March. This morning at the Casa Del Sank-A-Ray the mercury reported a refreshing 15 degrees below zero. But I pledge that barring subzero temps in April I’m done whining about the weather. Mrs S has let me know that all that energy I’ve spent whining about the weather has only made it worse for everyone.

That being said there is a school of logic circulating around the house that the weather will change now that I’ve discovered that the window in the guest room, same window where I’ve been find ice on the window handle and where my jug of distilled CPAP water was found to have a layer of ice on the top of it last week, has been cracked open for the last 2 months. I haven’t told Mrs S about my discovery yet because I can’t figure out a good way to tell her frankly after telling her that the cold was her imagination.

One of the nice things about March is that by the end of it, in most years the snow is gone, baseball is starting up and I can drop a few layers of insulation when I go outside to get the mail. It’s also the month where I look forward to my favorite sporting event of the year, the WCHA hockey tournament in St Paul. This tournament, which I written about here a few times, brings together some of the best college hockey teams from the best, most competitive conference in the country. I’d even make the argument that, at least regionally, it’s the best sports thing going in college sports.

Sorry passionate puck heads, America barely cares about NHL hockey, college hockey? Completely off the radar, just try to find college hockey scores online.

And now, I’m so sad to report, this event is no more. The old WCHA has been destroyed, thanks too… well thanks to greed basically. Big 10 had nothing to show on Friday nights, Penn State wanted to have a hockey program and so we get Penn State vs. Minnesota on the last weekend of the regular season. Where in the past Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota would have been absolutely electric, one of the best atmosphere’s in sports, instead we had quite crowd watching a game that no one gave a crap about. Lame. Lame enough that the Big 10 has 12 teams in it currently, but then not like math has been a strength of these so called student athletes. (Sorry couldn’t resist) Extra lame is that of the 12 schools, only 6 have hockey. And of the 6, only 4 really count.

On the other side of the coin we have the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which brought in some of the top teams of the old WCHA, North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, Colorado College and Denver. They’re suffering without Minnesota or Wisconsin. North Dakota vs St. Cloud this weekend? Same deal, small quiet crowds and not much to get excited about.

And the sad thing is, college hockey, which at best is a niche sport, is really hurt by this because good natural rivalries. Changing the traditional alignments alienates the hardcore fans of the sport, who are the only fans paying attention.

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March. This morning at the Casa Del Sank-A-Ray the mercury reported a refreshing 15 degrees below zero. But I pledge that barring subzero temps in April I’m done whining about the weather. Mrs S has let me know that all that energy I’ve spent whining about the weather has only made it worse for everyone.

That being said there is a school of logic circulating around the house that the weather will change now that I’ve discovered that the window in the guest room, same window where I’ve been find ice on the window handle and where my jug of distilled CPAP water was found to have a layer of ice on the top of it last week, has been cracked open for the last 2 months. I haven’t told Mrs S about my discovery yet because I can’t figure out a good way to tell her frankly after telling her that the cold was her imagination.

One of the nice things about March is that by the end of it, in most years the snow is gone, baseball is starting up and I can drop a few layers of insulation when I go outside to get the mail. It’s also the month where I look forward to my favorite sporting event of the year, the WCHA hockey tournament in St Paul. This tournament, which I written about here a few times, brings together some of the best college hockey teams from the best, most competitive conference in the country. I’d even make the argument that, at least regionally, it’s the best sports thing going in college sports.

Sorry passionate puck heads, America barely cares about NHL hockey, college hockey? Completely off the radar, just try to find college hockey scores online.

And now, I’m so sad to report, this event is no more. The old WCHA has been destroyed, thanks too… well thanks to greed basically. Big 10 had nothing to show on Friday nights, Penn State wanted to have a hockey program and so we get Penn State vs. Minnesota on the last weekend of the regular season. Where in the past Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota would have been absolutely electric, one of the best atmosphere’s in sports, instead we had quite crowd watching a game that no one gave a crap about. Lame. Lame enough that the Big 10 has 12 teams in it currently, but then not like math has been a strength of these so called student athletes. (Sorry couldn’t resist) Extra lame is that of the 12 schools, only 6 have hockey. And of the 6, only 4 really count.

On the other side of the coin we have the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which brought in some of the top teams of the old WCHA, North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, Colorado College and Denver. They’re suffering without Minnesota or Wisconsin. North Dakota vs St. Cloud this weekend? Same deal, small quiet crowds and not much to get excited about.

And the sad thing is, college hockey, which at best is a niche sport, is really hurt by this because good natural rivalries. Changing the traditional alignments alienates the hardcore fans of the sport, who are the only fans paying attention.

