Sunday, December 31, 2006

So Long, Mase

(image caption) The now-deposed Glen Mason. (image courtesy of Getty Images)

A quick post just to beat Superrookie to the punch...

The University of Minnesota just announced that head football coach Glen Mason has been relieved of his duties. In turn, the university has been relieved of several million dollars by buying out the remaining three years of Mason's contract.

As a long-time Gophers football season ticket holder, I have to say that I am glad to see Mason go. If mediocrity was the goal, Mason excelled. But I'm not a fan of mediocrity.

Here's a short list of the people I'd like to see fill Mason's position (listed in alphabetical order):
--Art Briles, head coach at the University of Houston
--Terry Hoeppner, head coach at Indiana University
--Gary Pinkel, head coach at the University of Missouri
--Frank Solich, head coach at Ohio University (and formerly head coach at Nebraska)

Auld Lang Syne

I don't make New Years' resolutions (except for the year that everyone seemed to swear off smoking, so I swore to start -- it didn't keep).

And I usually don't take much time to reflect on the past year's event at the dawn of a new year.

But, I swear, 2006 was shit. And not just for me. I'm sure many out there are feeling the same way.

Here's hoping that 2007 is a better year. Or maybe just not as shitty.

Because, ultimately, hope is all we have.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein al-Tikrit

For Official Release:

A capital punishment is always tragic news, a reason for sadness, even if it deals with a person who was guilty of grave crimes. The position of the The Fog of Work / Tuffy Town has been restated often: The killing of the guilty party is not the way to reconstruct justice and reconcile society. On the contrary, there is a risk that it will feed a spirit of vendetta and sow new violence.

Regrettably, repeated calls by representatives of various nations and international organizations to the Iraqi authorities to refrain from capital punishment were not heard. Saddam Hussein's execution can, and most likely will, lead to further aggravation of the military and political situation and the growth of ethnic and confessional tensions.

The Fog of Work / Tuffy Town does not believe carrying out this sentence will contribute to bringing peace to Iraq.

In these dark times for the Iraqi people, one can only hope that all responsible parties truly make every effort so that glimmers of reconciliation and peace can be found in such a dramatic situation.

(Special thanks to the governments of Brazil and the Russian Federation, along with the Holy See of the Vatican City.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

20 Questions: Smithers (Part 2)

(image caption) The man they call "Smithers" back in the days of Team Beaux Temps. (image courtesy SmithersMPLS.com)

Welcome to Part 2 of "20 Questions" with Smithers. If you missed Part 1 yesterday, click here.

Tuffy: Question 11: How did you meet your leadout man / superdomestique / enforcer Ped?

Smithers: We worked together for a while in 1997-8, but that is not really how I met him.

Tuffy: Well, then you really haven't answer the question, then.

Smithers: I guess not...it was the working together that made us friends. I met him on the racing scene in the early 1990's. We were rivals for the Opus racing series in 1991 I think.

Tuffy: What teams were each of you riding with at the time?

Smithers: He was on the REI team and I was on Loon State.

Tuffy: Did REI morph into something else, or did it just fold?

Smithers: The team was pretty much Ped's operation so when he left it just folded up. Loon State was my operation but the membership was big enough after three years that it kept going when I stopped racing in 1992.

Tuffy: And Ped left REI for GIS (Birchwood)?

Smithers: There was a gap between the two when Ped lived in Seattle and maybe California before he came back. He and I started GIS together in late 1997.

Tuffy: Ok. Question 12: Should the Donimator wear socks?

Smithers: Absolutely not.

Tuffy: Enough about Donimator. Question 13: How sad are you about Mike Sobol leaving town?

Smithers: On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say it's about a 5. It's always too bad when a fast racer leaves town, but I don't know Mike all that well so I won't be all weepy in the pillow about him leaving.

Tuffy: Who would you get "all weepy in the pillow" over?

Smithers: Ummm....pretty much just Ped I guess. Scotty Rob. Billy D. The guys I race with regular like. You. Super Rookie. (dis) Skidsy. should I go on? Skibby.

Tuffy: You really could have stopped at me.

Smithers: oh, ok. I probably should have.

