Saturday, September 30, 2006

Are you for serious?

Are you for serious?


So on Thursday I was riding northbound on the Mpls side of the river near Minnehahaha Academy when a car behind me honked, paused, then slammed on the accelerator and consciously whizzed perilously close to me as I pedaled along.

As the offending vehicle sped by me, I couldn't help but notice the "rainbow sticker" affixed to the rear-end of the car.

And I was puzzled.

Puzzled by the fact that someone who, by their personal behaviors and interests as a GLBT-oriented individual, tends to be marginalized in our society would go right ahead and marginalize another person based on my behaviors and tendencies as a bicyclist.

Well done, my GLBT friend! Hope you thought about the irony as much as I did!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Difference

[image caption] Non-loathsome behavior carried out by patriots and heroes in our noble war on terror and the Geneva Conventions. (image courtesy the U.S. Military)

The difference between Democrats and Republicans:

Democrats quibble over the definition of the word "is" in relation to fellatio in the Oval Office.

Republicans quibble over the interpretation of "outrages upon personal dignity" in relation to the torture of prisoners of war.

Oh, and Republicans called Clinton "loathsome".

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Kennedy Campaign

[image caption] Mark Kennedy and his campaign tell lots of "big fish" stories. Call and get one for yourself today! (image courtesy MarkKennedy.Com)

So I called the Kennedy campaign today.

Me: "Why is Mark Kennedy starting attack ads instead of informing the voters about his views?"
Them: "Some people might call them attack ads, but we're just following up on Klobuchar's invitation for people to examine her record."
Me: "I didn't major in political science, but I do know that when a candidate takes out an ad that only speaks negatively about their opponent that that's called an attack ad."


Them: "Well, Mark Kennedy is an independent voice in the House, and..."
Me: "13% of the time he is."
Them: "He is what?"
Me: "He's independent 13% of the time according to his 2005 voting record."


Them: "Mark didn't want to vote for a bill that allowed for drilling in ANWAR, but he wasn't going to vote against protecting (with body armor) our troops."
Me: "Did Mark chastize the bill's author for not letting the two issues stand alone?"
Them: "Of course he did."


Them: "We need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes to win the war on terror."
Me: "About how long does Mark think that that will take?"
Them: "As long as it takes."
Me: "What does Mark think about the classified document that was leaked over the weekend that states that the U.S. presence in Iraq is making the world more unsafe and is serving to recruit new terrorists?"
Them: "We haven't seen that report."
Me: "It's all over the news."
Them: "Well, we haven't seen it."

I didn't bother to ask if they had heard about the Lindbergh baby or the Hindenberg yet. I apologize for the oversight.

Call the Kennedy campaign yourself if you like. Toll-free in the metro: 651.644.2506

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cross Season + Cross Bike = ?

[image caption] Downtown Minneapolis, as seen from the (dis)pencer lair. (image courtesy (dis)pencer)

Cross season + Tuffy's cross bike = Tuffy's not racing cross. Won't do it. Don't bother to ask. It's not going to happen.

I'm just putting it back together so I don't have to abuse the "A" bike in bad weather, i.e. September through April.

However, a big thanks goes out to (dis)pencer for helping me retool my cross bike ('03 Trek XO1) over the weekend. I would offer a big thanks to Superrookie and the Little Guy, but they didn't really do anything other than to occupy space. Wait. Superrookie donated some old chainring bolts. Thanks, Superrookie!

Speaking of space, the space was the infamous/fabled/mysterious (dis)pencer lair. I finally got to see it with my own eyes...and it exceeded all expectations. I was thinking it was going to be this small, dark little studio space in a warehouse district building.

Boy, was I wrong.

The (dis)pencer lair has a fully-equipped bicycle repair room with heated floors and three walls worth of mirrors. Walking back towards the front door, you proceed through the "entertainment room", replete with big screen tv, all sorts of video games and video gaming systems, leather coach and love seat, ottomans, zebra striped area rugs, and one helluva sound system. Crazy.

[image caption] (dis)pencer lair's entertainment room. (image courtesy Point2Homes.Com/(dis)pencer)

Then, there's the master suite (with another huge mirror -- guess where), heated floors in the bathroom (w/ jacuzzi), and a killer view of downtown. Full mahogany in the master suite.

The kitchen is full-on stainless -- kind of like Moby's kitchen had when they showed his "MTV Cribs" episode a few years back. Even a stainless eating table!
[image caption] The (dis)pencer lair's kitchen. No joke. (image courtesy (dis)pencer)

Oh...and here's the killer part: everything in the place is recycled/recyclable. (dis)pencer's all about the environment.

