Thursday, June 26, 2008

Split Personality?

There's a guy that works out at my YMCA who wears a University of North Dakota teeshirt and University of Minnesota sweatpants.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ziskey Rates The Russians: "They're Pussies!"

Just caught the end of Caddyshack on VH1! Classic Harold Ramis - slacker underdog defies authority and wins some sort of victory amid a huge spectacle towards the movie's end. In this case, Danny Noonan chooses his mentor Ty Webb over the certain college scholarship that Judge Smails would provide, then Carl Spackler blows up the golf course and guarantees a Webb/Noonan win.

In Animal House, the victory was the spectacle: The Deltas brazenly ruined the Dean/Mayor propaganda/homecoming parade on Main Street.

In Stripes, John Winger and Russell Ziskey saved their comrades and routed Soviet troops though at film's end Winger made his peace with the mean authority figure. (Captain Stillman turned out to be the one deserving of comeuppance.)

Then there's Ghostbusters, Back To School ... and how did Meatballs end again? All I remember is the slacker mantra of "It Just Doesn't Matter!"

Update: Ramis was born in 1944 and hence is not a self-absorbed baby boomer. So instead of writing swill like The Big Chill, he taught a (my) generation how to slack and how to regard authority with high caution. This makes me appreciate his work all the more.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Gopher Perennial AHL All-Star

The Breck Girl recently signed with the Boston Bruins. This means he will join Phil Kessel on that squad - they were both part of the highly-rated Gopher freshman class of 2005-06. You know, the one that ultimately didn't perform as well as North Dakota's, but for a Sioux fan to compare the classes early in the season was blasphemy to Gopher fans. Apparently the Bruins have a need for physically soft forwards who don't play defense. This also means that Wheeler and Kessel will be a stone's throw away from Worcester, home of Holy Cross, an opponent that will always define their college careers. Think they'll go check out some Crusaders games?

(The Holy Cross link provides video along with CLASSIC Holy Cross college radio audio! Priceless!)
Geez Louise

Colin Convert in Friday's Strib on the Get Smart movie:

It revives the old TV franchise with the same slapstick derring-do and lightweight comedy that tickled audiences in the waning days of the Cold War.

Get Smart aired throughout the last half of the sixties, meaning it ended about twenty years before the Cold War was over. That ain't the "waning days."

Friday, June 20, 2008


I noticed today that all the work being done on Lake Street has resulted in something I wasn't expecting: An oh-so-beautiful left-turn lane on Lyndale north and south at the Lake intersection! I've been driving here long enough where I know which lane to be in on Lyndale between 36th Street South and Franklin to avoid getting stuck behind someone attempting a turn. (And I go both ways: I have it down pat while driving north or south.) But an actual left turn lane on Lyndale and Lake? I have never been more thrilled in a mundane drive home from running errands.

Now if we could just get those losers leaving the Wedge parking lot to quit exiting onto Lyndale. I have yet to yield to one of 'em, and I plan on going undefeated.

We Were Not Subjected To Such Punishment With The Wire

An email that the Common Man just read, regarding Journey's "Don't Stop Believing.":

This song is as played out as Steve Perry is ugly. Whenever this song is played on a jukebox, it's a like a time out being called from having fun.
Pawlenty For VP?

I shudder when I think of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, on the short list in John McCain's "veepstakes", being a heartbeat away from the presidency. How can you take seriously a governor who takes his barking orders from someone named "Grover"? T-Paw (he is actually called this - how white can one man be?) as VP would leave Carol Molnau as governor of Minnesota. Given her record as head of MN-DOT, we'd be in for a heap of trouble here in Minnesota. (Oh wait, there hasn't been a bridge closing this week ... yet.) (Not to mention the McCain presidency - yeah THAT guy can get the economy going again.)

And over at The Minnesota Independent, I saw this picture of Governor Timmy that made me take pause. He probably had to wear it after he chose the Gophers over the Sioux in a bet with the governor of North Dakota. No doubt it was a big game, you don't bet about wearing a rival's jersey on some game in January. Hmmm ... Sioux vs. Gophers in big games during the Pawlenty administration ... 2005 Frozen Four Semifinals and 2007 Western Regional Finals - in both games the lower-seeded Sioux won (and 2005 was a spanking). So this brings up a question about Pawlenty's supposed working-class credentials ... I thought this guy actually knew something about hockey? Give him props for making the bet, but hey - he was just a mark to the governor of North Dakota.

And Minnesota Republican hockey fans are no doubt very thankful that Pawlenty didn't bet with Massachusetts governor (and also current GOP VP hopeful) Mitt Romney a couple years back on that Minnesota vs. Holy Cross game. The shame of the Gophers pulling off the perfect choke job was enough - why dirty a whiteboy with national ambitions who "knows" something about hockey?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Love TV

The ABC Family Channel recently added an HD channel to my Comcast lineup. So the other night while channel surfing I saw that an underappreciated sitcom, Grounded For Life, is now being shown on this channel (alas, not in HD, but the Family Channel is mostly overlooked while surfing the regular cable tier.) I liked this show a lot when it was originally aired but wasn't a religious viewer. Problem was as I recall is that it: Aired on Friday nights (aka a college hockey night), was bounced around on the schedule, and was dropped by Fox but then picked up by one of those second-tier networks like UPN or WB. The show was well cast. Consider that the Dad was played by the talented Donal Logue, and that his brother was played by Kevin Corrigan - who has merely appeared in both Goodfellas and Superbad.

Corrigan's character is my fave on the show. Consider this line of dialouge, when his character and his brother have had strippers in their bar and he's arguing to continue featuring the dancers despite the neighborhood protests:

"It brings out the First Amendment freaks, and they're big tippers."

