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

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

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mike Cuellar, pitcher with Baltimore dynasty

I had an emotional attachment to the Minnesota Twins through the 1960s and a little beyond. That means I was greatly annoyed by the Baltimore Orioles and their intense manager, Earl Weaver. I regret that I ever got emotionally connected to baseball. Even if my team had won the World Series, would it really have made me happy? Our favorite teams could become an extension of our personalities.
Let's remember that back then, when you tuned in to baseball on TV, you almost always watched that favorite "home" team. It was the nature of the media then, just like watching many TV games from that dreaded fixed camera position behind home plate. You could hardly count on the center field camera position, which we take for granted today. We take for granted so much.
My emotional connection is gone. First it departed for baseball, the final nail being the 1994 strike, and then for football for the obvious player hazard reasons. So today I observe baseball as mostly a curiosity. I haven't been to Target Field. In the late '60s I made occasional trips to our old beloved Met Stadium out in the Bloomington prairie. One of the missions of my blogging has been to keep alive memories of the Met.
Orioles: a nemesis for our Twins
The dynastic Baltimore Orioles under the excitable Weaver came often to frustrate us. A top pitcher for that squad was Mike Cuellar. I remember the lefthander so well. He, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer were spectacular on the mound. In '71 they were joined by Pat Dobson and all four won 20 games. Four 20-game winners! There outta be a law, I might suggest.
Awe-inspiring though this was, it hardly seems to equate with exciting sports. Baseball allowed pitching to really dominate in the '60s, the peak being 1968 "the year of the pitcher." Yawn. I have long wondered why the baseball powers that be allowed things to get so bad in '68.
You had to try to find a way to just be fascinated by the pitching. I guess a fair number of fans did that, including the cook character in the movie "Bobby" about the assassination of RFK at the Ambassador Hotel. The cook coveted his ticket to see Don Drysdale of the Dodgers try to extend some ridiculous pitching record. Consecutive shutout innings?
Cuellar was in his prime in that phase of baseball history. His significant trade to the Orioles happened in December of 1968. Baseball did do something to try to help the offense for 1969: it lowered the pitching mound. But pitchers were hardly thwarted.
In August of 1969, Cuellar accomplished a sequence where he retired 35 batters in a row, without issuing a walk or giving up a hit. It was our Cesar Tovar who ended the streak on August 10, when Cuellar was three outs away from recording his first career no-hitter. Cuellar won the 2-0 home victory.
Cuellar (pronounced KOY-ar) won 23 games in 1969. It was the first season of East and West divisions in big league ball. Us Twins fans were excited about our team winning the West with a seemingly explosive team. Problem was, we weren't quite as good as the Orioles. This applied in both '69 and '70, carbon copy seasons as it were. The playoffs in both seasons were excruciatingly frustrating for the Twins faithful.
Baltimore won a club record 109 games in '69. Cuellar fashioned a 2.38 ERA. He became the first pitcher born in Latin America to win the Cy Young Award. Cuellar was the starter for Game 1 of the 1969 American League championship series. The Orioles beat our Twins 4-3 in 12 innings as Cuellar departed with a no-decision. Paul Blair's RBI single did the job. Cuellar didn't need to pitch in the series again. Our Twins got swept.
Cuellar started Game 1 in the World Series that year. Remember that Series? It was the one that showcased the New York Mets with our Morris area native Jerry Koosman. But in Game 1 of that Series, Cuellar was the winner in a 4-1 Baltimore win. He started Game 4 but left after seven innings, trailing 1-0. The Orioles managed to tie the game 1-1, letting Cuellar off the hook for getting the loss. But the Mets took the Series 4-1.
Bring on 1970: Cuellar picked up where he left off and fashioned a 24-8 record with 190 strikeouts. Again the Orioles swept the Twins in another crusher of a disappointment for us fans in the far north. Cuellar hit a grand slam home run in Game 1 of the A.L. championship series! The Orioles led 9-6 when Weaver pulled Cuellar during the fifth inning, thus Cuellar could not be the winner, and he wouldn't have to pitch again in the Series because - you guessed it - the Orioles won in an efficient 3-0 sweep. Sigh.
Cuellar got rocked in Game 2 of the World Series against Cincinnati - he was pulled in the third inning - and in Game 5 the performance started out bad too. But help was on the way in the form of advice from the sage pitching coach George Bamberger. Bamberger scratched his head, in effect, and decided to advise Cuellar to throw his screwball no more. Cuellar went with his fastball, curve and changeup exclusively. Ah, Cuellar shut out the Reds for the next eight innings! It was dramatic because this was the game where the Orioles could close out the Series, and they did with a 9-3 win. 