Tuffy: Speaking of Superrookie, though, Question 14: Should Super-Rookie have been able to keep his MN State Cat 3 Kierin Championship?

Smithers: yes

Tuffy: And those who griped were ... ?

Smithers: sore losers.

Tuffy: Well said. Question 15: Fix the MCF in 3 easy steps -- Go!

Smithers: #1: take this out of the mission - "whose purpose is the education and promotion of bicycle racing skills and safety. #2: make the focus of the MCF only the promotion of bicycle races. #3: find a sponsor for the MCF that will pump in hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be used to promote more and better races.

Tuffy: Reasonable enough. Question 16: Why did you name your child "Baby Smithers"?

Smithers: So that everyone would know who's baby he was. I should have spelled it Baby Smithers'

Tuffy: Your use of rational logic is unsurpassed. Question 17: Why did you and Mrs. Smithers choose to enlist a "Skinner Box" in raising Baby Smithers?

Smithers: There is no better device to create or modify behavior. This kid will be ready for grade school in about 6 more months.

Tuffy: Sweet. Now that's American ingenuity at its best! Question 18: What is your position on China's "One Child Policy"?

Smithers: Not sure. I guess I would have to study it more. It seems a bit draconian for the state to dictate the size of your family, but China has a population crisis and this is their attempt to solve the problem. Those that have a real problem with it should adopt a few hundred Chinese kids I guess...

Tuffy: Speaking of multitudes of children, Question 19: Why have you and Mrs. Smithers withheld siblings from Baby Smithers?

Smithers: Well, Baby Smithers is only 13 months old and you can only turn these things out so quickly. This problem should be rectified in late June of 2007.

Tuffy: What happens in June 2007? Are you adopting Superrookie?

Smithers: No! I don't think I could handle two toddlers at once right now. Mrs. Smithers and I are expecting our next child.

Tuffy: Congratulations, Smithers! June 2007...so the Mrs. must be 2-3 months along, which begs the question: do you want to know the gender?

Smithers: Not yet, you don't find that out until 20 weeks or so. We are at 13 weeks.

Tuffy: Well, congratulations again. How big are you planning the Smithers' family to be?

Smithers: We are going to stop at two. Any more than that and cost may be an issue for my next bike.

Tuffy: That's why I have all of zero children. Question 20: Any last thoughts?

Smithers: I don't think that Hannibal had a choice.

Tuffy: Well, Smithers, many thanks for joining us today for "20 Questions"!

Smithers: My pleasure!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

20 Questions: Smithers (Part 1)

(image caption) The man they call "Smithers". (image courtesy SmithersMPLS.com)

Welcome to a new feature here at The Fog of Work / Tuffy Town..."20 questions"!

The first victim of "20 Questions" is Smithers. Smithers is a hero to all/most/some/no bike racers in the Twin Cities and is a feared presence at the Blaine Velodrome where he once held the Hour Record and is currently the reigning Cat 3 Match Sprint State Champion. Having founded four local cycling clubs [Loon State; Gamblers in the Saddle -- GIS (later Birchwood); Beax Temps; and Team Urthel], Smithers is in many ways one of the patriarchs of the current Twin City bike racing scene -- all before the age of 40.

Here, now, is Part 1 of "20 Questions: Smithers"...

Tuffy: Question 1: Given the choice, would you rather be a florist or a coal miner?

Smithers: Florist: the work is not as hard and I would probably live longer. Plus I would get to see the sun shine more often.

Tuffy: Question 2: You’re stranded on a desert island after a plane crash. Your only entertainment is your i-Pod, which survived the ordeal. However, the i-Pod can now only play one song. What one song do you hope is playing?

Smithers: Hummmm...that's a good one...give me a second here...almost there. I can't think of the name of it right now...

Tuffy: Who's it by?

Smithers: One of Beethoven's Piano Concerto's

Tuffy: Can you play the piano?

Smithers: sure, playing the piano is very easy. playing a recognizable tune is not so easy. found it: Piano Concerto No. 5 In E-Flat Major, Op. 73. and that is on my iPod right now.

Tuffy: Question 3: You can have dinner with any three people, living or dead. Which three people do you choose and where are you having dinner?