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Suckage in Weather

So we find ourselves here in the northland, on 27 February, the day before the last day before the last day of the month, the day before March starts. March, which brings with it Spring.. We, or rather I, find myself sitting in a house freezing my ass off, and for me that would be a lot to freeze because the Gawd Damed temperature outside is approaching 10 degrees below zero.

10 degrees below zero in January is something to brag about. In March it’s going to suck ass.

Plain and simple talk and I sorry.

This weather blows.

I would complain to Mrs S but she’s not talking to me because I made her move here in 1995 and by her records she hasn’t been warm since.

This is hyperbole on her part mind you, I happen to know she was quite warm on July 3rd of last year because we departed the Sankary Summer Palace on the shores of scenic Big Blake Lake before the Fourth of July because it was simply…

Too

Damned 

Hot. 

The temperature that day? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 degrees.

My family in Texas is laughing just thing about that. 100 degrees in Fort Worth is called warm. You want “hot” you gotta get into the teens above the century mark.

I’m not sure we hit 100 year last summer. Matter of fact for most of the summer I wasn’t sure that we were going to get above 70. As I recall our lake didn’t ice out until about May 10th. The Wisconsin Fishing Opener, the first Saturday in May? We got about 5 inches of snow and their weren’t any boats on the lake because uh.. it was frozen.

So why bring this up, why joint in the weather whining and become a part of the problem? I seem to recall that when the kids were playing hockey and we had outdoor ice rinks, by the end of February the skating was done. The days were getting warm enough that the ice was shot and most of the snow on the ground was gone.

This year…

We had about a foot of snow last Friday. Here we are a week later and I’m still driving on packed snow to get up and down my street. There are STILL spots on the freeway, under the overpasses in the shade where there are patches of thick black ice, worn smooth by the thousands of cars that have driven over it over the last week. I find myself doing 50 in the 70 zone taking my foot of the gas and gripping the wheel in a two handed chicken choke as I cost over path after patch, like some crazy amusement ride. You can feel the car starting to slide and just in time you hit the dry pavement. Which I can’t say for my pants all the time after a little jaunt like that.

I’ve been informed via text message that communications will resume around here when the temperature goes above 32 degrees. So I have some time to myself because looking out at the forecast, there’s nothing above 20 for at least the next 7 days.

 

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Arizona Chooses, Texas Considers

Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s proposed legislation to deny equal protection to Gays and Lesbians. Congrats to Jan and to the folks in Arizona who lobbied against this law. Arizona is spared the backlash of a very organized and diligent group of folks who have the wind in the their sails.

At the end of the day, this really isn’t a religious issue, this is an equal protection under the law issue. There’s plenty of things that are legal under the law but which run against various religious dogmas. In some states I’m  sure there are churches that won’t marry inter-racial couples. They’re not compelled too. However if those folks own a diner, open to the public they have to serve whomever comes in. That’s equal protection.

This law protects women who can’t be denied legal medicine by a pharmacist who would deny them birth control because they don’t want to use it. Or would they ask of a woman is using the pill for birth control or to correct a hormone issue. Maybe they’ll interrogate their customers to make sure that the legal drugs their companies sell and their patients need are available for them.

Given this equal protection clause I’m wondering if states would try to outlaw homosexual behaviors while allowing Gays to marry. Could happen and would that be an interesting dichotomy?

SO- it’s a good day for Constitution and the law. Now I’m curious to see how this issue plays out in Texas where just today a judge, using the same argument invalidated Texas’s ban on Gay marriage. He also issued a stay pending appeal, which I think is probably a good idea given Texas’s conservative leanings. But I’m really interested to see how this argument plays out in a state that prides its self on a strict constitutional values.

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Arizona Again? Again in Arizona…

Been following developments in the Great State of Arizona regarding their new law that would allow people to discriminate, rather pick and choose they offer their services too, based on their religious beliefs. This is the new front line in the so called culture wars and frankly is thinly veiled bigotry. Right now the rage is to allow business to discriminate against Gay couples because their religious beliefs compel them to hate Gays. And before you tell me that they don’t “hate” them, denying services or products is a tried and true form of discrimination. Just is, don’t tell me otherwise. Same arguments were used in the 50′s and 60′s when it came to denying African Americans the right to vote, the right to assemble and, in case we’ve forgotten the so called right to walk into a Woolworths lunch counter and get served lunch.

Because they were Black. Same thing here.

