Tuesday, January 31, 2006

stupid guy things

I have a friend. Honest, I do.

Anyway, I have this friend that I've known for about 3 years. He and his wife moved to the neighborhood in which I live about then. We met in the bar for the golf course, were both originally from Pennsylvania (and it is amazing how many of us there are...that are from there) and hit it off. The wife and his wife became friends. He's one of the people I play golf with more often than not. He travels a lot and works in investing, and though I have never asked, I generally get the idea he makes a lot more money than I. Their house is huge and kids are grown for the most part, the youngest in college. I remember the first time we played golf, he made a point of telling me this was his second marriage, but he wasn't a complete failure because this one was working.

Well, the wife, through a series of grapevines, heard they are getting divorced, but they're trying to keep it all quiet. They don't want everyone knowing their business. He hasn't said anything to me, or anyone else, and while I don't want to pry, I would think the guy could use a friend. I know, because of the comment that first day we played golf, that he's embarassed and feels like a complete failure, and damn...the guy could use a reality check to know that while I don't know the circumstances, I know he's a good guy and by no means a failure.

He's been saying things like, they might sell their house and get something smaller. The last time it was, he and their daughter might move into a smaller house, and if his wife doesn't want that, well, she may have to leave. It was a kind of callous way of saying it, but I think it was an awkward stab at laying the groundwork for the inevitable when we see that she's not around anymore, because yesterday, their house went up for sale. We realized the last time we saw his wife was just before New Years. I don't expect to see her again.

It's a guy thing, I know. He doesn't want to have the world know he's hurting. He's going to tough it out on his own, and I'm not sure how to help, because I'm not even supposed to know there's a problem. I'm hoping he'll say something eventually. When he does, I know I'll still be challenged in finding a way to actually be of some help. That's a guy thing too. I'd like to try though.

buying a game

When it comes to golf, I am guilty of something I used to accuse others of, but I find myself doing it, and that's trying to buy a game.

I don't play enough to be good, but I do try to practice, and get close. I try to at least go to a driving range every weekend. The thought is, I may not have 4 or 5 hours to devote to a round, but I can hit balls for an hour and try to get better. The truth of it is, I actually enjoy the driving range. I like running through the progression of clubs from pitching wedge up to driver. I like picking out different targets on the range and seeing how close I can come. Part of all this is it does keep me somewhat close to the ability of friends who do play every week when I get the opportunity to play, so I'm not holding anyone up or anything.

Part of it though is sometimes, and sometimes not listening to people who tell me "It ain't the arrows, it's the Indian". In other words...you aren't good enough for equipment to make a difference. You make the difference. Your equipment doesn't. I used to live by that, until I hit someone's clubs which were far more expensive than mine (and we all know more expensive means more better), and went...wow. I want something like this. I need to buy something like this. That's called buying a game. So that was my Christmas present a little over a year ago...new, better clubs. They, along with some lessons, made a difference in my game, though it didn't make me good at golf. It did make me less bad. That makes it harder to resist the temptation to buy more of a game, because it actually worked...some. The thing is, I can't be going there. They call those people club whores and I don't want to be one. It's a hobby I don't really have the money for. Still, I have been reading, and people say a better shaft in your driver can make a world of difference. How much can a shaft be? I know I'm not making a ton of sense. I'm a man in conflict.

With all this in mind,Saturday, I went to my favorite golf store, and started talking to the owner. I like him because he's fairly honest. If a new shaft won't do me diddly, he'd tell me. If the shaft in the club now is as good as it gets for my swing, he'd say so. So he told me to get my driver and he'd take a look. He told me the shaft could be an inch shorter, because while I'm tall, I have long arms. He had me swing it a few times on this tee, which is hooked up to all kinds of monitoring shit that can tell you how fast the club hit the ball, and at what angle, and what angle the ball was launched at, and what you had for dinner the night before. The result....I don't need a shaft. I need...lessons. Oh, big surprise there. I'm not that good. His rationale is if I'm going to spend an hour a weekend practicing, I could use a little more direction on what to practice doing. Makes sense. He doesn't do lessons, but he recommended someone who does. I see him at 2:00 Saturday for an hour...instead of the range. We'll see where that takes me.

Monday, January 30, 2006

five easy pieces

I have been inspired!

After watching Oprah Winfrey rip James Frey a new one for how he slightly exaggerated his exploits in his book, A Million Little Pieces, I decided it's time for me to come clean and admit to the world that I never did half of what I claimed to do. I did come close though, or at least as close as James did.

I'm sorry I told everyone that I was born into a military family and that we struggled financially. I was born though, sort-of. I have no parents. Remember the famed test tube baby? That's me. I'm all grown up now.

I didn't attend either Villanova University or the University of North Florida. It therefore stands to reason I didn't graduate Summa Cum Laude either. I don't even know what that means. Hell, I don't even speak French! I did go to school though. I was a classmate of Jethro Bodine's. We practiced our gazintas together, and both made it through the third grade.

I didn't fly for the Navy, but I did draw a picture of an airplane once. It only had one wing, so maybe it's a good thing I never learned to fly. Neither did I teach anyone to fly, but I did teach Billy Purvis how to make fart noises with his armpit in kindergarten. After that his mom told my mom I couldn't play with him anymore, but that might have had more to do with the beer on his breath.

I don't do anything with computers. I can't even spell 'computer'. I've seen 'em though, while scraping gum off the underside of tables before some expo show at the convention center, so I know what they look like.

There is no youngster. I don't have a child but I was one once.

I don't play golf either. Ask anyone I go to a golf course with. They'll tell you I do something, but calling it golf would be a gross overexaggeration, and undeserved compliment.

My name isn't really John. My name is Constantine (damn those people they trust with test tubes), but that got me beat up a lot as a kid. I liked the name John because it's slang for toilets and prostitution customers...both of which I thought were pretty cool, so I grabbed all of that. Much like tattoos, sometimes what you thought was cool when you were fourteen doesn't quite cut it when you're older.

Just thought y'all should know. I feel much better now.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bambi II?

I saw a commercial tonight for Bambi II. Bambi freaking II. I'm sorry, but Bambi is something you don't sequel. It's like making Casablanca II: the Return of Ric, or The Sound Of Music II: Un Von Trapped, or Scream II..never mind, bad example. Still, I don't care if you are Disney, some things shouldn't be II'd, and Bambi is one of them.

There are some things that defy the reason, "because we can" (or because it'll make a buck), and this is one of them, but of course, they aren't listening to me.

I need to be a sports writer

Sports writers must have it made. These have to be the most pampered people in the universe. They must spend their entire lives being waited on hand and foot, and being entertained, and eating only the best foods, and living in paradise, because it has to be such a huge step down going to the Super Bowl.

