March 18, 2007

Garage Logic

While living in Minnesota a few years ago I had the opportunity to listen to local radio talk show host and St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Joe Souchery on his daily afternoon program Garage Logic. Joe was the self appointed mayor of Garage Logic, capital of Gumption County MN. The place where every problem can be boiled down to the common sense logic found in any group of guys having a beer in their garage.
For example; as a public service, after a series of incidents of schoolchildren inadvertently being left on board the school bus until after they had reached the bus barn, Joe began the "No Child Left Behind Program." See the lexicon of Garage Logic here.
In today's Pioneer Press Joe wades into the controversy of the refusal of certain individuals to scan the prices of pork products at Minneapolis Target stores. In part Joe writes;

As wave after wave of immigrants arrived in, say, the Twin Cities, I can find no historical evidence that they demanded that America accommodate them. On the contrary, they assimilated, worked hard and benefited from America. I can find no historical evidence that other immigrant groups wished to have such a religious presence in the material marketplace, or, to put it another way, we have not previously been this expected to accommodate such a public component of one particular faith.

This could also be true of the cabbies refusing to carry alcohol in their cabs and the call to provide prayer sanctuaries in airports and sports facilities.

Read the whole thing here.

March 17, 2007

Iditarod Wrap Up.

Another Iditarod is in the record books. Lance Mackey of course was first in and walks away with $50,000 and a new Dodge truck.
Iowa musher Matt Anderson finished in 41st. place in just over 12 days.
Personal favorite, Rick Swenson finished in 26th place in just over 10 days. To show how the race has changed, his run this year is faster than any of his 5 winning times.
23 teams dropped out of this years race, including 4 time champ Doug Swingley, and perennial favorite Dee Dee Jonrowe.
Congratulations to all the mushers in this years race!

Threat Level: Elevated

Who's your bus driver?
Excuse me sir. but you have wires coming out of you ass!!
Airline security probes?

Dont make me touch your pig.
This story is more in line with the cab drivers that refused to carry passangers that have booze at the Minneapolis airport.

March 16, 2007

Economics Humor

Having just finished courses in Macro and Micro Economics, this video is somewhat timely for me and hopefully funny for you.

Yorman Bauman the stand up economist on stage.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Congratulations Lance Mackey

In the caribou tundra, in the wild barren land
On the fierce arctic ice where the polar bear stands
Where the trail of the Eskimo hunter is worn.
This is the country where legends are born. (Where Legends are Born, by Hobo Jim)

From the first Eskimos that found their way into its vast wilderness, to today’s modern adventurers seeking challenges in a world that has grown soft, Alaska is still a place that has the ability to forge new legends. The history of the Iditarod Trail Sled dog race is filled with many of those legends over the past 37 years.
Who could forget Libby Riddles heading out alone into a blizzard on the Norton Bay ice to become the first woman to win the race. Or the year Rick Swenson won his fifth Iditarod title by pushing on through a blizzard when the rest of the teams had turned around and headed back to the checkpoint. Each of the 17 winners of the race are legends in their own right and the trail has produced thousands of stories for the hundreds of the adventurers that have made the trek with no intentions of fame or glory. This week another legend was born when 36 year old Lance Mackey drove his dog team across the finish line in Nome in the 35th Annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Lance Mackey

Lances story has all the elements of a made for TV movie. Son of 1979 Iditarod champion Dick Mackey, who won the race in the closest finish ever, and brother of 1984 champ Rick, Lance accomplished what was thought to be the impossible.

Mackey had a cancerous tumor removed from his neck two years ago. That left him with nerve damage in his left index finger and pain so unbearable he had the finger removed.

This Iditarod win is something special because Mackey is the first to win both the1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Iditarod back to back, largely with the same dogs. No one thought it could be done.

The No. 13 bib Mackey wore was the same number both his father and half-brother Rick had worn to victory before him. Each of them won the Iditarod on their sixth try. This was Lance’s sixth try, and his fifth finish. He scratched from one Iditarod.

Read his entire story here.

Could you repeat that?


March 08, 2007

Iditarod Iowa Connection

University of Iowa wrestler Matt Anderson is competing in this years Iditarod. As of Tuesdays the rookie from Shanendoah Iowa is currently in 34th place. Wrestling teammate Jessman Smith is following the race in Alaska and reporting on Matt's progress on the web site Iditarod Iowan to Nome .
Best of Luck to Matt and all the mushers battling their way to Nome.

Current Standings

March 06, 2007


The Iditarod Song. by Hobo Jim

Way up in Alaska, the state that stands alone
There's a dog race run from Anchorage into Nome.
It' s a grueling race with a lightning pace, where the chilly winds do wail.
Beneath the northern lights, across the snow and the ice and it's called The Iditarod Trail

Well Give me a team and a good lead dog and a sled that's built so fine.
And let me run those miles to Nome. One thousand Forty Nine
And when I get back to my home, hey I can tell my tale
I did I did I did the Iditarod Trail.

Well the race it wont be easy for the masters of the trail
Some of them will make it, and some of them will fail
But just to run that race takes a tough and a hearty breed
And lot of work done by the dogs that'll run cross the snow with a whistling speed.


Well I just pulled out of Safety, on the trail and all alone.
I'm doing fine. I'm picking up time and I'm running on into Nome.
There's no sled tracks in front of me and no ones on my tail
I did I did I did the Iditarod Trail.

It's Iditarod time in Alaska!

Official Iditarod Site Standings,Maps and all things Iditarod.
Iditarod 35 news and updates courtesy of the Anchorage Daily News
Iditarod History, courtesy of Iditarod Headquarters in Wassilla Ak.

