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).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Topics out and about as winter becomes a drag

The entry to UMM on sun-shiney day (B.W. photo)
The following items originally appeared as "addendums" with posts that were primarily about MACA sports. You might not have noticed these if you're not a sports buff. I collect them here as a potpourri. Thanks for visiting my sites and God bless! - B.W.
"Self-checkout" finally comes to Willie's (posted on 2/10)
We have read about this for some time. "Human" checkout resources at stores might be judged impractical from a cost standpoint. The interests of human beings don't really matter, do they? Don't we all worship at the altar of maximum profit?
Finally, we are seeing a "self-checkout" station being installed at our local grocery store. It isn't enough that that store has a monopoly. The head-scratching never stops for trying to plan greater cost-efficiency.
Human employees can be problematic. They need bathroom breaks. They can get sick. They have to be trained in. They can quit on you. All this Orwellian mechanized stuff puts those messy little issues aside.
Checkout jobs at stores have been a last bastion for "common job" opportunities for Americans. Nothing is sacred anymore. Will all these checkout people be able to land on their feet, finding some other kind of job? I have concern about that.
I'm sure the self-checkout will have lots of issues and glitches. What about groceries that need to be weighed? I don't even want to think about it. Let's all pause and catch our breath a little.
Eating while driving: an offense? (posted on 1/31)
Did you catch that news item recently where the guy got a citation from police for eating a cheeseburger while driving? I guess this is perceived as a form of distracted driving. I suppose it's possible to get overly involved with a snack while driving. 
I wonder if this case is really egregious. Would the ticket have been issued if the motorist were a woman? Or a senior citizen? Males in theirs 20s through 40s - oh heck, into their 50s - seem the most prime target. Such was the status of the driver I'm reporting on.
We're all concerned about distracted driving. Certainly there are serious forms. A big problem here is how broad the term "distracted driving" can be. It's highly subjective. Capricious?
I tend to get my gas at Casey's. Often I'll get a slice of pizza before driving off. And, I'll take some bites as I drive slowly over the 4-5 blocks on my way to the next destination. Often I'll stop at Willie's because that's on the way home. I'll take the last few bites of the pizza slice in the Willie's parking lot. It appears that I will now have to keep an eye out for the police as I'm en route. I wonder if driving with one hand will come to be viewed as an offense. 
There have been rumors going back a couple years about how pets will have to be put in carriers, or else. The rumors have suggested very large fines. Unless we the public rise up to stop such trends - trends of overzealous law enforcement - we're going to develop a complex as we set out to drive. Aggressive law enforcement spells money that supports the agencies who give out these tickets, often in an onerous way. I mean, many of these citations in a previous age would have been seen as nit-picking.
Oh, but we must maximize safety, right? Really? Is that your standard? Well, then we'll have to make requirements more rigid for renewing our driver's license. Make the eye exam more demanding. Do you know how much anxiety this would cause for older drivers?
The simple fact is, there are many drivers out there who for a variety of reasons aren't 100 percent attentive or competent for driving a car. We get old. We can be short on sleep. We can be taking medications. We may have consumed a beer or two with a pizza meal, which means that if police pull you over for some reason, like a burned out headlight, you'll have a heart attack, or maybe you'll be tempted to flee like that assistant Stevens County attorney. That individual is now deceased.
The best example of overzealous law enforcement is the seat belt thing.
Many of us might have to start considering a car-free lifestyle. More senior citizens might have to be forced to consider this. The ideal will be "safety" - that mantra that gives cover for law enforcement to give out tickets as if it's a scourge from God.
Just watch what happens if more seniors are forced off the road. Their children will rise up and scream about how older adults need to be allowed to continue with reasonable independence. But wait, what about "safety?" It's really a bunch of hooey. Eating while driving? Be careful. Pet in the car? Be careful. Most of all, be very careful every time you see a police car (or a school bus). The cops will be looking to get you for some minor reason.
Cash registers ring for law enforcement.
Never in Morris? (posted on 1/26)
When I was a kid, we assumed that certain types of scandals just couldn't happen here, not in Morris. These things happened in mysterious, impersonal, big far-away cities. Like Boston.
We learn of a doctor in Morris that is being reprimanded in a pretty serious way. It's on the "front page." Will this damage the credibility of SCMC? I hope not.
Years ago we began hearing about all those misbehaving Catholic priests and we figured "things like that just don't happen in Morris, Minnesota." But then we did get a misbehaving priest. Then we got a high school principal who was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct. Now we have a local doctor getting a high-profile disciplinary action.
A doctor! That's scary.
I guess Morris has joined the wider world. At least we don't have a local football team that manipulates air pressure of footballs. Or maybe. . .
Glass half-empty, I guess (posted on 1/21)
I recently overheard a well-known fan of MACA boys basketball say of this year's team: "They only have three basketball players."
I won't type this individual's name. His point was that there are only three Tigers with appreciable talent, enough to be considered a real "basketball player."
My reaction? Well, let me assert this, as someone who once worked with a coach who said the only requirement of his players was to have "two arms and two legs": no top-notch coach would ever look at his roster and say "we only have three basketball players."
One can argue that MACA basketball hasn't made any special mark for quite some time. Maybe we're due. Or overdue.
