Minnesota Vikings Shanked The Kluwe Report Non-Release

The Minnesota Vikings are never exactly shining examples of good PR. We could down the list and there would be a lot of things that the Vikings didn’t really have a lot of control over.  For instance, Love Boat was a bad incident, buy boys will be boys and there was nothing the higher ups at Winter Park really could do. That’s not the case in the latest controversy that is brewing in Eden Prairie.

In January, ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe released a diary-like post to Deadspin describing what was seen as a very unfriendly environment to the LGBT community and their allies. Kluwe’s post was really damning towards special teams coach Mike Priefer. The franchise said they would investigate.

Earlier this week, the Vikings apparently told Kluwe and his legal team that the team would not be publicly releasing any of their report. On Friday, Kluwe answered back via Twitter and this saga will only keep on going straight into Training Camp and probably into the 2014 season. It is really the Vikings fault this time.

Throw out any way you feel about the LGBT community, so you can think about this issue clearly. Let’s strip it down to bare bones:

Player posts article saying the Vikings did something bad, Vikings say they’ll investigate that something, Vikings investigate, investigation takes a long time, investigation is finished and Vikings say they’ll not release anything.

Doesn’t that seem sketchy?

It sure seems sketchy to me.

By not releasing anything, the Vikings make it seem like they have something to hide. I don’t know if they do and the only people who know that answer right now are probably in Winter Park trying to put a fire extinguisher to this PR fire.

Let’s put this into an everyday situation. Ever ask someone to look up the price of something for you and then they say something to the tune of ‘oh, you don’t want to know’? You know why they didn’t tell you? They didn’t want to disappoint you. The Vikings are making this look like you, me and the rest of the public do not want to know what’s going on in Winter Park.

The Vikings don’t have that luxury. No one in any of the major sports has that luxury, no less an NFL team, nonetheless the NFL team in a town that loves said NFL team way more than any of the other pro teams and college squads.

It’s such a horrible PR move by not releasing anything. Maybe the Vikings found out something that they are not proud of, but it needs to be heard. This report might force the Vikings into doing things that they don’t want to do, but doing things that are not wanted is a much better alternative to having a franchise that will no longer be trusted.

Welcome Back, My Favorite, Garth Brooks

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Growing up I had two songs that I vividly remember loving and blasting out of our stereo. Naturally, one came from my dad’s favorite musical act and the other came from my mom’s. One was ‘If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band)’ by Alabama, the other one was ‘Friends In Low Places’ by a man named Garth Brooks. I chose one of these two to be my favorite musical act and that artist fully came out of a halftime retirement today.

Garth Brooks is the reason that I love country music and more than likely the reason I love music as a whole. Everyone has, or at least I hope they do, an artist that they can connect to on some weird high level. I feel I’ve had that with multiple artists, but never for so long and as profound as Garth Brooks.

Music always connects itself with a memory. When you hear a certain song you are instantly zapped right back to the date and time when something major went down while that song was in the background. I have those same feelings with Garth Brooks albums. Not just singles, but when I think about a whole damn collection I am brought back in time.

Double Live? Dear Lord, I remember my mom picking me up from daycare and presenting to me a two-CD set of Garth Brooks music. I remember being fascinated by the multiple covers Garth had and that the one that mom picked up had the flags of all the nations Garth had visited on his world tour. I thought that was so cool.

Scarecrow?  New albums usually drop on a Tuesday and back then Mom still bowled on Tuesday nights, I was in bed already by the time she got home so I woke up early the next morning to listen to Garth’s latest endeavor while eating breakfast. The first line in the album is ‘I can hear the highway calling…’ which sure sounds a lot like ‘I can hear the highway, Collin…’ which was pretty awesome to a 13-year-old.

Skipping ahead to his latest release of Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences, I went to work early that day so I could swing through Wal-Mart so I could play songs from it on the radio that afternoon. I kept the receipt in my wallet for months because I was still shocked how cheap the thing was.

I could go on and on about Garth, because I’m really just happy to have him back. I loved Garth ever since I can remember, but I’ll admit that I didn’t always claim him as my favorite artist. It was weird too. It’s hard to explain to people that your favorite artist is going to come back, but not for ten years or so. I had love affairs with The Beatles and Eric Church and Bruce Springsteen and I love them all still very much, but the man, my man, is back.

It’s expected In November that Garth will release his first new material that ships to every store since 2001’s Scarecrow and I’ll be there to get it. I counted down the days until Eric Church’s The Outsiders, I got Springsteen’s High Hopes the day it came out, but I hope I can get some sleep between now and November. Garth can’t come fast enough.

Welcome back, Garth Brooks AKA my favorite artist.

You Can’t Fix Stupid: Man Attempts $10 Million Lawsuit For Falling Asleep At Yankees Game

Ron White said it best when he said that you can’t fix stupid. Stupidity runs rampant when you look at all the different warning labels that now need to be placed on every single item that is ever produced. If you look hard enough I’m sure there’s a TV somewhere that says you can’t eat it and it had to be put there because someone somewhere had to try to take a bite out of their Vizio. That’s the society we live in.

