Monday, April 30, 2007

the youngster and presents

Last Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law came down from Columbus Ohio, and left the youngster's Christmas present at the house. It was a giftwrapped box that held an Ohio State ball cap. Little did anyone know that a month later, Ohio State would be slated to play the University of Florida for the college football championship. Christmas morning came. The youngster, Mr. Florida Gator fan, opened the box and saw the hat, and turned to me with this incredulous look on his face and his jaw on the floor. "What am I supposed to do with this? I can't wear it." Ohio State is brother-in-law's team, not the youngster's team, and they were pitted against each other.

So now it's my birthday, and I open my present from the youngster, and it's a golf shirt. It's a very nice golf shirt...nice material...probably pretty expensive. It's also bright orange with blue on the sleeves and sides, and a Gator logo. It's not my's his team. If I was going to buy a golf shirt with a college logo on it, it'd be from that little main line Philly school. Now I know how he felt on Christmas. The difference is, it's a gift from my son. Even though it's not my team, I'll wear the shirt.


the draft - what were we thinkin'?

OK, let me start with this. Before the draft I said the Jaguars should take Reggie Nelson, the safety from Florida. The Jaguars did indeed pick Reggie Nelson, the safety from Florida. I should be extremely happy. Truth be told I'm not that unhappy. The "what if" story though is...Brady Quinn, the quarterback from Notre Dame, that everyone thought would be gone long before the Jaguars had an opportunity to pick, was still available. It's no secret that quarterback isn't the strongest postion on the Jaguars roster. We have three guys. All are pretty good. None are great. The best of them is Byron Leftwich, who's in the last year of his contract and, in my opinion, wants to go someplace else. Whether he has a good or bad year, I'll be surprised if he's a Jaguar after the upcoming season. Let's just say after a few years of not living up to the fans' expectations, Byron isn't exactly feelin' the love in J'ville. If it's good, he'll be all full of his "I tolf you so" self, thumb his nose at Jacksonville where he never felt appreciated and take a huge contract in another city. If it's bad, Jacksonville won't offer him a contract worth considering and he'll take a huge contract in another city, because quarterbacks get huge contracts and people always think things can get better with a scenery change. Brady Quinn has potential to be great, and I think we should have taken that chance. Give him a year to learn as Leftwich plays out his contract and let the cards fall where they may...but no. On the flip side, the operative word is potential. No position holds more uncertainty and more first round bust examples than quarterback. No, it's not a sure thing, but damn guys...the chance was staring you in the face and you didn't take it. How do you pass that up?!?

Yeah, I speak from a fan's perspective, and am probably willing to take on more risk that someone who actually has to answer for the picks and how they affect the team. Yeah, we really needed a safety, and Nelson will be a very good one. It's not a bad pick, but I can't help wondering "what if".

The rest of the draft went OK, except the fourth round, where we started by picking a punter. Other people who could really make a difference on this team were still out there, and we draft a punter. I know, we probably need one, but it could have waited. We had two picks in the fourth and one in the fifth, and I gotta think that guy would have still been there, because nobody drafts punters. Punters are undrafted free agents that come in pleading for a job after the dust settles. Marcus Thomas was still least until Denver took him. The guy was a first round talent who had some character issues that he swears are behind him. We should have taken him in the fourth round and let him prove himself. If he's lying and still has off the field issues, you can cut him. Worst case, you didn't lose much...maybe a punter, or take the punter later and skip one of those flyers on a fast linebacker. We have the market cornered on fast linebackers and yet we take more in the late rounds.

I know I sound like I'm not happy, and that's not the case. I think we did OK in the draft. I just think we could have done a little better.


Friday, April 27, 2007

watch your kids! (today's public service announcement)

I saw yet another demonstration on this morning's news on how easy it is for someone to grab your kids.

They took 5 year old kids who had been taught by their parents not to talk to strangers, had their parent go away for a few minutes and have someone walk up and ask the kid to help them find a lost dog in nearby bushes. In every case, the kid wanders into the bushes, and the parent is subsequently shocked.

Isn't it about time parents stopped being shocked? I have seen this done by 60 minutes, Nightline, Dateline, and every other conceivable line. On a rare occasion, the kid says no. 99.9% of the time, no matter how much it has been drilled into their innocent little heads, a kid with no visible parental supervision will go look for a lost dog, and wander into bushes, trees, whatever to do that.

