History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Floyd R. Turbo would not be marginalized today

Remember Floyd R. Turbo? People my age certainly do. Sometimes I bring up memories and find younger people to be clueless. Let me explain that Floyd R. Turbo represented "the Trump base" many years before Trump entered the political arena. Turbo was on television in the days of Watergate. He was a character created by Johnny Carson. He talked like a typical member of today's "30 percent" i.e. the Trump base.
And we were supposed to laugh at him. He was the "everyman" who lacked education and had paranoia about the (changing) world around him. We found him to be lovable in the same way as Archie Bunker. That's another name where young people might require a primer. We all assumed back then that America was moving forward despite such dinosaurs among us. Turbo and Bunker were curiosities. Audiences laughed.
Carson had his characters just like our Minnesota radio personality Steve Cannon. Carson was a celebrity in a way that is difficult to achieve today. Carson reigned on nighttime TV in the days of the "Big 3" TV networks. Just about anyone around the water cooler could join in, in a conversation about the previous night's Carson monologue. Carson had his character "Aunt Blabby" who conformed to the stereotype of old people. "She" had a thing for Ed McMahon, remember?
Well, people my age will remember Walter Cronkite was a really big deal. Thing is, my family lived in a neighborhood where our only TV network was NBC for a long time. So, the "big deal" for us was Huntley and Brinkley on NBC. "Good night, Chet - good night, David." We read about how Cronkite made his historic commentary about how maybe it was time to withdraw from Vietnam. Why did it come down to him doing this, and why did it take so long? Our media universe then was top-down, not bottom-up like today. Today, Americans would turn on something like the Vietnam war, and the media universe would readily grease the whole effort. The new media are often an agent for good.
But today we have the "media president," the Twitter president, who is raising all sorts of questions about suitability. And we learned that international politics can get into the realm of media with nefarious motives - it's the Russia thing.
 
Perspective gets altered
Let's be clear that "Russia" or "the Soviet Union" were totally the bad guys in an earlier time. The Cold War was so intense, it affected the way we educated our children, as we felt we had to stay ahead of the "Russkies." The whole space program can be explained by this: our drive to be "first" in getting to the moon etc. Today I think we have come to our senses in education and have made school life less intense and rigid. Why are we having kids if we can't make life pleasant for them?
Today we'd view the Floyd R. Turbo character in a mixed way. We'd have to be careful being too critical. The Trump base, after all, made certain we'd get Trump as president. Every day we are bombarded with news about how absolutely quirky the president is. He is making certain porn stars into household names. He regularly makes assessments that are not grounded in fact. Too often, the media people who try to point this out, like those on MSNBC, are ripped as "biased" and part of the "far left." It puts progressive types totally on their heels.
Gone are the days when the Floyd R. Turbo crowd was seen as an eccentric, regressive minority. Even colleges that should know better have been forced to a degree to kow-tow to the right. Logic be damned. Science be damned. That is our world of today.
Why is it so important for Russia to scheme in order to promote the Trump crowd? Russia along with Trump sympathizers seem to want to argue that even if there was some hacking or intervention, it doesn't matter. Trump constantly asserts he would have won anyway. If the intervention was of no consequence, why was it undertaken? It's like watching Bill Belichick, coach of the Patriots, get caught cheating in some way, and then when forced to explain it, he says "well, it didn't give us any advantage anyway." Well, why did he do it ("deflategate" etc.)? If just one play in a game can be transformed from the (properly inflated) ball bouncing off a receiver's fingers, to a successful catch, it can affect the outcome of the game easily.
 
Peel away to find motivation
So the Russians strive to help the American right wing? Why does it matter? The Russians know that the American Republican Party does not believe in government. Republicans do not want the American people to like government. This is a key defining feature. So if you are out to disrupt America, the Republican Party is a good base from which to begin.
Republicans or conservatives can have a healthy influence toward fiscal discipline when their influence is limited. The real danger sign, one we haven't thought enough about, is when Republicans become the dominant majority. All kinds of bad things can happen when a party takes charge that does not believe in regulations. All kinds of sinister things will eventually happen, the kind of things and motivations we see exposed on the CNBC TV program "American Greed." It takes a while for these things to incubate.
Aside from the Republican Party's intrinsic traits, there is the inherent problem of "one-party rule." The Russians know this is a threat to U.S. stability. The desired checks and balances get removed.
 