One of the reasons I started this blog was the media's reaction to the Super Bowl in J'ville last year. I wanted a place to rant about it. In my usual procrastination though, it was March before I did anything about it and by then, the Super Bowl was long gone. The media was going to parties, eating fresh shrimp and playing golf at Sawgrass and you'd have thought they were sent to hell from the bitching and moaning and whining being done. This was the most awful place in the world. What was the NFL thinking? There weren't enough five star hotel rooms within a two minute walk of the stadium and the (free) shrimp was cold, and so was the (free) scotch, and I had to pull out my windbreaker because it rained, and I had to take a cab for a 20 minute drive to find a dry cleaner to get the garlic butter off my sport coat, and that cab driver spoke with a southern accent so I couldn't understand him, and...on and on and on.

Now it's Detroit's turn, and again the whiners are out in force. It's cold, and I had to get a hotel room in another county, and my shorts are too tight, and I ordered medium rare, and where's my Cristal, and...damn.

Tony Kornheiser (and the other cronies like you). I want to be you. Super Bowl week, people are bending over backward (and forward) to make you happy, and for you to still be that miserable, the other 50 weeks of the year, your life must be amazing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nicole Kidman hits the U.N.

Wow, I learned something today. The U.N. named Nicole Kidman a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Damn. I know several women who bought implants to be a bit bigger, but who knew the U.N. had a fund to help women who are under-developed? Here I thought the U.N. was an impotent organization with no backbone that was pretty much useless. How wrong could I be? It isn't useless at all!

Layers and Onions and Ogres, Oh My!

SHREK: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.
DONKEY: Example?
SHREK: Example? Okay, um, ogres are like onions.
DONKEY: [Sniffs] They stink?
SHREK: Yes. No!
DONKEY: They make you cry?
DONKEY: You leave them out in the sun, they get all brown, start sprouting' little white hairs.
SHREK: No! Layers! Onions have layers! Ogres have layers! Onions have layers.You get it? We both have layers. [Sighs]
DONKEY: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. [Sniffs] You know, not everybody likes onions. Cake! Everybody loves cakes! Cakes have layers.
SHREK: I don't care... what everyone likes. Ogres are not like cakes.
DONKEY: You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "Hell no, I don't like no parfait"? Parfaits are delicious.
SHREK: No! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story. Bye-bye. See ya later.

What does that exchange have to do with anything? Not a lot really, except I liked the movie, it involves onions and layers, and I'm unimpressed with my daily calendar this year, and it also involves onions and has layers.

Every year somebody, it seems, buys me a desk calendar for Christmas. Every year I get one of those things that has a page for each day with something witty on it..except this year. This year, nobody stepped up to the calendar plate, so I went out and bought one myself. It seems this is a task best left to others, because this thing is worthless. Well, no. That's not entirely true. It does have a page for each day and so, does function as a calendar. The rest of it needs a crutch though, because it's pretty lame in the entertainment department. I own the Onion's Best of Yesterday's News. I happen to like the Onion. That's why their link is on this page. I like most of the humor. It misses on occasion, but whose doesn't? This calendar though....who put this thing together? It's missing always! I don't think I've pulled a chuckle out of it yet. Not that any of you who wanted a calendar for 2006 have waited long enough to heed this advice, but don't get the Onion's Yesterday's News calendar. It's not at all funny. Donkey...now he's funny!

Miracles happen

OK, so it might be a slight exaggeration.

I have discussed the youngster's ADD here before. He suffers from it and we all deal with it, helping him understand things and learn. I have said before that it's difficult for me to understand everything he deals with, but while I'm struggling, I am making progress.

His class participates in something called "the Woodman". It's a speech competition between schools and eventually winners go to a national competition. This year's subject is one of the United States. Pick one you were born in, live in, have relatives in, whatever, but do your speech about that state. The speech has to be between 4 and 5 minutes and memorized. Everyone in the class has to do it and they are graded, with the best moving on in competition.

For the youngster, this is hell. It's tedious and repetitive and it's everything he can do to sit and memorize while every fiber of him wants to run around the house till he drops. So this past weekend, he and I sat down and wrote the speech (on Florida, because it's the only place he's ever lived) and went over it, and over it, and over it. By Sunday night he knew it...pretty much. Beginning Monday they started getting their names pulled out of a hat to do their speeches. I was praying he'd get called on quick, so we could be done with it...because....every day that he didn't do it meant we had to go over it a few more times to make sure he remembered it and yes, each of those times was more torture for him. So Monday went by...no speech. Tuesday went by...no speech. Wednesday comes and mom-in-law, who's at the house, calls and tells me the youngster didn't take his ADD medication. It's still on the table beside his empty milk glass. I'm thinking...oh shit. School is going to be a joy and lets hope he doesn't come home with some conduct issue and...please God, PLEASE don't let him do his speech today.

I called home after he got out of school and talked to him.

"Well, how was school?"

"It was OK."

"You know you forgot your pills, don't you?"


"Did you do your Woodman speech?"


Oh shit...this can't be good. So much for prayer. "So, how'd it go?"

"I did good. Mrs. Teacher said I'm going to move up."

"Oh WOW, bud. I'm SO proud!!"

"Yeah, maybe I should forget my pills more often."

Oh Lord no, let's not go there, but we did celebrate last night.

So, not only did nothing bad happen, but he rocked (and without his meds), and was apparently one of the best three in the class, because three move up to compete with the other classes in the school, and then the best move on to compete with other schools and so on. I'm slightly shocked, amazed, and very proud.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

a brokeback moment

Don't shoot the homophobe messenger.

According to the morning show I was listening to on the way to work this morning, the term 'brokeback' is working it's way into the lexicon of our youth as a way of describing something either feminie or shakey. The examples given were...

"Hey Randy! That's one brokeback shirt. Did your mom pick it out?"

"Randy said he could get us backstage passes at the Yellowcard concert, but he told me how he plans to get them and it's pretty brokeback."

baseball begins...in frustration

Last fall, the youngster's baseball league instituted a policy where any parent (or adult, for that matter, but they are all parents) who works with the kids has to have a background check. There have been too many stories in the paper over the years about pedophile coaches and kids being molested and dogs and cats sleeping together and so on, so they decided they had to do something. For that I applaud them. Better safe than sorry, and life is better without lawsuits.

Sometimes though, you would ask for just an ounce of common sense. Fall baseball isn't for everyone. Most of the kids who play in the spring play soccer in the fall, or football, or video games, or something other than baseball. It's only in spring that their thoughts turn to diamonds. The youngster just happens to like baseball, a lot, and would rather play it than soccer or football, though he might want to play football. I just keep telling him he has to eat more if he wants to go there. Being 12 and weighing 68 pounds doesn't get you far in football. Back to the point though. In the fall, coaches and some parents (me included) got checked out and were given badges to say they could work with kids on the field. Now, come spring, there are a lot more coaches and parents and kids and whatnot, because..well...it's spring. The new coaches have filled out their paperwork and supposedly the checks have been done. All that's left is the badges. They asked, "What do we do about the beginning of practices. We don't have badges yet?" "Some Guy" from the league said, "Don't worry. We'll let you practice the first week until we get the badges done."

