5-28-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Happy Friday to all, and to all a Holiday weekend!

That's right, even in the wacky world of radio, sometimes I can finagle a three-day weekend when there's a holiday, and thanks to our recognition of our country's fallen heroes, this happens to be one of those weekends.

So I'll let you know ahead of time, there won't be a column on Monday. Instead, I'll be spending some quality time with my family and a grill (no, I won't be grilling the family - well maybe my brother if he gets lippy) whilst we tip our hats to those who've given the last full measure of devotion (copyright A. Lincoln) to ensure our freedom.

But before we can get to 72 blissful work-free hours, we've got some Updating to do!

Right after the quote...

”There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor

Do I really have to point out how this is applicable in the wake of the mess in the Gulf? I didn't think so, and that's why I love you people!

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5-26-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 1

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you all. Hope your week's going well so far.

Me? No complaints. Though I might have one were I to have had tickets to last night's Twins game. The Twins and the Yankees were scoreless in the fifth when the skies over Target Field opened up. After the umpires delayed the game for an hour or so, they decided to suspend the game until this afternoon.

So why would I have been annoyed by that? Because the rules are that ticket holders from last night saw all the baseball they're going to see. The Twins are going to open up the gates at 3pm today to holders of tickets for tonight's 6:10pm game, so they can see the conclusion of Game 1 and then the entire Game 2.

I suppose logistically, that's the easiest move, but if I was holding a ticket for last night's game, I'd feel a bit cheated. Especially considering that the rain had stopped by 10pm, and they probably could've kept playing.

But you can't blame the Twins. Once the game starts, the decision to suspend is purely with the umpiring crew. So maybe they had reservations at Murray's, or something, I don't know.

And while I loathe conspiracy theories, I will point out that Phil Cuzzi was part of the crew. Yes, the same Phil Cuzzi who horrifically blew a call in last years Twins/Yankees playoff series which cost Joe Mauer a key double.

I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin...

Ultimately, it's a boon for those lucky folks who have tickets for tonight's game. Free baseball, folks! You can't beat it!

With the Memorial Day weekend looming, it's time to take a look back at my pre-season picks. Memorial Day is the traditional quarter-pole of the season, so it's time to take a look at how I'm doing so far!

Right after the quote...

”The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”
- Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), English writer, dramatist, and musician

*cough* ...BP oil spill... *cough*

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5-24-10: What Makes a Game Great?

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from what I hope was another wonderful weekend.

Mine was pretty good. I got to see the Twins win on Saturday, and then spend a nice chunk of time with some family on Sunday as we got to wish my Aunt a happy (mumble, grumble)th birthday. Plus my mom came into town for a bit, so I got some quality time with her too.

Baseball and family. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The various descriptions of the Twins game, however, gave me pause. I heard a lot of comments afterward saying, “oh wow, you got to go to a great game”. That struck me as odd. While I'm happy that my favorite team won, I didn't think the game was all that “great”. “Exciting”, sure, but not “great”.

Naturally, that got me thinking. What exactly does make a game great?

And we all know what that means! Column time!

Right after the quote...

”I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.”
- Wilson Mizner (1876 - 1933), American playwright, raconteur and entrepreneur

Faith is great and all, but if you don't say “gee, I wonder why that is?” now and again, you're not going to learn much.

So it's only natural that I wonder what exactly makes a “great game” right?

(I do love it when I can get a quote to connect!)

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5-21-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Let me begin with an apology, because things are going to be brief today. Not for any good reason either. I just plain dropped the ball.

You see, I'm a creature of habit. I like my routines. I value comfort. Mess with my routines and some things in my life are likely to spin out of control.

In this case, I had to work late last night and will again tonight. Unfortunately, that caused me to forget to write this column last night. So I'm scrambling to throw something together today. That's been complicated by our new on-air schedule, which leaves me far less time for “distractions” than I used to have.

(Yes, I know your hearts are all bleeding for me.)

I'm not trying to make excuses. Rather, I'm merely offering a meek explanation for the brevity of today's Update.

