Sunday, December 31, 2006

the game tells you what you are

I'm not a huge Bill Parcells fan, but the Tuna did say something so obvious, and yet so eloquent about the game of football, I can't help but admire it.

When asked about his Dallas Cowboys and how the season was going, and how games turn on one or two plays, and all the coulda woulda shoulda stuff, and he just said (something like)..."the game tells you what you are."

The Jaguars are like that too, but I guess so is everybody. No excuses, no nothing. Simply, the game tells you what you are. If you're 8 and 7 going into the last game of the season, that's what you 8 and 7 team. If you lost twice to the Houston Texans and beat the crap out of the Colts, you're inconsistent. If you have no receiver in the top 50 in the league, your passing game sucks. If your defense is number 2 in the league, your defense rocks. The game will tell you where you stand, and it has no mercy. It tells you when you're not a playoff team. It tells you when you have no real answer at quarterback, or wide receiver, no matter where you may have put your number one draft pick emphasis for the past four years. Maybe it tells you that you suck at first round draft picks, but I think the jury is still out on Marcedes Lewis. Matt Jones, who I had such high hopes for, hasn't amounted to a whole lot, and won't if he doesn't show he can be a lot tougher than he has been. Defensive backs are learning, if you can't beat him, beat him, and take the ball away from him. Instant interception. Reggie Williams got better, but not better enough. Byron might be gone this off season. Maybe someone else should do the first round picking.

Got the Maurice Jones-Drew jersey for Christmas, so now I have two current players. I have da man (Jones-Drew) and da wo-man (Matt Jones).

I don't know what will happen today, but backing into the playoffs is doubtful. The only thing that isn't should be a very interesting off season...or at least, I hope it is.


Friday, December 29, 2006

a not so young-ster

The youngster came up to me the night before last with a request.

"Can I go visit a friend tomorrow?"

"Sure, I guess so. Who is it?"

"Well, that's the thing. It's (very long pause) a girl. Kinda my girlfriend."

"And what's her name, and where does she live?"

"Her name is Jane (real name changed to protect all of the mostly innocent) and she lives in Tiger Woods (real development name changed to do the same)."

"Why have I never heard of Jane before?" I wondered aloud as I also wondered if Jane would agree to the same designation of "kinda my girlfriend" the youngster gave her.

"You've seen her. Remember the girl I was hanging out with at the baseball fields? She goes to Nearby Middle School. I've seen her at Nearby High School football games, too. We're talking on IM now and she asked if I could come over tomorrow."

OK, so I vaguely remembered him running around with a teammate and some girls after a few baseball games this past spring, but I had no idea who Jane is. Visions of my son being duped by some sex offender in a chat room went dancing through my head, followed by more realistic worries (since he apparently knows Jane) of going to someone's house unsupervised. I don't know her. I don't know her parents and I don't know if they'll be home. So I tell him, get the chores done and then...I want to talk to her parents.

So yesterday came, and he's doing the things he needs to do and then...."can I go to Jane's?"

"Well, I haven't talked to a parent yet. How do you plan on getting there?" Knowing full well I would be taking him. Besides, I had errands to run and Tiger Woods was on the way.

A few minutes later he told me her mom was busy, but she'd call soon...and she did. I had a short conversation with Mrs. Doe, who assured me there would be parental supervision, and that they were going to watch some movie on TV. She asked if I knew how to get there, and I told her I knew where Tiger Woods was and had their address, which I looked up in Google Maps, so yeah...I could find them.

I packed the youngster up and dropped him at the Doe residence, where I saw Mrs. Doe and Jane let him in. I left him with instructions to call me with details of how and when he was to come home.

The hours passed while I did other things, but soon it was closing in on dinner time, and no contact from the youngster. I called him on his cell phone and asked, "Are you OK?"

(a very exasperated) "Yeah dad."

"So, when are you coming home?"

"A very long time from now."

"Well, it's dinner time. Are you eating there?" (hearing in the background as he asks Jane, "Am I eating here?" and an "I don't know.") "No bud, if nobody actually invited you, you aren't eating there. I'll be there at 7:00 you pick you up."

(another even more annoyed) "OK, Dad."

I went back to Tiger Woods to pick him up. Mrs. Doe said I have a very sweet son (he was working on the first impression thing). We got in the car and I asked what they did all day. They watched a movie, went for a walk and talked a lot...and he really likes her. Your basic 13 year old low budget first date, I guess.