I'm always looking for syndicated sitcoms to aid my syndicated sitcom addiction and finding Grounded For Life on cable is aces. (Yeah, I could Netflix 'em, but I'm a big fan of reruns on TV.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Else Was Saying: "Cinderella Story, Out Of Nowhere ..."
Ironically, "Rocco" Is One Of The Guys Al Czervik Asks To Help The Judge Find His Checkbook

I've been working at home on Mondays for about ten years now. Not only is it a great way to avoid Manic Mondays - well they can still get manic but it's easier to deal with it when working alone - but when the U.S. Open goes to a playoff, I can easily schedule my work around checking out the golf. And today by the time Tiger and Rocco were finishing up the 15th, I dropped everything and planted myself in front of the TV for the drama. (Have I mentioned how awesome sports look on HD?)

About ninety minutes later, Tiger Woods had won his fourteenth major. I wasn't really cheering for (or more correctly, against) either guy. Rocco Mediate seems like a sweetheart of a guy, is a fellow forty-something, and I just love saying "Rocco Mediate." Tiger is an awesome historic sports figure with ice water in his veins in the majors. Plus it turns out that they are good friends. Whoever won, I knew I could say I had witnessed one of the great major finishes of all time.

So yes, yet another case for self-employment: You can watch sports on TV in the afternoon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Didn't I Catch On To This Earlier?

I have been openly campaigning to be Barack Obama's VP candidate for a year or four ("Obama/Tuomala" You gotta love it and you will once you say it aloud.) I should have ripped Hillary "Nixon In A Pantsuit" Clinton earlier for downing a shot of Crown Royal while cynically (hey Tuomala: it's the Clintons, "cynically" always applies) campaigning in Pennsylvania weeks back:

Crown Royal, Senator Clinton? It's Canadian whisky! Meaning it's not AMERICAN. Meaning it's blended: lighter and smoother (Wikipedia says so) than the tough-guy bourbons and ryes that real Americans drink. Plus it has a royalist name ... Crown Royal? Obviously your drinking that royalist-named shot was a nod to the fact that you and your husband consider yourself American royalty who deserve another term on the throne.

I'm Bill Tuomala, a real American. And tonight I drank straight rye whiskey from Kentucky, USA. Old Overholt and myself approved this message.

(BTW, it was an online buddy of mine who came up with the "Nixon In A Pantsuit" tag, I've only been repeating it incessantly.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Best Band East Of The Mississipi, 1984-1988

It was on ESPN Friday afternoon that I first heard that Oakland Raiders rookie running back Darren McFadden's nickname is "Run-DMC." I now hope he ends up on my fantasy team next fall!
He Will Be Missed

Earl Root passed away a couple of weeks ago. I didn't know the man but dug his now-defunct record store. And his metal show, "The Root of All Evil", is the best post-barclose radio show around. Every year - generally in the winter - I go through a "Root of All Evil" phase and tune in late Saturday night (actually Sunday morning) with a nightcap or two and get my metal kicks out the riffage and the laughs of the hosts. Hopefully the show will carry on.

Pete Scholtes has a nice recap of Earl's memorial service. RIP, Earl Root.
Encore Love Of Drinking Channel?

Factotum showed up on the Encore Love channel (huh?) Friday night and I caught the last half. I rented this a year or two ago and dug it. Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, and Marisa Tomei all have solid performances. There ain't much for plot, but between appreciating Dillon (both as actor and reading Bukowski passages as narration) and looking for Twin Cities bars (it was filmed here) it made for good viewing. The movie ends with Dillon reading Bukowski on being a writer:

It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.

But as I looked up those words last night, it dawned on me: Was Bukowski really writing about drinking?
Staples, Not Motley

If you've ever wondered how the process of the FDIC taking over a failing bank works, read this article from the Wall Street Journal about the FDIC taking over a bank in Staples, Minnesota. (It was in the Strib on Friday.) I had never thought about all the secrecy it takes to get dozens of feds into a small town quickly enough to prevent a bank run. Fascinating stuff.
And Thank Goodness These Races Only Take A Few Minutes

I'm not much for watching horse racing, but did check out today's Belmont Stakes. I was sitting in the living room reading and when it came close to race time I turned on the TV. The hype got to me. And hey, it was in HD - horses look real purty in HD. And okay, I had watched the Preakness for identical reasons.

I'm not much into taunting animals, but couldn't resist yelling "overrated!" a few times at Big Brown after the race. Just glad I'm not a gambling man.
RIP To A Founding Father Of Rock 'n' Roll

The New York Times said it best:

Bo Diddley, a singer and guitarist who invented his own name, his own guitars, his own beat and, with a handful of other musical pioneers, rock ’n’ roll itself.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Real Thing

Finally working on some writing tonight, dunno if the recent creative drought was due to the distraction of all the NBA, NHL, and Twins games on HD (not to mention Cathy Wurzer in HD on Friday night, NOW I see why we need public television in high-definition); the distraction of a nice three-day Memorial Day weekend up north; the distraction of totally loving Nixonland; or just the distraction of sheer laziness. Also, the past few weeks I had been substituting a writer's aid for real writing work ... I had read that the late great Rick Johnson would write phrases and quotes that he liked on index cards and would shuffle through them when writing, looking for the right witty things to insert into his writing. I did a variation, writing words of advice, outlines, reminders, and summaries onto index cards and was probably halfway convinced that this was doing "real" writing. But like absorbing music, watching a movie, reading a book, reviewing your old work, etc. it was a help and not doing the real thing. It feels good to get back to the real thing.