Sunday, January 31, 2010

my last football comments for a long time, I hope

Last Monday morning was just so weird. There was a cloud over downtown Minneapolis, throughout the skyways, within the offices, as people tried to come to grips with the trauma of having witnessed the Vikings choke, a few inches once again from reaching the Superbowl. It was one of those shocked-but-not-really-shocked kind of things, where you actually expected the Vikings to blow it but yet you kept finding reasons to hope. And just when you became a believer again, there was another kick in the face. You know?

And, for me at least, that game became a reason to permanently despise the New Orleans Saints. Several things were obvious in that game -- first of all, that the Vikings were the better team... and, more obvious, that the Saints coaching team had based their whole game plan on injuring the Vikings quarterback, Brett Favre. Let's face it, football is a rough game, sometimes almost violently so. But I had never seen a game where injury, maybe serious injury, was so recognizably the intent.

So I can't think about football for a few more months.. The Superbowl? I hope we don't even watch -- Let's all go to the movies instead that day.. But if I do develop a smidgeon of caring between now and next Sunday, I'll have to look to the other team, the Indianapolis Colts, to show the Saints how football is really supposed to be played.

Friday, January 22, 2010

last nights with CoCo

I usually don't watch much late-night TV... I'd rather go to sleep reading a book. OK, maybe I take an occasional glimpse at David Letterman, but a person can only take so much of David Letterman.

But then all this controversy happened with NBC pushing Jay Leno out of his failed prime-time spot and back into late night, and the late-night duels got interesting. I hadn't paid much attention to Conan O'Brien since he inherited The Tonight Show until all that started. Conan ("CoCo" to some) started pushing back at NBC when they wanted him to take a back seat to Leno again, and he did it in a classy, amusing way.

So I started watching some Conan O'Brien and discovered that the guy is great. He is funny, entertaining, inventive, and irreverent. Compare that to Jay Leno whose idea of a joke is, "Why is it that men always want to be the ones holding the remote?" Jay Leno is tremendously unfunny and is a terrible interviewer, so how did he ever get a talk show in the first place?

Tonight is the last Conan O'Brien show, and now I'm feeling sad about it. I should have kept my nose stuck in a book. Guess it's heading back there.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

counting crows

It's eerie.

We're up here on the 26th floor looking down at Loring Park, downtown Minneapolis, and for the last few weeks, on certain nights and certain mornings, there are thousands of crows flying over the park and hovering on various apartment buildings down below us. The contrast of these black crows flying over the white snow is startling. Their shreiky cawing, thousands of them, woke Jerry up this morning.

A neighbor told us that the crows come back like this every few years.

It's like the movie The Birds. When will they attack? Or are they trying to tell us something?


The mid winter sports update:
Minnesota is on a sports high this week after the Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys in a playoff game and have advanced to either lose to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday or to go on to the Superbowl. So next week -- an even higher high or a low low as football here ends for another season as we know how close we came to the prize.

Jerry and I were at the Vikings/Cowboys game, along with 63,000 other screaming fans, one of the most fun games I've ever attended. There are all kinds of things wrong with football as a sport, but, wow, the energy generated by that many exuberant people is hard to describe. It's a shame that day to day life can't generate that kind of excitement and that kind of a rush.

Friday, January 15, 2010

hatless and gloveless

Halfway through January, and I made it through days of below-zero temperatures without a lot of my cold-weather stuff, which is mostly still in storage. When we moved into this apartment in July, I don't think it occurred to us that we would still be here through the coldest part of the winter.

But the condo that we bought won't be ready until at least late February. Demolition and reconstruction are under way.

And the temps are back in the 30s after several weeks of a lot of below-zeros. Maybe I can make it through a Minnesota weather without my gloves and stocking caps.


Who can complain about anything these days, anyway, as we watch the struggle of the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti? The most amazing thing to watch, though, is the reaction of the extreme right-wingers in our country, like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh, who are either blaming the victims, like Robertson is doing, or saying we're only helping the Haitians, as Limbaugh says, because they are mostly black and we have a black President. Wow. Pat Robertson says that the Haitians are being punished because their ancestors made a deal with the devil. I loved a Letter to the Editor in this morning's Minneapolis Star Tribune responding to that absurd claim:

"Dear Pat Robertson, I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just , come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan.

Definitely one of the best Letters to the Editor I've ever seen. And now, let's all be together on this, in support of the Haitians as they endure this horrible ordeal.