It’s going to be another light posting day.
And I am.
I am thankful, for starters, that someone posted Linda Thompson’s version. Dave Swarbrick’s nasal delivery would put me off my thanksgiving meal…
Everywhere I go – from the radio show to the grocery store, and even on different floors of my home – people ask me “who are all these characters, fictional and otherwise, that pop up on the pages of your blog?”
Some of them are from my series of satiric dramatizations. Others are actual writers on this blog.
Now – for the first time – a complete list of this blog’s personalities, real, imagined and not quite sure which, can be found here.
It’s been a long, long time since TV stations “signed off”, at least in major metro areas. TV’s been a 24/7 business ever since cable became a dominant part of the media world.
But when I was a kid, the sign for “now it’s time to be tired” came when Channel 4 in Fargo would reach the end of its broadcast day – it may have been around midnight, if I remember correctly – and the orchestra would get rolling, and this piece of film would start:
And then, for the next minute or two…:
And then? Lulled by Leo Mann’s voice-over and the silent test pattern, you’d be jarred back to reality by REALLY LOUD STATIC as the carrier signal went silent, turning the frequency over to a universe full of random electromagnetism.
It always felt and sounded jarring; to go from the orderly humdrum of late-night small market TV to the transcendent ethereality of “High Flight”, to silence – and then, cacaphony. It was unsettling – that feeling of going from “something” to “nothing”, of going from watching a coherent signal from Fargo to random, formless signals that’d skittering about the universe for billions of years, ending up as “snow” on a cathode ray tube.
I usually wished I’d fallen asleep earlier – and eventually learned to hit the power knob before the “Indian” was done.
Generally, when I get involved with someone, I try to do it for the long term.
But I’m almost tempted to try to get into a serious relationship – ideally something with a hip-hop theme, no matter how convoluted - if only so I can break up using the line “you got 99 problems, but a Mitch ain’t one”.
OK, just so you don’t have to ask your kids…
It’s just one of those days when I felt like publishing a wolf picture.
Don’t judge me.
Hahahaha Merg! You said armed guards wud stop mass merders! And yet the armed guards at teh Navy Yerd didn’t stop the mass merder! You are Pwn5d!”: Er, for starters, I never said that armed guards were a panacaea – any more a guarantee than wearing a seatbelt guarantees everyone will survive every car accident. They improve the odds. Maybe by a lot. And at any rate, armed guards in schools are a partial solution at best – the last thing schools in particular need is to feel more like police states than they already do. No, I advocate allowing law-abiding citizens with carry permits to defend themselves. Because it works.
After the killer at the Navy Yard shot the armed guard, I’m gonna guess at least a couple of the sailors in the building might have wished they’d have had access to some sort of firearm. Just saying.
Hahaha, Merg! Bradlee Dean’s ministry has gone belly up! Hahah!: Yeah, I see that.
Why don’t you try to get Tom Mischke on the NARN someday as a guest?: Hey – not a bad idea.
Hahaha! You and Bradlee Dean were BFFs!: Well, no – his show was on after mine. Then it wasn’t. He’s a nice guy in person. I disagree with a good chunk of his theology. End of story.
Well, almost. As I showed over the past couple of years, whatever you want to say about Bradlee Dean’s organization and theology and beliefs – and I might agree with you about some of it – a huge chunk of what Andy Birkey and the late Karl Bremer wrote about the guy was unvarnished bullshit.
There. That’s the end of story.
Why did you block me on Twitter and Facebook? Can’t you handle an argument?: I don’t go on Facebook to argue. Sometimes they come to me, but what are you gonna do? Seriously. Anyway – as re Twitter? I love a good debate. But here’s the catch - you weren’t debating, you were harangueing and arguing without logic, fact or reason. To the extent you had an argument, it was boring, trite, illogical, a collection of chanting points I’m pretty sure you don’t understand, and a waste of time. Sorry. I’m sure you’re a fine human being in some corner of your life.
Hey, Bergbrain! Hahahaha!: Oh, isn’t that special?
Hey, Merg! Why are you complaining about Mark Dayton and the DFL? Elections have consequences!: Right. You’ll recall how the Alliance for a Better Minnesota shut up and walked away as a consequence of the 2010 Legislative elections, right?
One vote that had consquences was the one that led to the First Amendment. I know that annoys you.
The Obamcare and Defunding debate shows that the DFL is just as bad as the Democrats! Ron Paul was right! I’m going to protest by…by…going OFF THE GRID!: So you’re going to migrate from Dante’s Third Circle of irrelevancy straight through to the Sixth?
I mean, us “establishment” Republicans did warn you that politics was a marathon, not a sprint. Right? I’m pretty sure I did.
You continually disagree with me in arguments. You’re mentally ill: Eureka. You have brushed the scales from my eyes. There is no response to your ineluctible logic.
