can we continue to lean so heavily on the running game? We'll see.
Click on the link below the view the MACA football page on Maxpreps.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A questionable choice for SCMC speaker

Here's another situation where I'm feeling like the only sane person in an insane asylum. I'm referring to the selection of a speaker for SCMC's Fall Into Health event, set for October 24. The event is previewed nicely in the October edition of Senior Perspective. I really appreciate the large type size!
"Fall Into Health" will bring Ben Utecht to Morris. He'll speak at our elementary school. I suspect that what I say here will fall on deaf ears. It's fun watching football if you're in your recliner at home. This love of football affects our ability to judge rationally. Someone like me who points out the obvious, that football is totally unacceptable for our boys to take up, risks considerable scorn. It's bizarre.
SCMC
is an institution that stands for taking care of one's health. But it's showcasing a speaker who uses his own brain problems as a springboard for his message. It would be nice if the message was "don't let your sons play football." This is a guy who has a book out entitled "Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away." That strikes me as quite sad. But I'm thinking like that outlier again (in the insane asylum).
Can't anyone agree with me that it's at least highly ironic that a man whose football accomplishments serve to glorify the sport, has a background that screams at us to avoid the sport?
The article in Senior Perspective gives such a wonderful impression of SCMC and its resources to help everyone. I just don't see the point of bringing Utecht here. I'm sure he got drawn into the sport of football innocently enough, as countless boys do. I'm sure all the cheers were quite the elixir for him. How can you beat that? Being made to feel like a hero to counter all those boring hours in school?
Boys play football year after year, taking considerable risks with their brains and bodies. The negative effects may take years to show up. Someone like Utecht should go on tour trying to tamp down the enthusiasm for football, just like the guys who looked into the sun for an eclipse go around saying "don't do this!"
The Senior Perspective article by Jim Palmer introduces us to Utecht in quite the positive light within his football background. Utecht is a Hastings native. "He loved to play football," we learn. He was the starting tight end for the U of M Gophers for four years. He wasn't chosen in the pro draft but signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.
"He became one of Peyton Manning's favorite targets," the article tells us with hype. What a role model! He caught passes from Peyton Manning, now seen as a ubiquitous TV commercial pitchman. We learn that Utecht played a big role for the Colts in winning the 2006 Super Bowl. He was dealt five documented concussions. Writer Palmer tells us "while (Utecht's) career was cut short, he still loves the game of football and is still around the game. But now, his focus is on being an advocate for sports brain injury awareness."
More from the article: "Utecht will openly discuss his experiences, from the injuries themselves to the ongoing neuro-cognitive issues he experiences, including memory loss."
Who would want their son to risk this kind of outcome from playing a quite pointless game? Is "awareness" really the answer? If it is, it's the kind of awareness that should lead to boys walking away from the sport. Is that so hard? Can you suggest with a straight face that there are no more constructive activities for boys than to practice and play football, to view opposing players as adversaries (when they might be your friends) and who you try to knock on their rear end? Can any of you really make a contrary argument to me?
Utecht
realizes that football has come to define him whether he likes it or not. So he's going to continue riding football's gravy train, post-career, despite the irony that he's really focusing on the most negative aspect of the game: the disastrous health consequences. Utecht is the national spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation.
"He has earned honors for his brave honesty and advocacy, receiving the 2014 Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the American Academy of Neurology," the article reads. Is it brave to just acknowledge the truth? Wouldn't it be more brave to assert that football is an outdated, Neanderthal activity no longer worthy of boys' time and commitment?
Utecht
is a musician too. He put out a single called "You Will Always Be My Girls" in 2013. The song is described as "a love letter to his wife Karyn and their daughters, as he fears that one day his brain injuries will lead him to not know them."
I'm scratching my head. Are these consequences of playing football not drastic? Are they not catastrophic? Couldn't Utecht have weaved through his life quite satisfactorily without having played football?
This past summer he released that book, "Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away." If the day comes that his mind is gone, will he not need some government-supported assistance? As a result of his conscious decision to play the game? Boys should be steered away from the game. This should in fact be his message. But if it was, he wouldn't be so popular on the lecture circuit.
Society is still too in love with football. Change in society takes time.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 1, 2016