Suddenly, the youngster isn't so young anymore.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

douche douche douche

I've never been a hunter. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I had a few friends who would go hunting with their dads. They'd rub themselves down with fake deer pee to mask the fact that they smell...well...human, and trudge through the woods in the fall and, if successful, would come home with antlers and a bunch of meat you had to doctor fifty ways from Sunday to convince people they should try, and that it was actually good. It took a lot of convincing. I tried it many times (because someone always had a new "maranade" and this one "really made it taste good", and you couldn't hurt anyone's feelings) and wasn't ever ready for seconds. Apparently I'm not alone. I never see venison on the menu at any of my favorite restaurants. My dad, however, wasn't big on guns or hunting, so he never took me out to shoot bambi, or doves, or turkeys, or anything else. Therefore I never inherited the hunting gene and never owned a gun. Some people really enjoy it though. They must. You don't smell like deer pee and come home with venison just for the meat. You have to like what you're doing, and good for them if that's their thing.

Yes, the story has a point. I am going somewhere. Guns have never been my thing. If someone else wants them, I'm OK with that. My biggest gun experience was in the Navy where I had to qualify with a pistol in order to potentially fly with nuclear weapons. A friend who was real good with guns qualified in the lane next to me, and put a few shots in my target to make sure I succeeded. I just never really wanted a gun, and my knowledge of all things firearm related is far below the norm. So I was a little surprised when the youngster got some money for Christmas and, when we discussed what he wanted, he came back with "an air soft gun." I didn't even know what it was, so I figured I'd look into it some before the veto came slamming down on his head. OK, so it's a modern day BB gun, with plastic BB's. Memories of the Christmas Story and Red Ryder came flooding back and, "you'll shoot your eye out kid" actually came out of my mouth. But it was hard to argue the negative side. One of his friends gone one two years ago, and has a pellet gun now. One of the car pool kids, a year younger than him, has a shotgun. Several kids in his class have paintball or air soft guns. So, I did my best with the gun responsibility speech, coming from someone who doesn't spend much time with them, and we went off in the morning, the Friday before Christmas, to Sports Authority, armed with a $15 coupon I found in the paper, and the promise it would go in a closet until Christmas morning. We got the gun he wanted (which looked amazingly like the pistol I qualified with in the Navy) and a bazillion plastic BB's, and I squirreled it away when we got home.

Christmas morning came, and he pulled it out before anything else. The PSP and other stuff I was all proud of myself for supplying to the morning were pushed aside. In his jammies he loaded the gun and headed for the backyard, and shot toward the woods and..nothing. The plastic BB came rolling out of the gun in what could have been a perfect "does this happen to you?" Viagra commercial. He tried again, and again. Same result. So we tried a novel the book. Apparently the gun needs something called a CO2 cartridge to make the BB go really fast. Who knew? Certainly not me. Not the youngster either.

So he spent the rest of the morning playing with his other stuff. Occasionally he'd grab the gun, head back outside and pretend to shoot it. The noise he made when he'd pretend to fire the gun made me laugh though. It wasn't BAM BAM BAM, or BOOM BOOM BOOM or even POW POW POW, or anything like that. It was DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE! The kid had me rolling.

Day after Christmas, we hit Walmart and got a box of the required CO2 cartridges . Gun works great. He's happy hitting targets by the pond behind the house where there are no nearby homes. In the meantime, though, the PSP did get rave reviews.

One of the more interesting things I got was from my dad-in-law and his wife. It is called Bubba's Stink Purty Manly Cologne. It got the laugh it expected, but when we went up to Georgia yesterday to visit them, I felt obliged to apply some of the stuff to my body. After all, they gave it to me. I shaved yesterday morning, and winced as I sprayed it in my general direction. I half expected the smell of deer pee, but was pleasantly surprised. Actually not bad.

I went to the golf course the day before yesterday, riding in a cart and drowning balls. What I did other than that could hardly be called golf. I don't drink when I golf...well, not alcohol. I stick to the gatorade, powerade, anything with the syllable "ade" in it, because my game is usually in need of lots of "ade". Tuesday though, could have made me rethink that drinking policy, but since it didn't, I suppose nothing will. It was the worst round I shot all year (well, longer than that actually, but I don't care to find out how far back I'd have to go), which was surprising and frustrating, 'cuz I rocked at the driving range just before Christmas. Oh well, so it goes. If at first you don't succeed, drown another dozen balls.

So go the holidays. Hope yours are at least as much fun as I'm having.