You’re right in every possible way, and always will be.
Doesn’t it bug you that Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse started a “hey gang, let’s do a radio show” thing just like the NARN did, but they’re on morning drive on a major station?”: Not at all! They’re great guys, and they certainly earned their shot.
For me? I love being on the air – more than just about anything in the world, actually – but the radio business is just about the worst thing in the world. Salem Twin Cities, by the way, is a huge exception – they’re great people, and I’m not just saying that because they’ve put me on the for almost ten years now. Anyway, unless a major-market station or network throws a good contract at me for enough money to leave the IT business, I’m perfectly happy doing weekends for the fun of it.
Not that I’d turn down that big honking contract, y’understand. But I enjoy where things are; I get all the fun and none of the misery.
During the work day, I don’t blog. I’ll occasionally see articles or things I’m interested in writing about, and use the WordPress mobile app to put the links, titles, jottings about subjects, or whatever I can out into my Drafts folder, so I can pick them up in the morning when I do my actual blogging.
So I dug into my Drafts folder this morning and found a piece at the top of the pile – probably from yesterday – entitled “A Problem Of Focus”.
With nothing in it. No link, copy, not even a hint of what I was thinking when I wrote the title.
Which makes more sense the more you think about it.
Although there was a general assumption when I was in high school and college that I’d wind up in some kind of graduate school or another, I stopped with the formal schooling (as distinct from getting an education) with my BA.
I did it for a couple of reasons:
- Nothing that I’d want to get an MA or Ph.D. in – Linguistics, History, German, Writing – would enhance my career, or at least not to the point that there’d be a return on investment.
- I have absolutely no interest in a business degree.
- I’m not sure that I could find anyplace nearby to get the MA in my field; there are less than 10 places in the country to get a BA in anything like my field, and maybe 3-4 that I know of on the grad level.
- And if I did? Not only would getting an advanced degree in my current vocational field – User Experience – have little to no return on investment, it might actually slow me down.
So unless I hit the powerball – which might lead me to a design-your-own “Masters” in German, writing, history and filmmmaking from whatever institution that’d let me put it together – I strongly doubt you’ll see me darken the door of a grad school, ever.
But if this were closer than Boulder, I could see myself changing my mind.
Posting will be light-ish today. More tomorrow!
If I’ve blocked you on Twitter or in this comment section, it’s not because you’re a troll, a Bobblehead or a dolt.
It’s because you’re a troll, a Bobblehead or a dolt who has ceased to amuse me.
That is all.
“Isn’t “Joe Doakes from Como Park” teh sock puppett?”: Yeah, right. Think about this for a second (let’s assume for a moment you’re capable of it); why would I, on a blog where I’ve written well over 16,000 posts over 11 years, all of them under my own name (unlike the majority of gutless pseudonymic leftybloggers who slander and defame their betters from behind pseudonyms) need to have a pseudonymic handle? To write more?
I’d say “stop being an idiot”, but the sentence includes a three syllable word, so you might have trouble with it…
“Hah hah, Merg! After a year or two of you saying Tom Bok and Paul Theeeessin would stonewall on Gay Marrege, they’re pushing it threw! Hah hah! You are teh looser!”: So hang on a minute – after starting the session setting the lowest expectations possible for gay marriage, and then having their first social policy initiative (the Martens/Latz gun grabs) go down in flames, the governor and Senate’s first tax and budget proposals arouse a firestorm of controversy, and enduring mocking from people like yours truly for their craven abandonment of the masses of low-information idealists who put them in office, you mean to say Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen did an about face and pushed hard for an easy short-term win to draw attention away from their failings on the budget, tax reform and, well, everything?
Huh. Go figure.
“Mitch, why do you portray people who disagree with you in these “FAQ” pieces as cretins who misspell and pretty much audibly pant and drool like prehensile obscene phone callers? Isn’t that a little prejudicial toward those who disagree with you?”: You haven’t met some of my critics, have you?
“You say you are teh conservative! Yet you write about Bruse Sprengstein, and you bike to werk! You are teh librel!”: Your what hurts?
“Why do you hate gay people?”: I don’t. Hate is a bad thing, and I don’t practice it. And I suspect I’ve put more on the line against genuine hatred of gay people than most people. Just saying; let it go.
Answering spam emails:
From: Carl Catlin <ccatlin[redacted]@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 2:56 PM
Subject: Philippines Trip(Sad News)……..Carl Catlin
Just hoping this email has reached you well, I’m sorry for this emergency and for not informing you about my urgent trip to Manila, Philippines but I just have to let you know my present predicament.
Everything was fine until I was attacked on my way back to the hotel, I wasn’t hurt but I lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and my bag in the course of this attack. Immediately contacted my bank in order to block my cards and also made a report at the nearest police station.
