Category Archives: Life

The Long Winter Ahead

When it’s 0 degrees outside on November 16, I can’t help but wonder to myself, where do we go from here?

Narnia I suspect. Certainly what it feels like around here these days. The .375 inches of snow that slick-coated the grass and sidewalks on November 10 is still there, perfectly intact. Testament to the 10 day stretch below freezing we’ve had since then. A stretch BTW that shows no sign of abating until after Thanksgiving sometime. Seriously, about 30 minutes of sun at 30 degrees would have melted what amounted to a sort of heavy frost, but apparently that doesn’t happen in Narnia.

At least we’re upstate New York, 5′ of snow up there.

My Narnia comparison BTW is pretty accurate given that I don’t think we’ve had a minute in the last couple weeks where there wasn’t at least a trace of snow in the air.

My only complaint in this deal, if it’s full on winter here in the middle of November, how long is winter going to be? Last year snow and ice lasted in the middle of May. Not that I’m counting but that’s full on 6 months. Which feels long to me.

It more than feels long to Mrs S, I’m sincerely worried about my mental health should winter last through the entire NBA season. Even with her newfound snowshoeing hobby, there’s only so much she can take before she starts looking for connections between being housebound due to bad weather and the overall performance of her lazy overweight husband binge watching old TV series on the sofa weekends at a time. See where I’m going with this? That’s a lot of “us” time and now that we’re starting to run out kids to fight with our attentions are turning more towards each other and that exposes a serious Venus/Mars issue.

Being male I can’t multitask. Proven well documented fact. Mrs S has binders of data on this subject in her mental memory castle, just ask her for a few examples. Which means when I’m binge watching Orange is the New Black for the third time for the steamy shower scenes, I’m not thinking about anything else. I’m not worried about where anyone else in the house is or what they’re doing. Good and bad there frankly.

Womenfolk in general, and Mrs S in particular are blessed (if you can call it that) to have several thought streams running through their heads simultaneously, including one that says, “why is he watching TV when the bathroom is filthy?” Or, “how does a guy who claims to want to eat right justify sitting on the sofa with a spoon and carton of ice cream?”

All valid concerns that when the weather is nice are easily solved by my simply getting up and going outside, outta site, outta mind as they say.

This year I do plan to get out and snowshoe with the Lil Ms. That might help decompress the angst of running into each other in kitchen every 10 minutes for the next 6 months. We’ll see.


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Minnesota’s Bid for the Final Four- another bad idea.

Apparently Minnesota is in the final running for the NCAA Final Four, which will be held at the brand spankin’ new Vikings Stadium brought to you by taxpayers of Minnesota.

I’m not sure how much we’ll wind up paying for the NCAA’s, hopefully slightly less than we did for the Super Bowl. On the radio this afternoon there was a dialogue about great this stadium is going to be and how fantastic it was that were even able to get the game. And now the NCAA, imagine that.

And just when you thought it was safe to reach into your wallet, I heard today that the Stadium Commission is going after the NCAA Championship Football Game.

Next target for the sports commission, the NCAA Football Championship Game. I can’t wait to learn how much that little event is going to cost in concessions and tax nreaks…

I can only imagine.

There’s a glimmer of hope out there…

Last week the Norwegian Government informed the International Olympic Committee (IOAC) that the city of Oslo would be withdrawing their bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Reason cited, lack of public support. Turns out they weren’t the first city to back out of hosting the Olympics, Krakow Poland and Stockholm Sweden also pulled out due to lack of political support. Which leaves Beijing China and Almaty Kazakhstan. So, we got one city that’s 150 miles away from the nearest mountain and another that’s 5 connections from any civilized airport in the world.

Turns out, Olympic demand ain’t what it used to be. The Sochi Olympics cost Russia a cool $51B. All at public expense. St. Moritz and Munich pulled their bids early after public uproar about spending tax dollars to pay for what is essentially big business sport.

I wish we had the same public angst here in the US about this stuff.

