My New Year’s resolutions

It seems that every year at this time, people are always talking about their New Year’s resolutions and what they are hoping to accomplish in the upcoming year.  I never have been a really big fan of  New Year’s resolutions because I feel that you should not wait until January 1st to start a new goal. Why not start it today? I have always wondered how many people actually follow through on their resolutions.  Take for example exercise. Every year during January, I dread going to my club because I know it will be a battle to get onto one of those machines or treadmills. Come March, It is not so difficult. Funny how that works! Well anyways, I just wanted to share a few things that I will be looking to accomplish in 2009.

1. Be on time more often.  I have a very bad habit that I am trying to break. I am always about 5 minutes late for a number of things. My co-workers even joke about it. If I show up for work early, they nearly drop out of their chairs!

2. Eat healthier.  I have made good strides in this area as I have gotten older, however, for every good healthy meal that I prepare, there is that trip to Burger King and Taco Bell that I cannot resist. Also I have a bad addiction to ice cream which has be controlled. See a future blog about this.

3. Give more to charities.  It is makes me feel good inside to know that I am helping someone in need.

4.  Read more of the newspaper.  Sitting down in my living room and reading the newspaper has always been one of my favorite things to do.  The problem is I tend to skip many stories or head straight to the sports. Section A is definitely an important part of the paper and I need to set aside time to read more of the paper. Of course, since many newspapers have a strong liberal bias, I tend to view other sources such as the Internet to get the real true story.

5. Go to more movies. I love to sit in a local movie theater and watch a good new release.  Nothing beats the sound effects and nice screen many theaters have.  With my on demand cable package, I tend to stay at home too much and watch movies.

Vikings need to do more

This past Sunday marked the first time since 2004 that Minnesota Vikings have made it to the playoffs. By winning the game against the Giants which I attended, the Vikings became the NFC north division champions and locked up the 3rd seed in the NFC playoffs. After the game, people were down right giddy about winning the division and making it to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. The big purple bandwagon is loading up with people who normally follow the Minnesota way and jump on board when  the sports teams are successful and quickly jump off when things are not going so well.

In my opinion, winning  the division title and making the playoffs is great but I want to see more from this club. The north division was filled with lousy teams, see the Detroit Lions, and winning the division is really only a small feat in the grand scheme of things. Success is really measured by what a team does in the post season. Nobody remembers division titles; they only remember the teams that make a run in the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl.

This year’s team has the potential to beat any team in the league on any given Sunday.  A strong running game along with a sound defense can carry a team a long ways in the playoffs. But then again, they are capable of losing to any team in the league and this team has always done things the hard way this season. This match up with Philly really scares me because they are going up against a hot team and the Eagles seem to be on a roll at the right time. If the Vikes lose this game, it will pretty much negate any success they may have had in winning the division title. The Vikings have more talent on their squad to be just a first round playoff team. Anything short of a playoff run is just not acceptable to me and should not be for the organization.

Remember the less fortunate this Christmas

Every Christmas, one of the gifts that I enjoy giving the most is not a toy for my young niece or nephew or a gift certificate for my brother-in-law or any other family member. It is a donation to an adopt-a-family which our company sponsors every Christmas. I probably will never meet that family but knowing they will be better off this Christmas is enough to make me happy.

This has been a very hard year for a number of families around the country with the bad economy and countless layoffs. Many families are just struggling to get by and simply cannot afford to buy any presents this year. I really feel for those families especially the ones with children. Having to explain to your child that you cannot afford any gifts must be a very difficult thing to do especially when their  friends are bragging about the new toy or electronic games that they got.

I know it is nice to receive fancy gifts from loved ones but it means more to me to give a nice gift to someone in need and see their face light up with joy. Christmas is all about the birth of  a guy who was all about helping the needy and sharing and it would be nice if we all remember those less fortunate this holiday season. It does not take much. Just a small donation or gift will make someone’s Christmas season be filled with joy.

The sad state of the Minnesota Timberwolves

I am almost embarrassed to admit this but I am a big Minnesota Timberwolves fan. In fact of the 4 major sports teams in the Twins Cities, the Wolves are the team that I show the most passion for. Being a player and fan of basketball, I enjoy the NBA so it is easy to understand my passion.  However, what has been going on this year with this team is totally unacceptable from my point of view.

About 4 years ago, I can remember that warm spring evening when I was among the 20,000 or so screaming fans who were in attendance the night the Wolves finally won a playoff series and seemed to be changing the corner as a viable franchise. But my enthusiasm was quickly changed the next year when a lot of greed and selfishness overtook the team and they stumbled back into mediocrity. Even their long standing coach became a victim and was unjustly fired. 

 Soon after, the unthinkable happened. Kevin Garnett, the face of the franchise for nearly 12 years was dealt in return for a bunch of younger players. At the time, I thought it was a decent trade. They were not winning with him and were shackled by his enormous contract.  Last year was the first year the Wolves played with this group of younger players without Garnett.  I knew they would struggle and they did at times but that is expected with a younger team.  During the off season, the team acquired a good draft choice in Kevin Love along with a key veteran in Mike Miller. I thought things would improve but so far it has been a complete disaster. 4-15 so far and no end in sight.  This team is one of the worst NBA teams I have ever seen in my life. Watching them on both ends of the court is sometimes just too painful to watch. They have very limited offensive options, terrible shooters and a very non-existent defensive system.

Today, the coach finally got fired and was replaced by the man who is the architect of this mess, Kevin McHale.  If McHale cannot fixed his own mess, he should be let go after this season also. I give him credit for drafting KG but how about the other 1st rounders? I cannot honestly think of too many good moves he has made and he should be held accountable for this mess and ruining the franchise. I think this is his last chance. If he cannot  produce, then get someone in here who can do the job. As a fan of this team since the beginning, I am sick and tired of this mediority and my patience is wearing thin. Until this team can show some improvement and hope, I will not spend a penny on any more tickets. Are you listening, owner Glen Taylor?

Why should we bailout the auto industry?

During the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about providing some sort of bailout for the auto industry.  It appears there will some sort of relief in the amount of  a 15 billion dollar loan to help the struggling big three, GM, Ford and Chrysler. So how can we as taxpayers be assured this will actually do the trick and not be hung out to dry with another corporate bailout? What assurances do we have that this is enough and they will not come back asking for more?

I am sorry but I am really having a tough time feeling sorry for an industry that overpays not only their CEO’s but their workers as well. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a guy who works at Ford complain about the tough times at the company and the fact that he will not be able to retire when he turns 55. Oh the poor gentleman! Why don’t you join the rest of us who have to wait until we are 65 to even consider retiring. And of course, I cannot even start to talk about all their rich CEO’s who decided to travel in their private jets and ask for a bailout. How tacky was that? In any industry, I believe success starts from the top and these overpaid CEO’s have not even come close to earning their overpaid salaries.  Their vision and planning for the future has fallen woefully short and what makes us believe you will have a plan in place to help turn things around?

Having said all these things, I still believe we need to give these guys some sort of relief because if not, many thousands of jobs will be lost and that is something we do not need in this economy.  For starters, any bailout must have some sort of plan which not only has a short term solution but a long term solution. We are becoming a market for more fuel efficient cars and with the technology out there, they should be have no problem doing that. Are we not the world leader in technology? We can send people to the moon, why cannot we solve this problem? By tapping into this new type of product, these companies will grow by leaps and bounds and the economy will start growing again because more people will be spending money on cars and many more jobs will be created. But until then, the jury is out on these underachieving companies.