I’ve been to the embassy and they are helping me with my documentation so i can fly out but I’m urgently in need of some money to pay for my hotel bills and my flight ticket home, will definitely REFUND as soon as back home .
Kindly let me know if you would be able to help me out so I can forward you the details required for a wire transfer.
Waiting to hear back from you..
Bubbie! Sorry to hear about your predicament.
I’d love to help, since I just know you’re good for the money.
Sorry to say, though, that we’re birds of a feather as always. I, too, am in the Philippines, sightseeing near Manila, in the city of Las Piñas. And I, too, was waylaid by ruffians. Six of them.
I killed the first five – two with my bare hands. The six, I let go, as is – as you’re well aware, my old friend – my wont.
As the sixth ran away, a Philipino policeman walked up to me to take the report. As the sixth yegg ran toward the horizon, the policeman asked me if I was up for a wager; could I hit the blackguard?
Well, the ne’er-do-well was nearly 300 yards away, and I had a little .380 pistol, but you know how I like a bet – and what happens in Las Piñas stays in Las Piñas! So I went all-in – all the money I had.
Well, I choked, and it took me two shots to fell the miscreant. But a bet is a bet.
So I’m afraid I’m not only a tad short at the moment, but in the same boat you are.
Sorry about that. Drat the luck!
I’m dying to see the response.
UPDATE: Yesterday was a very, very good day in the Pledge Drive department. Thanks to everyone who fed the kitty yesterday.
So today’s the last day of the “Pledge Week”. Thanks to everyone – for stopping by and reading these past 11 years.
But I’ll put the link up one more time, just in case
I haven’t done an actual bleg – a blog fundraiser – on Shot In The Dark for about four years now.
Partly because it felt a little presumptuous, in this lousy economy. Partly because it just never occurred to me to want to.
Anyway – much as I’d like to do an Andrew-Sullivan-style “Please pony up $80K or I’ll have to leave blogging”-style bleg twice a year, it’s just not true. I’ll keep writing Shot In The Dark no matter what.
But if the mood strikes you, feel perfectly free to drop a buck or two in the kitty. I’d be much obliged.
Unlike MPR, I’m not going to interrupt programming for twenty minutes at a shot, here.
Thanks in advance!
UPDATE: Fixed the link. Sorry – and thanks!
…usually pick me up.
But not today. Caught a bit of a bug. I’ll be a little light on the output today.
Have a great Friday!
Isaac Morehouse has a piece on his blog about the top ten benefits of regular blogging.
(The keen-eyed observer will note that Morehouse’s blog has had gaps of 3-11 months over its five year run – but the article is so good I don’t care):
1. Self Discipline – Like all disciplines, it makes you a better person; more in control of your schedule and habits. It is empowering to do something on a regular basis.
For one reason or another, getting up at 5:30 nearly every morning to write has become just a part of life.
2. Self Translation – You hold a set of beliefs and ideas about the world. You may not even know exactly what they are, but they exist. Blogging helps you translate those ideas into a form that you and others can use.
In the time I’ve been writing this blog, this has been true. When I started writing Shot In The Dark, I was a conservative, and a modestly well-read one – but still, much of what I believed was unformed and squishy, and there were huge gaps in what I knew.
And both are still true, to some degree. But much less so than before I started.
3. Self Education – You have no idea how much you know, or how capable you are of understanding and explaining things. Once you start blogging, you’ll be surprised to discover what a genius you are.
Well, maybe not “genius” – but I’ve learned a lot about a couple of issues – education, Astro-Turf groups and so on – that I’d never have had occasion to learn otherwise.
4. Observation – Every day you are taking in loads of sensory information. You see news clips, billboards, emails, people; you hear music, talk, etc. When you start to blog you learn to find meaning in the things your senses take in, and find story lines. You learn to observe.
And – this was cool – eventually you start finding the unexpected, hidden storylines. That’s kinda fun.
5. Humor – The things noted above are often hilarious, you just don’t always realize it at the time. Regular blogging helps you recreate experiences you’ve had, which often reveals their hilariousness.
I’ll get back to you on that one.
6. Writing – Blogging ain’t great literature, but it can be. Any kind of writing regularly will improve your skills. Blogging will especially help you learn to be more concise and interesting.
Would that it were always true. Or even true more often.
Still, I’ve seen examples of people who genuinely did improve as writers over time.
7. Self Knowledge – You may not know your area(s) of interest and expertise – regular blogging will help you discover what you are interested in and good at as you begin to see patterns and reoccurring themes in your posts.
Writing this blog has certainly opened up some interests I’d never have had otherwise.