So what can you do? Everyone says to preach to your kids that they don't talk to strangers, don't go off with strangers, don't even look at strangers, and we all do that...and then we see this happen. Even with all that, your kid will look at you with all the concern in the world in his or her face and tell you, "But, I had to help him find his dog."

The lesson isn't that we stop preaching to our kids. The lesson is after you do that, and do it again, and do it again, don't think for a minute that your job is done. Watch your kids, or make sure they're being watched...always...everywhere. All that preaching should be nothing more than a safety net...a backstop when all else fails. It can't be your first line of defense against sick people trying to abduct your child. "But I told him not to talk to strangers" is going to sound oh so feeble when your kid is missing for a second of many days.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

to my nephew Joe, I leave...

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, my great aunt died. She made my uncle the executor of her will, and he did all the things she asked him to do in her will....and caught hell for it. It caused rifts that exist to this day.

When all this went down, I felt sorry for my uncle...maybe because I really like the guy and hated seeing his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, family dogs and second cousins twice removed turn on him, all because he did what was asked of him. There was a lot of, "Well, you know she didn't really mean that." and "You know she really wanted me to have..." No, he didn't know and no, it wasn't written that way. Nobody blamed her, of course. They blamed my uncle.

So you're asking yourself...why John? Why would you pick now to bring this up?

I was talking to my mom last night...assuring myself that the remainder of the trip home went OK, when she told me about a wedding they were going to...and my uncle isn't attending. He isn't attending because the ex-wife of one of his nephews is the mother of the groom, and she laid into him in this galaxy far away because he sold his mother's house (after she died) to this woman's husband...back when they were married. This woman was offended and thought he should have given the house to them.

So here we are, a good fifteen years later and my uncle won't go to his great nephew's wedding, and the sole reason is because the kid's mom thought she was somehow entitled to a house that was given to him, and he doesn't want to run into her at her son's wedding.

There is nothing in my parents' house I'm entitled to...nothing. That includes the house itself and any proceeds from its hypothetical sale. If, through their generosity, when they pass away, they choose to give me something/anything, that's their business. I don't care if I gave something to them at some point in their life, or because there are X members in our family, I "deserve" 1/X portion of what they have...none of that matters and none of it is mine...unless they decide to give it to me. If we reach some agreement that when they pass away, I will get the lampshade, that's long as that's what the will says, but until it all goes down and it is written, "John of the Lumberyard gets the lampshade," it ain't mine. I also don't want to hear the, "I took care of them/spent time with them/washed their car/fed their dog/waxed their floors/wiped their ass when they were old" argument. You do that because they're your family. You don't do that for some perceived death benefit. That thought just about makes me wretch. When someone dies, they decide what happens to all their stuff. I don't, and nobody else does.

I guess the sense of entitlement really is the underlying thing that bothers me, and the rift...the rift that is still there fifteen years later...that sense of entitlement causes. When family members can't speak to each other, and the sole reason is people think they deserve things they did nothing to earn, that's sad.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

bits o' stuff

The Parents are in Virginia, making their way north. They called around 4:30 in the afternoon, saying they reached their planned more-than-halfway point. I'm thinking, if you're there at 4:30, keep on truckin'. You could be home that night...but yeah...another admission that the folks are getting up there and the rest will probably do them good.

The draft happens this Saturday, and while I still think the Jaguars will take Reggie Nelson in the first round, provided he's available, I hope whatever they do, it makes a difference to the team. Our track record for first round draft picks in the last four years hasn't been stellar. I always say, when they never pick who I want, that they're the experts. I mean, they get paid to know who's going to be good. I get paid to be a geek. Obviously, they get paid more, because just about anyone can be a geek. You gotta know something to pick talent in the NFL. Lately...I'm not so sure that I couldn't do their job better though.

Today used to be known as Secretaries' Day. Now it's known as Administrative Professionals' Day. How's that for a piece of multi-syllabic political correctness? I'm glad we never had Garbage Men's day, because I'm not really ready for Discarded Materials Management Engineers' Day.

I'm turning 50 in 5 days. I really thought I was flying under the radar at work and wouldn't get the ugly black balloon, over the hill treatment. I thought wrong. A few of my co-workers have already let it be known that everyone who needs to know when the day is and what it means is already informed and planning. I think I see a sick day coming.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

emergency room, take 37

The youngster's birthday is around the corner, and so comes my next attempt to send him to the emergency room.

