Friday, November 30, 2007

bumper stickers on the way to work

Kinda, anyway. It's a little circular sticker on the back window of the pickup truck next to me in the parking lot.

"Life a bitch, so don't vote for one."


Thursday, November 29, 2007

when egos collide

I wish I could understand it, because then maybe I could explain it in a manner that doesn't make it seem totally ridiculous. Between this and the whiners, y'all are gonna think I work with a bunch of idiots. Some days, I think you might be right.

We have a company intranet. When you click on a certain link it's supposed to launch an application that is basically a huge address book. Under the right circumstances it doesn't work. Well, one person works on the intranet and another works on the glorified address book. Both are insisting it's nothing wrong with their stuff. Their shit doesn't stink!! It has to be the other's stuff, so we start pointing the finger at each other. (Yes, I know the question is coming and I'm ashamed to say your assumption is correct. They're both men.)

Now, these two guys work within 5 feet of each other. They're cubicle neighbors. You would think one could stand up and walk the 5 feet and, working together, figure out the issue. If they did, the solution could take as much as half an little as two minutes. This would be the lumberyard solution.

Do we do this? Of course not...or I wouldn't be whining about it now.

This happened while I was in a meeting in a different location yesterday afternoon. When I got back from said meeting and looked at my e-mail, there were probably 20 to 30 of them, total, written by one or the other, copying the entire world (which is how they found their way to my inbox), telling the other it was their problem and telling the other exactly what was wrong with their shit. Now, both are copying the entire world, because (I assume) both think they're right and the other person is wrong and they want everyone to know just how right they are and just how wrong the other is....making both look like egotistical babies, spending a few hours in self-righteousness. I heard the whole mess ended in a verbal confrontation that was audible outside the building.

Folks, if you know what's wrong, take five steps and talk it out. The solution could take half as long as writing one of those 30 e-mails, and definitely less time than the entire e-mail flame war. Cooperation works a whole lot better than a battle of egos. That was one of the most pitiful series of e-mails I have ever slogged my way through.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bend over football fans. The NFL is flexing its schedule

This past Sunday was one of the first I know of where the NFL and NBC took advantage of its flex scheduling policy. This is wonderful stuff, if you're a couch potato.

Flex scheduling works like this. For years the NFL set its schedule before the season and it was cast in stone. The Sunday/Monday night games for national television were positioned to be marquee matchups, but as the season progressed, those matchups weren't necessarily still very marquee. Teams got better or worse than expected and sometimes the night games sucked. The the season progresses and one of the day games looks like a better match, move that game to the Sunday night spot for the national TV audience...and the associated TV contract. This is great...if you're watching on TV. It sucks for the guy expecting to put his ass in a seat.

Picture this. You buy tickets for you and the, the wife and two kiddies. You're thinkin'...1:00 game, home in time for dinner, baths and in bed for school the next day. Let's say you paid $50 a ticket, so you're in $200 and ducking when the blimp goes by. (I could make the example more extreme by putting us on the 50 yard line with $1500 - $2000 tickets, at least $6000 for the family, but I think I'll still get my point across.) Then the NFL decides your game is more attractive than what they had on Sunday night, and NBC says you're sooo lucky because you've been 'flexed'. Nice attempt at spin, but no you're not. You're flexin' to grab your ankles. Now your game doesn't end until midnight. By the time you get out of your parking spot and back home, it's 2:00 in the morning and it's a school night. Knowing that, you can't take the kiddies anymore. You have to scramble for a baby sitter, maybe. Even if they're old enough that you don't need one, you still need to get to the game early...not to tailgate, mind you. You need to stand in front of the stadium mumbling "anyone need tickets" with all the scalpers, trying to unload those two tickets to recoup some of the $100 you paid for them, arguing with people who, if you tell them the tickets are a quarter, will refuse to give you more than twenty cents for them. Doesn't sound like such a hot deal now, does it?

Yeah, the NFL depends on people filling stadiums. They don't show a game on local TV if it doesn't sell out. The owners and player bitch and moan if the games don't sell out, complaining about the lack of football passion in the city. Yet, they have no problem screwing the people who do buy the tickets and go to the games if it'll get them a better TV contract. Keep taking us for granted NFL...and see where it gets you.

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Robert Cade - dead at 80

black armbands for all my friends

For those of you saying "Who?"...Robert Cade is the inventor of Gatorade. Back in the 60's, the University of Florida football team was losing a lot of games. They lost a lot of games because they weren't very good, but they were also losing because they couldn't stay hydrated in the Gainsville heat.

