Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"Can you at least get five guys out there who pretend like they want to win!?"

That was the scream from one fan at the Target Center Last night, as the Timberwolves embarrased themselves, this town, and the fans who have supported them through it all.

Listen, I have stood by them through thick and thin. I am the ultimate homer. I have defended them; just tonight I said they are a collection of quality players in need of a gameplan.

Well, I am done. Look to the left, at the scoreboard. The Timberwolves managed to score 65 points, IN A WHOLE GAME. That is a highschool score. That is a college score. That is NOT an NBA score.

All that shows me is a team that has given up. You can't watch people who have no heart, or you will feel heartless.

KG wants out now, he was quoted saying "Thank God for Opt Out" which means, of course, his option to waive the final two years of his contract and go to free agency. We have not picked up any talent this year, and the trade deadline is gone. If we do not move Kevin in the offseason we will get nothing in return, and just be left with a big hole.

Who will fill it? McCants and Foye are our future, in a league where every single guard can score 30. Ricky Davis is like an embattled housewife, he is so hot and cold. Blount is overachieving, and has already shown he will slow. And no one will want to come play with us, so don't mention the salary KG frees up. Look at the Charolette Bobcats: they have the most caproom AND Michael Jordan at the helm, and still no one will play for them.

You cannot let a team give it to you like that. Especially after beating the Suns, and knowing you are capable of that much. You have to have the heart to play from tip-off to buzzer, and NONE of our players have that. Said Marko Jaric, "I don't think it's about our shooting. I think it's about pride, and that we don't have right now." And I am including the once all-heart Kevin Garnett in that. He looks like he has given up on us.

And who can blame him?


Monday, February 26, 2007



Saturday, February 24, 2007


This layout is designed for 1280X1024. I am not sure how it will look on any other resolution. Further, I have no clue what it looks like on firefox. Let me know what you think, people.

EDIT: The new content is interactive: you can actually use the scoreboard to look into the game, get real time stats, and see comments from other fans. You can use the player profiles to see current news about those players. So very exciting!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valetine's Day

I wrote this several years ago, and I am sure I have already posted it here, but too bad for you. It is as true now as it was then, and really has what I like to say in it. Enjoy:

A very good friend of mine once told me I could not use the word "love" as a verb until I was fifty. "OK," I though, "She probably has a point." I can see the idea behind it perfectly: When we are young it is easy to throw a word around without ever thinking the power behind it. As we age we better grasp what it is we really want out of life, we get a better sense of self, and we are better equipped to make such a heavy statement. It all seems very practical.

Well, to hell with practical. Let me tell you about some of the times I was in love.

In first grade I loved my neighbor. As truly as one person can love another, I loved Blair. I would have given my life for her. We built or friendship around mud-pies, a lean-to made of lawn chairs, and a remote controlled robot. A week before I moved away we played "you show me yours and I’ll show you mine." And the day I moved we closed our eyes, pursed our lips, and lovingly ran into each other’s foreheads.

In fifth grade I fell in love with Angel. She was a fourth grader, so our love was forbidden. Lest the Montagues of fifth, and the Capulets of forth find out, we hid our love behind a merry-go-round and a delivery ramp. She gave me a picture to put on my desk at home, and all bets were off. On Valentines Day I bought her candy, and planned to sing "Everything I Do" by Brain Adams. Ms. Peppin made me stay inside that day, which was a Friday, so on Monday I walked out in front of everyone and gave a command performance. I ate the Chocolate over the weekend. I loved her, but chocolate was a treat.

My love progressed onward. In junior high I tried to love them all. I think I came closer than anyone else around me, too. I loved one so much I hurt not to be around her. I had one or two love me back, I think, and more than that pretend. I was in love with being in love, and loving every minute of it.

I went to a summer camp and loved an older woman. Without knowing it she taught me about love with longing, love from afar, and love of beauty. She taught me to love unequivocally. I forget her name, but her eyes still enchant me.

In high school I learned I could love a man. To this day, I do. We shared thoughts and secrets no one will ever know. The last time I talked to him was August 15th, and the next time I talk to him it will seem like no time has passed. And to date he is the only man living who can say I love him.