So, naturally, Superrookie wants to claim this as his new team's pad. But I can't imagine (dis)pencer's going to let that happen.

We'll see...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dis Prez Gotsum Madskillz


(image courtesy Ferraro-Zugibe.Com)

"Words of the Street, Vol. I"

De-in-jure (di-in'jer) tr. v. 1. To recover from harm, damage, or hurt incurred previously.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Let the Games Begin

[image caption] "Oh, Amy...Just you wait until I start up my hate machine." (image courtesy MPR.org)

This afternoon I heard a political attack add endorsed by Mark Kennedy on the radio.

Slightly annoyed and, frankly, disgusted by its content, I attempted to contact the Mark Kennedy for Senate campaign to voice my displeasure.

In doing so, however, I stumbled on a different controversy.

Once at MarkKennedy.com, I read this statement:
"We were informed last evening of a serious security breach of sensitive Kennedy campaign information by a senior member of Amy Klobuchar’s campaign. Due to the fact this information was accessed via the internet, we are taking precautionary measures to protect our campaign information. We apologize for the inconvenience. The full features of our website will be restored once this matter has been resolved."

Needless to say, I wouldn't be able to get the Kennedy campaigns telephone number from his site.

But, I was puzzled. Why hadn't I heard about this?

So I went over to WCCO.Com, where I found a news story about Kennedy's site. According to WCCO, Klobuchar's (now former) chief spokesperson had been provided information by an anonymous blogger allowing her to view a yet-to-be-aired Kennedy campaign commercial.

The blogger, who has since come forward, is Noah Kunin. Kunin has stated:
"At no point in the process did I circumvent security measures. The Web site containing this ad can be accessed by anyone with Internet access. It was in no way secured."

Regardless, Klobuchar dismissed the spokesperson in question.

This whole episode rings a bit hollow on Mark Kennedy's end, however. To wit, ask yourself the following questions:
1) If the commercial was readily available on the internet, why claim that a "serious security breach" had occurred?

2) If the commercial was hosted on a third party's website, why claim that Kennedy's personal site had been breached?

3) If there really was a security breach at Kennedy's site, why not shut the entire site down rather than shutting down every page on the site except for what might be the most security-threatened page on the site: the financial donation page?

The reason is quite simple.

In fact, it is the same reason why Kennedy's campaign has attacked the Star-Tribune for reporting a twenty-four point Klobuchar lead in the polls.

It is the same reason why Kennedy began airing attack ads on September 16, choosing not to discuss his own positions on issues, but to sling mud regarding Klobuchar.

This is the act of a desperate man and a desperate campaign.

Kennedy has no choice but to distort the facts and to frame his opponent in the worst light possible.

It is the Kennedy blueprint. It is the Kennedy way.

Kennedy doesn't run on who he is -- he runs on lies and distortions aimed at his opposition.

The sad fact is that this methodology has, in the end, come to define who Mark Kennedy is: a very sad and shallow man who resorts to lies because he can't defend his own record.

Shame, shame, Mark Kennedy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

UFOs Confirmed

(image courtesy Science-Explorer.de)

On this day in history, a series of events began to unfold that confirmed the existence of UFOs.

According to the History Channel, future President Jimmy Carter filed a report of a UFO with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon (NICAP) on September 18, 1973.

According to Carter's report, he had been waiting outside of a building in Leary, Georgia in October 1969 with 10-to-12 other people. The small crowd was awaiting the beginning of a Lion's Club meeting when they noticed something in the sky.

Carter reported that the unidentifiable visible object was "very bright [with] changing colors and about the size of the moon. The object hovered about 30 degrees above the horizon and moved in toward the earth and away before disappearing into the distance."

The incident and the subsequent report became a minor issue in Carter's 1976 Presidential election campaign. Carter's incumbent opponent, Gerald Ford, attempted to paint Carter's sighting and report in an unflattering way in a calculated effort to question Carter's integrity and, to some extent, his sanity.

To Carter's credit, he confirmed the sighting as well as his report and further vowed never to ridicule anyone who had claimed to see a UFO.

Going a step further, Carter announced that, if elected President, he would declassify all government knowledge on and of UFOs.

However, after his Presidential victory, Carter announced that the government could not divulge any information on UFOs due to "defense implications" and the larger issue of national security.

