Saturday, March 31, 2007

Homegrown


I thought it would be interesting to surf around and see how many movies were filmed mostly in Minnesota. I was wrong. It actually wasn't that interesting.

Nonetheless, here is the list I assembled. (Did I miss any?)

Movies made in Minnesota:
A Prairie Home Companion
A Simple Plan
Airport
Beautiful Girls
Drop Dead Fred
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Factotum
Fargo
Feeling Minnesota
Grumpier Old Men
Grumpy Old Men
Here on Earth
Homo Heights
Jingle All the Way
Joe Somebody
Mall Rats
Mystery Science Theater
North Country
Purple Rain
Pushing Tin (?)
Sugar and Spice
Sweet Land
That Was Then, This Is Now
The Heartbreak Kid
The Mighty Ducks
Twenty Bucks
Untamed Heart

Good Movies Made in Minnesota:
Airport
Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men
The Mighty Ducks
Pushing Tin
Sweet Land

Not a great batting record...

Facing the Giants

This is a movie made by a church...

I didn't know that this movie was a Christian message film until I pushed play and saw what appeared to be a made for TV movie.

Many of the young actors are students in the community where the film was made, which reminds me of Miracle, where some characters were played by their actual sons or were chosen for their ability to play hockey first and act second. Facing the Giants is a movie made literally by a bunch of amateurs.

Knowing that however made me appreciate what ended up actually being some relatively impressive performances, especially by Alex Kendrick who plays the lead and wrote, produced, directed and edited the film according to IMDb, and Shannen Fields who plays the coach's wife and is in real life the church pastor's wife.

The football action is realistic and well-done and the made for TV look of the movie fades as the movie pulls you in. Its predictable and formulaic but you have so much fun watching it and feel so good that you don't care.

You've heard of "suspension of disbelief?" ...thats where you enjoy the scene in Speed where the city bus jumps an impossible gap in the freeway or where the Islamic terrorist jumps from one high-rise roof and into the pool on another on a motorcycle in True Lies and you let it slide.

This movie introduces you to "suspension of skepticism" because like True Lies and Speed, you want to believe what you see.

Not only do I give this a thumbs up but I would recommend that everyone watch this film with your whole family...and own a copy for a rainy day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Village



I know, this movie came out in 2004, but I have always wanted to see it and it finally came to the top of my Netflix cue.

This movie has a trick ending. It's pretty scary. It has a mild political message. I am a big fan of Joaquim Phoenix who along with Willaim Hurt gave great performances.

Adrien Brody plays a character that couldn't be more opposite from his character in The Pianist. It also features Sigourney Weaver who has a role a bit more subdued than in Working Girl or Alien.

Thumbs up.

Almost 21 Million


According to the American Diabetes Association, that's how many Americans suffer from Diabetes, a third of which have not yet been diagnosed.

90% of Diabetes patients suffer from Type 2, also known as Adult-Onset Diabetes. The rest suffer from Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes.

Why should this matter to you?

Because being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for Type 2. Which is to say, like many health issues facing Americans and our health care system, proper diet and exercise can prevent the onset of or even reverse the effects of Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1, which is an autoimmune disorder, is hereditary and is not caused by nor can it be managed by diet and exercise. Type 1 Diabetics need to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin several times a day. This is done with a needle or an insulin pump.

I believe the two forms of the disease should almost not even share the same name. It has been my experience and understanding that Type 2, where either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, is the form brought on mostly by lifestyle choices. Because it has so many more sufferers, it also garners the lion's share of attention in the media, and I can only presume fund raising and funding efforts for research and treatment.

Meanwhile, Type 1, which is now thought to be very near to a cure but comprises a small percentage of all diabetes cases, is often misunderstood or lumped in with Type 2. As such, I wonder if some dollars spent on research into the treatment of Type 2, would be better spent on Type 1, which is not a disease so much of choice and which effects children, at least at its onset in most cases.

Case in point, while it is thought that a cure for Type 1 Diabetes may only be five to ten years away, seventy per cent of the respondents to the poll mentioned below thought that there is already a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

This is why my family and I favor the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation over The American Diabetes Association as the JDRF is focussed on Type 1 funding and research efforts.

Type 2 will probably always exist in our population. That is not to say that there aren't great opportunities for care and prevention of Type 2. In fact, recent studies have shown that the growing phenomenon of childhood obesity and the unfortunate resultant early onset of Type 2 Diabetes is now for the first time actually reducing life expectancies for some of our newest generation.