Ties with NRA understood
Let's ask why the Floyd R. Turbo Republicans are so knee-jerk in step with the National Rifle Association. Let's review how Republicans distrust government and are even antagonistic. Well, Second Amendment loyalists talk about how our underpinning of gun rights is the potential need for the citizenry to rise up against the government! Thus they'll need their guns, right? Heaven help us, of course, if that sentiment actually begins to take hold. But this is how the Floyd R. Turbo camp thinks.
As a consequence we see government bogged down as if in quicksand when it comes to enacting common sense gun control. We could all assert ourselves and contact our representatives. But we're going up against the gun lobby and its money. It seems insurmountable now. Those wonderful kids from Florida are trying to change things. Will this enlightened drive bite the dust like all others? I suspect it will, sadly. What will rescue us? Perhaps we'll need an economic crisis that scares the hell out of us. Too bad that might be necessary.
But we must pray we can escape the shackles of the Floyd R. Turbo crowd and the porn star president.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, February 16, 2018

Home fans cheer MACA girls as they win by 11

Tigers 52, Sisseton (SD) 41
MACA came on strong for a 52-41 win in girls hoops play before the home crowd. The opponent was Sisseton, South Dakota, on February 12. The Tigers showed their characteristic strong suits. Post player Malory Anderson was important with her 21 points and ten rebounds. Further away from the basket, fans saw Riley Decker and Maddie Carrington show pinpoint shooting. Decker made three 3-pointers while Carrington sank two.
The orange and black shot out to a 25-16 lead at halftime. The triumvirate of Anderson, Decker and Carrington led our scoring. Anderson with her 21 points set the pace. Decker put in 14 points and Carrington finished with 13. Jen Solvie and Carly Wohlers each scored two. Anderson's ten rebounds put her atop that list. Jenna Howden collected seven rebounds and Wohlers had five.
Carrington dished out four assists. The triumvirate leading in steals were Carrington (6), Decker (5) and Anderson (4). The success pushed our won-lost record to 14-9.
The game summary in the Willmar paper was bereft the first names of the Sisseton players. Here Maxpreps can come to the rescue! Using that resource, I can report the following scoring info for Sisseton: Alyssa Magnuson supplied the main punch for the visitor - she had 23 points. Hannah Williams was No. 2 on the list with seven points. Then it was Kiara LaFromboise contributing four. Kellie Karst had three points followed by Libby Medenwald and Taryn Yammarino each with two. Williams and Karst each made one 3-pointer.

Boys: BOLD 62, Tigers 58
BOLD has found the ingredients to defeat Morris Area Chokio Alberta this season. February 13 action in Morris had the BOLD boys getting the upper hand in a 62-58 final. Carter Henry of the Warriors was a key ingredient with 20 points and ten rebounds. Jordan Sagedahl poured in 16 points and Gavin Vosika had eleven.
Gavin Vosika followed Henry on the rebound list with seven. Drew Sagedahl scored six points, Matthew Moorse five and Dawson Vosika two.
The individual totals in the Willmar paper add up to 60 points, while BOLD scored 62.
Drew Sagedahl scored all six of his points with three-pointers. Gavin Vosika and Moorse each made one '3'. Gavin Vosika led the Warriors in assists with six. Jordan Sagedahl had five assists. Gavin stole the ball three times.
Our Tigers carved out a one-point advantage at halftime, 26-25. Jaret Johnson was sharp in scoring though his efforts weren't enough to bring victory in the end. Johnson made three 3-pointers and led our scoring with 17 points. Chandler Vogel made two 3-pointers and Tyler Reimers made one. Johnson was followed on the scoring list by: Jackson Loge (12), Vogel (8), Connor Koebernick (6), Reimers (5), Camden Arndt (4), Tate Nelson (4) and Kyle Staebler (2). Loge with his nine rebounds topped that list, and he was followed by Arndt and Johnson each with six. Nelson led in assists with seven. Johnson was the steals leader with three.
The loss dropped our won-lost to under .500 at 10-11.

Boys: Tigers 69, New London-Spicer 66 (OT)
OK, here was a thriller. It ended with the Tigers on top, having found the tools to succeed in overtime. This was a big Section 3AA-level test for our orange and black. The thrilling ending had Connor Koebernick making a three-pointer from the corner. It came at the buzzer and gave us a 69-66 win! The Saturday action was at New London-Spicer.
Koebernick was not the player we might expect to take the decisive shot. For the night he had a modest five points, but three of those were most unforgettable. Camden Arndt was a clutch performer too. Camden connected on a jumper that helped ensure this game would go into overtime. Then he picked up where he left off in OT, making a 3-pointer. Brandon Adelman of the host Wildcats answered Arndt's '3' with a '3' of his own. Adelman would score a team-best 18 points on the night. It was Arndt who got the ball to Koebernick for Koebernick's dramatic game-winning '3' from the corner.
Halftime saw the Tigers leading by one, 35-34. NL-Spicer outscored us 29-26 in the second half. Then came our 6-3 advantage in overtime.
Jackson Loge led our scoring with 22 points. Arndt with his 20 points was second-high on the list. Jaret Johnson was our third double figures scorer with eleven. Kyle Staebler scored seven points, Koebernick had his five, and Tate Nelson had four. Arndt had two 3-pointers followed by Koebernick and Johnson each with one. Johnson and Loge were rebound leaders with eight and seven respectively. Nelson was tops in assists with five, and Johnson and Tyler Reimers each had one steal.
Adelman with his 18 points was one of four double figures scorers for NL-Spicer. Ryan Wyganowski scored 14, Brandyn Harlow 12 and Ander Arnold ten. Jon Kaelke and Caleb Maxwell each scored four points, and Jake Schmidt and Tristan Thompson each had two. Wyganowski built his point total with four 3-pointers. Arnold made two 3's and Adelman made one.
Harlow and Adelman led in rebounds with eight and seven respectively. Adelman executed five assists. Arnold, Maxwell and Wyganowski each had one steal.
The Tigers came out of the night with a .500 record (10-10) while New London-Spicer stood at 12-8.

