Monday, January 30, 2006

Prep Notes for January 30, 2006

(photo caption) Tartan's Kwadzo Ahelegbe continues to turn heads with his strong play this season (photo: courtesy MNSportsPreview.com).

At least one opposing coach feels that Tartan's senior point guard, Kwadzo Ahelegbe, may be the best Minnesota prep senior this season. Ahelegbe, who has accepted a scholarship to Northern Iowa, is averaging 23.3 points per game for the 13-3 Titans. Tartan is currently third in the Classic Suburban Conference at 6-2, behind St. Thomas Academy (7-1) and Richfield (6-1). The Titans were defeated by both teams earlier this season.

Hastings boys' hockey star Derek Stepan continued his amazing scoring streak over the weekend by scoring two of his team's three goals in a 3-3 tie with Stillwater. Stepan, a sophomore forward, has scored at least one point in every game he's played in for the Raiders this season. On the year, Stepan has 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points. Stepan's father, Brad, was a 1985 5th round draft choice of the New York Rangers. Hastings is currently 10-8-2 overall and 6-4-2 in the Suburban East Conference, which is good for fifth place presently. The road will not get any easier for Hastings before beginning tough play in the Section 2AA playoffs, as they face conference and section rivals Cretin-Derham Hall and Woodbury prior to the regular season's end.

Phil Housley is in the midst of a second season trying to rebuild the boys' hockey program at Stillwater High. The Ponies are 10-8-2 on the season thus far, with a 5-5-2 mark in the Suburban East Conference. Though only at 6th place in the nine team SEC, the Ponies have beaten or tied three of the five teams ahead of them in the standings. However their regular season plays out, Stillwater will face a daunting task come playoff time in Section 3AA, home to perennial powers Hill-Murray, White Bear Lake, and Centennial.

The rebound of the Henry Sibley boys' hockey team from dismal results the past couple of seasons suffered a setback Saturday at Mahtomedi as the Zephyrs downed the Warriors 5-3. Sibley had defeated Mahtomedi earlier this year and was gunning for the season sweep in the series. Sibley is now only 6-11-2 overall and 2-7-2 in Classic Suburban Conference play. However, after a one win season in 03-04 and two wins in 04-05, the Warriors have tripled their win total this year over last season's mark. Head Coach Chad Norman, a member of the powerful Brian Bonin-led White Bear Lake squads of the early 1990s, has the Warriors headed in the right direction, though it may take a few more years to reap substantial rewards.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Citizen's Duty, Part III

(photo caption) St. Paul's City Hall / Ramsey County Courthouse is on the right side of the photograph. Begun in 1928, the City Hall complex benefited by cheap construction costs following the stock market crash of 1929, and was subsequently adorned with exquisite marble to highlight its Art Deco design.

Being in the jury pool is a bit like possessing a lottery ticket.

Every half-hour or so, they would announce a new number of a jury pool that was to go before the court for jury selection. And each time, if you looked around the room, over a hundred heads would be bowed, intently gazing at their jury letter to see if they had been selected.

I went through this process three times. And I lost all three lotteries.

Feeling a little self-conscious, inept, and insignificant, I embraced the announcement that we were recessing for lunch. "Be back at 1:30," we were instructed. I looked at my watch: 11:30.

Downtown St. Paul is your typical big-yet-small city. The city wants to embrace its rich history and heritage; real estate developers want to embrace the financial possibilities of dismantling old buildings and constructing new ones. Like many cities, St. Paul lives on the precipice of this reality, struggling to cope with the new while preserving the past.

Sitting in Rice Park might be the best way to view this conundrum. A one block-by-one block square, Rice Park is without question the most celebrated and most visited park in downtown St. Paul.

The park is bounded on the north by the historic Landmark Center, a turn-of-the-century building which once housed the post office. Now, the Landmark Center houses weddings, wedding receptions, and infrequent visitors to a small, non-publicized museum.

On the east side of the park is the famous St. Paul Hotel. Posh. Up-scale. Snooty. Temporary home to society's elite whenever they should visit St. Paul. My favorite story of the St. Paul Hotel is when one of my alcoholic friends was sitting at the bar at the hotel at 3 pm one afternoon. A group of young, well-dressed and groomed men came into the room. A few sat next to my friend. He noticed they spoke in quasi-French accents. My friend asked what they did. "I play hockey." For who? "The Montreal Canadiens." Really? What's your name? What position do you play? "I'm Jose Theodore (pronounced: ho-say tay-oh-door). I play goalie." The name didn't click with my friend. Why would it, really? Theodore's only one of the best goalies in the NHL; an All-Star. My friend asked him to sign a cocktail napkin. Then proceeded to lose it by the time he got home.

The south side of the park features the grand St. Paul Public Library. The library has Greek columns, lots of books, and competes with the Landmark Center for wedding receptions.

And the west side of the park is the glitzy and relatively new Ordway Center. The Ordway is home to only the most high-brow of operas, Broadway shows, and the like. And it sticks out like an architectural sore thumb when viewed against its more ancient neighbors.

Eschewing the stylistic paradox that is downtown, I wandered over to the more seedy 7th Street to enjoy my multiple hour lunch. After checking-in with my uncle and cousin at their antique shop, I had a digestive decision on my hands: luscious Italian fare at Cosetta's or subdued, yet homey, cuisine at the Cabin Fever Cafe.

A $5.75 sandwich and coffee combo later, I left Cabin Fever and wasted some time by walking around the historic homes at Irvine Park, including that of Minnesota's second governor, Alexander Ramsey, whose home is now dying a slow death as a rarely-visited historic site.

As I once again found my seat in the jury waiting room, I tried to find the page in my book that I had left off on. Tuchman was talking about the hypocrisy of the 14th Century Catholic Church and how the public was largely indignant towards the clergy. What happened between then and now?

I had barely gotten settled when I won the "lottery" and would be a potential jurist in a criminal trial. Before I could leave this jury purgatory, I had to ditch my book, my Nalgene bottle, my gum, and my knit cap -- all impermissible in the court room. As best I could tell, juries were to be illiterate, dehydrated, ill-breathed, and chock full of hypothermia. Whatever.

I took a seat on a long, wooden bench, giving myself as much personal space as I could. I tried to follow along as the judge went through his instructions and admonishments, but I kept finding myself transfixed on the pattern of sunlight cascading into the courtroom through those wooden blinds. There was a lot of dust in the room for the sunlight to play with.

I made the first cut of jurists and took a seat in the jury box as a potential jurors. My hopes and dreams were quickly dashed, however, as I listened to the series of "let's-get-to-know-you" queries the judge guided us through.

One question doomed my fate: "What did your father do for a living?"