This could be reduced by educating parents on the benefits of a healthier diet and exercise, the detrimental effects of childhood obesity and of the alarming increase in occurrence of Type 2 Diabetes in younger and younger people.

Any disease that effects so many Americans, about 7 per cent of the population, is the No. 1 cause of blindness, kidney disease and heart failure, and costs so much to treat and care for should be a concern to all of us especially as it relates to our growing overall health care crisis.

In a story in today's Star Tribune Business section, it was announced Medtronic, who makes my daughter's MiniMed insulin pump and blood glucose meter, has released the results of a survey they commissioned that indicates in fact that Americans are ill informed and confused about the disease.

Medtronic will be spending an undisclosed amount of money on initiatives, local events and an informational website to educate the American Public regarding the causes and treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hyundai to unveil...zzz...nevermind


Please say Yes


Thompson Takes Bites Out of Giuliani, Romney

According to this article, while its very early yet, Fred Thompson is running third among likely Republican Candidates.

And he's not even in the race yet.

Giuliani is viable, is a very good leader (did you read his book? I recommend it) but probably a little too liberal for a lot of conservatives.

McCain: My Uncle, a retired Rear Admiral knows him and says he's a good man. That's good enough for me but I don't know if he can win.

Romney: I know nothing. Anyone?

I don't know Fred Thompson either but I really like him. The Republican Party needs someone with charisma. Maybe its a Ronald Reagan thing. I think he can lead and I think he can win.

Here are three reasons why:

I'm not kidding.

Time will tell.

But I wish he'd jump in.

Monday, March 26, 2007

1998


That's the last year I cared about the Vikings. They were 15-1-0 and couldn't get into the Super Bowl.

Dennis Green...what a joke.

They had Randall Cunningham and Brad Johnson, two great quarterbacks.

...Cris Carter mentoring Randy Moss who hadn't become a total jerk quite yet.

...and they had the amazing Gary Anderson (who was a neighbor of mine).

Chances like that only come along....

Why are the Vikings always "rebuilding"? Rebuilding from what?

Perpetual mediocrity?

I watched the Vikings for 33 years. In the same span The Twins have won two World Series.

Let's build them a stadium and let the Vikings use their stadium instead of the other way around this time.

And put a frickin' roof on it.

"Wilf said he is taking a long-term approach to building the team and acknowledged it could take "a couple years" to mold it into a Super Bowl contender. "

Spin.

"This is a process that will take a building-up from year to year," Wilf said. "It will require patience ... [and] it will take a couple years until we can get into a position for championship-caliber competitiveness. Hopefully we can get there sooner. We can't expect that, but we'll certainly hope for it. "Either way, our goal is to get to a competitive, championship level and, once we get there, to stay there."

Spin.

Put the Vikes on Welfare:

"Wilf got some help Monday from his fellow NFL owners, who finally completed negotiations on an enhanced revenue sharing plan that will net the Vikings an additional $5 mil- lion to $10 million annually. The league already shares television and selected other revenues, giving each team more than $100 million per year, but the newest plan also will redistribute some local revenue from stadiums that previously were not subject to sharing."

"The bottom line: Because of their well-documented limitations in the Metrodome, the Vikings stand to receive more shared revenue than any NFL team. Wilf said he appreciates the gesture but hopes to avoid such welfare in the future."

Attaboy! Get the Vikings on a Workfare program! ...and keep them out of jail while you're at it.

"At this time, it's one of the few markets that has not participating in building a new home for its franchise."

Win one and we'll gladly build you your stadium. Just win one Zygi.

Melty


Melty, originally uploaded by jroosh.

There is a lake there...somewhere


There is a lake there...somewhere, originally uploaded by jroosh.

Fog

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chrysler 300C History

I love cars and history, especially the history of the automotive industry. I thought it would be interesting, at least for me, to highlight some of the interesting developments in the history of the car I own.

First off, while I have been complimented for my patriotism in finally buying an American car, in all fairness my car is made in Canada for a German company, DaimlerChrysler, which has owned Chrysler since 1998.

At the time, it was the biggest industrial merger in history and the biggest acquisition of an American company by a foreign entity.

The 300C is based on the prior-generation Mercedes Benz E-Class. The "C" designation is actually an historic misnomer. Originally as the model progressed from the original 300, the letter designation was incremented. Technically, the current car should be called the 300N. The 300 is the generic model, the letter suffix designates the performance engine-equipped model, i.e. the "Hemi" currently.