Well, last night at the beginning of practice, "Some Other Guy" from the league came up and said, "Are you the coaches?"

Our guys said, "Yes we are."

"Where are your badges?"

"We don't have them yet. We didn't coach in the fall. We're supposed to get them next week."

"No badges? No coaching till you get them!"


So we try to get in touch with "Some Guy" who said they could coach until they get the badges, but he's unavailable, and "Some Other Guy" is still standing there saying, "No, you can't coach. No, not even from this side of the fence."

Bottom line, the kids played catch for about half an hour and we went home. They're going to try to get it straightened out before Saturday, so maybe we can practice then. In the meantime, those that coached in the fall can have practices. Yes, I have a badge. If I had a lot more knowledge and ability, maybe I could have got the team through the evening, but I'm just not there. A man's got to know his limitations, and baseball coaching is just one of mine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

the un-sexy Super Bowl

Why? Why do people insist on using the term "sexy" to describe sporting events? They do it with their prognostications for sporting events too, which is also annoying. They say things like, "The Chargers are the sexy pick to go to the Super Bowl next year." and "This year's Superbowl doesn't have the sexy matchup that we hoped for." Is that description (dare I say it) sexy?

"Sexy" is not a term that should be used to describe sporting events...especially football! Some people who engage in sporting activities can be sexy, but the event itself is....well...not. Natalie Gulbis...sexy. Danica Patrick...sexy. Maria Sharapova...sexy. If you're female or a broke-butt mountain cowboy, Tom Brady, maybe...sexy. Byron Leftwich, maybe..se...no sorry, Byron. I tried. I can't quite stretch to get you in here. Nobody's asking you to take your shirt off for a magazine cover anytime soon, but I know there's somebody out there for you. David Garrard, maybe...sexy. Back to the point though, Superbowl XL...not sexy. It is also not not sexy. A football game and the word sexy don't belong in the same sentence! Babe-a-day over to the right is sexy. Hunk-a-day, which can be found at the same source...sexy, for those so inclined.

If you're a girl, describe the Super Bowl any way you like, but if you're a guy hanging out at your local sports bar talking to people you sort-a know, let me throw a little lumberyard advice your way. Don't go talking about the Super Bowl in terms of being sexy or not. It won't do much for your social standing, and people will create an inordinate amount of space between you and them.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the Steelers won the Championship

OK, so the Steelers won the professional football championship. Oh, I know, the Super Bowl is 2 weeks away, but the de facto Super Bowl was played in Denver yesterday, where the two best teams who earned the right to play in it clashed. Seriously, does anyone think Seattle can beat the Steelers? Does anyone think they could beat the Broncos, had the game gone the other way? As always, this place is just a forum for my opinion, but I doubt anyone of sound mind is thinking Seattle can win in Detroit, unless we all get zapped into that hole in the universe that occurs when you use one 'easy button' to find another 'easy button', or something else way out there happens. Seattle has the closest thing to 'no shot'. My apologies if you're a Seahawks fan, but really...from someone who has absolutely no rooting interest on either side, and might even be more inclined to pull for the Seahawks just so I don't have to listen to the gloating from friends and relatives in Pa, you got no shot. I'm going up there this summer, and my buddy the dentist, who went to Pitt for dental school, is going to be hard to live with. Still, them's the facts.

This, of course, caused me boatloads of grief for the 20 minute car pool ride to school this morning, beginning when the car pool Steeler fans walked out with huge grins on their faces. To my credit, I told them last week their boys would beat Denver and tried to be gracious about it. I told them this morning that they're going to win in Detriot, and finally get that elusive one for the thumb. The only thing I could come back with if I chose, was the fact that the Jaguars beat both of those teams this season...and yeah, that's too lame and sour grapes-ish to even bring up...anywhere but here.

it never stops

I know it's time to blow the minds of you folks up north (well, maybe not all of you, but I know it works on my sister north of Philly, because I send her baseball practice pictures of kids in short sleeve shirts in January, and I get a reaction), but little league baseball begins anew. Yeah, I know, living in Florida where kids can play baseball in January is a cool thing...in January. Talk to me again in August, when it's hotter than hell and I always have one eye on the National Hurricane Center's website. Back to the point though, it feels like last season just ended. Maybe because it did, just over a month ago.

Tomorrow night is the youngster's first practice for spring ball. I don't know the whole schedule yet, but I assume we'll practice for about a month and the regular season will start. All I know is our practice schedule is Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 and Saturday mornings from 8:30 to10:30, and this season he'll be a Brave. The coach called this weekend and the wife took the call. All I got was a coach's name, the team name, and the practice times. I don't know why it is, but we always seem to get the early Saturday morning slot. Why can't some coach with the 10:30 to 12:30...or 12:30 to 2:30 slot pick him? Always, it seems, we're crawling out of bed early on Saturday to get to the field to practice. (By 'we', I mean me and the youngster. The wife ain't making that trip.) The good thing is the practice schedule only lasts a month, so it's only 4 or 5 grueling weeks. We also always seem to get the late weekday practice. Finishing at 9:30 on a school night isn't the best thing in the world, but we'll cope for a month. As for the coach, his name didn't ring a bell, but I know he's not Mr. look-a-me, and that's a good thing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

what kind of leading man am I

Once again proving that the people who make up these things have no clue. I was thinking more famous stooge, Curly Howard...

Clark Gable
You scored 28% Tough, 14% Roguish, 19% Friendly, and 38% Charming!
You're a helluva guy, a real split personality and a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, you're a man's man, tough talking and ready for anything. But on the other hand, you soften your rough and tumble core with a disarmingly smooth exterior, and you make the ladies swoon. You're equally admired by both men and women alike, drinking other men under the table all the while charming the socks off half a dozen lovelies. You're a commanding presence, and you know how to get what - and who - you want when you want it. You're drawn to women who, like you, are savvy enough to deal with the world on their own terms. You work well with spitfires. Leading ladies include Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, and Jean Harlow. No damsels in distress for you.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 48% on Tough

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 36% on Roguish

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 32% on Friendly

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, January 19, 2006

a piece of history

I remember when I was a kid, my great aunt handed me a silver dollar. The date on it was 1870-something...1880-something. I don't remember and while I do still have it, I'm not digging out just to make sure I can put the right date in my blog. That isn't the point. The point is I thought it was very cool at the time and I still do. Someone told me it might be worth something someday, but it's a shame it's not uncirculated, because it'd be worth a lot more. I remember wondering....well, how the hell do you get your hands on one of those?

Well, this is how. Once you get there, you have to click on Buy Online and then Commemoratives. (I tried to link directly to the page, but apparently the Mint doesn't like me doing that.)