So what exactly do we get out of these events? A little exposure for Minnesota. A few temporary jobs and that’s about it. Not many of us commoners are going to going to these games. We’ll pay for them with taxes and subsidies.

Ironic given the ad revenue and TV contracts that these leagues are pulling in.

With the NCAA it’s even more disgusting given that they don’t event pay their performers. It’s all about the dollars and the cash flow, flowing from our pockets to theirs.

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Racism Reduex

Somewhere between 3500 and 5000 Native American’s and their supporters showed up at the Gophers football stadium to protest a game between the Vikings and Washington. Protest is one that’s had a lot of press lately, the name of the Washington team.

It’s racist.

Totally, unforgivingly racist.

No ifs, ands or buts it’s flat out racist. White folks, stop try to argue otherwise, it’s not pretty.

The NFL argues that the name is supposed to “honor” Native Americans. I suppose by celebrating their bold fighting spirit? Makes no difference, natives don’t want to be a mascot, simple solution, change the name.

If the Irish want to be celebrated by the University of Notre Dame, so be it. But what if they were the Micks? What if they mascot was a drunk, what if they celebrated touchdowns by beating women (like in the NFL- oops) I’m pretty sure they’d change the name.

And if you had any doubt what so ever, go read the comments on any of the news stories online that reported the protest yesterday.

A lot of white people spent a lot of vitriol defending the undefendable. Since they really don’t have a logical argument they dropped to some of the same arguments we heard when African American’s wanted eat at the same lunch counter as Whites. Apparently the people who are racist don’t like being called racists and lash out when the truth is thrown in their face.

Some comments-

  • These people need to get a life.
  • If I say it’s not racist it’s not racist because I’m not a racist.
  • Maybe they should change the name to Welfare Alcoholics. ( Verbatim from the MSN comments)
  • This is political correctness, and that’s bullshit.

What this is my White friends who have tried to argue with me about this, is Indian people finding their voice after 400 years. As far as the political correctness argument goes, I would invite to talk to you Native friends, if you have any, and call them Redskins, see what they think. I imagine there are some who wouldn’t take offense, at least to your face, but if you don’t feel at least a little remorse in that exercise, you might as well use every other racial epithet to describe people who aren’t like you, because frankly, you’re a racist.

I’ve overheard my friends bragging about making a great deal by announcing that they “Jew’d the guy down”. Same folks then go to great length on discovering that I was within earshot, how it’s “just a term” and “didn’t mean any bad by it”. Probably celebrates the business acumen of Jews. Not that I have any.. Neighbor has told me about his father in rural Minnesota who has told him time and again that it’s “hard to do business with Jews they’re dishonest”. “Dad, have you ever met a Jew?” “No but I know they cheat Christians”.

Is he racist? Is that phrase racist? Dumb question. Your using a stereotype and label to portray people in a way they don’t want be portrayed, so stop it. For the last 100 years or so Indians have been portrayed in the media with some very specific stereotypes that have left most White people unable to understand that in fact, Indian Country is as diverse as Europe. Navajo people would have as much in common with Germans as they would with Iroquois. At least they would have in pre-contact America. Now they can share the experience of being discriminated against and ridiculed, which stings collectivley. Like they do every time the Redskins take the field. Enough is enough, change the damn name.

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Election Day Thoughts

Election day 2014- years of voting a straight Democratic ticket are coming to an end. 

I’m a liberal in my heart of hearts but I’m also pragmatic and I am NOT an ideologue. I like to think that I consider issues thoughtfully and do my bestest [sic] to avoid partisanship. And with that in mind here’s what I’m thinking about Tuesday’s elections in Minnesota. 

Governor- Jeff Johnson. Actually I would more likely vote for Hannah Nicollet, the Independence Party candidate but, and this is after years of support IP candidates by volunteering and voting for them, I have come to the sad conclusion that voting for a third party today, despite what Ralph Nader would say, is in fact, throwing away my vote. 

