I Guess I Was Wrong

In late October we here at The Tales said the Vikings would miss the playoffs by one game.  The game in question was the atrocious loss to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Well, I was almost right.

By beating the Packers yesterday, the Vikings find themselves in a rather strange position:  the playoffs.  PLAYOFFS?  Did you say PLAYOFFS?

To be sure, it was a very good win.  And so was the win at Houston.  In fact, I had more confidence in the Vikings beating Green Bay than I did in them defeating the Texans.

But as a long suffering Minnesota fan, I’ve seen this movie before.  Suck us in with a late season run.  Get our hopes up.  Actually start believing a little.  Heck, even play the Packers close on Saturday night with a chance to win at the end.  And then…well…I think most of us over the age of 20 know how this will end.

And for the record, I still don’t think Christian Ponder is the answer.  He might be the luckiest little guy I’ve ever seen.  I did enjoy that the coach actually showed some emotion yesterday.  I used to think he was one of those wax figures you see in Vegas.  Also for the record, I used to have a healthy dose of respect for Aaron Rodgers, but man, does he whine after every play?

With that said, we here at The Tales predict a 31-24 Green Bay win on Saturday.  But I’ve been wrong  before.

Random Thursday

*Smoked Gouda mashed potatoes.

*This gem from Summer Sidekick while watching the Vikings and Texans:  “Harrison Smith will be in the Hall of Fame.  Blog it.”

*I had the best Lefse ever on Christmas Eve.  Special thanks to Mrs. SSK, Red Sox Daughter, Blonde Daughter, Man-Child and Bison Niece and Bison Mom.

*Jimmy From Accounting finally saw “Lincoln” last night and he states there is “no way” Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t win the Best Actor Oscar.

*Scalloped corn is an underrated member of the scalloped family.

*It would be “fun” to be at the Vikings/Packers game on Sunday.

*Reggie Tales shout out to Gary in North Grand Forks.

My Dad

My dad is a pretty cool guy.  He’s seen and done a lot of interesting things in his 81 years.  He’s basically an All-American type father, born on the Fourth of July, a dedicated runner, and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known.  I’d do well to work half as hard as he has in his life.

So yesterday, he got to add to his list of interesting stories.  By merely stepping foot in West Virginia, he visited his 49th state.  While visiting grandchildren and great grandchildren in North Carolina for Christmas, a logistical day trip to Bluefield, West Virginia was planned so this feat could be accomplished.

49 of the 50 states.  Only Hawaii remains.  Pretty cool in my book.

Merry Christmas, Dad!

Random Thursday

*Cool Runnings is a Top 10 underrated movie of all time.

*I’ve never eaten DippinDots.  Known as the “Ice Cream of the Future.”

*My Christmas shopping is almost complete.  Usually at this point, I haven’t started yet.  I’d hate to be that guy this Saturday.  It’s going to be ugly out there.

*Reggie Tales shout out to all my family members in North Carolina.  Merry Christmas!  Maybe we could Skype on Christmas Eve?

*Kristen, have you found that box for me yet?  I need to get it wrapped.  And since I know you’re a big fan of The Tales, I’m confident you’ll get this message.

1,624 Toys For Tots

1,624.  That is the grand total of toys, books, and stuffing stuffers dropped off at the WDAZ Toys For Tots Truck over a two week period in late November and early December.  1,624.  That’s a lot of toys.  And a lot of generous people on the giving end.  And on the receiving end, 587 children and 238 families are going to have the kind of Christmas everyone deserves.

Thank you to all who donated.  It was amazing to watch cars pull into the parking lot non-stop and fill our truck from Whalen’s Moving and Storage.

When people ask me why I live here in the frozen tundra, I think I know what my new answer is going to be.

Houghton in Review

*If you don’t make any stops, you can drive from Grand Forks to Houghton, Michigan in eight and half hours.  But that would be preposterous to not stop.  It is exactly 485 miles.  490 miles if you leave Out of Work Hockey Guy in charge of the map.

*Houghton is a sleepy, peaceful town of about 8,000 in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It “feels” like Northern Minnesota but with far more hills.

*During the course of 20 hours in a very nice vehicle, two hockey games, and several meals with beverage service, many stories/lies were told.  Summer Side Kick and OoWHG authored many tales which I found to be questionable in fact.  The guy I didn’t know who tagged along on our trip was mostly interested in reading roadside plaques and wandering around in the woods/talking about wood.

*The day trip to Calumet and the history surrounding the once thriving city is worth your time.

*I stayed at a hotel two blocks from a Little Caesar’s where ten years ago I ordered ten pizzas, but due to circumstances beyond my control, didn’t get to pick them up.  I did not check and see if they were ready.

*Houghton is in the Eastern time zone.

*Little known fact:  There is a fierce Mah John game at the Eagle Harbor Inn on Saturday afternoons.  And the ribs are the kind where you don’t talk to anybody for about fifteen minutes while you’re eating them.  And say “hi” to Keith.  If you dare.

*The Michigan Tech hockey arena was actually a lot nicer and brighter than I thought it would be.  And their pep band is raucous.  But the guy banging the cowbell the entire game has to be the most annoying person in Michigan.  More cowbell?  I think not.

Random Thursday on a Friday: Houghton Style

*Sometimes when you make the pesky road trip to Houghton, Michigan, Random Thursday turns into Random Friday.

*Making the trip with me is Summer Sidekick and Out of Work Hockey Guy.  And some other guy who I don’t know. We’re going to watch some UND Hockey.  Historians will look back at this trip and say it was one of the strangest groups of people ever assembled.

*When in Proctor, stop by Tailgaters Bar.  The patrons and staff are very non-judgmental.

*Reggie Tales shout out to Rod in Salol.

*Grand Rapids is beautiful this time of year.

Minnesota Twins

If I had a dollar for every person who’s asked me, “What are the Minnesota Twins doing?” I’d have $14.

This much I know for sure:  Former General Manager Bill Smith was asleep at the wheel and basically drove this franchise into the ground.  And now current General Manager Terry Ryan is trying to resuscitate it for the upcoming year (doubtful) and for the long haul (promising).

One thing Ryan knows is minor league pitching talent.  Any decent Twins fan can run through a lengthy list of pitchers Ryan plucked from other organizations as minor leaguers.  Ryan’s history of staying at minor league baseball games for the entire nine innings is legendary.

So in Terry Ryan I trust.  He will rebuild the pitching staff with one eye to next year and the other to the years beyond.  He’s done it before and I suspect he’ll do it again.  And keep in mind that I’m really down on this organization right now.  But with February looming, hope springs eternal.

Random Thursday

*I love when the Denver Pioneers come to town for hockey.  The building always seems a little more “raucous.”

*Erbert’s and Gerbert’s opens tomorrow in Grand Forks.  Thoughts?

*Gas is $2.99 in Devils Lake.

*I’m afraid of mice but not of needles.

*We don’t have the final numbers for our Toys For Tots effort but I’m told that they are “of record proportions.”

*Reggie Tales shout out to Gary in Wannaska.

*I got a wireless mouse this week.  I’m not sure why I’ve gone so long without one.