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).

Friday, January 12, 2018

MACA boys assert selves early in home win vs. Sauk

Tigers 50, Sauk Centre 37
The Tigers kept rumbling through January with a 50-37 win over Sauk Centre on January 9. This game seemed wrapped up from early-on. We built a 28-16 lead by halftime. We essentially cruised through the second half. Fans at the home gym enjoyed the success.
Five different Tigers made three-point shots. Camden Arndt made two of the long-rangers while these Tigers each made one: Connor Koebernick, Tate Nelson, Chandler Vogel and Jaret Johnson. Jackson Loge topped our scoring list with 13 points. Arndt and Nelson each put in ten. Jaret Johnson added nine points to the mix, while Koebernick tallied five and Vogel had three.
Loge led in rebounds as well as scoring with his rebounds totaling nine. Johnson snared seven rebounds. Koebernick was the top assist producer with five while Johnson had three. Arndt stole the ball four times.
The win was our fourth of the season. Sauk Centre is having a .500 type of campaign.
 
Girls: WCA 54, Tigers 48
The MACA girls made the trip to West Central Area on a cold Thursday, January 11. Malory Anderson was outstanding with her point total of 24 but it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough that post player Malory had ten rebounds. West Central Area had the weapons to come up with a 54-48 win.
The Knights overcame our Maddie Carrington who made two 3-pointers. Riley Decker and Anderson each made one '3'. Carrington was second-high on the scoring list behind Anderson with 14 points. Jenna Howden put in four points. Other scorers were Decker (3), Carly Wohlers (2) and Liz Dietz (1). Anderson's ten rebounds were followed by Wohlers with eight. Dietz stood out in assists with five while Carrington had three. Anderson stole the ball four times while Decker had three steals.
WCA ascended to ten wins on the season. The Tigers came out of the day at 7-6. WCA held the lead at halftime, 30-18.
 
Our language evolves
I am writing this on a morning where the pundits are discussing the president's use of the word "shithole." Could you image a president from the boomers' younger years - even Richard Nixon - engaging in this? An easy rebuttal to make to the president is that he could find alternative language that would be more civilized.
Many people would likely shake their heads and say we have simply become numb to the odd and idiosyncratic tendencies of our president, a president who lost the popular vote to his Democratic opponent. Had Hillary Clinton won, there would be many days where we would not even be talking about the president and the White House.
Trump and the people around him are stepping on states rights which is normally a conservative principle. Jeff Sessions is threatening states that want to legalize marijuana. The administration is opening the door to offshore oil drilling which is a threat to states that have a thriving coastal tourism industry. Except that the administration makes an exception for Florida because Florida is a red state with a Republican governor. You have to know what side your bread is buttered on.
President Trump says we need to toughen libel laws so that public figures will have an easier time suing. There's a complication for him, though, in that there is no Federal libel law, unless he wants the Feds to take this over. I thought conservatives like the Info-Wars (conspiracy) crowd bristled at any suggestion that Federal power be expanded. Remember their reaction to Waco where the ATF was involved? One of their ranks blew up that government building in Oklahoma City.
And now we have a Republican president with autocratic instincts, wanting to flex the "Feds' " power. We seriously wonder if a pattern is developing similar to 1930s Germany, don't we?
The Republican Party now has the power to end this nightmare. "Shithole?" Really? Well then, I can be excused for using like language when criticizing our Morris MN newspaper which now seems a fraction of the size it was when I was there. I can describe the Morris Sun Tribune or Stevens County Times or whatever the heck it is, and its owner Forum Communications, as "shitty." No problem with that, is there? Our language is evolving, I guess, to where our standards are adjusted and we can freely use words like that in public.
I remember when a Morris cross country parent went berserk - no exaggeration - when I ran a photo of an MAHS spirit banner at the state meet, a banner that used the phrase "bat out of hell." The kids who made the banner even used hyphens in the word "hell." The parent said in the letter than he "personally" took down the banner. And now we have a president throwing around words that are clearly objectionable. Our churches need to rise up against Trump. Any other suggestions?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Saturday showcase: Tigers give Hancock first loss