Why Johnson, why Republican? Bottom line, Mark Dayton can’t lead. Never could. Not since he evacuated his Senate office in 2004 because he was afraid of a terror threat which oddly no ever Senator felt compelled to react too. 

Dayton has dropped the ball on a bunch of stuff

  • Vikings stadium. In his debate with Johnson a few weeks ago he made the following comments 1) The Vikings were going to move I had no options to negotiate. and 2) We told that we would not let the team go. Worlds worst negotiator or just stupid? Or both? Either way he cost taxpayers $600M by pandering to the NFL Cartel. Then to make it worse, he was “surprised” his scheme to raise $200M in a shitty bar gambling came, pulltabs, hasn’t paid off. Lame.  
  • And since it’s not his money, he gave them another $90M in tax breaks, plus a general ass raping of Minnesota businesses to “let” the NFL host their biggest annual party of the year here the Super Bowl. Go read the Star Tribunes published report on what we had to give the non-profit NFL to buy a Super Bowl. . No responsibility.
  • MNSure. I’m a supporter of European style not for profit heathcare. I wish we could figure out how to do it here. Matter of fact so much so that I think my son is better off staying in Israel where he can get decent health care rather than move back to the US where the privilege of real care is for the privileged. But the way MNSure was rolled out.. disaster. System problems all over the place because the company charges with bringing it online, failed.  And who was supposed to be checking to make the sure the contractors who we paid to do the work could actually do the work? Dayton was in charge when that happened and to his credit he as said, “I won it”. To late Mark. 
  • Minnesota’s economy is dong quite well these days, unemployment below 5%, 1.2B surplus. But even in this environment the only campaign issue Dayton has been consistent on in the last two elections- the need to raise taxes to pay for programs and infrastructure. The Vikings stadium BTW, doesn’t count as infrastructure. 
  • MetCouncil/Transportation. Here in Apple Valley we have the Red Line- and dedicated express bus line from Apple Valley to the Mall of America. $113M cost to build the line, current ridership, according the local paper 113 per day. That’s 5 people per bus. Surprised? No parking allowed at any stop except the two transit stations. Now way to cross Cedar to get on a opposite direction buses. Why? Because the Met Council forgot to include the cost of overpasses, another couple million, in the original contract. While Dayton wasn’t directly involved in the design and development of the line, the Met Council was, the majesty of Public Transport outweighed the reality that the line was a dead end, on both ends. And BTW the spending isn’t over, this has become it’s own self serving industry what millions allocated for more studies, more facilities and literally everything except building a route that someone wants to ride. What a waste of taxpayers money. 

Senator- Al Franken

I have to admit I’ve been really shocked by Al Franken the Senator. He’s done a decent job, which frankly I didn’t think he’d do given his SNL experience. Al’s taken the right positions on local issues like the farm bill, mental health coverage. He opposed wall street bailouts i like that. Was very supportive of Israel in their war with Hamas. 

End of the day, he deserves a trip back to the Senate. 

Congress- Mike Obermuller. Our current congressman John Kline has been disaster. He’s as partisan as they come. The last several elections the Democrats have run shitty unelectable candidates against Kline and he deserved to beat them, he was a far better candidate. Now however, Obermuller has a sold plan of attack for education and health care. Klein has a history of avoiding debates, he doesn’t like to talk about issues. After listening to his debate with Obermuller, a week ago, I know why, he can’t talk to issues. It’s time for John to come home, we need a change. 

Mayor- Anyone but Mary. She’s a disaster. Transit boondoggle, she hasn’t met a project she didn’t like and now we have a bus to nowhere. New business? Apple Valley’s center core is mess. Half filled lots, dying strip malls, roundabouts to nowhere. She’s terrible and no one holds her accountable. 10 years of happy talk for nothing. She’s got to go. 

There you have it. My thoughts on election day 2014. Get out and vote, and tell I told ya so. 

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Random Stuff

Some assorted acts of randomness because when it comes to posting, something is better than nothing don’t you think? 