Our society is also lawsuit happy. If you look at someone the wrong way today, you might get served papers. Or if you talk about a fan that was sleeping at a Yankees game, you might get sued for $10 million.

Yep. This fan, Andrew Robert Rector, was sleeping at the April 13th Boston Red Sox – New York Yankees game, ESPN cameras caught him, the announcers did a little verbal jousting, MLB put it up on YouTube and now Rector is suing every damn party involved for $10 million dollars due to an ‘unending verbal crusade’.


I don’t know where to begin. This whole endeavor baffles me to no end. Let’s start here:

Some bozo went to law school and accepted this case. Someone with a degree came to the conclusion that they could beat the powers of ESPN and MLB in court on a case where a guy fell asleep at a baseball game. Good luck, buddy.

Let’s go to the guy that fell asleep. You paid good money, they tell me it’s a lot of money to get into Yankees Stadium, and you fell asleep. That’s on you. You don’t think anyone is going to see that you are asleep? It’s a Yankees game, in the biggest city in the nation, on one of the most watched TV networks, on the biggest night for TV viewing. I’d be more impressed if no one caught you.

Here’s the big problem I have: $10 million.

I get it. People are stupid and will slap you with a lawsuit for stupid things like this, but nobody’s, NOBODY’S, reputation is worth $10 million dollars. I could say the most horrible things about anyone from Miley Cyrus to the President of the United States and neither of them would win a $10 million settlement. No judge would ever allow that.

Andrew Robert Rector, ESPN pointing out your falling asleep did nothing to you. Sure, your friends and your cousins called you and called you a dummy for falling asleep at the Yankees game. Maybe the cute girl in your building saw it and kind of giggled the next time she saw you, maybe, but that’s it.

This chapter in your life did not keep you from getting a job. It did not hinder you from walking down the streets of New York. It did not hinder you from living your life. Frankly, this lawsuit is making your life worse. If you ever apply for a new job, your new potential employer will google your name and it will pop up that you tried to get $10 million from falling asleep at a baseball game.

I’m sorry if this just adds to the ‘unending verbal crusade’, but I think if Ron White was here he’d say something to the effect of… ‘Sue me.’

True Beauty: Two Years After Grandma

Two years ago yesterday I was sitting in the, for the lack of a better word, lobby of a church in Hutchinson. The church was packed with all the lives that the mother of my best friend had touched in her all too short life. She touched so many people that we couldn’t all fit in the sanctuary of the church. That still amazes me to this day.

This was the first funeral I attended in my consciousness. I know I attended my great grandpa’s funeral, but I barely remember him no less do I remember his funeral. I had a good run. I made it through high school, freshly graduated from it, without much death touching me.

I looked it up today. Cherri’s funeral started at 11 A.M. on what was a Thursday two years ago. My life got a bigger shake in a little over 30 hours later.

I don’t remember what I did earlier in the day on June 22, 2012, but I remember everything vividly or not at all from 7:00 until I somehow fell asleep. I remember that this was the first day since graduation 20 days prior that I wasn’t with a different best friend who just happened to be a girl. I was just going to sit at home at watch the Twins game peacefully. I remember not knowing where my parents were, it was seven o’clock and Mom wasn’t even home. It was weird, but I didn’t worry too much.

I remember peeling myself off the couch around 7:10 when I had to get up to answer the ringing phone. I remember the TV displaying the ‘Scouting Report’ of Homer Bailey, the Cincinnati Reds pitcher the Twins were facing that night, when I answered the phone.

The voice on the other end of the line said he was a sheriff or officer or something of whatever county Richmond is in. Instantly, a million things run through your head. He asked me if I was Kurt, my dad, so I knew it wasn’t anything to do with my parents. He then said something to the tune of ‘Come quick. Your grandmother’s not doing well.’

I think the line went dead after that. Maybe I just blacked out with fear. I don’t know. The next thing I remember is shaking like I’ve never shaken before, praying to God that my dad would pick up his cellphone. He answered and had to receive one of the most surreal calls a guy can ever get. I said something like grandma’s not doing well and I had to *69 the house phone to get the number of the county official that had just called, so Dad could truly find out what was going on. He was trying to calm me down while I could barely repeat the phone number I heard.

By the time I got to town, Dad was gone. It’s about an hour drive to our cabin, where Grandma and Grandpa were, but I’m sure Dad was basically pulling into the driveway at the cabin when I got to Buffalo Lake, a ten minute drive. My family was flipping burgers at the bar for the Relay for Life team and looking back I can’t believe how great of a country song could come out of the story that a majority of our family found out that my grandma had passed away while they were at the bar.

Our family eventually ended up at Grandpa and Grandma’s house, all of us just sitting in the living room waiting for my dad and grandpa to arrive. I remember lying on the floor right next to Grandma’s chair like I did when I was little, so like six years prior or maybe even earlier that day.  We sat there for a long time just talking and talking. The next thing I remember is Grandpa and Dad coming through the door. I had a direct view, too. Where I was on the floor had a front row seat to the front door.