Tigers 65, Hancock 56
The Tigers met the Owls in a Saturday showcase. It was the Tigers of MACA prevailing in this January 6 affair. They dealt the Hancock Owls their first loss of the season. The winning margin was nine points, 65-56.
Jaret Johnson gave lots of fuel en route to the Tigers' victory. Johnson made two 3-pointers and finished with 27 points. Connor Koebernick made two shots from 3-point land. Koebernick had a point total of 13. MACA had four players total score in double figures. Camden Arndt put in eleven points and Jackson Loge scored ten. Tate Nelson and Kyle Staebler each added two points to the mix.
MACA led by twelve at halftime, 38-26.
Hancock's biggest offensive producer was Noah Kannegiesser with 35 points. Noah connected four times from three-point range. Four other Owls scored: Connor Reese (9), Peyton Rohloff (6), Bennett Nienhaus (4) and Kaleb Koehl (2). The top Owl rebounder was Kannegiesser with nine followed by Koehl with seven. Daniel Milander contributed three assists. Reese and Nienhaus each had two steals. (Note: The rebound, assist and steal data were not reported for MACA in the West Central Tribune.)
MACA is trying to scratch and claw its way to .500 - the Tigers came out of Saturday at 3-7. Hancock's quite sterling W/L numbers were 6-1. The West Central Tribune described this game as a "renewed rivalry match" but really the Tigers don't play the Owls very often. I heard this game was played at UMM but it's only word of mouth.
I remember vividly, many years ago, someone calling in some bogus info to the West Central Tribune about a game that was reported to be played at UMM but was not. The colorful article even noted there was a packed house at UMM. The sports columnist for the Pope County Tribune, Jay Norman, wrote a column about "some wag" from Morris calling in the misinformation, but for what purpose?
I wouldn't even care about this, except that Ron Lindquist of the Starbuck paper sort of "felt me out" as if I might be somehow involved. I wasn't aware of the whole incident until Ron brought it up with me. Then I looked up Norman's column. Ron said he'd heard that "a reporter from Morris" was involved but this is very vague terminology. Ron said "maybe it was the radio station" but hey, there's another theory: the Willmar paper often uses the word "reporter" to describe anyone who calls in game information. So when the paper wants to announce a changed deadline, they might say "attention game reporters."
It was a very mysterious episode and maybe I shouldn't have even written about it, but you know me, I did. After that I got a threatening anonymous phone call one evening at the shop. So the matter may have become quite sensitive. Prompting me to wonder: do you suppose a coach, perhaps getting a phone call from the paper after he'd gone to bed - just a theory - got ticked off and fabricated stuff as a prank? I never could pin down any facts about this.
Years later I floated this episode for John Stone, Glenwood newspaper operator, and he knew nothing. He reminded me that Ron Lindquist had once been pranked or punked on another matter. So many years have passed now, but if anyone out there is aware of what happened, I'd still like to know, so please contact me. My email address is at the bottom of each post.
The telephoned threat probably came from a Tiger sports insider who was a card-carrying member of the clique that ruled with an iron fist in those days, a clique even with the power to intimidate our superintendent. They were perhaps "protecting their own" and they would likely mutter obscenities or profanities about me.
Good for you, you a------s.
 
Boys hockey: Storm 4, Worthington 4
The teams scored in a flurry in the third period of this January 6 hockey game on the southern Minnesota ice of Worthington. The MBA Storm outscored Worthington 3-2 in the third period but we had to settle for a 4-4 tie in the end. The battling goaltenders were Chase Engebretson and Preston Thavixay.
Worthington took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Anthony Fogelman scored with an assist from Carter Ponto. Each team scored a goal in period No. 2. Ashford Swenson got MBA on the board with a goal assisted by Parker Klemm. Then Worthington answered with a Fogelman goal assisted by Colby Nickel.
Bring on that wild period 3. Nickel of Worthington scored with assists from Tommy Bauman and Zach Ahrenstorff. Then Zach Bruns of the Storm struck with a goal assisted by Tyler Buss. MBA skater Kolby Goff scored with a Bruns assist. Worthington's Ryan Newman scored, assisted by Bryce Olsen and Nickel. Then MBA finished up the night's scoring with a goal assisted by Bruns and Buse. Engebretson of the Storm accumulated 39 saves.
 
Wrestling: Tigers 45, Benson 30
A flurry of wins by fall were instrumental in MAHACA winning on the wrestling mat. The January 5 match was at home versus Benson. Davin Rose at 106 pounds was part of that pinning flurry for MAHACA. Rose won by fall in :17 over Preston McGee. Dylan Rose at 113 pounds won by forfeit. Jed Feuchtenberger won by fall over Colby Hogrefe in 1:46.
Ethan Lebrija got Kaden Kurkosky's shoulders pinned to the mat in 2:47. Ben Travis was on the short end of a decision outcome vs. Michael Nagler, score of 9-6.
How about those Roses in the MAHACA lineup? It was Dalton Rose winning by a 3-0 decision over Adam Koosman. Most everything was coming up roses for MAHACA on this night.
At 145 pounds it was Benson's Aaron Zosel winning by forfeit. At 152 pounds, Gideon Joos of the Tigers was on the short end of a 13-10 decision vs. Brady Ascheman. MAHACA grappler Bradyn Cardwell won by fall over Wyatt McGee in 4:25. Christian Dodd lost by fall to Jared Knutson in the battle of 170-pounders, time of 1:43. Bain Laine lost by fall to Dylan Stewart in 0:42.
MAHACA's Tristan Raths won by forfeit. Benson's Alden Sylte was the forfeit winner at 220 pounds. The big guy Gage Wevley pinned Grant Evenson in 52 seconds.
 