One of the carpool kids has a Ripstik, or something like it. The youngster borrowed it for a week, and he's hooked. He wants one bad, and to be honest, got pretty decent with it for the time it was around the house. I think the emergency room potential might be a little less than it was with the heelys though. I watched him on this thing, and when he falls, it doesn't appear to have the same injury potential. Then again once he gets comfortable on it, the potential will grow exponentially when he decides he should start trying tricks.


back in the saddle again

The parents are on the road north even as I type.

The days with them were precious, and wonderful. Mom's doing very well, and Dad's dealing with the medication they gave him for vertigo (or not dealing, as the case may be...he said it made him very tired, so he quit taking it). We toured the area so they could see things, ate good food (some prepared by me, some by the wife, some by mom, some by restaurants), did the Catholic thing for the youngster (besides pretty much spoiling the hell outa him), played golf..where I beat my heavily medicated dad (and about where he decided the medication wasn't being much help, so I can't really count that), and basically just visited...long talks about everything going on in and out of the family.

I took them to see the new Sawgrass clubhouse, which isn't quite finished and I don't know how it will be by the tournament, but I guess it will, and points of interest in Saint Augustine. We ate traditional slavic food my mom made, that I haven't had in years, and fresh fish a la me...and just enjoyed each other's company.

Dad made numerous attempts to make me think about moving back north and I made just as many attempts to let him down easy.

The visit wasn't quite long enough, but in a way that's perfect. It didn't last long enough for us to get in each other's way, or wonder if the day was coming when we'd have our house to ourselves again. It left everyone wishing it were a bit longer, and I think that's good.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

we can't return we can only look behind from where we came

.....and go round and round and round in the circle game. ~Joni Mitchell

It's hard, and a bit strange, watching my parents age. Dad's a retired military guy who, after his 20 years, put in another 20+ for the State of Pennsylvania...a career gub'mint employee. Mom's a college graduate ex-school teacher. They're road tripping from Pennsylvania, even as I type. They left Monday morning and were supposed to get here yesterday. They might get here before we get home from school/work today, so I gave them the code to the garage door opener, so they can get in the house.

They usually do this as a two day trip, stopping somewhere in North Carolina overnight. Well, yesterday they called. Dad got real dizzy Monday night and they went to the hospital in Someplace, North Carolina. He was diagnosed with vertigo. The doc gave him some medication and a prescription for more. He was resting in the hotel room, but the doc said he should rest they were staying there the rest of the day. My dad? Rest?!? Talked to them last night and he's doing better...oh and what's that code get in the house? I gave it to mom, again, and asked that they call when they hit the road.

OK, so this morning....9:00 goes by. 10:00 goes by...well, they might be eating breakfast and starting out slow, letting rush hour go by...10:30 goes by and I'm answer on the cell phone. 11:00 comes and I call again...and get an answer this time. A day late, but they're 60 miles north of Georgia...and what's that code to get in the house again?

At least she remembered to ask.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

National Hug Your Kids Day

Anytime something insane, like the events at Virginia Tech yesterday, happens, it makes me, and parents all across this country, want to hug your kids. I can't imagine being one of the parents who got a phone call yesterday and learning that your child had been indiscriminately killed by this violently ill person. Nobody can explain the rationale behind something like that, because there is none. Nobody has the words to console, because there are none. Any attempt falls tragically short, and yet we try....and we hug our kids.

I'd like to say something enlightening...something that makes a difference...something with some insight, but I don't have any of that. I just pray for the kids who died, pray for the kids who lived through it, and all their families.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Don Imus, part 74

So, now that Don Imus has apologized to the Rutgers women's basketball team for his insensitive comments, can we expect Al Sharpton to apologize to the Duke men's lacrosse team for his?


common sense (or lack thereof)

First, I think it says something about my social life when I'm smiling, going into the gym Friday night, because I have the place to myself. Of course I have the place to myself. Most sane people with real lives are out doing things that preclude them from being in a gym on Friday night.