Friday, December 22, 2006

onward to the mall




The youngster and I finally made that trip to the mall, so we could get the Christmas present from him for the wife. We went during the day, because I figured the crowd wouldn't be quite as bad as it would in the evening or, God forbid, the weekend....and it wasn't as bad as the stroies I'd heard. We found a parking spot, in the actual mall parking lot, and not three miles away in the grass somewhere. The spot was even fairly close to the actual building. The crowd wasn't all that bad, but it wasn't the crowd that shocked me.

Those kiosk things...the stuff in the middle of the mall, not housed by an actual store. The fly-by-night shit that will disappear three days after Christmas, if it lasts that long...that was the culture shock thing for me. The only thing I can equate it to is the casbah in Tangiers...the shopping area where everyone knew me as Joe. "Hey Joe, come look." "For you Joe, ten dollars...wait..wait...don't dollars." "Special deal for you Joe, because we long time friends." and yes, even the ever popular "Hey Joe, come see, come see my sister. She virgin. Ten dollar. She love you long time." I've never been accosted like that in an American shopping place. I guess that's how pole dancers at the strip club the night the fleet pulls everyone even close to arms length is groping at you. You so much as look sideways at the Winnie the Pooh phone cover and three people are telling you how much it is and when you say you really aren't interested, instead of laying off, they're showing you five others you might like better. While they're doing that, this woman with a latin accent grabs my thumb and starts polishing the nail with some stone thing, showing me after 2 minutes how much better it looks than the other, and trying to sell me the stone. While, admittedly, the nail she worked on looked shinier, what do I need with shiny nails? I can see my buddies when we play golf saying, "Oh wow John, such shiny nails! How did you do that?" NOT!

We got what we needed and..well, the best word I can use is...escaped.

On a completely different note...Potter fans...Ms. Rowling has apparently named her 7th and final book in the Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now there's a cheery title for you. Doesn't exactly conjure up a vision of right, triumphantly kicking the crap out of evil, does it? Supposedly 2 more characters die than she originally intended, which only begs the question, how many did she originally intend?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

whatever you do, do it right

I don't know if, when, how often I'll get here until next year so...

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukka
Happy Kwanzaa
Happy Festuvus
Happy Birthday
Happy last week and a half of the year
Happy New Year
Happy College Bowl Season

Whatever you celebrate, do it, and do it right. Enjoy yourself and be safe, and lets usher in the best new year we have in a very long time.

Take care of yourselves folks, and come back here when you can, but only if you really want to.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

lumberyard relationship advice

So, I'm taking the youngster to school. It would be the car pool, but my Steeler lovin' kids bolted early to go to it's just me and the youngster. We're listening to his radio station, and the DJ is having a monumental relationship crisis.

He bought a Playstation 3, for about $600. He's living with his girlfriend and wants to bring it in the house. She says no way. Her argument is he spends too much quality time playing video games and she wants that time. Last night, he supposedly snuck it in the house. She got pissed. So, he calls her on the air and wakes her up and they discuss the situation live, on the air. It comes down to this. She says, "If you love me, you'll smash that thing with a hammer. If you don't, I'm leaving." Now, we won't get into whether or not the whole thing is staged to get people to listen. It probably is. What we will get into is the situation. "If you love me, you'll smash that thing with a hammer. If you don't, I'm leaving"

It isn't a matter of the choice, girlfriend or playstation 3. That's scratchin' the surface. Human relationship vs. video game....human relationship wins. That, however, is not what's at stake here. This guy's future is at stake. If he caves, because he sees something long term here, he has to deal with what he's getting long term, and it ain't pretty.

Anytime anyone in a relationship starts a sentence with "If you love me, you will...." RUN! Run like you have never run before. This sentence can only end in emotional blackmail, and whether or not this was the first time it was used, if it is successful, it won't be the last. You are setting yourself up for more of the same for the life of the relationship. Anytime you need to be cajoled into doing something you obviously don't want to do, out will come the "If you love me, you will..." card, and you're doomed, because it is, in fact, an ultimatum.

Keep the Playstation3. Save your long term sanity. Drop kick the manipulative bitch. Find another woman who actually likes the Playstation and doesn't start sentences with, "If you love me, you will..." You'll be much better off in the long run, and it really has nothing to do with a game machine.

Monday, December 18, 2006

the home stretch

The laborious part of Christmas is officially done. Aside from working for work this weekend, the rest of the shopping and Christmas cards got finished. Next, we await the arrival of the bills.

