Sunday, May 29, 2011

Old School Thursday: LL Cool J

belated.  Also, a forgotten classic of disturbing sexual imagery.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tim Blotz Does Not Want To Hear Your Complaints, Soccer Fans

Because of a thunderstorm, I watched the second half of the Champions League with no sound and in a tiny second box, so I could get all the weather news I could ever possibly need.  The entire second half.  It was annoying.  Apparently, most of the soccer fans in the Twin Cities agreed, because anchor Tim Blotz sure seems annoyed by the whole thing.  I particularly liked the urging to not "cheese them off" on Facebook.  Meteorologist Ian Leonard was a bit more sympathetic, as he is a huge Manchester United fan*, and didn't want to be on the TV today.

*One of the five people living or dead that Ian Leonard would have dinner with?  George Best.

Friday, May 27, 2011

C'mon Giggsy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old School Thursday: Whodini

Monday, May 16, 2011

Whither the Football Magazines?

Every June, at the moment of my most radical need for football, I received succor. The football magazines -- Street & Smith, Pro Football Weekly, etc -- are published every June. I've purchased at least one every year, usually two, sometimes three. Yes, I tend to pick the magazine that offers the most optimistic view of the DC Skins. Despite the fact that they haven't been right since 1991, I love those magazines.

Grade the line! Break down the special teams! Examine the free agent contracts! Predict, prophesize and propound!

The magazines are the concrete proof that football will be awesome for the upcoming season. They offer hope, talking points and in-depth stats.

But with the ongoing lockout, we're screwed. The appeal re: lifting the lockout isn't scheduled to begin until June third. Even if the NFLPA is successful, it won't mean football returns. They still won't have a CBA, and the league has more sneaky tricks up its fancy sleeves.

Steelers owner Rooney said, "We'd like to make progress, but it'll be hard to do. We have to wait to see what happens June 3."

I can't even look forward to football magazines this year. Now the lockout is getting personal.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old School Thursday: Souls of Mischief

Delayed due to Blogger being down for a bit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey Deadspin, That Vikings SuperFund Site Looks Like A Weird Cock

Vikings site, as seen through the lens of a SuperFund Clean-Up camera.

Reusse On New Stadium: Blame Mass Transit!

Yesterday, with enough fanfare to suggest the stadium deal was not only completed, but the stadium was already finished, the Vikings and Ramsey County officials announced a partnership to build a stadium, whilst overlooking some pretty massive issues with that plan.

If you are a casual follower of this issue (and most people are) you'd think something had been accomplished.  Nothing really has as of yet, though.  Everyone talking about this big new deal has totally ignored that they do not have, as yet, a ton of support in the State Legislature, and have a governor in Mark Dayton who has pretty carefully delineated how much he'd be willing to spend (not enough for the plan as it stands).  Governor Dayton even suggested that most of $300 million the state is willing to spend (and that number just seems to have come out of thin air--it's not like a state in a deficit of $5 billion has any money to spend on stadiums) would go to infrastructure if that is needed, and a long abandoned Ammunition Plant well off of the interstates flowing into the Twin Cities would need a lot of infrastructure, presumably.

But never mind all of that!  I'm here to talk and giggle at the insanity of Patrick Reusse's column on the subject.  Keep in mind, this man gets paid well to deliver his opinion on all things sports-related (and also all things Park Near Where Pat Reusse Lives-Related).

You know that super-conservative, kinda racist uncle you have, who because he succeeded in his little narrow niche, thinks he knows better than you in every facet of everything?  That's what reading Reusse is like.  You probably just shake your head at your uncle every Thanksgiving and move on with your life.  Would that I could do that with Reusse.  Let's get to the old crank uncle version of the sort-of/not-really new Stadium deal!

The first four paragraphs of Reusse's column deal with a deal in Minneapolis that never, ever had a chance--both Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis weren't really interested in dealing with the Viking's demands; Hennepin County bowed out; the City of Minneapolis put out a tough deal that demanded the Vikings actually sacrifice a little.  Reusse gives Hennepin County a pass, but roughs up the City of Minneapolis for not being active enough--by which he means, give up their Farmer's Market site with a whimper.

Then, Reusse gets to the meat of the matter:  "On Tuesday, the Vikings came with the deal that politicians and pundits have been ordering them to deliver for years: They came with a large financial commitment from ownership and with a fully engaged local partner."

That's one way of putting it.  The other way of putting it could be that the Vikings have put up the exact minimum demanded of them by politicians (if that).  And they've put that money into an location that needs massive work,which they aren't helping to clean up/fix/make suitable for a stadium.  That cost is nowhere in any projections, though Governor Dayton's studies (who goes unmentioned in Reusse's piece) suggest it could be more than $200 million dollars).

Here's what it get's weird and super-tangential.  For those of you who don't know--the new location is kind of out of the way.  It's north of I-694, the northern part of the interstate Beltway of the Twin Cities.  Public transportation (in general, pretty bad in the Twin Cities) is practically nonexistent that far north of the metro.  But I should mention (because it is important to the craziness that is about to follow) that the Twin Cities are working to improve their mass transit with additions to an urban light rail line that will connect downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis.  Remember that I said that part, OK?  Because it's about to get all Old and Cranky and Weird up in here.