I posted a little humorous graphic on my little Facebook page  with the caption “ ‘ I just need to see a couple more political ads on TV then I’ll make my decision’ said no one ever.” I couldn’t agree more frankly. But to be honest, the only  I’ve been exposed to this election season have been during the World Series and college football games. Live sports being the only bastion of live TV left in our house. And even those ads were muted, we mute the ad breaks and God Bless America segments of the broadcasts. 

Not that not patriotic, I just think baseball games are too long to begin and this whole singing yet another “national anthem” like song in the middle of the game to show that we are even more patriotic now that we were before we start doing this is at best disingenuous. 

Exile me to Canada if you must. 

Speaking of ads and disingenuousness, the ad where the dude comes home in the morning after a night a drinking where brags to his dog about his being all responsible and shit and not driving home last night. I’d like to see a second  later when he notices that his house smells like the big pile of dog shit on the carpet. “cuase that it would work at our house. 

Might not even take an overnight to get that result. 

Speaking of Giggs I had an epiphany about him today. If you know me personally you know the dog follows me around everywhere. Personally I find him one the best dogs I’ve ever owned from a runs away and do what I told him perspective. The problem is the rest of the family, they all hate him. Two kids have been bit by him, nothing serious just a nip here and there to keep them in line and everyone except me has been growled. Actually everyone one know who’s met the dog has been growled at. Hell I’ve been growled at. I don’t take however has he’s learned. 

The problem with Giggs, and many corgi’s, especially the Cardigan kind, are working dogs as such are genetically inclined to attach themselves to one person. And for Giggs, that person is me. I’m the boss and he, I’ve decided is the Assistant Boss. Which is why he sees it as his role to keep the other dogs in line around here with the occasional nip. I’m cool with it, the rest of the pack, not so much. 

Empty Nesting Trauma

I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd the last 15-20 years or so, it’s sort of my thing. This year our dinner list has dropped to zero. Basically it will be just the four of us, two kids and two parents. To bad it’s not a Auburn Iron Bowl year for Auburn, I had suggested to the kid that if we had other plans for Thanksgiving this would be a good year to execute on them as there’s no reason to come home, nothing going on here. 

I’ve been in trouble with Mrs S before, but this was a big one. 

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Long Overdue Dude

it’s been a week or two here SankWorld. I’d like to think we’re getting to the
point where things are getting better, but I don’t really see that happening.

is a bad thing given a little health scare I had a week or so ago. I’’ve been
told to do something’s differently. Both by the physician and by the resident
RN around here, Mrs S. 60 hour work weeks once in awhile, you do what you have
to to do, but every week… there’s a price for that and I’m going to wind up
paying it.

So change is in the works.

the easy one, it’s the weight loss that I have to get done as part of this
that’s going to suck.


no time like the present. Jewish New Year and all, the official time for making
changes. So lets get it done, before the choices aren’t mine anymore.

On more uplifting news-

It’s Fall here in the  Soon To be Great White
North. That means fall colors time. Lots of fall colors. Amazing fall colors
this year thanks to the 25” of rain we got back in June. Trees had lot of
nutrients to make great foliage or some damned thing.

Fall is, hands down, my favorite time of the year. Bugs are gone, the world around
here is painted gorgeous, crisp nights make sleeping easy.. so much to like.
Made it out for some fall fishing on Saturday. Launched the boat at 7:30 am, it
was 25 degrees out. Boat ride at 25 degrees means no need for coffee.

But it was well worth it for the photos I took…Enjoy


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Random Family Observations on Family and Gender

Mrs S was backing her Camry out of her coveted spot in a Synagogues High Holidays parking lot. During the holidays any parking spot within in a mile of the shul is coveted.

It was my job to alert her if she was going to hit something. But, shock of all shocks, I found myself distracted. I was trying to calculate the delta between the value of my wife’s car and the new BMW she was about to back into. Strangely fascinating for some reason, and probably a significant gap in value, I’m guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of $73.5, $75K for the Beemer $1.5K for her 1997 Toyota Camry. That includes the $.5k for the new snow tires and rims that we just bought for it. BTW new lock tight, easy change rims that when asked at dinner last night by a friend “what are they for?” I answered “they’re a way for tire stores to build margin and sales dollars when housewives come in and ask about snow tires.”