The school shooting
At some point we'll get past the inhibitions we feel about putting forward "gun control."
Wonder why police are so jittery so often. how they'll sometimes open fire on people because they suspect a gun somewhere? Maybe the problem is that there are too many guns floating around. Way too many.
Hunters can keep their guns, I guess, though I question the enjoyment of that hobby. It seems primitive and odd. Who wants to go out to some (expletive) slough at dawn when the weather is frigid? I've done it and I now think it's ridiculous. But I guess we need to let hunters have their guns. For personal protection I suppose a simple handgun is OK, but what I don't understand is how we permit military-style assault weapons.
The National Rifle Association has a chest full of campaign money to pour into coffers of Republicans. When I go to church on Sunday, I look around now and ask: Does even one person in this sanctuary vote Republican? If so, I'm not sure I value my time there. Let's bring on the Democrats or let's bring on the socialists.
In closing I'll invite you to listen to the Nanci Griffith song "Hell No (I'm Not All Right)" which I think reflects the mood we ought to feel in the aftermath of the tragedy. Here's the YouTube link:
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Noah Kannegiesser leads wave of Hancock success

Owls 71, Brandon-Evansville 48
Years from now, fans will warmly reminisce about Noah Kannegiesser. They'll remember days like February 8 when the Owl of note scored 40 points in a win over Brandon-Evansville. The game was at home.
I of course would enjoy writing about Noah and his mates if I were still writing for the Hancock Record newspaper. I wrote sports for the Record for 15 years. I left the local print media when it seemed an anvil had landed on me, figuratively speaking. But no sweat, I can write online. The Hancock Record newspaper doesn't even exist anymore. The Ad-Viser doesn't exist anymore. The Morris paper is down to as few as ten pages in a single week.
But there are no boundaries for online writing. So I'm pleased to report on the 40 points that Noah Kannegiesser scored in the 2/8 win over Brandon-Evansville, score of 71-48. I haven't been to the Hancock gym since 2006, not since graduation that year. Kannegiesser's heroics were enough almost by themselves to sink the Chargers of B-E. Of course he gets help from his mates like Bennett Nienhaus who scored eleven points thanks to some sharp 3-point shooting. Nienhaus connected three times from 3-point range. Kannegiesser had six makes from beyond the 3-point arc.
Kannegiesser and Nienhaus were joined on the scoring list by Cole Reese (8), Connor Reese (4), Peyton Rohloff (4), Daniel Milander (2) and Kaleb Koehl (2). Cole Reese with his seven rebounds led there, while Kannegiesser snared six boards. Four Owls each executed three assists: Kannegiesser, Nienhaus, Cole Reese and Connor Reese. The steals department had Koehl with four and Kannegiesser with three.
Hancock led 32-22 at halftime. The Owls emerged from this success with a 17-1 record. Three B-E Chargers made 3-pointers led by Taylor Bitzan with three. Jake Hintermeister made two long-rangers and James Strese made one. Strese topped the B-E scoring list with 13 points.
  
Girls: Owls 51, CGB 46
The Hancock girls are making waves just like the Kannegiesser gang. On February 8 the female Owls downed CGB 51-46 at the HHS gym. It was Hancock's 11th win of the campaign. CGB is having a .500 season.
Ashlyn Mattson supplied chief fuel in the Owls' winning effort. Her 17 points topped the list, then we see Lexi Staples having offensive clout too with her 14. Rylee Hanson scored eight points and Haley Mattson put in six. Three Owls each added two points to the mix: Katelynn Jepma, Morgan Kisgen and Tess Steiner. Ashlyn Mattson connected three times from 3-point range. Staples made one long-ranger. Rebound leaders were Staples with nine and Ashlyn Mattson with six. Assist leaders were Staples with six and Steiner with four. In steals it was Ashlyn Mattson setting the pace with five followed by Steiner with three.
CGB's Tylaina Issendorf made three 3-point shots. Emma Botker led the Wolverines in scoring with 14 points.
 