Beyond that though, once I get past the office hurdle, it'll be time. Time to celebrate the reason for the season, and although for me it's very religious, it's not just that. It's togetherness with family and friends. It's giving back to a community and world that gives me more than I'll ever deserve. It's a prayer for peace on earth, good will toward men. I know, I know. That should be every day, but it's not. In our hustle and bustle work-a-day world, it gets lost sometimes and Christmas brings it all back, at least for me. It's the ability to reflect, and hope, and pray for all that we've answered the eternal question, "What the hell do we get my dad?"

better to give?

I was spared, in a sense.

I worked yesterday, in an effort to keep my days off, which start this Thursday. It's an unusually busy year end for us. To that end though, I wasn't in front of a television set. I missed the carnage that was the Jags/Titans game...a game in which the Titans had all of 5 first downs and less than 100 yards of offense and still won the game, because David Garrard gift wrapped it and handed it to them on turnovers. It was frustrating enough just hearing about it afterwards. I can't imagine how hard it would have been to actually watch. The playoff hopes are still alive, but when you play like that...there's no reason to think you'll go far down that road. I hope that game burns in Garrard's head for a long time. I hope he learned a hard lesson, and maybe some goos will come from it. Don't try to do too much. Don't try to make something big happen when nothing's there. Your team is good enough to not make all the big plays and still win. Let that happen.

I'll say this. It's proving to be a season where I'm getting my entertainment dollar's worth. From highlights like the Steelers, Jets, Giants and Colts (the second one) games, to the lowlights like the two (count 'em two) losses to the Texans and then's being one helluvan emotional roller coaster, which is a big part of being a fan.

Two tough games left, and I like it. I like the fact that we have to be extremely good from here out to make the playoffs. It will answer two big questions for me. Does this team belong there or not? Does David Garrard have what it takes to get us there, or not? These last two games will tell us a whole lot about where we are, and if it's not where we want to be, what has to change to get us there.

Friday, December 15, 2006

yeah, I'm pretty worthless

I'm not writing much, but currently, work's piling up and I plan on protecting my Christmas break...soooooooo....I'll be back when I can.

Humorous story...I hinted for Christmas with the youngster. As you might expect, for Christmas, besides getting something golf related, Santa usually brings something Jaguars related as well. So a few weeks ago, when the youngster and I were going somewhere, I told him.."I know you and mom will probably go Christmas shopping for me for some Jaguar stuff. I'm not saying you will, but if you find yourself doing that and you find yourself stumped for which direction to go, a Maurice Jones-Drew jersey would be one of your better choices." He asked, hypothetically of course, if they found themselves in that situation, which color would I prefer? White, Black or Teal? I told him Teal.

This past weekend, they hypothetically found themselves in that very situation. They hypothetically searched for the jersey in question and, not finding it, asked an employee (yes, this was the wife and not me....wives do that asking thing). The hypothetical employee responded, telling her they were sold out, and wouldn't be getting more before Christmas, but the hypothetical player in question, that amazing rookie, Maurice Jones-Drew, was standing a few feet away...and there he hypothetically was. So, they hypothetically got to meet him, even if unsuccessful in the jersey search, but the wife is questioning his height on the wesbsite. It says he's 5'7". She's 5'7" and she's a tad taller than he is. Were they really sold out? I guess, hypothetically, I'll find out on Christmas morning. Let's just say I'm skeptical. How many stores throw a promotion where they bring in a player, only to run out of his jersey? Either there's a smoke screen going up or some store did some piss poor planning.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the conflict of the season

Note to all: I leave next Thursday and will be blogging sparingly between then and the new year.

Things are getting done. Tonight is the youngster's school Christmas program. Still have some nephew/niece gift cards for some place like target to pick up...piece of cake. The Christmas cards are about half done and I still need to get the wife's present, but I know where and what to get, and that will about finish it all off. Christmas is about handled.

Work, on the other hand, isn't. There's a lot going on here between now and year end, and more seems to be getting crammed in every day. (Makes me wonder why we spent two days in mandatory meetings, but that's a separate, if related, issue.) Couple that with the above note about me being outa here next Thursday, and it doesn't leave a lot of time. I'm considering staying here for the weekend to preserve the concept of leaving next Thursday...which doesn't make for much time to handle the little bit of Christmas that's left, and the other things that happen with this time of year. The job is making it feel not so much like Christmas.

