The 2002 Twin Cities Marathon was run yesterday. Today, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a special section devoted to the marathon. There are three small pictures at the top; each one is 1-3/4 by 2-1/2 inches big. They are photos of the men's U.S./overall champion (time 2 hours, 11 minutes), the women's overall champion (2:29) and the women's U.S. champion (2:36). (There isn't a category for a non-gender specific, overall champion).
Below these three pictures is a 7-1/2 by 13-1/2 inch photo of one of the marathon's other participants, named Lisa, whose finishing time was 5:14 (2,195th place overall among women). Add the top two women finishers’ times together and you still don't get Lisa's finishing time. Yet she get's the big picture on the front of the section.
However, there is some good news on the front page of that paper. Minnesota Governor, Jesse (The Body) Ventura put to rest a 39 year-old mystery. Ventura has been visiting Cuba this week. Ventura asked dictator Fidel Castro if he had anything to do with the JFK assassination. Castro's answer: No. Conspiracy buffs will have to focus their energy somewhere else now.
(Star Tribune) HAVANA -- Gov. Jesse Ventura accomplished one of the missions of his trip to Cuba on Friday, obtaining from Fidel Castro an absolute denial of the Cuban leader's alleged involvement in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Ventura raised the JFK assassination with the Cuban president during an hourlong meeting, which the governor described as a "private" and friendly encounter that focused more on Ventura's past as a professional wrestler than on trade or politics.
As he had vowed to do before he left for Cuba -- and before he even knew whether he would get an audience with the Cuban leader -- Ventura prodded Castro on a topic that has long fascinated conspiracy buffs.
"The only thing I will say on that subject is he said to me, 'We would never be so crazy to do something like that,' " Ventura recounted. "I agree with him. Why would they? That would be suicide for the country of Cuba."
With this mystery definitively solved, I have an idea for another mission for Ventura. Another dictator is rumored to be hiding weapons of mass destruction. Gov. Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, could ask Saddam if he's hiding any weapons. Who knew it could be so easy?
9/27/2002 08:27:00 AM
Day 3 of All Randy, All The Time. If you need complete coverage of the Randy Moss traffic ticket saga, The Minneapolis Star Tribune won't let you down. On the Strib website today you have your choice of, count 'em, eight more links to Randy stories.
Is this coverage complete enough for you? Let me ask you this: Do you know what Randy had for dinner while he was in jail? We hear what the condemned get for a final meal; is Randy's meal any less important? Write your Strib readers' representative and complain.
Vikings team member and petulant driver Randy Moss makes an illegal left turn and pushes a traffic control agent with his car. The Strib has links to eight separate articles or sound bites (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) on its web-site main page, several stories in print (on both the front page and in the sports section) and multi-color diagrams of the street corner where it happened. One print article is 34 inches long. A reporter even contacted public relations professionals and asked what advice they'd give to Moss (that article is another 24 inches long).
In the same newspaper today, on page B3 of the Metro section there's a brief story about a 21-year-old man who was shot in the head outside a Minneapolis restaurant. That story is 12 inches long and includes a black and white photo of one of the investigating police officers poking at a pool of blood. The victim's name is not listed in the article but it doesn't mention why his name is not listed. Did police withhold it? Did the Strib withhold it? Is it unknown? The paper reports the shooting is apparently gang-related.
Which of these two event has a greater impact on the city?
What else explains the Twin Cities’ obsession with Randy Moss’s traffic violation? Moss was driving in downtown Minneapolis and made a right turn while a traffic officer directed him not to.
Moss, being a dunce, continued his turn.
The traffic officer, being a dunce, didn’t have the good sense to just get out of the way. She dug her heels in like Fred Flintstone trying to stop his buggy. She physically tried to stop Moss's car.
She’s not paid to give her life for the smooth flow of downtown traffic. If someone won’t stop, get the hell out of the way and write down the license plate. Or are things different now after 9/11?