Clearly implied in Carter's presidential change of heart, however, was the tacit acknowledgement that classified information on UFOs did in fact exist.

Thus, it can be reasonably deduced, if there were no evidence, there would be no threat to either the national security nor national defense.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bo Knows Retro-Gamers

There are three kinds of people in the world.

The first group doesn't play video games. They either don't have access, don't have the spare time, or generally aren't interested. I belong to this group -- I'm not interested.

The second group are hardcore gamers. They are constantly upgrading their system, beating games, and waiting for the latest versions of their favorite games to hit retail.

The final group, I think, is the most fascinating. These are your retro-gamers. Oh, they love them some video games, but don't bother asking them about the latest and greatest. Nope. The retro-gamer rocks Atari, Sega, and/or the original Nintendo. Maybe even Nintendo 64, but that's pushing it.

Hell, the Chatterbox Pub in south Minneapolis (and, to a lesser extent, their Highland Park location) has essentially made a business model of offering retro video games (and board games) to their customers. I've always wondered how they sold that business model to the bank: "Ok, we'll have second-hand couches, see, and we'll position them around an old Atari, and we'll let them have at it on 'Pole Position', see..."

There are several games that are the gold standard to retro-gamers. But, to me, the pinnacle of nearly two decade-old technology is the original "Tecmo Bowl" for the original Nintendo.

Now, I don't play "Tecmo Bowl", mind you, but I admire it from afar.

I think the last time I played "Tecmo Bowl" was in "Tecmo" tournament my freshman year in college. Each of twenty-or-so guys threw in five bucks. $100 pot to the winner. We drew straws for team selection.

I remember that I had a couple of sleeper teams. I especially liked Denver because John Elway could sling it and the "Three Amigos" could catch it. Plus, Karl Mecklenberg was pretty good on D.

Somehow, however, the N.Y. Giants fell into my lap. That meant that I got the amazing Lawrence Taylor anchoring my defense. Add to that Phil Simms at QB, and the "thunder and lightning" team of Otis Anderson and Dave Meggett in the backfield.

I got beat in the first round. That's the last time I ever played "Tecmo Bowl".

The team everyone wanted, though, was the Los Angeles Raiders. Sure, they had Howie Long on defensive line and Marcus Allen in the backfield with a capable Jay Schroeder at the helm throwing to Tim Brown. However, the Raiders also had the best video game athlete of all-time: Bo Jackson.

The Bo Jackson character was so ridiculous that he could do things like this (oh, and pay attention to the game clock as this play goes on):

Here's the best part about Bo Jackson, though: people don't remember that Bo Jackson really was that talented in real life.

Check out this clip if you don't remember:


Friday, September 15, 2006

Henry Sibley Shits the Bed

[image caption] "So, Phil, do you think KARE 11 will spring to buy me a mic from this century anytime soon?" (image courtesy of KARE11.com)

Before Superpookie goes on his site and blathers, let me beat him to the punch.

Superrookie and I attended the Como Park (3-0) vs. Henry Sibley (0-3) football game this afternoon at Griffin Stadium.

This game represented a battle between our respective alma maters. Since I have two sheepskins hanging on my wall, it should be apparent that Superrookie's the one that attended Como Park.

Sibley had been ranked #9 in the metro in pre-season polls, but knowledgable observers knew that the ranking was erroneous. The pollsters had been swayed by the fact that Sibley had two U of M recruits in quarterback Phil Haig and running back Andre Tate.

(Here's some footage of the most arrogant sportscaster in town, Randy Shaver, conducting a brutal interview of Haig during pre-season. Haig is sporting a sweet mohawk at the time. To top it off, Shaver tries to blow smoke up Haig's ass by telling him that he and Tate are the first two D-I players ever from Sibley; too bad Shaver's wrong. Quarterback Matt Booher played for Oregon State in the late 1980s.)

Unfortunately for Sibley, unless Haig and Tate play all eleven positions on both sides of the ball, the cupboard is pretty empty.

Add to that the fact that Tate broke a bone in his foot over the summer, didn't undergo immediate surgery, and, thus delayed his recovery by four-to-six weeks. He is just getting back to full-strength right now.

Sibley proved us doubters right, losing their first game this season to perennial Classic Suburban Conference doormat Simley.

The Warriors followed that up with a vomit-inducing loss at Tartan in Week Two.

As a bonus, Haig suffered some torn cartilege in his knee last week versus Tartan and will miss at least the next two games.