I know, I'm whining and I apologize. Truth be told, it didn't make me feel any better, so I have to wonder what the point is, but I did it all the same.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Frankenstein dies

Peter Boyle, who was the Frankestein in Young Frankenstein long before he was Raymond's dad in Everybody Loves Raymond died today. Black armbands for all my friends.


cutting through all the Christmas crap

When it comes right down to it, nobody says it like Linus.

you would think it's unusual or something

I own a hat. The wife bought it for me last year during the Christmas season. It's furry around the edges and then is more or less coned shaped. It looks a bit like the hat a mall Santa would wear. The biggest difference between mine and a mall Santa's hat is mine is decidedly teal, and has a Jaguar logo on the front. I picked today to pull it out and sport it in public.

Well, the young Steeler fan car pool kids were the first to notice. They labeled it 'ugly'...the 'ugliest hat in the world' in fact. The teachers who help in car pool had a different reaction, asking the youngster where his was. I wore it all the way to work, which illicited several honking horns, and now at work, reactions are mixed but all involve laughter. I think the world needs a little more of that. The problem is, not everybody can pull off the teal Santa hat look. The solution is, I can. That being the case, it's almost like a call to duty. Somebody has to do it, so it might as well be me.

As for the game this weekend in Nashville, I'm nervous again. All the talking heads seem to think I shouldn't be. "The Jaguars have finally hit their stride and there's no way the Titans should keep up with them on the field." Well, maybe so...maybe not. I sat and watched what happend when they hit their stride, and tripped and fell on their two games against Houston. Wins in those games would have made all the difference in the world right about now, not to mention blowing a game in Buffalo. Those three games coulda, woulda, shoulda had us competing for the division lead right about now....but that ain't the case...and watching games like that is why I'm still nervous.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

..and sometimes we should leave well enough alone

We did all day meetings yesterday, and I wrote here last night that, despite the way I despise meetings, I had to admit these were useful...and I think they were.

The same theme (mandatory company meeting) fill this morning as well, and that's where we hit the point of diminishing returns. There were a few highlights, but a lot of what was said this morning was a rehash, or not even that. One presentation was exactly the same as something we were given three months ago, in smaller groups. Most of us had alrerady seen his presentation, so that was the second time. At the time, the guy giving it said he was going around to each department, educating everyone on his topic. Well, if that was the case, why did we have the exact same dog and pony show today..for a third time? His was not the only one. The first two hours of the day were a waste. From there it went up and finished strong, but by that time my fist was sore from supporting my jaw, and all I could think of was all the things waiting to be done that were being held up for this.

One thing that was impressive was that Fred Funk, who has always been one of my favorite PGA Tour players, came to talk to us. He came to talk about chairitable efforts he's making, and those of other Tour players. He relayed a story from Frank Lickliter, who went to Iraq a few months ago to talk to the troops and lift morale. He said, one of the things the troops want people to know that they don't think we hear is....they are making a lot of progress. The progress isn't always military. Sometimes it is improving the infrastructure. In Bagdad, they have not only restored the electrical and sewage services, but brought them to neighborhoods that never had them before. When Saddam was in power, the education system for anybody but the elite was non-existent. Despite the best efforts of the insurgency, the education system is back and thriving. There is a lot of good happening in Iraq, and it doesn't come across in headlines that only speak of 3 soldiers who died because of roadside bombs. I don't like death any more than anyone else, but know that these sacrifices aren't being made for nothing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I love a good meeting

Been in mandatory company meetings all day, and we have a mandatory company social function this evening, so I'm kinda between things with not enough time to go home and get back. It's been an interesting mandatory company kind of day though.

The first speaker was Roy Williams, past Kansas, current UNC basketball coach, and probably the best all around speaker of the day. He was great to start off with and really does come with a lot of advice on things like shaping your attitude to make your life better, and taking on challenges that make life worthwhile.

Next in line was (don't remember his name) the president of CBS television. He came with a lot of video clips, and though he didn't do questions and answers, I was dying to ask if he was the jerk responsible for plastering Katie Couric's face on my TV in the evenings. Somebody's got to be responsible for that move. The rest of the day went OK, but nobody matched Williams for entertainment and value, and nobody matched either of them for being someone we do or might have known before it started.

