Thursday, November 30, 2006

what would mommy do?

The youngster had a problem this morning at school. He was his normal overly animated self in the car. He looked fine when I dropped him off. Apparently shorty thereafter, he got clammy and almost passed out, and wasn't responding to anyone. The school called the wife, who left work and took him to the doctor.

The doctor said it was like a fainting spell. He is probably dehydrated. Have him drink a bunch of Gatorade and he should be fine. She left the doctor's office with a normal, functioning youngster.

I'm thinking...OK, have him chug a Gatorade or two and send him back to school...head on back to work...get on with the day. After all, the episode is over and he's a walkie talkie kid again. Time to go learn things.

Oh nooooooooooooooooooooo. He should spend the rest of the day at home "resting", and mom should take the rest of the day off to stay with him, and they should go to McDonald's and spend the rest of the morning in a McFlurry haze, and...and....why? It's over and done. He's fine.

I guess I'd make a terrible mommy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the Hybrid Christmas

I know what I'm getting for Christmas. I know this because I ordered it. My Christmas present will be the Callaway X Hybrid 3h golf club with a stiff Graffalloy Comp NT Hybrid shaft with a slightly bigger than normal grip. It supposedly ships from the factory tomorow.

I know it takes away from the spirit of Christmas, but here's the reality. The wife would like to get me something for Christmas that I will really like, and that there is a real possibility that I will use. I love playing golf, even if golf doesn't love me back, so she will buy me something golf related. She has in the past. She will in the future. Also in the past, she has invariably messed up in the process because....she knows very little about golf. Therefore she spends more than she should on something I probably won't use. The best example was a range finder. It was a little scope looking thing that was supposed to tell you how far it is to the pin, based on how big the pin looked in the viewfinder. You just look in the little scope, put the bottom of the flag stick on a line and the distance listed at the top of the flag would tell you...oh wait a many times can you actually see the bottom of the flag stick? especially from the woods, where I play? Seriously though, even in the middle of the fairway, you don't get to see the bottom of the pin very often. You have hills and sand traps and all manner of stuff between you and it. The thing is worthless. By the time you can see the bottom of that stick, you know you're inside 50 yards. You can check if you like. The sucker is deadly accurate.

So we come to this year and the hybrid. Bad golfers are nototious for not hitting long irons very well. The long irons are (more or less) the 3, 4 and 5 irons. Club makers have an answer for the bad golfer. It's called the hybrid. Same kind of distance. Easier to hit. When the youngster and I trekked to the World Golf Village to catch Happy Feet, I went to the golf shop there and hit one for a while (because we had to buy tickets a good hour and a half before the show to get in, and needed to kill time). Felt real good, but you hit into a net, so you really can't tell. I started thinking...I get a discount on equipment at work, so I figured I could get it there cheaper and exactly how I want it...great idea for Christmas. The wife can get me something I'll actually try to use and I get to see if the whole hybrid concept works for me. It ought to. It felt good. I fit the 'bad golfer' mold. I'll spend lots of range time with it and hopefully, it helps my game. We shall see....after Christmas of course. Yes, I get to custom order it from work. Yes it'll be here well before the's still a Christmas present.

It's either that or a ball engraver. At the rate I put 'em in the water, the last thing I need to be doing it wasting time pressing my initials in golf balls before I send 'em swimming. This toy, however, should let me launch them to a far deeper spot in the pond.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

an appeal to the lumberyard masses

The last few weekends, while driving around, I caught this Diet Pepsi commercial. The commercial says it wants to introduce you to something "fresh" and uses as examples, Diet Pepsi and...hip-hopera. What follows is an opera version of some rap song...I'm assuming by Snoop Dogg because it comes complete with the all the bells and whizzles. It is, in my opinion, hilarious.

The problem is, I can't find it on the web, anywhere...and I've Googled it every which way from shizzle. If anyone knows where it can be found, please share.

as the Jaguars spiral

I haven't said anything about Sunday's ugly loss to Buffalo, until now. I guess I'm just getting over the resignation. We really are going nowhere this year. There are good reasons for that. Start with the injuries to key starters. The people who are filling their places are young, inexperienced and inconsistent, so why should I be surprised by inconsistent play? They used to play special teams, but they're starters now. That means the people playing special teams used to be on the practice squad (or sitting at home). There is a reason they were on the practice squad. They were good enough to keep around, but they weren't good enough to play. That hasn't changed, so why should I be surprised when we give up touchdowns on punt returns?

Then there's our excuse for a group of wide receivers. I don't know what happened to Reggie Williams and Matt Jones, both of whom looked so promising early in the year, but neither of them can catch a cold now. Those were our first round draft picks in 2004 and 2005. Our first rounder this year was billed as a big pass catching tight end who was going to help open up the offense. He's been virtually invisible. Our best receiver now is Maurice Jones-Drew. While he's turning into a great player, the fact that our best receiver is a running back isn't good.

Somewhere in the back of my head, reason ought to kick in and tell me you don't lose your quarterback, one of your two best running backs, your best defensive end, your best linebacker and your best safety and still expect to have a great season. The only group that's still intact is the cheerleaders. Sure I keep hoping, because I'm a fan, and fans don't believe in reason, but still...sooner or later the facts have to get beaten into my head and the expectations have to drop a bit.