I did go though, and I did have the run of the place. Then 10 hours later I got on my bile and started riding. The goal was 30 miles, but I wondered, 2 miles in, why my thighs were already hurting. It had only been 2 miles. Then it hit me...DER! You were on bikes and treadmills 10 hours ago. That's why your legs aren't happy with you right now. Still made it though. I was all happy the first part of the trip, thinking about last week when it was so cold and windy. It was sooo much easier Saturday morning. It was cool, but I could barely feel the wind, even though I was cruising along at about 17 miles an hour. I was having a great time, even if my legs were a little sore. Then I turned around and was a whole lot easier because I was going downwind the first part of the trip. Going home was a bit rougher. Maybe I should have had a cup of common sense before that trip.

Sunday was windy as hell. I decided to go to the driving range because I hadn't been in a few weeks and my dad's coming down this we'll probably play golf and I'd like to not embarass myself. Got to the range to discover the amazing wind my back. I was hitting 9 irons over 150 yards (which for me is usually a 120-130 yard club). The hybrid 3 iron was going 250 and drives were bettering 300 yards. That doesn't happen in the lumberyard...ever. I was feeling a bit Bubba Watson-ish.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th, part 74

It's Friday the 13th. I know that because I just tore off the page on my little Far Side (sorry Onion, but much funnier than yours, that I had last year) calendar and saw the date, and it hit me. Does anybody really care? Does anybody really fear this day? Much has been made about it over the years, and I figure I've survived at least 74 of them (an approximation) and I can't recall anything nasty happening on any one of them...knock on wood.

Don Imus can't say the same, although I guess his really bad thing actually happened on the 12th. CBS delivered his pink slip.

Last night was sleep-over night in the lumberyard. We had kids (carpool steeler kids) and movie night, as they came with Eragon, the dragon rider movie. I took the youngster to see it in the theater over Christmas, and my opinion hasn't changed. Decent (but not great) story that had potential to be better with a better script...pretty good special effects...really bad acting.

I've been asked, by two people, this year, to play in the member/guest golf tournament at the neighborhood course. I'm not a member of the club, but I know plenty of people who are. The amazing part is they've both actually seen me play (or rather, been with me when I played. It's hard to actually see me play because your view is usually obstructed by lots of trees). Unfortunately I won't be doing it with either of them. For whatever reason, it's the week after The Players this year. I've already taken most of Players week off because my brother and his wife are coming down for the show and I'm going with them. I don't think my employer would be too keen on me asking for a few days the next week too, especially since I'm also taking a few days off around next weekend when the parents come down. I do actually have to get stuff done in the office through all this. Maybe next year I'll play golf, instead of watching it.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut dies

The creator of Montana Wildcat, Kurt Vonnegut, died Tuesday at the age of 84.

In college, I read just about everything I could get my hands on that he wrote, and some was pretty bizarre, but it was all great stuff. I even went to see Happy Birthday, Wanda June on a date with another Vonnegut fan, who then wanted to name my first car "Wanda June". It's been a long time since I read anything of his, but it's still sad.

Black armbands for all my friends.


bits of this and that

Damn...surprised the hell outa me. I was wrong. Mark it on the calender - not that I was wrong, but that I'm admitting it. MSNBC (who used to simulcast his show) is dropping Mr. Imus, and now folks are going after CBS, where he actually does the radio show. I really am surprised. I will still stick with what I think though. The guy deserves to be punished, but losing his job is a bit much. The reality though is, if CBS drops him, XM radio will be knocking on his door inside three seconds.

As I noted yesterday, the NFL schedule is out and, lucky for me, the Jags bye week is the weekend of the MS150, so I won't be scurrying for updates at every rest stop. The other game that stands out, oddly, is the last one. Picture this. The Jaguars are 9 and 6 and need a win to get into the playoffs and their last game Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans. Any other team in the league is licking its chops, counting that one in the win column and heading to the playoffs. The Jaguars though...the Texans have a voodoo doll or something, because that's one team that has our number, for whatever reason. Those are games I sweat, and for good reason. They took two from us last year. I don't know this for a fact, but since that franchise started, we're probably the only team they have a winning record against.

The house is back in working order. I have cold food and ice once more...and just before the parents come to town next week. Great timing.

Japanese trash talk - Ichiro Suzuki on his game last night at Fenway, facing Daisuke Matsuzaka, "I hope he arouses the fire that's dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul," he says. "I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger." Can't you just see this quote in one of those old Japanese kung fu movies where the mouths move one way and the words come out another? One of my co-workers remarked...that first line sounds like something out of a Harlequin novel. Personally, I wouldn't know.