These things are great, and they do tend to re-focus me on the more important things, not just in my job, but in life. As good as that may be for me though, I always notice that the people who could most benefit from something like this never do. The whiners I work with (and that's not everyone I work with, mind you, but they are a vocal lot) never get it...because to get it means they have to change...and they don't want to change. They don't want to change in the worst way, so they make excuses, and disparaging remarks, and think of every way possible to discredit whatever they hear...because they really don't want to hear it. Someone is handing them a way to make their lives better, but no...they'd rather wallow in mediocrity. Not just here where they work, but in the other aspects of their lives as well. They do that because to do differently means to be challenged, and change. It means uncertainty, and venturing where they haven't been before, and that's too scary...and that's a shame...for them.

As a general rule, I hate meetings. I wasn't that keen on this one (and it goes on tomorrow too) because I have plenty of stuff waiting on my desk. But...if we're going to do this thing, let's at least grab whatever it is it has to offer.

sights of the weekend

It was cloudy Saturday night at 8:47, and we were afraid we wouldn't see it at all when the shuttle actually launched. We waited, and waited...and then, a portion of the clouds was backlit...brighter and brighter...and finally it broke through, and it was beautiful. We got a few seconds of an actual shuttle sighting, before it ducked behind the clouds once more and for good. It was very cool.

Almost as spectacular was the whoopin' the Jaguars put on the Indianapolis Colts yesterday. It was a thing of beauty. It puts me in a predicament though. I'm starting to believe again. Just when I lowered my expectations for this season, the boys are making me believe they're capable of amazing things. I hate when they do this, because I always, always, always get slammed back to reality...but..but...but...maybe this time will be different.

Sure, Charlie Brown, maybe this time Lucy keeps the ball on the ground and lets me kick it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

so much for the shuttle

My gripe with's OK that you scrubbed the shuttle launch because of the weather. You could let people know a little before actual launch time though. I suppose you were hoping up 'til the last minute, but you knew it wasn't going. Mybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was down to the wire. I just know we were sitting there...checking every 5 minutes to see if it was still a go...expecting it to be scrubbed, but, they're still trying...and then...nothing. Yeah, it was my choice to waste an evening eyeballing the local news site waiting for the launch, but it was still a waste. Now you know why I don't road trip to KSC for these things.

God has the A.C. on overdrive. I think we're working on a new low this weekend, which could work in our favor come Sunday at Alltel. Then again, maybe not. On one hand, you have the wussy Indianapolis Colts who favor playing in a dome. On the other, you have the Jaguars, who play outdoors, but rarely in temperatures below...oh...60°. Hard to say who will fare better in our version of the frozen tundra, but I'm crossing my fingers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

tis the season....

Sometimes I just...I dunno....I'm riled and this blog gives me the avenue to vent.

A post or three ago, I talked about Christmas coming together, and I mentioned that I did actually get out and shop a little for a work related thing. Now, I'll get into a little detail. Each department at work has been assigned a family. These families are not well off and won't get much of a Christmas without help. Our department has a family with 2 or 3 kids, and each family member has a wish list. The idea is you sign up for one or more items on someone's wish list, buy it, wrap it, bring it in this coming Monday at a company meeting and put it in a box provided for your family. It's a nice thing to do. No, it doesn't solve the poverty issue. No, it doesn't lead that family down the road to prosperity. Yes it's giving them a fish instead of teaching them to fish, but it's just one thing. It's just a nice thing to do. No more, no less. Response has been lukewarm, so the big boss, trying to make it easier on everyone to do their part if they choose, sent his assistant (the politically correct word for secretary) around with the list to offer people the chance to sign up for something without even having to leave their desk.

But damn...if you don't want to participate...just don't participate. I don't care why. Just say, "no thanks," and move along. Don't launch into a half hour of why you can't be bothered, and turn into judge, jury and executioner in the process. "She's a thirteen year old girl and she wears an extra large shirt? She doesn't need DVDs, she needs a gym membership." "They don't need presents, we should give the parents jobs and let them buy presents." "No, they don't want jobs. They want us to give them presents." "I resent the company sending her in here and pressuring us to participate." "We won't get any credit for this. It'll just be the company reaching out to the community. I'm sure there will be a press release." It's been a while since I've heard the rationalization of greed, or a lack of heart, or whatever it is sound this damn loud. Not to politicize it, but it also comes from both sides of the political spectrum. The liberal over the cubicle wall is of the opinion that it doesn't go far enough and is just a vehicle to make the company look good, so he won't participate. No, he has no alternatives and therefore will do nothing. Well, honestly, doesn't the company deserve some credit? I mean, without them getting the ball rolling, none of this happens, whether you help it or not. Someone more conservative than me (yes, there is such a place) won't particiapte because these people are deadbeats and don't deserve their help. They're obviously eating well, being lazy and have their hands out. Without ever meeting them, this person has condemned our family to couch potato hell. So together they take the opportunity to belittle the family and criticize the company in an apparent effort to make them feel better about doing.....nothing.

