Friday, July 28, 2006

News From Lake Wherehaveyagone

It is unlikely that you have been asking yourself, "What has Sven been up to lately?" Well, FrankenKrsitin asks once in awhile but is usually more along the lines of, "What the hell did you do all day?" Whether your interested or not, these are a few of the things that have kept Sven away from the computer lately.

- Like many Minnesotans we have spent quite a few weekends at the Lake. My grandmother has a lakehome in Northern WI so we try to get up there as much as we can. We've gone fishing, tubing, and won first prize in the 4th of July boat parade.

- We spent a weekend in Duluth visiting our friends Jordan and Connie and their new baby Sabina. We tried to ditch the kids for a few quiet hours by burying them in the sand at Park point Beach but they managed to escape. Bugger!

- We have spend a great deal of time at the soccer field watching, playing and coaching. That all comes to an end next week with the big Year End Jamboree. Between the two of them they have seven games in seven days. Talk about soccer overload.

- As I mentioned last week, my aunt Maxine died. She was my Mother's sister and was renowned for her Nostradamus like predictions, most of which came true. Except for the one about me being elected Mayor of South St. Paul. Too many skeletons.

- We are still engaged in an ongoing battle with Medica of over the bill for FrankenKristin's brain surgery. Apparently Bill McGuire's $161 million golden parachute as well as the $30 million in stock options offered to executive Lois Quam make it impossible for the company to afford to provide us with in-network coverage for her surgery. Never mind that there aren't any in-network doctors who specialize in treating Chiari Malformation. More on that next week.

- The drunk that rear ended us last summer finally appeared in court. A year and a day after the accident. He pled guilty.

- We have been helping my sister get things ready for her golf tournament. I'm in charge of the entertainment.

As long as I'm at the computer I can't resist commenting on a few recent items in the local news.

- On Sunday a cousin of mine made the front page of the newspaper in a report on his highly partisan political blog. I haven't had contact with him in years but I do see his father occasionally as he does our taxes each year. The reason I started blogging was because I had to create a user indenity in order to comment on one of the particularly nutty things he had to say so least I can do is give him his props. Frankly, I'm not sure how much his blog actually contributes to the marketplace of ideas as it seems to operate from more of a "gotcha!" mentality, but I know tons of people read it and he made the front page of the paper which is more than I can say for myself. Good luck to ya Michael, and say "Hi" to your dad for me.

- Yesterday it was reported that the father of Minnesota's junior Senator, Norm Coleman, was arrested for engaging in lewd conduct in the parking lot of Red's Savoy Pizza in St. Paul. Now I'm no fan of Senator Coleman and frankly I can't think of another Senator other than Rick Santorum who isn't more deserving of a few jabs, but good grief, leave his dad out of it. If it were the Senator that would be one thing, but hid dad is 81 years old and suffers from poor health, if he can still get it on with a 38 year old woman, more power to him. Besides, I've been to The Savoy and there ain't much too the parking lot, if they were teenagers we'd call 'em thrill seekers.

Next week I begin the tale of FrankenKristin's brain.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Below are pictures of Emma and Luke from their summer soccer program. After last year's experience I volunteered to coach her team this year. Although her coaches last were nice people they didn't schedule more than two practices all season and their game time encouragement consisted of, "PLAY SOCCER!!" as if the girls hadn't understood what they signed up for. Needless to say, she didn't learn much.

This year I vowed things would be different. Although we make sure all the kids get a chance to try every position, most of the season Emma has preferred to play defense. At first I thought she liked defense because she gets to stand around more than at forward but I have came to realize the she simply likes to take things away from people. She showed the same proficiency in hockey last winter. However, being a sucker for the spotlight, much like her father, she expressed a desire to score a goal this season, but not without first brokering a deal for herself. She very wisely convinced us that once she scores a goal we have to treat her to Dairy Queen.

Last night she scored that goal. After the game she order the biggest chocolate ice cream cone I've ever seen. It was enough to feed a family of four for a week.

Luke on the other hand is a prolific scorer, although it's not quite the same thing as he plays in the U-6 level which features a smaller field, no goalies and teams full of kids who have never played soccer before. He is the only player on his team with even a bit of soccer experience. Although they have improved tremendously over the summer his first game was quite a sight. One kid refused to go on the field, one spent the whole game picking his nose while another kid cried every time the ball hit her in the foot. It was almost as fun for the parents as it was for the kids.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Maillot Jaune et le Bon Pantalon

Damn, this has been a helluva Tour de France. Like many Americans my wife and I became followers of the Tour after following the career of of Lance Armstrong. In fact, after reading his book FrankenKristin was so inspired that she went from being a non-athlete to completing a triathlon. Thanks to my friend Jordan, we had a chance to travel to France in 2002 and witness the final day of the Tour as the riders circled the Champs Elysees. We were there, along with Sophia, to witness Lance's 4th Tour victory. This picture was taken during Lance's victory lap.

Even though the winner had already been determined, it was still one of the most exciting events I’ve ever attended. The beuaty of the Tour de France is that it's the only major world sporting event you can attend without a ticket.