"Police officer."

Now, in a civil case, this probably wouldn't have been a big deal. In a criminal case, however, I was a snowball in the defense attorney's hell. Ain't no way I was getting selected.

And this reality is fascinating to me. If I would have said that I was racist against the illegal immigrant from Honduras who was accused of carrying-out a burglary in Frogtown, I would have suffered the same fate as I was now awaiting since my pops was a cop.

Racist? Gone. Son of a cop? Gone.

They never asked if my girlfriend is Hispanic. They never asked if I have ever had any really positive interactions with immigrants from Latin America, which I do on a daily basis.

Cop's kid? Gone.

I did the best that I could to remain cognizant of the remaining proceedings, but one thought kept rolling through my mind: I have to go back to work tomorrow. Damn!

I was finally excused, collected my courtroom-prohibited gear, and vacated the premises.

Jury duty was over. It was 4:30 pm.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hastings v. Mounds View Boys' Hockey Preview

(photo caption) The Hastings Civic Arena will play host to an SEC matchup Thursday night between Hastings and Mounds View.

The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team looks to continue its mid-season resurgence tonight as they prepare to host the Mounds View Mustangs tonight at the Hastings Civic Arena.

Hastings comes into the game with a 10-7-1 record, 6-3-1 in Suburban East Conference play. Mounds View is 5-12 overall, 1-9 in the SEC. Game time is 7:30 pm.

The Raiders, coached by Russ Welch, are coming off of two consecutive wins in knocking off conference rivals and perennial state tournament threats Roseville and White Bear Lake.

Hastings has been led this season by sophomore forward Derek Stepan. Stepan, who paces the Raiders' attack with 16 goals and 13 assists, is the son of former New York Ranger draftee (5th round, '85) Brad Stepan.

Mounds View's attack is led this year by senior forward Kolby Dahl's 23 points (12-11) for coach Brad "Whitey" Schwartzbauer's Mustangs. Schwartzbauer, in his first season at Mounds View, is a former Colorado Rockies (MLB) farmhand.

The Mustangs, losers of four straight, are looking to turn their season around.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sibley vs. Simley, or is it the other way around?

(photo caption) Henry Sibley's junior sensation Trevor Mbakwe passed the 1,000 point mark on Tuesday evening.

Whenever Sibley plays Simley, it always represents two of the most misidentified high schools in the metro area.

Similar names aside, Tuesday night's matchup at Henry Sibley was a case of dissimilar halves.

The first half saw the Simley Spartans stay surprisingly close to the more acclaimed Henry Sibley Warriors. After racing to a 10-4 lead, the Warriors could only watch as the Spartan shooters got hot, as Simley took a brief 15-13 advantage.

The two teams traded the lead with Henry Sibley taking a 26-24 advantage into halftime following three three-pointers on consecutive Warrior possessions, two by sophomore guard Peter Leslie and one from senior guard Pierre Harris.

Following the break, the Warriors quickly put some permanent distance between themselves and the Spartans, eventually building a 50-32 lead on the strength of a 7-0 run.

In the midst of the Warriors onslaught, Henry Sibley junior forward Trevor Mbakwe became only the third player in school history to reach the 1,000 point mark. Henry Sibley coach Tom Dasovich called a timeout to allow for a brief recognition of Mbakwe's achievement.

Simley wasn't finished, however, and drew close once more with a seven point string of its own closing the gap to 50-39, capped by a three-pointer from sophomore guard Kaleb Sainborn.

The Warriors proved to be too strong, however, rebuilding their lead to a game-high 19 point advantage at 58-39.

The trend held, and Henry Sibley exited the gym with a 64-51 victory.

Mbakwe's 20 points and 17 rebounds paced the Warriors, with Anders Halverson contributing another 14 points.

Sophomore Sainborn led the Spartans attack with 18 points. Senior guard Brandon Quittem added another seven points in a losing effort.

In ending their season-high three game losing streak, the Warriors improve to 9-7 overall and 5-2 in conference. Simley falls to 2-13 overall and 0-6 in Classic Suburban Conference play.

--Game Notes--
-In becoming only the third Warrior ever to surpass the 1,000 point barrier, Mbakwe also become the fastest to the mark, achieving it in his junior season.
-Mbakwe's 20 points on the night left him with 1,005 for his three year career.
-Bobby Hunter and Jon Butala, the players ahead of Mbakwe on Henry Sibley's all-time scoring list, both attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. Hunter and Butala are regular starters for the Oles this season.
-Mbakwe could conceivably break the Hunter's all-time scoring mark of 1,353 points this season. However, Mbakwe would have to average 31.6 points per game in the final 10 regular season games plus at least one playoff matchup.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Names Floated as Monson Treads Water

(photo caption) Is Bob Knight pointing an escape route out of Texas? (photo: courtesy Associated Press)

While the on-court play of the University of Minnesota Gophers men's basketball team has been cool, the rumor mill is beginning to run red-hot.

With the Gophers stumbling to a 9-7 overall start, including a 0-5 record in the Big Ten Conference, memories of last season's expectation exceeding squad begin to fade. Also beginning to fade, it seems, is the likelihood that head coach Dan Monson will be back to coach an eighth season next year. Monson has three years remaining on the 10 year contract he signed in 1999.

Monson successfully staved off his critics last year as he rode the crest of his team's NCAA Tournament appearance on the strength of a 21-11 record. The NCAA Tournament appearance was Minnesota's first under Monson, and ended with a first round loss to Iowa State.

The 05-06 season began amid the high hopes that the Gophers could improve on last year's results. The product thus far, however, has fallen well short of the mark.

With word surfacing in the past few days that Monson himself had deigned this to be his last year in Minnesota, the ship appears to be sinking, and the captain apparently looks to disembark.

If Monson, who has a 109-93 career record at Minnesota, were to be excused or leave on his own terms, sources near the Gophers squad report that several reputable and previously successful coaches could quickly become candidates to fill the void.

A partial list of suspected candidates would include: Bob Huggins, former University of Cincinnati head coach; Rick Majerus, former University of Utah head coach; and Steve Lavin, former UCLA head coach.

Perhaps the biggest shocker, however, is word that the soon-to-be winningest coach in college basketball may be interested in the Minnesota post.

That's right, the "General" himself: Bob Knight, currently the head coach at Texas Tech.

For some time now, there has been suspicion out of Lubbock, Tex. that Knight has his eyes set on returning to the Big Ten Conference for a farewell tour of three to five years, ostensibly to get a few parting shots at his former employer, Indiana University.

Since he took Texas Tech over in 2001, Knight has been grooming his son, Pat Knight, to be his successor. It might soon be time for the elder Knight to pass the reins of an established program to his now 35 year-old son. If that should happen, Bob Knight would be free to pursue coaching interests in his native middle America.