Pammy and the Kid split up

Pam Anderson and Kid Rock call it quits after 4 months of marital bliss. I'm sure the rest of the world is as stunned as I. My God, if those two can't make it work, what hope do any of us have?

Monday, November 27, 2006

li'l help

Just got an e-mail...sent to everyone in the company. Someone has tickets to an Alan Jackson concert on Thursday they can't use and is trying to unload them. Now, I remember Michael and Tito, but which one was Alan?

still...walkin' a bit slow

I got an e-mail a few days before Thanksgiving, from one of the former carpool folks. We're all still good friends, even if our kids go to different schools now and the subject was the Turkey Bowl. It read something like this:

You are invited to play in the Turkey Bowl, 11:00 at the soccer field. The favorites are the Steeler Fan family who have brought in ringers from the north.

My first question was...what's a Turkey Bowl? The last thing I did entitled "Turkey Bowl" involved bowling pins, a frozen bird and the smooth floor of a drinking establishment..and it was a long time ago. This was on a soccer field...far less conducive to sliding frozen turkeys into bowling pins. I then got it explained. Family flag football. Pick teams and hope you don't embarass yourself in front of your kids. I figured...sounds like fun. The youngster was psyched. The wife was not interested.

So the youngster and I showed up at 11:00, and nobody was there...yet. Everyone showed up eventually, including 22 total Steeler Fan family members...16 from Pennsylvania/Ohio. They started picking teams, trying to figure out an equitable way to do it and the question came up...well, who's the oldest guy here? OK, color me shocked. Weighing in at a huge 49 years, that award went to the lumberyard.

So the teams were picked and the game was played. Twelve on each side, with the rest (mostly wives and a grandmother, but a few dads) deciding to "observe." (Guys younger than me volunteering to "observe", but that's beside the point.) One quarterback with everyone else running all over the place yelling "I'm open." We played until one team had seven touchdowns. "First team to seven" was an arbitrary rule made when the score was six to four (just counting by touchdowns) and everyone wanted the game to be over soon. The youngster and I were on the winning team, and represented ourselves well. We each had one interception and one touchdown.

Then there was, and is, the aftermath...where I realize that yes, I was the oldest guy playing. I'm pitiful! Thursday night I was walking very slow, complaining if I had to go upstairs to get something. I went to the grocery store Saturday morning. You know how they have those crosswalk things in front of the store with stop signs on either side to allow people to walk in between traffic? I was there. Cars were stopped to let me cross. I tried to hurry up, so as to not inconvenience them even more than I already was. Tried is the operative word. I tried to run, or at least jog, but gave up after the first three steps...and just walked as fast as I could without it hurting too much. It's now Monday, and my legs still haven't recovered completely. I'm much better now, but still...please don't ask me to run....yet.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

global warming my ass

The west side of J'ville got snow this morning. I didn't see it with my own eyes, but I'm getting second hand reports that it was on the news, and there was video evidence. It was just flurries and melted when it hit anything, but was snow. I'll have to call home and get mom & pop to send my skis down...before the big storm comes. We don't have a lot of hills, but I can cruise from the top of the speed bump to the light post at the mall.

Oh, and speaking of globally warming my ass, the rolling video game has heated leather seats. When we bought the car, I scoffed at them, saying "There's one thing that'll never get used." Today I am once again proven wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for. My life is far from perfect, but the challenges it brings are some of those things I am thankful for. The fact that I get to face those challenges with a roof over my head, a decent (if overworked) stable job, and dinner every night makes me thankful. The fact that I have a great family and good friends makes me thankful. The fact that I can occasionally go play bad golf makes me thankful. The fact that the biggest things I complain about are my favorite football team and Hillary Clinton makes me very thankful. I'm thankful for wikipedia, for linking to this piece of Lumberyard journalism. It's not exactly what I'd like to be known for, but it accounts for a lot of the hits to my little corner of the net. Thank you God, and thank you everyone else who is a part of all of this for me. Yes, Hillary, even you.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

shots leading up to Thanksgiving

The Jaguars beat the Giants last night. It's true, the Giants are about as injury riddled as the Jaguars. Maybe more so. Still, how can this be the same team that couldn't stay with the Texans last week? I've pretty much given up on trying to figure out which Jaguars team will show up to play each week. Time to just sit back and be surprised on a weekly basis.

Jack Del Rio wore some Reebok sport coat at the game. It gave him more TV time but other than that looked a bit out of place, especially on a very chilly night. According to an informal local radio poll this morning, one guy noted his eyes said "deer in headlights" every time the camera went to him, but the look said "penguin" sooo....penguin in headlights? In the same informal poll though, most of the female population gave the look a thumbs up, calling it "hot." The wife and mom-in-law concurred.

Double D broke his leg and is gone for the season. Yet another key guy/defensive leader lost 'til next year, and that hurts big time. If Mike P wasn't a big enough loss to the defense, this one makes it a whole lot worse.

The anouncers spent a vast majority of the first half interviewing to Ronde Barber, about growing up with his twin brother Tiki who was having a terrible night as the Giants running back. They spent the majority of the second half interviewing rapper Jay-Z about his comeback. I'm not sure if anyone informed Theisman and Kornheiser there was a football game going on in the background.