My Grandpa was bawling. It’s the appropriate reaction when you lose your wife, but I can’t recall him ever crying like that before. I’ve seen him tear up a million times, he did every time I did something of any sort on a stage, but this was different. These weren’t happy tears of me being Happy the Hound Dog in a grade school Christmas play.

The family eventually departed into our three different branches and one of the brothers stayed to keep Grandpa company through the night. When I got home, I stayed up for hours and I did one thing. I grabbed my acoustic guitar and I played The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ probably 20 times in a row. I’d known it was a beautiful song, but it didn’t hit me until that night how beautiful and to point it was.

I can’t remember much after that. The next day I did the fuel run for the trucks which is a couple hour jaunt around the area filling the refer trailers of Kottke Trucking. I knew I couldn’t stand being alone with my thoughts so my best friend who just happened to be a girl went with me. All I remember from the day is that it took me a half-hour before we completed the run to tell my best friend who just happened to be a girl to put on her sunglasses to help her with the after effects of a solid Stewart Fest Friday night.

Days get twisted up from there. I had to go through a two-day orientation at the University of Minnesota in the next days. Three of us from our high school were carpooling to Minneapolis. One was my best friend who just lost his mother. That had to be a weird car ride for our other friend who hadn’t lost anyone to our knowledge in the last couple of weeks.

I don’t remember orientation. Virtually all I remember is sitting in Coffman Memorial Union calling my mom and asking how things were going on back home. Somewhere during this time I wrote what I read in front of our church during the funeral service. I wonder what those in my orientation group thought of me. I was dragging myself around and only three other people in the city of Minneapolis knew why.

I remember the family visitation at the funeral home. It was a day short of being  a week after her death and I remember thinking that this was probably the longest I had gone without seeing her other than where her and Grandpa went south during the winter. I remember people crying. I remember the funeral home people being way too f**king nice. Just let me mourn for Christ’s sake.

We got out of the funeral home and went over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house again. We all out in the yard, me and my cousins were playing catch in the street because in small town’s life sometimes can resemble what you see in the movies. I remember my Uncle Kory asking me if I wanted a beer and saying, ‘After what we’ve been through, I think you can have one.’

The public visitation sucked. She’d been gone a week, it finally really started to set in that she was gone and I didn’t really want to deal with people. I stood there shaking the hands of people I didn’t know and didn’t care about. I gave hugs to the ones that I actually cared about. I remember trying to find any excuse to get out of the family handshake line. Eventually I did and snuck up to the balcony of our church. I looked down at this church I had spent countless hours in and I prayed. I truly prayed.

I will admit that I am not the most religious man in the world. I’m far from it. I could do a lot better, but in that moment I prayed. I had prayed before, but it never was anything ground breaking. This was hardcore praying.

Hours later I’m back in that same ol’ church. Grandma’s casket is in the back of the church and either mom or dad asked me if I wanted to see Grandma. I hadn’t cried since she died. In the back of that church I realized that I would never see her face again. I didn’t cry. I bawled.

Bawled is an understatement.

I had barely been to a funeral before. Now we were going to burry one of my best friends in the world. This lady and I had spent a lot of time together. I was ‘Buddy’. I was her ‘Buddy’.

We followed that casket into the sanctuary. The congregation sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and I just tried to stop crying. I remember reading whatever I wrote. I remember looking out at the sea of people in the room that’s designed to look like the bottom of a ship. I could have filled that ship up with my tears. I saw faces of loved ones and I powered on, I did what I could do to best memorialize this woman that had given me so much.

I remember getting complimented on my writing after the service. I said thanks, but felt guilty that this kind of thing came so naturally to me. If I know what I’m writing about it doesn’t take me anytime at all to get it to paper. I knew a whole lot about how much my grandma loved me and my family.

I remember watching that casket go in the ground. I remember how six feet looks a whole lot more daunting when you’re over six foot tall so to the bottom of that hole from the top of your head is a twelve foot drop. I remember the feeling of being stabbed in the chest as she was lowered. This was all two years ago.

Time is a weird thing. Some days it feels like it just happened yesterday. Some days it feels like it was a half a lifetime ago. All I know is that my grandma has witnessed a whole lot of life up in heaven instead of down here on earth.

I write this as I sit and play church services on the radio. Grandma was gone before I ever said my first words on the radio. I’m enrolled at the University of River Falls – Wisconsin. She left when I thought that the University of Minnesota was the best place for me to be. My cousin Kaitlyn has a car now. Grandma was driving her and my other cousins to swimming lessons not that long ago.

A few of us were at the cabin where she died yesterday. I stood there and couldn’t help, but think about her. There are flowers everywhere up there, basically an extension of her backyard in Buffalo Lake, but with a lakefront view.