Perhaps at Minnesota?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Worst Minnesota Has To Offer

(photo caption) Michigan's Daniel Horton dribbles past Gopher Rico Tucker en route to a 32 point night (photo courtesy the Associated Press).

An absolute embarrassment.

There's no better way to describe the debacle that was the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers loss to the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night by a score of 71-55. In moving to 0-5 in Big Ten Conference play, the Gophers achieved little other than to inch head coach Dan Monson closer to the door.

In their return home following an inspired triple-overtime effort in their 76-72 loss at Iowa on Thursday night, the Gophers had as much momentum as they've had all season as they prepared to face the Wolverines.

Whatever momentum the Gophers may have had was quickly deflated as the Wolverines sprinted to a 21-9 lead a little over half way through the first half.

Though the Gophers eventually shrunk the Michigan lead to six points (28-22) at halftime, however the second half would only see a continued Wolverine onslaught.

Michigan added to their halftime cushion by gaining a 47-30 advantage by the six minute mark of the second half and maintained their lead in route to a relatively comfortable final score of 71-55.

On the night, senior guard Daniel Horton scored 32 points for the Wolverines on 8-16 shooting, including six three pointers and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Junior guard Dion Harris added 16 points for Michigan in the win.

Senior guard Mo Hargrow led Minnesota with 16 points, while senior forward J'son Stamper notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers.

Michigan (13-3, 3-2) now sports a winning record in Big Ten play, while the Gophers (9-7, 0-5) will seek their first conference victory Wednesday in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. versus the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois.

--Game Notes, Rumors, and Innuendo--
-Minnesota shot a measly 38% from the floor, a putrid 59% from the line, a meager 17% from three point land, and committed a lousy 18 turnovers against Michigan.
-With no screens being set for him, and very few plays being run for him, Vincent Grier is a very average player, as evidenced by his eight points on 1-8 shooting Saturday night. Grier has not shown an ability to create his own shots and has begun to demonstrate his mounting frustration in Monson's offense by taking ill-advised and low percentage shots.
-Though it's old news now, a source close to the Gophers reported in October that this would be Coach Monson's final season in Minnesota, regardless of the team's performance. The logic being that if the team did well, Monson would parlay the success into a position elsewhere, while if the team played poorly, Monson would gladly earn the remaining six years and millions of dollars his contract calls for by not coaching.
-The same source reported last week that the situation over at Williams Arena is one of "rats fleeing a sinking ship". Let's just say resumes are being updated.
-In attendance for the Gophers-Wolverines matchup were preps standouts Bryce Webster of St. Thomas Academy and Trevor Mbakwe of Henry Sibley. Webster has already signed with the U for next year, while Mbakwe is only a junior.
-Speaking of Mbakwe, the Gophers ran a cute little recruiting ploy on the prepster last night by distributing flyers bearing Mbakwe's picture as well as the phrase "We Want Trevor" on them to the student section last night. The flyers were very, let's say "noticeable", in every TV shot of the student section.
-Also in attendance was newly re-signed Gophers football coach Glen Mason. Mason glad-handed Athletic Director Joel Maturi as Mason made his way to his seat accompanied by his wife.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Here's something to think about:

Why does a generic label on a food product indicate to us "cheap", "not good", and "avoid at all costs", while a generic label on a cleaning product indicates "strong", "industrial strength", and "the one the pros use"?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Girl Carl v. Fogbot

(photo caption) Oak Street Cinema in Stadium Village - Minneapolis, Minnesota. (photo courtesy Minnesota Film Arts)

Today, Girl Carl of Evil Cycling and Category 6 Racing Squad fame went toe-to-toe with Fogbot. The subject: what to do with the Oak Street Theater, which is having some financial trouble. In this episode, Girl Carl's generous spirit is trying to save the Oak Street; the ever-too-rational Fogbot is having a difficult time with that premise.

Here's the blow-by-blow account:

Girl Carl announces:
"hey - this isn't very bikey, but it matters to me and is consuming all my available energy right now. if anyone has interest in the oak street cinema, you can watch this video of a recent gathering concerning the future of our only twin cities repertory theater. (tim grady, owner of world cycling productions and minnesota film arts board member, speaks for a minute.)


thanks and xo - carl"

Fogbot responds:
"i like the oak street. i do. but their model is f'ed up. seriously. you've got an artsy movie theater with one screen located in a neighborhood populated by 18-23 year olds. now, i know that we all hope for the best and that these 18-23 year olds are 'artsy', but i think it's a reach. stadium village is not uptown. therefore, i believe that oak street is a goldmine in waiting, provided someone wants to buy and and model its film offerings after the riverview. think about it: offer discounted prices to recent, but hip (note i didn't say "artsy") hollywood films. mix in sarah silverman with 'syriana' with 'walk the line'. drunk/high/cheap/bored 18-23 year olds will definitely attend that shit. throw in some fun saturday midnight showings (a la riverview and uptown), and you've got a winner. now, who's got some loose cash sitting around who wants to buy a movie theater and let me run it?"

Girl Carl retorts:
"everything you just posted is stuff we've talked about over and over again for years and years. i like the riverview also. a whole lot. but see, we already have a riverview. actually, we also have the parkway. and we can see that shit at the lagoon and in edina and at the uptown theater first. we don't need another one. nobody else shows the stuff that oak street shows. guess why. because it doesn't make much money. hence the 'nonprofit' name. i guess i've made everyone else on the board want to punch me in the face at one time or another, so now i know the feeling and totally want to beat the shit out of fogbot. we should sell tickets to that. it's a 'goldmine in waiting.' think about it."

Fogbot fires back:
"i get the non-profit thing. however, federal non-profit designations does not have to equal not-profitable. the best non-profits actually make money; the money is then put back into the programs that they run (i.e., what ds is trying to do with cat6). this makes it 'successful'. i understand what the oak street community is trying to do. and i understand why they're having a problem: the market for the oak street content is simply not big enough to justify a 'brick and mortar' building and the financial obligations that go with it. and i agree with you, carl -- this fact sucks. the fact that people don't patronize the arts is a terrible stain on our society. but, as it stands right now, our society leans much more heavily towards the 'economy' side of the 'economy vs. culture' continuum (see h. michael hartoonian for more discussion). and that doesn't bode well for all artistic endeavors, including the oak street. further, with the advent of the dvd and plasma screens and high definition, ALL film theaters are in trouble. film distributors now want to release dvds the same day the film itself is released to theaters (read mark cuban's blog 'blog maverick' for more). imagine what that will do to all 'brick and mortal' theaters! so, while i completely admire what the oak street is trying to do, the bottom line for me is that non-profits don't have to be not-profitable. and i guess that's where the oak street loses me. but it doesn't have to lose you, carl. and if the oak street is something you believe in, then fight for it. as gandhi said, 'be the change you want to see in the world.' i believe that gandhi also said: 'don't punch fogbot in the face. he's too pretty.'"