Because of all of this, I went ahead and paid off my wager of dinner at the Nook to Superrookie before the game.

I was that confident. That my alma mater would suck.

They did.

Sibley lost to an unspectacular Como Park team 13-6.

Congratulations, Superrookie. Oh, and if you call one more time to ask the score of today's game, I'm going to shove your Nextel phone down your throat the next time I see you...which will be tomorrow for the Minnesota-Temple game at 1pm. This will be the first game of the rest of my life as a Gopher football season ticket holder.


Watch for a Tuffy Racing Inc recap of this season's bicycle racing, coming soon!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pop Goes Liriano

From ESPN.com:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Francisco Liriano has heard plenty about Cy Young during a spectacular rookie season.

Now that he is out for the rest of the season, another pitcher might be entering the conversation -- Tommy John.

Liriano's highly anticipated return to the Minnesota rotation came to a sudden halt because of elbow problems Wednesday and Dan Haren pitched eight shutout innings, leading the
Oakland Athletics over the Twins 1-0.

"Obviously he won't be pitching again," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Something is in there bothering and continuing to stop him. ... Obviously when he gets in game and puts a little extra torque in there, something is not right. We have to make sure we stop it and do what we have to do."

Pitching for the first time in more than a month, Liriano slumped off the mound in the third inning. Trainers and Gardenhire immediately rushed out to attend to the All-Star lefty and a hush fell over the crowd that had been so excited to see him back in action.
"The last two pitches I threw, I felt a pop and it really hurts," Liriano said.

Liriano walked slowly toward the dugout and fans gave him a standing ovation -- clearly, they were wondering whether they had seen the last of him this year.

The Twins, leading the AL wild-card race, announced later that he had pain in his left elbow.
He had an MRI exam after the game, and thoughts immediately turned to Tommy John surgery, a ligament-replacement procedure that typically keeps pitchers out for more than a year.

Yeah. So, I'm going to go ahead and stand by what I said on August 10:
If the Twins can't get Liriano's mechanics figured out while also easing him into 200+ inning totals for a season, my guess is that Liriano won't have a very long MLB career at all.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oh Snap!

The first kid is ok, but the kid in the red shirt is why this has been posted...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Improve MCF!?!

[image caption] MCF Racing: On the road to nowhere? (image courtesy of MichaelGrundmann.Com)

So, I just happened to find the content for the last post on the "Forum" page at WiSport.Org. But, because it presented Timmer making the case that WiSport's organization was doing some things better than their counterparts on the Minnesota side of the river, I had some ideas of my own.

"Tuffy's Ideas to Improve MCF"*
*These ideas are just that: ideas. I'm just throwing them out there.

1) Make pre-registration a possibility. This relieves the registration area and time at the race itself. If a race refuses to offer pre-reg, at least streamline registration on-site (the situation at the State RR was a disaster).

2) Invest in chip timing. MCF looks really bad when it's a UCI program but the citizen-racer organization in Wisconsin is the one with chip timing at all their races. MCF doesn't have to own the chip system necessarily, but just make sure there's one at the races. There are providers out there.

3) Make better investments. If you look at the most recent MCF minutes, they talk about spending $4,000 on public relations. Why not make sure your organzation is completely sound before you begin "selling it" to outsiders? And let's shit-can the banquet and the thousands of dollars spend on that, too. Banquets don't interest anyone under the age of 30.

4) Get your crap together with "funding youth cycling". The concept of supporting "youth cycling" seems like something of a sacred cow at MCF. And who's willing to speak out against the way "youth cycling" has been handled at MCF when people would then accuse you of speaking out against the kids themselves? Well, I am. Either 1) make youth cycling initiatives the sole responsibility of MCF teams and hammer the teams about doing a good job with it (and stop funding it with MCF monies), or 2) make a "MCF Youth Team" and just get it over with. The Alan Team is the de facto youth team right now; why not just fund Alan from MCF funds and point all youngsters towards that team?

5) Communicate to teams that the motivation behind throwing races shouldn't be to make money for the team. Putting races on should be to promote the health of the sport and to increase racing opportunities. When teams start looking at races as a money-maker, well, nothing good can come from that, as teams will start to cut costs (read: "effort") in order to make a couple more bucks for the team. The "timing chip" argument could be brought up here again. Bottomline: the motivation to put on a race should be...to put on a race. Break even financially, call it a day, and thank every race promoter who does the work to put on a quality race.

