Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Never Let You Go

If this image doesn't touch you, you have no soul.
Paige Bennethum, 4, clutches Daddy one last time before he ships off to Iraq last July from Fort Dix, N.J. She said she "didn't want to let go of him." Leave it to a small child to say what a lot of grown-us don't know how to express.
May God bless your daddy, Paige, and as many as possible so they can get home in one piece.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

RIP, Adrian

Patrick Swayze succumbed yesterday to pancreatic cancer, a disease that normally claims its victims within about six months but that Swayze held off for a remarkable two years.
While he's best known for his leading roles in 'Dirty Dancing,' 'Roadhouse' and 'Ghost,' many of us will remember him best not for his solo acts but for a duet of sorts he did with another man who left us too early.
Swayze and Chris Farley squared off in an October 1990 skit on 'Saturday Night Live' that will immortalize both men.
Now both are gone.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cornelius Timberlake

For some reason, I've had this stuck in my head for a long time. Gotta love people - especially celebrities - who can make fun of themselves.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Forever Young

What can I say but that I'm thinking about my son?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Teddy and the Brett

Busy news cycles lately. No sooner did Michael Jackson moonwalk off this mortal coil than Ted Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer, on Aug. 25, at age 77.
It was easy to roll one's eyes at the liberal love-fest and glossy record-polishing that was sure to follow, but nearly two weeks later, I've found the media portrayals to be pretty fair. Chappaquidick was not glazed over; rightfully so. And for all the talk about Kennedy's accomplishments, it stayed fairly loose. This too is fair, considering liberals themselves have been critical of some of the higher-profile programs in which Kennedy played a significant role, including No Child Left Behind, for which Kennedy was a key champion during George W. Bush's first year.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time waxing about Kennedy's record or legacy, as plenty of better writers than I have done so over at; folks who know more about both than I.

While Ted departs, Brett Favre returns. Again. This time for good. Unless his arm hurts too much.
About three weeks after telling the Minnesota Vikings he was done, Favre publicly changed his mind one more time, kicking his legacy ever-closer to the curb of late-night comedic punchlinedom.
Favre looked rough in his first game with the Viqueens, though granted he'd only been in camp about three days. Incidentally, this apparently didn't play well with the guys who'd been busting their humps for the weeks leading up to that point - go figure - as reports surfaced that there was the infamous "schism" infecting the locker room.
He's since looked better, though he obviously has yet to hit the wire-to-wire grind of the regular season.
He has his excuses all set; his supposed damaged biceps tendon and now allegedly cracked rib ready to serve as the fallguys should his age-eroded skills prove unworthy of an NFL starting role.

The Packers looked very strong in three of their four preseason games, hammering Cleveland, Buffalo and Arizona before falling to Tennessee. The starting unit for the new 3-4 defense forced a number of turnovers - turning some directly into points - and the offense scored on 10 of its first 11 drives. It's all preseason, where O's and D's show nothing but vanilla packages, so we can safely assume neither of the Packers' units will look as sharp in the regular season, but anything resembling that should help them compete for the NFC North championship.
They'd better look sharp, as they open the season on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' against the Decatur Staleys.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

RIP, Michael Jackson news

On June 25, 2009, the world changed.
At least that's what the non-stop news coverage of the death of the 'King of Pop,' Michael Jackson, would have us believe.
From the day it was announced that he'd passed away at a hospital in Los Angeles, CNN and other news channels have been wall-to-wall coverage of Jackson's death. And I imagine the tabloids are just getting started.
Speculation about why he died runs rampant, and it appears the coup de grace was his insistence on taking a drug called Diprivan, which is used to put people under for surgery. It isn't so much a 'pain killer' as it is 'death in a bottle' for someone who doesn't know what he's doing. That any physician would hand this to him and say, "Well, all right, Mr. Jackson, whatever you say," is itself worthy of investigation.
And make no mistake, Jackson gave us some great music:

Jackson 5
I Want You Back
Beat It
Billie Jean
Man in the Mirror

But it also seems criminal to have so much attention paid to someone who, in 1993, paid more than $20 million to a 13-year-old boy in an out-of-court settlement after the boy had alleged that Jackson had molested him. While that doesn't necessarily mean Jackson was guilty, it was inevitable for such a situation to arise given Jackson's penchant for allowing young boys to spend nights at his Neverland Ranch.
Jackson's memorial service was today (Tuesday), so while we'll be subjected to the teary image of his daughter squeaking to the world that she loved her daddy (really? We HAVE to drag his previously secluded children into this now?), the news spotlight should now shift toward more worthy topics.

RIP, Farrah Fawcett, who had the misfortune of dying, of cancer, on the same day as Jackson. She was 62. Her unfortunate timing reminds me of poor Eddie Matthews, a Hall of Famer and former Milwaukee Brave, who likely would've gotten a couple of days of good sports coverage ... if he hadn't died on the same day as Dale Earnhardt.

Meanwhile, former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was shot four times early on July 4. His 20-year-old girlfriend, an Iranian national named Sahel Kazemi, lay dead on the couch next to him with a gunshot wound to her head. McNair had a wife of 12 years, as well as four boys.
Police haven't yet ruled it the murder-suicide that it appears to be because of some fishiness on the timeline as to when his buddies discovered the bodies and when they called 911. Apparently a friend of McNair's walked into the apartment and past the bodies, which had been dead for several hours, into the kitchen, then back again, noticed the bodies and then ... called his buddy. About 35 minutes elapsed between his discovery and when they called 911.
What else is fishy, at least to me, is that McNair was shot twice in the chest and twice in the head; not a bad grouping for a young lady who'd just purchased the murder weapon two days prior.