Girl Carl responds:
"dudes, i'm through debating it after this. trust me, i haven't forgotten or everlooked anything. they've had midnight shows for years. did you ever go?"

Fogbot gets the last word:
"Yes, I have financially supported Oak Street."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Time Heals All Wounds

[photo caption] Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice is enjoying a rebirth as a volunteer high school football coach in Long Island, NY.

September 12, 2010
Blaine, Minn--

In the four years following his firing as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Mike Tice has been both reflective and accountable.

"We made mistakes," Tice admits with a slight tinge of lament in his voice. "Some were more significant than others. But I can't hide that we made mistakes."

And those "mistakes" were numerous and well-chronicled. There were poor drafts, the Moss years, ticket scalping by the head coach, questionable free agent signings, the infamous "Love Boat" incident, and losing three draft positions in two successive draft day mistakes, to name a few.

In only his second return to the state of Minnesota since he was released from his contract in January 2006, Tice was in town Sunday as a part of the Minnesota Vikings' Fiftieth Season celebration. Tice, along with former Vikings' coaches Bud Grant and Dennis Green, participated in a pre-game ceremony in which the Vikings unveiled their "All-Fiftieth Team" prior to a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Saints (former coaches Jerry Burns and Les Steckel were not in attendance; Burns passed away in 2006, while Steckel was not invited).

"Obviously, my legacy with the Vikings is not what I'd hoped it'd be, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons, and I've moved on," Tice declared. The Vikings recorded records of 6-10, 9-7, 8-8, and 9-7 in Tice's four full seasons. Tice was 32-33 during his tenure, including one loss while "interim coach."

Tice, however, has put his Vikings experience in the past. "I'm coaching, I'm happy, and I'm home."

By home, Tice is referring to Long Island, New York. Tice was born and raised in Long Island before attending the University of Maryland (where he played quarterback) and later completing a fourteen-year career in the NFL as a tight end with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and finally the Vikings. After his 2006 Vikings' dismissal, Tice was the offensive line coach with the Baltimore Ravens in 2006, and, after Ravens head coach Brian Billick and his entire staff were let go in January 2007, Tice went into a self-imposed football exile.

"I got out. I was fed up with the business of football. I was tired of being a football coach, so I stopped being a football coach." Tice moved back to Washington state, something of a second home, but it didn't last long. "It wasn't the same, living there and not being a part of football." So Tice and his family left Washington after only a year.

Tice returned to his true home, Long Island, in 2008. "I was looking for roots. For my roots. Listen, I was at a crossroads in my life, trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. So I went home," Tice said softly, defying his physical stature.

An enormous man, Tice stands 6'8" tall. His playing weight of 260 pounds is now lost somewhere inside of his current 300+ pound frame, but his natural athleticism is still present. So too is the competitive spirit that still inhabits his fiery eyes. It's these eyes which betray Tice's casual demeanor, especially when discussing his recent return to coaching.

"My wife (Diane) was getting sick of me," Tice remarks in half-seriousness. "She wanted me off of the couch and out of the house. I wanted that too, so I found something to do." This is Tice's second season as a volunteer assistant for Central Islip (NY) high school, his alma mater. "It's been a blast," Tice exuded. "The kids are real intense, real fired up about playing football, and it's rubbed off on me. I'm happy being around football again."
[photo caption] Tice experienced seemingly unending frustration during his tenure as the Vikings' head coach.

As for regrets? Tice has a few. "Of course there's some things I regret," Tice admitted. "But I take responsibility for my failures. I take responsibility for all of it. I'm a big boy."

When prodded for examples, Tice is quick on the trigger. "I regret bringing in a lot of the players that we did. The biggest lesson I learned -- and I tell this to young coaches all the time -- is that you can't win with bad people. You just can't. Because ultimately bad people are weak people. They're people who quit on themselves, their coaches, and their teammates," Tice vented, the tone of his voice resonating as if the events he spoke of had happened only yesterday.

Tice continued, "I regret some of the staffing decisions I made. I hired (former defensive coordinator) Ted Cottrell. That was my fault. Don't get me wrong: Teddy's a great guy, but I should have looked around and said, 'Hey, this guy's been fired by both Buffalo and the (New York) Jets. Is he damaged goods?' But I didn't, and that's my fault."

Tice, however, is quick to point out that he may have been the victim of circumstance. "Look,(former owner Red McCombs) hired me as the lowest paid coach in the league. We couldn't keep Scotty (Linehan, former offensive coordinator) due to financial constraints. That sends a negative message to players. They're not stupid. They knew the situation. Then, when Mr. Wilf came in, we had a series of problems on and off of the field, and that's all she wrote," Tice posits. "But there's no one to blame except for me. If I was Mr. Wilf, I would've done the same thing."

But does Tice take any credit for the Vikings' resurgence in the '09 season, sparked largely by some Tice-era holdovers, most notably defensive line standouts Kevin Williams, Erasmus James, and Kenechi Udeze? "All the credit goes to Coach Childress. These are his players now, his team, and he deserves the credit."

The former coach began to chuckle to himself, then offered, "This is a 'tough guy' town, and Brad's shown himself to be a 'tough guy'," Tice states, resurrecting one of his most-repeated catchphrases. "I just wasn't tough enough, I guess," Tice says, laughing and lamenting at the same time.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Henry Sibley Comes Up Short at "Shootout"

(photo caption) Linn-Mar sharpshooter and University of Wisconsin recruit Jason Bohannon. (photo courtesy of Media.Scout.com)

Minneapolis, Minn.

One night after a potentially season-defining victory over St. Thomas Academy, the Henry Sibley Warriors ran into an immovable force in the form of Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) Lions and their juggernaut, senior guard Jason Bohannon, falling 76-63 Saturday night Jan. 14 at the Gatorade / Timberwolves Shootout.

Bohannon, son of former Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Gordy Bohannon, dominated the matchup early and often, scoring on drives and from behind the three point line at will. With a basketball scholarship awaiting him at the University of Wisconsin next year, Bohannon demonstrated the skills that earned him such accolades, scoring 23 points, including 12 by way of the three pointer.

Though playing the role of combination guard for Linn-Mar this season, the 6'4" Bohannon looks to immediately become one of the more skilled shooting guards (or "two guards") in the Big Ten next year at Wisconsin.