8. Experimentation – Blogging allows you to be a pundit on any issue. You can comment on things you normally don’t have time or knowledge for. You are allowed to speculate and think out loud on a blog in ways that more formal media do not allow.
9. Crash-testing – Blogging regularly will inevitably produce some pretty good writing. Blogging every day will help you get all kinds of stuff out, and then look back and see if any of it is worthy of refinement and publication elsewhere. It’s a great testing ground for ideas, themes, articles, outlines, etc.
I wouldn’t say it’s “inevitable” – but that’s very true.
And for me, it’s the best “show prep” there is. The traditional rule of thumb in talk radio is “spend an hour of show prep for every hour you’re on the air”. But in a typical week I’ll spend 5-10 hours writing, most of it about stuff I want to talk about on the air. I don’t like to walk into the studio, sit down and start broadcasting cold – but I can.
10. Archiving – Regular blogging for just a year can result in hundreds of articles on hundreds of topics. You will develop an archive of your thoughts and a record of how they’ve evolved over time. When someone asks for your opinion on an issue you won’t have to start from scratch. You can send them a link to that time you expressed it so well.
Which is, of course, a two-edged sword. After a long time writing, you generate a lot of material. It’s hard to keep track of it all. Sorting it into categories and adding tags helps; a decent search engine (thanks, WordPress!) helps too.
Anyway, Morehouse’s post on the one hand tells me things I’ve known for a while, and on the other hand codifies them in a handy “Top Ten”-style format for convenience.
After all that, it’s almost anticlimactic to say that today is this blog’s 11th birthday. The yearly anniversaries up through ten were kind of a big deal – but after 11 years, writing this blog is more or less a part of life’s rhythm to me.
I started this blog thinking I’d be happy if I got five readers a week. My daily audience is into four digits now, and has been there since about 2004, which never fails to astound me.
Anyway – thanks for stopping by all these years.
“Hey, why don’t you come over to teh MinnPost to debate?”: For the same reason I don’t “debate” at MPR, Startribune.com or on much of any other website or blog. Between my blog, Twitter and, I dunno, my freaking day job, not to mention trying to maintain a modestly-well-adjusted real life, I gotta draw the line somewhere. I’ve given up a lot of online diversions lately .
And, let’s face it, the MinnPost’s comment section is about the same as the Strib’s these days; it’s all noise and no signal. Both of them have come to represent the worst of online “discourse”; mostly people who hide behind anonymity to bellow with rage at people who are different than them. Usenet Newsgroups phoned the Strib and MinnPost comment sections and told ‘em to dial back the crazy.
Both are a waste of time. I try not to waste time.
“Why do you oppose banning teh automatic weapins?”: They’ve been mostly illegal since 1934. Seriously – learn the issue before you try to regulate other peoples’ civil rights.
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Nope. That is a reasonable “reasonable restriction”.
“If you debate at teh MinnPost you’ll lose!”: In the same way a black guy walking into a Klan rally will “lose”. I’ll get shouted down, sure.
But I won’t lose a “Debate”.
In fact, I may as well reiterate this; I’ll meet any liberal figure – blogger, talking head, pundit, reporter (oh, snap), politician, what have you – in an actual debate about anything we mutually care to debate about. Guns are the hot topic these days – and on Second Amendment issues in particular, I’ll not only meet the libs in an actual debate, I’ll likely make their argument better than they can, before I destroy it. I’m not limited to guns – we can talk education, taxes, transit, whatever. I’m pretty solid on all of ‘em. On Second Amendment issues? Let’s just say I’m confident.
Just saying. Try me.
In a real debate, mind you; at a neutral location, with some basic “rules” (they don’t have to be all that formal, but shouting matches bore me) and we can go to town.
Recursive institutionalized (heh) pissing matches like “newspaper” comment sections don’t really make the cut, thanks.
“Why are you constantly bagging on the DFL leadership for not supporting gay marriage? The effort against the Marriage Amendment wasn’t a referendum on gay marriage, after all.”: That’s not the way “Minnesotans United For All Families” and the rest of the anti-Amendment crowd put it. Their rhetoric – “we don’t have popularity contests on civil rights!” – wasn’t focused on the procedural battle over what does or doesn’t go into the Constitution. It was over Adam and Steve and their picket fence.
For Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen not to jam a bill through the legislature that they control largely because of the campaign against the Amendment is intensely hypocritical. For the people who voted for the DFL based on the Amendment not to demand better of the caucus they elected is a betrayal of Gay Minnesotans. Now that the left-leaning PPP poll shows Minnesotans supporting gay marriage, there is no reason whatsoever for Bakk and Thissen not to jam this issue down.
Other than political cowardice and hypocrisy.
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Asked and answered. Nope.
“Hahahaha, Merg! You won’t come to teh MinnPost to debate! You are teh coward!”: Real debate. Say when, where, and agree on the rules. If you’ve got the cojones. We all know what an “if” that is.
