Why one man lived, are pesticides good or bad, the Pillager Mud Run, and when you can give up or keep going.
Having passed most of my math courses while in high school, I'm not much of a gambler, but I admit that occasionally I'll stop at a casino, throw some money into the slot machines and maybe win a quarter or two, at which point I stop playing. If I come out of the endeavor a quarter ahead, I've beaten 'the man" and that's enough for me.
The thing is: With today's electronic slot machines, I never know exactly why I won. I only know that a bunch of musical notes sound and some crooked lines that look like a GPS gone bad appear on the screen, and some lights go off. Whee! I might as well have put the quarter in, pushed a button and had someone say "loser" or "winner."
Here's a perfect example...
I thought about this situation while reading Tim Nelson's story about the dawn of electronic pull tabs in Minnesota, the money from which will build a few parts of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
Pull tabs, apparently, were once fairly popular back when people went to bars, pounded down a few drinks, smoked a few cigarettes, and left paper pull tabs on the floor. But people aren't going to bars as much anymore, you can't smoke, and paper tabs aren't a sexy, fun way to gamble, anymore -- not when you've got bells and whistles and pink lines telling you the what, if not the why.
Here's Tim's video demonstration of the solution (sorry, iPeople, it's in Flash)
I get five yellow bananas in a row, but other than that, it's just a guy pushing buttons, some beeps and an indication whether you won or lost.
Here's the important question: Is that going to lure enough people into playing in order to pay off the mortgage on a $1 billion stadium?
This new era of video gambling, it seems to me, is PacMan in a World of Warcraft world. Granted, there's never been any strategy in most video gambling -- video poker might be an exception -- but what's the attraction here that will get people playing electronic pulltabs who aren't playing the game now?
If it comes down to a battle of beeps and lights, don't the slot machines at the casino still hold sway? And if it's the instant gratification, doesn't a lottery scratch-off do the same thing?
Discussion point: Will you be playing the electronic pulltabs?
The NFL is back with last night's start of the regular season. Truth is, though, it never left. People never stop talking football on the sportstalk stations and around the office.
And yet, baseball is still referred to as the "national pastime." That should change.
Besides, when's the last time you saw a cool commercial with a baseball theme?
Playing the part of the invisible defense was the actual New England Patriots defense. *
(h/t: Ad Freak)
In other football news, a new study shows former NFL players are at least three times more likely to die of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Lou Gehrig's disease.
* - this is a lie.(5 Comments)
Posted at 1:11 PM on September 6, 2012
by Bob Collins
Larry Werner, the director of news for ECM Publishers, has opened a discussion that is lately occurring in more newspapers and some news organizations: When is it OK to mention "suicide" ?
Many news organizations have policies against mentioning suicides, in the belief that it only encourages more people to take their own lives. That's an oversimplification, however, of recommendations which don't call for muzzling talk of suicide, but not sensationalizing or romanticizing it. That's different from keeping it a secret.
In his column today, Mr. Werner relays his recent encounter with a suicide attempt in Anoka, and the reaction to the story by a Forest Lake couple whose daughter took her own life.
"We want to get it out there. It's not going away. It needs to be talked about and addressed," the mother said.
At a Minnesota Newspaper Association workshop a few years ago, we discussed how we cover sensitive subjects, including suicide. Most of us in that workshop acknowledged we avoid using the word in our papers. One newspaper editor in that room, whose son had died from suicide, said avoiding the subjects perpetuates the idea that there's a stigma associated with such a death. Being specific about suicide, like mentioning cancer or diabetes in obituaries, will provoke discussions that could shed light on possible remedies and methods of prevention.
It's a good read.
The new political ad from Mitt Romney against Barack Obama will probably appeal to voters with short memories and a lack of context -- the bread-and-butter of politicians these days.
The ad, of course, comes a day after former president Clinton got the headlines with his endorsement of Obama.
It also has very little to do with any issue in the campaign so far.
Foreign Policy must've seen the ad coming because it revisited the context around "give me a break" in an article issued yesterday.
The quote referred to a dispute in the campaign between then-candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton over opposition to the war in Iraq. Obama had claimed that he had opposed the invasion of Iraq "from the beginning," when he was on record supporting the invasion in 2003.
The full quote:
"It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment ... and never got asked one time, not once, well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution, you said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war ... and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?" Clinton asked. "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen."
Clinton's comments were as much an indictment of a political news media as it was of his wife's opponent at the time.(20 Comments)
KARE 11 is reporting today that Jane Fiemeyer has died.
The Wadena girl died just a few hours before her wish was to be granted with a video chat with the musical group she apparently adored.
Jane's mother announced on her Caring Bridge site on Monday that chemotherapy against leukemia was not working. It was a heartbreaking post:
This conversation led into a conversation about what she wanted to take with her to heaven, including her apple blanket and the leopard she sleeps with every night. She also picked out the clothes she wants to wear (including the blue wig) and the necklaces that will be around her neck. She also asked if she would have a funeral. I answered yes and then we began to discuss what she would like to see happen from the music she wants played, who will do her eulogy, pall bearers, and which clergy she wants officiating her service. It was an oddly peaceful conversation. Maybe it should have been harder, and I guarantee it will be, but at the moment we had peace and composure and I am so grateful for that gift.
There is nothing more inspiring, nothing so pride-filling, as watching people who longed to come to America becoming Americans.
In Minneapolis today, one of the largest naturalization ceremonies ever hosted here featured 1,500 new citizens from 100 different countries.
The Current's Mark Wheat was one of them.
Wheat reflects on his accomplishment on the Current's website.
(Photos: Nate Ryan/MPR)(4 Comments)