Bohannon's play drew praise from Henry Sibley coach Tom Dasovich. "(Bohannon's) really smooth, isn't he? He did anything he wanted to out there tonight, and we weren't really able to do anything about it," said Dasovich.

Bohannon's display overshadowed another immense performance from Sibley's standout junior forward Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe achieved his stated goal of "slamming on the same basket as Kevin Garnett" in route to 29 points and 12 rebounds. Unfortunately for Mbakwe and Sibley, they committed 18 turnovers on the night, displaying an uncharacteristic sloppiness which would doom their chances in the game.

Linn-Mar senior forward Jordan Printy, another sharpshooting Division I recruit, added 20 points for the Lions, as he and Bohannon combined for more than half of Linn-Mar's output.

Sibley junior forward Anders Halvorsen and sophomore guard Peter Leslie each added 10 points in the losing cause for the Warriors, who are now 8-5 overall and 4-0 in the Classic Suburban Conference.

Game Notes:
--St. Thomas Academy played without their star, senior center Bryce Webster, in another Timberwolves Shootout game earlier in the evening, losing to Kathleen High School (Flor.) by a count of 70-56. Webster, a University of Minnesota recruit, injured his ankle with four seconds remaining in the Cadets' loss at Henry Sibley on Friday night and was unavailable Saturday. His status for this week's games should be determined early this week.
--Minnesota teams were a combined 4-2 versus their out of state opponents at the Timberwolves Shootout.
--Minnesota schools Minnetonka, Benilde-St. Margaret's, and Cretin-Derham Hall have committed to Shootout for 2007. There is talk the Shootout could expand in both size and duration for next year's event, possibly extending to two days.
--Scores from the 2006 Timberwolves Shootout: Duluth East 62, Sioux City (Iowa) East 45; Hopkins 78, Webster Groves (Missouri) 49; Bloomington Jefferson 56, James Madison Memorial (Wis.) 54; Braham 78, James B. Dudley (N. Car.) 74; Kathleen (Flor.) 70, St. Thomas Academy 56; Linn-Mar (Iowa) 76, Henry Sibley 63.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Henry Sibley bests Webster & St. Thomas, Again

(photo caption) Henry Sibley forward Trevor Mbakwe (#42) and St. Thomas Academy guard David Hicks (#23) battle for position in a 2005 matchup. (courtesy Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Mendota Hgts., Minn.

The St. Thomas Academy Cadets traveled to meet the Henry Sibley Warriors on Friday, Jan. 13 for a game featuring crosstown Mendota Heights foes. Neighborhood rivalry aside, the matchup was also a clash of titans. St. Thomas came into the game as the #1 ranked team in Class 3A while Henry Sibley had been ranked as high as #3 in Class 4A earlier this season.

Titanic also was the head-to-head battle between each team's big men. The Cadets feature 6'10" senior Bryce Webster, who has signed for a scholarship at the University of Minnesota. The Warriors on-court leader this season is 6'8" junior Trevor Mbakwe, an elite player in his own right whose college services are currently being sought by Minnesota, Marquette, Illinois, Florida, and others.

The game itself would prove to be as much a contrast of styles between the two behemoths as it would a contrast in momentum swings. St. Thomas started the game quickly, jumping out to an eight point lead in the early going and grabbing a 10-2 lead on the Warriors. Webster sparked the Cadets early attack, using solid post moves to pace St. Thomas with six quick points.

While St. Thomas controlled the pace early, Sibley fought back towards the latter portion of the first half, getting themselves back into the game on a four point play by sophomore guard Peter Leslie and followed immediately by a three pointer from junior forward Phil Haig. The seven point swing took the Warriors from a 20-18 deficit to a 25-20 advantage.

"(St. Thomas) didn't guard Phil on that shot," said Sibley coach Tom Dasovich. "They were saying, 'This guy's not a shooter', but he put that one in. That was a big shot."

The end of the first half found St. Thomas trailing Sibley 29-26. Webster and Mbakwe didn't disappoint, scoring 12 and eight points in the half, respectively.

The Warriors picked up in the second half where they had left off, with a huge Mbakwe slam dunk on their first position which helped lead to a 42-34 Sibley advantage five minutes into the half.

St. Thomas wasn't finished, however, and began of comeback of their own using five consecutive points by senior guard J.B. Korte. Korte scored his first two points on a steal and lay-up conversion, then hit a three pointer to tie the score at 46.

A free throw by senior guard David Hicks gave the Cadets a one point advantage, but it would be St. Thomas' final lead of the night. Sibley roared back on the shoulders of the athletic and versatile Mbakwe, who scored the next five Warrior points.

Webster did his best to carry the burden for the Cadets, stringing together four consecutive points at the six minute mark of the second half to close the gap to 54-51. It would prove, however, to be too little too late.

In the waning minutes, Sibley would use their lead and the Cadets' foul trouble to their advantage by converting key foul shots down the stretch to finish off St. Thomas by a score of 65-59.

On the night, Mbakwe scored 23 points, adding 18 rebounds and four blocks in a winning effort for Sibley. Leslie contributed 14 points, including a pair of three pointers for the Warriors.

Webster finished the game with 28 points and eight rebounds for the Cadets, who also got 11 points from David Hicks before fouling out.

Henry Sibley now leads the Classic Suburban Conference with a 4-0 record (8-4 overall). St. Thomas (10-2 overall) falls into a second place tie with Tartan, each with a 3-1 conference record.

Game Notes:
--Sibley's victory marked their third consecutive victory against St. Thomas. The Warriors have never lost to the Cadets when both Mbakwe and Webster have been in the starting lineup.
--Webster will get one final chance to get the better of Mbakwe when the two schools meet again on Feb. 17 at St. Thomas. Game time will be 7:30 pm.
--The Warriors played without the services of 6'5" senior forward Brock Zins. Zins suffered a collapsed lung in a practice last Saturday, was hospitalized for two days, and underwent a procedure to seal a small hole in his lung on Friday morning. Zins is expected to miss the next three to four weeks.
--Both St. Thomas and Sibley are participating in the 2006 Timberwolves Shootout on Saturday, Jan. 14. St. Thomas faces Kathleen High of Lakeland, Flor. at 6 pm. Sibley immediately follows with a matchup against Linn Marr, Iowa at 8 pm. There are a total of six games being played as part of the Shootout on Jan. 14.

Friday, January 13, 2006


(photo caption) Not every sports-related column gets its own jersey. "Uni-Watch" is not every column.

Look for "A Citizen's Duty, Part III" tomorrow. In the meantime, Fogbot received more props from national sportswriters today. Check out Paul Lukas' brilliant Uni-Watch column here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Citizen's Duty, Part II

(photo caption) What do roosters have to do with jury duty? Read on.