Hi, Unstoppable Force, I'd like to intoduce you to Immovable Object.
The force is a Lexus (moving at a blazing 2 MPH). The object consists of a pair of Rocky boots holding on to a paved street and the butt of a traffic officer firmly planted on the hood of said Lexus. Something had to give and a half block later the traffic officer fell off the hood. Lexus should use this in advertising to show the power of such a fine automobile.
And here’s why I live in a hick town. If the U.S. commenced bombing in Iraq yesterday there’s little chance I would have heard about it on my local TV and radio stations whose motto this week could be All Randy, All the Time.
Moss was arrested on suspicion of 2nd degree assault, a felony. Oh, please. Surprisingly, the car was the weapon, not Randy’s thick head. The county attorney’s office had enough common sense to only charge Moss with careless driving and failure to obey a traffic officer, both misdemeanors. Police also found a joint in Moss’s car. Possession of that amount of pot in Minnesota is only a petty misdemeanor.
No word if he’s being ticketed for the pot. Moss's agent said that (choke) the (cough) joint (snort) isn’t (chuckle) Randy’s (uncontrollable laughter).
If Moss had been shirtless this all would have been appropriate for an episode of COPS but nothing else.
Instead, we’re treated to LIVE - TEAM COVERAGE by our local newsies. There was a news crew at the intersection where the violation occurred. There was a news crew at the jail which hosted Moss overnight. There was a news crew at the Vikings headquarters. There was even a news crew at the house of the traffic officer even though she wasn’t home at the time.
What the hell is so fun about a quarter-ounce candy bar? Maybe if you get your kicks from unwrapping chocolate then this just might be the ticket for you. But if I want to eat a candy bar I really have no desire to unwrap it sixteen times to get at it.
A candy bar wearing the "fun size" label should not be a chore to eat.
(Channel 4000) The Mendota Heights high school cheerleader who made national headlines in the summer for suing her school district in an effort to retain a captaincy she said was wrongly withheld from her has dropped the suit and quit the squad.
Andrea Warren, 17, quit the Henry Sibley High School cheerleading squad out of frustration following one game amid continued taunts from her teammates, according to her mother.
Warren made national news with her lawsuit, which she brought after her teammates elected her captain but the district stripped her of her title, arguing that she was serving a two-year punishment for possessing alcohol and tobacco.
The district said that her violations were two separate incidents and that each brought the one-year penalty that didn’t allow her to be a cheerleader captain. Warren, who said she hoped to earn a cheerleading scholarship, said the two violations should be treated as one incident, and she should only be penalized for a year.
There is a price to pay for being a jerk and believing you're above the rules.
9/25/2002 07:53:00 AM
Advertising staff at the LA Weekly want to unionize. That shouldn't be too difficult, given that the paper is regarded as pro-labor, right? Not so fast, Chester. The LA Times reports:
Given the Weekly's unwavering editorial stance as a reportorial champion and unapologetic political ally of organized labor, employees were stunned when the paper's recently appointed publisher, Beth Sestanovich, and her aides deployed every means at their disposal to try to defeat the organizing campaign.
Boy, Beth, it sure isn't fun when it's your own money.
But Sestanovich said, "We believe that when you look at the highly individual and entrepreneurial work of advertising salespeople, union representation just isn't in the interest of those employees.
Mommy says, Trust me, I know what's best for you.
(To read the Times article you have to go through a horrible registration process; to spare you that pain, use user name johndoe and password johndoe to get in.)
9/25/2002 05:48:00 AM
Saw an add for a new TV show on ABC last night. It's called MDs. It's a comedy about two doctors who bend the rules. To get more pay? To get extra vacation time? To be able to smoke cigars in the emergency room? To get free samples of Valium and Viagra? Sadly, no.
They'll flout all convention in order to give their patients the very best care. And if that means wearing baseball caps in the operating room, then by golly that's what they'll do.