Smithers: Harry Truman, Hannibal, Jesus. we could go to Punch becuase everyone likes Pizza.

Tuffy: Which Truman bio do you enjoy the most?

Smithers: McCullough. I like all his work.

Tuffy: Did Hannibal make a tactical error in leaving Italy for Zama?

Smithers: I would have to ask him over dinner.

Tuffy: Right. Ok, Question 4: Do you believe that there are other lifeforms comparable to humans elsewhere in the universe?

Smithers: There have to be.

Tuffy: Why?

Smithers: The universe is way to big for it not to be the case. It is inevitable that on some planet around some solar system a life form similar to human beings has evolved, or is in the process of doing so.

Tuffy: "In the process of doing so" leaves the door pretty wide open, but I'll give it to you. Question 5: What's the secret to a happy marriage?

Smithers: Marry someone smarter than you and do what they think is best.

Tuffy: Mission accomplished?

Smithers: absolutely. I don't always like it, but she is right more often than I. It is enivitable that those points where I make my stand it turns out that I will be the most wrong.

Tuffy: Well done. Question 6: Who are the best and worst U.S. Presidents of your lifetime?

Smithers: Depends what you mean by "best"

Tuffy: I'll let you define that...

Smithers: I have to give Reagan credit for lifting the spirit of this country out of the doldrums that it was in during the late 1970's. If Reagan was anything he was a fantastic cheerleader for this country during a point when it seemed that we were suffering some kind of identity crisis. Worst = our current President.

Tuffy: Reagan lifted us out of our doldrums? The movie "Miracle" seems to argue for Mike Eruzione leading us out of the troubles of the late '70s.

Smithers: touche'

Tuffy: I believe that's spelled "tooshay". Question 7: An inside source tells me that you did not much enjoy your high school experience -- why?

Smithers: I don't think I was ever sufficiently challenged.

Tuffy: Mentally or physically or both?

Smithers: mentally. The only thing that kept me in high school at all was the cross country ski team.

Tuffy: What was your favorite subject area and/or teacher?

Smithers: Mrs. Tracy's Humanities classes. A's and B's interupting a long line of C's and D's.

Tuffy: Most everyone says, "Humanities" or "Social Studies". Interesting. Question 8: Ever spent a night in the joint?

Smithers: nope

Tuffy: Not for a lack of trying, I'm sure.

Smithers: no, my worst ever offence has been speeding and some defacement/destruction of property.

Tuffy: What'd you deface and how?

Smithers: Our house was the first one built in the neighborhood I grew up in. So all the other houses being built were a playground for me and the other neighborhood kids. Destruction inevitably followed. I also did some pretty lame grafitti in high school for a week or so.

Tuffy: I'm sure (dis)pencer would be proud. Or offended. Question 9: What was your first bike?

Smithers: First ever or first real racing bike?

Tuffy: First ever was the intention.

Smithers: Some 20" wheel green Sears bike with a banana seat and ape hangers.

Tuffy: What'd you end up doing with that sweet ride?

Smithers: A few years later my dad changed the seat and bars and painted it flat black and turned it into a BMX bike. I rode it for a few more years and I'm not sure what became of it after that.

Tuffy: Hunh. Question 10: If money were no object, what road bike / gruppo / wheels would you ride?

Smithers: When it comes to bike stuff, money is no object. I pretty much ride what I want already. It might be cool to have some hootchie carbon rim wheels but I would just end up breaking them on the first ride.

Tuffy: Just so readers who don't know you are aware, then, what road bike / gruppo / wheels are you on right now?

Smithers: TIME VXRS ULTEAM frame, Campagnolo Record Carbon group, Fulcrum R1 wheels.

Tuffy: Apparently money is no object.

Tomorrow: Part 2, including discussion on Superrookie, Donimator, Mike Sobol, Ped, and a super special secret announcement! Be sure not to miss it!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hey You

Hey...you...on the left...

How'd we do at Grumpy's (NE Mpls) Trivia tonight?

From where I was situated outside (don't comment), it sounded like we may have gotten top two...at least I heard her mock our team name (a disrespectful intercourse manuever) around the time top two would have been announced...

Anyway...let me know how we did. You didn't pick up when I called later.