Dr. Cade, the team doctor at the time, and friends invented Gatorade to combat the hydration issue, and launched an entire Sports drink industry in the process. One issue among many - the school wouldn't allow him near the varsity football team with his concoction. He had to test with the J.V. team, who said it tasted like piss. Eventually the problems were ironed out and Gatorade was born.

The guy made a small fortune with that move, but never moved out of the Gainsville house where he and his wife, Mary, raised their six kids.

Thank you Dr. Cade, for the contents of my water bottle every Saturday morning. We're all sorry to see you go.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

women...can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts

Some things I will never understand.

Let's go back about 10 months. I started doing something about my out-of-shape-ness and then got presented with the idea of bike riding 150+ miles, and jumped on that. That move pretty much defined my year through September, but back in February, one of our friends was over at the house when I made this decision. I'll call her Wilma. Wilma's married to Fred, a Naval officer.

Back then, in February, Wilma said to me, "You should get Fred to do this with you. He used to be big into bicycling when we first got married, but he hasn't done it in years. I'll bet he'd be interested in this."

So I approached Fred one night over beers. Fred asked me, "Have you ever done anything like this before?" and I replied in the negative. He said, "I have, and let me tell you what it's like. The first 10 miles, you're smiling, having fun out there, riding along with everyone and life's great. The last 10 miles of the first day...suck. The whole second Your legs hurt. Your ass is sore. No thanks." We had a few more beers and talked about other stuff. At the end of the night when we were parting company, I said (more than asked), "You're thinking about it, aren't you?" He laughed and said yes. I had hope.

Well, the months went by, and he stayed interested in what I was doing in the way of training, but he had two things going against him. He had a bike, but it was a mountain bike. It's not exactly what you want to be on for 30+ miles on the road. That, and he went to Iraq for a few months in the summer.

After Fred came back, we talked more as the ride came and went, and he started shopping for a road bike. We occasionally have dinner and/or drinks with Fred and Wilma, and the topic of bike shopping has come up. About a month and a half ago Wilma asked how much my bike was, and her eyes got wide when I told her. She said she was hoping for something under $500, and I told her the youngster's bike was more than that and it's pretty entry level. A decent road bike from someplace other than Toys R Us is going to easily jump into 4 figures. She wasn't pleased. Still, she didn't veto the idea. Later, when I'd ask her if Fred's getting a bike, she'd smile and say he was thinking about it. She still even seemed enthusiastic.

Now, Fred and Wilma aren't exactly poor. He's a military officer and she's a CPA, working for a major bank. That's also part of the dynamic, here. She makes a fair bit more than he does and controls the purse strings. But still, they're members of a country club. They have a fairly large house that they've built an addition on. They can financially handle a bike that runs over a thousand dollars (or two), if they so choose, without going broke.

Time went by and Fred and I talked about cycling on occasion. He did some shopping in bike shops and online. A few weeks ago I spent 4 hours in the bike shop close to home with him. He rode several, and got a good idea of what he wanted. Actually, he found one he really liked, but knew it was a bit over Wilma's budget expectations. He kept looking, visiting more bike shops and spending more time online, but I think it was "research" to justify getting what he really wanted, despite the cost.

I talked to Fred last Wednesday, and told him the youngster and I would be riding over the holidays. Was there any chance he'd be joining us? He said yes. He was bike shopping and his goal was to have a new road bike by Friday evening.

Friday I talked to his son, who said he was out bike shopping. He called after going to one bike shop, and was off to the local one I had visited with him, where the 'over budget' bike resided. I went for a ride of my own, and he passed me on the way out of the neighborhood in his car, going to said bike shop. This was around 2:00. I got home, showered, watched some TV, we sat down to dinner a bit after 6:00 and the doorbell rang while we were eating. There at the front door in the darkness was Fred with his new 'over budget' bike and a big smile. New bike, new bike shoes, new bike shorts and he's cheezin'. I had seen it before, but he was there and all proud of it, so I looked again...and it is nice. The guys at the bike shop had him there for over 4 hours, riding different bikes and fitting him for the one he bought. They took good care of him. He's going to like that bike for a very long time. As long as he sticks with it, and I'm trying to make sure we both do, it'll be one of the healthiest investments of his life. He left for home.