6) Communicate to riders that the motivation behind riding races shouldn't be to make money. Don't think this happens? Well, I don't have enough fingers to count how many times I've heard from Cat 1/2 riders this year about how this-or-that race does-or-doesn't pay well enough to merit riding that particular race. And that notion is crap. Let's trim the purses for the elite riders a bit, bulk the purses for everyone else (masters/women/lower categories) and spread the love a bit more. As its set up right now, a Cat 4/5 rider is simply paying the purse for the Cat 1/2s. The response will be, "Well, if we don't put the money in the 1/2 purses, those riders won't show up." They won't? Where the hell else are they going to race? Are they going to go to Illinois or Nebraska chasing an extra $50 bucks? Get real.

That's all I gots for now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

MCF vs. WiSport

[photo caption] WiSport racing at Shell Lake in 2004. That's a young Bjorn Selander in his Big Ring Flyers kit leading the pack through the sketchiest corner on the course. That also appears to be the "Flying Forehead" on Selander's wheel. (image courtesy ShellLakeOnLine.Com)

Timmer puts it out there. Check it out:

Butch Dushack (Member, WiSport Board of Directors):
News: We are almost at the end of another great season for Wisport. Our membership is at almost 300 members, our sponsors remain generous with their support of our club, and we are in pretty good financial shape. We have made some changes this year that seem to be doing well, and we have many inquires about new races for next year. There do remain some challenges for the club, but I think that the Club has the necessary talent and dedicated members that can and will address them.

I have been in Wisport for 17 of its 18 years of exsistence. When Dar took over from Jim, I started helping Dar and kind of ended up as Dar’s main helper (other than his family). When we lost Dar it seemed natural that I was the one in the best position to take over. I did, and with a lot of help from Gwen, Ken and the Board, we were able to continue in the best spirit of Wisport.

I am thinking it’s time for a planned change. Someone else should have the opportunity to work with this great organization and continue providing an outlet for the “normally obsessed”.

The Board is now considering what to do next. We think that this forum is perhaps a place for you to get your ideas to the Board. What will be the future for Wisport? Now is the time for you to have some meaningful input—the next managing director will come from within Wisport. What do you think is the best way to find that person? Is it You?

Response from Timmer:
whomever takes over I hope they continue to listen to the riders. I'm amazing that a voice on a simple forum can make changes for the better. this is WISPORT's strong point. it's the MCF's weak point. They require you to attend a meeting on a Monday night to vote on issues in person and the wrong people are taking the MCF in the wrong direction with only their personal interests in mind. WIPSORT's continued success and growth are the result of selflessness of its members and the board of directors. Good luck in finding someone to carry the torch you and Dar before you carried so well.

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Crocodile Hunter

[photo caption] "The Crocodile Hunter" in the process of, well, hunting a crocodile. (image courtesy of News.Com.Au)

Steve Irwin, better known as "The Crocodile Hunter", has died from a fatal encounter with a stingray while filming a program off the coast of Australia. According to reports, the Irwin did not see the semi-buried stingray, and it defensibly stabbed him in the chest with its barbed tail spear. Irwin was 44 years old.

Fil "The Mongoose Stalker" Haugh and Matt "The Fieldmouse Pursuer" Hayes, both of whom were with "The Crocodile Hunter" at the time of the attack, were reportedly uninjured.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Don't Do Crack

Friday, September 01, 2006

Democracy is the answer! Seriously!

(image courtesy of Inkcinct.com)

Every year, millions of American school children are indoctrinated into the idea that the end-all be-all of political systems is democracy.

It can't be any other way. Any other way would be silly. If societies and nations want to reach the pinnacle of political evolution, they will adopt democracy.

The United States is even helping Iraq to realize this right now.

(Green text = sarcasm)

So, how is democracy really working?

How did you like the United States presidential election of 2000 with disputed Florida ballots?

Or the 2004 Ukrainian election of their prime minister, which resulted in a week of protests, a new election, and a new victor?

Or how about the 2004 United States presidential election with minorities in Ohio (a major swing state) claiming their opportunities to vote were severely infringed?

Or what about the disputed July 2006 presidential election in Mexico which is threatening to topple the nation's government?

In all of these situations, the fatal flaw inherent in all democracies has been exposed: voter fraud.

And no one is really stepping forward to offer any useful, concrete and permanent solutions.

Perhaps we should have paid attention to Plato's criticism of democracy...provided over two thousand years ago.

Democracy! Hell yeah!