Sunday, August 29, 2004

Kerry Volunteered And Served, Bush Did Not

A link sent from Chris at Incoming Signals, former lieutenant governor of Texas Ben Barnes on George W. Bush:

"I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was lieutenant governor of Texas and I'm not neccessarily proud of that ... But I did it ... I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that's what people should do when you're in office, you helped a lot of rich people.

"And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam and I became more ashamed of myself that I'd ever been because the worst thing I did was kept a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names and importance get into the National Guard, and I'm very sorry of that and I'm very ashamed and I apologize to you voters of Texas."

Saturday, August 28, 2004

It's Like A Nightmare, Isn't It? It Just Keeps Getting Worse And Worse, Doesn't It?

I had one of the crappiest mornings of my accounting career yesterday. I drove home in a fury with Zeppelin's "The Wanton Song" playing over and over. I got back to my apartment around noon, pounded a couple of Schlitzes and sat here steaming and fuming away.

Then I proceeded to watch Argentina defeat the US in basketball. By this time, I was so pissed off that my mind was pure black. I can't describe it any other way. It was the only time that the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" has ever made complete and utter sense to me.

I'm not used to dealing with people in my work. I'm generally left alone to do my work, which means I rarely sit in meetings and even rarer is my competence questioned. It's situations like yesterday's that make me daydream about telling my clients that I'll only do my work via email, Web, and phone calls. Then I'd outsource Street Accounting (collecting a healthy franchise fee and ongoing commission, of course) to India with instructions on how to be Bill Tuomala. I kept imaging some Indian dude speaking on the phone, trying to do a North Dakotan accent:

Hello Spunk Studio! How are you today? I will have your cash flow report done by this afternoon and will email it to you then. This winter weather is nothing compared to my days in Grand Forks. That new Westerberg album rules. One of these days I'll swing by with a twelver of Heineken keg cans for you guys. Go Fighting Sioux! Talk to you later!

Anyway ... congratulations to the United States men's basketball team on winning the bronze medal today. A few thoughts:

- I was one of the five people in this country cheering for them. It baffles me that so many Americans take so much glee when our basketball team loses. Jason Whitlock at's Page 2 addresses something that has been creeping me out about the US basketball haters - the borderline racism that could be involved in cheering against this team.

- The US basketball team was blatantly screwed out of a gold medal in 1972, when the Soviet Union team was given three chances to score the winning basket. For this reason alone, Americans should always cheer for the US to win Olympic basketball gold.

- Doug Collins on NBC today stressed that no one is to blame for the poor shooting of the US team. He's right, but c'mon we gotta point fingers! I like the take of Pardon The Interruption's Michael Wilbon - blame Stu Jackson. As Ira Winderman writes in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Instead of building the best team, USA Basketball (a de facto pseudonym for NBA management), settled for the best available players. What it wound up with was a team long on athleticism and short on compatibility.

Think of it as the NFL selecting its version of an Olympic team by ranking its players from best to worst and then selecting those at the top of the list. While a roster of Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Tom Brady, Steve McNair, Brett Favre and Trent Green might titillate, who exactly is going tackle, catch passes, block?

Such was the approach taken by the USA Basketball selection committee, a star-gazing group headed by NBA Vice President Stu Jackson that seemingly was blind to the realities of international basketball.

- I shold mock Spain's coach as a crybaby loser because he went after Larry Brown after their quarterfinal loss, and Brown is one of the classiest guys in sports. But I take comfort in the fact that Spain continues to be one of those wannabe basketball powers that has not caught up to the USA in the sport that we invented.

- Speaking of Larry Brown, I hope he also gets to coach the 2008 Olympic team with a squad that is put together Herb Brooks/1980 style. (Sorry to mix my sports comparisions.) Forget selling jerseys, get some shooters on the team, and let the USA take over basketball once again.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Olson Memorial Highway Forever

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota wants to rename Highway 55 – the Floyd B. Olson Memorial Highway – in honor of the late President Ronald Reagan.

