Alcohol and the college football fan (5×8 – 9/18/12)

The booze barrier at the U, the blame generation, let a thousand Jon Stewarts bloom, I can see your puny lineup from here, and the case of the purple violin.


The masses have been allowed their booze at the University of Minnesota football stadium, and they blew it, a letter-writer to the Star Tribune reports today.

John Gunyou of Minnetonka — we assume that’s the John Gunyou, the former Minnetonka city manager and state official — writes to report on how it went once the taps were turned on, making TCF Stadium the only Big 10 stadium with alcohol.

We had beer spilled on us three times; a fight broke out in the row behind us over the unspeakable sin of wearing a nonmaroon visor, and those of us who spent the better part of the entire game trying to keep the peace received multiple offers to have our faces rearranged.

The report conflicts with the official line after the first game more than a week ago in which officials said everything “went smoothly,” and their was less rowdiness than normal.

Now that Minnesota has broken the “booze barrier,” will other Big 10 universities follow suit? In Iowa, yesterday, Gov. Terry Branstad all but ruled it out, despite Minnesota’s move.

“I think you would have to be real careful about that. They have had a lot of drinking problems anyway, and obviously there is a lot of beer consumed in the parking lots before the game. So I don’t know that you need to be selling it in the stadium,” he told the Des Moines Register.


No matter what’s wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault, the Boston Globe’s Farah Stockman writes today:

We want to do whatever we want whenever we want to, and when it goes awry, it’s somebody else’s fault.

We want all the freedoms, with none of the responsibilities. We don’t want to join the military or pay taxes or even be told to refrain from posting idiotic videos on YouTube. We sucked the equity out of our homes and took out irresponsible loans, and when it all went wrong, we got outraged that the government let us do it.

We expect more and more, faster and faster. What do you mean, incomes have stagnated? They are always supposed to go up. What do you mean home prices have fallen? They are supposed to double in five years. What do you mean there isn’t a job out there with my name on it? I’m supposed to be better off than I was four years ago. Who’s to blame for the fact that I’m not?

Related: And yet there are still plenty of people digging in to take charge.


As of today, the Internet Archive is providing every news broadcast by 20 different sources since 2009, the New York Times reports. It’s the latest in an ambitious project to collect in one place, well, everything.

As enormous as the news collection is, it is only the beginning, Mr. Kahle said. The plan is to “go back” year by year, and slowly add news video going back to the start of television. That will require some new and perhaps more challenging methodology because the common use of closed-captioning only started around 2002.

Mr. Kahle said some new technique, perhaps involving word recognition, would be necessary. “We need some interface that is good enough and doesn’t interrupt commerce enough that they get upset with us.”

But the goals for the news service remain as ambitious as all the other services the Internet Archive has embarked upon.

“This service is designed to help engaged citizens better understand the issues and candidates in the 2012 U.S. elections by allowing them to search closed captioning transcripts to borrow relevant television news programs,” the site’s blog says.

All of this is based on the assumption that people will put in the work required. Will they?

Here’s the question: If the TV coverage in 2009 of, say, politics was shallow and consisted mostly of out-of-context sound bites — as many experts insist it was — how will access to that material be an antidote to news coverage which consists mostly of out-of-context sound bites and shallow coverage of issues?

That said, it’s a great archive although it has some bugs that need to be worked out. Some clips I found this morning, for example, that were supposed to be a CSPAN Book TV program turned out to be the opening segment of a Cleveland Indians – Baltimore Orioles baseball game.


On Sunday, the Minnesota Twins launched a baseball with a weather balloon at Target Field. A camera was aboard to show what we look like from up there.


Orchestras are team efforts in which one person doesn’t stand out. So goes the reasoning of a New Mexico school that has banned a young girl from playing her purple violin.

The school’s music teacher said it would be a distraction and insisted the tone of the instrument was different.

This is the part where all of the other kids agreed to paint their violins purple, but, alas, the young girl gave up her fight and joined the choir instead.

Some people put up a fight, some people just conform and/or walk away.

Take Lenny Lehman of McGregor, MN, profiled this week in the Brainerd Dispatch about his late-in-life pursuit of a career singing the blues.

It was this part of the tale that wins our admiration.

Lehman has had more than his share of wild days, like the time he got fired from a local radio station for making up fake commercials while working overnights, knowing his boss was home asleep and not listening. Two months after he started his on-air comedy act his boss heard it, called up and fired him on the spot. Lehman nailed the door shut and played the music he wanted until 6 a.m., when he was escorted out of the building, he said.

Bonus I: “Somehow some people think because I have two moms I would have to look outside my family to learn about courage and discipline,” Zach Wahls told an audience at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks last night.

Wahls is the guy who got famous last year when he spoke before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, which was considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Wahls has since quit school to pursue a career writing and speaking.

Related: The shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays has taken his opinion of homosexuals to his eye black.


It translates to “you are a faggot.” The team says it’s “investigating.”

Bonus II: What passes for graffiti at Century College…


(h/t: Patrick Collins)

Bonus III: In Newfoundland, parents of kids in youth hockey are required to take a one-hour course on showing respect at hockey games.


The Occupy movement is a year old this week. Today’s Question: What, if anything, has the Occupy movement accomplished?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The Chicago teachers’ strike.

Second hour: Debating the role of government.

Third hour: Why people are staying put in retirement.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Broadcast of this morning’s U.S. Senate Debate in Duluth between Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Kurt Bills.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Technology, law enforcement and civil liberties. Anyone arrested on a felony charge in California can be swabbed with a Q-tip and see their DNA added to a growing genetic database. No warrant necessary. The FBI is reportedly working on a facial recognition system to help police ID suspects.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The NPR Cities Project focuses on — surprise — New York with a profile of sidewalk vendors selling handbags, hats, umbrellas. Where are these vendors from? The west African nation of Senegal.

  • D. Gray, Apostrophe Protection Society

    their (pl. poss.): Belonging to them. “…all of the other kids agreed to paint their violins purple…”

    they’re (contr.): They are. “The Apostrophe Protection Society is writing because they’re concerned about proper usage.”

    there (pron.): Used to introduce a clause or sentence. “There was less rowdiness than normal.”

  • boB from WA

    #2 – I blame it all on Adam and Eve, who in turn blamed it on the serpent.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Re The Blame Generation:

    Life ain’t fair. Feces occurs. But victimhood is something that must be rejected if a healthy sense of self and independence is to be achieved.

    Easier said than done of course, with the ugly realities of prejudice and bigotry.

    That’s where support and a fighting yet forgiving spirit come in.

  • JimBob

    [Comment removed.]

  • John P.

    Careful there, JimBob. You’re going to have the Apostrophe Protection Society after you.

  • kennedy

    Re #5: Joining the choir is not necessarily a route to freely expressing individuality. Most choirs have a dress code for performances.