In any case, here are some interesting iterations of the car since the first Chrysler 300 model was introduced in 1955.
In 1955, the Chrysler 300 was the most powerful production car in the US and was named for it's 300HP engine and yes - it had a Hemi. "Hemi" is a reference to the 1951 innovation of a hemispheric shape of the combustion chambers inside the engine which allows for greater efficiency and placement of the spark plugs.
In 1957, a convertible was available and power jumped to 390HP. Also note the tail fins which were introduced earlier on the 1948 Cadillac but became popular throughout the 50s and into the 60s.
In 1959 Chrysler dropped the Hemi and due to its styling, the 300 lost popularity.

1961 was the last year with the large tail fins and as you can see they went out with a bang. At this point the top model was the 300G.

The 1963 model, the 300J is the first one I remember as a kid. I also remember it not being a good-looking car.

In 1965, the year I was born, marked a completely new body style. As the 300L, it was the last of the "letter series", only to resume in 1999 as the 300M.

The 1969 300 (no letter) exemplified 1970s styling. At the time they called it "fuselage" styling. The 1970 looked similar to the 1969 but was the last year you could order a convertible. The 1971 model, also similar was the last year of the 300 until 1979.

In 1979 the 300 model resumed but only as an option on the Chrysler Cordoba. Now you have the voice of Ricardo Montalban and "fine Corinthian Leather" in your head for the rest of the day. Sorry. It had an anemic but common for the 70s rating of 195HP and sold for about $8,000. In 1999, Chrysler slapped the 300 moniker on a front-drive car with a V6 and restored the letter series with the 300M. With a 253HP engine however, it did outperform many of the older V8-equipped models. I believe its popularity motivated Chrysler, who was now DaimlerChrysler to get serious about the model for the subsequent and current iteration.

The 2005 and current 300C brought back rear-wheel drive, the Hemi, and aggressive styling. Based on the Mercedes E-Class, the 300 has a rigid chassis and provides a platform for Chrysler to offer a lot of car for the money. Despite its 340HP, the 5.7 Liter engine is surprisingly efficient due to its Multi-Displacement System (MDS) cylinder-deactivation technology and five-speed automatic transmission.

And there you have it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

They say if you don't like the weather in Minnesota...



...just wait a minute.





We just lost our twenty or so inches of snow and now the TV weather forecasters are forecasting a possibility of tornadoes tomorow. It was March 28, 1998 that Minnesota had one of our worst tornadoes ever in Comfrey, St. Peter and across South Central Minnesota.

I was in the area a few days later for business. In St. Peter, it was a disaster. A large brick school had its walls pushed in like a stack of dominoes. You could tell the main street was altered permanently. A six year old little boy lost his life that day.

We drove West of St. Peter and for what seemed like miles and miles along the highway you could see the path of the tornado in the grass and in the farm fields, through people's properties and of course in some cases in the damage to people's homes.


The people I met with that day lived ten miles away, to the North, and said they could hear the tornado from that distance even though they couldn't see it at all.

I have been facinated by tornadoes since I was a kid. Twister is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I have no need to see one in person.

Blood Diamond




Quite violent but not in a gratuitous way. Amazing scenery. Leonardo DiCaprio was rewarding to watch in this role. Strong ending.

Quote from the movie: "Sometimes I wonder if God will forgive us for what we've done to each other. Then I look and realize God left this place a long time ago."

Thumbs up.

Play all day...


Play all day..., originally uploaded by jroosh.

...I'm not buying a Hummer but

...don't think you are necessarily helping by driving a Prius either.

"The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care."

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage

"This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles."

"Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare."

"Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.
The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles."


The assertion by the author (or the firm that did the study) that a Hummer's expected life is 300,000 miles is highly suspect; it is probably closer to 250,000 miles.

From Car and Driver:

"The Bandon, Oregon, auto research firm says in a news release that it spent two years collecting data on the energy necessary to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a vehicle from initial concept to scrappage. This includes such minutia as plant to dealer fuel costs, employee driving distances, electricity usage per pound of material used in each vehicle and literally hundreds of other variables.

To put the data into understandable terms for consumers, it was translated into a "dollars per lifetime mile" figure. That is, the Energy Cost per mile driven."

There are actually articles and posts out there decrying "Save the Environment, Drive a Hummer." These are no more than weak attempts at humor.

This article does however help bring to light the fact that at the current state of the art most of these alternative energy automobiles use more energy to produce or use than they save. This is due to the costs and waste of producing and/or transporting the "fuel" to the end user.

I respect a person's pursuit of happiness and freedom to drive what makes them happy. I also believe we need to eliminate our reliance on foreign sources of energy.