Boys: Owls 63, Ashby 37
The February 6 story for the boys was a 63-37 triumph over the Ashby Arrows at home. On this night, Noah Kannegiesser's point total was 29 as he made five 3-pointers. Is there any defensive scheme that can stop him? Jordan Peterson and Bennett Nienhaus each made one 3-pointer. Two Owls besides Kannegiesser scored in double figures: Nienhaus with eleven points and Kaleb Koehl with ten. Cole Reese scored four points and Peterson put in three.
These three Owls each scored two points: Connor Reese, Peyton Rohloff and John Kellenberger. Rohloff led in rebounds with four. Kannegiesser set the pace in assists with four, and Nienhaus deftly executed six steals.
Two Ashby Arrows stood out with their offensive flair: Jaden Norby with 16 points and Scott Johnson with 14. Scott Johnson made two 3-pointers and Dakota Ecker made one. The Owls shot out to a 41-21 lead at halftime.

Girls: Owls 53, CMCS 38
The Owls' defense shone in second half play, putting the clamps on the Bluejays of CMCS in a 53-38 home win. The Owls outscored the Bluejays 25-13 in the second half. The GBB Owls could feel satisfied having accomplished their tenth win of the season against six losses.
Ashlyn Mattson was quite proficient offensively with her 17 points to lead. Tess Steiner and Morgan Kisgen each scored 14. Lexi Staples scored seven points and Haley Mattson added four. Ashlyn Mattson made three shots from 3-point range. Kisgen connected once from long range. Ashlyn Mattson with her six rebounds led there. Steiner and Ashlyn Mattson were assist leaders with five and four, respectively. Ashlyn stole the ball five times.
Two CMCS Bluejays scored in double digits: Katelyn Bulthuis with 13 points and Ellie Greenwaldt with eleven. Elli Stoel made two 3's for the Bluejays, and Greenwaldt made one. Greenwaldt stole the ball three times.

Kannegiesser reaches milestone
The big day finally came when Noah Kannegiesser reached the summit on the Hancock High all-time scoring list. The big day was a Saturday (Feb. 3). The senior guard connected on a 3-pointer in the first half, vaulting him to the top of the career list, surpassing Bree Holleman. I guess the scoring list is combined for boys/girls.
Kannegiesser would make six 3-pointers in this 71-54 Hancock triumph over CMCS at home. Kannegiesser emerged from this game with 2,340 career points. Kannegiesser's point harvest in the CMCS game was 40, right up where he often achieves.
Connor Reese joined Noah in double figures with 12. Here's the rest of the list: Bennett Nienhaus (6), Cole Reese (4), Kaleb Koehl (4), Peyton Rohloff (2), Tanner Pahl (2) and Jordan Peterson (1). Kannegiesser with his six 3-pointers was followed on that list by Nienhaus (2) and Connor Reese (1). Rebound leaders were Nienhaus and Koehl each with six. Assist leaders were Kannegiesser and Cole Reese with five and four, respectively. And in steals, Kannegiesser was tops with four followed by Cole Reese with three.
My memories of Hancock High hoops are priceless. I smile when remembering Principal Roger Clarke's son playing the "Batman" theme on his electric guitar for a girls tournament game!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Another Zach Bruns hat trick does the trick again

Storm 7, Worthington 6
Zach Bruns was a scoring whiz on skates once again in a 7-6 overtime win over Worthington. Bruns got a couple assists too in this February 3 action on the Benson ice.
It was the southern Minnesota skaters of Worthington who got the lead at 2-1 at the end of one period. Ryan Newman of the visitor scored on the power play with assists from Tommy Bauman and Krew Aljets. Colby Nickel scored unassisted at 15:01. Bruns got the MBA goal in the period, en route to his hat trick. His was the first goal of the game and it included assists from Jack Riley and Kolby Goff.
MBA was on fire with its offense in the second period. Riley scored the first of four MBA goals in the period, assisted by Bruns and Goff. Bruns scored assisted by Riley at 5:12. Then it was Riley capitalizing on the power play to score with an assist by Bruns. Bruns was back at it to score short-handed style with a Goff assist. Worthington answered the MBA goals with a flurry of their own, beginning with a Ryan Newman goal, power play style, that had assists by Lance Hibma and Bauman. Eric Heidebrink scored with assists by Aljets and Kipton Jenson. Worthington kept its "mo" going with a goal at 14:24 by a player whose name was not reported in the Willmar paper. The names of the assist producers were reported: Loddy Thepmontry and Zach Ahrenstorff.
Each team scored one goal in the third period. Bauman struck for Worthington with assists from Hibma and Newman. MBA's Matthew Tolifson scored a key goal to get the score tied for MBA, assisted by Riley. Bring on overtime! Hunter Gades scored the game-winner for the Storm, bringing cheers from the home fans at the Benson ice.
Our goaltender was Chase Engebretson who stopped 25 shots. The Worthington goalie was Carter Ponto who had 37 stops.
 