We had QUITE an uproar here in Minnesota a few years ago when Somali cab drivers at the airport wanted to refuse to take passengers who had liquor in their luggage. And we jumped all over the Muslim teenager cashier at a local grocery store who refused to touch pork products when checking out customers. Would be very interested to see how these scenarios would play out in Arizona.

Arizona is a weird state with a long history of being on the wrong side of civil rights, matter of fact before you go talking smack about Mississippi or Alabama, one should take a peek at the history of the Grand Canyon State.

In the 1885 many towns in the state offered a $500 bounty for Apache scalps. The bounty was repelled because they realized that bounty hunters were killing Indians from “friendly” tribes and in some cases women, and since it was impossible to tell if a piece of skin hanging from a saddle was from a “buck Apache” or just a regular “Redskin” it felt like people were cheating the system. How forward of them.

Then there’s native son and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist. He cut his legal teeth on Operation Eagle Eye, a Republican voter suppression operation in the 1958 and 1960. Bill lead intimidation and harassment teams going from precinct to precinct challenging minority voters in line at the polls.

Deciding not to observe MLK day cost them the Superbowl back in the day. Remember that little snafu?

How about their law that all brown people are illegal immigrants unless they can prove otherwise?

Now Gov Jan Brewer has this nonsense on her deck ready to be signed into law. This time however it’s a more complicated for Arizona. Despite being passed by both houses of the Arizona legislature, Jan’s got to sign it to make it law. This now the age of Twitter and Facebook and the state has taken on one of the most organized groups of advocates in a long time. And Jan’s got some skin in the this game if she chooses to follow in the footsteps of herself and previous governors and claim external meddling and sing it anyway.

More than the Superbowl is at stake. For one thing Apple has come out against this law. Jan’s been pretty proud that Apple chose Mesa for a new assembly plant that will bring 2000 jobs to area. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been named as the most powerful Gay man in America by Out magazine. Be interested to see of Apple changes venues if this law gets signed. Interestingly enough even the bills original sponsor was on NPR this morning say it was a mistake and that he had been “misled” on the scope of the bill and “didn’t really read it well”.

Talk about not doing your job, but hey everyone gets a second chance and if that’s what it takes to get this thing shot down so be it.

Ok Jan, balls in your court as they say.

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Faribault’s connection to Sochi

Sank:

For you non Minnesotan hockey fans- in case you didn’t know where USA Hockey talent comes from.

Originally posted on Minnesota Prairie Roots:

NO MATTER THE SEASON, no matter how many times I’ve viewed Shattuck-St. Mary’s School through its arched entry, I remain impressed by the incredible beauty and strength of this place.
An arch frames Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota.

An arch frames Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota.

Tucked into Faribault’s east side, Shattuck’s campus seems more Ivy League college or an American version of Hogworts than an historic private boarding school in Minnesota.

But it is here from whence eight 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics hockey players graduated: Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux playing for Team USA; Zach Parise and Derek Stepan on the men’s Team USA roster; and Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews competing for Team Canada.

Right here, in southeastern Minnesota, many a hockey great has skated…

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Winter Wonderland

Despite my best efforts to spend the weekend sitting on the sofa strategizing my next move, it was not to be. Mrs S was adamant that I get out of the house and do something. For example go on a hike with her. Well, with her and another couple we hang with. By the way, hiking wasn’t exactly what they were doing, they were snowshoeing, I on the other hand was actually hiking. 3 miles or so in powdery snow wearing boots. Hafta tell ya, it’s a workout.

But I survived and along the way treated some very lovely winter scenery and a chance to get some fresh air. It was certainly a nice day for it. After what seems like months and months of subzero temps and freezing conditions it was good to finally get a day around here when it didn’t hurt to be outside.

All told it was an excellent afternoon out. I love a walk in the woods in the winter, when visibility is outstanding and the atmosphere is quiet. I had a chance to play with the new camera. Shooting pictures in the winter is always fun for me because you have to sort of look for things shoot. With a good eye for detail there’s a lot to see out there. Now the day we were out was snowing and grey. Those days are interesting because there’s not as much light on the snow to play around with. Snow is very cool, on a sunny day the sun makes it change colors in very subtle ways. It goes from light blue to crisp white, to yellow and back to blue as the light changes. When it’s overcast the changes aren’t so dramatic. Mostly the sky and the snow take on the same shade the where one stops and the other starts becomes hard to figure out.

I’m going to have to get out and do this more often. Between the job and extra curricular activities I’ve been something of a slug this winter, Saturday was a nice reminder that if you don’t get out and enjoy the winter in Minnesota, a lot will pass you by.

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