March 02, 2007

Potty Mouth Update

During the recent Bru- ha -ha over John Edwards hiring of a couple foul mouth blogger babes I wrote an oblique observation about the matter. I had always gotten the impression from my forays into the left wing of the blog"o"sphere that there was an uncontrollable cyberspace road rage in action. The News Bucket , using comedian George Carlin's "7 Words You Can't Say On TV" have gathered empirical evidence that this phenomena is indeed invasive on the left and to a lesser extent on the right.

March 01, 2007

Moment of Insight

Not one to let a writing assignment be wasted just on a professor here at Tall Corn College and Technical Institute I submit today a recent Non Fiction Literature, Moment of Insight.

"Indiana Avenue"

When I heard Aunt Ruby’s voice on the other end of the line I knew it was one of those calls that you know will someday come and yet in your heart you hope never does. She was going through her address book, announcing the death of her mother. We all knew that at 92 it was only a matter of time. Although her mind was still sharp, over the years Granny had shrunk in size and her vision had become hazy and faded. She didn’t want a funeral so there was no worry about a trip out to the coast.
It wasn’t long before the phone rang again. "How you doing Scotty? Did you hear about Granny?" Aunt Dawn asked in typical machine gun fashion. "We went out and bought a pack of Salems and a 12 pack of Coors to commemorate Mom. She didn’t want a funeral but Kim and I are putting together a party. Friday night at the Corner Bar in Charles City. You gotta be there Scotty." "I wouldn’t miss it, we’ll be there." I promised her.
Charles City. I hadn’t been there since Grandpa died. After Granny removed her name from the headstone, sold the house and moved to California to live with Ruby there was no reason to go back. Following in the path of her children, Granny was the last to leave.
As a kid a trip to Charles City was like Christmas. The planning took weeks, with all the precision of a military assault. There were bags to pack, pies to bake, and the over sized picnic basket to fill to the brim. By the time the big brown Bel-Aire was packed with blankets and pillows and what nots there was barely a hole for my sister and I to squeeze into. Even though it was a mere fifty or so miles away the chorus "how much longer, are we there yet" would begin in earnest as we passed through the first town. This trip would not be as elaborate.
It was a quick four-hour drive from our home to Charles City that late autumn afternoon. We made a quick stop at the hotel to check in and drop off the luggage before we headed to the party. With the pretext of showing my wife around I could not resist a tour of the town.
Charles City is frozen in time. Main Street looks the same and the "swinging bridge" over the Cedar that used to scare the girls on the way to the swimming pool is still there. As are the big immaculate houses with the manicured yards in the Riverside neighborhood, where as kids we always seemed to pass through quickly and quietly like scared kids cutting through a cemetery.
As if drawn by some unseen force we turn north, crossing the tracks that divide the town, a left at the school, and a couple blocks down to Indiana Avenue. We pull to a stop and as day fades into twilight I can make out a hazy image of the place where Granny used to live.
The little three-room tar paper house where Granny once said, "She raised nine kids and my grandpa." The dirt path behind the house leading to the toilet and just beyond that the railroad tracks. To the left, the little shed where we filled the big metal tub on bath day and where Grandpa skinned muskrats for trappers in the winter and recycled metal from the city dump in the summer.
No matter how many of us showed up there was always room for everyone, with kids and adults alike, packed liked sardines on the front room floor. In the early morning, eagerly waiting for the day’s adventures to begin, I would lie awake and listen to the sounds of Tinker’s nails clicking across the linoleum of the kitchen floor, the squeak and slam of the screen door as she let herself outside. Grandpa in his chair in the corner of the kitchen, coughing as he lights a Chesterfield, while his old radio is tuned to the morning farm report. The ker-chunck of the pump handle as Granny fills the coffeepot and scoops in the grounds to boil.
"What are we doing here?" my wife’s voice softly wafts from the truck. As I squint through the growing darkness, the scene somehow seems wrong. Like peering at the scenery through an old pop bottle. The tracks are too close and he trestle over the creek is too low. Everything somehow shrunken, and faded. "This is Granny’s place" I whisper. I slowly turn the truck around and we head to the Corner Bar.
The party is more than I expected, with people that I never knew or with names that I vaguely remember. One old gentleman, too full of beer, keeps telling me how well he had known my mom, and Aunt Dawn teasing that perhaps he is my real dad. As the evening wears on the crowd slowly drifts away.
"Scotty when you think of Granny, what do think of?" asks Dawn in a sad little girl like voice. "I always think of the place on Indiana Avenue" I reply. "Me too Scotty. Kim and I stopped down at the old place before the party," tears welling up in her eyes. "I had to stop there too." I admit.
It was never about the place, the place was God-awful, but we didn’t know that. Children are blind to such things. Life’s circumstances extend only to the length of their reach or the scope of their vision. It was about us. It was about Dawn and I, best friends making mud pies together down by the creek. It was about me, teaching her how to whistle through her fingers, or her and Kim teaching me how to ride a bike that was two sizes too big. It was about a room full of kids whispering and giggling late into the night and how a shush only brought about more giggles.
Most of all it was about a woman that once served beers right here in this very bar. That scraped nickels from the bottom of her purse so we could all buy a piece of candy. That could take a chicken and a bag of flour and make a bottomless pot of noodles for which I still get a craving for today. A woman that spent her life bandaging scraped knees and giving hugs. Unselfishly ensuring that despite the circumstances our little heads would be filled with fond memories, while knowing full well that one day each one in turn would wake up and realize those circumstance and at the first opportunity would blow out of this little town like a shot.
"Kim thinks the house was where third base is. But I think its closer to the creek, like on the first base side." She says, breaking my trance on the glass of beer. Obviously, they are having trouble seeing through their own pop bottles. If there is one thing I am sure of, there is no baseball diamond on Indiana Avenue.

Update 5/4/2007 Although the prof thought this was a good relection piece he didn't see a Moment of Insight.