Sorry...busy time of year in all sorts of ways, and it always seems that blogging is the first thing to take a hit when the schedule gets tight. But in the interest of getting something up on the ol' interweb, here are a few random thoughts:
-- Joe Biden is an ass. Most people already understood that, but his embarrassing effort last night against Paul Ryan showed it to everyone. During my Washington years, most of us on the Senate staff recognized Biden for what he was: A pompous, arrogant windbag who was universally considered a policy lightweight. In 1988, he ran one of the worst presidential campaigns in history, washing out early in the primaries after it was revealed that he was plagiarizing his stump speech from a British politician. Setting politics aside, here's what tells you a little something about his character: He's been on the public payroll for more than 40 years now, and it's made him a wealthy man, but when it comes to charitable giving, he makes Scrooge McDuck look like a spendthrift. From 1998-2008, Biden and his wife made more than $2 million, averaging over $200,000 a year. Good for them. Their average annual charitable giving, according to their tax returns? $369 per year. Tells you something about this "man of the people."
-- The NHL lockout. Tonight would have been the beginning of the Minnesota Wild season. We would have beaten the Colorado Avalanche - because we've never lost a home opener - the fans would have gone crazy for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund, and it would have been a great time. Instead, the labor dispute rolls on and there's no NHL hockey. As most of you know, I do some work on game days for the Wild, and while it's not the most financially rewarding work, there's, you know, a little something for the effort. (You're welcome, Caddyshack fans.) Seven years ago, when the NHL lost a whole season to labor problems, I focused my wrath on goalie Dwayne Roloson, who was militantly outspoken on labor issues and ran around saying things like, "We'll never accept a salary cap." Later, after the players accepted a salary cap, I decided that if I ever met Roloson, I was going to tell him that he owed me $2,000 for the missing season. So be on the lookout: If you see Roloson, tell him he owes Droogs two grand. (Tampa Bay paid him $3 million last year for 13 wins and a 3.66 goals-against average, so he's got the cash.) I haven't decided who this year's villain will be. Apparently the Wild's representative to the union is some guy named Knopka that we picked up over the summer, and I couldn't pick him out of a police lineup, so it's hard for me to be mad at him. Yet.
(Side note: While the Wild pay isn't that big a deal to me, I work with a lot of good people - ushers, vendors, waitresses, etc. - for whom that $300-$400/month during the winter is important. Pays part of the rent, or helps make the car payment, or the heat bill. Not sure the owners or player's union ever think of that.)
-- The (possible) return of the Vikings. In the '70s and '80s, few people loved the Minnesota Vikings like I did. There was no doubt that when the Vikings game was on, everything else stopped. Somewhere in the last decade, that slipped away from me. When Randy Moss left, I really fell off the bandwagon, and when he left a second time, I gave up. I probably hadn't sat through an entire Vikings game in 2-3 years. Then, a few weeks ago, I sat down to watch the Vikings play the 49ers, expecting a big San Francisco win. But the Purple played tough defense, showed some spark, and I wrote on Twitter at halftime that the game had the chance to bring me back. They held on to win, haven't lost since and I'm hooked again. The 4-1 record seems a little fishy since the schedule has been soft, but at least I care again.
-- President Romney? There's a little over three weeks to go, and I don't want to jinx it, but all the momentum and direction of this campaign feels so right right now. Like America is waking up and saying, "Of course we can do better than this. Of course there's a better way." Now, 24 days is an eternity in presidential politics, and if there's something sleazy and underhanded to be done, the Obama folks will find a way to do it, but it just feels good right now.
That's it...a brief grab bag of semi-coherent thoughts. I promise to do better next time.