Cuellar kept on rolling in 1971, going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA. He won Game 2 of the A.L. championship series against Oakland. The Orioles won the pennant for the third year in a row. I'll remind that '71 was the season when Baltimore had four 20-game winners. The stuff of dreams. But Baltimore was done in by Pittsburgh in the World Series.
As time went on, Cuellar continued most resilient with his pitching arm. The southpaw won 18 games each in '72 and '73. But he wasn't fading, as in 1974 he surged to post a 22-10 record and 3.11 ERA. He wasn't quite the strikeout master as before. But he hurled 20 complete games back when that was a coveted stat. He tossed five shutouts.
Cuellar split a pair of decisions against the new dynasty in the A.L. - Oakland - winning Game 1, but Oakland took the A.L. series.
I do not remember at the time that Cuellar's nickname was "Crazy Horse." But it was, and I'm wondering if Cuellar's dark skin complexion made some think in a knee-jerk way that he was Native American. He was actually native Cuban.
Looking for luck in unusual ways
Cuellar built a reputation for having superstitions. He never stepped on the foul line when he took the field. He always picked the ball up from the ground near the mound himself. As he kept winning, the importance of ritual only grew. I think a psychologist (or psychology professor) would call this "behavioral psychology." I had that rammed down my throat in college - ridiculous.
In May of 1972, Cleveland left fielder Alex Johnson caught Boog Powell's fly ball to end the third inning, then as he jogged in, he tossed the ball to the pitcher, anticipating Cuellar's stride to the mound. Cuellar ducked and the ball rolled free. The batboy tossed the ball to Cuellar. Once more, "Crazy Horse" dodged the ball. The ball dribbled to Powell, the big guy first baseman. Powell appeared to momentarily forget the pitcher's habits. He threw it squarely to Cuellar, and the pitcher simply couldn't avoid it this time. Disgusted, Cuellar tossed the ball to the ump and asked for a new one. The ump obliged. But Cuellar again sidestepped the ball which trickled past him. Bobby Grich found the ball at his feet. Grich rolled the ball to the mound. Cuellar picked it up, "satisfied now that no evil spirits had invaded his place of business."
Cuellar with his quality pitching arm, longevity and personal oddities really adds richly to baseball's annals. Now that I'm 62 years old and no longer emotionally connected to the Twins, I warmly congratulate him!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Noah Carlson headed to Michigan for track/field

("down the backstretch" image)
Noah Carlson gave lots of thrills in his football career. But as he eyes the future, the gridiron sport is going to be set aside. Now it's track and field at the forefront. It's not the kind of high-profile sport that football is. But on the plus side, in a huge way, is the fact that this young man will not be facing the serious risk of injury that football would present.
Look for Truman Carlson of Morris to develop an affinity with the Michigan Wolverines. Noah is Truman's great grand nephew. Noah is now committed to Michigan in the sport of track and field. The news broke just recently.
Noah is a three-sport standout for Rushford-Peterson High School in southeastern Minnesota. He has now accepted a scholarship to compete at the home of the Wolverines. They are a rival of our U of M Gophers in the Big 10 Conference.
I am happy that Noah decided to put football aside. Football is increasingly drawing skepticism as a sport that presents an undue risk of injury. Noah did in fact get hurt at the end of last football season. He hopefully feels no more effects of that. His decision ends several months of suspense. He did indeed weigh football. He admits it was a tough decision.
"I just felt the name of Michigan going around in my head," he said to the media. "I'm excited about it. And it's a big weight off my shoulders. Now I can stop thinking about it and catch up on my sleep."
Noah is 6 feet 2 and weighs 180 pounds. He truly has a blend of athletic gifts. He has been a dominant performer in state track and field the past two years. He has been in the top tier of football, where his positions were runningback and defensive back. Noah was named the Minnesota AP Player of the Year. He led Rushford-Peterson to the Class A state championship game by rushing for 2,785 yards with 41 touchdowns.
In track he is the two-time defending Class A state champion in the long jump and triple jump. He also won the 200-meter dash last year in state. He publicly stated that staying injury-free was a priority of his. He also likes the idea of getting into a totally new environment away from home, he said. Although, he added, he did give serious consideration to the University of Minnesota for track and field.