The ABC web site describes them as "are an iconoclastic duo who buck the system to save lives."
9/24/2002 07:41:00 PM
Soccer tonight, along with some cold, cold rain. Our little fellows, smarting from defeat last Thursday decided not to take any chances. They played like a well oiled machine. And won, 11 - 0. If they've learned any lessons, they'll win their next game. But if this one goes to their heads, next Thursday will be quite sobering.
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (Fox) — Rebels boasted of their firepower, government troops crept up on them for an attack and French soldiers rolled into the countryside to protect foreigners, as Ivory Coast geared up for a showdown in its bloodiest-ever uprising.
Did anyone hear if France asked for U.S. or U.N. approval?
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian court fined three people A$375 ($206) Monday for abandoning a pet rat named Rosy.
Animal rights campaigners in the eastern state of Queensland were delighted with the fine and dozens of people had offered to take in Rosy the albino rat, which was dumped in a cage by the side of the road, local media reported.
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals inspector Gary Langford told reporters outside the magistrates court in Mackay, a small town in northern Queensland, that he had received at least 40 offers to give Rosy a home.
I have some bees in a tree and some ants in my garage that they can have. It won't much longer until we have our first freeze of the season so they'd better hurry up if they want to help.
Every once in a while, what sounds like a fire alarm goes off in this building, and staff members flee to the street. No need. It is just the signal that editorial departments use when they discover that somebody, somewhere, is enjoying life outside the boundaries of editorially approved behavior.
Last night my younger son's mite soccer team (Morocco) played the team (Holland) they faced in the opening game of the season. In that game Morocco won, 4-0, thoroughly raising the boys' self esteem and egos.
So we had a few peacocks strutting around the field during pre-game warm-ups. When a few of our boys saw the red Jerseys of the Holland team they started to congratulate themselves for winning a game that had not yet begun. Even my own son complained about having to play against such an "easy team."
Final score: Holland - 5, Morocco - 1. Tears of defeat probably sting a little more when they're washing away a thick coating of arrogance.
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah."
Do we play to win? Well, sure, otherwise we could just forfeit every game. Do we play to have fun? Yes, that's exactly why. I know it, my co-coach knows it and so do all the kids on both teams. Last night the only person who didn't know this was the coach on the other team. He was screaming at his team and threatening them with time on the bench if they didn't play their positions correctly. He was quite the SOB. Then he started making comments behind my back because he didn't like how the game was being called. They're kids! You blow the whistle when a kid touches the ball with his hands. That's really about it. Off-sides, by athletic association rules, isn't even against the rules, mainly because it's too difficult for little kids to understand.
The other coach could only make comments when I wasn't looking. He didn't understand some of the rules either and complained when I didn't blow the whistle for some imagined infraction. I finally went over and talked to him. Like all bullies, he was a little surprised to have anyone confront him. I told him he was wrong about a particular rule and I wouldn't be blowing the whistle as he hoped. He quickly said, "Have you ever played soccer" and then like most bullies confronted, turned and walked away.
Do we play for fun? Yep. Do we play to win? Sure. Did it feel really good to win last night? Oh boy, yes it did.
There is never a valid reason to call a 1-900 number.
There is never a valid reason to buy anything over the phone when you have not initiated the call.
There is never a valid reason to read or reply to spam.
(Sigh) I know; it will never end. Judging by the number of Nigerian scam letters I get, there must still be a few suckers out there. A rat stops pressing the lever when the food pellets stop coming. The spam rats press the lever a billion times a day but still must manage to get five or six food pellets, which apparently is enough to keep them full.
9/16/2002 07:24:00 AM
Reuters reports on a "wrecked freighter" whose oil threatens a protected wildlife area on the coast of South Africa.
St. LUCIA, South Africa (Reuters) - Oil from a wrecked freighter poses a grave risk to a protected wildlife area on South Africa's northeast coast which is home to turtles, hippos and crocodiles, conservationists said on Monday.