Uh, no.

1) Floyd B. Olson was the most popular governor this state has ever had. Why do you think a (pre-interstate) major highway was named after him? Not only did he give Minnesotans hope through the Great Depression, but according to this website he accomplished the following:

Many of his political goals were passed despite hostility from a conservative legislature throughout much of his tenure, such as public unemployment insurance, hours and wages bills for women and state highway employees, a mortgage moratorium on farms, a progressive state income tax to relieve tax pressures on property, old age pensions, and the expansion of state environmental conservation programs and the state forest system. He also became well-revered for his restraint and refusal to use state troops to crush strikes in Minneapolis and Austin, the behavioral norm for the era.

2) Not only did Olson help the state of Minnesota, he himself was a Minnesotan. Ronald Reagan wasn't. And like I said, Olson was the most popular governor this state has had. Reagan failed to win this state in either of his presidential elections. History suggests that Olson stay as the Highway 55 patron saint. Although my pal Chuck pointed out that Reagan was a great liberator, because: "Reagan liberated so many Minnesotans from jobs during his first term."

3) Wouldn't renaming the highway, commissioning artists to sculpt up Ronnie, paying laborers to tear statues down (hey – great photo-op! you've liberated Minnesota from a state icon!), and the like, ummm, COST TAXPAYERS MONEY? Shouldn't the Taxpayers League be trying to find ways so that they and their fellow oppressed taxpayers can, you know, pay less taxes?

4) Olson "represents the failed path of socialism?" Oh sure, throw around the pinko card to dismiss a great Minnesotan. I'll say it again: He was the most popular governor this state has ever had. Minnesotans loved him. The Great Depression represented the failed path of the free market and it took a man like Olson to help Minnesota through that dark time. (Oh, and by the way, a similar "socialist" movement in North Dakota resulted in a state-owned mill and bank that still exist to this day.) On a national scale, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Olson-like leader.

5) And it's Roosevelt that the conservatives want to replace on the dime with Reagan. Let's not diminish Minnesotan or American icons like Highway 55 or the dime by substituting a poor president like Reagan, whose only Cold War victory was in that courageous victory in Grenada.

Long live FDR and Floyd B. Olson.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Poster Offensive

Spunk Studio has an archive up of the posters from the first Poster Offensive show, which took place last February.

The second show will take place September 24-26, 2004 at the Frank Stone Gallery.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Black Hawk Veterans For Truth

From the World Book encyclopedia on my Mac:


By late 1831, the federal government had moved most of the Sauk and Fox Indians from Illinois to Iowa. In the spring of 1832, Chief Black Hawk led a band of several hundred Indians back across the Mississippi River to try to regain their lands near Rock Island. The governor called out the militia, and Abraham Lincoln volunteered for service.

Lincoln's company consisted of men from the New Salem area. The men promptly elected him captain. This was only nine months after he had settled in the village. Even after he had been nominated for president, Lincoln said this honor "gave me more pleasure than any I have had since." It provided the first significant indication of his gift for leadership. Lincoln's comrades liked his friendliness, his honesty, and his skill at storytelling. They also admired his great strength and his sportsmanship in wrestling matches and other contests.

Lincoln's term of service ended after 30 days, but he reenlisted, this time as a private. A month later, he enlisted again. He served a total of 90 days, but saw no fighting. He later described his militia experiences as "bloody struggles with the musquetoes" and "charges upon the wild onions."

Who is this Lincoln guy and what ever qualified him to be commander-in-chief? You can just see that he's planning a future in politics ... how else aside from campaigning did he get elected captain of his company when he had lived in the area less than a year?

He only served in this war for ninety days! Then he dismissed the whole war as an effort against insects and vegetables! Lincoln - unfit for command?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Stuff I Enjoyed Reading Today

It's not top-notch Onion material, but it takes place in Grand Forks.