The U.S. Mint just put two silver dollars on sale that celebrate the tercentenary of Benjamin Franklin's birth. They don't ship 'till the end of April, but you can order them now. If you are interested, ordering them now is a good idea, because I don't think they'll be available for long. They cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 each. I'm not employed by the U.S. Mint or anything (although I was a gub'mint employee in my former life), but one day, I want to hand my grandson, or great niece or nephew or some young relative something of value they think is pretty neat...and this is my chance to get my hands on that something.

Just thought I'd pass it on if anyone else might be interested.

School Busses

I don't have a huge problem with school busses. I understand the necessity of transporting large amounts of children to our centers of learning, and can tolerate the affect they have on my commute. I do have some patience.

What pisses me off is the parents of children who ride those busses who can't seem to have them at the bus stop at the appointed time. Having a bus to take your kids to school is a huge convenience. Take it from one who passes up that convenience because of other choices he has made. Traffic, all around, makes concessions for you to be able to do that. The least you could do is have your kid there when he or she is supposed to be.

A few days ago I sat 4 or 5 cars behind a school bus (and the line of cars was building behind me)...waiting....and waiting...for what looked like no apparent reason. All the 'on time' kids had already loaded up. Then a girl, maybe 7 years old, comes running up to the bus from up the street, followed by mom, with the girl's lunch, and a dog. So the girl waits for mom at the door of the bus, gets her lunch, and starts playing with the dog. Finally someone (not me, but it could have been) honked their horn. The girl got on the bus and life moved on.

That was the extreme, but this morning I got the same thing at a different stop...minus the dog. Everybody lines up when the bus comes and gets on....and then we wait....and wait...10 or 15 cars deep and getting longer...both ways...waiting...until two kids come running up the street, backpacks bouncing on their backs as they rush to the bus. If this was an occasional thing (and it used to be), I wouldn't mind, but more and more it's becoming the rule rather than the exception. It's getting to where I recognize the kids. They're repeat offenders.

Folks, you know when the bus is supposed to be there. Have a little consideration for eveyone else out there (and yeah, I'm talking about me, because it really is all about me), and have your children ready to go when the time comes. It'd make me have to think of something else to rant about.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I want to bring this up, just because I mentioned her up last night, and doing that makes me want to bring up more. Thank God breakfast was quite a while ago.

Hillary Clinton. The liberal on the other side of the cubicle wall sees this woman (and that's about the nicest thing I have to say about her...and I see even that as a stretch) as the great hope for the Democratic Party in the next Presidential election. When we talk about it, and we do on occasion, his attitude is something like, "What a great way to stick it to you conservatives...elect this person you absolutely can't stand."

There, as I see it, is the problem. He's right in one way. Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of most things conservatives can't stand. We didn't particularly like Bill, but Hillary was the man running that administration while Bill was playing sax and not having sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski. I'll admit that's a stretch to make a point, and throw in my favorite Bill jab, but I think it's less of a stretch than anyone from that administration would admit. Since then, she's just become more up front about it, and more obnoxious. I look up "bitch" in the Webster's Conservative Dictionary and there she is, rolling her eyes during Dubya's State of the Union Address for the TV cameras. Under the second definition there's a really cute picture of our dog, but that's another story.

But here's the problem. Mr. Over the Cubicle Wall doesn't want to elect a president we can all like. He wants to elect someone who's going to completely piss off half the country. He doesn't want us unified. He wants me to hate life while he points at me and sounds like his 5 year old boy, going "na na na na na". So, what I see happening in his world is, Hillary becomes the Democratic Presidential candidate. She get's the Democrat vote, or some of it (because not all of them are happy with her either), and none of the Republican vote. She loses in a close race and Mr. Over the Cubicle Wall is even more ticked off than he is now, and looks for someone else in the next election that I will be able to stomach even less.

I, on the other hand, want to find a guy he can at least tolerate. I want to find someone that can appeal to a large enough body of the public to actually get elected. I've said many times that I'm not a huge Dubya guy. In the last election, I saw him as the lesser of two evils, and still do. I think there are people out there that can bring us all closer together and maybe one of them will run for president. That person could even be a Democrat. Maybe that Obama guy, if I knew more about him. John McCain is still my favorite to give it a shot. At this point, it's still a long way off and who knows. I know this though. Hillary isn't the man to do it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ray Nagin and Hillary

What, did someone pass out the goofy pills?

First I hear about Hillary saying Dubya treats the House of Representatives like a plantation. OK, so just because it's Martin Luther King's birthday, do you get a pass on racist comments? I guess...cuz you're Hillary.

Far and away the goofier is Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans talking about his conversations with God. I don't mind that God told him He's upset with America, but that thing about New Orleans being Chocolate Town USA? I'm sorry Ray, but that title's already been claimed by Hershey, PA. You can't have it!

Golden Globes

I watched a little bit of the Golden Globes on television. The dresses those women wore made it pretty easy. Oh yeah, there were a few guys in the program too.

We watched on and off, because a friend came over and we got into discussions on other things. I saw where my boy Earl got beat out by The Office. I'm sure NBC doesn't care, since both shows are theirs, but I honestly think Earl is funnier.

Broke-butt Mountain won just about anything it was mentioned for, which will make me curious, just like last year when I thought, "So what is the deal with this Sideways movie?" Not curious enough to rent it though. I'm much more of a comedy guy. The Producers, maybe, will be a lot higher on the Blockbuster list.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Peyton Manning

I've never been a big Peyton fan. I think his TV commercials are funny, but besides that, I could take or leave him. Maybe part of that comes from the fact that the Jaguars are in the same division as the Colts, so I rarely find myself in a place where I'm pulling for him.

Yesterday though, he gave me ample reason to dislike him. After his team lost to the Steelers, Peyton gets up and says (not a direct quote, but easily close enough), "I'm trying to be a good teammate here and not name names, but clearly we has some protection problems."

OK, so...I played my usual great game and am trying to be a good guy and all, but let me throw my offensive line under the bus and blame them for the loss.

Now there's some class. Might be time to take some of your own advice Mr. Manning. D-caf! D-caf!

I have a dream

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
- Martin Luther King

I so love that phrase. I love it for everything it means, and all the ways it means it. I have the same dream, and I believe it has been hijacked and used for some very self-serving purposes, by all sides. Some may say I'm hijacking it too, but I don't think so.

I dream of a day when we figure out that after 40+ years of Affirmative Action, that program of excuses has put us no closer to the goal of racial equality than we were before it started. Other things have…like actual achievement by people of all races. I dream of a day when the lazy people, from all sides of the race equation, can’t use that inadequate program as a crutch. I dream that lazy black people won’t expect a job they want just because a company doesn’t fit some numbers game. I dream that lazy white people won’t blame the fact that they don't have the job they want on the same numbers game, and don pillow cases and waltz down main street using my cross as their symbol. I dream that we all get judged by what we do and not how we look.