"Deflate-gate" discussion continues (posted on 1/26)
Of course, no matter what kind of talk is generated about NFL issues, it will only help boost the NFL's profile and bring more money into those coffers.
If the NFL continues exploding in popularity, its leaders won't care a bit about problems like "Deflate-gate." They will only care if such a problem chips away at the sport's popularity. If the problem is just swept under the rug, we can assume that NFL football can take on some of the qualities of pro wrestling, and its leaders won't care. Pro wrestling has always been very popular. Bill Belichick would simply be a "villain," and Tom Brady would be his stooge partner.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC has already proclaimed that the only reason deflate-gate is a big issue, is that people "hate the Patriots," like it's only an emotional matter. Well, there are bad guy wrestlers who people hate. The NFL may become known as a league that tolerates shenanigans. The penalty was never strong enough for "spygate" involving those Patriots.
Do all you fans really want to keep supporting this product?
Whenever the Patriots get "caught," their initial response is to say "even if we're guilty, it didn't give us any advantage." Do they think we're children?
I am going to skip the Super Bowl and I won't even be tempted to check in. We are such lemmings to keep supporting this gargantuan product, this obscene slice of America glorifying all our commercial and capitalistic tendencies. There's no restraint at all. I am going to walk away from it. Please consider joining me.
"Deflate-gate" gets more depressing (posted on 1/23)
We saw press conferences with the coach and quarterback of the New England Patriots yesterday (Thursday). I had a sneaking suspicion, going in, we weren't going to gain any real resolution on the controversy at hand. The press conferences were predictably maddening.
The individuals under scrutiny talked around the whole matter. They pleaded innocence without giving any real hints as to where the blame was to be placed. Something happened and we simply want to know how and why. It has been a prime story in the national news, going beyond the usual boundaries of sports.
I'm cynical enough to think the money-drenched NFL will just play rope-a-dope on this whole matter. That's exactly what we saw Thursday: textbook rope-a-dope.
The NFL is hoping the media will become complacent, that the media will just roll over and trivialize the whole matter, largely laughing it off. Some in the media have been inclined that way. We saw Joe Scarborough on MSNBC trivialize the whole thing this morning (Friday). Joe said the whole matter revolved around "everyone hating the Patriots."
Wrong. I'm skeptical about the Patriots largely because of "Spygate." But I'm not emotional about it. I don't "hate" the Patriots. The NFL is nudging the media and trying to remind the media that they are part of this whole golden goose called NFL football. Everyone takes a bite. The NFL is winking to the media and hoping the media will wink back.
The media are interviewing lots of former players and others connected with the NFL. That's like interviewing the president of the teachers union about education issues. The teachers union doesn't represent education issues, it represents its members to try to get the best contract possible.
There is a whole circus around the NFL. The truth-seekers have to penetrate that. Will the truth-seekers be persistent enough?
"The Patriots would have won anyway." I'm not even sure about that. What if some key passes, thrown with a fully inflated football, had bounced off the hands of Patriot receivers in the first half? A game's basic complexion is established in the first half. Maybe you need some experience in sports gambling to appreciate this. Oddsmakers will tell you how pivotal the early stages of games are. Playing from behind is much different from playing even.
I'm determined not to watch one minute of the Super Bowl or its commercials. I'll plan other activities if I have to.
Change afoot at Morris newspaper (posted on 1/17)
I got a heads-up the other day that Nancy Olson, formerly Nancy Woodke, is leaving the Morris newspaper. I learned that her final day was yesterday (Friday, Jan. 16). I always had the impression that her lifelong calling was going to be community newspapers. Has she landed a job with another newspaper? I don't know.
Nancy came on board with the Morris newspaper back in 2006 as the hero wearing the cape who was going to replace me. I seriously doubt that most people consider the newspaper product better than when I was there.
Nancy had the curious habit of walking laps around the football field in the second half of some home games. I am hoping that this practice is over now, and that I can just inconspicuously take photos from the visitors sideline at future home games. I skipped the 2014 season. I feel I have a lot to offer, both with my writing and photography. I can post photos as Flickr albums, which I did over a period of four years. It costs nothing - zero - for fans to come to my sites and digest this coverage. It's a delight for me to still be involved in my own small way with MACA athletics.
"Deflate-gate" a serious matter (posted on 1/21)
We learn this morning (Wednesday) that eleven of the 12 balls used by the Patriots vs. the Colts were under-inflated.
Some are disposed to laugh-off this episode. They'll say "the Patriots would have won anyway." Well, besides being beside the point, this assertion may simply not be true. Why do you think sports handicapping is so difficult in Las Vegas? It's because a handful of breaks or special advantages can truly create the decisive momentum for a team. Andrew Luck is not chopped liver.
I'm not holding my breath, but the NFL ought to mete out serious punishment for this. Maybe coach Bill Belichick should be suspended immediately, which means he'd miss the Super Bowl. So what? The assistants could take over the team, like we saw with the U of M Gophers when Jerry Kill had to leave the sidelines for a time.
We still remember "Spygate." The punishment should have been harsher for that. Advertisers for NFL football telecasts do not like blow-out games where presumably a large portion of the audience tunes out. Money will talk, or it ought to. Does the NFL stand for anything else?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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