As a family we’ve made a concerted effort to get to the cabin more often than we did before. I don’t think any of us have said why, but I think it’s because we know that’s where she would be if she was still here. She would be here messing with her flowers and making some weird kind of hot dish in the kitchen.

I’d give a lot to hear her say, ‘Hi, Buddy’ once again. I can still hear it perfectly in my mind. I really want to take one of those walks we’d take around Buffalo Lake. I want to talk to the woman that taught me how to ride a bike now that I’ve really grown up.

Two years ago, I was a teenage boy high on life, going off to college and just excited as hell that a girl would actually kiss me. Two years later, I’ve grown up a little bit. Two years from now, I’ll be graduated from college and doing God knows what…

I remember helping my grandma decorate the bar in Cedar Mills for my Uncle Kyle’s wedding reception. Right then I decided I wanted flowers out of my grandma’s garden at my wedding if I ever convinced a nice girl that I was worth dealing with on a daily basis. At the moment I thought Grandma’s flowers were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. I was wrong.

The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is the love that she gave us all. To Buffalo Lake to her flowers to her family. Her love… that’s true beauty.

California Chrome’s Owner Needs To Learn A Lesson In Timing

Timing is everything. Everything from picking the right moment to ask a girl out to hitting traffic during your commute to filing your taxes, timing simply matters. Timing is a lesson that Steve Coburn has apparently never learned.

Coburn is a co-owner of California Chrome, the racehorse that finished fourth in an attempt to complete horse racing’s Triple Crown at the Belmont on Saturday, and took the wrong time to air out his gripes with how horse racing is run or more specifically what horses run when.

Right after California Chrome failed to complete the great feat, Coburn said that it wasn’t fair that his horse had to run against horses that didn’t have the same strenuous schedule.

I thought he (California Chrome) was gaining ground, but he didn’t have anything apparently. He’s been in three big races. These other horses set one out (or both) and it’s not fair for the horses who are in it from Day 1.

It’s all or nothing. It’s not fair to these horses that are running their guts out. This is a cowards’ way out. If you’ve got a horse that earns points that run in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races.

Saturday’s winner, Tonalist, did not run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.

I think Coburn is right, to an extent, but he went about this all wrong. We don’t look too kindly upon poor losers and playing the ‘not fair’ card just moments after losing alienates a lot of people.

Horse racing would benefit greatly if the same horses ran all three of the Triple Crown races. The familiarity draws people in and by the time the Belmont comes around the ordinary Joe would have his own favorite horse running in the race.

I won’t pretend like I know what’s good for horses, I barely know what’s good for humans, but if a horse is physically able to run in all three of the races, they should run all three races. NASCAR wouldn’t have the same pizazz if Jimmie Johnson raced all year to get to the championship and then right when the last race came around somehow Travis Kvapil took it away from him. That isn’t quite fair.

Professional athletes, yes, these horses and jockeys are professional athletes, should never play the ‘fair’ card. For the most part, pros get paid way too much and get things handed to them on a silver platter for anything in their life to not be ‘fair’, especially the owner of a race horse. I think what Coburn was trying to say is that it isn’t right.

Just like it wasn’t right to give these comments right after losing. These comments are valid to a degree, but at a later date. This makes a great 60 Minutes or Outside the Lines report in a couple months from now, not a couple minutes after the race.

The time may have run out too on Coburn’s credibility. Coburn was still hot on the topic on Sunday morning and compared the fresh horses going against California Chrome to him playing basketball against a kid in a wheel chair. There’s never a good time for that analogy.

Six minutes later, you look like a jackass who is a sore loser. Sixty days later, you might come off a little bitter, but at least people might take you seriously. You simply have to pick your spots, because timing is everything.

30th Anniversary Retrospective of Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA

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In preparation for this writing I want it to be known that I did a lot of research. I listened to Born In The USA three times today, twice by CD in my car and once by vinyl at home, which probably is more commonplace than special, but I still call it research.

Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA album turned 30 years old on Wednesday (June 4). Born In The USA is the most successful album of Springsteen’s career going off of sales. It’s a diamond record going over the platinum threshold fifteen times. The album spurred every song he’d release off of it to the top of the charts. Plain and simple, the album made Bruce Springsteen a household name and a real commercial success.

Most hardcore Springsteen fans will tell you that Born In The USA is nowhere near close to being his best album musically or artistically, but after doing my research today I must admit that Born In The USA is more than just an in to the Bruce Springsteen world. Everyone knows the album cover and therefore Bruce’s ass, but everyone also knows about the classic songs.

Born In The USA

If you are ever feeling patriotic this is an easy go to. Being a Springsteen snob, this song sometimes annoys me. The title track wasn’t the biggest single off the album, but it seems that whenever you bring up Springsteen to someone who isn’t big into Springsteen they start belting the chorus.

The interesting thing about the song is that it might not be that patriotic if you actually listen to it. It’s quite a sad song sang to an upbeat musical score. It’s a hidden message of sadness, something that Bruce Springsteen does better than anyone else.

On The Charts: #9

Favorite Line: You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much, till you spend half your life just covering up.