(In Part I, Fogbot received notification of his impending jury duty.)

Somewhere around 9 am the Jury Office manager-esque guy came out of the main office onto the floor, stood behind a podium, and turned his microphone on. Dave proceeded to give us the ins and outs of jury duty, gave us a brief outline of what our day would look like, and threw one of those really bad, high school-era informational videos into the VCR.

Almost immediately, four monitors -- located in each corner of Room 30 -- began to play "All Rise: Jury Duty in Minnesota." Fogbot learned what "voir dire" meant.

After the film was over, Dave returned to the mic, touching on a few more subjects. First, he wanted to address sequestration (a juror won't be sequestered in Ramsey County until deliberation, and only then if deliberation will take longer than one day) and his method of updates (he'd update us "every half hour on the hour").

Before he was done, Dave had one more announcement: the first jurorists had been summoned. A group would be going before the Honorable Kathleen Gearin immediately. Dave called 25 or so names off, the chosen stood, walked to the front of the room, and departed with the judge's clerk. Game on.

The rest of us stayed behind. Feeling a sense of inferiority over the fact that, of 156 potential jurors, Fogbot hadn't been called, he began to look about the room, focusing on the characters around him.

After a few moments, these were the exact thoughts Fogbot wrote on the backside of an envelope:

"1) 'The Rooster' -- arrived late; paced around at the front of the room in a jacket that was at least ten years out of fashion; possessed haircut of same vintage, complete with 'part-spike'; seemed to think he was more important than most

2) 'Neil' -- the guy Fogbot was sitting next to; snuck a peek at his name as he fiddled with his envelope at one point; generally appears as though he would fit right into Fogbot's circle of friends

3) 'Elvis Costello-Smith' -- this guy looks like the love child of Elvis Costello and Robert Smith of the Cure; he's got Costello's glasses and facial expressions and Smith's hair cut; oh, and Mr. Rogers' sweater

4) 'Preggers' -- your typical pregnant gal; definitely third trimester; looked pissed-off to be there, pissed off to be alive, really

5) 'Phone Call Guy' -- this is the guy who, as soon as permitted, jumps on the community phone and immediately tells the person on the other line 'the whole story'; 'Yeah...they're going to update us every half hour...yeah...well, one group already left...un-hunh...I don't know...I could get let go early...yeah...ok...I'll call you back later when I hear something

6) 'I-Pod Guy' -- this is the guy who looks to old to know how to operate an I-Pod, let alone own one; homeboy's wearing a 'Greatful Dead' hat and listening to tunes at way too loud of a volume

7) 'Impatient Guy' -- this is the guy who didn't bring reading material of his own, looks uncomfortable to be around this many people, and who definitely thinks he's missing his opportunity for promotion at work; Settle down, guy"

Now, to be completely forthright with you, dear reader, "Elvis Costello-Smith" was called as a part of the first group. Plus -- and Fogbot just found this out today -- the case that "Elvis" and his cohorts were potential jurors for was the infamous "St. Paul Cop-killer" case that's going on right now (and which was almost declared a mistrial today).

Regardless, the rest of us "unchosen" went back to our reading, daydreaming, phone-talking, and/or sleeping.

Or questioning. Like, "Why aren't there any attractive women in here?" It was 9:45 am.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Citizen's Duty, Part I

(photo caption) St. Paul's City Hall is pictured on the right. The City Hall is also home to the Ramsey County Courthouse and the infamous Room 30.

Fogbot received the letter sometime around the 10th of December, as best he can recall. No, not the letter with Ed McMahon's face on the front, but rather one embossed with "The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota" in the envelope's window. Next to "The Great Seal" were the words, "Ramsey County Jury Office."

"No way!" thought Fogbot. "There's no way they actually selected me for jury duty!"

Normally, Fogbot takes his mail out of his box, sifts through it, weeds out the junk mail, then drops the real mail on his coffee table or dining room table where it sits for a couple of hours until he remembers it again and finally opens it up. Not this particular piece of mail, however.

Fogbot set everything else down and opened this one up immediately. In a large red box occupying the top right corner of the directive, Fogbot saw the words: "Jury Summons."

"Man, they aren't joking around," Fogbot remembers thinking.

The letter went on to read, "You are hereby notified that you have been selected to serve as a trial juror in Ramsey County District Court. You are required to appear in Room 30, Lower Level, of the Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota beginning at 8:30 AM on: January 09, 2006."

"Hunh," Fogbot thought aloud. "They must not know." Regardless, this was an easy out from work on the 9th, maybe longer. Fogbot experienced a sudden excitement.

The next day, Fogbot approached a member of management and let the news flow: Fogbot's going to need the 9th off for jury duty. How do we do that?

"We're going to need a copy of the document," management reported. Damn! Fogbot should've known that. And that was going to be a problem, because Fogbot's workplace closed down on December 16 for two-and-a-half weeks.

"Mental note to self," Fogbot thought. Eventually, the matter was resolved.

The morning of January 9, Fogbot got up early, had his standard breakfast and juice, and swung over to Papa Fogbot's place. Why? Because parking downtown is 1) a hassle and 2) costs money, and Fogbot usually doesn't deal with either proposition, if possible.

Fogbot arrived at the courthouse around 8:20 AM and promptly went downstairs to Room 30 -- the Jury Waiting Room. The room was much larger than Fogbot thought it would be, and there were many more people than Fogbot expected already waiting for their call to act out their civic duty. Near the entrance was a line where people were checking-in by scanning the bar codes on their letters.

This was going to be a problem, because Fogbot had forgotten to send in his personal information sheet that had come with his summons. A gentle voice on the other end of a phone line on January 6 had assured Fogbot that that wouldn't be a problem -- just get to the courthouse on time on the 9th. The scanner wasn't so understanding and let out a strange electronic sound -- akin to the sound you hear when you lose during a video game -- when Fogbot put his letter under the laser.

"Go in there," said the attendant, pointing to a small room off of the larger waiting area.

Soon, all parties had everything in order: they had their information sheet, and Fogbot had lots of time on his hands. He found a seat between two people who looked the most like they weren't wearing fleas or lice, sat down, and cracked open his copy of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror.