In the absence of Lance Armstrong, there is no doubt that interest in the U.S. has dropped off a bit but it also proved to be a much more competitive race with no overall favorite. My pre-race pick was Ivan Basso but he, along with several other riders including Jan Ulrich, were disqualified just days before the race began because their names were mentioned in connection to a major doping scandal. FrankenKristin’s favorite Alexander Vinakourov also had to drop out because to many of his team members were implicated so they were unable to field a full squad.

With the field wide open and no clear favorite it was anyone’s guess who would win. Early on we were both intrigued by Tom Boonen as much for his cycling as his camel toe.

But he proved unable to meet the challenge and abandoned the race a few days ago. Earlier this week there was a spectacular crash which sent a few riders over the gaurd rail and into the ditch but it paled in comparison to the crash of Joseba Beloki in the 2003 Tour which left him with a broken femur.

During the last few days the commentators have all but annointed Floyd Landis as the eventual winner of the Tour when it reaches Paris on Sunday. However, Wednesday he sucked so bad that he all but gave away the lead and any hope of making it to the podium. Today he came out like Meatloaf and stomped the rest of the field like a Narc at a biker rally. Not only did he win the stage he made up almost all of the time the lost day before. A great performance to be sure but it's a bit premature to put him in the same catergory as Lance Armstrong or Eddy Merckx. The funniest part of the post-race show was listening to Landis' coach give a typical sports interview. Whether Landis can maintain the same pace over the next few days remains to be seen. He does fancy himself a good time trial rider but who knows...

Either way, it beats the hell out of NASCAR and it's a helluva a lot better for the environment.

Either way these next few stages should prove very exciting.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

To Rhonda

Thank you Rhonda. Your movie was beautiful.

As I watched the movie for the third time I thought of my nephew who enlisted recently and will begin basic training once he loses a few more pounds.

As I listened to the music I thought of my high school friends, some of whom I've lost touch with, and their importance in my life. Especially my best friend in high school. Although we remain (somewhat) connected, lately it has been more cyber than personal.

But what moved me the most was the picture of the folded flag being returned to the family. It reminded me of my uncle's funeral. He died in 2001 after a battle with Mesothelioma. I will never forget standing in the small shelter at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. My cousin had just finished singing Amazing Grace when the military representative folded the flag that had draped his coffin, presented it to my aunt, and stated, "On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, I offer you this flag in memory of our fallen comrade." It was at that moment that I broke down. Sadly, he was joined by his wife yesterday morning.

My heart goes out to you, both for your pain and your generosity.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mondegreens For $200 Please

For several years Saturday Night Live had a recurring sketch called Celebrity Jeopardy led by Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek. Most of the episodes featured Sean Connery, played by Darrell Hammond, openly antagonizing Trebek by transforming category names into sexually suggestive phrases. My favorite was the category "An Album Cover" which Connery pronounced Anal Bum Cover.

This episode came to mind today as I was reading an article in the local paper about seemingly legitimate businesses with slightly questionable domain names. Some fall into the what were they thinking category while others must surely be the result of a more mischievous mind. Below are a few of my favorites.

* A database titled Who Represents listing the names of the agents representing various celebrities:

* Need a pen? Well then, be sure stop by Pen Island, your one stop shop for the biggest and best pens around:

* If you are in need of therapy your in double luck. You can choose from or

* Those interested in the latest computer software should visit

* Brits looking for an advertising agency might turn to

* Folks seeking a relaxing Nevada vacation spot should look no further than, the ultimate Lake Tahoe resource.

* It seems someone must have tipped off the folks at the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales. Although their original URL, still works it now takes you directly to their new site at Party poopers.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Love A Parade

We spent the weekend up north at my Grandmother's lake home. Every year the Lake Association sponsors a boat parade followed by an ice cream social. A few years ago, in an effort to represent an alternative to the behemoth pontoons and super fancy speed boats, FrankenKristin and I decided to decorated our canoe and enter the parade.

As you can imagine, we were the smallest boat in the parade and few people expected us to keep up with the rest of the boats let alone paddle all the way around the lake. Although we were the sentimental favorite with all the parade watchers receiving lots of applause and a few standing ovations. Unfortunately, we did not win the coveted first prize, (breakfast for four at the Lumberjack Saloon) because they didn't have a category for us. Instead we got a hat.

The following year we lobbied the association to add a category for non-motorized watercraft and we have won every year since, although we have rarely faced much of a challenge. Two years ago, a couple of kids entered a peddle boat but they quit halfway around the lake. This year they actually finished but their decorations left a bit to be desired. Anyway, this is the first year we brought the kids along with us. Up until now the span of their attention as well as the grape-like size of Luke's bladder have prevented them from joining us.

The picture above represents this year's entry. Next year I think we are going to put a dragon head on the front of the canoe, arm the kids with paddles and dress up as Vikings. Afterall, it has been proven that we were the first ones to paddle this part of the country back in 1362.