 

Cover Me

When the Minnesota Twins were playing against the Yankees in New York last week, the game went into a rain delay. The grounds crew rain out to cover the field with the tarp and this song started playing over the stadium speakers. For a moment I loved the Yankees or at least the Yankees’ game ops. It was a weird moment.

Covering a baseball diamond is a weirdly perfect presentation of this song. In the song Bruce sings about being desperate for someone to cover him up and just get lost in their love. A baseball diamond needs that too. This desperation is so vivid and strong and is only emphasized by the sound of emergency in the music.

On The Charts: #7

Favorite Line: Turn out the light, bolt the door. I ain’t going out there no more.

 

Darlington County

References to prostitution, women and working. If that’s not enough to suck you in, the fun in the sound should be more than enough. Besides, I’m pretty sure it’s a fact that every song that has a ‘sha la la’ in it has to be loved by the masses. I still don’t know why Wayne disappears for a week, but I’m thinking that it has to do with one of those things that Bruce references. I’d say it’s probably the first one I list, knowing Wayne’s fate.

My favorite line in the song was kind of ruined by the national tragedy that inspired virtually all of Bruce’s 2002 release, The Rising.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: Our pa’s each own one of the World Trade Centers, for a kiss and a smile I’ll give mine all to you.

Favorite Line 2.0: Driving out of Darlington County, seen Wayne handcuffed to the bumper of a state trooper’s Ford.

 

Working On The Highway

A couple years ago some publication, probably Rolling Stone, had a slideshow feature kind of thing on ‘the songs that even Springsteen die hards don’t know’. One of those songs was entitled ‘Child Bride’ which was written for Nebraska or at least during that time period. It probably isn’t as perverted in nature as it could be, but the gist of it is that the girl is underage as is easily guessable. ‘Working On The Highway’ is basically the same exact song just Born In The USA-fied.

Y’know how her daddy says she’s just a little girl and she knows nothing about this cruel, cruel world. Also the narrator was taken in the black and white and the judge put him straight away. It’s because the girl was too young. Bruce points out in ‘Child Bride’ the following, ‘well they said she was too young, she was no younger than I’ve been’, but that doesn’t stand up well in a court of law.

Bruce again hides the story rather well in the happy-go-lucky sound of the song. When listening to ‘Working On The Highway’ perversion doesn’t exactly cross your mind, but it’s there waiting behind the hammering guitar at the end of every line.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say. “Son can’t you see that she’s just a little girl, she don’t know nothing about this cruel, cruel world”

 

Downbound Train

God, I love this song. It’s another one of those really depressing love went wrong and it sucks songs and I absolutely love it. I don’t know what that says about me. I add my love of the song up to my love of The Boss, trains and one line in this song.

The bridge of the song is so vivid that it’s almost scary. Bruce never made a music video for ‘Downbound Train’, but I can see in my mind Bruce running through the forest to this old house that he used to live in. I think that’s what really good songs do for the listener. They provide a vivid movie in your mind that doesn’t need to be supplemented by a music video.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: Now I work down at the carwash where all it ever does is rain.

 

I’m On Fire

The closing song to side one of the album, if you go the vinyl route, and an insanely popular song. Bruce again pens a song desperate for a girl and it kills him not to be with her or at least there is a burning sensation of some sort without her.

It’s such a simplistic song. It’s straight forward which isn’t a thing that Bruce does a whole lot of. The directness of the song almost cuts like the edgy and dull knife he talks about in the song. Plus, the music video to this song is masterful. Bruce Springsteen as a mechanic is basically a picture of the ideal America.

On The Charts: #6

Favorite Line: Tell me now baby is he good to you. Can he do to you the things that I do? I can take you higher.

 

No Surrender

If you want a good song to start side two of a record, I’d say that ‘No Surrender’ is a pretty good choice. The drums in the beginning are awesome and instantly grab your attention for the rest of the ride.

It’s a combination of rebellion and perseverance. The start of busting out of class is a feeling that anyone that has ever had any kind of schooling can relate to. As the song progresses so does the time line, but they aren’t going to give up. They’re not going to surrender.

I hope a high school graduating class used this as their class song somewhere. It’d be perfect for that occasion. Let’s pray some group of Bruceheads got to their class out it New Jersey.

On The Charts: Not released to radio

Favorite Line: We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school.

 

Bobby Jean

It’s widely believed that Springsteen wrote ‘Bobby Jean’ about Steve Van Zandt, who needs no introduction but is Bruce’s right hand man guitarist and co-producer on many albums. Little Stevie was leaving the band at the time and allegedly this was Springsteen’s way of saying goodbye. It was a strong goodbye.

‘Bobby Jean’ is one of those songs that you don’t really understand, or as some would say ‘get’, until you’re a little older. Once a little life happens, you start drifting away from people or people are gone. I think Bruce puts that feeling of someone being gone perfectly in this song.

On The Charts: Not released to radio

Favorite Line: I’m just calling one last time not to change your mind, but just to say I miss you baby, good luck goodbye, Bobby Jean.