I loved hard my first summer away from home. I met an enchantress who could make me love and hate her in the same breath. She taught me I could love and hurt, and hurt who I loved. She taught me I could let go of love without losing it.

Freshman year I loved more than ever. I loved a lifestyle, I loved an atmosphere, and I loved a book. I loved an idea of myself as I could be. I loved potential.

Last year I loved two women. The first I loved for who she could be, and who she couldn’t be. The second I loved in spite of myself, and my friends. I loved her so much I gave up myself. And I love her still. More and different than any of the others. I know her by this love, and it reflects in our eyes when we talk. This is the love I was not supposed to be able to address until I was fifty.

Now, my friend might say these things were attachments, infatuations, blindness, or just childish. In her eyes, she may be right. In mine, she is being one of the worst kinds of bigots. Age exclusory, I think I will call it. Ask a 5 year old what love is, and I bet you dollars to pesos they will give a more profound answer than someone ten times their age. And it will make more sense, to boot.

Now let me tell you how I know what my love is, and that it is real. You can judge after that, and I invite you to put it through all the paces. I know my love for these reasons: I smell her on my pillow and reach out to grab a body not there. I learn things about myself in her eyes. I hurt when I think I hurt her, when I think I might, or when I think I don’t know any other way. My sister likes her, and thinks we communicate. She smiles at me when I am not looking, and she smiles the same when I am. She calls me out when I try to pull one over on her, and better when I try to pull one over on myself. And her head fits in that space between my chest and shoulder.
That’s love, plain and simple. I am not fifty, and won’t be for some time. Maybe when I am, this paper will look quite a bit different. Maybe. But the same odds I laid about the 5 year old says she’s still in it. They all will be. I loved each one.

I love.


Monday, February 12, 2007


Man, for a slow weekend, I sure did figure out a lot.

Here's a short list, complete with primers:

1) Models, when viewed close, are not nearly as attractive as when viewed from a distance.

I went to a show at the barfly, which is a dirty, dirty establishment. I was there to support a friend who had designed some lingerie, and to view said lingerie on what I had expected to be beautiful women.

Instead, the most twig-like, sleep and food deprived parade of limp human flesh was presented for my viewing horror. It was stunningly terrible to watch, like some modern day death march. I was not, even for a second, remotely attracted to any of these supposed attractive people

2) Gay guys are fun.

Yeah, I said it, and I'll say it again: Gay guys are fun. I knew this before, but I figured out why this weekend, and it made all the difference. I only hang out with gay guys at bars, whether I am drunk or sober, and I couldn't grasp why it was. But here it is:

Girls at bars only want to have sex. If you do not think this is true, you have not been where I have been. But they have every agenda a man does at these places. The problem is, I don't. It's nice to get noticed, but I go home to sleep with my wife (and most the time, just that). But the women there cannot carry on a conversation without that always underneath.

And as cruel and unjust as it is to them, gay guys can. They might still want to sleep with me, but they cannot actually try, because I am a married heterosexual. So we can get down to actually talking about interesting topics, of which they are already one up: they have a non traditional lifestyle that is almost always more interesting than the chicks at a bar! And most of them still like sports, movies, and music, which is just about all I care to talk about with people I don't know. So I can be flirted with, without having to stop and explain the futility, and I can have an intelligent conversation, and I can avoid the very forward of the opposite sex, who do not seem to care that I have a shining reminder of my fidelity just glittering every time I wave my hand at them.

3) My relationship with my close friends, and especially my relationship with my wife, is about as functional and normal as I think can be had. Spike and Libby are down right boring, and I love them for it. Drew had some great insights, and was keen on letting everyone else (mostly me) say their peace before dropping them. Chad challenges me to put into words the most obscure of my thoughts, and then challenges those thoughts in an attempt to explain his own.

And none of them ever get mad at this dynamic, or even wishes it changed. We all have our parts to play, and they only work when we are all playing them. And I would not have noticed this is a new/old friend had not tried to jump into our play in progress, and failed so admirably.