He said: "Football was something I definitely had some thinking to do about, especially after the past season that I had. But I think back to the injuries and decided I was better off taking it easy on my body."
We're in March which means that Noah has one very exciting season left of prep track and field in Minnesota. He's eyeing the Class A state triple jump record of 48-8 1/2. He's aiming for 24 feet in the long jump. His track record already shows he's gone 48-4 in the triple jump and 23 1/4 in the long jump.
Here's more than a footnote: Noah is an honor student. You can be sure that our Truman, a retired biology teacher at MAHS, is paying attention to his great grand nephew's academic progress! I had Truman as a teacher. He was always temperate, consistent and capable. Today we both dine at the Morris Senior Center.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We have had a worthless type of winter

The sun is out now as I write this, which is fine. Our weather has to start getting better because the calendar moves on. But stop and think about the last five months. The weather has not had a single redeeming quality. Worse yet, I think this type of blah winter brings on illness issues. Haven't you heard among your friends about how they've had to endure periods of a hacking cough, congestion etc.? Might this be connected to climate change?
We can be surprised about the consequences of climate change. We might just shrug with ignorance and say "what's wrong with having a milder winter? What's wrong with the temperature being a little warmer?"
That's a totally superficial assessment. Climate change is going to be bad news in many ways. Yes, government entities need to spend more on clearing roads when we have the historic type of Minnesota winter. Are you old enough to remember the kind of winters we had in the latter half of the 1960s? Snow poured from the heavens. Drifts burgeoned everywhere. Kids could stay home from school periodically. Do you think those kids ended up any less smart because they missed a little school? I laugh when I hear about how kids are legally mandated to have 'X' number of school days in a given year. As if a slight discrepancy would hurt them.
Remember the Chokio school bus rescue? Was that incident due to desperation to complete a school day in order to get state aid money? That would be unconscionable of course. There is a detailed website giving background and stories about the Chokio school bus rescue.
Have you stopped to realize how absolutely worthless this past winter has been? Look around. Have you seen people doing anything outside? People are just forced to stay indoors and try to find interesting things to do there. Outside? It has been just plain yucky outside. Maybe you can find happiness going on Facebook indoors. I'm not on Facebook. I do find fulfillment doing this online writing. I'm an old-fashioned long-form journalist. It's not the only way in which I'm old-fashioned. I like listening to old Paul Revere and the Raiders tunes.
Our recent winters in Minnesota have been like the familiar pattern in Iowa and Missouri. Historically we have actually felt pride in our Minnesota winter with its abundance of dry and crisp snow. Snowmobiles buzz around. Other winter recreational opportunities abound. The snow is a joy in many ways. Is it now gone forever due to climate change?
Political conservatives pooh-pooh all of this. "Conservatism" has become the default political position in America. Now we have the Trump budget which takes a dump on all the people who voted for him. It's a boon for rich people, but what really did we expect from Republicans?
Republicans are always trying to undo the New Deal. Republicans are probably at their best when they're the minority, when they can simply impose some healthy fiscal discipline now and then. Believe me, in 1980 we really needed Ronald Reagan.
Billy Carter - yes Billy and not Jimmy - was once the featured guest on "Hee Haw." Imagine a show like "Hee Haw" featuring someone with associations with the Democratic Party. "Hee Haw" appealed to the kind of people who today voted for Trump. These people seem almost allergic to Democrats. Mike McFeely, when he was with KFGO, said the attorney general of North Dakota didn't have to do anything because "he doesn't have to worry about being re-elected." He didn't have to do anything. Is this really how entrenched the Republican Party is?
Our Collin Peterson recently ruminated about how the Democratic Party has lost ground. He noted how the party has become associated with "Black Lives Matter." What's really wrong with "Black Lives Matter?" What's wrong with trying to ensure that black people aren't the subject for discrimination when it comes to police behavior? Don't we want to ensure law enforcement fairness for all? Is this really a turn-off for the "Hee Haw" audience, i.e. Trump voters?
Is it so important to you to vote Republican that you want to see Meals on Wheels eliminated, or millions thrown off their health insurance? Why has our society sunk this low? Look at the impression that Trump is making around the world. Have we no shame? This is a guy who gets much of his guidance from Fox News commentators. What happens when something really bad comes about as a result of Trump's tendencies? Will we really wake up? Or will we remain content in our ignorance?