Brother-in-law comes down for Thanksgiving most years, and will again this year. He road trips from Columbus Ohio, and usually hits the beach. This year, it's not going to get much over 60°. We'll see if he still tries the beach. I wouldn't put it past him, but I'll bet his skin color when he gets back is closer to blue than tan.

Whether he beaches or not, I'll bet we get into a spirited discussion of whether or not Michigan should still play Ohio State for the college football national championship. My personal opinion is no, but he's turned into a Big 10 snob, so I'm assuming he'll take the opposing position. That ship sailed. Michigan had their opportunity and came up short. Give another deserving one loss team a shot. I'm not sure which one though. Yes, Michigan, some teams still have tough games left and aren't sitting on their asses expecting that title game to be handed to them. Not only that, mine is the opinion you should fear, because I don't really have a dog in the hunt. I'd like to see Florida there, but I don't think they will win the SEC, so I don't think they'll be there. If they do though, I think they deserve a chance. Maybe Arkansas. I think the winner of USC/Notre Dame deserves a shot if that winner has one loss. Maybe Lousiville. There are several teams that should be given the opportunity...the same one you already had and blew. Let the season play out and see who else is left standing.

Speaking of standing, I went out Saturday night at 11:45 and looked for the meteor shower. In 10 or 15 minutes, I saw two shooting stars. The first was pretty cool, and happened immediately after I walked outside. That, of course, led me to want to look for more. The second was very short lived. There was probably a third, but it was out of the corner of my eye, so I'll call it unconfirmed. After 15 minutes and not much activity, I got impatient and decided I was cold....and went back in. I know....lightweight.

Speaking of Saturday night, the youngster and I went to see Happy Feet at the World Golf Village IMAX theater. Very cute movie. There's a predictable "everyone's special in their own way" message. It had some funny parts, but for good animated movies, Shrek blows it away. Still, if you're looking for "cute", this movie is dripping with it. Worth the price of admission? The youngster thought so (although in his case, that price came out of dad's pocket). My opinion? Not so much.

Michael Richards (aka Cosmo Kramer) reminded me that I'm incredibly naive when it comes to racism. I tend to believe that we have that whole race thing figured out and, other than out and out loonies, and those living in backwoods ignorance, nobody really buys that anyone is better than anyone else based on skin color. Then I catch a clip of his tirade on the morning news today. He's sorry. I'm shocked.

As for the actual shot leading up to Thanksgiving...I got my flu shot today. Let's hope that doesn't mean I'll feel like crap for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

we are a fickle bunch

I had to shake my head in wonder this weekend, and this morning listening to the sports talking heads. The topic has been the return of Tom Coughlin (and the Giants, but that seemed to be secondary) to Jacksonville, and for the most part, the angle has been the Tom Coughlin nobody knew.

Lots of heartfelt stories about Coughlin's community service, and visiting children with lukemia and raising money to cure that disease, and other things he did for people in Jacksonville that showed what a genuinely caring person he was, and what as asset he and his family were to the community, and how he was a taskmaster but the players respected him and...all of a sudden it's this lovefest from the same media guys who, four years ago, led the charge to get him fired and run out of town....and they say fans are fickle.

the courage and wallet of my convictions

I have, by choice, sent my child to a Catholic school, since day one. I believe he would get an adequate education in a public school. The public schools where we live are some of the best in the state, and that's all well and good. They don't allow, let alone promote, prayer though, and that's the cornerstone of what I think their cirriculum is lacking. People have a cow if a kid mentions "God" in his or her validictorian address in a public school and will sue to stop it. While there would be shock, no similar lawsuit would occur if a student used the words "fuck" or "nigger". (In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the ACLU made sure nobody violated his or her right to use those words.) Yeah, that makes me wonder what happened to our priorities, and it makes me wonder why people are stumped by things like kids shooting kids in school. No one thing is the answer to that, but we slid down that slippery slope years ago and prayer in school is just one of the speed bumps we yanked out of the way. Morals and values bowled over by 11 year olds watching South Park and playing Halo are more of the same erosion. No, blood and death video games, in and of themselves, don't cause Columbine, but it all adds up. Just my opinion, but it reinforces some of the bigger reasons the youngster goes to school where he does.

With all that in mind, the wife and I went to an open house for the local Catholic High School yesterday. Very nice presentation. I was impressed. The school has a population of around 360 kids. That's three hundred and sixty. The public high school the youngster would attend has more than that in the freshman class alone. A lot more, and they're frantically building "portables" (school district word for double wides) to hold even more. Considering the youngster's learning issues, and how easy it would be for him to slide through the cracks, I want him in a smaller classroom where he can't hide. I also want him in a place where his sense of right and wrong gets reinforced...where he learns about his responsibilities to those around him...where he learns that it's not only OK to pray in school...sometimes it's a necessity. The other thing is..100% of the kids who graduate from this school get accepted to college. I realize it isn't something where you send him there and *poof* he's smart. He has a lot of challenges and hard work ahead of him, and I probably do too. I did get the feeling though, with the population being what it is, there's a lot of individual attention and everybody knows everybody...and everybody looks out for everybody..and that's priceless. No, you can't smother him in a life version of bubble wrap to protect him, but you can try to give him an environment where learning and values are the focus. I think he needs that, and I want that for him.