I was just sort-of shocked...and disgusted, I guess. No, none of us is independently wealthy, but we are all computer geeks in our little hovel, so we aren't scraping by at minimum wage either, and we can be nice to someone who doesn't have a whole lot once in a while...and the opportunity came right to you. It really couldn't get much easier (OK, maybe if someone else shopped for you and wrapped for you...and breathed for you...), and who gives a damn who gets "credit" (and where do they keep that ledger, and who reads it, and what does it matter to a 12 year old boy who will only have a better Christmas if you make it so?). No, it won't save the world, and no, it doesn't make their lives permanently better. It's just a way to make the season...nicer, for someone who doesn't see a lot of nice. But nooooooooooo. Merry f'ing Christmas to you too, people. Geez.

we'll just have to wait and see

The sky is clouding up, so who knows if we'll actually be able to see the shuttle launch...if it launches. The same clouds are apparently part of the decision making process. So, if it's too cloudy, the fact that we can't see anything will be compounded by the fact there will be nothing to see.

The Jaguars find themselves in a tie with the Broncos, Bengals, Chiefs and Jets for the two wild card spots in the AFC, and apparently, based on schedule, are given the least likely chance of making the playoffs. The least four games include the Colts at home, the Titans in Nashvile, the Patriots here and the Chiefs in Kansas City. Sure it's a tough road. As I don my teal glasses, I see nothing but a win/win situation. IF they run that table, they'll be the team nobody wants to touch in the playoffs and stand a good chance of doing something special. If they don't...and a team like the Jets gets in based on the cakewalk schedule they have...well...we didn't belong in the playoffs anyway based on our performance in those four games, so lets take the better draft pick and let the Jets go one and done....and bring everyone back healthy next year. These four games are the real barometer, and I'd rather have that...and either do it or don't...than to slide into the playoffs and get slammed, and get nothing out of it but a draft pick around number 27.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

light show alert

Tomorrow evening, the space shuttle is scheduled to launch around 9:30. Note I said scheduled. You never can tell with bees or space shuttles. Winnie the Pooh gave us the first observation. I bring you the second. After years of watching for launches (yes, you can even see the daytime ones from here), I've learned when it comes to flinging things into orbit, plans around NASA go according to schedule about half the time. I know I'm going to come off sounding spoiled, but that's the sole reason we have never driven down to watch a launch. I'm not going to spend 3 hours round trip in the car for something that may or may not happen. All you folks that do...more power to ya.

Anyway, if all the Kennedy Space Center finger crossing works and the thing happens Thursday evening, the whole East Coast is supposed to be able to catch the show. If you're anywhere in that neighborhood between 9:30 and about 9:45, you may want to look up.

I love it when a plan comes together

WARNING: "patting myself on the back" post to follow.

Most of the Christmas shopping is done. I sat back last night thinking, "What did I do before the internet and online shopping?" but I had the answer. I used to spend a lot of time fighting crowds in malls. I have yet to set foot in a mall. I wonder how bad it is?

I ordered all the youngster's stuff online and yesterday the last of that arrived at work. It's now safely hidden at home. My Christmans present from my wife arrived at work as well. It's at home, even if it isn't hidden. It won't get used 'til after Christmas though. I offered to show her what she bought me, but she declined. I did go to Toys R Us and Circuit City, but that was for a project at work to give a family a Christmas that otherwise wouldn't have much of one, and I had to have the stuff by the end of the week, so I didn't want to risk the online route.

All that's left is the wife, who's trying to make up her mind what she wants. Sure, I have back up plans, but if she wants something in particular, I'd like to go there instead. I will make one mall trip, with the he can do his shopping for mom, but that will be it. I think we're pretty much on schedule.

Now, there's just the Christmas cards...haven't started that routine yet....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

havin' fun with youngster tunes

I'm listening to music, some Nellie Furtado
just mindin' my own business eatin' some gelato
but then my radio goes incommunicato
I guess I need to go and try to win the lotto

Smack dat

see ain't all that hard to write this stuff

the tramp stamp

I learned something yesterday.

There is a popular tattoo with twenty-something/teenage women these days. It is usually found right above the ass and kinda below the small of the back, and has the general shape of a very horizontally elongated diamond. I didn't learn about them, per se. I knew they existed. I learned that they have a name, and the name is "tramp stamp". If one goes to a tattoo artist and wants one of these, that's what one asks for. The explanation I was given is that it gives her partner something to look at while having sex in at least one particular position.