Things are starting to buzz around here. The Players is a month away, and people are starting to gear up. From what I've seen and heard so far, it's going to be an amazing show this year, with the new clubhouse, the course redone...oh, and the heat of May.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

an open letter to Jaguar fans

I know, many of you dismissed the idea of riding in the MS150 bike ride because it comes during football season. You thought, "how could I possibly spend my Sunday afternoon on a bicycle, far from the maddening crowd, far from the play-by-play, far from the bone crunching hits and spectacular plays, far from the asshole trying to instigate the wave?" Therefore the MS150 was quickly dispatched to the "no freakin' way" bin.

Time to reconsider!

The 2007 schedule has been published and the weekend of the MS150 just happens to be the bye week! Lucky for you (and me)! You don't have to fret over what your Jaguars might or might not be doing as you pedal your way back from Daytona to Saint Augustine. You can ride, secure in the knowledge that they are comfortably wolfing down chips in front of their gazilion inch jumbotron in the theater rooms of their homes, or they just might be the guy on the bike right in front of you.

Get out there and ride, Jaguar fan!


the end is near

Wooooooo Hoooooooooo!

For those who have followed the house saga, the air conditioning was fixed last week (even though we haven't had need of it yet) and the refrigerator parts arrived today. The guy is coming out this afternoon to fix that...and we're back to normal, taking away all my reasons to whine....for now.


"I am not a role model"

Charles Barkley came out with that line...I dunno...maybe 20 yars ago. It was ignorance at its best, and a case of sticking you head in the sand.

Yesterday, the new commish of the NFL, Roger Goodell, suspended Adam 'Pacman' Jones for a year and Chris Henry for 8 games for 'off the field' issues. Pacman got stopped by the cops, rolled down his window and sent up a billowing smoke signal of pot. The officer questioned him about it and he said he'd be clean by the next NFL drug test. Now there's brilliance. Then there was an incident in a strip club in Vegas with a gun, and there are plenty of others, yet his mother says it's not fair. Of course she does! That's what moms are for.

Whether these guys like it or not, when they put on that uniform, thay are role models. Kids all across this country want to be just like them, and they have a duty to be upstanding be things kids should strive to be. It is part of the job. It's right behind "If you play offense, do everything in your power to get the ball over the goal line and, if you play defense, stop the other guys from doing that." in the job description. If that doesn't sit well with you, go dig ditches, or design software, but don't let them put your face on trading cards for kids.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don Imus - the double standard strikes again

I'm no Don Imus fan. I think the man liberally sprinkles his political viewpoint into his daily tirades and it comes nowhere close to mine, and I don't particularly care for his brand of humor. Be that as it may, I have the freedom to choose to listen to just about anyone else when I turn on a radio, and I exercise that freedom. Plenty of people do like him though, and that's their prerogative.

Don Imus made a few very stupid remarks on his radio program, for which he has apologized profusely. He even went on a radio program hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton, and got taken to the woodshed for his comments. Personally, I think he got the wake up call he needed, apologized for going too far and the two week suspension he's getting is punishment enough. There are people, including Sharpton, calling for his job, and I think that's a bit much. On the other hand, some want to turn this into a freedom of speech issue, and it's not. Imus is free to say whatever he pleases, but he has to accept the consequences of what he says and does. The police aren't knocking down his door, hauling him off to prison. In his capacity as a radio host, there are things that, if you say, come with certain consequences. You're free to say them, but the consequences come with that. I think the two week suspension is appropriate. Even while suspended though, he's free to stand on a street corner and say whatever he pleases. He is not, however, free to use his employer's resources to take his message to a larger audience.

Having said all that, several years ago, Rush Limbaugh (of the vast right wing conspiracy) was hired to be a commentator of Monday Night Football, and was part of a panel on some pregame show for ESPN or ABC...I can't remember which. On that show he said something to the effect that Donovan McNabb, of the Philadelphia Eagles, wasn't all that great a quarterback, but the NFL really wanted him to succeed because they wanted to promote black quarterbacks. Again, this was something reeeeeeally stupid to say, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the characterizations Imus made about the girls basketball team of New Jersey State U. Limbaugh was fired before you could say "tattooed nappy headed ho."