Yes, the weather will improve over the next few months. But then we'll sink back into month after month of just plain "crap," just like we saw this past winter.
Click on the link below to read the post I recently wrote about Paul Revere and the Raiders.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Southside With You" (2016) a yawner for me

We are reminded of the old TV show "Good Times" in the movie about Barack and Michelle Obama. "Southside With You" is about how their relationship began. We get the message immediately that this is an urban environment, the total opposite of the RFD TV world of Mitch McConnell.
Thus we are reminded of that dichotomy in American life: the crowded and challenged urban setting and the tranquil (at least on the surface) "country" environment. The difference really needn't be a schism. It needn't foment uncomfortable conflict. But our political world has surely descended into conflict, maybe because "money is speech" and money has flowed into both sides.
"Good Times" was part of the urban takeover of network television. This is well documented, not just conjecture. The "de-ruralizing" saw programs like Andy Griffith and "Petticoat Junction" erased. Westerns were once an absolute staple. We got the 90-minute western "The Virginian," re-runs of which now seem so ponderous and boring to watch. The rural shows were always morality lessons. But whose moralizing? Was a lot of it just superficial? OK the question is asked rhetorically.
The de-ruralization coincided with society's push, led by the young, to take a more frank, straightforward look at moral questions, i.e. to end a pointless war and to end Jim Crow. A lot of that was uncomfortable. How easier to ride along with the assumption that all our towns could continue just like Mayberry. Griffith once said that "love" was the whole theme of his show then, with Don Knotts. Other interpretations of love came forward in the sudden new wave of shows like "Good Times." Families were stressed and sometimes persecuted but they found love through it all.
I think Obama was a heroic president. He had the purest of motives. He believed in government involvement to ameliorate the lot of the needy. His community organizing was meant to lift up people who carried the weight of adversity. He gave us Obamacare even though his real preference was probably single payer ("Medicare for all").
The insurance model does not work for health care. Even if our standard of living is affected a little, we will have to pay to ensure that health care is a guaranteed right for all, what any civilized society should have. We are our brother's keeper.
"Southside With You" is an understated "first date" movie. It's pretty one-dimensional, so be prepared for that. The movie can't help but speculate on what that first date was really like. The problem is that it's impossible to look at these two people through anything but a lens of knowing who they'd become. It seems rather a "movie by committee." They had a certain feel in mind right from the start.
I'm not real enthused about the movie. Obama is out front with his smoking habit, not a good example for kids obviously. We have no doubt that the two will sort of toy with each other's feelings as they develop their relationship. The woman will seem inscrutable at times. Why does she so strongly prefer ice cream over pie? I would say this is almost sexist: the idea that the woman in this situation will seem frustratingly mysterious.
Old movies present this meme a lot. Women show weird behavior because of their hormones? I'm sorry. A good example of this was the Jimmy Stewart movie "Shenandoah." Stewart is instructing a suitor to his daughter. He conveys mystery abut how women behave, with one-liners designed to inspire smiles. The suitor was played by Doug McClure whose main claim to fame would be playing "Trampas" on "The Virginian."
McClure asks questions. Stewart tries to give guidance but it's really all a shrug. "You can't understand women." I would suggest this is an outdated meme. I suspect that Barack and Michelle communicated quite directly with each other and there was no mystery involved. I can't state this for a fact - I'm speculating - but these were highly intelligent people with a lawyer's understanding of human nature. Do such people really need to feel each other out so much?
The mystery and the inscrutable nature might seem like an essential part of a romantic-themed movie. If you are entertained by that, fine. Movies are entertainment. We all know what the date led to.
The Jimmy Walker character on "Good Times" would say "dyno-mite!"
Thanks to our Morris Public Library for having "Southside With You" available to check out on DVD.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Again they climb: Tigers beat New London-Spicer

Tigers 68, NL-Spicer 62
The MACA boys are on the move upward. They have become most comfortable in tight, hard-fought games. It is their stock in trade to come out victorious in a game that looked as though it could go either way.
Our No. 1 Tigers faced No. 3 New London-Spicer Saturday at Southwest State U, Marshall. It was the Section 3AA North final. The terminology at this stage always confuses me a little. The sub-section championship game can be seen as the section semis. The four-class system of basketball can add to the confusion.