The Lynch matter at the 'U'
I squinted to read the front page headlines early this morning in front of DeToy's. All was dark outside. But I could make out the large top headline in the Star Tribune. Regardless of the substance of the headline, I'm tired of notorious U of M athletic scandals getting so much of our attention. This whole pattern had reached parody even before the current mess which focuses on this Lynch fellow.
There is only one reason why Mr. Lynch is commanding lead story attention in our state's premier newspaper - it's because he has a talent for playing basketball. I'm tired of this, aren't you? We are so mesmerized by sports, we keep feeding this big-time system involving big bucks. We are pathetic if we are so dependent on sports entertainment.
We feed a system where young men play football and subject themselves to the very definite risk of future cognitive impairment. Do we really want to condone this system anymore? Someday we may look back and be ashamed of ourselves, just as we look back and feel ashamed at how we allowed the air in restaurants and bars to be turned blue by cigarette smoke. I hope this Lynch fellow straightens out. Other than that I really don't care about him, least of all his basketball talent.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnsota - bwillyh73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 8, 2018

USS Ward sailed into history at Pearl Harbor

The four-inch gun of the Ward
The USS Ward seems relatively unsung. It's an important chapter of Minnesota history. It also gives us a fuller understanding of the notorious "sneak attack" by the Empire of Japan at Pearl Harbor. The popular conception is that we were essentially asleep when those Zeroes descended upon us. I suppose it's accurate to say we were "essentially" asleep. The naval base was a bustling operation that was never going to be completely in repose.
So, the wonderful crew of the Ward, mostly reservists from St. Paul MN, had the sleep rubbed out of their eyes well before the attack. They were out and about in the harbor at around 6 a.m. The Ward was a Wickes-class destroyer. It kept watch on the harbor entrance. Because? Well, the U.S. Navy must have been aware of a general danger. The Ward's crew numbered 115, of which 85 were from St. Paul.
What happened at about 6:30 a.m. is depicted in the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" The officer of the deck spotted the periscope of a Japanese (or "Jap" to use the vernacular of the time) midget submarine. It was an 80-foot vessel trailing the cargo ship USS Antares. The Ward's commander was Lt. William W. Outerbridge. It was St. Paulite Giles LeClair who shouted "commence fire!" The No. 1 gun missed. The No. 3 gun was deployed and it hit paydirt, putting a hole in the sub's conning tower. The sub began to sink. Several depth charges finished it off.
The incident seemed significant. The movie shows higher-ups under-reacting, one of them noting that there had been false sightings of danger. Later when word reached higher up, the reacting officer was incensed that more wasn't made of the incident, that more of a red flag wasn't raised.
The incident would pale in comparison to what was to come shortly thereafter. The "Jap" Zeroes arrived like flocks and wreaked hell on Earth. The U.S. "battleship row" was sitting there vulnerable. No one can dispute that the Japs initiated the war with the U.S. with their reckless tactics. But technically speaking, the first "hostile" action was actually taken by the Ward when it sank the sub.
"Tora! Tora! Tora!" was as good a movie as we might expect about the attack. It's compelling to watch today because it does not employ CGI. A movie that followed many years later, simply called "Pearl Harbor," struck me as a way to transfer the formula of "Titanic" to the Pearl Harbor story. The romance angles were going to be dripping. "Pearl Harbor" ended with a WWII episode that happened subsequent to the attack: the Doolittle raid. I found that disconcerting. I can't think about the Doolittle raid without feeling depressed about how it ended up borderline suicidal. The planes had to take off prematurely and exhaust their fuel.
The Japs were brainwashed and sadistic. The mid-20th Century revealed the worst in mankind's proclivity for conflict. It's a lesson: it could happen again. We have a president of the U.S. now with nascent fascist tendencies. A sudden economic collapse could tilt us toward disaster.
We always assume "the good guys win." We can never be certain. U.S. forces were "the bad guys" in Vietnam and we even deployed chemical weapons.

A (preferable) alternate history
I have always felt haunted by what WWII may have cultivated for our country. What if we had not been drawn into WWII? Think of all the fine young men whose lives could have been saved. Think of how the size of our military could have stayed limited. No dramatic expansion for war. Once expanded, did political leaders look for ways of exercising it to justify its breadth? What about Korea and Vietnam and the immense tragedies presented by those conflicts? Did we have to feed General MacArthur's inclination toward confrontation? MacArthur was a hero and then he bombed when running for president. My father who was in the Navy in WWII said: "People were afraid that MacArthur would get us into more wars."
Heroic as our commitment seemed in WWII, and in spite of it being known as "the good war," it was in reality hell. We don't hear from the people who were killed. We hear from the survivors who speak at assemblies for holidays like Memorial Day. I tend toward pacifism myself.

The ship meets its end
Three years after Pearl Harbor, the Ward was attacked near Leyte (the Philippines) by several Jap kamikaze planes. The suicide-piloted aircraft were loaded with explosives. One slammed into the Ward's hull, igniting a fire that could not be contained. The crew was ordered to abandon ship. By that time, the Ward had been converted to a high-speed transport. With its mortal wounds, the gallant little destroyer was intentionally sunk by the USS O'Brien. The O'Brien's skipper was none other than William Outerbridge.
The Ward was constructed way back in 1918. It was named for James H. Ward, the first U.S. Navy officer to be killed in action during the Civil War. The USS Ward lies at the bottom of Ormoc Bay, just off the island of Leyte, Philippines.
After the war, the crew members formed the "First Shot Naval Vets" which held reunions on December 7. The ship's No. 3 gun, having been removed as part of the ship's conversion, was moved to Minnesota for the state's Centennial in 1958. The gun can be seen "standing guard" on the grounds of the state capitol.
RIP, USS Ward crew members.
 