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5-19-10: Effort Doesn't Slump

Hello again everybody...

Well that didn't take long!

The current incarnation of my jinx is over after the Twins got thumped 11-2 by the Blue Jays yesterday. I wasn't happy to see them take one on the chin like that, but it did take a rather hefty weight off my mind.

I forgot to mention it on Wednesday, but I have tickets to Saturday's game versus the Brewers. So what would've happened if the Twins had won out going into that game? I couldn't have sold the tickets because a friend of mine is coming from Milwaukee to go see the game. I couldn't go to the game and shield my eyes in an effort not to watch. But wouldn't it be a violation of the “I'm not watching til they lose” bit to go to the game?

A co-worker had already started trying to craft a theory by which we'd separate “watching on TV” from “watching whilst at the ballpark”. I think we could've pulled it off. Fortunately, we won't have to.

So it's on to Boston (the city, so no hate tag), to face the Red Sox (whom I most assuredly hate) for two games before the Twins return home for the Brewers series. Here's to hoping that Boston (the team, whom I hate) spent themselves over the last couple of days against the Yankees and come in to tonight's game lacking energy.

I can now say it again with all my baseball-loving heart... WIN TWINS!!!

I can only hope you appreciate the effort I put into telling you these sorts of stories. Because to be honest, I'm a little down on a star player's effort right now. And it just so happens that I have a forum to tell you about it!

After the quote...

Let's do this!

”None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.”
- Ferdinand Foch (1851 - 1965), French soldier and military theorist

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this quote came from a Frenchman? Right. Enough said.

Fear is a natural emotion we all feel from time to time. Laziness? Sloth? Lackadaisicalness? That's something entirely within our control.

Unless you're a superstar Marlins player apparently...

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5-17-10: My Baseball Conundrum

Hello again everybody...

So how was your weekend?

Mine was... um... interesting.

Lots of resting and relaxation, which is good. But two-thirds of the time I was watching my favorite team get their brains beat in by the big, bad Yankees.

As for the other third? Well, that's what I'm going to talk about today.

Before we get to that, a quick Preakness review. My Preakness picks streak? Dead.

Lookin at Lucky who got a horrible trip in the Derby, got an ideal trip in the Preakness and spoiled Super Saver's bid for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

I watched the race, and it was obvious as they made the turn, Calvin Borel asked Super Saver to go. It was equally obvious that the horse had no intention whatsoever of actually going. There was more traffic around Super Saver in the Preakness than there was in the Derby, but it's not like he got blocked. He just didn't fire. Lookin at Lucky, on the other hand, stalked the pace smartly and when the time came, fired home for the win.

So for the 32nd straight year, we're without a Triple Crown winner. I said it back in 2008 when Big Brown failed to complete the trifecta, that if a horse that was so clearly superior to his competition couldn't get it done, I'm not sure it'll ever be done again. Obviously, we didn't have a horse with anywhere near that kind of talent in this year's crop of three-year-olds.

The money in horse racing is clearly in breeding, not racing. And since thoroughbreds are bred more for speed than stamina these days, it doesn't seem likely we'll see a horse capable of winning three races in six weeks any time soon

It's too bad really.

What's also too bad? The return of “Dan's Baseball Jinx”. I'll explain...

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5-14-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Congratulations to you all! Once again, we've cheated the employment gods and made it to another weekend!

And it's not just any weekend, it's Preakness weekend. Of course, I completely spaced that on Wednesday when I was whining about not having things to write about. Lovely.

Today's DFTU day of course, so I won't spend a lot of time on it. Fortunately, there's not a lot to spend time on.

Unlike the Derby's bursting 20-horse field, only 12 horses will run in the Preakness. Of those 12, only five ran in the Derby, and only two factored in the finish. Derby winner Super Saver will try to set up a Triple Crown threat, while Paddy O'Prado - who finished third - will try to play spoiler. Also hoping to spoil Super Saver's bid will be Lookin at Lucky, the Morning Line favorite in the Derby.