Finally, RIP to the seven soldiers who died in Afghanistan between the day Jackson died and the day of his memorial. Networks devoted about one-20th of the time to them as they dedicated to Jackson, even a week and a half after Jackson died. I wouldn't expect a full biopic on every soldier who is killed in action, but for Anderson Cooper to spend nearly three times as long on the 'Wife Carrying World Championship' as on their deaths is simply inexplicable.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Left silences our heroes

Wausau's American Legion canceled its annual ceremonial tribute to our fallen soldiers scheduled for today, July 4. They usually have speakers and a 21-gun salute.
This year, following the Legion's events, the Wausau Tea Party Patriots were to hold their own events, protesting high taxes and selling merchandise to support families of fallen soldiers.
But the Legion canceled its event after, according to the Wausau Daily Herald, it received about 30 anonymous phone calls from people threatening to boycott the Legion's golf course.

First, there simply has to be more to the story. I have a hard time believing that this bastion of hardened battlefield veterans was scared off by people threatening to withhold golf.

Second, this is another example of intolerance from the Left when it encounters a viewpoint with which it disagrees. If you don't like the Wausau Tea Party, then after the Legion is done with its events ... LEAVE!
Or have ACORN gather up some of your like-minded sycophants for you and stage your own rally (what, in FAVOR of higher taxes? selling trinkets to support the families of fallen terrorists? seriously, what the hell is there to hate about what the Tea Party plans to do?).
The Left should be very proud.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New look at an old hero

This isn't exactly news, but I just watched a two-disc set on the battle at Iwo Jima (February 1945) and was reminded that one of the six soldiers photographed in the iconic image of the men raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi was from Wisconsin.

John Bradley was born in Antigo, raised in Appleton, and ultimately died back in Antigo (July 10, 1923 to Jan. 11, 1994). He was wounded in battle after the flag-raising and was pulled from the front to help sell U.S. war bonds. While he was horrified by what he witnessed on the battlefield, particularly as a Navy corpsman, he did portray himself in the 1949 John Wayne classic "Sands of Iwo Jima".

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was haunted by the torture and death of his friend from Milwaukee, Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski. The two had been holed up during battle on Iwo, when Bradley lit out to assist a fallen Marine. When he returned to where he and Ignatowski had been, his friend was gone and no one seemed to know where he'd gone. It wasn't until days later that Bradley and others discovered Ignatowski's body, which had been dragged down a tunnel by the Japanese. Iggy had been tortured beyond belief, and Bradley never really recovered from the episode.

Following is his citation for the Navy Cross:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima on February 21, 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Rifle platoon. During a furious assault by his company upon a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a merciless crossfire from machine guns."
"With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through the intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of
plasma was necessary to save the man's life. Unwilling to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were. Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission. The Marine's wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety. His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with who he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval Service."

Bradley's story is recounted by his son James in the 2000 book 'Flags of Our Fathers,' which Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood turned into a 2006 movie of the same name.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NCAA champion!

Conquered one pool - tops out of 20 - and came in fourth among 300 in another. Woo-hoo!
NC beat the hell out of Michigan State in the final, extinguishing any semblance of drama after about ... oh, the opening tip.

Now it's on to fantasy baseball, where I'm 2-0 in our head-to-head league. Getting my ass handed to me this week, so it could be a long season. But we're onto Phase 2 of the Triple Crown.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A title within reach

OK, so Lord Bubba's Cup may have eluded me in my fantasy football league last fall. But 2009 is offering hope I can believe in, as I'm holding a narrow lead in my NCAA bracket pool, thanks to my having three of the Final Four correct - Michigan State, UConn, North Carolina, and Villanova upset my pick of Pittsburgh.
If UConn beats Mich St and UNC beats 'Nova to meet in the championship game, I can win it outright if UNC beats UConn. But if UConn beats UNC, it'll come down to our total-points tie-breaker.
Exciting stuff, even for a lukewarm basketball fan.

And since we just drafted for a fantasy baseball league for the summer, it could be the start of an unprecedented Triple Fantasy Crown; the March Madness pool, fantasy baseball, and finally the coup de grace, fantasy football.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NCAA may be SOL with BHO

Stomping all over my lofty mood after having gone 26-6 and 13-2 through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Congress apparently is threatening to examine the anti-trust protection of the NCAA to force it to hold a playoff.

Now, I'm as big an advocate of a D-I playoff as you'll find. The BCS honks (as Jim Rome so lovingly calls them) will never convince me their position is the right one, nor that more money can be made off individual bowls than off a tournament format. (The men's basketball tournament entrenches my belief every year when even non-hoops fans scramble to fill out brackets.) But federal intervention is a sign of nothing less than desperation.

After passing an $800 billion "stimulus" bill that no one in Congress read - a bill that even the vice president admits has about "a 30 percent chance" of working - after unveiling a budget that will add roughly a trillion dollars to the National Debt EVERY YEAR, and while scratching its collective head over how/what to do over rising unemployment and a housing market that's been circling the drain for almost two years, Congress now wants to debate over how college football should crown its champion.

But before we storm the Bastille to lynch those filthy liberal Democrats for daring to bastardize our new national pastime, we need to keep one thing in mind: The College Football Playoff Act of 2009 (HR 390) was introduced by Joe Barton, a REPUBLICAN from Texas. Just when you thought Republicans from Texas were done taking a beating in the national media. ... In this, Barton deserves every snide barb Keith Olbermann and his ilk are likely to hurl his way.