I dream of a day when nobody talks of succeeding in a white man’s world, but just of succeeding in the world. I dream that young black girls and boys aren’t pressured in school to dumb themselves down for fear of being seen as trying to be ‘white’. I dream of a day when Asian shopkeepers in black neighborhoods aren’t physically abused and robbed, because someone is jealous of their success. I dream that success, along with everything else, is color blind.

I dream of a day when all of us are proud of our heritage, but it is more important to us to be known as Americans, rather than Native Americans, or African Americans, or Mexican Americans, or Italian Americans, or any other qualifier which keeps us divided.

I dream of a day when the confederate flag (doesn't have to, but) really could hang from the statehouse in any state in the Union, and be seen as a mark of heritage for those that see it that way, because hatred is so far from everyone’s mind, that everyone agrees that any other meaning would be ludicrous.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Broke-butt Mountain

I'm going to do something today that I preach against constantly, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to criticize a movie I haven't seen and probably won't. Actually, I won't criticize the movie. I will criticize the critics. I won't see the movie though. I'm just not ready for Shootout at the KY Corral.

Brokeback Mountain, the movie about the forbidden love of two gay cowboys, opens in J'ville today. There's a great first date conversation starter for ya. The movie is critically acclaimed because, well, it's a movie about the forbidden love of two gay cowboys. I just don't get that. Gay people, and I know several, claim that they are just like everyone else, and nobody should make a big deal out of their sexual preference (and I believe them), and yet this movie is already walking away with Oscar, according to the critics, because cowboys have sex. My preferences being what they are, I'd rather watch Angelina Jolie have sex, but I don't think just because she does on the screen, it becomes an Oscar winning performance. Then again, I'm not an artsy-fartsy movie critic. There, folks, is the point of today's rant.

I have no problem with people being gay. What they do behind closed doors is their thing. What I have a problem with is the militant gay folks...the ones who stick it in your face and get overly obvious about it, and if you have a problem with that, you're homophobic. Ever been to Disneyworld during "Gay Days"? Funny how that doesn't show up on the event calendar. Guys are practically humping each other (much like Moses in Meet the Fockers) on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in front of your kids, Mickey and Winnie the Pooh, but if you have a problem with that, you're homophobic. That's another thing I have an issue with...the word homophobic. It means I'm somehow afraid of gay people. I'm not afraid of them. I just don't want their sexual preference to be the single focus of my contact with them (any more than I want somebody's heterosexual-ness to be the single focus of my contact with them), and I don't want to watch them make it obvious. I don't want that any more than I want to watch my neighbor shoving his hand down the back of his wife's jeans and giving her ass a squeeze while exploring her throat with his tongue in their driveway. It ain't that you're gay. It's that some things don't belong in my face, regardless of who you are, but back to The Good, The Bad and the Closet.

This movie is critically acclaimed because two cowboys have a relationship. That's my impression, anyway. I could be way off base. The movie may actually have a plot beyond that, which does indeed merit the accolades that are being showered upon it. Whether I ever see it or not, I actually hope it does. I hope it's more than one of the Village People guys and his buddy doing the buttslam boogie, because if that's all it is, it has all the artistic merit of Catwoman, but Halle Berry looks better in leather. It's just that this time we picked on a gimmick that critics love. Maybe if Halle Berry was gay, she could be artsy and edgy too....hmmmmmm.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

chocolate cake...for breakfast

Yes, life does imitate art, on occasion.

Bill Cosby has a classic routine called "Himself". It was on HBO constantly in the early 80's and is now available at a reasonable price in DVD. If you've never seen it, rent it or buy it, but see it. It's worth the time investment. In it, Mr. Cosby does a segment on his wife asking him to get up and cook breakfast for the kids, and he rationalizes that since eggs and milk are in chocolate cake, he can give in to his daughter's request to have the chocolate cake, sitting on the counter, for breakfast...with grapefruit juice.

Yesterday was the one day in the month that we, at work, celebrate the January birthday people. The cake of the month was "Death by Chocolate." It's a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate brownie separating the top and bottom layer of the cake. I so wish I could step away from that table....but I don't have the will power. I had a piece, but I tried to keep it small, which was my rationalization to make it all OK.

This morning I passed the kitchen, and the remains of the cake are still there.

Chocolate cake? For breakfast?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

how personal views affect your job

I find it amusing that people like Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry can call themselves Catholics and say things like, "I don't personally believe in abortion but I support a woman's right to have one." to separate their personal beliefs from their voting record. Then they think it's imperative that we know the personal beliefs of a Supreme Court nominee because they would affect his voting record. Talk about a double standard. I can separate my views from the law, but this guy can't.

Of course, I'm saying this tongue in cheek. I personally hope he can't, and I think Kennedy and Kerry are full of shit. One democrat said this Alito guy could be the deciding vote that might abortion illegal and that's troubling. Why is that troubling? Is it any more troubling than the other votes that might make baby killing wrong?

I've written about this before. I used to be pretty ambivalent about abortion. I used to say the same things other "holier than thou" idiots said. "I could never be the reason for an abortion, but I can't see why anyone else should live by my oh so lofty standards." (Looking back, damn I sounded like a pompous ass. I wonder if this post makes me sound like any less of one.) That changed when I saw a sonogram of the youngster. When I saw him moving around, and saw his little heart beating, I thought, "This is a person. Rationalize around it all you want, but this is a living human being, and killing him would be very wrong." How anyone can look at that kind of video and come up with "unviable tissue mass" is beyond me. Line up all the experts you please to soothe your troubled soul and help you convince yourself that it isn't, but I know a baby when I see one, and that's a baby! Call it reproductive rights, or a right to choose, or being in control of your body, or whatever you want, but the bottom line is....you're killing a baby. Does your right to do what you want with your body overrule murder? That's the question. The choice, such as it is, was made when you decided to have sex, knowing that pregnancy was a possible outcome of that choice. Once the pregnancy started, you're arguing for your right to murder a child. That's where the rubber meets the road. Put all the extenuating circumstances and pretty euphemisms around it you want but when you come down to it, that's the argument. Does it give me the right to kill a baby?

When a woman delivers a baby the "natural" way and throws him or her in a trash can, and he or she dies, we're all outraged, and we should be. Why is this any different than the same act committed a month prior, or six months prior? In both cases, the child is completely dependent on others. In both cases, a lack of care killed him, or her. Is the crime just one of timing? The only difference is, in one case, only one person is capable of that care. That happens to be one of the two people responsible for the fact the baby exists in the first place, based on their choices.

Yes, there are many circumstances and it's a complex subject, but at the bottom of it all is the same fact. We're killing babies. As long as people can say, "Yes we are, but those babies interfere with a woman's right to do what she pleases with her body, and that's more important." I guess abortion will remain legal.