Many pages would be read that day.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pitcher A vs. Pitcher B

(photo caption) The hallowed Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

In honor of today being the announcement of the 2006 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in a ceremony to be held later this summer, Fogbot wanted to take this opportunity to present to you the portraits of two pitchers. One pitcher was on this year's ballot, but failed to gain the necessary 5% of votes for future consideration; the other is not yet eligible for enshrinement. Here are the profiles:

First Five Years of Careers

Pitcher A
78 wins
34 losses
50 complete games
18 shutouts
1,031.3 innings pitched
206.3 innings pitched (average)
985 strikeouts
197 strikeouts (average)
3.20 earned run average (average)

Pitcher B
91 wins
35 losses
52 complete games
19 shutouts
1,172.7 innings pitched
234.5 innings pitched (average)
1,067 strikeouts
213.4 strikeouts (average)
2.47 earned run average (average)

Now, imagine you are the General Manager of a Major League Baseball team. You have the incredible opportunity to select one of the two pitchers profiled above to anchor your pitching rotation for years to come. Who do you choose?

Think about it.

Have you made your decision?

Now, for the unveiling...

Pitcher A is named Roger Clemens. "The Rocket" has pitched for four teams over 22 seasons, compiling a 341-172 record, along with 118 complete games, 46 shutouts, 4,704.3 innings pitched, 4,502 strikeouts (2nd all-time), and an earned run average of 3.12. Still active, Clemens has won 7 Cy Young awards and the Most Valuable Player award once.

Pitcher B was the most talented pitcher on this year's Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, but he wasn't selected. He will never be selected. Compared with Clemens, Pitcher B's career totals are significantly lower. Pitcher B pitched for six teams over 16 seasons, compiling a 194-112 record, with 68 complete games, 24 shutouts, 2,800.7 innings pitched, 2,293 strikeouts, and an earned run average of 3.51. Pitcher B won his league's Rookie of the Year award while also winning one Cy Young.

Unlike Clemens, Pitcher B's unbridled talent ran amok due to incidents involving the law, drug and alcohol abuse, and general disinterest. As baseball fans, we will never know how great Pitcher B could have been. Worse yet, neither will he. And Pitcher B only has himself to blame.

As Pitcher B's profile on Baseball-Reference.com reads, "In 1985, we learned how brilliantly sublime talent can shine. What followed showed us what can happen when real life has its say. Thanks for the memories, Doc."

Pitcher B was Dwight "Doc" Gooden. And he could have had it all.

(photo caption) Dwight "Doc" Gooden, pictured at the height of his career on the April 7, 1986 cover of "Time" magazine, while pitching for the New York Mets.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can't Get You Out of My Head

(photo caption) There are other photos of Tom Lyden on the 'net, but, for some reason, they won't cut and paste into Blogspot's publishing program as easily as this one. Whatever.

"Hey, Fogbot! What's with your Tom Lyden obsession?"

Well, to be honest, there isn't one. The thing is, Fogbot's a curious person by nature. That, plus the fact that Tom Lyden wanted to make a game out of finding his birthdate for Fogbot's Dead Pool's usage during our correspondance, well, game on.

It took Fogbot all of three days to find Lyden's birthdate. Now, granted, Lyden found out Fogbot's birthdate almost immediately, but Lyden had access to LexisNexis -- a semi-legal service (according to MN Attorney General Mike Hatch) that provides background information on most everyone in the good ol' U.S. of A., provided you pay their huge annual fee. Anyway, Fogbot doesn't have that kind of cash, nor that kind of interest, or, really, that kind of need or want or desire or whatever. So Lyden can have his LexisNexis' and Fogbot will make use of the tools at his disposal (various search engines, as well as other, more creative devices). Given that, Fogbot thinks that three days is a pretty speedy turnaround.

LexisNexis makes Lyden lazy. There, I said it. Fogbot's a better man than Lyden. But that's just Fogbot talking.

But the Lyden story has been a hot-topic among Fogbot's circle of friends (and co-workers, as one made note of the other day; the actual comment was, "You're creepy! But I like it!"). And the Lyden topic continues to have legs.

Now, let's get one thing straight (no pun intended): I have no problem with Tom Lyden. In fact, he was very cordial, given the circumstances, during our communication. At the same time, however, Lyden's a very public figure -- a very public figure who, when on camera, appears to maintain a fair amount of, let's say, "self-confidence." So Fogbot feels that it's not stepping over the line to try to take Lyden down a peg or two. Regardless, it's all in good nature.

Given the continued legs within Fogbot's inner sanctum on the Lyden issue, however, has led to some fun exchanges and some interesting new information.

For instance: Did you know that Lyden's a Libra? How about the fact that he's over 40 (don't let that baby face fool you)? How about the fact that he attended Lewis and Clark College in beautiful and scenic Portland, Oregon, graduating in 1987? And that, like many of the jokers that Fogbot graduated with from his own college, Lyden likes to post personal updates regarding himself in Lewis and Clark newsletters under "Class of 1987" news?

Fogbot had no idea that Lyden had two cats.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Words, Words, Words! (sung to melody of a certain Motley Crue song)

(photo caption) Hollywood actor Tom Cruise excitedly tells talkshow host Oprah Winfrey about the XBox 360 his parents got him for Scientolomas.

Have you ever "jumped the couch"? What about listened to a "podcast"? Played "sudoku"? Does your gal wear a "muffin top", or do you prefer her "whale tail"? Or, are you simply "Cruisazy"? Come on...I'm interested in the "truthiness"!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Astrologist to the Stars

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thoughts for Thursday January 5

(photo caption) You know, back when Fogbot was in college, drinking games only involved a funnel and a tube or doing handstands in front of a cylindrical, metal object.

Some thoughts for today:

--It looks as though the Vikings are going to hire Philadelphia OC Brad Childress to be the new head coach. Fogbot's not sure how he feels about this on a competitive professional football level, but Robert Duvall has to be excited about playing him in the soon to be made-for-TV movie, "Vikings Do Super Bowl, Homeboy."

--Fogbot's really pissed at Mpls-St. Paul magazine. They have an article in their pages this month actually giving a positive spin towards public education for once. However, since Fogbot is too cheap to buy the actual magazine, he searched in vain for it on-line. Apparently Mpls-St. Paul magazine has figured out the whole "pay for a subscription - don't steal it on-line" idea.

--If you Google the term "The Fog of Work", this page comes in numero uno in the search. However, the term "Fogbot" is only #5. And, much to this Fogbot's dismay, there seems to be many people using the name "Fogbot" for many different things.

--Fogbot posted under a different name over on Smithers' page a couple of times in the last few days, but he's sworn that off now. There's some politico debatish stuff going on that Fogbot weighed in on, but it seems now like it's just a ruse for Smithers to debate with someone named Tracy. And they ain't getting anywheres.

--Fogbot likes the color blue now instead of red for his hyperlinks.

--According to someone, this blog is worth $0.00. Check the bottom right corner of this page.