“But Mitch? There’s a court case in Henco that’ll basically end in legalize gay marriage sooner or later. Bakk and Thissen needn’t lift a finger”: Well, there’s a profile in courage for you!
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Er, I answered this twice already. No.
“Mark G***eson says you’re like teh Lord Haw Haw?”: I get called ugly things by people sitting at the back of the bus that also bark at the moon and have tinfoil wrapped around their heads. I give ‘em about the same weight.
“Hey, Merg! The Second Amendment refers to “Militia”! Are you in the National Guard?”: I’m sorry – were you in treatment for the past five years or something? The SCOTUS in Heller said “right of the people” means “people” – not government. We – every able-bodied adult – are the militia. That means you, me, and everyone around you that doesn’t have a disqualifying criminal record.
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Er, no.
“I’m sick of your arguments. It’s time to re-consider what “reasonable restrictions” are!”: Well, at face value, I’m with you. Most of the restrictions that exist today – gun bans like in Chicago, bans on weapons based on cosmetic features – are utterly useless. Let’s reconsider them!
But that’s not what you’re talking about, is it? This is sort of like the “new conversation about guns” from a few weeks back, which involved your side talking and my side shutting up.
You want to eliminate the Second Amendment, because you think that civilians shouldn’t have guns. It disturbs your idea of the natural relationship between people and government, with citizens toiling away and a benevolent government protecting us, like a dutiful parent. I believe that’s a noxious and repugnant idea of what government is supposed to be, and the Second Amendment helps keep it that way.
“Why don’t you write more about music and history?”: Oh, I meant to over this past two months, trust me. Real life – doing my little bit to defend a vital civil right – got in the way. But there’s more to come.
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Er…
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: It’s cold out, isn’t it?
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: There are no bones in ice cream.
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: That surely is a writing implement of immense magnitude.
“Why do you always show your opponents in these pieces to be addled, defective or not-so-bright? Isn’t that a rather demeaning fiction?”: You’ve never met my “critics”, have you?
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: Um…
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: …
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: (facepalm)
“You oppose gun control? So you think felons should have guns?”: …
NRA membership is booming:
The National Rifle Association has gained more than 100,000 new members in the past 18 days, the organization told POLITICO’s Playbook on Thursday.
The number of paid new members jumped from 4.1 million to 4.2 million during that time.
“Our goal is to get to 5 million before this debate is over,” the NRA told POLITICO’s Mike Allen.
The number is a record.
Another record? For the first time, I’m one of them. After decades of being a Second Amendment activist, I finally pulled the trigger and joined.
“We are willing to talk to policymakers about any reasonable proposals and plans,” an NRA official said in the Playbook report, regarding the upcoming meeting with Biden. “However, the NRA is hearing not just from Beltway elites and the chattering class, but real Americans all over the country that are hoping the NRA is not going to compromise on any of the principles of the Second Amendment, nor are we going to support banning guns. But we’re willing to listen.”
We’ll listen – but we’d be deluded to expect much in the way of common sense.
By the way, the piece comes from “Politico”, which writes:
To join the NRA, one must pay $25. In return, new members may choose to receive a “Rosewood Handle Knife, Black & Gold Duffel Bag or Digital Camo Duffel Bag,” the Playbook report said.
Huh. I got a member card, a subscription to one of the house magazines, a sticker, and an NRA shooting cap. And I paid $35.
Must have been a Black Friday special…
A couple of quick notes here:
In addition to my usual light weekend posting schedule, posting on Monday and Tuesday will likely be very light. It’s Christmas. So sue me. No, wait – I live in Saint Paul. The Human Rights department just might.
But seriously? Have a Merry Christmas if you’re of the Jesus Tribe, and a great long weekend otherwise!
The NARN will be on the air all this weekend. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about the new “Social Studies Standards”. I’ll also be interviewing Representative Mary Franson (R Alexandria) about her effort to keep Minnesota informed about the push to unionize child-care providers. Tune in from 1-3PM tomorrow!
Now, I’m not one of those people who’s crabbing about the way “Black Friday” has infringed on the sanctity of holidays. Businesspeople have to do something to survive the Obama economy – and it’s the job of each and every person who believes in the sanctity of holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter to lead from the front, as it were.
But I just wanted to say that after three days of hearing about and seeing people camping out in front of Target and Best Buy waiting for Black Friday in the wind and the snow, and seeing and hearing about people battling each other in the aisles last freaking night, I’m here, on the morning after Thanksgiving; warm, drinking coffee, having a warm bowl of oatmeal, getting ready to go to work…
…watching all the chumps out for Black Friday.
Y’all do realize it’ll be generally cheaper later – right?