I know that sounds all intolerant and stuff, but I don't understand the opposing viewpoint, and would like to hear anything that makes it palatable to me. Every time someone tries though, I find myself throwing the line "...and that's why it's OK to murder babies." on the end of their arugment, and all of a sudden I'm right back where I started. I don't want to punish anyone for having a good time, or ignorant kids experimenting with sex. I just can't condone murder.

Incidentally, I hear members of PETA support baby killing, but want to ban us from harming lab animals. I'm not saying harming lab animals is a good thing, but does anyone else see a double standard there? They are People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals...as long as they aren't human animals. Baby bunnies should be protected, but baby humans can be fast tracked to the butcher block. Boycott KFC for the way they kill chickens, but abortion clinics are A-OK! Yeah, it makes me shake my head sometimes.

He's a dancin' machine

The question of the day. Which number is higher? Is it the number of career touchdown catches by Reggie Williams, or the number of joints found in his car by police the night before last? Yes folks, it would be the latter (2 to 1). Reggie got stopped after running a red light. The cops ran his license only to find it was suspended (because he forgot to pay a fine on a previous traffic violation). They had him step out of the car and smelled pot on him, so they asked if they could search the car. He consented...pretty much to adding a misdemeanor drug charge to his traffic troubles. Reggie is slated to star in an upcoming version of the Wiz for a Saint Augustine theatre group performing at the Limelight. An audition tape from his on field dance after blocking the right guy showed he has the moves. This week he proved he's ready for the scarecrow part, as long as he can remember all the words to "If I Only Had a Brain."

I guess we're getting started right away on that "What I did on my offseason vacation" essay.

What's the difference between Ricky Williams and Reggie Williams?

One's a strange agent who got caught by police with pot in his car and the other is a running back.

I mean, I understand being young and stupid. I was all that once. There comes a time though, when you have to evaluate your situation and figure out what means more to you. There are times when you have to let things go, and Reggie, this is one of them. When I hit flight school and learned I would be occasionally peeing in a bottle, there were activities in my past I realized I couldn't continue to do if I really wanted to fly, and I really wanted to fly. Those things went away, and in the long run, I think I'm better off for it. If you want to be a professional athlete and make millions of dollars, one of the things people expect is that you make pot (and any other illegal substance you may be ingesting) part of your past...and not your present. If you refuse, you are endangering your ability to be a professional athlete and make millions of dollars. Which is more important? Grow up, dude! For your sake, and the sake of your team, please grow up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Randy Mexico

Kudos to Virginia Tech for drop kicking Randy Mexico (little brother of Ron) from the football team. After multiple run-ins with the law, including drinking and having sex with a minor, DUI, drug possession, and then the "accidental" stomping on the leg of an opposing player in the Gator Bowl (and lying about an apology), the school had finally had enough. No matter how good you are at football, there comes a time when, it's time. Word is he plans on going pro. After this year's T.O. fiasco, I wonder how many NFL teams are looking to jump at that opportunity.

Oh, memo to Randy...next time you decide to waive a gun around in a McDonalds parking lot in your home town, remember that you aren't the most anonymous guy around and denying it later is not going to be easy.

my two cents

The US Postal service raised their rates as of yesterday...two cents. The cost of mailing a letter or bill went up slightly. This, in and of itself, is no big deal. I understand inflation, and web bill paying (which I've used a little, but I haven't gone whole hog that way) is cutting into their business and whatever. Fine. Two more cents to mail things.

What I don't get is how much of a hassle they make for it the increase to affect our daily lives. I have plenty of the old stamps left, and a two cent stamp is all I need to get by for now. They know this and print them, but not nearly enough of them. They also print "transitional" stamps that have no value printed on them. That started years ago, when they weren't ready for a price increase, so they printed something to use until they got their shit in a pile. Still, now, when I go to the little vending machine in the evening after work, those, and the two cent things, are sold out. Right now, I can't mail anything. Thank God I'm not in the middle of any postal emergency, where something needs to get out now.

Yes, I could have planned ahead and picked up stamps early, but I shouldn't have to. They're doing this thing. They should be able to handle what they're doing. I guess my attitude comes from the idea that....you're going to raise your rates. Don't you think you could learn anything from your past mistakes? Does the USPS do any kind of "lessons learned" activity after implementing one of these changes? Can they learn from their stupidity? Is there any good reason why, when the change happens, you don't have plenty of two cent stamps (or if you in fact have them, could you please refill the vending machine before you go home for the day), and you have new stamps that actually have the new amount on them, and lots of them? You've known about this for a long time. Could you prepare...just a little? Why is it that you have the attitude that, "it was good enough last time so let's just run with that." Can you people maybe rise above that same level of mediocrity? It wasn't good enough last time. It sucked last time and it's sucking now.

ps. as a side note, I love those vending machines and the dollar coins you get for change. For amusement afterwards, I like to go to Burger King, and use those coins. The look on Johnny and Susie High School Student's face when they try to figure out what to do with them is worth the trip.

Monday, January 09, 2006

overreaction is an amusing thing

This just in. The Jaguars suck. They should have been in the Vince Young Bowl (because Reggie Bush sucks now too), but they couldn't even get that right. They never should have got on the plane to Boston. Tom Brady is the second coming. David Garrard is the third coming. Byron Leftwich is the anti-Christ. Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor need to be put out to pasture.

Geeez people, get a grip. Did anyone really think we were going to the Super Bowl this year? Sure, we hoped. I hoped. I thought we stood a chance in Foxboro. Even with all we had riding against us, I still think we did, but it didn't go our way.

Yeah, it wasn't pretty. Yeah, the third quarter got away from us and made it ugly. Maybe I'm looking at it all through teal colored glasses, but we aren't all that far off. We need to get healthy. Face it. Most teams that get to, and win a Super Bowl have a lot of luck in the health department. We didn't this year. Donovan Darius hasn't played since...hell I don't remember, but it was early in the season. Nick Sorensen didn't play the last half of the season. Brad Meester, too. Byron played hurt, and so did Mike P., Reggie Hayward, Paul Spicer. We limped into New England on a prayer. As much as I wanted to hope that didn't matter, it did. I think the experience was valuable. I think it left a nasty taste in everyone's mouth...one they want to get rid of. I think that's a good thing to carry through the offseason.

Overall, the weekend wasn't a good one in the lumberyard, sports team-wise. On top of the embarasssment in Foxboro, the team from the little Main Line Philly school lost as well, and this morning, the car pool was....well, smug little Steeler fans.

This too shall pass.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Patriot games

Well, yeah, it was disappointing. I was hoping for a lot more out of the Jaguars, but the reality of it all was summed up in one Patriots touchdown by Ben Watson. He coulda woulda shoulda been stopped short of a first down by Mike Peterson. Mike P. was playing in a cast and couldn't make the tackle, and the botched play goes 63 yards for a touchdown.