--Fogbot has oftened wondered about what the male skill-level equivalent of top level college or international female hockey players would be. Thanks to the U.S. Womens' Olympic Hockey Team, Fogbot has his answer: high school boys. That's right. Last night, the Warroad High School varsity hockey team defeated said Olympic team, one of the top two womens' teams in the world, 2-1. On the plus side for the women, Warroad is a traditional boys' hockey powerhouse in this state. On the minus side for the women, however, this vintage of the Warroad pucksters is only ranked #44 in the state right now. And they're high schoolers. Whoops.

--Speaking of U.S. Womens' Olympic teams: Those wily female lugers posed naked in support of a party drinking product and got in trouble with the USOC. Fogbot can't find the photo on-line, but the Star-Tribune had the image in their sports section today -- and it wasn't even a good picture; just some naked chicks hiding behind their luges. Much ado about nothing, though the USOC copyright lawyers were outraged.

--And just for fun, check out one of Tom Lyden's greatest hits.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Minny Attorney General Takes on Tom Lyden

Or something like that.

In a move that can only seen as a response to this blog's outing of Tom Lyden's questionable obtaining of personal information via LexisNexis, Minnesota's Attorney General Mike Hatch today called on the Minnesota Legislature to enact legislation that would make it very difficult for private firms (like LexisNexis) to obtain personal information of Minnesota's citizens.

(photo caption) Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch as he prepares to take on criminals like KMSP-TV's Tom Lyden and others. God's rays can be seen raining down on Hatch behind him.

While this move is being marketed by Hatch and others as an attempt to curtail identity theft, Fogbot sees it as a move to end the bullying of Dead Pool commissioners by questionable "journalists".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

He Heart Tom Lyden

(photo caption) Don't take it personally, Tom, but you're worth a lot of points to someone.

I had the chance to have an E-mail dialogue with a local Twin Town reporter yesterday. Here is the dialogue in its entirety. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

>>> Fogbot 1/2/2006 1:10:48 PM
Hi! Great job on the investigating. Question for you: What is your birthdate (day and year)?

Keep up the good work!

>>>From: "Tom Lyden" <Tom.Lyden@FOXTV.COM
To: Fogbot
Subject: Re: Hi Tom
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 14:55:00 -0800

Why in the world would I give that out?

>>> Fogbot 1/2/2006 5:00:48 PM
Hi Tom-
That's a fair question. I can give you that answer provided you share your birthdate. I assure you that it will not be used for any ill purposes or CJ columns (which may be one in the same).

Please consider. Thanks for the time,

>>>From: "Tom Lyden" <Tom.Lyden@FOXTV.COM
To: Fogbot
Subject: Re: Hi Tom
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 15:12:00 -0800

Now that wouldn't make any sense. I don't know you, and I have no idea what you're up to. Although I do know your dob 2/30/XX. And you've got a very nice picture on the internet too!

>>> Fogbot 1/2/2006 7:06:51 PM
LexisNexis is indeed a handy tool.

Well, here's the deal, and you can play along if you like. You were selected as a 2006 Dead Pool draft pick by a member of a league that I organize. As a diligent curator of said league, I like to provide as detailed as possible league information, standings, et cetera. Obviously, I don't have your birthdate at the moment, nor do I wish to pay a subscription fee to LexisNexis or similar providers.

Therefore, the easiest way to find out your birthdate would be to simply ask.

If, however, you want to make a game of it, I'm more than happy to play along. There are many ways to find this information easily, legally, and free -- and you know about the easy and legal means from your LexisNexis experience -- and I'll be sure to do so. Local celebrities like Denny Hecker, Doug Woog, Ruth Koscielak, Carl Pohlad, Mike Lynn, Jim Marshall, and others have all, at one time or another, been selections in my league. And all of their birthdates have been discovered, whether they wanted them to be or not. Just ask Denny Hecker's secretary.

So, like I said, I'll find it out one way or another, but it'd be easier for all of us if you simply smiled, felt flattered by your selection, and said, "Ah, hell...I'll play along with them!"

P.S.: The pictures of you on the Internet are equally pleasant.

From: "Tom Lyden" <Tom.Lyden@FOXTV.COM
To: Fogbot
Subject: Re: Hi Tom
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 17:23:00 -0800

Flattered? My colleagues think I should be pissed, offended, insulted, vaguely threatened...

But actually, I'm only disappointed. I thought you might've been after something more...interesting. Anyway, you're on your own for the information. Good luck. And tell the bloke who selected me that while I have my share of foes, I'm in excellent health.

Happy New Year

>>> Fogbot 1/2/2006 7:06:51 PM
Your colleagues take themselves too seriously. Tell Trish to lighten up.

You'll be the first to know when I find your special day. Thanks for the dialogue; it was memorable/fun/flattering.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Viva La Oil Minister!

(photo caption) New Iraqi Oil Minister Ahmed Chalabi.

While President Bush's polls numbers maintain their freefall, he still doesn't seem to have learned any lessons through his numerous public failures.

To wit, Ahmed Chalabi -- the Iraqi national who provided the Bush Administration with much of the "intelligence" regarding Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S.'s 2003 invasion of Iraq -- has been named Iraqi Oil Minister.

I'll repeat: Ahmed Chalabi, discredited Iraqi informant, is now Iraqi Oil Minister.

Arrogance or ignorance?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ex-Vikings Head Coach

(photo caption) Ex-Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice.

The Vikings will soon hire the seventh coach in their history after firing Mike Tice today.

Only five men can call themselves "Ex-Vikings Head Coach". They are, in order: Bud Grant, Les Steckel, Jerry Burns, Dennis Green, and now Mike Tice. The other former "header" was Norm Van Brocklin, who is deceased.

It's never in good taste to celebrate someone losing their job, and Fogbot will definitely not partake in such celebrations with Tice's firing. However, I called this happening back in November.

Speaking of November, I also published this wish list back then:

"Names I'd like to see the Vikings interview:Herm Edwards (NY Jets); Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans); Brian Billick (Baltimore Ravens); Mark Richt (University of Georgia); Karl Dorrell (UCLA); Pete Carroll* (USC / *only if Norm Chow signs on to be the O.C.)

As well as this wish list:

Names I'd like to see the Vikings avoid like the plague:Mike Tice; Dennis Erickson; Les Steckel; Jim Fassel; Ron Gardenhire; Dick Jauron; Ted Cottrell; Chris Palmer; Jimmy Rodgers; Dom Capers

What's scary about the second wish list is that Jim Fassel's name has already been bandied about quite liberally today. Apparently, the Vikings have already contacted the Washington Redskins regarding Gregg Williams, who would be a great candidate. Others names to watch / listen for: Ron Rivera (Chicago - DC); Kurt Ferentz (U of Iowa); and Brad Childress (Philadelphia - OC).

This should be an interesting off-season.