A tribute in music
I have written a song about the noteworthy vessel. I am fond of acknowledging famous episodes out of Minnesota history with song, such as the 1940 Armistice Day blizzard, and the First Minnesota Regiment of the Civil War. I have those two songs recorded. I don't know if I'll have the Ward song recorded, but I'm pleased to share the lyrics here.
 
"The Ward"
by Brian Williams
 
A wake was left behind her
Stillness all around
No one knew there would be hell to pay
It would be just an hour
'Til we heard the sounds
Of the bombs exploding with their rage
 
A boat was in the harbor
Keeping watch for all
There it saw a midget submarine
The crew was men of ardor
Mostly from St. Paul
All together they'd be quite the team
 
CHORUS
The ship was called the Ward
So active on that morn
Consider it the little ship that could
And though it was too small
To stop the coming squall
Its vigilance was still a force for good
 
 
The submarine did slither
Through the murky depths
Crewmen of the Ward knew what to do
They did not wait or dither
'Cause they knew the threat
We were all on edge for World War Two
 
They longed for Minnesota
And what it meant to them
Clutching at a harmless fishing pole
Those Japanese pagodas
Should be all condemned
They would say if they could bare their soul
 
(repeat chorus)
 
A depth charge made it certain
That the job was done
Now the Ward continued with its day
So soon we'd close the curtain
On our peaceful fun
As the conflagration came our way
 
They could not have suspected
What was yet to come
Flocks of roaring bombers from the sky
The fury was relentless
From the Rising Sun
Why was it so many had to die?
 
(repeat chorus)
 
They say we were in slumber
Taken by surprise
That's the way the textbooks make it seem
We should not be encumbered
Blinders on our eyes
'Cause there were exceptions to that theme
 
That little ship on duty
Out at 6 a.m.
Did its job exemplary and true
We celebrate it truly
And its gallant men
St. Paul has a way of coming through
 
(repeat chorus)
 
 
© copyright 2017 Brian R. Williams

Morris, MN - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On helping UMM, "The Little Engine That Could"

My dad, middle of three seated, at retirement picnic in his honor, 1978.
The circle of people with first-hand memories of UMM's first graduation is shrinking. The year was 1964. I can affirm it was held outside. UMM has run into snags with the weather for its graduations. I remember the weather being pleasant for the historic first time around. It was a very big deal for the U of M president, O. Meredith Wilson, to be here.
A young Ralph Williams shows his directing forte.
I would liken UMM to "The Little Engine That Could" in 1964. It said "I knew I could." This was after some halting steps at the very start, when community leaders were nervous about whether the new institution could find its legs. I don't know how uncertain UMM's future was. It seemed to me the already-existing campus should be used for something. It had a long history as an ag school. We had neighbors, the Lindors, who were deeply rooted in the ag school's history. My father taught at the U of M's ag school in St. Paul before coming here. Ag schools became obsolete. I had nothing but warm feelings about the St. Paul school.
My mom, at right, with fellow UMMer Bonnie Tipcke.
UMM seemed harder to like. I have grappled with conflicted feelings about UMM all my life. It seemed elitist. Students seemed to go through academic rigors that would make me shudder. I guess I was puzzled at the notion that the so-called liberal arts absolutely had to rule. If you even broached the possibility that higher education exists to prepare you for a role in the workplace, you had to fear being pilloried. I sensed that UMM clearly was not going to be for me. And yet we as a family had to acknowledge that we owed everything we had to the hallowed U of M.
At the advanced age of 62, I am now trying to connect a little with the U in a way which, if all else fails, is meaningful and real. That way is with money. We have made a substantial monetary gift to UMM music. So now maybe I can be viewed as an eccentric benefactor.
A vignette: Our family had a dog named "Heidi" who would sometimes grab a slipper and take off with it, leaving the other slipper without its partner. A comment would be made, whereupon the response was made: "Haven't you heard the story of the magic slipper?" And then the comment was added: "Ain't you got culture?" Well, I may not possess a lot of culture but I can help UMM with a little green. I can be accepted on certain terms.
 
Up by the bootstraps, I guess
As a child I wasn't going to be that dependent on formal education. I was dependent on my mother. She saw to it that my literacy got pushed forward. She had me read aloud from books that were a little higher than my normal reading level would be. She pushed me and pushed me. Then as a junior in high school, I took a typing course under a fine teacher named Mr. Roberts at Morris High School. The building blocks were in place for me to write seriously.
I consumed lots of news media as a kid. Therefore I got filled with notions about how it was important to hold our society's leaders' feet to the fire. We're talking the late 1960s and early 1970s, that cauldron of unsettled feeling throughout our U.S. society. It's possible I was too impressionable. There is an important current movie that reminds us of how the air of skepticism got fueled back then. It's an important movie for young people to see. They might not believe it: the U.S. government had been lying about Vietnam for a large number of years. The movie is about the Pentagon Papers. Any government that could facilitate and feed something like the Vietnam War is never to be trusted.
I could have sworn the Vietnam War was going to go on forever. I remember when I learned the word "strive." It was from a World Events poster. There was an item bout how the South Vietnamese leader was "striving" to accomplish something. We were taught to take the Vietnam War seriously as something that merited our attention and efforts. The seeds got planted for a lifetime of cynicism for me.
Mom, at left, with co-worker and friend Betty Payne.
The first UMM commencement happened in the same year, 1964, that my father took the UMM men's chorus to the New York World's Fair. I have read about that fair, that it's considered a "touchstone" event among people my age who were in the New York City area. And that's because it was this big, joyful, innocent event that happened just before all of the violently contentious stuff that we associate with the 1960s and early '70s.
I graduated from high school at the height of the Watergate revelations. Media people were viewed as the heroes in that. Media people of today are not viewed so generously. But maybe if we eventually find out that Donald Trump was in fact some sort of a Manchurian candidate, representing interests outside the U.S., and if media people end up with their essential role revealing that, a cloak of glory will be returned to our free press. It will not in fact be "fake news."
 