I know we hobbled our way into the playoffs. I know Byron was hurt, the center was a backup he'd never play with before (oh, that didn't come out right) becausethe starter is on IR. I know Mike P., Paul Spicer and Rasheen Mathis were starting with broken appendages. I know our Defensive and Special teams captains were on IR. I know we weren't going to the Super Bowl. That doesn't mean I give up hope.

I thought if everyone pulled together and played their best game, we could beat the Patriots. I still believe that. When Jimmy Smith drops well over half of what's thrown his way, and Alvin Pearman coughs up the ball, and we give up on out runnig game though, we lose that chance. When we stop tackling well in the second half, we lose that chance. I think part of that might be the weather. I think part of it is a sign of a young team figuring out what the playoffs are about. I think part of it was that we played a damn good team. I think all of it makes us stronger for next time we get there, and I think that'll come in 2006.

OK, yeah. All that is just another way of saying, "Wait'll next year!", and yeah, I'm still a homer.

Friday, January 06, 2006

tale of two quarterbacks

I'm hearing a lot about the quarterback "controversy" going into Saturday night's game and let me weigh in real quick.

David Garrard is a great backup, but he's not Byron (and Byron's not Brady). I listened to the sports talk guys talk about how his stock has risen, and the Jaguars might get a lot for him in the offseason, because we certainly won't be able to keep him now, and people will be drooling all over him. The secret is out! They made him sound like the second coming of Joe Montana. Please step away from the crack pipe, people! In a game against San Francisco, the defense did it's part and held the Niners to three field goals. The offense under David Garrard managed one touchdown and a field goal. A one point victory over that Niners team isn't exactly lighting up your resume. Going into the 4th quarter of the Texans game, he was trailing. The final score looked good, but it was a struggle getting there. The Texans, winners of the Reggie Bush (or is it Vince Young now) Bowl, and we had to do this amazing comeback thing in the 4th quarter to pull it out. In the game against Tennessee, Quinn Gray looked as good as David Garrard. People are going to be knocking our door down for that? I don't think so. I think he's a great backup. He gives us a lot of options when he plays and isn't that much of a drop off from Leftwich, but the drop off is there.

Byron Leftwich is still the best answer we have at quarterback, and I can't blame Del Rio at all for starting him. He's not as mobile (OK, not mobile at all) but he's far more acurate and sees the field better. You only need to look at the production from every other receiver besides Jimmy Smith with each of the quarterbacks. Matt Jones was leading all rookie recievers in catches when Leftwich was under center. Once he got hurt, Jones disappeared from the radar screen. If we need Garrard (and we very well may), he's still there, but Leftwich should start. Like I also said, Byron's not Brady. If we win this game, it's not going to be all on the quarterback. Byron will do his part, but it's the supporting cast that's going to get us there.

My Name is Earl

I'm not a big TV person. I enjoyed some situation comedies in the 80s, but the writing generally went downhill and I stopped watching. I'm not big on CSI Miami, New York, Las Vegas, Poughkipsee, or Fargo. Same with Law and Order C.I., S.V.U., A.B.C., D.E.F., or G.H.I. These might be more palatable if they didn't seem to be on every time I turn on a television, which I admit isn't all that often. The wife likes those shows, and I'll sit through them, but I don't look forward to them. She's also hooked on Lost, which I think I would be if I gave it a chance, but it's looking all too weird when I watch it now because I'm getting in way too late, which is OK. I can live without that addiction. Gray's Anatomy has some humor, and I like that, but there wasn't much else, until a few weeks ago we stumbled onto something that took me back to Raising Arizona. If you enjoyed the Nicholas Cage/Holly Hunter classic and haven't seen My Name is Earl, it's worth at least one look.

some things change, some never do

Number three with a bullet, the Villanova Wildcats took Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals last night in the second major battle with a ranked team this season. It's been a long time since my little school from Main Line Philly got this much attention. The last thing even close was winning the N.I.T to cheers of "We're #65! We're #65!" (since we weren't in the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament), and before that was pulling out the perfect game in '85 to beat Georgetown in the NCAA Finals. Nice to see some things cycle and change over time. It looks like we're back.

Some things never change though, and I don't know why. I am not a sweater guy. Maybe that's part of the reason I moved south. Who knows. I don't wear them though. They're bulky and itchy and...I just don't like 'em. Sweaters, to me, are never actually worn by men. Sweaters are worn by women, and guys named Chad wrap them around their necks when they drive their BMW convertibles, but even they never actually put their arms in the sleeves. Sweatshirts, sure, but I'm just not into sweaters. Yet, every year...or almost every year, for Christmas, mom-in-law gets me a sweater. This has been going on for 19 years now. That's not entirely true. About 10 years ago, I figured this will never change unless I change it, so I finally asked her...why the sweaters? Nobody ever sees me in one. I don't wear them. I'm not a sweater person. She said, "But you'd look so nice in a sweater, I thought sooner or later you'd change." I told her that wasn't likely to happen, and for the next several years, she came up with different things, but this year, the sweater is back. What is the proper waiting period before a Christmas present goes to Goodwill?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Queue Rodney Dangerfield

OK, it's time to talk about the Saturday matchup between the Patriots and the Jaguars.

Tom Brady says the Patriots aren't getting any respect, so let me help him out. ESPN.com ran a poll on Monday asking the Sports Nation which of the four wild card teams would win this weekend. The other three teams, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Washington were picked by somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of the people who responded. Jacksonville garnered a whopping three percent of the vote. Three percent, people! (And it was only up to three percent because I voted from home and the office, and called my buddies, Cooter and Bubba, up in Callahan and had them go to the public library and vote for J'ville on the 4 computers there.) How much more respect does Tommy Boy want? I heard a Boston Globe reporter in an interview say he thought Brady might have just been miffed that someone else was using the Patriots' rallying cry. What? Does Brady think the Patriots invented the 'no respect' card? I think that was around long before he was in diapers. For starters, you can reference Broadway Joe in Super Bowl III. He was a laughing stock...until he was right.

There is a ton of speculation out there that the Patriots threw their last game, because if they won, the Pittsburgh Steelers were coming to town, but if they lost, their opponent would be Jacksonville. The thought is, Jacksonville would be a far easier opponent to get past than Pittsburgh. Nobody in the Patriots camp will admit anything like that happened, but when you watch Doug Flutie make a drop kick, you have to admit that it appears there wasn't much concern about winning.

The spread was 7 1/2 points on Monday and is up to 9 now. I think the biggest spread on any other game this weekend is less than 4. If I were a betting man, I'd be waiting until 2 minutes before kickoff to place my bet. The spread might be 12 by then.

For the icing on the cake, I'm watching the Rose Bowl last night, and Mr. Announcer Dude doing a promo on the wild card games says something very close to, "...and Saturday night at 8:00 we have the New England Patriots game." Oh sure, they bring up the graphic with both the Jaguars and Patriots helmets on it, but you'd think the guy could at least mention that the Jaguars were playing in that one.