I believe there should continue to be incentives in the form of tax credits for manufacturers and consumers willing to support these technologies so they can evolve to the point that there actually are net-net savings of energy and decreased environmental impact.

So if you want a Hummer or a Prius buy one. Just don't drive a minivan.

That's not cool.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fridley, we have a problem


Kudos to Medtronic.

J-Bird's new insulin pump is on The Fritz. Mom calls Medtronic. They overnighted a new $9,000 insulin pump to us.

I wish we weren't a customer of theirs, but as it stands, pretty impressive.

(Yes, they want the "old" one back)

Who?



Who.

Nate sent me this today. Do you suppose it is a sign of an early spring?

...right out the back of their home in Eagan. He looks hungry.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

That was a Bunny...this one's a Doggie!

"Arf Arf!"

Timeless


"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these journalists/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials--after the fact."

Robert E. Lee 1863

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

His mouth runneth over


Anything to sell more books, huh Jim?


In an interview for a financial website, Jim Cramer, the extroverted (read screaming idiot) host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” boasted about manipulating stock prices when he was a Wall Street trader.

In a webcast on TheStreet.com that has been widely viewed on YouTube, Mr. Cramer spoke about bringing down the prices of a high-flying stock and admitted that his actions might have been illegal (whats the statute of limitations on this stuff?).

"A lot of times when I was short, I would create a level of activity beforehand that would drive the futures. . . . It's a fun game (read screwing other people)," he said in the interview with TheStreet.com’s executive editor Aaron Task.

In the segment, Mr. Cramer gave advice on how to keep a profit on a short-position by driving a stock price down.

Although that is illegal, he said it was passable because, "the Securities and Exchange Commission never understands this."

He also commented: “What's important when you are in that hedge fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful because the truth is so against your view, that it’s important to create a new truth, to develop a fiction (but go ahead and read his book!).”

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Classic

Grounds for Better Health


I am a coffee nut…probably addicted to some degree. I suppose there are worse vices. Nonetheless, I went looking for justification for my expensive habit. It didn’t take long to find.

Antioxidant Powerhouse
Probably the best kept secret about coffee is that it delivers more antioxidants than even the latest antioxidant bellwether, green tea. Green coffee beans contain about 1,000 antioxidants, and the brewing process adds 300 more.

Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee reduces diabetes risk among pre-diabetics by over 60%, according to a new study from the University of California at San Diego. Three major, long-term studies, as well as numerous smaller studies, have confirmed coffee's properties for preventing type 2, or “adult-onset,” diabetes. A new Finnish study found that women who drank three to four cups of coffee a day reduced their diabetes risk by 29%. For men, the reduction was 27%.

Colon Cancer
Another coffee compound has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. While scientists had long suspected a connection between coffee and cancer protection, last fall German researchers identified the link.

Parkinson’s Disease
At least six independent studies have confirmed a link between coffee drinking and the prevention of Parkinson’s Disease.

Performance Booster
Research has also proved that, in addition to protecting against disease, coffee has a positive functional impact on an array of human activities. A study published in Current Sports Medicine Reports found that the caffeine in coffee improves performance and endurance during prolonged, exhaustive exercise. To a lesser extent, it also boosts short-term, high-intensity athletic performance, as well as enhances concentration, reduces fatigue and heightens alertness. The reason lies in caffeine’s effect on brain receptors, enabling better energy uptake.

…in moderation, of course.

the Pursuit of Happyness



Thumbs up. True Story. See it with your Kids! Trust me on this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Casino Royale


I love Bond movies. Until now.


Excruciatingly long, contrived and insipid (in that order as a matter of fact).


Thumbs down.

Train of Thought


Southwest suburbs ask, why wait for trains?

"Four years ago, leaders in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka resisted a planned light-rail line as an intrusion into suburbia. Now they think it's long overdue."

When the Light Rail project from downtown to the Mall of America was first announced, like many people, I doubted the value of the project in general and also wondered why that particular route?

Now I have friends and clients in the Southeast metro that drive to the line and take the train the rest of the way downtown, saving time and money. It seems most large cities have mass transit trains these days and it seems to offer a alternative for people that commute to work and then back home and don't need their car during the day.

It wouldn't work for me because I have appointments all over town during my workday but I still appreciate the system because it likely makes things easier for me in the form of reduced traffic in general.

"When Hennepin County began studying prospects for a southwest-Minneapolis light-rail link in 2003, residents in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka organized a "trails without rails" effort to stop the train from displacing the bicycle and pedestrian trail on the old railroad right-of-way the county owns."