Salvage operators plan to try and tow the Italian-flagged Jolly Rubino container ship off the sands where it was beached on Thursday, tilting to the right and spilling oil from a crack stretching down most of its left side.
It lay about seven miles south of the mouth of the St. Lucia estuary.
"Estuaries are the most dynamic of all ecosystems, and the introduction of oil would have a very adverse effect," said Richard Penn-Sawers, conservation manager at the World Heritage St. Lucia Wetlands Park.
He told Reuters that workers had to prevent oil getting into the protected area at all costs, or face a possible disaster.
Reuters thorough reporting neglects to inform of the status of the human crewmembers from the ship or even the cause of the accident. It's all about the animals.
Saturday, September 14, 2002
9/14/2002 08:01:00 AM
A nice quiet morning around this household. Everyone be me is still in bed. I have the computer, the house and the newspaper all to myself. It's sprinkling lightly; the sound of the raindrops is comforting though it's punctuated by an occasional Northwest DC-9 flying in or out of MSP International Airport. Some of those DC-9s are pretty old (i.e., loud). But there aren't many flying overhead this morning so I'm very relaxed.
The paperboy must have wanted me to know it's raining. I saw him walk nearly to my front door, right up to the edge of the front step which is covered by a large overhanging part of the roof. Then he dropped the paper in the grass. He would have expended exactly three extra calories of energy if he had put a little forward motion on his toss and made the paper land on the dry steps. Couldn't bring himself to do it, I guess. So, I have to walk through the wet grass to pick up my paper. Oh yeah, I'm sure I'll be getting a Christmas card from him, too. You know, the one that lists his complete home address so I can mail him a tip. Well, here's a tip: just because you had to get wet doing your job doesn't mean other people want to share it with you.
Reality number one: If you're the goalie and you’re holding the ball and you step backwards in to the net you've just scored a goal for the other team. No matter how much you and your teammates don't believe this, it is undeniably true.
Reality number two: If you're the goalie and you again step backwards in to the net while you're holding the ball it's another a goal for the other team.
Reality number three: It's not fun to be looking at the other team's backs when they have control of the ball and are rapidly moving towards your goal, all the while you're standing still. The other team finds it rather easy to score when no defenders are between them and the goalie (even if the goalie has vowed not to let reality number one and two occur a third time).
Reality number four: If you don't learn from reality number three, the other team will again take advantage of your generosity and will score another undefended goal while you mill about the other end of the field.
Reality number five: No matter how "open" your teammates are, they simply cannot score if you don't pass the ball to them.
What's interesting is how some little boys who are growing tired suddenly find worth their while to hustle back and help their goalie. It may be fun to try to score a goal but if you’re not going to get the ball back from the other team they sure as well are not going to kick it back to their own end to help you out.
Final score: 5 to 4, in favor of the other team. The boys learned some valuable lessons in soccer tonight. They did manage to come back and nearly tie the game. I have a feeling the next game is going to be a lot of fun.
My liberal friends all adore Safire's colleague Paul Krugman - soooo insightful, they insist. But Krugman is the kid with his hand up all the time; Look at me! I know the answer! Does anyone really expect George Bush's budget numbers to add up? Do you think Dick Cheney and Bush hover over the op-ed page of the New York Times, wringing their hands in despair? ''Oh, no, George. Professor Krugman says we can't pay for Social Security! We're in the tall grass now!''
I am relocating to the Right. Let the good times roll!
For my money this day should not be marked by any particular title or salutation. Even though we are very good at that kind of thing, we just can't wrap this up and be over with it by making a day of it. We can't make ourselves bring it to a close, for I have heard that nonsensical word — closure — brought into play. We need closure.
Who needs closure? Closure from what? There are still lunatics out there who are still aching to bring about their 4th century revolution, and I am supposed to have closure? No way. I'd much prefer that we went about our business and kept our eye out for not only the lunatics from without, but the lunatics from within, whose steady drumbeat of "blame America first" is tantamount to treason.