Boys basketball: Melrose 75, Tigers 59
The Tigers slipped below .500 as a result of their 75-59 defeat at the hands of Melrose. It was a West Central Conference matchup on February 5 at Melrose. Melrose is a steam-rolling type of team this season. Their win was their 18th against two losses. The MACA record: 9-10. Melrose led by just one point at halftime, 35-34. The Dutchmen picked up momentum to outscore the Tigers 40-25 in the second half.
Preston Keaveny was an offensive force for Melrose with 30 points. Melrose had two other double figures scorers: Reegan Nelson with 16 points and Damon Van Beck with eleven. The rest of their list includes: Traeton Keaveny (5), Rowan Nelson (4), Daniel Klassen (4), Grant Moscho (3) and Andrew Johnson (2). Three Dutchmen each made one 3-point shot: Traeton Keaveny, Rowan Nelson and Damon Van Beck.
Reegan Nelson led in rebounds with seven followed by Van Beck with four. Reegan Nelson led in both assists and steals with four and three respectively.
It was Jackson Loge leading the orange and black in scoring with 21 points. Jaret Johnson put in 15 points and Camden Arndt had 14. The list wraps up with Tate Nelson (seven points) and Tyler Reimers (2). Johnson made our only three-pointer. Loge with his eight rebounds led there. Connor Koebernick was tops in assists with five. Arndt stole the ball twice.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Kenny Rogers' "Planet Texas" weds sci-fi w/ country!

Science fiction and country music would not seem to be a natural partnership. In 1989 we got "Planet Texas" which is a quite pleasing exhibit. Country music is a genre not exactly known for wanting to push its horizons or boundaries. "Planet Texas" does conform to the mold if you just consider the bad grammar. No reason why country music needs to be comfortable with that.
Country music tends to present Americans at an earthy level. Science fiction appeals to people with advanced degrees. Sci-fi challenges us to think outside the sweaty realm of our day to day reality. We create an alternate reality. We spin such stories based on what we think is possible outside of our standard environment. It's not random, or it shouldn't be, because existing science should be used as the basis for imagining what's possible. Space flight: how do we explain it?
Shall we assume that alien visitors would have hostile intent? BTW has any movie ever really given us the line: "These beings are of obviously superior intelligence."
George Pal gave us fascinating sci-fi stories on the big screen in the mid-20th Century. His "War of the Worlds" had a message about how Christian faith ought to be the foundation on which we could count on a safe future. By the 1960s that message would have been impractical for the cynical young generation.
 
Kenny Rogers delivers the tune
Shall we consider Kenny Rogers bold for attempting the unlikely marriage of sci-fi and country music? His is the voice we hear with the song "Planet Texas." A friend recently shared a link to the video with me. I was surprised to see such an elaborate video at a time, 1989, when I thought the art form hadn't advanced that far yet. I consider the early videos even with their rough edges, or maybe because of their rough edges, to be superior to what followed. How can you beat seeing Ed Koch sing "country boy at heart?" Hank Williams Jr. did some fine seminal videos. How can you beat "Don Juan de Bubba?"
Kenny Rogers' "Planet Texas" was released in May of 1989 as the second single from the album "Something Inside So Strong." The song reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart. The opening line of lyrics refers to the aliens and hits us over the head with the bad grammar. "They rode like they was Rangers." So we have sci-fi unfolding with the language of ignoramuses. Do such lyrics reflect the true country music audience, or is it a contrived lingo presenting essentially a stereotype?
Do country music fans feel at ease listening to songs that suggest a rough-hewn anti-intellectualism? Is it just consistent with a dive bar motif? So, it is just put-on? I don't know, but as a songwriter myself I strive for proper grammar just because, well, it's proper. I'm not putting on airs or anything. And yet I feel my lyrics can be quite genuine and organic. Oh, I can latch onto a cliche when it comes to word choice, as demonstrated by my song about Kirby Puckett (on YouTube). A part of my song explains some of the trials of our Minnesota sports scene outside of baseball. I have the line: "The North Stars done left us for the Lone Star State." Hey, that's Texas!
"Done left us?" Was it Johnny Paycheck who mainly popularized "done left?" Is it a southern construction? Maybe I could argue that I just needed an extra syllable for that line. This sort of thing is done all the time, i.e. deviating from normal word choice just to get the needed number of syllables! Shhh, that's a trade secret, or maybe not.
 
