After a day of watery eyes, a raw throat and smelling like I was just sitting around a campfire in my office--it might be time to amend my Top Ten List of the Worst Things to Ever Come Out of Minnesota.
#10--Wildfire Smoke. I'll put this at the bottom of the list for now--as it's possible it could be a one-day thing--unlike every other item on the list which has plagued us for years.
#9--The Mall of America. Yes, mega-malls are the norm now--but this was the original monument to materialism and finding ways to waste as much of your money as possible. I mean, do we really need to have four different Foot Locker stores in one building? I'm still ashamed to admit that I worked there for almost a year.
#8--Michelle Bachman. She is still early in her political career so her ranking could "improve" in the future. I can't think of anything that I have heard her say that hasn't made me roll my eyes and want to crawl under a rock. Fortunately, her "media darling" status appears to be fading as far more qualified candidates for President have entered the race.
#7--Hamm's Beer. You have to give a lot of credit to the marketing guys that came up with the cute Hamm's Bear mascot and the Indian-themed "Land of Sky Blue Waters" ad jingle for making this one of the most popular Midwest beers back in the day. It certainly didn't attain that status based on taste or quality.
#6--Paul Wellstone. The only Senator who could make Russ Feingold look like a moderate. Nonetheless, his death in a plane crash remains a real tragedy.
#5--Brett Favre's 2nd Comeback. Was it the continuous press coverage of the move, the former Packer teammates flying to Mississippi to "convince Brett to come back", "Chilly" going to pick him up at the airport, or the hype surrounding the two games against the Packers that made everyone the sickest? All I will remember is an old, broken-down man huddled under a parka along the sidelines as his non-playoff team was getting pounded by the Bears in his "final, final game" in the NFL.
#4--Lutefisk. Rotten fish soaked in lye--then spread on crackers or bread. It's even more disgusting than it sounds.
#3--Al Franken. It amazes me that someone with such contempt for every other human being on the planet can win election to a major post like the US Senate. It must be his smugness that wins everyone over.
#2--Walter Mondale. Where to begin here? His early efforts to kill the Apollo Space Program because it was taking money away from programs for the poor? His disastrous turn as Vice President during the first Obama--I mean Carter Administration? The idea that voters in 1984 would want to return to those failed economic policies? Or his "We don't negotiate with terrorists--so I'll go over there and do it myself" efforts in the 1990's. (BTW, how many Minnesota politicians is that on the list now? 4 out of 10?)
And finally, the clear and forever choice at #1--University of Minnesota sports teams. Your football team stinks. You win Paul Bunyon's ax so infrequently that the "red side" of the thing is beginning to fade because its the only side that sees any light in the Badgers trophy case. Your basketball team stinks. Clem Haskins had to cheat to get you to the Final Four that one year. And after Doug Woog got caught paying players, your hockey team hasn't won diddly poo. The Badgers could lose every other game in every sport--but if they beat the Gophers in those one or two contests I would still consider it to be a very successful season.