And my wife has no problem with me going places without her, and coming back tired and confused, and just letting me be. And I have no problem leaving her for the weekend, knowing full well I can do nothing (both in her eyes and in practice) to mess up what a wonderful thing I have.

I am so close now, and the anticipation of it makes me almost giddy. Soon I will be able to say, without pause or exaggeration, that mine is truly the perfect life.


Thursday, February 08, 2007


is they will spend hours trying to explain an improper position, rather than taking 30 seconds to correct it.

I work in an industry where I must always answer questions about product. Why is this skate more expensive than that one. What performance features does this glove have. And always, I try to answer those questions the best I can, or get someone who can answer them better. That's how I make sales.

eBaY was no different for me. We sold about a dozen old stock skates from the store this year online. I had fitting questions, performance questions, even specific footbed questions. All of which I answered timely. As a result, I made about 50% more sales than my boss thought I could. And we made money.

Yesterday, I was looking at new guitars. I saw one at the local pawn I liked, bu tI was not convinced the price was right. So I went online. A guy on ebay was selling one for 100 bucks cheaper. Here's the kicker, though, a lot of product on ebay is second line, or factory defect. If I am going to spend a good deal of money on a performance item, which a guitar is, I need to knwo some things about it. As I (try to) play jazz and blues, I need to know what the bottom half of the fret board sounds like. Does it buzz when I play high? A lot of very nice guitars do, because no one intends to go up there. I also need to know the action, as I need it under 3mm for comfort.

I sent an email asking just that, action and buzz, to the potential salesman. Here is the exact email I got back:

"We do not want to sell it to anyone who is picky. These are 100 brand new first quality set up by the factory and that is all they are! If you want to buy it great we will be glad to sell it to you but if your teacher is a stickler please do not take it wrong but we do not want to get involved in that"

I had commented that my guitar coach told me what to look for, nothign else.

Read that again. WE DO NOT WANT TO SELL TO ANYONE WHO IS PICKY. Wow! It takes about 15 seconds to test for that I asked for, and ANYONE who buys a guitar would ask for the same. Some people like higher actions, and some people like lower actions. Some people want to know if the damned neck is so bowed it cannot be played before they buy the thing! Funny, I know.

So, I dashed off a reply. I basically told the guy he was lazy, and it was getting in the way of a sale. Here is what I said:

"That is just horrible, lazy customer service. If you cannot tell me the action on a guitar, a simple question anyone worth their salt would ask, or if it buzzes when played, then what kind of dealer are you? Why would you not want to sell to anyone who is picky? If your product is good, it should stand up to the picky, and you would want to prove that."

I know, not very diplomatic of me. And I honestly did not expect a response, and thought the matter closed. Obviously, this guy is not going to make a sale to me. I will pay more to go to someone who is knowledgable and friendly.

Instead, I got this:

Pardon me. Not trying to be rude but You answered it right there!!! You can tell from your attitude and knowledge of guitars that you would be a never ending problem. These are brand new first quality guitars. They play exactly the way they are supposed to. They come from ESP factory set up! We sell them at a great price and do not want to sell it to someone that has the idea that there is something wrong with them or how bad are they or how bad do they buzz or someone who is looking for what is wrong with them. We sell a great product at a great price and stand behind the product 110%. Please again do not take it wrong but I honestly suggest for you to buy guitars from local dealers to you that you can play the guitar before you buy them and then you know if you like the way they feel direct from the factory. We try very hard to please everyone as best we can. If we sell to someone that is looking for problems they take away from time to service those customers that understand and appreciate a good guitar set up the way they should be at factory specs. If a customer wants a different set up we are able to do them by request but otherwise they are exactly like they should be at factory spec and set up and you will learn to know that with experience.

Please please please understand we did not and I did not answer your first email trying to start anything. I am taking the time to answer your email as best I can so you learn and understand where real professional dealers are coming from.

Tony Litz"

A quick note. Factory setup means boo. They are assembled line style, by people who do not play guitars. Most often, the finishing touches are mechanized. The difference in action between 3mm and 4mm, and the resulting buzzing, is the difference between music and sound.

I might also like to point out they do not "try to help everyone as best (they) can" as they would nto even (and still haven't) answer my initial question. Further, they cannot "stand behind their product 110%" as they cannot even talk about it to a novice.