That's where I'm having an issue. Maybe it's that I've never been that big on tattoos. I mean, they're OK, butt I don't really want one...anywhere. (Then again, that could be the whole 'aversion to needles' thing, butt I digress.) Maybe it's a sign that I truly am well into the older generation...the one that didn't grow up with instant everything and video games and...well, whatever. I just don't get it. If you're in a room with a woman....a naked woman...a naked twenty-something woman...a naked twenty-something attractive woman, and you're having're hurtin' for something to look at?? What's with that? I would think there's plenty there to keep your mind occupied. I was in that situation on one or more occasions when I was also twenty-something butt I can't remember ever thinking, "Gee, what I could really use now is a tattoo to admire." What's next? Can you superimpose the sports page on her back? Attach a cup holder somehow? I don't know. It just seems to me that last thing on anyone's mind while in the throes of..well, you know, is "Wow, what a cool tattoo!" (Well, maybe not last, butt close to last...right before, "I forgot to take out the trash." and "When was the last time we gave the cat a bath?")

My next question is, what do you call the other one becoming popular with young women...around the navel?

Monday, December 04, 2006

football and stuff

So the Florida Gators are going to the National Championship football game over Michigan, to play the Ohio State University. Let the celebrating and whining begin. The youngster is on cloud nine, but plenty of people aren't. There wasn't a way for this game to work and be fair to everyone. Somebody was getting screwed and it was Michigan. In fact, ten minutes after all the announcements were made, someone at ESPN had a column posted about how badly Michigan got screwed. If the decision had been made the other way and Michigan got to play the game instead of Florida, twenty bucks says the same guy had another column written, ready to post, about how unfair the decision was for Florida. Michigan deserves to play Ohio State in the National Championship game. Florida deserves to play Ohio State in the National Championship game. In the present system, only one team can do that. By the way, Louisville has a legit claim to that game too. Just more unhappy campers clamoring for a playoff system in college football. Gotta wonder how many of those you need before it actually happens. Flip side for the careful what you ask for boys.

Tha Jaguars beat Miami in the border war between Florida and Cuba. I just have to shake my head and be entertained. The good Jaguar team showed up this week. I just hope they stick around for next weekend at home against the Colts, and keep the evil twins locked in the closet.

Feel good story of the weekend...Riley Skinner, quarterback for Wake Forest. Last year the kid was the quarterback at the Bolles School in J'ville. He lead his team to the state championship but got zippo attention from college recruiters. His best option appeared to be a scholarship from Miami of Ohio when someone convinced the folks at Wake Forest to use their last scholarship offer on the guy. He goes to Wake. The starting quarterback goes down for the season. He gets thrown in as a freshman and rocks. He leads his team to the ACC Championship game in, of all places, J'ville. Comes home to play in Alltel Stadium and leads his team to a victory over Georgia Tech in front of his friends and family. This kid has had one hell of a fall semester, and he's on his way to the Orange Bowl. There's a movie in there somewhere. Has to be. This shit only happens in movies.

Got my bling bling baby and I'm lookin' for love....heard my hip hopera diet pepsi commercial again while listening to the pre-game talk stuff on the radio before the Jaguars game. That thing cracks me up. M C to the hizzle, that's fo' shizzle.

God's crankin' the A.C. again. We're supposed to get down into the 30's overnight tonight. Time to grab the big coats.


Friday, December 01, 2006

straight to Lifetime

Ya ever watch a movie and think...this puppy's headed straight to video. Two months tops, it'll be in the discount rack at Blockbuster. Some things are just destined. The Disney sequels were like that. Lion King II, Beauty and the Beast II, Alladin and the King of Theives, Alladin III - Return of Jafar, Alladin IV - Jafar's Revenge, Alladin V - Day of Jafar, Alladin VI - Jafar Strikes Back, ad naseum....

I watched something last night that isn't headed straight to video, but has that same sense of destiny. Mom-in-law and the wife were laughing hysterically at some show on TV, so I decided to check out what was causing the hilarity. It was a sitcom called Men in Trees, starring Anne Hache, once known as the other half of the Ellen Degeneris love biangle. As I watched, and watched the reaction of both the wife and mom-in-law, I could think of only one thing. It's a chick flick in sitcom clothing. This puppy's headed straight to the Lifetime network.