And BTW, happy holidays
I am writing this post on the day after Christmas, 2017. I'm sure you're interested in my mother's health/condition. She is actually quite stable in spite of certain issues that limit her. We attended the Christmas meal at our church, First Lutheran, on Christmas Day. People her age - she's 93 - are like snowflakes with their mental condition. No two are exactly alike. She has a basic awareness and she can form thoughts and sentences. But she can be erratic too. She doesn't like to leave the house after dark. I'm sure many younger people have that impulse too!
We just got past the winter solstice. We don't celebrate holidays the way we used to. It's very understated now. Our relatives are basically all gone. I find I'm relieved when any holiday is over. I find holidays a little unsettling. We cannot celebrate them like we once did. Memories come back from when we had more relatives and friends with whom to actively socialize. And when we had our dogs: Misty, Heidi and Sandy.
I appreciated that Jacqueline Johnson, when she was UMM chancellor, had a very real interest in UMM's history. She was vividly aware of my mother's background with UMM as well as my father's. I'm not sure the administration continues to be as interested.
Through all my life, I have felt sort of a curse with UMM-associated people looking down on me. I am sorry if I could not live up to all your expectations. Our monetary contribution to UMM music is a major attempt by me to "make good" with the institution, an institution I was never smart enough to attend myself.
 
Time to confide a little
I am going to share here an important little tidbit from my past. Was I really a good musician? So many people expected me to be. And yes, I picked up a couple music credentials which on the surface seemed impressive. Let me say this emphatically: if I were to audition in a carefully controlled situation where I felt no undue pressure, I could seem brilliant. But it was largely an illusion. You see, I could in certain situations "pretend" to be an outstanding musician. Once I got really pressed on what I could do, I'd break down quickly.
So I really wish I had never gained those credentials in the first place. I realize that certain people were probably trying to do me a favor. I should be grateful. I appreciated their thoughts on this but I would have been better off just being left alone, sorry.
I should have switched from band to choir for my senior year in high school, then I'd go to choir director Ms. Hjembo and say "don't treat me like anyone special please. Forget my father's standing in music - forget it. Treat me like any other kid." And I would have been greatly relieved not having a band instrument that I'd be required to take home every night. God I hated that. I should have told ol' director Woell that "I'm not taking my instrument home and if you want to give me a failing grade, fine." One of my peers finally spoke up against Mr. Woell in practice one day. Woell was an old-fashioned disciplinarian. Being in band was like being a slave.
Today I ply my musical interests as a songwriter and it is 100 percent more interesting and rewarding. Public schools do not teach the guitar and piano. The reason is that those instruments can be tools for individual expression and rebellion, and the purpose of our public schools is to promote conformity. Band is a perfect example.
I'm 62 years old and now with lots of time to wonder how my life could have gone better. I know, I know, forget about the unpleasant stuff and just move forward. I appreciate the wisdom of that and I'll try. Sorry if this blog post comes off like the Robert Stack character at the end of "Airplane."
"I had a rough childhood, Striker."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Star Trek's "Miri" sends message to us Earth people