Former Pioneer Press sportswriter Jim Caple is oh-so-right about the joys of watching women's beach volleyball.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Offensive Poster? No, Poster Offensive!

Paul Demko has a write-up in this week's City Pages about my pal Def Jeff's poster not being printed in the Strib as a paid advertisement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Email Received Tonight From Jim Walsh


You’re receiving this email because of your interest and/or participation in last year’s Wellstone World Music Day. That day brought together hundreds of musicians of all stripes in over 70 venues in 20 cities across the United States. Many folks have suggested there be a second such celebration, so plans are now afoot for Wellstone World Music Weekend, to take place Saturday and Sunday, October 23rd and 24th,  the thinking being that Saturday will be a big day for bars, clubs, and theaters, and Sunday a natural fit for, but not limited to, churches.

Monday the 25th will be the second anniversary of the plane crash that killed the Wellstones and friends, and eight days before the presidential election.

As with last year’s festivities, Wellstone World Music Weekend is a grass-roots effort in which any and all sorts of musical expressions make sense. To quote the organizing email from last year: “We’re going to start something right here, right now, and we’re going to call it Paul and Sheila Wellstone World Music Day. On that day, every piece of music, from orchestras to shower singers, superstars to buskers, will be an expression of that loss and a celebration of that life. It will be one day, where music—which, to my way of thinking, is still the best way to fill in the gray areas that the blacks and whites of everyday life leave us with—rises up in all sorts of clubs, cars, concerts, and living rooms, all in the name of peace and love and joy and all that good stuff that gets snickered at by Them.

“Now. This is no corporate flim-flam or media boondoggle. This is me talking to you, and you and I deciding to do something about the place we live in when it feels like all the exits are blocked. So: First of all, clip or forward this to anyone you know who still cares about grass roots, community, music, reading, writing, love, the world, and how the world sees America. If you’ve got a blog or web site, post it.

“If you’re a musician, book a gig now. Tell them you want it to be advertised as part of Paul and Sheila Wellstone World Music (Weekend). If you’re a shower singer, lift your voice that day and tell yourself the same thing. If you’re a club owner, promoter, or scene fiend, put together a multi-act benefit for Wellstone Action! ( If you’re a newspaper person, tell your readers. If you’re a radio person, tell your listeners. Everybody talk about what you remember about Wellstone, what he tried to do, what you plan to do for Wellstone World Music (Weekend).”

There are no official organizers for Wellstone World Music Weekend, though the web site ( will be up and running soon to chronicle news, chart events, and help people hook up with each other.

All the best,
Jim Walsh

Monday, August 16, 2004

If It Looks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck ...

Harkin calls Cheney a coward. Give 'em hell, Tom!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

My Life's Work Complete

If you google the first word of "Wooly Bully", Rocks Off has the #1 and #2 results.

Here's to little victories!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

August 14th

Today is the 20th anniversary of my turning legal drinking age in the state of Minnesota. I celebrated the event in 1984 by helping my sister move to Devils Lake, North Dakota. That night I had an allergy attack and one of my eyelids swelled shut.

First beer had in a bar: Schmidt longneck at the Hotel Shoreham, near Detroit Lakes. (Bought by my pal Perry Eidem and his then-fiance-now-wife Mardi.)

First off-sale purchased. Twelve-pack of Meisterbrau cans, for my Mom, at the Vergas Municipal Liquor Store. It was four dollars even, tax included. The mean chick who worked there (we called her "The Dragon Lady") scoffed at my prescence, carded me, and exclaimed: "You just turned!" The law's the law, honey.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Help Me! I'm Trapped In A Self-Contained Hipster Universe!

Quick question for all y'all: Did my Michael Jordan mini-memoir come off as: 1) an aimless personal story, or 2) an insecure, half-assed grad school essay?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hey Terry Ryan:

You blew it by not trading for Kris Benson from the Pittsburgh Pirates. You would have had to give up Jason Kubel? Big freakin' deal!

