barbara's blog

Primer: How to be an at-home Vikings fan

December 28, 2009 by barbara

barbara writes

Tonight, the MN Vikings go up against the Chicago Bears. This rough and tumble rivalry spans many decades. Theoretically, the Vikes should win without breaking a sweat. Theoretically.

My family has rooted for the Vikings since day one. My mother was a charter season ticket holder. Ended up with seats in the seventh row at the 35-yardline. Sweet! I rarely attend games, and yes, the tickets are always spoken for so just don’t ask. My shallow pockets and tendency to take all Vikings screw-ups personally do not make me a good spectator in a crowd. The fact is, I’m a lousy loser. Makes my blood-pressure soar and also makes me cranky. Been especially cranky the past few weeks.

Over time, I’ve developed my own approach to surviving the less-than-lovely Vikings games, with special additions in this Year of Favre. I share this with you in the hopes that it might help if you need a means to fend off Vikings football heartbreak.

1.) Game day: I scramble around, searching for playing time and channel. Sometimes this produces surprises. Take yesterday (Sunday), for instance. Brother G and I were decked out in our new Vikings jerseys, ready to rumble. Discovered the game is tonight. Vikes’ games have been all over the map this year, in relatively prime time, given what started as a stunningly stellar season. Things change.

2.) I renew my relationship with my teevee, relearning each week how to turn it on, how to find the high def channel (see? I am trainable!), how to adjust the volume.

3.) Sometimes I make popcorn (from scratch) and hunker down in a comfy place (usually vertical) to cheer on the home team.

4.) When the Vikes receive, I say to Percy Harvin, “It’s so mean that they won’t kick off to you!”

5.) Favre trots onto the field, and I say softly to no one in particular, “Please don’t hurt him!”

6.) Handoff to Adrian Peterson, who attempts a run up the middle for between two and minus two yards. I fidget. PTSD. Read on.

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'Tis the season

December 22, 2009 by barbara

barbara writes

So. Here we are, three days and counting down. How did this happen so quickly? (Answer and question: In the predictable calendared way. Weren’t you paying attention, barbara?)


• Home holiday decorating (check, albeit in moderation).
• Gifts purchased (check).
• Gift wrapping (double check, because I don’t much like wrapping and thank with my whole heart the Hallmark genius who dreamed up overpriced gift bags).
• Cookie baking (check with huge kudos to daughter and grand).
• Cards in the mail (check and so much for getting them out right after Thanksgiving).
• Cards at the ready (check, for people I forgot to remember).
• Grocery store run for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the Coming of the Brother for the weekend (check).
• Cranberry infused vodka in jar for several weeks (check, though I have no idea why, because I don’t drink the stuff; pretty, though).

Weather forecast: whiteness in abundance here. Appears we may get a serious dump o’snow, beginning tomorrow and continuing through Christmas Day and beyond. Fa la, la la, largo florida... Read on...

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A very few good gladiators

December 16, 2009 by barbara

Prairie writes:

One of my all-time favorite movies is Gladiator. Small wonder for a liberal. It shows a man of courage, standing up for his principles and his family values against a corrupt and cowardly status quo coupled with some genuine evil.

Now far be it from me to suggest that the movie version of health care reform should feature River Phoenix as Joe Lieberman, but...what the heck. Why not? And then there's Jane Hamsher as played by Connie Nielsen. And Russell Crowe? Well, I'd give him the Dylan Ratigan part. I would've assigned Viggo Mortenson, but he wasn't in the original.

Gladiators come more and more to mind these days as you watch the bread and circuses and thumbs-downing that's going on in Washington. Bellicose Senators who quisle and cave at the first opportunity. [They call it "compromise."] Read on.

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Senator Franken speaks truth to his colleagues

December 15, 2009 by barbara

barbara posts

(Big oops on original post; forgot to format so the link would appear here. Rats! Fixed it, though.)

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What's in a word?