I think Limbaugh deserved to be punished, but didn't deserve to lose his job, any more than I think Imus deserves to lose his. Yet, Limbaugh was gone before you could blink. Imus will get a suspension - a slap on the wrist by comparison. Just another example of our objective and unbiased media at work.


Monday, April 09, 2007

baby steps

The world is getting back to normal. It's not there yet, but it is getting there.

Talked to mom yesterday and she's doing great. She's convinced oxycodone is a placebo, because she swears it doesn't do anything. I told her...stop taking it and you'll see what it's doing. Just do what the doc says.

They got us an A/C motor that works. Haven't had to use it because the weekend was chilly, but at least we have one. The floors are done. Now we just have to fix the fridge. It seems to be cooling everything OK. The icemaker is the only big thing I want back soon. The water through the door would be nice, but I want that ice.

Now that the dust is settling in the house, literally, I need to get back to the gym. I blew it off the last week and a half because of all the stuff we had going on, but now it's back to business. I did bike ride Saturday morning...22 miles. It was nasty cold and windy, but I still did it. I need to start pushing the milage a bit higher.

Easter was fairly nice. We went to church early and saw the crowd that shows up twice a year. All went well until the Masters ended and circumstances well beyond my control made me work for several hours. Still, we had a nice day and a great dinner. Hope your Easter and/or Passover was nice.

Watched a little of John McCain on 60 minutes before the work phone call came. That man is frustrating. He exaggerated more than a little when he was in Bagdad, about how he was able to walk around freely (with a bazillion troops protecting him), and then says he obviouisly misspoke, but doesn't want that to get in the way of his message...that we have to see this thing through or it'll be worse later, and things are improving in Iraq. I happen to agree with his message, but dude...if you don't want your exaggerations to get in the way of your message...DON'T FREAKIN' DO IT! Say what you mean and mean what you say and don't stretch the truth to the point where it isn't recognizable. If you want the message to come through clear, don't cloud it with stupidity!

The Masters - You go Zach Johnson! I honestly didn't watch much until Sunday...late afternoon. We just had too much going on and the television wasn't a huge part of the weekend, but it was a pleasant surprise to not see Tiger 5 shots up on the field. It was nicer to see a complete surprise atop the leaderboard.

Billy Donovan made me look like a prophet a few hours after my last post, staying at the University of Florida. Good luck with that Kentuky job Mr. Gillespie. You had better talent at A&M and didn't get to the final four. I hope you have something up your sleeve, because where you were they were grateful that you were competitive in the tournament. Where you are that doesn't happen unless you win it all.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

the unbiased view of the future of Billy Donovan

Like I said in the last post, the Gator Nation is fretting over whether or not they'll lose their basketball coach to either the University of Kentucky or the NBA....specifically the Miami Heat. I don't think they have a lot to worry about. Here's why...

People say he's done all he can do at the University of Florida. He won back to back championships. The expectations from the fans would be unrealistic now. They wouldn't be happy now unless the team goes to the final four every year. Maybe and maybe not. Personally from what I've seen, they're pretty grateful for what they have. I don't know how long it takes for that to translate into "What have you done for me lately?" The real question though, is, how is that any different at the University of Kentucky? If there's any place that defines unrealistic expectations in college basketball, throw that magnifying glass directly on the bluegrass state. Ask Tubby Smith what happens there if you're successful, but not sucessful enough to placate that fan base. I think Kentucky fan thinks way too much of his program, and is in for the same rude awakening Alabama fan got in football when they fired Mike Shula and expected everyone to beat down their door to coach their team because they're...well...they're Alabama. Surprise surprise, when the coaching world pretty much said..."that and four bucks gets me a cup of coffee at Starbucks. What else ya got?"

The University of Kentucky has a rich basketball tradition. At the University of Florida, Billy will always play second fiddle to football. Again..maybe and maybe not. If he goes to Kentucky, he is part of someone elses story, and he's a footnote in it. His team plays in the house that Rupp built; not the house that Donovan built. At Florida there is no rich basketball tradition, but that's changing and Billy Donovan is the reason why. He's building something that has nobody's name on it but his. If he keeps taking on the challenge that he's already in the middle of, he can build his own legacy, and the O'Connell center eventually becomes the house that Donovan built. Maybe basketball becomes the equal of football at Florida, and if it does, he can claim the credit for that. He has ties in both places, so I don't think there's a stronger emotional pull to Kentucky than UF, but there might be. I'm not inside Billy Donovan's head, so I don't know.