Anyway, I know I am sounding like a crotchety old fart here, and ranting about a very little thing, but it sort of speaks to a larger issue I have been having lately. No one seems to want to work for your money anymore. They just assume you will hand it over. A couple of my workers are the same way: "Can you show me your skate selection" "It's right over there"

It's just not the right attitude to have in sales. First, I think, you have to like sales. I am not so nieve as to think you need to like people, though that helps, but you need to like the back and forth, and the product knowledge, and the struggle that is sales. You need to like when you get through to a tough customer (for the record, I don't think I was being one) as much as when you make the easy sale. In fact, you should feel cheated by the easy sale, as you did not get to ply your trade.

And you can still go home and complain about the guy who asked a million questions, or thought he knew more than you did, but you can do it knowing you took his money, and provided him a quality product AND service. And THAT will set him straight, and keep him coming back.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

(you should read parts I and II first, or really this is a spoiler)

As I am an early riser anyway, this morning did not catch me out of sorts. I was up with the sun, and ready to catch my thief. But it was still so bitter cold outside!

I try to be a jogger, and by that I mean I try to jog every morning, and end up jogging every other morning, or so. But today, with purpose, I decided I would go for a little jog. I donned my heaviest jacket, gloves, two pair of running pants, high socks, and a balaclava: the traditional headwrap of the snow fairing Norski.

The tracks were still fresh, and as such were easy to follow. Down six blocks they went, easily seen in the fresh morning snow. This guy must have been in a hurry, the tire tracks weaved this way and that! And then, they stopped.

A few seconds of super sleuthing and I discovered them acrossed the street. Oh, this guy was good! Crossing the street like that, to draw me off the scent. But I would not be deterred. Up two more blocks, in and out of houses. He had no care for the tracks he was leaving now.

And up to a house. Where parked out back was a bike! The tracks were unmistakably the same as the tire. Jackpot, this was my guy.

In hindsight, what I did next was foolhearted. Many things could have gone wrong for me here, but I was not thinking. I knocked on the door. Rustling inside warned me of a presence, but no one answered. Again, and again nothing. I was dejected.

My resources, and network, are vast in this megatropolis. I called on the aide of one of Paul Bunyan's finest. I now had an address, I needed a phone number. It was supplied, thanks to the riches of the interweb, and a phone call was placed. This, as best it can be remembered, is that call, and the conclusion, for me, of the manhunt:


"Hello, this is going to sound weird, but I think your son broke into my car."

"Oh?" (chatty fellow, ain't he?)

"Yes, last night I saw a burglar (I may have actually used that word) breaking into my car, and so on and so forth, the rest of what you have already heard was told to him..."

"(chuckle) Where do you live?"

"I am at , why do you ask?"

"My son is your paperboy." click.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Saga of the Car Stereo Master Thief: Part II

Never in my life had I uttered the phrase, "Thank God for snow," before this day. The fresh snow of the night before revealed the path our intrepid thief had taken, through the yards of many of my neighbors. I would become Tracker, and find this man. If not for me, for the dozens of citizens too scared to do it themselves.

And, it was Sunday, so I had nothing better to do.

Footprints went from house to house, car to car. Down one street and up the next. It was morning, so many people had already been to and from their vehicles. This footprint, though, was different. About a size 9, and Nike. I was pretty sure it was a crosstrainer, but until the guys at CSI got back to me, I could not be certain. What I knew was enough to track the guy about four blocks down the street, and another four away from my house.

Then, though, I lost the trail. Really, it was just a big circle, and I ended up going right back towards my house. I knew I wasn't the thief (was I?), so that was kind of a dead end.

But, what's this! The front of the yards all had tire tracks in them, from a bicycle. I started to think like a thief. This was the lookout man! Yes, it made perfect sense. How else could he have known who was awake and who was asleep. The lookout man would check the houses, and the other would go around the back and steal from the cars. This was a brilliant criminal ring we were dealing with.

Their only mistake was crossing paths with me.

And maybe using a bike in the snow. That track would be much easier to follow.