I wrote this for Thanksgiving ten years ago.
Which reminds me; I’m thankful that I’ve had this blog for ten years (not to mention my show for almost nine).
And, of course, each and every one of you in the audience.
I moved from North Dakota to Minneapolis in October of 1985. It was a spur of the moment thing – in fact, it started with a drunken statement to a bunch of classmates at a college homecoming party two weeks earlier. It was five months after graduation, and they’d all come back to Jamestown (my hometown and college) with stories of their fun careers, fun cities, fun lives…
I was doing roofing and siding, wondering what the hell one did with an English degree. But after five or six gin and tonics, I found myself dancing with Monica Costello, and telling her “Yeah – I’m still here in Jamestown”. Really, she asked? “Yeah, but I’m moving”. Where, she asked. I thought about it for a second. “Minneapolis” seemed to be a place I could afford to get to. When, she asked. “Two weeks”, I blurted out without really thinking.
Damned if everyone didn’t remember that promise when we all sobered up. So – two weeks later, I loaded two duffel bags and a guitar into my ’73 Malibu, and I was off.
Six weeks later, it was Thanksgiving. I still had no job, I was broke and malnourished and cold. I’d had a few interviews, but no bites. I had dinner at a friend’s place. And on the way home, I drove downtown, and walked out onto the Central Avenue bridge, and looked out over the city in the dark. If you’ve never seen it, looking at downtown Minneapolis in the dark, when everything’s all lit up, is stunning; for someone just in off the prairie, it was like looking at Manhattan I was cold, and scared out of my shorts about my short-term prospects – and for the first time, I felt strangely at home in this new city.
And every since then, Thanksgiving has seemed like the turning of the new year for me – the time when I reflect on the past year’s agonies and flubs and successes, and look forward to the next year. Much more so – for me anyway – than New Years’ Eve, which is more decompression from Christmas than anything.
I remember each Thanksgiving in the last 17 years – the giddiness of feeling like I was on the edge of something big in 1986, confident in my ability to pull it all together in ’87, shell-shocked and depressed and contemplating the implosion of my radio career in ’88, crazy in love in ’89, a harried but happy but broke newlywed in ’90, a new dad digging out of deep snowdrifts in ’91, broke and on the brink of eviction with two kids and another on the way in ’92, in a new house in ’93…wondering how long my marriage would last in ’98, being able to answer the question “not long at all” in ’99…
…and today. I sat for a while by the Cathedral of St. Paul, looking down Summit over downtown Saint Paul. The giddy, heady uncertainty of the thanksgivings of my first years as an adult, the throat-clutching terror of my divorce-era holidays, and the weary relief of my first thanksgivings as a divorced dad…well, little bits of all of them are still there. But there’s the emerging sense that my life really is mine, and that I’d better get on with it.
There’ve been so many good lists of things to be thankful for, from people as diverse as Michelle Malkin and Ted Nugent and Andrew Sullivan – and my own for that matter.
But I forgot one. I’m thankful to be here. Now. Doing what I’m doing, and with the chance to be doing the same thing – or better – next year.
God bless you all. And if you don’t believe in God – well, bless yourself silly.
At some point this evening I’ll probably stop out on the Central Avenue bridge again.
Anyway – Happy Thankgiving, everyone!
I’m still on “vacation” from the blog.
Thanks to Ringer and Joe!
It’s been a few years since I’ve taken any time away from blogging. I took a solid week back in 2003, as I recall, and maybe a couple of days in 2008. That’s about it.
And this election was a real meatgrinder. No doubt about it. The day job’s a ton of work, and I’m fighting a fall bug of some kind.
So posting – at least, posting from me – will be light the rest of this week. Now, Ringer may sound off at some point here, and we may get a letter from Doakes, and we may even have someone altogether different writing here shortly – long story.
But I’m taking the rest of the week off. Pretty much.
See you on the air on Saturday, and the blog will be back for real on Monday.
Here’s my biennial tradition – 100 reasons I’m voting for the Republicans, not the Democrats.
But this year, I’m not focusing just on the President.
Dan Lipp, HD65A
100. Because Dan’s a regular working guy from the neighborhood.
99. Dan is a Liberty guy. He realizes, as all the smart ones do, that it’s not only through less government, but through rolling back some of the government we have, that this nation has any chance of prospering.
98. And the last thing the Midway needs is more DFL professional politicians telling us what regular working guys from the neighborhood need.
97. Because Rena Moran is one of those professional politicians…
96. …and one of the most extreme people in the Minnesota House. Nothing useful will get done while her party is even close to influence. And so I’ll be voting for Dan, and very, very much against Rena Moran.
Rick Karschnia, SD65
95. Because Rick comes from the world of business. And if there’s anything Saint Paul (to say nothing of our idiot legislature) needs, it’s more business people and fewer lawyers and professional career pols.