9/11/2002 09:16:00 AM
I remember this article (109 minutes revisited, by Brad Todd) from last September. I found it fascinating. Instapundit reminded us of it today (and probably was the one who pointed it out to me a year ago). With all the silliness and pretend security we have at the airports since 9-11, this article points out that a whole new form of airline security occurred just 109 minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
Here's the part that I'll never forget. It makes me proud of my fellow countrymen.
Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism -- the most deadly yet invented -- came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective.
Deconstructed, unengineered, thwarted, and put into the dust bin of history. By Americans. In 109 minutes.
And in retrospect, they did it in the most American of ways. They used a credit card to rent a fancy cell phone to get information just minutes old, courtesy of the ubiquitous 24-hour news phenomenon. Then they took a vote. When the vote called for sacrifice to protect country and others, there apparently wasn't a shortage of volunteers. Their action was swift. It was decisive. And it was effective.
United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. It did not terrorize a city, despite the best drawn plans of the world's most innovative madmen. Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who'd had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction.
Which means exactly what? (My wife's answer: Ewwww....close the hatches, stay in your homes, protect your children and animals, we are under an "orange alert.")
The White House is taking this seriously. The VP is back in hiding.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Vice President Dick Cheney had spent Monday night at a secure, undisclosed location "based on an ongoing review of information that is received as well as out of precaution."
Maybe I'll take a different route to my car after work today. I hope the kids' soccer games aren't canceled.
(That's not completely insane, though. You want to strike fear across the entire nation? Don't attack NYC; do something in Fargo. No, wait, a suburb of Fargo. Every single person in the country would be on edge after that. If it could happen there it really could happen anywhere.)
Here's what the change to "orange" means:
Under the system set up by Ridge, government officials must:
Coordinate necessary security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement agencies.
Take additional precaution at public events.
Prepare to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed work force.
Restrict access to essential personnel only.
Hmmm. Isn't this being done already? Or is condition yellow synonymous with sitting on your hands?
Where I work we have (and have had for years) business continuation plans that include preparations for alternate work sites and a dispersed work force.
And what business doesn't limit access to essential personnel now? Everyone in my office building is restricted to specific floors and certain hours on those floors. Good grief, even Starbucks has a sign that says "employees only" on the door to the back room.
NEW YORK (AP) - A businessman who was pictured on a magazine cover coated in dust after the World Trade Center attack said he will talk about the experience with reporters only for a fee.
"I ask dlrs 500 for an hour, for two, it's dlrs 911 — and, yes, there is a significance to that sum," Edward Fine said in Monday's New York Post.
"Giving interviews takes time out of running my business," said Fine, who owns an investment and public relations firm in New Jersey.
Fine said a dozen media outlets are going to pay for interviews. The article didn't mention whether reporters would be purchasing the basic package or the Patriot package for $911.
Monday, September 09, 2002
9/09/2002 08:04:00 PM
I don't like going to the dentist. Was there today. And I'll be back next week. And the week after that. Unfortunately, both appointments are before happy hour starts.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
9/08/2002 03:53:00 PM
I watched the Vikings lose to the Bears today. During the game I saw a football player with a really cool tattoo. It was around his biceps. Guess what it looked like. Barbed wire! Wow, what an original concept. I want that player to be the quarterback or even the coach. With an imagination like that just think of the plays he could concoct.
Actually, what the US should have done in response to thousands of deaths in Washington and New York was to spend a month apologizing to the world for our overbearing ways and all the foreign policy mistakes we've made over the last hundred years, formally pass a resolution through Congress declaring that it was actually our own fault that we were attacked, ratify every international treaty in sight, drastically reduce defense spending, stop burning coal, and massively increase charitable giving to the poor of the world.