Reusse: "We know Arden Hills does not fit the dream of the transit crowd. Currently, those dreamers are busy spending scores of millions to turn University Avenue into a modern version of post-war East Berlin, all in the name of a choo-choo from downtown St. Paul hooking up with the Hiawatha Line in downtown Minneapolis."

Arden Hills doesn't fit with the dream of anyone who likes to attend Viking games, but doesn't want to drive for 45 minutes, or pay a monopoly to park their car.  Say what you will about the Metrodome, but it being in a central location allowed people to walk there, bus there, train there, or choose from a wide variety of urban, independent parking lots.  There are no parking lots in Arden Hills, and the only ones that will be there will be owned by the Vikings.  Yeah, only crazy Transit Fans (?) hate the Arden Hills site.  And I'm not sure why post-war East Berlin is the reference of choice, except that it sounds horrible.  I live and work near University Avenue--am I avoiding it right now?  Sure--because it is under construction, not because it reminds me of a grim Communist dystopia.  It's called hyperbole, and Patrick Reusse is just like Joseph Stalin, in that he uses hyperbole well.  (see what I did there?)

Read that last part again--"All in the name of a choo-choo".  People who like mass transit in central urban corridors are babies!  That's called infantilizing your opponents.  Also it was a favorite technique of Stalin.  Also, Pat Reusse is a big goddamn baby.  (I may be using it a little too bluntly, but you get my demo, yeah?)

Next paragraph (complete with hinted conspiracy theory):  "One vestige of previous construction is a large train station in front of the Metrodome. Another is the hub serving Target Field. Thus, the transit crowd could live with either a new Metrodome or the Farmers Market site, to offer impressive ridership numbers on Sundays in the fall and early winter...Come 2015, not long after the St. Paul-Minneapolis hookup is complete, the transit crowd will have to admit that it previously was delivering several thousand Vikings fans by train, and now, after spending those scores of millions tearing up University Avenue, it is delivering zero Vikings fans by train."

The "transit crowd".  Sounds ominous.  Perhaps Reusse should have capitalized it--"The Transit Crowd" would have been much scarier.  But it is a crazy argument.  No one wants a new stadium, if they have to pay for it.  It makes economic sense to use existing resources.  The train will have function beyond the Vikings (the thousands it delivers to Vikings Games, it does exactly 8 times a year (barring that occasional year they have/lose a home playoff game)--and yet, for some reason, it operates the other 357 days that the Vikings don't play, and still finds a purpose and a ridership.

The Transit Crowd (who?) wants a new stadium built near an existing Train Stop, so they can boost their ridership numbers.  Not far from that argument is, "Let's build a train system who serves no one and see how many people ride that!"  By the way, there's this thing you can do, called research--let me show you what it can do.  Reusse argues that the Public Transit Cabal of the Twin Cities (who?) wants the Metrodome station to remain busy for those 8 Sundays a year to inflate their statistics.  In the 3rd Quarter (July, August, September) of 2010, the light rail of Minnesota averaged 35,000 riders a day.  We can recognize that this is the busiest time of the year for sports, yes?  In the first quarter of 2010 (featuring January, February and March--little Vikings, no Twins), the light rail averaged 27,000 riders a day.  That might seem like a dip, until you remember that the Transit Authority weren't expecting numbers like that until at least 2020.  Still successful!  Still a horribly stupid argument from Reusse!  (and I didn't mention that the numbers actually dip on Sunday--the train is being used by commuters, as it was to meant to be.  Duh.)

The simple answer, that Reusse refuses to acknowledge, is that no one likes the deal the Vikings are putting out there.  A couple of Ramsey County commissioners smell a chance to clean a deserted SuperFund* site, see the lack of interest from actual sites, and put something together--a deal that the Vikings love, Ramsey County voters will hate for good reason, and the State isn't going to back any time soon.

Oh Yeah--Bike Riders who love Minnesota--Pat Reusse thinks you guys aren't worth it either:  "[Instead of working on a Vikings Stadium] The political leaders in Minneapolis were occupied with other matters, such as moving up in the ratings for "Most Bicycle Friendly City in America."

Everyone who doesn't love what Pat Reusse does is stupid and kind of faggy! So says Pat Reusse!

*That's something that goes unmentioned a lot--the new Vikings stadium site needs massive clean-up:  from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:  "Contamination resulting from past ammunition manufacturing operations at the facility has been identified in groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water. Contaminants of concern include chlorinated solvents, explosives, metals, VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, PAHs and lead. The primary contaminants of concern in the groundwater both on and off-site are VOCs. The contaminants in the soil on TCAAP primarily consist of VOCs and lead. The contaminated sites that are being addressed by the Army consist of ground and surface water, surface disposal areas, sediments, disposal pit/dry well, landfills, chemical disposal areas, firing ranges, small arms ranges, unexploded munitions/ordnance and burn areas. The Army, U.S. EPA, and MPCA have worked jointly to determine the contaminants involved, the extent of the contamination, and the remediation that is required."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alexi Casilla, Twins Meteorologist


Lebron James has issued an apology for muttering "That's retarded" after Dwayne Wade was asked a completely retarded question during a press conference. It's not clear if the retardette "journalist" demanded the apology, or if his own embattered (yet resilient) PR machine pressured him.