When I was young it was oh so simple. One class. You played for the "sub-district" championship and trophy, as sort of a consolation because you knew at some point you'd come up against a big school buzz saw. We went through a transformation to where everything is painstakingly egalitarian now. It's wonderful but it can be confusing to follow. It has also become more difficult for high school hoops to get a truly mass audience. But on the whole, the new way seems better, right?
You have to go all the way to the "jump" of the West Central Tribune article, by Curt Hogg, to find the score of the MACA vs. New London-Spicer game. I remember when someone once complained to the Star Tribune ombudsman about this happening in the Twin Cities paper. The ombudsman responded to the complaint by saying "amen and hallelujah." Let's just know the score. I thought maybe the photo caption would have the score. But no.
Let's turn to the jump on page B3. I waded through several paragraphs and then just decided to look at the boxscore: MACA 68, NL-Spicer 62. Amen and hallelujah. We are now 16-12 on the season. We're now in the section final which will pit us against Jackson County Central, those boys from down south. We'll play at 5 p.m. Thursday in Marshall. The winner goes on to state.
The Tigers sometimes find themselves on a roller coaster in a back-and-forth game. On Saturday we built an advantage of ten points only to lose it. The Wildcats went up 51-50 with about seven minutes left. But we caught fire to reel off eight straight points. So we're up 58-51. Camden Arndt supplied special excitement with a breakaway one-handed dunk. At this point we seemed in the driver's seat. Our fan turnout certainly asserted such judgment.
"Tenacity" was the trait that coach Mark Torgerson attached to his team. He feels the background of very close games has instilled a resilient quality. Think back to how we almost lost to YME! Basketball can be a nerve-wracking game, as we'll be reminded again in the NCAA tournament. Who can forecast this stuff? YME was seeded No. 8. On Thursday we needed a '3' in the final seconds of regulation to tie and to stay alive vs. ACGC. Jacob Zosel made that memorable shot.
Jaret Johnson, the sophomore forward, scored our first six points vs. New London-Spicer. He did his work from inside and outside. Later, his jumper put us up 56-51 with about six minutes left. The halftime score was 35-28 with the orange and black up.
Brandon Adelman helped the Wildcats bounce back for a time. He put in six points during a 17-6 run by NL-Spicer. A Hunter Sjoberg layup put the Wildcats up 45-43. The Tigers found the tools to re-assert themselves. Let's repeat the final score: 68-62. Amen and hallelujah.
"You persevere and you go on," coach Torgerson said to the media. "You don't apologize for winning games, and (you) just keep going."
Johnson topped our scoring list with 20 points. Right behind was Arndt with 19. Tim Travis and Jacob Zosel each put in eight points, and Lukus Manska had seven. Tate Nelson had four points and Connor Koebernick 2. Johnson made two 3-pointers while Arndt and Manska each made one.
with his eight rebounds led there. Zosel dished out nine assists. Nelson and Arndt each had three steals.
For New London-Spicer, Adelman had big impact with his 24 points. Mitchell Halvorson was No. 2 on the list with 16 points. The rest of the list: Hunter Sjoberg 8, Jackson Ness 7, Brandyn Harlow 4 and Ander Arnold 3. Halvorson connected on two 3-pointers while Adelman and Arnold each made one. Ness was the Wildcats' top rebounder with eight. Arnold had six rebounds and Sjoberg had five. Adelman had six assists and Halvorson five. Sjoberg and Ness each had three steals.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, March 10, 2017

Overtime magic again: Tigers defeat ACGC

Tigers 68, ACGC 66
Overtime has spelled magic for the MACA boys this season. On Thursday night the magic spelled advancement in the post-season. We battled familiar rival ACGC, the Falcons, in the Section 3AA quarter-finals. We carved out our fifth overtime triumph of the campaign. The score: 68-66. The site: Willmar.
We were truly on the ropes in this game. A Jacob Zosel three-pointer rescued us from impending defeat. Just seconds remained to be played. In overtime, Zosel showed resolve driving the length of the court to score on a layup.
The game had a close complexion early. Back and forth the teams went, scoring regularly. At halftime we had the good fortune of being up by four points. Payton Kinzler was doing damage for the Falcons.
ACGC worked to erase their deficit shortly into the second half. Gabe Eisenbacher deftly took passes in the post to do damage in the second half. The Falcons crept out in front on the scoreboard. Their fans were buoyed, anticipating victory.