We could have received the husband of Anna Benson!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Art Doesn't Exist In A Vacuum

From last Saturday's Strib:

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he's "heartbroken" that Bruce Springsteen is planning to rock against President Bush.

Opening his weekly radio show Friday with "Born to Run," the 43-year-old Pawlenty called Springsteen one of his musical idols. "I really appreciate his music, but I wish he wouldn't interject his music with politics," said Pawlenty, who co-chairs Bush's campaign in Minnesota.

Springsteen and REM will perform Oct. 5 at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center as part of a series of concerts staged in nine swing states across the country to oppose Bush's reelection.

"I'm going to have to miss this one," Pawlenty said.

1) "(Not) interject his music with politics ..." Then, Governor, why is okay for you to have bands play at your inaugural? Why is it okay for you to interject pop culture references into your political speech? If Springsteen rocked for Bush, would you feel the same way?

2) Governor: Ten years ago Springsteen released an album titled The Ghost of Tom Joad. Um, it's The Grapes Of Wrath, get it? "The Grapes of Wrath is a landmark of American literature, one that captures the horrors of the Great Depression as it probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America." John Steinbeck? Oh, never mind.

3) On a totally unrelated note, I have it on good word that Governor Pawlenty was once visiting a local business that has the word "loco" in its name. "Loco?" The governor asked, "Do you use that because it's a local business?" Way to chase that Hispanic vote Timmy!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Mystery Solved

Saint Paul over at Fraters Libertas has figured out the "Wooly Bully" mystery that I wrote about on August 2nd.

Awesome, totally awesome!

(And yes, that was just a case of me blogging him blogging me.)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

All The Boys Walk By, Dressed Up For Each Other

The unsettling thought has occurred to me that when I go out, I subconsciously dress to appeal to men.

Case in point - last night I went to the Hold Steady show at First Avenue. I dressed simply in black Chucks, Levis, and a Winnipeg Jets teeshirt. As I made my way through the balcony bar, some dude stopped me and said: "Great shirt! Winnipeg Jets! Love it!" I slapped him on the back, thanked him, and made my way on.

Thirty feet away, I could still hear him telling his friends: "WINNIPEG JETS! YOU GOTTA LOVE IT! HE HAD A FREAKIN' WINNIPEG JETS SHIRT ON!!"

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Bloggers Are A Big Story This Year -- Possibly Because There Is No Other News ...

"I'm blogging him blogging you!"
My Favorite Album Covers From The Seventies

Cheap Trick - In Color
Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle
Mott the Hoople - Mott
Iggy & the Stooges - Metallic K.O.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - You're Gonna Get It!
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Deep Purple - Machine Head
Black Sabbath - Vol. 4
The J. Geils Band - Full House
Emmylou Harris - Luxury Liner
Blue Oyster Cult - Agents of Fortune

1) The Cheap Trick one is best appreciated if you see the back cover also.

2) Mott and Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited are my all-time faves. I have both of 'em framed on my living room walls.

3) "Metallic K.O. ... with a picture of me on the front of it, knocked out cold." - Iggy Pop in his autobiography, I Need More

4) AC/DC paid homage by Alison Kraus.

5) Sabbath paid homage by me.

6) Geils ... that ain't a full house! But I love those cards. (I mean the band, not that hand.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Couldn't Have Said It Any Better Myself

My friend Chad Hagen once said this about National Night Out: "I'll celebrate it with the doors locked, the shades drawn, and a shotgun in my lap."

Monday, August 02, 2004

I Believe Spicoli Said: "Ahhhh, I Know That Tune!"

I'm getting mucho hits on my site from people typing "first word of wooly bully" into search engines. If anybody knows what's up with this sudden world-wide curiousity about the nonsensical (I assume, though nonsensical don't mean bad in my book) lyrics all-time great rock 'n' roll song, please comment or email me. Thanks!

(And the first word is "uno" ... right?)

Update: The mystery has been solved. It's a clue in a crossword puzzle. See my August 7th post, or click here.