MAHS Homecoming presents lively football

The Powder Puff game
I remember the days when the Powder Puff football game for Homecoming was played at Green River Park and was a tackle affair. It was controversial. Morris legend has it that a fall sports coach discouraged her players from participating and actually suspended players who did. At the same time, at least one school board member was wholly enthusiastic about the event.
The tackle format bothered me a little, not because the players were girls but because it was a one-time event, thus players might not be real attuned to it. OK, I was a little bothered because they were girls too. Lest you think I'm sexist, I actually disapprove of boys playing football too. It's odd how we put up with this sport that can have physical and mental consequences years after a player plays. I feel so blessed never having had the interest or the skill to play football.
The 2016 MAHS Powder Puff football game had some possible controversy! Is it true that the senior girls may cheat a bit, choosing to forgo the Velcro and tie their flags on, making it harder to rip them off? I have heard the allegations. Also, I heard about at least one injury. A player with the junior team was taken to the emergency room where a sling was applied. The physical risks are just not worth it. As for the alleged cheating, we at least have to be aware of it, eh?
 
A wonderful Homecoming parade
Mom and I enjoyed the Homecoming parade, held on a fine fall afternoon. We're always seated in front of SCMC. We're amazed each year how the crowd suddenly materializes after the pep fest. One minute the place seems barren, making me wonder if I'm in the wrong place! But the crowd gathers and the festivities are on. I get a little nervous seeing the presence of the police, given how cops are so regularly in the news for controversial shootings. A cop got charged with manslaughter just recently. Guns should be nowhere near school activities, IMHO.
I remember being in the Morris marching band when we did formations out on the field at halftime. I think we formed a wheel and did "Spinning Wheel." We always played "All the Things You Are" for the introduction of the queen. We had no king then. I remember when the king honor was first introduced. Administrator Dennis Rettke was a little concerned about how boys might think it's "dorky." People are less likely to even think in these terms these days, thank goodness. It's like equating football with manliness. How quaint.
Maybe football was once a way to prepare boys for military service. Follow the orders of your SOB colonel, i.e. coach. We certainly have evolved as a society.
 
Volleyball keeps surging
Click on the link below to read about the MACA volleyball success versus Melrose and BOLD. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - B.W.
 
Football: Tigers 36, YME 13
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta football momentum rolled through Homecoming week 2016. Fans got to see a very encouraging sign: the emergence of an exciting passing game. Granted, there were only five completions. But those five hookups netted 133 yards, and there were no interceptions in this 36-13 Tiger win.
Toby Sayles completed four of his nine pass attempts. Parker Dierks had the other completion. Two of our scores came on substantial pass completions. Conner Koebernick caught a 53-yard scoring strike from Sayles. Ryan Dietz produced the Tigers' final score with his 24-yard catch from Sayles. Eli Grove kicked the point-after following each of those scores.
The Tigers led 21-6 at halftime. It was Jacob Zosel, our marquee ballcarrier, putting the orange and black on the board with a three-yard run. Grove handled the PAT. Sayles got into the end zone from two yards out for our second score. This time MACA lined up for two on the conversion, and the two points came on a pass from Dylan Gillespie to Jared Rohloff.
The third MACA score was that 53-yard pass catch by Koebernick. Yellow Medicine East scored on a 21-yard pass from Tom Lindstrom to Austin Friese. Then it was Zosel scoring for the Homecoming host, finding the end zone from five yards away. Grove's toe was true. Dietz made his big 24-yard catch to create breathing room, and then the Sting got a consolation score on a three-yard run by Bryce Schmidt. Jordan Odegaard kicked the PAT.
Sayles was a standout performer as he complemented his passing yards with 45 rushing yards, on 12 carries. He accounted for three of our touchdowns if you combine the running and passing.
Zosel had another productive night running the football: 91 yards on 22 carries. Dietz's stats were 43 yards on 12 carries, and Chase Metzger covered 21 yards on three carries. Four Tigers each had one pass reception: Koebernick (for 53 yards), Rohloff (for 26 yards), Dietz (24 yards) and Metzger (24 yards).
Sayles handled the one MACA punt. Defensive impact came from Dakota Luepke (three solo tackles), Dietz (two solos and one assist), Levin Strand (one solo, two assists), Zosel (one solo) and Dylan Gillespie (one solo).
YME's Garrett Nordang rushed for 35 yards on four carries. Cole Hatch had 30 yards on the ground. Tom Lindstrom did YME's passing and had five completions in 13 attempts for 53 yards and no interceptions. Austin Friese and Colton Antonson each had two receptions.
We're 5-0 as we prepare for the next challenge which will be at Sauk Centre. YME is doing better than in some other recent campaigns, now with a record of 3-2.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com