Priceless, but it comes with a price..and for me, that price was sticker shock. I had a feeling it would be an increase from 8th grade, but sitting there looking at the forms, I realized that his annual tuition will be more than mine was at Villanova University in the 70's. Granted, that was 30 years ago, but it was still a private college, and a fairly pricey one at that. The cost of what I believe in jumped...exponentially. The youngster's lucky most of his Christmas stuff is already on order or the cuts would probably start there. They will affect what the wife and I get though. I know we'll manage, but it will be more of a sacrifice that I ever thought it would be...and in the process, I'll say a silent "you're welcome" to the local public school system, which I won't overcrowd by one more student and yet will fund (under penalty of law), on top of my own child's education.

Friday, November 17, 2006

quick hits on a Friday

Well, the emergency secret management meeting yesterday may have happened...may not. All I know is if it did, nothing earth shattering came out of it...yet. In fact, nothing at all came out of it that has been relayed to the masses. I have a feeling it was a rumor myth.

Tom Coughlin brings the New York Football Giants to Alltel Monday night, in his first appearance here since he was the Jaguars coach. I like Coughlin. I didn't like the way he left here, and to be honest, if it were up to me, he'd still be the Jaguars coach. I think his departure was partially orchestrated by the local media. They hated him because getting news out of him was like pulling teeth...wisdom teeth. He made them work at their jobs. I think they went out of their way to cast him in a bad light and turned local public opinion against a guy who put together one hell of a football team. (Then again, it all might just be my aversion to change.) Now, 4 years later, we're turning to a quarterback he drafted. Our primary running back is still one of his picks. Our defense is anchored by two tackles he drafted. Our wide receiver corps is substandard, and none of them were his picks, though two were first rounders and this year's first round pick is a tight end that hasn't done squat yet. Still, all I hear is how Jack Del Rio and Shack Harris are far better talent evaluators. I'm not convinced. They pick up better talent in later draft rounds, but their first round performance is nothing stellar. All that said, I like Del Rio. I just think we pushed someone better out the door.

The youngster's progress report came home yesterday. Better. Still a long way to go. We're working it though.

11:45 tomorrow night (Eastern time), look to the skies. There's supposed to be a pretty large meteor shower. Should be plenty of stuff to wish on.

What happened? I blinked on Halloween and all of a sudden, it's Thanksgiving. Where'd that come from? Time to go turkey shopping....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

rumor control

I hate this crap.

Workplace rumors and the follow-on speculation about what it all means, and whispers about who would be affected and....why do people do this to themselves.

Based on rumor, there is an emergency meeting today of...pretty much management people. I don't know that this meeting is a fact. It's rumored though. I am, happily, not one of those management people. I prefer to have my family recognize me when I come through the door at home, and I see the hours those people put in here. Their families could have surrogate dads and they'd never know. Maybe they do, and these guys are paying them to go to the school plays and baseball games...who knows.

Anyway...we have this secret, emergency, mandatory meeting. Oh my, what could that possibly mean? It's got to be huge, since it is secret, and emergency, and mandatory and all the decision makers are there.

They're taking away our Christmas bonus.

There will be massive layoffs, and just before the holidays too. How dare they!

The company is moving to Mexico and we're all looking for jobs....again, right before the holidays.

Come on people...get a grip. Has there even been a hint that the company is in any financial danger? We're kicking butt, even! You're speculating on the results of a meeting that may not even exist, and none of the speculation sounds good. You're working yourselves into a frenzy based on crap that only exists in your head.

Can we all just do our jobs and who knows..maybe there is such a meeting...and maybe there will be a huge announcement, that we did better than expected and we're all getting something extra in our next paycheck. Until something concrete actually happens outside that imaginary rumor world, it's just a huge, stress inducing waste of time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

yeah, the neighbors still wanna be my kid

Christmas is coming and we're starting to shop. Last year it was the video i-pod which had one of the carpool moms saying, "Damn, can I be your kid?"

This year, so far, we're looking at the PSP and something called a Fly Wheel XPV. Both are very high on the youngster's "want" list, and being an only child has some benefits. I can see why they wanna be my kid. I wanna be my kid too. In a way, I guess I get to be. I mean, who are we kidding. If that Fly Wheel thing is as much fun as it looks, I'll be taking it for a spin or two around the yard too. I have to wonder about the reviews though (if you go to the link). One is from china...a mother of 18? I thought that was against the law in China.

Cruisin' tunes

In the morning for carpool, I let the kids listen to 'their' radio station. That means top 40. (Do they still call it top 40 now that Casey Kasem doesn't do it anymore? topic for another day...)

What it also means is top 40 radio programming, where the station plays pretty much the same songs every day at about the same time. It might not be exact, but it's close. I have let my opinion of both Country and Western music known before when I went off on the Dixie Chicks. It ain't just because they jumped on Dubya. I'm not big on that genre in general. 90% of it is lyin', dyin' and cryin'. The other 10% is Hee Haw T&A. So now I have the joy of someone called Rascal Flats singing something they call What Hurts the Most...every morning. What a whiney wimpy excuse for music! It's just flat out annoying. You got dumped. Sack up and get over it already.