"Tiny little" can pass muster
I'll present a line from the great Blood, Sweat and Tears song "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." And the line is: "Or just a tiny little grain of sand." The problem is "tiny little" being a rather glaring redundancy. If you were to write such a line in a songwriting workshop, it'd be flagged. Silly rabbit, the "great ones" in songwriting do in fact break the rules sometimes. It has been said that the great ones exercise this license "but you can be sure they know what the rules are."
"Planet Texas" paints this fantastical sci-fi picture while latching onto many of the symbols we associate with country, like horses and guns. It was as if Kenny Rogers self-consciously had to adhere to a lot of country music's themes while engaging in brainy science fiction. Which is a major reason I find the song so interesting. This is a song with staying power in one's memory.
"My gun was cocked and ready," Rogers sings. And then, "I seen they weren't just common buckaroos." Ah yes, "I seen." We learn the aliens had "shootin' irons" that "shot laser light." Their "spurs were anodized." Hey, I don't know what "anodized" means. The aliens had jeans that "was pressurized." Yes, "was." Weren't "pressurized jeans" what Starsky and Hutch wore? Rim shot.
Rogers sings "we were miles above the Earth." Then, an echo: "And, I mean miles above the Earth." Repetition can be a staple in songwriting. I have a song called "Twins Win in '65," a strophic song (one melodic idea) in which the last line of each stanza is repeated. I guess the idea is to apply emphasis. My "Twins Win in '65" pays homage to the 1965 Minnesota Twins baseball team, of course, a pennant winner, but I insert two stanzas which state a war protest message. We cannot celebrate the unbridled joy surrounding our '65 Twins without being reminded that 1965 was a horrible, pivotal year for escalation of the Viet Nam war. I don't have this song recorded yet.
There is a refrain in the Kenny Rogers song where he wails "yippie-aye-ay-e."
Rogers sings "there ain't no sight like a desert night looking down on Mexico." Keep in mind that he needed a rhyme with "Tokyo." Such are the parameters of songwriting.
 
Quite the interstellar tour
The aliens take the singer through the solar system. They pass by the moons of Mars and Jupiter. They go around Saturn's rings and "past the frozen plains of Pluto." They pick up the trail of a comet's tail. "Yippie-aye-ay-e" takes on a haunting quality. The trip didn't even pop the singer's ears, we learn. The singer becomes convinced that the visitors are "the good guys."
"Their cowboy hats was white." Yes, "was." The singer asks them where they came from. They say it's "the biggest place in outer space." It's "a planet known as Texas." "Yippie aye-ay-e."
Let's credit the songwriter: James Andrew Parks III. "The biggest place in outer space" is a nod, of course, to Texas' larger than life notoriety. What a pleasing song and video to consume if the grammatical issues don't bother you. I can overlook them. The best country music is just good music. "Country" connotes some things, even political, that cloud the issues.
We have seen country music gravitate to the conservatives and Republicans in recent years. I find it strange because it's the Democrats, as a legacy from FDR, who really seem to want to provide a secure foundation for the common man and poor people. Bill Anderson sings a song about this big poor family that is thankful for all they have, despite their horrible material shortcomings. A lot of country music seems to celebrate this thinking, but I have to wonder: wouldn't the beleaguered mother in that "po' " family love to get some benefit from government programs, the kind of benefits we depend on Democrats for? Women are instinctive nurturers. Men on the other hand start wars and generally like to destroy things. Just as if they had their "shootin' irons shooting out laser light" from the "Planet Texas" song.
I had the opportunity to hear Kenny Rogers in Nashville TN in the 1990s. It was a treat. The Nashville music community is golden. Someday I'd like to have one of my own songs recorded with a steel guitar! Or, maybe with three female background singers! Eureka, or "yippie-aye-ay-e!"
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I'm 63 today (1/28) so I take stock in a great deal

I'm 63 now so let's put on a pedestal a special scene: yours truly (left), Del Sarlette of Morris (right) and G.G. Shinn at the Minnesota Music Cafe, St. Paul, in 2007. Shinn was lead singer with the jazz/rock group "Chase" in the '70s. The 2007 event was a reunion. The late Bill Chase played trumpet. Del and I have some experience with that too.
 
It's a peaceful and uneventful Sunday afternoon and up 'til now, I haven't much felt inspired to write as inspiration from my birthday. Yours truly is 63 today (1/28). Time drifts on. It's nice to have collected Social Security for a year.
Nothing much to command our attention today. Cable TV news drones with attention to the investigation of Trump's people. Trump himself is in the crosshairs eventually. He is the quintessential bully. Can he bully virtually everyone who he thinks is in his way? Will his sycophants in the right wing media keep shaking their pom poms on his behalf? What happened to the model of "conservatives" as being of restrained, respectful temperament? What happened to the conservatives' general idea of wanting a gentle sort of continuity in our society, even if they don't always get their way?
We're told that the stock market gains should cause us to dismiss all questions of taste connected to Trump. A cesspool of behavior involving racist suggestions and porn stars should be neglected. The almighty dollar rules.We can't even be sure that any particular Trump policy, like the "tax cut," is to explain for the rocketing-higher market. What about the central banks?
Don't our community banks exist for the purpose of giving the "common man," to the extent anyone cares about such souls anymore, a safe place to save money? Isn't that why we have the FDIC? Hasn't the Fed been gently nudging up interest rates lately? I cannot figure out why the interest rates paid to savers have been trending down. I was shocked recently to check in with a couple banks. Bank of the West is paying just one percent for a five-year CD? The bank in Hancock pays 1.3 percent? What is the common person to do?
Trump is so proud of the stock market as if that should be our only measuring stick. Are we really supposed to assume that risk is gone from the stock market? With Republicans in control? With an administration that seeks to slash any and all regulations? Don't many of these regulations in fact exist to try to assure the common folk that the bottom won't fall out? We're inundated with stock market news all the time. The message, I guess, is that we'd better get in. In my mind it has been a long and dangerous siren song. But could I be wrong? I doubt it. At some point the dam will start to crack, won't it?
Annuities? I have read screaming warnings about getting into that racket. They are complicated insurance contracts. "Insurance" is not a magic word for me. I remember the pilot Carl Johnson of Morris, RIP, who said "I don't believe in insurance."
 