"Miri" was a most intriguing episode of the original "Star Trek." Don't remember it? There are various TV channels that run the original Star Trek quite regularly. You can catch up on any particular episode. The high profile is an indication that the series can be placed in the pantheon of artistic classics.
The episode "Miri" (from 1966) wasn't so much entertaining as it was scary. We can all remember certain entertainment offerings from our youth that scared us. We might keep a light on in the bedroom at night! I have read that Laurel and Hardy's (of all people) "Babes in Toyland" had such an element.
There is symbolism in "Miri" that rather hits you over the head. The Starship Enterprise comes upon a planet that seems a replica of Earth. There is no suggestion about how this duplication happened. So, why include this plot element? I think the idea was to show how the story line was relevant to what happens on Earth. It has to do with how we raise our kids. We in the here and now, it is suggested, are not adequately sensitive to the needs of our kids when they reach adolescence. In effect these kids can become "monsters."
Let's weigh this as background as we examine "Miri." The Enterprise answers an old distress signal. Here's this planet that looks just like Earth. The surface has ruins of a society that is long gone, having vanished in the equivalent to Earth year 1960. The planet's natives once conducted experiments to prolong life. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature, eh? (Remember that PSA from the 1960s?)
The experiments result in the creation of a deadly virus. The virus kills adults by rapid aging and madness. But with children, the virus slowed the aging process greatly. So they'd spend centuries in prepubescence. One wonders how the children could adequately care for themselves. Suspend disbelief, please.
The Enterprise sends a landing party. They are examining some rubble when an odd disfigured man assaults them. This man has reached the point where adulthood is going to kill him. I did not find this scene to be particularly scary. But this type of thing happens again later in the episode with an afflicted female. That scene scared me greatly. It happens indoors. Her face looks devilish. There are children present who scatter immediately, knowing full well what's going on. The disfigured screaming woman jumps on Captain Kirk's back. Kirk applies his phaser which is on a non-kill setting, but she dies anyway. The seizure is fatal in all instances.
An older boy named "Jahn" steals the landing party's communicators. The children are mistrustful of any adult as they remember the ugly way the planet's older citizens died. The children apply the word "grups" for grown-ups. I thought it was spooky.
Dr. McCoy feels pressure to find a vaccine to cure the deadly virus. But he needs access to the Enterprise's computers. An older girl named "Miri" becomes central to what happens. She is nearing adulthood and finds she has a crush on Captain Kirk. She notices that Kirk has closeness with "Yeoman Rand" of the landing party. She becomes emotionally conflicted. McCoy and Spock make progress toward a vaccine but they cannot be certain, as they have lost access to the ship's computer. Is it a cure or a poison?
The kids who are 300 years old (!) are warned that food in the town is running out. (Of course, we must wonder how the food had been preserved that long!)
McCoy collapses after injecting the experimental serum. His sores which were a symptom of the virus, subside. We see a happy ending where word is sent for the Federation to send teachers and advisers for the kids. I love the line from Dr. McCoy, offered in levity, that some "truant officers" be available too. As with much notable fiction, there are plausibility issues in this story. Good fiction keeps these issues from being an impediment. "Miri" is a gripping episode, the eighth of the series to be filmed.
 
Meet actress Grace Lee Whitney
"Yeoman Rand" was part of the standard Star Trek cast early-on. Then she disappeared. All fans of the series noticed that. It was a little upsetting. Where did she go? The character was played by Grace Lee Whitney, a singer as well as actress. "Yeoman Rand" was the personal assistant to Captain Kirk (William Shatner). Whitney recalled going on amphetamines to try to stay thin, in order to fit into her assigned costume. She appeared in eight of the first 13 Star Trek episodes. She was then released from contract.
Some sexism can be alleged. The people overseeing the show wanted Captain Kirk to have a variety of romantic interests. They didn't want him fixated on "Yeoman Rand" indefinitely. Whitney was told this directly. She was one of two blonde women in the cast, and the third female was African-Amercan Nichelle Nichols. Whitney recalled: "Nichelle was a more important character and couldn't be written out. Everything's political in America. One of the blondes had to go. The other one was engaged to the boss, so guess who went?"
Whitney did not take it well. She consumed alcohol to cope, she recalled. There is a happy ending: She would later return to the Star Trek franchise. Fans had been asking about her at conventions. She reprised the role of "Janice Rand."
 
Meet actor Michael John Pollard
The actor who played "Jahn" in "Miri" is notable. It's a face you cannot forget. Even though he was a prolific actor, I only remember him from two roles: in "Miri" and in the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway version of "Bonnie and Clyde." This actor's name: Michael John Pollard. He played "C.W. Moss" in 1967's "Bonnie and Clyde." He received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations. The role led to his joke candidacy in 1968 for U.S. president.
His very short stature had him playing child roles well into his 20s, an example being the "Miri" episode. This quality also had him in the recurring role as the diminutive trans-dimensional imp "Mister Mxyzptik" in the "Superboy" TV series. Another exhibit was in "Lost in Space" as the nameless Peter Pan-like boy who lives in the dimension behind all mirrors.
 
Assimilate the message
Watch enough cable TV and you'll see "Miri" again, I assure you. The episode makes us think about our own condition as human beings today - this is a hallmark of all great science fiction. It makes us think how we handle or fail to handle our adolescent youth. These kids come upon issues like sex that can confuse them and plant seeds of anxiety. They can become "monsters" as they grapple and as they try to fend off distractions. Maybe I'm revealing a little something about my own background. Perhaps. Young people today are given pills (behavior meds) when in many cases they could do better with intensive counseling, IMHO. Their parents can seem oddly oblivious.
"Miri" is a wakeup call to parents. Find out about the issues in your child's life. Don't you remember these issues from when you were young?
Kudos: The "Miri" script was written by Adrian Spies. The director was Vincent McEveely.
 
Just leave out the baked beans
Would you believe that the precursor TV show to Star Trek was "Wagon Train?" I found Wagon Train to be boring, basically a bunch of guys wearing cowboy hats talking to each other.

- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, December 15, 2017

MACA girls get fourth win 66-44 at Montevideo

Tigers 66, Montevideo 44
MACA got back on the winning track with a 66-44 win over Montevideo on the road. This West Central Conference game was played on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Our record improved to 4-2. Monte came out of the game winless. Our halftime advantage was 26-13.
Maddie Carrington stayed "in the zone" with her three-point shooting eye. She made four long-rangers. Riley Decker and Malory Anderson each made one shot from beyond the three-point arc. Anderson and Carrington were a 1-2 punch in scoring with 23 and 21 points respectively. Decker was our other double figures scorer with eleven.
Here's the rest of the scoring list: Alexis Pew (4), Liz Dietz (3), Jenna Howden (2), Kylie Swanson (1) and Carly Wohlers (1). Anderson snared nine rebounds from her post spot. Howden gathered eight rebounds. Dietz dished out four assists and Carrington had three. Carrington was all over the court to perform five steals.
Two players dominated the Monte scoring list: Emmy Enevoldsen with 20 points and Sydney Zindel with 14. Kamren Saue scored six points, and Kari Fragodt and Jasmyn Kronback each had two. Enevoldsen made two 3-pointers. The top Thunder Hawks in rebounds were Zindel (10), Saue (6) and Molly Reeves (5). Enevoldsen had three assists followed by Reeves, Madalyn Killbarda and Fragodt each with two. Enevoldsen stole the ball four times for the T-Hawks. Fragodt had two steals.
 
Boys: Ortonville 64, Tigers 55
The BBB Tigers led by three at halftime but ended up on the short end against Ortonville. The visiting Trojans got their fourth win against no losses as they outscored the Tigers 41-29 in the second half. The final score was 64-55 in this December 12 contest.
Ortonville had three players coming at the Tigers with a potent scoring touch. DeVante Edwards and Caden Wellnitz each put in 18 points. Tyson Powell had a total of 17. The Trojans had an iron man look as only five players scored. Peter Treinen scored eight points and Mitchell Meyers had three.
Jackson Loge had a quite impressive night offensively for MACA with his 17 points. Jaret Johnson was the other double figures scorer with 13. Camden Arndt and Tate Nelson each scored nine. Connor Koebernick had five points and Chandler Vogel had two. Loge led in rebounds with nine while Johnson had eight. Arndt had six assists and Nelson had five.
 
Minnewaska 52, Tigers 41
Our boys were on the short end against Minnewaska Area Thursday (12/14). The host Lakers surged to get their fourth win against no losses. They acquired a 26-13 halftime lead. The Tigers managed to outscore the Lakers in the second half, 28-26. So the final horn sounded with the score 52-41.
Two Lakers scored in double figures to lead a balanced 'Waska attack. The team-best total of 14 was put up by Garrett Jensen. Jaeger Jergenson scored 11. Jackson Johnsrud scored seven followed by Matthew Gruber and Shawn Carsten each with five. The list continues with Jack Blevins and Ryan Christianson each with three, and Grant Jensen and Ryan Amundson each with two.
Minnewaska had quite the array of three-point shooters - six in all with at least one make. Garrett Jensen made two long-rangers. These Lakers each made one: Carsten, Gruber, Christianson, Blevins and Johnsrud. Jergenson had six rebounds followed by the Jensen boys each with five. Christianson performed five assists and Johnsrud had four. Gruber had a steal.
Tate Nelson of the Tigers excelled in long-range shooting, making four 3-pointers. Camden Arndt and Jaret Johnson each made one "3." Nelson pumped up his point total to 17. Arndt and Johnson each put in nine points. These Tigers each put in two points: Kyle Staebler, Connor Koebernick and Jackson Loge. Loge had the team-best rebound total with seven. Johnson collected five rebounds. Nelson produced three assists. Nelson and Koebernick each had two steals.
This was West Central Conference basketball.
 
On writing sports
There's a feeling of satisfaction when I click on "publish" to put up a post like this. I'm pleased to still feel a part of Tiger sports doings. It's bittersweet too for this reason: each new post stays current for only a very short time. The team will play its next game within three days most likely. Sometimes a team will play on Saturday, as the MACA boys will this Saturday at Lac qui Parle.
Fans/parents can be so demanding. Is the Pope Catholic? I suppose they're just being human. A review post that I put up just a few days previous will quickly become "old." And then the pressure is on to perform as a writer all over again. Over and over and over. At the Morris newspaper, this situation was exacerbated greatly by the need to cover every area team that might expect to be covered.
The pressure exerted by the fans seemed to become greater as the years went on. How do you reconcile that pressure with the fact the Morris paper has undergone such dramatic shrinkage over the last decade? I of course haven't been with the paper in the last eleven years. I can only wonder how they have dealt with the pressures, and I don't have any sympathy for them anyway. The only real priority they respect is to sell advertising like with those endless "sucker ads." We'll see more of that for Christmas. Attention businesses: spend your money more wisely. You didn't fall off a turnip truck, did you?
So let me emphasize that I enjoyed putting up this blog post today. A week from now I hope it doesn't seem like three-day-old bread, but it probably will. It's fun to keep tabs on how the Carrington family is doing. I see Tom Carrington most mornings at Detoy's when it's still dark outside! A very peaceful time.
 
Final note: I think today's post is the first time in my life I've written the word "exacerbate."
  