What hurts the most, is listening to these guys' incessant whining about what hurts the most.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

what's your ringtone?

Let me begin at the beginning.

I hate cell phones. I've always hated cell phones. I have one...because it was "issued" to me at work. One day one of my cohorts was late for a meeting. Nobody could find him, so the boss decided we all needed cell phones. The guy who caused this was ecstatic. "This is so cool! They're giving me a phone!" Yeah, but you're paying...just not in cash. They pay for the phone. They pay the monthly bill. They call it a perk. I call it a leash. A 24 f'ing hour a day leash.

I liked the idea of getting away from work. I liked the idea of not being a few buttons on a phone away, all day, every day. I could see the advantage of having one if you were stranded somewhere and your car broke down and there wasn't a pay phone anywhere. For as many times as that excuse is used for buying one, I can honestly say none of the minutes my cell phone has spent in active conversation was in a situation remotely resembling that one. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I don't see the necessity of having the world at your fingertips when they are in active control of a steering wheel. I hate being around people in traffic who assume their driving skill is adequate while talking on a phone. Listen to me, America. It's NOT! You aren't that good. You are never that good. Hang up and drive.

It is with that background that I appraoch my cell phone. I don't want it. I will tolerate it, but I won't go gaga over it. I don't care how many things it can do. I don't care if it could spit nickels and make waffles, all I want it to to is make phone calls..and I would prefer it didn't even do that, but that's beyond my control. So when I got my phone, the second in what I assume will be a succession of upgrades paid for by the company, I picked a ring noise from the list provided and never gave it a second thought....until Sunday.

Sure, I've heard of ringtones. I've heard various versions. One woman in the office alternates between Led Zepplin and Star Wars. The youngster changes them faster than he changes his underwear. I just figured it was something some people do to amuse themselves. I didn't care enough to take the time to look for one.

So I went to the poor excuse for a football game Sunday. For you that have never been, the people who run that sort of thing try to come up with ways to entertain the people in the stadium while the fans at home are catching the latest Budweiser commercial. Since we aren't seeing the commercial, we're sitting with our collective thumbs up our ass until the network decides to allow the game to resume. Such is the power of television in the NFL. To alleviate that situation, various amusement attempts cross the jumbotron. One of them Sunday was an interview trip through the Jaguar locker room asking the immortal question...

What's your ringtone?

All of them had answers. All of them could sing the damn song that is their ringtone. One guy took the opportunity to recite all the lyrics to I Like Big Butts. That part was actually pretty impressive. The bigger question, though, was obvious. Am I that far behind the pop culture world? Has my disdain for that phone pushed me into the world of crotchity old farts? All of a sudden, I'm feeling a bit left out.

Monday, November 13, 2006

babysitting, from a new perspective

The youngster had a babysitting gig Saturday night...same folks he has always done this for. They picked him up shortly after 6:00 and told him they'd be back around 11:00. OK, so far.

I watched football and hung out (the wife was out of town). The Gators won a squeaker over South Carolina. Wake Forest was rocking FSU's world...11:00 came and went. OK, a few extra bucks for the big deal. 12:00 came and went. I'm thinking he's probably asleep on the couch or something over there, so I don't want to call and wake him up. At the same time, I'm worried. What the hell is going on? 12:30 came and went. I'm not sure what to do, but there's no way in hell I could sleep. I think everything's OK, but that little bit of doubt is creeping in, and that "what the hell is going on?" thing in my brain is getting a whole lot louder. 1:00 comes and I'm on the porch, trying to will their car around the corner. Again, I don't want to call, because I'm figuring he's alseep there and I don't want to wake him. I probably should have driven over, but I would that look? They meet me halfway bringing him home and nobody's at the house when he gets there. Hindsight being what it is, I probably shouldn't have cared how it looked. I was watching the post game stuff on Sports Center looping through the third or fourth time. It was 1:00 and my tired brain wasn't functioning all that well. Ten minutes later they pulled up. A tired youngster walked in the house and tried to give me their excuse, but his brain wasn't functioning in awake mode either...and it was all over, but I still couldn't sleep 'til about 2:00.

Apparently the couple rode to their destination with someone else and got stranded, and couldn't get back home. I'm guessing the word "cab" isn't in their lexicon. I don't know if I can survive too many babysitting nights like that. Just, if you have some kid babysitting for you and you stay out late, think about it. It's not just the kid you're keeping up and out. It's the parents behind the kid, too.

the Jaguars/Texans game

The theme for the last week slid right on into Sunday. Frustration.

You can only shoot yourself in the foot so many times before you come up lame. It doesn't help when the officials put a few slugs in there as well, but as much as they were incompetent, they didn't lose the game for us. We did that ourselves. They just piled on. The receivers were lame. The defense was lame. The trash talking before you can walk was lame. The excuses after the game were lame. I don't know if being swept by the Texans will give this team the dose of humility it needs, but it certainly ought to.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Veterans Day

Yeah, I know...I gotta lighten up. Enough doom and gloom prophesies about what'll happen now that the election turned out the way it did. It's never as bad or as good as anyone expects, and that includes me. One thing the liberal across the cubicle wall said made me think (yeah, on occasion he does that)...these guys might actually surprise me and make me proud. Hey, it could happen. Time to move on though.