Adjusting to economic realities
Maybe our nation will sometime soon have "universal basic income." Even the conservative sociologist Charles Murray believes in this. No panic over whether your basic needs will be met. Murray advises that as automation and globalization continue their inexorable advance, we'll realize we can no longer count on the traditional "job." Indeed, the idea of doing something tedious 40 hours a week seems something now confined to the world of black and white film noir movies. I used to knock myself out working in journalism, thinking that this approach to life would bestow some sort of virtue and win respect.
Our perspective has changed due to the digital age. What matters today isn't how many hours you work in a week, it's whether you have mastered methods to be productive. You can be tremendously "productive" working half the traditional work week. The tech-based systems have almost scary power. Tom Friedman notes this and gives an example where someone types a code or instruction of some type and gets one number wrong. The results can be disastrous.
I was at the Morris Sun Tribune newspaper in its heyday when we put out a big thick product twice a week. All that pulp isn't so necessary now. What would it be like sitting in my old office today, trying to do "my thing" like in the old days? Well, when the paper size is down to as few as ten pages a week, as it was recently, my output would have to be negligible. What's the use?
 
Cockeyed notions of years ago
A person reflects on his birthday. I remember attending college when avant garde ideas ruled. We were discouraged from just "reporting scores" in sports. We were always supposed to try to see some bigger picture, something profound. Avant garde ideas had real pull which is how we got the UMM science auditorium. There was an irritating "intelligentsia" out there that would browbeat people who tried to just do a simple job.
Case in point: an op-ed that appeared right after the famous episode of Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes punching an opposing (Clemson) player along the sidelines. An op-ed noted the outrage that built up, and observed that "even people who read scores for a living" vented the outrage. As if such people were just supposed to be one-dimensional, i.e. stupid. The suggestion was that we couldn't trust the established sports media - i.e. people who just "read scores" - to make the kind of judgment that was needed re. Hayes.
I remember when Jim Bouton had his foray into television sports. Hey Jim, they only hired you because of your name. Bouton, you might recall, had already gotten famous writing the book "Ball Four" which was iconoclastic as hell. His foray into TV sports saw him become a pain as he had a persecution complex over how his avant garde work was perceived.
Avant garde never got implanted in our culture as well as we thought. Architecture went back to 90-degree angles - actually it never really left - but we still have the UMM science auditorium.
Bouton did short subjects for TV sports that had little to do with reporting the kind of news that TV consumers want. He was a shining ornament for a time and then he moseyed on, bound to make money no matter what he did, thanks to Ball Four. That's his meal ticket today, still.
On my birthday I look back to how the iconoclastic phase of our culture may have affected me too much. I'm too impressionable, maybe too insecure, so I sought the approval of the snarky intelligentsia. It was a mistake. I'm too old now to begin anew, so I can only mull it over and ponder an alternative history.
I'd love to go back to the day after my graduation from high school. I'd wake up in the morning realizing I was the same person as the day before. Only I'd tossed aside the shackles of high school coursework and expectations. I'd look in the mirror and tell myself there was absolutely no need to do anything. Move forward with a grasp of life skills. As far as compensated work is concerned, don't fret about how many hours you "work." Slowly get acclimated to this. If you falter for some reason, find a way to volunteer. "Network" and make friends.
 
In need of mentorship, I guess
A friend should have grabbed my shoulders, shaken me and said "whatever you do, don't ever go back to school again - don't even enter a classroom - a pox on you if you do." That would have been the best advice. It was a road not taken and I regret it. I needed to sever ties with my silly age peers completely, in that time when us youth were so immersed in debauchery, to an extent that I even hate to try to describe.
You cannot live life over again. A shame. At 63 I'd like to think I still have some sort of interesting future. Let's remember the words of Yogi Berra, RIP: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" And let's remember John Wayne in his last movie who went to the saloon and said "today is my birthday, give me the best you've got." Reminds me of the joke about the three-legged dog who jumped up onto a barstool at an Old West saloon. He said "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 26, 2018