Funny what distracts me, right after I said that I was distracted by Mrs S calling me something bad. Good thing we were with friends, or as I liked to think of them last night “witnesses”. “Have another glass of wine pumpkin”.

Good news is she didn’t hit the car, she saw it, no thanks to me mind you, and was able to avoid the collision. What a great way to kick off the new year with the family, ignoring my wife’s requests.

Speaking of rims, it’s never too early to start thinking about swapping out snow tires. Said the guy sitting on the porch writing this piece when it’s 82 degrees the Twin Cities. I think we might have a couple weeks or so before we have to start thinking about winter weather around here.

I had planned to go to the lake this weekend. This is the time of year when I make lots of plans to go to the lake but actually cash in on almost none of them. I feel like I haven’t been home in a while and since I had to come back early anyway for a friend’s wedding party tomorrow meh…

Mrs S was asking what we should get the 50 something year old newlyweds who have been living together for 5 years or so, and whom were married previously. [Not to each other, just to be obvious] I’m a great gift giver, Mrs S not so much. She takes too long to pull the trigger on gifts. Analysis paralysis. I’m a pick and go kinda guy.

“So what should we get them?”

“Lets gett’m a fantasy basket from Fantasy Gifts (allegedly the local “marital aids” store). I think gett’m some oils and gels and a few small appliances would be a great gift that they wouldn’t buy for themselves.”


More silence punctuated by indignation. Feigned indignation mind you, the very best kind.

First of all I am not a pig, I’m a normal 51 year old dude who is not quite dead yet. Close but not room temperature.

And what she might ask, and did ask, would I do if I got a gift like that from friends? Well I’d laugh, I’d pretend to be embarrassed, I’d close the box as soon as I opened it and remark how funny and clever everyone was and move on. And I’d put the box aside ignore it while my guests were around. BUT and this is a big but, I guaran-damn-tee-ya my heart of hearts would be high fiving my personal libido button about right then. Just thinking about trying out that massage oil that bursts into flames when you blow on it.. man, I’ve read about stuff like that and now here it is.

Homecoming at the Casa Del Sank-A-Ray this weekend. The daughter is going. I was not consulted, or conciliated. I guess that had I been consulted I would have to have been conciliated because I would have said “Nyet”. Hate dances, hate big teen events, hate socializing. Waste of time and money. Unfortunately my frugal relationship burning ways did not get passed on to the girl. And there’s this issue that Mrs S is down to her very last couple chances to get a kid all spit shined and polished up for pictures and an event. Boys never went to a dance. Hell they never went on a date that I know off. Fact is one’s 23 and ones 20 and as far as I know, the streak remains intact.

This homecoming thing has already cost me in hair appointments, which Mrs S assures me are like $12.00. Probably less since I’m told that’s the amount she tells me her monthly cut and color costs. Girl don’t need no coloring. Great Clips is like $10.00 last time I checked. Last haircut I paid for BTW… $8.00 in 1992. I digress. Dress came from Kohls so I know it was cheap. In every way mind you.

“Hey Dad want to see my outfit for the dance?”

“Sure” I never get included in anything around here.

She came down and showed it to me.

“What do you think Dad?”

“Uh, where’s the rest of it?”

Eye roll, the female exhale of indignation, blah blah blah..

The disembodied voice from Mrs S up in her room on the feinting couch.. ’cause if she don’t get her chill time in, it’s hell for all.

“Why did you bother to ask him?”

“‘Cause he things we don’t include him in anything.”

“He’s whining”

Blah blah blah

But you know, I hadda make a point “I can HEAR YOU GUYS”.

Which apparently is really funny to Mrs S because I can’t hear anything else she says.

Which is why I have a man cave, where it looks like I’ll be hiding out this weekend.

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