And I owe you a pitcher or two...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Enemy of Your Enemy

The United States' State Department announced today that the U.S. was backing Ethiopia in its war with Al-Qaeda aligned forces residing in Somalia.

Once again, the U.S. is using the ever-effective "the enemy of my enemy is my ally" approach.

And that's always good logic. Really.

Look how good it worked in Vietnam, or during the Iran-Iraq War, or in Central America.

Good sleuthing, State Department.

Monday, December 25, 2006

R.I.P. Godfather / Long Live Rocky Balboa

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Fog of Work!

If all of us here at The Fog of Work / Tuffy Town could get all of you a gift, this is what it would be:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Viva La Norris Division!

(image caption) Immortal Norris Division tough guy Bob Probert.

Rumors leaking out of the NHL home offices in Toronto are leading some to predict a realignment.

In this proposed realignment, the NHL would shift back to a "two divisions per conference" model.

The most exciting news? The return of the Norris Division!

Sure, it wouldn't be the Norris of old, but all of your old favorites would be there: Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis! Get the penalty boxes ready!

Nashville, Columbus, and Dallas would round-out the seven-team Norris.

Hooray, NHL! Finally a step in the right direction!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Behind the Muppets

Behind the Muppets...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brain Battle

Trivia Contest
Team Tuffy: 1
Team Superrookie: 0

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things that make you say, "Hmmmm..."

Do you ever wonder if Eddie Murphy is pissed that Will Smith stole his career?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crazy Talk

Sometimes I walk around saying the stupidest shite just to see if it'll be posted on this site.

Or not.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tag, AKA Five Questions

So, I apparently got tagged by Ugly Bike to address five things that people may not know about me.

It seems as though Ugly Bike had been initially tagged by MasiGuy, who himself has partaken in this ritual in Decembers past.

So, I'll play along. But know that I value my privacy.

Five Things You May Not Know About Tuffy
1) I'm 6'1.5" tall.
I'm neither 6'1" nor 6'2". This doesn't seem like a big deal, but height seems to come up in daily dealing more than you would think. Everything from "How tall are you?" to "What the hell do I write down on this drivers' license form?" Here's another example: when I was a high school athlete, I would tell college baseball and hockey recruiters that I was 6'2", but I would tell college football recruiters that I was 6'1". The reason? I felt that I may possibly be deemed "too tall" for the football position I played, whereas added height wouldn't hurt me in baseball or hockey, in my mind.

2) My feet have grown a half-size since college.
This has been incredibly frustrating and has led to some bad purchases. Additionally, since I never seemed to fit into Nike sizing correctly, I gave up buying their product completely, but I usually tell people that I did so because of the whole sweatshop thing.

3) "Yes" means "Yes" and "No" means "No" and "Maybe" means "No" too.
If you ask me to do something and I respond, "Yes", I will be there/help you/etc unless I forget about it (which does happen). If you ask me to do something and I respond, "No", I will not be there/help you/etc. If you ask me to do something and I respond, "Maybe", that's means "No" too about 99% of the time. Like tonight: someone invited me to a gathering at their house. I'm not all that excited about attending, so I responded "Maybe". At the same time, I would feel badly about not attending, and that accounts for the 1% deviation from time-to-time.

4) I don't like being in crowded places.
Want to go to that popular and hip new bar? Have fun! Want me to be civil while waiting in line to register for a bike race with a poorly planned out registration tent? Not going to happen. I don't like to be in crowds. I don't like to be in crowded places. It's just the way it is. I haven't been to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" in ten years. Final example: I refuse to drive on the highway on my way to work. In reality, it would probably save me about five minutes, but I'd rather avoid the morning/afternoon car chaos and stress and drive the city streets.

5) I have been shaving my head for a little over ten years straight.
With one notable exception: the Spring/Summer of 2001 when, for a long time, I could not successfully gain employment, so I just said, "Screw it" and let it grow all summer long. I got a job with the relatively long hair in August and only cut it the day before I started work.

To continue the "tag" game, if any of these people are up for it, I select (in alphabetical order):
Lunatic Biker

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Top of His Game

One of these guys is right now attempting a comeback (hint: the wrong one).