 

I’m Goin’ Down

Girls are out there, man. This is probably a well-known fact, but one that men don’t go saying to everyone because, frankly, we don’t want to be slapped. Springsteen illustrates the whole ‘what the hell am I supposed to do, honey’ side of the argument. Maybe what he is supposed to do is the sexual innuendo that is in the title…  Are we supposed to ignore that?

Apparently, people we’re giving Bruce grief that he kept releasing singles off the album with this being his sixth release off of it. There’s an argument to be had there, but if the people want more stuff off of Born In The USA, give them more. Bruce responded by releasing another song off of the album to radio after ‘I’m Goin’ Down’.

On The Charts: #9

Favorite Line: I’m sick and tired of you setting me up. Setting me up just to knock-a knock-a knock-a me down.

 

Glory Days

‘Glory Days’ is the more fun, laid back cousin to ‘No Surrender’. It has that same kind of vibe of ‘we’ll always be together’ type of thing, but yet brutally honest about nostalgia. Bruce points out that nostalgia is fun, but maybe there’s more to life than reliving it. He later admits he does the same, because that is how life works. Life was fun when you drove too fast, drank too much beer and could do things athletically that you can’t do now.

The song is fun for me two years out of high school when you can see this happening a little bit already. I can’t wait until the 40th and 50th anniversary of this album, so I can look back and tell you all how much I love the ‘Glory Days’ and how badass I was. I wasn’t that badass.

PS. Bruce calling a fastball a speedball is one of the most adorable things ever because no one ever called a fastball a speedball until now and that’s because of him.

On The Charts: #5

Favorite Line:  I had a friend was a big baseball player back in high school. He could throw that speedball by you. Make you look like a fool, boy.

 

Dancing In The Dark

I don’t know if ‘dancing in the dark’ is a sexual innuendo because it’s just that obvious. Apparently people love sex, because ‘Dancing In The Dark’ is the highest charting song in Springsteen’s career. There’s more to this song than just sex though. Bruce hides this need for sex a little bit behind his discontent, need for change and depression. It’s virtually a pouring out of his soul that life sucks, but, hey, I can go have some sex and that’s kinda cool.

Also, I’m pretty sure that Springsteen refers to his penis as a ‘gun’ which is awesome and about the ballsiest thing you can do.

On The Charts: #2 (that’s right, Bruce Springsteen has never had a #1 hit)

Favorite Line: You sit around getting older, there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me.

 

My Hometown

Neil Young recently did an album that he recorded in an old-timey recording booth owned by Jack White called A Letter Home. The album features a bunch of covers including one of Springsteen’s ‘My Hometown’. Rolling Stone called ‘My Hometown’ a third-tier single from Springsteen and that Young should have done anything off of Nebraska instead of this song for his acoustic album. Pretty strong words for one of Springsteen’s best charting songs.

‘My Hometown’ has the small town feel to it. I can relate to it coming from a corn field. Well, everything but the racial violence thing which is a weird lyric to include in the song, but that’s beside the point. Stores closing and people getting out are still very prominent to a lot of small towns across this country. That might be the magic behind a lot of Bruce’s music, it’s still relevant 30 years later.

On The Charts: #6

Favorite Line: He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around this is your hometown.

Born In The USA was insanely popular. It’s one of only three albums ever to have seven singles make the top ten on the Hot 100. Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 are the other two.

It’s no Born To Run musically, but I probably have Born In The USA to thank for my getting into Bruce Springsteen. I think all current day Springsteen fans have a lot to thank Born In The USA for. The popularity of this one album fuels a lot of fans to go to Springsteen concerts and let real Tramps enjoy him for a long, long time.

Depression and love are intertwined throughout this album, subtly some ways and other ways not so. Nebraska shows the obvious depression, Born In The USA hides it and laughs it off and Tunnel Of Love shows that love can be found. Bruce Springsteen had a very interesting 1980’s.

I’m going back to my research now. I have only a year and change until the 40th anniversary of Born To Run. More importantly, a year and five months until the 20th anniversary of The Ghost Of Tom Joad. 

MSHSL Screws Over BLHS Two Point Ohhhh

For once in my life I felt like Craig Ferguson this morning. I woke up to a tweet and emails telling me that Buffalo Lake – Hector – Stewart was moving to 9-Man in a couple years. This move does explain why the Mustangs were placed in the district that they were. It even crossed my mind that Renville County West was 9-Man but I assumed their rise and not the fall of my beloved high school. Despite me getting it wrong, in my previous posting, the Minnesota State High School League still got their districting wrong.

In 9-Man football in the state of Minnesota there are the guys way up north and there are the guys that are so close to Iowa that sometimes you have to pray for them not to be swallowed up by the children of the lot of corn. It doesn’t take a geography major, or maybe it does, to tell you that BLHS and RCW are a lot closer to Iowa than to Canada.

The Mustangs shouldn’t be taking on Hancock or Underwood for the homecoming game, but Fulda or Nicollet or Madelia. Welcome to the South District.