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwillyh73@yahoo.com

Monday, December 11, 2017

Four Tigers score in double figures in boys' opener win

Tigers 83, ACGC 58
MACA rolled over the Falcons of ACGC in our season opener, played on December 8 here. The curtain opened for boys hoops play with a most impressive triumph, 83-58. This was ACGC's third game.
Camden Arndt showed the same kind of polish that marked his football campaign. He topped the MACA scoring list with 24 points. But the scoring punch was really pretty balanced. Jaret Johnson was smooth with his execution and scored 21 points. Connor Koebernick and Jackson Loge each put in 14. Kyle Staebler scored six, and Ben Hernandez and Tyler Reimers each had two.
The rebound leaders were Loge (8), Johnson (7) and Arndt (4). The assist leader was Arndt with seven followed by Koebernick with six and Nelson with four. In steals there were three Tigers each with three: Nelson, Johnson and Koebernick. Arndt had two steals.
ACGC had the one-two punch of Kobe Holtz and Jaren Kaddatz lead in scoring, each with 16 points. Josh Kinzler put in seven points in the losing cause. Wyatt Weseman and Steven Lawver each had six. Elliot Gratz had four points and Braden Hedtke had three. Holtz had six rebounds while Kaddatz and Gratz each had five. Holtz had four assists and Kinzler had three, and Holtz had three steals.
We're at the start of what promises to be an exciting orange and black campaign.
 
Girls: New London-Spicer 66, Tigers 31
The dynasty in New London-Spicer girls basketball just keeps rolling along. The Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls learned that the Wildcats are a power once again for 2017-18. My goodness, the 'Cats shot out to a 44-8 lead by halftime. The final score was 66-31 on December 7, here.
Shea Oman was a long-range shooting whiz for the victor. She connected for five three-pointers. Mackenzie Rich and Payton Mages each made one '3'. Oman was the steals whiz with seven. She was one of three Wildcats each with four assists, joined by Ashton Engelke and Rich. Ava Kraemer had nine rebounds and Emma Hanson had eight.
Oman used her 3's to top the NL-Spicer scoring list - her total was 17 points. Rich and Hanson each scored ten. Mages put in seven points and Erin Knisley had six. Engelke and Grace DeSchepper each added four points to the winning mix. The list wraps up with Mya Krause (3), Sam Johnson (2), Courtney Caskey (2) and Ava Kraemer (1).
For MACA, Malory Anderson played up to the high standards she has set in the early season, scoring 19 points. She made two 3-point shots. Maddie Carrington had five points followed by these three Tigers each with two: Riley Decker, Jenna Howden and Carly Wohlers. Kendra Wevley put in one point.
Decker and Anderson each collected five rebounds. Liz Dietz and Wohlers each had four rebounds. Dietz dished out four assists. Anderson had five steals and Carrington had four. Anderson led all scorers on the night. But the orange and black was outdone by a wide margin, by the dynastic Wildcats. I assure you the 'Cats don't win because of their uniforms!
 
Sauk Centre 73, Tigers 42
The MACA girls were dealt their first loss of the season on December 5 at home. We had three wins previously. But we were humbled by the Streeters of Sauk Centre. Sauk upped its record to 4-0 with an impressive 73-42 win. The halftime score was 42-29.
The Tigers faltered despite Maddie Carrington again making several 3's for MACA. She made four in all, the only long-range successes by our Tigers. She scored 14 points which was second-best on the team. Post standout Malory Anderson set the pace with 19 points. There's a dropoff after Carrington: Riley Decker with five points and Liz Dietz and Jenna Howden each with two. Anderson collected nine rebounds and Howden had four. Four Tigers each had two assists: Carrington, Jordann Baier, Anderson and Carly Wohlers. Anderson and Carrington each had three steals.
Tori Peschel supplied lots of scoring punch for the winning Streeters with 25 points. Other double figures scorers were Kelsey Peschel (14), Maesyn Thiesen (13) and Julia Dammann (10). Kenzie Schmiesing scored seven points, and Megan Klaphake and Michaela Dammann each had two. Tori Peschel and Thiesen each made three 3-pointers. Kelsey Peschel connected twice from beyond the three-point line, and Schmiesing made one '3'.
 
Wrestling: Tigers 59, BOLD 21
Five wins by fall fueled the MAHACA winning effort against the BOLD Warriors. The score was 59-21 as the Tigers greatly impressed on the wrestling mat. Our winning total was inflated by forfeits, unfortunately. This is one downbeat aspect of wrestling, IMHO.
Caden Rose had his arm raised unchallenged at 106 pounds. Justin Asthmus likewise won by forfeit at 113. Ethan Lebrija got to face an opponent and he excelled with a technical fall over Jesse Manderscheid, 23-5. Austin Berlinger was on the short end by fall vs. Matthew Dooner (3:20). Ben Travis got one of those forfeits at 132 pounds.
Dalton Rose showed a winning flair at 138 pounds with his fall over Jordan Amberg, achieved in 5:23. Gideon Joos got one of those forfeits at 145 pounds. Colton Wohlers pinned Blake Flann (4:45) in the matchup of 152-pounders. Brady Cardwell won by fall in 4:36 over Anthony Maher at 160 pounds.
Christian Doods won by fall in 5:22 over Jaden Huebsch at 170. BOLD's Tim Peppel won by forfeit at 182. Our Bain Lane dropped an 11-4 decision to Hayden at 195 pounds. Gage Wevley pinned Brady Ridler in 1:27 at 220 pounds. BOLD's Jack Peppel won by forfeit at 285 pounds.
Let's excuse the weight-conscious Tigers for doing some Christmas snacking soon!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwillyh73@yahoo.com