94. And while there are politicians in Minnesota more “professional” and “career” than DFL incumbent Sandy Pappas, it’s all pretty irrelevant.
93. Because Rick will be a Senator that votes for conservative and libertarian principle, at least conceptually in the mold of the Tea Party freshmen that did such a great job in the 2010-2011 sessions.
92. That stuff I said about Rena Moran being “extreme?” She’s a a piker compared to Sandy Pappas. If you look in the dictionary under “smug intransigence”, Sandy gets a two-page spread.
91. I’m voting for Rick and Dan because winning the Minnesota Legislature – keeping majorities in both chambers – will block Mark Dayton’s agenda.
90. Although it’s not Mark Dayton’s agenda. Mark Dayton is really one of those disembodied brains kept alive in a jar, except he walks more or less under his own power. But “his” agenda is really that of the unions and far-left plutocrats who own him in every meaningful way.
89. And defending our Legislative majorities will be a huge gut-shot to Dayton’s political future…
88. ….and help ensure he remains a one -term governor.
Tony Hernandez, MN CD4
87. I’m voting for Tony because he’s a Saint Paul guy with rock-solid integrity.
86. And because he’s done a great job of appealing both to liberty voters and conservative voters.
85. Because anyone that plans his wedding in mid-campaign is the kind of multi-tasker that can actually do things in DC.
84. Because his platform is the kind of thing that Americans of all political stripes should be able to agree with. And that – not some kind of phony cross-aisle gesturing – is the essence of real bipartisanship.
83. And Betty McCollum is all about the empty gesture of bipartisanship…
82. …which doesn’t come close to covering the fact that she is among the most extreme, partisan Reps in the US Congress.
81. Because Tony’s a business guy, while Betty is a professional politician.
80. Because I’d rather have Tony working on writing up a new budget than Betty McCollum.
79. Because the Fourth Congressional District needs better.
78. Because Betty McCollum supported Obamacare, which is sending the health insurance premiums of working Minnesotans through the roof.
77. And because Tony will vote for repeal.
76. Because Betty McCollum supported the Central Corridor, which is gutting business in the Midway…
75. …while Tony knows better than that.
74. Because Tony is an independent thinker…
73…while Betty McCollum is a marionette whose strings are pulled by the Teachers Unions.
72. Because it’s a finger in the eye of all the blow-hard DFL jagoffs who bleat “this is a DFL town!”, as if having a one-party city is something to be proud of.
Kurt Bills, US Senate
71. Because Amy Klobuchar, media meme notwithstanding, is an extreme, partisan liberal.
70. Because a Bills win would give half the the Twin Cities media – which has cashed in much of what passed for its “integrity” to support the daughter of their ol’ buddy Jim Klobuchar – have a collective stroke over the loss.
69. Because Bills is a regular guy.
68. Because Bills is a Liberty candidate…
67…who endorsed Romney – because he realizes perfect IS the enemy of good enough!
66. And the Paulbots gave him holy hell for it.
65. Because for all her palaver, A-Klo is in the left-most third of the US Senate.
64. And this state is no longer a hard-blue state. We don’t need two “progressives” in Washington; it makes us look stupid.
63. Because Klobuchar belongs to a party that believes you should spend first, and cover it with money exacted from “the rich” and, when that runs out, money borne down from heaven on unicorns.
62. Because the Chinese want you to vote for A-Klo.
61. As does Hugo Chavez.
60. Because I’d rather have Bills confirming our next Supreme Court justice than Klobuchar.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, President and Vice President
59. Because Mitt will crank open the big brass nozzle for domestic energy production.
58. In so doing, Mitt will actually do the ultimate “green jobs progrlam”. Here’s how – are you an environmentalist? Then get used to the idea that “saving the environment’ is something that requires prosperity first and foremost.
57. And at this point in our history, that means “enough energy to fuel a prosperous economy”.
56. MItt gets that.
55. Barack Obama does not. He believes that direct subsidy of untried technology will accomplish a “green revolution” by sheer brute financial force. That’s never, ever worked. Ever.
54. Mitt will roll back – not stop, but positively roll back – the orgy of regulation that Obama has unleashed in the past four years.
53. Obama will make good on his promise to President Medvedev; free of worrying about re-election, he’ll ratched up the war on small business that he started with a bang in the past four years…
52. …which have made the US a terrible place for small business.
51. Romney will renew the Bush tax cuts.
50. Obama will sunset them – and add in many, many, many more of his own.
49. Mitt has promised to enact the first cut in discretionary spending since the Reagan Administration – five percent.
48. Don’t believe him? See Messrs. Hernandez and Bills, above. We can force him to make good on the promise (not that I think we’ll need to) – but we’ve gotta control Congress.