The West District currently has 21 teams with all but four of them being south of Mankato and Rochester. West Lutheran High School is in the north suburbs (they get screwed over wherever they get placed), Randolph High School is just south of the Minnesota concrete jungle and there is Cleveland and Nicollet which are virtually just north of Mankato.

The two teams based around the Twin Cities screw up the natural split of the district. There is an obvious east and west division coming with one going from Albert Lea/Austin to La Crosse and the other from Mankato to Sioux Falls. BLHS, RCW and possibly MACCRAY should all be in the Mankato to Sioux Falls subdistrict.

In the last post I pointed out that Rothsay is the furthest away in the obvious subdistrict being 164 miles from Hector. The longest travel in the subdivision the Mustangs would be in the South is 150 miles to Hills-Beaver Creek. Hills – Beaver Creek is by far the team that is the furthest away and is still closer than Rothsay.

Like I mentioned earlier, the two schools that are in the Cities makes the split a lot tougher to find for a subdistrict, but a common BLHS football schedule would be: Cleveland, Nicollet, Madelia, Granada – Hutley – East Chain/Truman, Mountain Lake Area and then a combination of the Cities schools and Westbrook – Walnut Grove and Fulda, the hometown of Patrick Reusse.

It’s becoming clear that BLHS was placed in their new district based on enrollment more than anything. BLHS has the fourth highest enrollment in their West District, but would be number one in the South according to the State High School League’s numbers.

Not by much though, Mountain Lake Area claims 140 for their enrollment while BLHS sports 147. A handful of other teams are in the high 130’s and 120’s.

It is 147 miles from Hector to Austin. It is 139 miles from Hector to Brainerd. The problem in those eight miles is that BLHS fans should never have to travel to Austin with the subdistircts, but BLHS will be traveling consistently to the Brainerd area

The South District simply makes a lot more sense for BLHS and RCW. We’d much rather play the Iowa Hawkeyes than the Winnipeg Blue Bombers… Mainly because the Hawkeyes are a college team and the Blue Bombers are a Canadian pro team, but that’s beside the point. They are weird up there. Haven’t you seen Fargo?

Here’s the map of the Mustangs’ new West District.

Here’s the map of where they should be playing in the South District.

MSHSL’s New Districts For Football Does No Favors For BLHS

UPDATE: Sources tell me that BLHS will be switching to nine-man football in two years, so in reflection of that this plan does some sense sense. It still does a screw job on BLHS and RCW, though.We’ll explore that in a new post coming quite soon.

Hey, Buffalo Lake – Hector –Stewart football fans, are you ready for 2015 Homecoming against Hancock High School? How about 2016 against Underwood High School? How do you feel about traveling just went of Brainerd to see your son play under those Friday night lights? Well, you better like it because that is what a 10 person committee under the direction of the Minnesota State High School League has just assigned the BLHS football team to do.

On Monday, it was announced by the High School League that they have adopted ‘District Football’ scheduling for 2015 and beyond. The claim is that this is to help some smaller schools in the state that were having trouble filling out an eight game football schedule every year. The High School League puts it on the small town schools, but what they did to BLHS makes it seem like it was so that Eden Prairie doesn’t have to fly to Winnipeg, Canada to play another team.

The High School League divided the state up into 18 districts taking into account the size of the school and apparently location. The Mustangs were put in the West District with 26 other teams in the state. The kicker of it is that along with the Mustangs, Renville County West and MACCRAY are the only teams in the district that are south of St. Cloud.

The districts are tasked with breaking into subdivisions, assuming that the district will break into south and north divisions, BLHS will have the following teams to play during the regular season: Renville County West, MACCRAY, Hancock, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Wheaton Hermann Norcross, Brandon-Evansville, Ashby, Bertha-Hewitt, Verndale, Underwood, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Rothsay.

If BLHS and Rothsay were to play, one team would have to travel 164 miles one way. By the time the bus departs after a football game the visiting team would probably not arrive home until around 2 AM.

On the Minnesota State High School League’s website it says the following on its post about the districting process, “More than 90 percent of the schools’ requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.”

BLHS didn’t play a single team in their new district in 2013.

The High School League did this in an attempt to even out the playing field, but it really does screw over a little team like BLHS. Gone are the rivalries with Cedar Mountain/Comfrey, New Ulm Cathedral, Sleepy Eye Public and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and instead the biggest in-season rival now for the Mustangs will be RCW.

All those now soon-to-be former rivals of BLHS are in the same Southwest district, a district that barely reaches south of Mankato instead of reaching all the way up to Thief River Falls, a district that would be perfect and really the same as what BLHS currently has.

The bright side for BLHS is that in the district placement, they are one of the big dogs enrollment wise. BLHS will be the fourth biggest school enrollment wise in the West district, where they’d be 12th out of 19 if magically placed in the Southwest.