There were 7.8 seconds left when Zosel eyed the basket and let a shot fly from three-point range. Good! Bring on overtime! We seized the lead at first. An advantage of three points, but Kinzler intercepted a pass after an 'O' rebound. He connected from three-point range. Nothing was going to come easy on this night. Timeout time? No, the orange and black didn't miss a beat: Zosel took the inbound and surged up the court, undaunted. He made that game-winning layup to finally seal the deal for coach Mark Torgerson's crew.
Zosel later commented that the Tigers were resolved not to let ACGC set up their press. The theme was "just run." Coach Torgerson commented post-game that he had confidence in all his players to come through in crunch time. "They were constantly digging and going after the ball defensively," he said.
Our next tournament foe will be New London-Spicer. This game will be the Section 3AA-North final. "We know we have a chance to get out of this section," Zosel said to the Willmar paper. "We're carrying success from football." That seems a long time ago, just like the volleyball team's rise to state. "We're ready."
The Tigers and Wildcats will battle at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 3/11, at Southwest State of Marshall.
Our boys hoops team has the look of an overachiever now. Our won-lost mark isn't dazzling at 15-12. ACGC closes out with a 15-11 record.
Five different Tigers each made one 3-pointer against ACGC: Tate Nelson, Camden Arndt, Jacob Zosel, Lukus Manska and Jaret Johnson. Three Tigers scored in double figures led by Zosel with 15. Arndt put in 13 points and Manska 12. Nelson and Johnson each scored nine.
Tim Travis had six points and Connor Koebernick four. Arndt led in rebounds with eight. Zosel had four assists and Johnson had three. Manska had four steals and Nelson had two.
Kinzler was quite the force for ACGC with five 3-pointers. Jaren Kaddatz made one '3.' But it was Eisenbacher with the team-best point total of 18. Kinzler finished with 17. Erik Belgum added 12 points to the mix and Adam Johnson had 11. Kaddatz finished with eight points. Belgum and Eisenbacher each pulled down 13 rebounds. Johnson had nine rebounds and Kaddatz five. Assist leaders were Belgum (6), Kaddatz (3) and Eisenbacher (3). Ryan Amdahl and Eisenbacher each had a steal.
Click on the link below to read about the Tigers' win over YME at the start of post-season. This post is on my companion website, "Morris of Course." Thanks for reading. - BW
I invite you to click on the link below to read about the girls basketball team beating No. 2 seed 'Waska in the tourney.
Winter wanes
We've had another mild winter. You might call it an "Iowa" type of winter. It's a winter that never really asserts itself. It seemed we all got sick. A wicked illness made the rounds causing a most annoying cough. I got a prescription to harness it
I can't think of one single reason to reflect positively on this past winter. It was simply a "blah" ordeal. Wouldn't we all prefer the standard Minnesota winter with abundant crisp, dry snow, snowdrifts, "snowforts" and snowmobiles buzzing around the countryside? So what if we had to use our snowblowers more or hire snow removal. I'd gladly do that. Let the kids have a few days off from school with "snow days." And forget the "e-learning" on those days! Actually, if e-learning is so effective, maybe we wouldn't even need bricks and mortar education anymore.
The late 1960s were a time when tons of snow descended from the sky. A vicious wind would roar out of the northwest. I think it gave us all pride as Minnesotans to be able to relish life amidst all that.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

Maybe this guy belonged on "Mork & Mindy"

Got back from Barrett Sunday morning and was pleased to get back in normal life by going to church, at First Lutheran. It has been our family's church since 1961. That's when I was in kindergarten (Miss Feigum's class). Sylvia Yarger was the other kindergarten teacher at East Elementary. We called it "East" to differentiate it from Longfellow School on the west side.
still goes to First Lutheran. My Mom is still a member but has been dealt some health complications of late. She's at the Barrett Care Center. Anyway, I arrived at First Lutheran ready for a refreshing experience attending church.
Not so easy. There was a fellow holding a placard outside the front entrance. At first I wondered if this gent might be connected to First Lutheran, maybe a part of some promo or whatever. But I had a nagging feeling he was trouble. Normally I enter the church on the east side due to Mom's needs. That's the elevator entrance. I use it out of habit even if Mom isn't with me. On Sunday I even used the elevator! Well, someday I might have to.
I walked over to the front of the church to see what was up with that character and his sign. Well, he was an eccentric proselytizer type of guy. He said us parishioners there were going to hell. After all the stress I've endured of late, I try to go to church for a lift and I'm told I'm going to hell.