It's Veterans Day weekend. Please take a few minutes to thank the people who sacrificed to keep this country free, and give us all the ability to speak out and exercise our choices in government. It probably means more to me than some, because I had friends who sacrificed all they had. Then, again maybe not, because we all have friends like that. Remember them, and say a silent thank you. Two minutes. It's a pittance of time.

Fred Taylor went and guaranteed a Jaguar win over the Texans. I'm sorry Fred, but you just don't do that. When asked about it by the Houston press, he didn't back down, saying sure, it might motivate them to hit me harder, but that bulletin board material stuff is overrated. So are guarantees, Fred. Ask Rasheed Wallace.

The new washer has arrived and it's working, even as I type. It's niiiice. Thank you Home Depot, for actually coming when you said you'd come, and delivering it for us. It's amazing what I used to take for granted.

The youngster and I are off to buy Crocs....Florida Gator inspired Crocs. (Gator Crocs. That just sounds wrong.) They're...ummmm...not for me.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

couple o' things

...cuz I'm gone tomorrow and today's a busy day.

The Texans come to town this weekend. Am I nervous about the Jaguars laying another egg? Sure I am. It always seems to happen with the Texans, and the reasons aren't consistent. It's just a fact. David Carr looks like David Carr when he plays anybody else. Against the Jaguars he finds his Peyton Manning personna. Against everyone else our defense looks like the 85 Bears (OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration). Against the Texans, it's their offense looking like it's led by Kurt Warner against our defense looking like pop warner.

Talked to the liberal over the cubicle wall today. He, of course, is doing the happy dance and cites fiscal irresponsibility as the main reason the Republicans lost. He seems to think because we don't balance the budget anymore, voters went Democrat because they did that. Bull hockey! The simple fact is, if you want to fight a credible war against terror, it's going to cost more than giving Monica her Presidential kneepads. War doesn't come cheap. His response was Clinton tried to fight terror. He lobbed a few cruise missles into Afganistan, but people accused him of taking attention away from his personal problems. Two responses. First, who gives a shit what people accuse him of? If it's the right thing to do, you do it regardless of speculation about your hidden agenda. Second, a volley of cruise missles isn't a credible strike at terror. Its style without substance, a Clinton trademark. Bottom line (in my opinion, of course) is people voted against the war in Iraq because for whatever reason, we as a people don't have the stomach for what it takes to address the threats to freedom. The cost is painful. The Democrats offered us opium, and we started smoking. The desire to do what feels good has replaced the desire to do what's right.

I'll admit Bush has a pretty clumsy and strong armed way of doing what's right, and that makes it difficult to stay with him. Not only that, he's annoyingly smug about it, so it's easy to dislike him personally. There has to be a better way to take care of Iraq, help those people govern themselves in peace and leave. We have to finish what we started first though and not just abandon them. That in my mind, is the only way out. Get them to the point where they don't need training wheels anymore and have a realistic chance to live in peace, and then leave them to it. You don't see it on the NBC Nightly News, but that's what the vast majority of them want. I've talked to people who have been there and that's the underlying theme with all of them. If we leave before that, the video of that exit is going to be a terrorist recruiting infomercial.

The upside of that is the global warming issue will be solved. The downside is it'll be because we'll be (doing my best dubya), living in nuc-u-lar winter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

election thoughts

I sat there watching John Kerry-Heinz talk gleefully about Ted Kennedy's victory in Massachusetts, and I had to wonder....who votes for that guy? and who cheers when he wins? I mean, Massachusetts, he's your guy and you have that right, but I see Ted Kennedy and what comes to mind is the old National Lampoon spoof Volkswagen ad, with a picture of a Volkswagen Beetle floating in a lake and the caption, "If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he'd be President today." That or Jabba the Hut. Either that guy is running unopposed, or the Republican party in Massachusettes is so inept they can't put up a candidate to run against him that's remotely credible, or both. How he becomes the best choice on any ballot, running for anything beyond lounge lizard, is beyond me.

I look at the mood this nation has taken, and the resulting vote last night, and I can't help but think, Bin Laden is right. Americans are soft and can be outlasted. Make the battle cost them something and they'll back down. Make freedom cost them dearly and they'll give it up. All I can say is I'm so glad Americans in the 1770's were made of stronger stuff. I'm glad Americans in the 1940's thought principle meant more than they do now. I mean, seriously, could you picture Cindy Sheehan or any of her supporters ever coming out with a line like, "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country" or "Give me liberty or give me death?" Oh, puh-lease. I don't like watching our boys die any more than anyone else, but I do know there are times you have to stand up for what's right. Sometimes doing that costs more than you'd like it to, but it still has to be done. I also don't like John Kerry-Heinz playing the "that's nice for you people who never wore the uniform to say" card. I wore it for at least twice (and probably three times) as long as John Kerry-Heinz did. I was just a bit better at dodging bullets. Call me the non-hero. People have very short memories, and I fear it will cost us in the end. I would also love for that fear to be unfounded, but that's a dream world I can't live in.