I'm not sure that's enough. I know he's being sarcastic but let's take it a step further. If we did what he suggested, they'd still hate us. The Europeans might be happy but not the Arabs. I think the appeasement short list would have to include Shari`ah law over the fruited plains and the deaths of all Christians, Jews, atheists and anyone who had fun doing anything in the last 30 days.
In related news, 100% of Americans think that Europe was "entirely to blame" for World Wars I, II, the Holocaust, and Communist atrocities in the former Soviet Union and associated territories. 99.8% of Americans think that "The next time Europeans get themselves in any kind of trouble that requires US intervention, they can k*** my a**". And 89% of Americans think that "If those same Europeans are against invading Iraq, then it's time to put Sadaam in a whole world of hurt."
9/04/2002 08:11:00 AM
Body searches, hand-held metal detectors, shoe searches, X-ray machines (and coming soon... psychics?)...
Inconvenience - up.
Security - not changed.
(New York Daily News) -- Carry-on bags concealing potentially deadly weapons. Six major airlines. Eleven airports. Fourteen flights. And not once did anyone catch on.
To test the supposedly more stringent security imposed at the nation's airports after the Sept. 11 attacks, Daily News reporters boarded flights over the Labor Day weekend carrying contraband - including box cutters, razor knives and pepper spray.
Not a single airport security checkpoint spotted or confiscated any of the dangerous items, all of which have been banned from airports and planes by federal authorities.
The reporters included the four airports where the 9/11 highjackers started.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Leonardo Alcivar, a spokesman for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who oversees the agency.
He insisted security has improved, pointing out that on any given day, the aviation system securely processes 5 million passengers.
Those 5 million passengers could potentially have 5 million knives (or more) with the security effort shown here.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
9/03/2002 08:18:00 PM
Tonight my six-year-old son's soccer team, Morocco, had its first game. The opposing team was Holland. Final score: Morocco - 1, Holland - 0. Typical high scoring soccer game. Nothing gets the season off to a nice start like a win. Because Morocco was the "home" team, we had to supply the referee. Who ended up being me.
I was a little nervous. Sure, it's just the mite league but you never know if a parent will go nuts because his kid got kicked in the shin and no penalty was called. I desperately wanted to cheer for my team but I had to be impartial. I played it straight. The game went well and no one complained. But that wasn't the best part.
Shortly after the kickoff a beautiful thing happened. I blew the whistle. Someone had handled the ball with his hands. A simple infraction. But when I blew that whistle, a small piece of plastic with a tiny cork ball inside, the world stopped and listened. To me. E.F. Hutton didn't have it this good. The kids stopped running, the ball rolled to a halt and all the parents and coaches turned to me... and waited to hear what I had to say! I was about to yell "hand ball" but I waited ever so briefly, just to savior the moment.
And it happened each time I blew that magic whistle. So you know what I did? I kept that whistle. And I'm going to use it at home. I'm wearing it around my neck right now. When it's time for a show I want to watch -- tweeeeeet -- the kids are quiet. My wife wants me to do some housework -- tweeeeeet -- time out.
Next, I'm going to install a penalty box in the family room, complete with thick Plexiglass and a locking door.
9/03/2002 04:26:00 PM
First day of school is over and the kids are all right. They're not even wiped out like I thought they'd be. Wish I had their energy. The first soccer game is tonight. I have to be the coach or the referee. I just want this first game to be over.
And You Laughed at Those Super Bowl Ads
The DEA has evidence that a Midwest methamphetamine operation was diverting money to a Middle East terrorist groups. Somehow, I just knew all this terrorism and everything could be traced back to stupid, punk teenagers, always making noise, wearing weird clothing, and buying meth to support terrorists. The next target of the war on terror should be MTV; that'll learn 'em.
9/02/2002 06:57:00 AM
Kids say the darndest things. On National Public Radio yesterday a correspondent interviews students from a private Muslim high school in the U.S. He asked a girl what she likes about America. "Oh, you know, the little things. Like freedom of speech." Yes, the little things...