If he goes to Kentucky, his biggest rival will be Rick Pitino at Louisville...OUCH....his coach when he was in college, the UK coach when he was an assistant...his mentor...his friend. Don't know if this makes any difference at all, but it's worth mentioning.

Kentucky will throw stupid money at him to coach. Yes they will, but if money is the deciding factor, the Miami Heat will outspend Kentucky. Lost in here somewhere is the fact that the University of Florida isn't exactly wallowing in the poor house. I think they can give Billy enough to make him want to stay.

In the end, I think Florida can pay him enough to make him stay, and the allure of building his own program, his own legacy where there was nothing, will be what keeps him in Gainsville. Then again, I've been wrong before. Maybe it'll be the fact that he pretty much built a school for a local Catholic Church so his kids could attend a Catholic school...and they haven't finished there yet. Then again, maybe he likes horse racing and he can watch more of that in Kentucky. We shall see, but I don't think he's moving.


scattered thoughts

The NCAA championship basketball game. The youngster, along with the rest of Gator Nation, is very happy...or sort-of anyway. It's amusing to me that this team just won it all, and the fans can be happy for about one night, and then start fretting over the future. The biggest thing here among Gator fans isn't that they just won the championship, but that coach Billy Donovan might leave, to go to either the University of Kentucky or the NBA. The funniest line I heard after the win though, came on sports talk radio. Some guy called in and asked if, after beating Ohio State for the football championship in January and beating them again for the basketball championship, would this now be considered a rivalry. The answer from the talk show host...

"No, it's not a rivalry at all. That'd be a lot like the rivalry between the hammer and the nail."

The progress really. The up side is the weather seems to be cooling off, so it won't be hot upstairs at least through the weekend. The wife is dealing with it a bit better. I think getting the house back in order...things back on the walls, furniture back where it belongs, after the finishing the floors, has helped a lot.

The Masters, a tradition unlike any other. No shit. In my opinion, it's the most overrated, stuffy, elitist, Bushwood-like event in professional golf, starts today. Yawn. Have another green jacket Tiger. Hootie and the blowhards, it's your weekend. Enjoy.

Barry Bonds - just fade away, you human rhoid. Nobody cares that you might get the baseball home run record, for three reasons. First, you're a complete asshole. Second, even though nobody can prove it yet, we all know you cheated to get where you are. Third, you're a complete asshole.

Pete Rose - you can fade right behind him. You made a deal that keeps you out of the hall of fame. Honor that. Shut up and move on.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

and it ain't getting better...

I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with the air conditioning people yesterday. Our air conditioner is dead and needs a new motor. They can't get a new motor from Carrier until the 20th. They think they found another motor that could possibly work for us. They're going to test it at their shop today and if so, bring it out. They said, "In the meantime, crank the downstairs air so it can cool the upstairs." We tried that already. Our house is proving the physics that says heat rises. You can freeze the first floor, walk up the stairs and feel where the cool air stops and the sweltering starts. It doesn't do squat for the second floor.

The refrigerator guy came and witnessed the refrigeratior in 'possessed' mode. All the lights were flashing and the little flap the opens to let the ice out was going crazy, making that nerve crunching popping noise. The only thing it could have done better is levitate off the floor, spin in circles and projectile vomit pea soup...and the guy is amazed.

"I never saw this before...yesterday. I went to this lady's house. Same refrigerator, same color, bought about a year ago. They said they can't get her parts for two weeks, so she raised holy hell and they're overnighting them to me."

OK, sounds like we need to do the same thing...except...after talking to Maytag people on some tech line, he determines the parts he ordered won't fix the the other lady is probably SOL. He finds we need the bigger part that all her parts are inside. He can't get it either, so the wife calls Maytag and does the "holy hell" thing, only to be told...we don't have the part either. We can't overnight it to you.

So now I'm thinking about that series of commercials...the one with the lonely Maytag repair guy who is never busy because, supposedly, Maytag appliances don't break. I'm getting a whole new perspective on that guy. He's not sitting on his ass because Maytag appliances don't break. He's sitting on his ass because once they do, he can't get parts to fix the damn things!