The short memories give me cause for hope on another front though. If the Republicans had held on to both houses for the next two years, the road would have been paved with gold for a Hillary Clinton presidency. The backlash against Bush and the Republican grip on both houses of congress would have been enough in and of itself for people to lose all reason and just become reactionary and hand Hillary the White House. Now, I have hope. The Democrats have a chance to water that reaction down, and remind those with short memories why they voted for Bush in the first place. They may have reason to actually give us a candidate that can appeal to a more moderate segment of the population, instead of believing they can just stick it to us and foist Hillary on the country. Yeah, I have hope.

You would think after reading all that, that I'm bitter about the election, and I'm not. It wasn't like I didn't see it coming. George Bush has turned a lot of people off in this country, including me. I think we were right going into Iraq, but I think once there, we could have done a better job with the situation. I'm not ready to throw the baby out with Rumsfeld though. I'm disappointed, sure, but not surprised, and not, like some in the past, threatening to pack up and leave. I still believe it's the best system out there for making a government work. I'd much rather it be what it is, working the way it does, and be part of a minority, than have it be any other form of government. Besides, these Democrats make me feel more needed than I have in a long time. They're counting on my tax money to fund their pipedreams, even if they don't inhale. That's OK though. I'm used to giving to faith based charities....even government mandated faith based charities.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

for those too young to remember...

The T.V. show America's Got Talent is nothing more than a Gong Show ripoff. What would the 70's have been without Chuck Barris?

get out and vote

I, of course, would rather that you vote my way, but in that respect, I guess I'm just like everyone else. Whether you do hold the same views I do or not though, go vote. Even if it means my view of things getting kicked in the teeth, go vote.

I would rather that everyone with a voice makes it heard and nobody I vote for win, than people sit at home and not participate in the process because they feel helpless, and then complain about the results. The system works best when everyone gets involved and helps it work. Go out and be part of it.

Please, no matter who you think best helps this country work, go vote for them. Of course, if you have no clue who could help this country work, don't go vote just because you have no better option. Do a little homework first. If you can't do that much, just stay home and watch Springer.


Monday, November 06, 2006

bits and pieces

Yes the Jaguars won. Yes, they beat someone they should beat, and soundly. Yes, David Garrard did a nice job at quarterback. Yes, the sentiment in J'ville is becoming "Byron who?" and while I like what Garrard is doing, I'm not so sure about the idea of making him the guy. I'll grant you that I'm usually very stubborn about changes like this. I didn't like when Leftwich supplanted Brunell, and I'm not liking this idea all that much. I love that David Garrard is playing well and winning, but I don't like pouring gas on an already burning quarterback controversy, if not in the coaches' minds, in the minds of most Jaguar fans. Quarterback controversies aren't good for teams trying to make the playoffs. We'll see how it pans out though.

The youngster and I went on a volunteer project Saturday morning. We were putting backpacks filled with books and toys in huge boxes to be delivered to "challenged" schools. Someone, in their infinite wisdom, armed my son with a tape gun. In my effort to help him tape boxes shut, I managed to get my hand punctured. My fault as much as anybody's, for letting him use the tapegun in the first place, but hindsight is...well, hindsight. He felt terrible about making me bleed, gave up the tape gun and we helped in a station less hazardous. The bleeding did stop, and my hand is fine, if anyone was concerned.

Saddam gets the death penalty. Who knows when that'll actually happen. Yes, my aversion to that type of punishment extends...even to him. It's hard to justify it though, when he leaves the courtroom advocating death for all who oppose him. That kind of cancer needs to be isolated someplace where he can affect nothing. Do they still have those Gulag things in Siberia?

An update on the washer situation...after another several loads holding the damn door shut so the electrical connection was made and the washer kept running, we believe we have enough clean clothes to make it to Thursday...when the new washer shows up. Or that's the plan anyway. We were told it would show up Thursday. Maybe Home Depot knows how to keep an appointment. I'm taking nothing for granted.

Friday, November 03, 2006

putting the customer back in customer service

WARNING: very whiney post to follow

We're having a washer issue at the house. About 7 (as best as we can remember) years ago, we bought a new front loading washer. They were (and still are) quite the rage. They use less water. They get clothes cleaner and they are easier on the fabric. We love the thing, or did, until about a week ago. There is a switch in the door that closes when the door shuts, allowing the washer to run. That switch broke. The door will stay shut, but the electrical circuit to make the washer run doesn't make the necessary connection. You can make the washer work, but you have to sit there with it, pushing the door shut to keep that connection intact...for each load. You can imagine how much fun that makes laundry.

So we called a repair place. I wouldn't mention names but they dropped the Roebuck part of their name several years ago. It seems that's not all they dropped. They told us they could come out Thursday (yesterday)...somewhere between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (nice time window)...and they'd call two hours before they show up to make sure someone was home.

Lucky for us, mom-in-law is still at our place and can hang out....all day...and she does. She stayed there and at 4:45 p.m., she called the wife. She hadn't heard anything from anybody and the guy has 15 minutes to show up, let alone call before he shows. The wife makes a few phone calls and gets, "He's running late." Oh really? Never would have guessed that.

Mr. Repair Guy finally shows up (without calling prior) at....6:30. He stays 15 minutes to say he can't fix it because he doesn't have the parts, but it'll cost $350 to fix. Oh, and here's the $59 bill for this 15 minutes so I could tell you it'll cost another $350 to fix in person. Yeah, we needed that news from you...because nobody could tell us this when we called about the problem.