I guess the guy didn't feel us ELCA Lutherans were properly dedicated. I'm just guessing but maybe this is because of the gay ordination controversy. What a mountain out of a molehill. The millennials have completely moved on from any "gay rights" controversy. Everyone needs to realize it's just a matter of guaranteeing equal rights from a legal or basic fairness standpoint. It doesn't mean a glorification of the gay lifestyle.
Is being gay a sin? Well, I don't know but we're all sinners, aren't we? Why the scarlet letter of stigmatization? It was like the Salem witch hunts: these barbs directed at gay people. Smart people have simply moved on. I have a much bigger problem with adulterers than with gay people. And what about Packers fans (LOL)? We all fall short of the grace of God.
What a fool that character was, remindful of the spiritualist character on "Mork and Mindy," remember?
A fellow parishioner said to him: "Don't you have better things to do?"
Why not just try ESPN?
Did you hear that news report about that YMCA workout place where the house TV was turned away from the cable news channels?
"Cable news" is not what it started out to be. At the start its potential seemed boundless. There must be endless interesting news and feature stories from all across the U.S. But this is not what today's cable news is mining. "Cable news" today is focused on politics and Beltway conflict and gossip. People bark at each other from differing sides, presenting sort of a verbal equivalent to pro wrestling.
Thus, cable news is questionable to have on, in public places such as lounges in public institutions. I remember maybe 4-5 years ago, I was in our local Dairy Queen and noticed the house TV was tuned in to Fox News. I was offended. It's entirely possible their channel choice was made innocently. Then again, maybe our DQ people are members of the reactionary mob. I don't know. Fox News reflects the political party that wants to throw 20 million people off their health insurance. It supports the president who wants to substantially boost military spending while cutting programs that directly enhance people's lives. It supports a vice president who has supported mandatory funeral services for aborted fetuses.
The Dairy Queen should know that more people voted for Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump. Democrats enjoy Dairy Queen snacks just like Republicans. MSNBC tends to be sympathetic to left of center forces, the forces which really put humanity first. CNN has historically tried to be down the middle but it's hard maintaining that with a president like Trump. CNN has now positioned itself as contrarian toward Trump, thank God.
Sensible people are going to have to win in this current stew of conflict. That YMCA has opted for ESPN or the Weather Channel.
A final question: are people across the U.S. really choosing a political side based on a keen knowledge of the issues, or is it all based on wanting to associate with a particular "tribe?" OK it's a rhetorical question.
I haven't been to the Dairy Queen in a long time. In the late 1980s the Morris Dairy Queen got drawn into a different controversy. The business had different ownership then.
On getting the best seats
Saw the headline in Sunday's Star Tribune: "Chair skipped line, got best NFL seats." Reminded me of the time my high school friend Art and I were at the Holiday Casino in Las Vegas. An usher at a show entrance asked "do you want good seats?" A temporarily naive Art said "yeah!"
Silly rabbit, we were being approached in a way encouraging a tip. Art's enthusiastic "yeah!" became an inside joke between us for a long time. (So did my attire when visiting the Desert Inn keno lounge one night: sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt and white tennis shoes.)
Anyway, Michele Kelm-Helgen is that "chair" person who got into trouble for giving herself preferential treatment for Vikings games. Front-row season tickets. Wow, those are good seats! Yeah!
The story also reminded me of a little anecdote with me and Skip Sherstad, the now deceased city and county public servant of many years ago. Skip and I grew up in the same neighborhood: Northridge Drive.
Skip was telling me one day about his efforts to get good seats for a Tiger basketball game when we were slated to play a high-level game at the Concordia Fieldhouse, Moorhead. That was during the Kevin Loge era of the orange and black. I always savored the Polish sausage at the Concordia Fieldhouse for those games. We saw lots of exciting games there. But we also saw the most disastrous loss in the history of our hoops: a stunning defeat at the hands of Staples-Motley. Didn't coach Lynn Peterson dance on a scoring table at the end of that game? I learned about that at the time but I didn't actually witness it.
Re. the game that Skip was talking about, he said he went to the school to get his ticket at the precise time when those tickets would start to be available. He was told the prime tickets were in fact gone because they went to "the parents" (of the players).
"When I went to the game," Skip later recalled, "and when I looked at that section I didn't see the parents, I saw friends of the coaches."
, why does this not surprise me? Such is the path in which cynicism is learned. At least the school secretary didn't say to him "do you want good seats?"
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com