The only issue I have, and its a selfish one, is that it would apear the most logical and cost effective route for the Southwest metro involves taking the trail I love to bike on during the summer. I can hop on the trail near our home in Minnetonka and bike all the way to the lakes area in Minneapolis. Its a great workout and I personally don't see the point of biking on the street when we have such a great trail. It's quiet and safe.

It is hard to argue the point though, since the trail used to be a rail line, and it would probably be relatively easy to convert it back for light rail use.

Picnic


the Holiday


Thumbs Up (Surprised by this one) Jack Black is funny - think School of Rock less thirty pounds. Winslet, Law and Diaz really pulled it off.

Sideways


Thumbs Up
(Have a good bottle of red wine nearby when you watch this one)

Mary Tyler Moore

Recently, Mary Tyler Moore has indirectly been in the news as the house at 2104 Kenwood Parkway that appeared in the Mary Tyler Moore show, set here in the Twin Cities is for sale for $3,620,000.
There is also a statue commemorating her famous hat toss in downtown Minneapolis that appears in the intro to the show.
But did you also know that Mary Tyler Moore suffers from Type 1 Diabetes?…and that she has been instrumental in raising over $1 Billion for diabetes research through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)?

“As International Chairman of JDRF since 1984, Mary Tyler Moore has had enormous impact on the world of diabetes."

"During her tenure, JDRF’s research support has grown from a cumulative $25 million as of 1984 to more than $600 million by 2002."

"Moore is the voice and heart of JDRF 365 days a year. She believes that her government-focused efforts are one of the most effective ways to create visibility that will benefit JDRF’s research program and all people with juvenile diabetes."


Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1 billion to diabetes research, including more than $122 million in FY2006. In FY2006, the Foundation funded 500 centers, grants and fellowships in 20 countries.

JDRF has received top rankings from the American Institute of Philanthropy and other independent sources that rate charitable giving.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

more political than scientific










COPENHAGEN, Denmark, March 15 (UPI) -- A Danish scientist said the idea of a "global temperature" and global warming is more political than scientific.

"It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth," said Andresen, an expert on thermodynamics. "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate".

He says the currently used method of determining the global temperature -- and any conclusion drawn from it -- is more political than scientific.

Love at First Sight III


...Coming fall of 2007
Victory Vision

Thanks for Visiting!


MINNESOTA BLOG OF THE DAY (3/15/07)
Jroosh is a financial advisor blogging about the myth of global warming, the perfect snow thrower, and caring for a daughter with Type 1 diabetes at Roosh Five.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One Less Pricked Finger

Big News...

My daughter carries a Minimed insulin pump but has to test her Blood Glucose level several times daily by pricking her finger and touching it to a test strip on a Blood Glucose meter. The meter then beams that information to her new insulin pump. In our research a few months ago, we deliberately chose the the Medtronic Minimed pump in anticipation of this recently approved option. Presumably once it is available it plugs right into her existing pump.


"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two of the glucose-monitoring systems manufactured by Medtronic Inc. for use in children and adolescents."

This particular approval applies to the adult version but he pediatric version is apparently not far behind.

"The devices allow the maintenance of blood-sugar levels through the placement of an electrode beneath the skin. The Guardian device monitors glucose every five minutes and alerts users of high and low levels, while the MiniMed uses an added pump to correct imbalances by delivering insulin to the user. "

I am a big fan of Medtronic and so is our little girl.

Below Average Guru




"As for playing the stock market, Orman said "I have a million dollars in the stock market, because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care."


If she doesn't care about her money, do you want her to advise you on yours?

"In short, the person being trusted as everyone's financial adviser has a portfolio that few people could live with."


Says Debra Neiman of Neiman & Associates Financial Services in Arlington, Mass.: "A big premise of financial life planning is that you shouldn't go there with a client unless you have been there in your own shoes. You need to be comfortable living with the advice you give out, because you are making the same kind of decisions."

"The big problem with Suze Orman is that she appears to be a below-average financial planner,"

"She scores very high on the personality index, but very low on the knowledge..."


Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt.

Monday, March 12, 2007

If they could just wait 15,000 years...

"MINNEAPOLIS - A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite."

Frostbite ends Bancroft-Arnesen trek

"Then there was the cold — quite a bit colder, Atwood said, then Bancroft and Arnesen had expected. One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times, Atwood said."

"'Atwood said there was some irony that a trip to call attention to global warming was scuttled in part by extreme cold temperatures. They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming"

...you mean the couple of degrees that have been called Global Warming?


'"But one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability."'

...you mean the weather in general for the last couple hundred years of recorded history, right?