So Tommy Boy thinks he gets no respect. I'd sure hate to see what would happen if someone threw a little his way. Would they even play the game, or do we just cancel the flight from Jax International to Logan right here and now, and hand the game ball to Bill and Tom?

So what do I think about it all? Yes, the Patriots are favored, and maybe they should be. J'ville hasn't proven much in the last half of the season, squeaking by the lesser teams of the league. This is our chance though. Yeah, I think we don't get any respect and I think that Monday poll is an accurate depiction of the national perception of the Jaguars. If that's going to change though, it'll change in games like the one Saturday night. This is a chance to earn something. It doesn't come easy, and yeah...it's an opportunity to earn it. To get there, this team has to make something of that opportunity. Can we do it? Of course, I think we can. I'm a homer. In the end, it doesn't matter much what I or anyone else thinks (though it's fun to watch). That's why they play the game.

ps. Quick note on last night's Texas win over the University of Southern California (because that Trojan needs some ribbing, for more pleasure), even at halftime the talking heads were riding that horse. "USC has Texas right where they want them!" USC was down 6. Are you telling me they really didn't want to be winning at that point? If they were looking for a spanking, they didn't need to be in a football game. There are a few professional women who could accomodate..never mind. It was a beautiful thing, and all the game I could have asked for.

the Sago Mine explosion

Words can't do justice to that situation, so I won't try. There is no justice in it. I'm just finding it hard to say nothing.

Just please pray for those 13 guys, especially for the one that still hanging on, and all their families.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


The college bowl season is just about done, and I'll say this. It's been interesting if nothing else. I've been surprised, not necessarily by outcomes, but by how tight games have been. Then again, there's LSU pounding...Miami? A smaller school team playing a big name in a bowl game and beating them doesn't surprise me. When Utah beats Georgia Tech in the Poulan Weedeater Pullstart Handle Bowl, Utah is thrilled to be there and wants to come in and kick ass on national TV. Georgia Tech is pissed off, because they aren't playing in a BCS game. Who do you think is coming to play?

I did think Notre Dame would give Ohio State more of a game. I thought those teams were pretty evenly matched. In fact, I expected Notre Dame to win that one in a real battle that would go down to the wire, but it wasn't the first time I was wrong. I doubt it'll be the last. I was hoping for Virginia Tech, if for no other reason than they never seem to play well in Alltel Stadium. They've been to the Gator Bowl on several occasion and always seemed to get the short end of the stick. Then they blew the ACC Championship game against Florida State in the same venue. I thought they should handle Louisville, especially since Louisville's starting quarterback and star player was not going to be there. Still, the game was in Alltel, and it didn't look good for a while. They pulled it out though. West Virginia surprised the hell out of me. I didn't give them much of a chance against Georgia, and while Georgia came back and made it close, I'll admit I didn't give West Virginia enough credit. Last night Florida State surprised me. They surprised me and a whole lot of people when they won the ACC title game that put them in the Orange Bowl. Once there, I thought they'd get their collective butts kicked from Miami all the way back to Tallahassee. I thought Penn State would rout 'em, but they hung in there and made it respectable, or as much as you can command respect when you commit that many penalties.

As for tonight, I expect USC to beat Texas, but I hope they don't. I'm just so tired of the national media kissing Matt Leinart and Pete Carroll's asses, and knighting them as the greatest thing since whatever was the greatest thing before sliced bread. I would like to see Texas hang a huge number on Southern Cal, just to give the talking heads in Bristol something to do besides peek out from between Reggie Bush's cheeks to fit him for the Most Valuable Trojan. I want Vince Young to give them all second Heisman thoughts. Having said that, I don't expect it, but I want it, and I think it's possible. I think both of these teams have blown out too many teams in relatively weak conferences that I don't think anyone truly knows how good either is when they stack up against each other. That might be an unfair crack (damn, what is it about the derriere theme today? I must have butt on the brain), too. After watching the bowl season pretty much play out, the conferences I thought of as stronger (in my parochial little world) didn't make my opinion all that defensible. The ACC didn't exactly light it up while the SEC and Big 10 (or is it 11) were a mixed bag. In any case, tonight oughta be a show, and I'll be pulling for the underdog to make it worth watching.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

you mean, you can play this game for money?

Long ago I made my feelings known on the general subject of gambling. I'm not much on gambling for entertainment. There's not a whole lot in it for me. I know lots of people enjoy it and...well...good for them.

As much as I'm indifferent, at best, with the concept of gambling as entertainment, I hate gambling on golf. Let's start with the fact that my game is not worth putting money on, but even if it were, I hate the whole idea of gambling on golf.

Golf, for me, is a day out on a nice course, playing a game I enjoy even if I'm not that good at it. You've got the sun, beautiful scenery, a cart to haul you around that's quiet enough to not stop you from hearing the chirping birds, the sound of titanium compressing a small hard white ball ringing through the trees and subsequent splash in a nearby pond, and a college girl who is usually pretty easy on the eyes bringing you beer. It's sort of a zen thing, occasionally punctuated by the panicked scream of "fore" or some less family friendy four letter word. I'm with my friends, and while I'm competitive, I'm not competetive with them. I compete with myself, trying to hit more good shots and score better than I did the last time I played. I'm looking to play my best game regardless of what the others in the group do, and in the process, hope they do the same. I'm rooting for them as much as I'm rooting for myself, and the success or failure of me achieving my goal has no relation on how anyone else played their game. I want all of us to kick ass...and that doesn't mean each other's.

As soon as you introduce money and gambling into that, it changes the whole dynamic. It turns a game where everyone is having fun and pulling for each other into a dog eat dog competitive thing, all over somewhere between a dime and a thousand dollars, depending on how stupid you may be. All of a sudden, if I make that 40 foot putt...I'm as happy as I can be, and my friend says, "Nice putt." in a tone that says he didn't mean anything of the sort. The words came out, "Nice putt." but said, "Shit!" all over a dollar. It just makes it all....unsavory...seedy, and sucks the fun right out of the day.

I played three times last week, and the last time was New Years Eve (in shorts and a golf shirt, by the way). That was the time someone pushed and pushed the whole time up until we started that he wanted to put something on the game, and finally I relented. He knew though, that I wasn't all that comfortable with it, and certainly not eager. In the end, I shelled out a whopping four dollars. No, it wasn't a lot of money, and he made a point of asking after it was all over, if it killed me. No it didn't. It wasn't about the four dollars. It was about what it turned my golf game into. It was about turning a great day out on the course with friends into four hours of him asking after every hole what I had and comparing it to what he had and evaluating the financial implications. This wasn't golf. This was math homework (as if keeping score isn't enough), and I was paying for it. I thought I was done with that concept when I finished college. Add to all that he's a much better golfer than I, but we played straight up, more out of my ignorance about the whole betting thing than anything else. The whole experience just left a bad taste in my mouth, and made it something I don't care to repeat.

He and I probably won't play again as a result.