It took some "journalist" who "may have worked the game" twenty seconds (count 'em) to accuse Dwayne Wade of being a dirty player, chaffing it all up with gobblespeak and bullshit. Watch it.

She doesn't even ask a question. Fuck it, I'll write up the transcript:

"D-Wade, I just have a, a question, um. What do you have to say about people who may think that your play was somewhat dirty tonight -- er, out of character?"

Wade: "Like who?"

"In general, for people watching the game, some of us who worked the game, just in general, or is that just the level of competition, and emotions, and -"

At this time, James says into his hand, "That's retarded."

You can hear the encouraging smile in her voice (italicized) as she backs off her passive-aggressive accusation, and can hear her make some kind of emphatic gesture.

It is my belief that James was directly commenting on her gesture as she tried to convince Wade to say, "Well no, it's just playoff basketball. The highest level of competition, and emotions run high." That's clearly the answer she had already typed into her iphone.

This is someone who was paid to be at the game. An accredited journalist, allowed to ask a question at a televised press conference. Presumably, she didn't have much time to prepare or rehearse her retarded question.

Lebron James has nothing to apologize for. But the retardization of America is reaching critical mass.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Dave Zirin On the TV!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Hennepin County Says "Thanks, But No Thanks" to Vikings

From the jump here, let me apologize for the sullen silence of this here blog.  It feels like if I'm not posting a Thursday Old School Video, or complaining about the NFL Ownership, or the Vikings Stadium deal, I'm not posting anything.  But the NBA doesn't do much for me these days, and whilst I could write a post about how the Twins need to get healthy, it seems like that is rather unnecessary.  (The Twins desperately need to get healthy though.)  Even the UEFA Champions League has been rather moribund, though that Final--Barcelona vs. Manchester United--is the stuff of soccer dreams, hopefully (May 28th!).

That's my mea culpa--let's get back to bitching about the Vikings stadium deal.

Star Tribune reporter Kevin Duchschere posted an article just a couple of hours ago stating that Hennepin County has pulled themselves out of consideration for the opportunity to spend $300 million dollars they don't have to build their "share" of a new Vikings stadium.

It still strikes me odd that a "no" from Hennepin County doesn't rule out Minneapolis altogether.  The City of Minneapolis could still be in the running, but they prefer the Metrodome site, which opens up all sorts of uncomfy questions about where the Vikings would play for the 2 years it would take to rip down the Dome and build a new stadium on top of its ugly, ugly Teflon bones.

The reason County Commissioner Mike Opat gives, as quoted by the Star Trib in a letter to Governor Dayton, is simple and logical, and again makes me wonder what the Vikings are thinking, when they think this is the time to ask for $600,000,000 in public money:  "In this time of severe cuts proposed to local governments and to the services we provide, it is too burdensome for Hennepin County to act as a local partner for the Vikings stadium."

That wording seems important to me--and something other possible partners (the aforementioned City of Minneapolis, and Ramsey County) need reminding of--when coming up with your budgets, keep in mind that those locales can not count on the same kind of State support that they have gotten in the past, because the Minnesota State Legislature is being run by a bunch of idiots, who are probably cutting services, whilst calling a great writer who has lived here for years "pencil-necked weasel" that they "hate".  Seriously, that happened.

(seriously, have you read American Gods?  Do so.  And thank me at your leisure)

But Opat seems to be rather explicitly reminding the other civic entities in the running for the Vikings stadium that when they budget that $300 million to pay into the kitty that they are also facing budget shortfalls across their entire swath of services to, you know, non-billionaires.    And the City of Minneapolis agrees, actually.  The same article says, "Rybak has said Minneapolis doesn't have the resources to finance one-third of a new stadium, as the current bill requires of a local partner."

So, consider:  local partners threatening to drop out over their presumed price tag.  That's assuming that a pretty unpopular bill in the legislature in which the State of Minnesota puts up another third even passes (unlikely!).  There have been plenty of other hints (or flat-out statements) from potential partners that the Vikings need to pony up more than one-third of the money.  Hennepin County is now out; Minneapolis doesn't sound too psyched, and the Ramsey County location has a ton of issues that go far beyond the price tag.

Clearly, if the Vikings have almost $20 million to dump into Brett Favre's inglorious last year in the league, they should be able to take out a loan that pays $20 million a year for 30 years into their new super awesome stadium.  That right there is $600 million.  And if they can't commit to a mortgage like that, why should the taxpayers of Minnesota?  Sounds like if the Vikings are serious about staying here, they need to up their willingness to show it.  If not, take that mythical free stadium in LA, and enjoy.

Old School Thursday: Ultramagnetic MC's

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