Not running in the Preakness is my Derby pick, Ice Box. His owners and trainers decided to rest him and point him towards a run at the Belmont. I can hardly blame them, the Belmont certainly suits his style better than the Preakness. But it would've been fun to see what Ice Box could've done with this smaller field.

The drama in this race is going to completely surround Super Saver. Can Calvin Borel guide him to a Preakness win and set him up for a Triple Crown attempt? Or will another horse spoil his efforts, and render the Belmont anti-climactic?

Last year, I correctly picked Rachel Alexandra as the Preakness winner. Can I make it two-for-two this year?

The only serious threats to Super Saver in my mind are Paddy O'Prado and Lookin at Lucky. None of the newcomers impress me a whit. Paddy wasn't able to catch Super Saver in the Derby and the Preakness is run at a shorter distance, so I don't see him doing it here. Lucky got an unlucky trip at the Derby and never recovered. Trainer Bob Baffert was so unhappy with the jockey Garret Gomez, that he switched to Martin Garcia for the Preakness. That kind of drama doesn't bode well for Lucky in my mind.

The bottom line is that there isn't another horse in the field with Super Saver's speed. And with the shorter distance at Pimlico, speed will be worth even more than it was in the Derby. Super Saver got an ideal draw at post position 8, and Calvin Borel is as good as it gets in the saddle.

Your 2010 Preakness winner? Super Saver. Book it!

Post time is 5:12pm central. Coverage is on NBC. Check your local listings.

That's it for the ponies... time to get Updated!

”If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.”
- Pierre Gallois (1911 - ), French air force brigade general and geopolitician

Let me assure you Monsieur Gallois, I've put plenty of tomfoolery into a computer, and it's been thoroughly criticized... as it should be... mostly.

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5-12-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you all. I know I say this often, but this week the weekend REALLY can't get here soon enough. Only this time my motivation is mostly meteorological. For the past couple of weeks we've been having “March in May” here in Minnesota. While I don't want to complain too loudly since we had “May in April” just last month, it looks like things will finally be getting back to normal come the weekend. Thank you weather gods.

I'll be honest, I'm scraping the bottom of the ol' barrel for subjects today. Every now and then there's a lull in the sports news. It's not that there's nothing going on. But there isn't much that's got me fired up to write about.

But I stick to my schedule as best I can because that's what you, my dear readers, expect and it's what you, my dear readers, deserve!

No single subject irking me? No problem! We'll just do some Notes!

Off we go...

”When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
- Hunter S. Thompson (1939 - 2005), American journalist and author

Honestly? I have no idea. I just liked the sound of it.

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5-10-10: Mock Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from the weekend. Sure the weather wasn't the greatest here in Minnesota - although it was hard to argue with yesterday's climatological conditions - but I had a pretty damned good weekend regardless.

First off, I got to see “Iron Man 2” on Saturday. Pretty darned good flick. I'm not sure if it's as good as the first flick - I'll need to see it again before I can make that assessment - but it's absolutely worth seeing. Robert Downey, Jr., is his usual brilliant self. Don Cheadle brings a more believable military bearing to the Col. Rhodes character than Terrance Howard did. Mickey Rourke does the “bad-ass villain” bit quite well. Sam Rockwell does a surprisingly good turn as the “funny/disarming/inferiority-complex-possessing/might-be-a-little-bit-psycho” bad guy. My brother felt he stole the show. Personally, I think that's near to impossible when RDJ is on the screen, but I can see where he's coming from. The only disappointing performance was Scarlett Johansson's. It wasn't totally her fault since there was very little time given to developing her character. Still, the development that existed was wasted by her drab, wooden performance.

Bottom line, if you liked the first one, you'll like this one. Go see it. Enjoy. Thank me later.

Secondly, a belated “Happy Mothers Day” to all the Moms out there! Yes, I made sure my mom got a card and a phone call from me yesterday, so that's not the belated part. But I wanted to take the opportunity to send well wishes to the rest of the Moms who read my blog. If you take care of your kids anywhere near like my mom has taken (and in many ways continues to take) care of my brother and me, then you're more than deserving of hearty kudos from all of us!