When undergoing a big task like this someone is always going to get hurt. It just happens to be that a couple farm schools down on 212 didn’t quite grab the attention of the districting squad. It just seems wrong that the country boys have a better chance of playing a team on the Iron Range than taking on the kids on the other side of the corn field.

For more on the Minnesota State High School League’s new district program for football click here.(you may need to click on District Football at the top to stop it from scrolling)

To see a map of where all schools in the new district for BLHS are click here.

The Minnesota Sports Attitude Has To Stop

The infamous weeping blondes. Picture via: http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/900*619/7patr1221.jpg

The infamous weeping blondes. Picture via: http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/900*619/7patr1221.jpg

David Ortiz taunted us. Not even on the baseball diamond or even about baseball. Big Papi taunted the Minnesota sports fan about basketball on Twitter. The former Twins first baseman/DH turned Boston Red Sox DH took time out of his feud with Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price to troll the seemingly helpless Minnesotan. Oh, how far we have fallen.

As we open up June in the state of Minnesota, a couple storylines run wild amongst the rubes: how horrible Joe Mauer looks and what in the world is going to happen to Kevin Love. The faces of the Target Plaza franchises are currently the talking points and points that aren’t exactly good for them personally or for their current franchise.

It’s been ten years since the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the NBA Playoffs. Never say never, but it will more than likely be a four or five year absence before the Minnesota Twins return to play in the MLB playoffs. Hell, the Vikings look to be in a rebuilding year, so we might as well throw that in here, too. This is our outlook. Our very Minnesotan piss poor outlook.

We ignore the Golden Gophers winning the NIT tournament despite it being Richard Pitino’s first year as coach. We ignore Jerry Kill getting the Gophers back to bowl games and building back up what Tim Brewster tore to the ground. We ignore the fact that the Minnesota Wild won a playoff series, their first in ten years. We ignore the Minnesota Lynx who have been to the WNBA Finals three years in a row, won two of them if you hadn’t noticed, and are the only undefeated team in the association in 2014. Snap out of this crappy attitude people.

It’s sports. The ball won’t always bounce your way if we want to be cliché, but there’s no reason to have this poor, poor pitiful me attitude about the sports teams in this state. Success ebbs and flows. Not that long ago, the Twins were winning division championships, the Timberwolves were making the playoffs every year and the Vikings had a boatload… of talent.

The Wild will win a Stanley Cup sooner than later, they are way too young and talented not to. The Twins have Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and a field of dreams of prospects coming up the pipeline that we lead this team to the playoffs again. Give it a couple years of fermentation and a couple years of Aaron Rodgers getting older, the Vikings will probably see the top of the NFC North soon enough. If the Timberwolves pull off the Kevin Love trade right, they should be setting themselves up for success sooner than later as well.

Has it been a longer valley of defeat than most, God, I hope so, but let’s stop being an easy stomping ground for Big Papi slam tweets. It’s hard to imagine, but maybe one day the Twin Cities can steal the hashtag Ortiz used and claim themselves to be: #CitiesofChampions.

Postcards From The Past: Greetings From Buffalo Lake, Minn

As I get older, I get more interested in the history that came before me. This might be because I now have a little bit of history to share with the world myself or maybe I’m just becoming more curious in things that actually matter instead of the typical teenage and twenty-something drama.

Recently, I went down one of those endless rabbit-holes the internet provides. The severe weather warning sirens had gone off in my dorm, that brought about me telling my roommate about the Buffalo Lake tornado and I couldn’t remember what year it was, so naturally I googled it. I found the date and read about an hour’s worth of material despite living through the darn thing 11 years ago.

My search for the tornado lead me to Google Images which brought me to generically searching for images of Buffalo Lake. This first actual picture that is seen is a shot of Main Street from 1908. I’ve seen this picture multiple times, but never investigated more. Eventually, I landed on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website and multiple images of my hometown that I had never seen.

Instantly an image jumped out to me. A lovely postcard illustration of what Buffalo Lake, the actual lake, used to look like. The Minnesota Historical Society says that the postcard is from the 1940’s, but Buffalo Lake’s official website says that Renville County drained the 40-acre lake sometime in the 1920’s to provide more acreage for farmers.

BL2

It took my interest because I instantly knew where this was. I haven driven by that location a thousand times, but my whole life it’s been a field. Sometimes during a wet spring, it has looked like a lake, but by my Google Earth approximation this is where the illustrator was standing all those years ago.

currentday

I don’t know how embellished this drawing is. I find it hard to believe that we had well-manicured flowers right along the roadway and that the shoreline was that perfect, but maybe our work ethic has fallen off that much even here in the hardworking Midwest.

My formula has the hill that you see on the left hand side of the postcard being where the cemetery on County Road 8 is currently. The hill across the lake is now the trees that are located across the field. County 8, the road that leads back home, has been straightened out over the years it seems.

A second postcard popped up. All I can figure is that this had to be from a little further north than the initial one.

postcard

I love my hometown. I still believe it’s one of the most beautiful little towns that I’ve ever set foot in, but in her younger days, oh boy, she sure was pretty.