Who the hell are these people and why do they get away with this shit? You cannot tell me someone didn't know...days ahead of time...that there was no way in hell this guy would be knocking on our door before...ohhh...three in the afternoon at the absolute earliest. Why was it necessary for someone to sit at the house at eight in the morning? If mom-in-law hadn't been at our place, either I or the wife would have unnecessarily blown off a day of work so someone could not come to our house 'til well after quittin' time. Has customer service sunk this low? Everywhere? I hope not, because while I won't be calling Roebuck's ex-partner again anytime soon, I'm hoping someone else can improve on their dismal idea of a repair business.

If anyone out there is looking for a place to make their mark. Learn to repair appliances and actually treat people like people. You'll run these guys out of business in a heartbeat. They have a big name behind them, but they've lost sight of the fact that they are a service industry.

Oh, and we'll be buying a new washer, since it'll cost between a third and a half the cost of one to get ours fixed..and not even on the radar screen.

squirrely shit going on in the Jaguar house

Byron Leftwich has announced that David Garrard will be the Jaguar starting quarterback on Sunday. Jack Del Rio didn't say it. Dan Edwards, the PR guy made no announcement. Byron Leftwich did.

Now I have all sorts of questions. The first one is, did Byron lose the starting job? My personal opinion is Byron is the better pure quarterback, but I did expect to see him take a quantum leap this year. That hasn't happened, but the year is far from over. I would say, if it doesn't happen by the end of December, it's time to look at alternatives, but the guy needs to be able to show he's improving. The company line will be he's still injured, but he's saying that's not the case and that he's ready to go.

The other part of this is that, all of a sudden, Byron's become the team spokesperson. This kind of news should come from someone in management. The coach is an obvious outlet...not the recently benched quarterback. It makes for all kinds of speculation about how the news was given to him and how he's taking it and might be a character issue. Is this someone who was told to be the media outlet (a doubtful possibility) or is this someone throwing an ego tantrum....or is it a man seeing his job threatened?

Whatever it's become the full blown quarterback controversey that everyone in the front office has been saying it isn't.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

babysitting....more serious than I realized

When I discussed the youngster doing babysitting before, I mentioned this Red Cross course that I knew was out there and that I supposed...he needed to be taking.

This course is serious, and a bit more than I think the youngster needs. It's a full 8 hour day and includes things like diaper changing. Now, I don't see anyone ever hiring him to babysit kids of a diaper changing age. Then again, I suppose it's possible. Feeding? I just don't see him there, but again...I have been wrong before. Some of you marked that day on your calendar in case you needed proof. We're going to have to discuss this though. I thought it'd be something like a few hours of safety items and, while I applaud the Red Cross for being thorough, I can see where this is going to be a tough sell with the youngster. They'd lose him in diaper changing and never get him back. If people are willing to let him watch their kids without spending a day in this class (not to mention fifty bucks, and it expires after a year, so that's probably a good ten percent of his income), he's probably not going to be interested. I'll give it a shot though. He might surprise me.

carpool upheaval

There are several families in our neighborhood who send their kids to the youngster's school. Only three (including us) participate in our car pool. One did, and dropped because we weren't doing something their way. They were pretty high maintenance and after a while, we just said, "No, we're not going to keep changing it." so they went out on their own. This morning, the only morning I don't have to drive (the big payoff being we never have to bring them home), I was informed that the people who do pick up on Thursdays will probably be moving their child to public week. I suppose that'll leave two of us. I'm hoping the other folks will be agreeable to picking everyone up every day, and I'll take them every morning. We'll see how it shakes out.

It just seems every time you slide into a nice, comfortable routine, something comes along to take the comfort out of it. I know it the big scheme of things, this is not a huge deal, but it just makes for complication.

There you have morning drama...and trauma.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry-Heinz and the botched joke

I don't fault John Kerry-Heinz for trying. Dubya is trying to make a huge issue out of him blowing the punch line of a joke some staffer wrote for him. I guess that's fine in the "all's fair" world. If the roles were reversed, I'm guessing the same hoopla would be generated from some muckity-muck in the Democratic party. Whatever, it's all smoke and mirrors and enough hot air to get your balloon from Monterrey to Maryland...on all sides. John Kerry-Heinz just tried to stretch the envelope a bit, ignoring the famous Clint Eastwood line, "A man's got to know his limitations."

The simple fact is, people with a quick wit deficiency or that are completely witless should not attempt jokes of any kind. That went for Dan Quayle, it goes for Dubya, but it also goes for John Kerry-Heinz. Disaster looms in every attempt.


makin' mom-in-law's night

Mom-in-law isn't usually at our house for Halloween. She's usually at her place where she buys one bag of candy and sees, if she's lucky, enough kids to make a noticable dent in that bag.

She was at our house last night, and witnessed the flood of kids that is our neighborhood on Halloween night. She handed out candy and had a blast. The highlight of her evening was two kids, no older than five. The little boy was slightly older than the girl.

Little boy: You look kinda old.

Mom-in-law: That's because I'm a grandmother.

Little girl: OOOOhhhh, can you make me some cookies?

She'll be telling that story for months.