Thanks for everything, Mom! I love you!

On to today's column! Lots of interesting stories from the weekend. And what better way to mock them, than Mailbag style!


”Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), American author and humorist

This was a lesson I've only truly-learned in the last decade or so. I've found that if you accept responsibility for a screw-up without excuses, people are so taken aback, they forget to be pissed at you. Yes, even when I'm clearly at fault, I can still be devious!

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5-7-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...


Yes, I'm sure I didn't have to tell you that, but for some reason, I really need it to be the weekend already. I couldn't even really say why. An annoying week at the shop I guess. Who knows? All I know is that in a few scant hours, I'll be blissfully thinking of anything other than work for a solid 48, and enjoying every second of it.

But before we get to today's sports silliness, a couple of quick entertainment notes.

One, yes, I'll be seeing Iron Man 2 this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed the first film, and even though Scarlett Johansson was an epic failure of an interview on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson this week, I'm confident I'll like the second film too. Come on. It's Robert Downey, Jr. carrying a film. This guy's been stealing scenes since “Back to School”! It'll be a good flick. I'll have a brief review for you on Monday... probably.

(Hey, I don't like to make promises which I may or may not be able to keep, okay?!)

Two, Rick Riordan is out with a new book and the beginning of a new series. (Sorry to steal your “book club” bit, Cat, but I figure you'll forgive me.) If you haven't read his “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, I recommend you do. They're not the deepest books in the world, but they're fun, light, and entertaining reads. And what he did with Greek mythology in those books, he seeks to do with Egyptian mythology in “The Kane Chronicles: Red Pyramid”. The tone of the new book is very similar to “Percy”, but he employs a new narrative device in this one (I won't give it away here) which is kind of an interesting way to tackle the project. I'm only a few chapters in, but I like it so far. If you're in need of something fun to peruse, trust me, you could do far worse.

Okay. Enough with the preambling! Time to get really, really serious... about Updating you on my favorite squads!

Off we go!

”Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821), French military and political leader

Think Lil Nap (that'd be his rapper name right?) wishes someone would've reminded him of this lil chestnut before he had that lil hiccup in Belgium? I'm just sayin...

Right, now that you're over that pseudo-philosophical excursion, it's time to give you what you came here for. That's right. It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

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5-5-10: Tased and Confused

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you! It's all downhill from here, right? I sure hope so. Three days into this week and I'm still trying to get used to the changes that have happened already at work, and also trying to mentally gird myself for the changes that are right around the corner.

My bosses would be more than a touch annoyed if I went into detail about things, but suffice to say that the staff roster has changed considerably over the last month, and is going to continue to change as this month goes along.

So far, everything's been happening on the periphery of my position, and hopefully it stays that way.

(But if anybody has need of a sharp, quick-learning, tech-literate, highly mobile employee? I'm certainly willing to listen!)

How do I escape from the wackiness of the working world?

By providing you, my dear readers, with all the sports-related inanity I can muster!

Today's topic? How should we be handling unruly fans?

Let's get to it!

”It's a lot like nature. You can only have as many animals as the ecosystem can support and you can only have as many friends as you can tolerate the bitching of.”
- R. K. Millholland, webcomic author

WftC Translation: I don't like people that much...

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5-3-10: Monday Notes

Hello again everybody...

I'm back from a long weekend feeling rested and well-entertained.

The Craig Ferguson show I attended on Friday was hilarious. I was curious to see if it would be vastly different from the “Late Late Show”, but it really wasn't. Besides not having to censor his curse words (which is done in a uniquely entertaining manner on the show), the basic style was very similar. Similar, but extended as the show went about an hour and a half, and there were no annoying guests pimping movies to deal with.

It was a really fun night with some good friends. Well worth the money and the vacation day!

But my entertainment wasn't the only thing happening this weekend. Time to get caught up with some Notes.

Let's do this...

”Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
- Voltaire (1694 - 1778), French Enlightenment writer and philosopher

I wish I'd had a little more certainty on Saturday, even if it would've been a little absurd. I'll explain in my...

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