47. In fact, Romney will be the first president since Reagan fundamentally disposed to cutting discretionary spending.
46. Obama, naturally, will ratched up discretionary spending.
45. Romney will put everything on the table – means-tests, raising retirement age, whatever – to reform Medicare and Social Security.
44. Obama will try to scare people into carrying on with a doomed status quo.
43. Because Romney will end the user of federal power to browbeat Catholics, Evangelicals and other principled people into paying for federal programs that mortally offend their – our – beliefs.
42. And Obama will supercharge the attack on religion.
41. Romney will end the ratcheting-up of the civil sacrament of abortion.
40. Obama will not.
39. Obama’s Homeland Security secretary Napolitano has spent four years scapegoating all of the many petty dissidents whose rights are supposedly protected by the Constituition, putting pro-lifers, tax-reform advocates, second-amendment activists, “preppers”, school choice advocates and Tea Partiers on “terrorist” watch lists.
38. Romney is a member of a faith that has been persecuted for its beliefs in the past; I find it highly unlikely that he’ll continue to use the Federal government – especially Homeland Security – to persecute people who dissent from government in good faith.
35. And he damned sure knows “Religious Freedom” isn’t served by forcing religious institutions to pay for things that their beliefs hold morally repulsive;
34. Because Barack Obama has a long history of actively working for gun control.
33. Because Mitt Romney may not be Ted Nugent, but he’ll get out of the way of the Second Amendment.
32. Because while racism motivates almost none of the opposition to Barack Obama, it motivates a massive amount of his support.
31. Because of Sonia Sotomayor…
30. …and Elena Kagan.
29. Because David Breyer is almost 76.
28. Ginsberg? She’s 80. And it’d be great to have those two replaced by responsible conservatives for the next 20 or 30 years.
27. And while I know not every Republican-appointed justice has turned out to be a legal originalist (hello, David Freaking Souder), it’s for sure that a John Kerry or Algore appointment would have been worse (and Roberts, as bad as his Obamacare decision was, may have done us a favor via the back door, calling OCare a tax issue rather than a Commerce Clause issue; at least tax issues are legislated rather than litigated).
26. Because Antonin Scalia is 76/
25. And so is Anthony Kennedy.
24. And you know what whomever Obama appoints will be a nightmare for the rest of most of our natural lives.
23. And the thought of both of them being replaced by liberal bobbleheads is too horrific to think of.
22. A Romney administration will treat “separation of powers” as a limit to be observed.
21. For the past four years, Obama has treated it as an obstacle to be breached.
20. Because while our nation needs to re-evaluate its defense strategy and the spending that supports it, we certainly do need a Navy larger than we had in 1917.
19. Because Obama has been shamelessly leaching credit from the SEALs who actually killed Bin Laden, and from the planners and intelligence people who made the mission possible. Obama does indeed deserve credit for making the call (finally); that credit is paid in full.
18. Because Barack Obama bowed, scraped and deferred to every foreign leader that’d have him (except Queen Elizabeth), and seemed to be looking for more…
17. …and Romney just isn’t going to do that.15. Because you are not better off than you were four years ago. Your income has dropped… 14. …as your taxes have risen. 13. And if you are unemployed, you have been there longer than at any time in US history. Our current “recovery” is the slowest since World War II. 12. Because by this time in the 1980 recession – the 1984 election – we were adding four times as many jobs per month as we are today. That’s how sharp recessions are supposed to work… 11. …but just as the New Deal did with the Great Depression, Obama’s interventions in the economy are preventing a big, dramatic economic comeback. 10. Because Mitt Romney understands this. 9. And Barack Obama’s worldview hinges on not only denying it, but repudiating it. 8. Because I’m a bitter, gun-clinging Jebus freak, and I’m proud of it. 7. Because our nation’s economy is heading toward not one, but two cliffs; a tax cliff in January that will flense whatever “recovery” we’ve had so far, and a bigger, nastier one that will involve the devaluation of the dollar and, most likely, a depression that will make the Great Depression look like the deflation of the Dotcom Bubble,. 6. And Romney and Ryan are the only candidates that seem to acknowledge this, much less take it seriously. Obama does not; he and his followers continue to believe that money will continue to be borne down from the heavens on magic unicorns. 5. Because my granddaughter is already in debt thanks to Obama. 4. Because we may not really be better than this – but if we’re not, the consequences are truly, truly terrible. 3. Because the media at all levels has been such a shameless Praetorian Guard for Obama, reality and fact be damned. 2. . Obama sees America as one big Chicago… 1. …and Romney sees it as a shining city on the hill. Vote like your future depends on it. Because it does depend on Obama, the Democrats and the DFL being retired to the septic tank of history as soon as possible.