So yeah, in the meantime we're sweating a bit....and so's our food. The wife cried herself to sleep last night. Thank you so much Maytag...and Carrier.

I know, I know. It could be a whole lot worse. We have a house, even if it's a bit warm, and we have each other, and we have cable TV. We're doing a whole lot better than people in the Solomons, but we didn't survive a tsunami.

On the bright side...the floors are done and look pretty good. I took the youngster to his interview with the principal of his future high school yesterday. Apparently it went well, because the principal told him it would be his future high school. Now we just have to get him (or rather, he has to get himself) through 8th grade.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

the lumberyard bike tour

There's a guy who rides with me most Saturday mornings. He didn't go the last two weeks, which is when I went 27 miles, but he was back this past Saturday. I figured we wouldn't go that far, but I'd push him to about 20.

Friday night the youngster asked if he could go too.

"Dad, how far do you think you'll ride tomorrow morning?"

"Well, Mr. Tom is going with me, so we won't go as far....maybe 20 miles."

"Will you wake me up? I want to go with you."

"Are you sure? 20 miles is a long way."

"Yeah. I want to go too...pleeeeeaaaase?"

"OK, but it's a long way and once you get out there, there's no way home except to ride."

In the back of my mind I'm thinking, I'll have my cell phone and if he really can't make it, I can call home and have the wife come with the rescue vehicle and get him. (Afterwards, the wife told me she was fully expecting the phone call.)

So we got up and he went. After a while he asked if we were turning around soon, and I said..."Yeah...soon...but not yet." He started slowing down occasionally and I'd tell him to pick it up a bit, and he did. We finally got back to our neighborhood after about an hour and forty-five minutes, and he was draggin', but still peddling. We were getting close to the house and I asked him if he was OK. He said yeah, but he just wanted to get home. We got there and stood out in the garage. The wife got him something to drink, and he asked how far we went. I told him 22 miles, and he got this big grin on his face. Then he went in the house. I walked in a while later and went looking for him. He was upstairs, laying on his bed reading. I asked again if he was OK.

"Yeah. My legs are so sore. The hardest part was getting up the stairs. I had no idea bike riding could be that hard."

He was doing much better by Sunday.


hell in a bucket

The house is in a downward spiral, and we're trying to pull it out before all our nerves crash and burn. Yes, I'm whining, but this weekend hasn't been fun.

First there's the floor. No, it didn't get done Saturday. The flooring guys kept blaming the tile guy, who didn't show up to cut a straight line on the remaining tile at the garage entrance, so they couldn't lay the wood there...which is true. Even if he would have shown up though, they still have too much to do. They should be done today though (as long as the mysterious tile guy shows up), and we've made arrangements for someone to baby sit them. So far, not too bad, and that by itself would have been OK to deal with.

But then, the air conditioner died Saturday night, and as heat rises, the small area upstairs we're calling home now became...well, very warm. We've got all the windows open, but that's not doing a whol;e loy during the day except increasing the humidity level. By 2:00 in the morning though, it's cooling off. Still, we're dealing.

Then this morning, around 4:30, this noise from downstairs wakes the wife and me up. It's the refrigerator. The little flap that lets the ice out of the front door is opening and closing, and each time it closes, it closes with a loud slap...and all the little lights on the front of it are blinking. I'm turning everything off and back on, hoping I'm resetting some switch to make it stop, and it did....for about 5 minutes. Then it started up again.

Now...bottom line...the air conditioning guy and the refrigerator guy can't come till tomorrow. The house is very warm and the quiet is interrupted every 5 seconds by a loud slap. Hopefully the floors are done by then. I need a sanity check.

Thoughts on tonights basketball game....
This is Florida's game to win. There's no way Ohio State should even be on the floor with them. Why are they bothering to play this game? Sounds an awful lot like January with the BCS Championship football game, doesn't it?...except the shoe's on the other foot. Same two schools, but Ohio State's playing the underdog role...and again, I think it'd be great if they show everyone the experts have no clue what they're talking about.

ps. It's getting better. The A/C unit needs a new motor, and they can't find one. They're still looking and I hope they can. The story we're getting now is if they can't, they have to order it from the factory, and we can get it April 20th.

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