Success in Falcon country of ACGC, 69-53

Boys hoops
Morris Area Chokio Alberta got its seventh straight win in January 23 action on the road. The site was Falcon country of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. The orange and black prevailed in the 69-53 final. Our W/L coming out: 9-7. ACGC is having a .500 type of season.
Things were well in hand by halftime as we owned quite the impressive 44-19 lead. We marked time through the second half in which ACGC outscored us 34-25.
Tate Nelson supplied thrills with his four made 3-point shots. Camden Arndt and Jaret Johnson each made one long-ranger. Three Tigers scored in double figures led by Nelson with his 18 points. Arndt and Johnson each put in 17 points. Here's the rest of the list: Jackson Loge (6), Tyler Reimers (4), Connor Koebernick (4), Kyle Staebler (2) and Mace Yellow (1). Arndt and Nelson each grabbed six rebounds to co-lead in that category, and Johnson had five boards. Koebernick and Johnson co-led in assists with five, and Arndt came through with four. Johnson led in steals with four followed by Koebernick and Nelson each with three.
The ACGC scoring was spurred by Dawson Miller who scored 19 points. He made two 3-pointers. Steven Lawver scored eight points while Josh Kinzler and Jaren Kaddatz each put in seven. Other Falcons scoring: Michael Lambert (4), Brayden Hedtke (3), Kobe Holtz (3) and Noah Cunningham (2). Kinzler and Hedtke joined Miller in the long-range shooting attack as each made one '3'. Lambert and Jordan Schumacher each grabbed four rebounds. Holtz and Kaddatz each had two assists. Schumacher was ACGC's steals leader with three. Miller and Kinzler each stole the ball twice.
 
Milbank (SD) 68, Tigers 62
A skein of MACA success ended at our home court Thursday evening (1/25). We had put seven wins in a row together. At halftime it appeared that prospects were good for upping the win streak to eight. We were up 33-28. But Milbank SD surged in second half play to outscore us 40-29. So the final horn sounded with the Tigers on the short end vs. this out of state rival, 68-62.
Jaret Johnson made a three-point shot and topped our scoring list with 14 points. Arndt succeeded three times from beyond the three-point arc, and his point total was 13. Chandler Vogel made one 3-pointer and put in nine points. Here's the rest of our scoring list: Connor Koebernick (6), Kyle Staebler (5) and Jackson Loge (4).
Johnson attacked the boards for seven rebounds while Arndt collected six. Koebernick and Loge each dished out three assists. Vogel led in steals with four followed by Nelson with three.
 
Super Bowl seems less super
There was a time when the whole American public seemed rather mesmerized by the Super Bowl. A voice in the back of my mind always told me this was out of proportion.
It was hard not getting excited when our Vikings were in four such spectacles. We not only lost all four, we were outplayed to where a cloud of depression set in here. We seemed to have a chance against Pittsburgh until Bill Brown fumbled. But who really cares about that? The Pittsburgh teams of that era had a center who ended up as the centerpiece in discussions about head injuries in football. He is portrayed in the movie "Concussion" which I watched thanks to our Morris Public Library having it available on DVD. Mike Webster was that Pittsburgh center. Among things he suffered: He pulled out his teeth and super-glued them back in.
Health problems connected to a background of football are becoming more prevalent than we once thought. A recent discovery is that "concussions" per se are not really at the heart of the problem. It is the routine, repeated hits that prompt real concern, so anyone with a substantial background of playing football is at risk.
So why get excited about the Super Bowl? Consciousness of head injuries is one of several reasons why TV ratings for football have been faltering. Bob Costas will not help cover the Super Bowl because his conscience is tugging at him. TV will survive Costas' absence. There are plenty of drooling young broadcasters who'd love to get in on the action.
Hopefully the public will slowly drift away with its interest. I wish there would be a rapid drift. How nice it would be to not show such anticipation for those Super Bowl TV commercials. It's weird how this ritual got going. Historically we all fall into a weird stupor on "Super Sunday." Society needs a big deprogramming effort but it could be happening on its own, albeit slowly.
We see Super Bowls these days that are suspiciously close, like last year's when the Patriots had that improbable comeback. I'm suspicious because I suspect there are excruciating pressures for these big games to be reasonably hard-fought. It's not that the NFL would stoop to the level of pro wrestling and script things, but I think measures are taken in terms of game tactics, which both coaches agree on, to try to keep the games close. So much money is at stake, the NFL must try to pull all strings to ensure a competitive product, to keep those eyeballs.
I would advise fans to just plan doing something special on that Sunday to get away from the distraction of this odd American quasi worship shrine known as, sitting on your a-- and watching men smash into each other.
I was pleased to see a childhood hero of mine, Jim Plunkett, do a TV interview in which he looked suave and healthy. I later read that appearances can be deceiving, as the former quarterback takes 13 pills a day to deal with myriad health issues most likely connected to football. We hear about players with ALS and Parkinson's and of course dementia. I do not want to be party to any of this. Bob Costas is right. Let's show how insightful and wise we can be.
 
Addendum: This is my first week ever with a computer at my residence. For years I have used public computers. It feels a little strange doing this at home and I'm adjusting. Thanks to Mobiz of Morris for selling me a high-end laptop which is working out great, though I need a little time getting comfortable with the keyboard. I can even post on Sunday now. This coming Sunday, Jan. 28, is my 63rd birthday.
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com