December 14, 2009 by barbara

by barbara

Today's word list:

Clinch. Today’s Strib proclaims that the Vikes clinched a playoff berth yesterday when they defeated Cincinnati. Clinched has been co-opted by the world of sports, a far cry from its etymological origin. Related to clench. To clinch is to bend a nail point that has gone through to the other side of a board so it can’t be pulled out easily. Ergo, to secure in place. From whence came “to settle decisively,” etc. May you sleep well tonight having this clarity. Skol, Vikes!

Suspended, as in Copenhagen talks suspended as developing nations walk out. An online etymology dictionary tells us that this hummer dates back to the late 13th century, and probably comes from the Latin suspendere. Sub (up from under) plus pendere (cause to hang, weight). We are told the literal meaning (“to cause to hang by a support from above”) showed up in the mid-15th century. And maybe there is support from above for the little people who in their immense frustration kicked the shins of the great and greedy nations that are playing fast and loose with climate change. Ooopsy. There I go, editorializing again.

Infidelity, most notably in recent time a tag attached to Mark Sanford and Tiger Woods. Origin? That Latin thing again. Infidelitas, from whence commeth infidel. Unfaithfulness. First documented use re “unfaithfulness or disloyalty to a person” dated in early 1500s and encompasses unfaithfulness to spouse. It appears Mr. Woods has sewed up the all-time bragging rights to the dubious distinction of most instances of infidelity with greatest number of people in shortest amount of time. More words.

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Prairie's reading: Wendell Potter on medical ratios

December 13, 2009 by barbara

by Prairie Sunshine

Over at Huffington Post, Wendell Potter, former Cigna executive who is now doing heroic advocacy for healthcare reform, blogs about healthcare amendment you need to know about. Senators Franken and Rockefeller are pushing to hold for-profit insurance companies to account by mandating they spend 90% of every premium dollar on medical care.

It's called MLR -- medical loss ratio.

An interesting twist of phrase. Actually providing the service for which people are paying their insurance companies is considered a "loss." More on this.

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Prairie Recommends: Elizabeth Warren

December 04, 2009 by barbara

Prairie Sunshine weighs in:

One of the clearest voices on what's really at risk in this Great [shhh, don't call it Dep]Recession is Elizabeth Warren.

You'd think the idiots with their screamfests and crossfirization of inane talking points and moguls pushing their in-house hatemongers would realize that survival of the middle class is in their best interest, too.

That survival must include jobs. Education. And health care.

Oh, and also Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak and their ilk keeping their noses out of women's vaginas. Maybe this is their way of overcompensating for their own Inner Ensigns?

Cross-posted at Prairie Sun Rising

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November 26, 2009 by barbara

barbara writes

Today, I am unilaterally declaring The Clothesline a snark-free zone.

Today, though not for the first time, I am grateful for much and for many.

Today, I give thanks for all that we have, all that we are, and all that we can be.

Today, I give thanks for you, and you, and you (okay, it's not snark, but I sound like Miss Betty on Romper Room, don’t I?).

Today, I hope to spend my time steeped in gratitude.

Care to join me?

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Promise Breakers

November 21, 2009 by barbara

barbara writes

(My "little brother," at the state capitol.)


You know how something just smacks you upside the head and sends you over the brink? My brink plunge du jour was precipitated by an article in this morning’s Star Tribune.

Seems there is a 65-year-old Minneapolis man named Frederick Becton who is living in poverty, owing at least in part to his severe, debilitating medical problems. He’s been receiving a small monthly sum from the State to help meet his special nutritional requirements. Last month, he was notified by the State that his funding is history and that he needs to figure out some other way to keep from dying.

*Frankly, I’m not crazy about that language, but it will help Bible literalists get my drift.


Meet Minnesota’s ultra-conservative, religious-right governor, Timothy Pawlenty. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He makes occasional cameo appearances in Minnesota as a side-line to his full-time national and international job of pursuing his presidential aspirations.

In a little Minnesota moment this summer, while the state legislature struggled to sort its way through a fiscal toxic waste site (aka, the budget), Pawlenty arguably* exceeded his authority by deciding to unilaterally “unallot” $2.7 billion in funding to what compassionate people consider essential programs.

*There is a pending lawsuit initiated by the Minnesota House that challenges Pawlenty’s apparent disregard for law by slashing funding without legislative consent. Read more, please.

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