Lennox Lewis, at the peak of his abilities, versus Tommy "The Duke" Morrison from 1995.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Was is over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Q: When the going gets tough, what do the tough do?

A: They fill their bodies full of anything and everything in the medicine cabinet and go out and win Stage 17 of the 2006 TdF!

Now you know what tape I'm watching tonight...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oh Snap!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fortress of Solitude

So I met up with Smithers yesterday at his own personal Fortress of Solitude. After an hour and a half long discussion, the only thing I really remember was this exchange:

Tuffy: Why do you hate the MCF, Smithers?
Smithers: Because its made up of Americans.

Well put, sir. Well put.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"What the FWT?!?"

Monday, December 04, 2006


The New York Times sez:

"(Barry) Bonds can also offer potential suitors an added source of revenue: his chase for the home run record. He is on track to surpass Hank Aaron’s career total of 755 late next season. When Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record of 70 in 2001, attendance increased by about 5,000 a game during the last 40 games of the year, and once he reached 69, every game sold out.

A team that comes close to selling out most of its games would be unable to accommodate the extra fans who would pay to see Bonds break the record. But one with a big stadium and mediocre attendance could increase its revenue by more than $5 million.

Add it all up, and one team trumps the rest: the Minnesota Twins."

Terry Ryan would have to wrestle somewhere between $11-15 million out of Scrooge's pocketbook, swallow hard, and write a check to rent Bonds for one year, thereby creating a media whirlwind and potentially dividing a young lockerroom.

In short: Don't bet on it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

And the head coach of your University of Minnesota Golden Gophers...

Quick update on the University of Minnesota mens basketball situation...

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that coach Dan Monson resigned under pressure last Thursday, one day after a disastrous home loss versus Clemson.

During the second half of the game Wednesday night, many prominent Gopher boosters walked out of the arena in disgust. Not coincidently, negotiations for a buyout of Monson's contract began the next morning, and by afternoon, Monson was out.

According to my sources, here are the candidates to fill the position following this season (listed in order of booster preference):

1) Flip Saunders
This would be a homecoming for Saunders, a U of M alumnus who played on the team in the late 1970s. Saunders is known to harbor dreams of someday coaching his alma mater, and many prominent boosters would like to see this happen. A huge complication is going to be Saunders' significant unfulfilled contract for the Detroit Pistons, though word is that a solution could be found -- apparently not everyone in Detroit is enamored with Saunders' work.

2) Rick Majerus
Majerus was briefly a candidate for the position the last time around when Monson got the job. At the time, Majerus coached a formidable Utah program and never whole-heartedly made himself available for the job. Later forced out of the Utah position, Majerus resigned due to "health concerns" -- which Majerus actually has -- but this was actually only a cover at the time for more serious interpersonal problems. Majerus could become a serious candidate only if Saunders is unavailable.

3) Steve Lavin
Lavin initially had success at UCLA but was fired in 2003 after several seasons which could appropriately be labeled "underachieving". Lavin's resume also includes public criticism by Baron Davis of inhibiting the development of his players. He's a notable name and he's available, which essentially summarizes his appeal.

Other names:
--Mike Montgomery: Formerly the coach at Stanford, Montgomery most recently failed in the professional arena during a brief stint with the Golden State Warriors. Montgomery is a proven coaching commodity, but is not seen as someone who would transition well to the Midwest.

--Jim Molinari: Currently the interim coach for the Gophers, Molinari probably won't get serious consideration unless he really turns the team around in a little more than half a season. Molinari has previous experience as a head coach at Southern Illinois and Bradley and is a defensive specialist -- a trait that factors well into Big Ten coaching.

--Trent Tucker: Tucker will not be offered the head coaching position. However, there is a lot of talk that Tucker could be offered the top assistant spot under the next coach -- especially if that coach is Saunders -- due to Tucker's knowledge of and potential ability to recruit the Chicago area.

--Kevin McHale: McHale has clearly not enjoyed the past two seasons as General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and another lousy season this year may finally push him out the door. Like Saunders, McHale is a former Gophers standout, and certain individuals believe that the Gophers position may reignite McHale's love for the game -- a passion that has clearly been missing in the near-recent past.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"I am a huge supporter of our military veterans...which is why I always shop at Old Navy."