Two minutes later, the phone rings. The wife answered and it was Wilma. "The bastard went and bought a bike. Not only that, he rode it home, so now I have to drive him to the fuckin' bike shop to get his car. I'm so pissed." No, the wife didn't tell her we already knew that because we saw the bike before she did. No sense dousing the fire with gasoline. I'm thinking...she knew where he was going and what his intentions were. Did she not expect a bike at some point? After he had been in the same bike shop since 2:00 and not home until 6:30, wasn't that a clue that it was probably happening now?

Half an hour later, Wilma calls back. I answer the phone. "You guys need to come over here, and bring beer and wine, because we're out and this is mostly your fault."

My fault? Excuse me? Who was it back in February, that said I should talk Fred into this? We did go, and we brought beer and wine, and I diffused the anger just a little when I walked in and looked at the bike (supposedly for the first time), turned to the wife and said, "Honey, Fred's got a cooler bike than me. Can I get a new one?" Even Wilma smiled.

In another week she'll be over it and life will return to normal, if it hasn't already. Fred just had a birthday, and the bike is his birthday and Christmas presents combined. He knew that would happen. I just do not get how I somehow got blamed for all this. I decided to get into bicycling and Wilma was the one who suggested I bring her husband along for the ride. All I did was act on her suggestion. Even the wife shook her head and said, "That Fred is a saint. Wilma's pretty high maintenance, and she's lucky he puts up with that shit." I didn't bring up the fact that while I was being fitted for my bike, she was sitting on the other side of the bike shop stewing, and didn't want to talk to me. Part of that was boredom, but part was the fact that I was spending a bit more money than either of us thought I would.

We went 27 miles Saturday morning, starting to work on that dollar per mile investment Fred made on his new wheels. He's already under $100 a mile. I'm somewhere between one and two dollars a mile, and dropping every week.


Monday, November 26, 2007

drinkin' the kool-aid

I know I'm being set up. I've been here before. As Yogi would say, it's déjà vu all over again.

I feel like a tennis ball, being thrown into the air and feeling the exhilaration of flying, only to be slammed into the ground at 100+ miles an hour by Roger Federer.

I've been to the stadium firmerly known as Alltel the last two Sundays, and I've seen my Jaguars beat the Chargers and the Bills pretty handily. In neither game was I too concerned at any point that we might lose. Next we have the their place. Every one is talking about a second chance. Everyone is talking about winning that game and sharing the division lead. Everyone is talking about making a statement...just like we did 6 weeks ago, when the Colts came to J'ville and stomped our "talk the talk" asses.

They don't have Dwight Freeney this week, and Marvin Harrison is far from 100%. No team is injury free this time of year and the jaguars are no exception, the biggest loss (in my mind) being Mike Peterson. David Garrard though, is back and playing better every week, something I didn't expect, but I'm not at all complaining. Lest we forget, also, Peyton is still a girl's name.

I think we have a shot...a pretty good shot..which is why I feel like that tennis ball. I'm trying hard to believe. I'm drinkin' the kool-aid. Let's just call me cautiously optimistic, and hoping Federer swings and whiffs.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and anyone visiting my little lumberyard in cyberspace.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and remember all the things we each have to be thankful for. I have so many, and you are some of them.


Stem Cell research - God I hope there's really something to this

I saw an article about this in this morning's J'ville fish wrap. I wanted to link to it, but they don't have that article online. I did find a related story though and I can't tell you how excited I am.

Apparently someone has found a way to maybe possibly get stem cells that do what they want them to do without using human babies. Even George Bush is excited. There has always been stem cell research that didn't involve aborted babies, but this seems to take away the need for any.

Oh, I hope it's true.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

of all the things

I'm not a real emotional guy. I don't cry much...well almost ever. I give the wife grief when we watch some movie, or something on TV that pulls on heartstrings and she gets all teary eyed, but just in jest.

That's why this caught me off guard.

I was at the Jaguar game Sunday, basking in the domination over the San Diego Chargers when halftime came along. They had a military tribute, asking all the veterans to I did, along with thousands of others. Then they had an enlistment ceremony at midfield, where 150 young people were sworn in to the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. So far so good. Then they trotted out Phil Stacey, American Idol contestant and local sailor boy who sang Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" and the folks in the north end zone held up colored cardboard squares that made up an American flag, my eyes welled up and I was wiping tears off my cheeks. I was overcome by the whole thing...and I don't even like the song all that much. I mean, it's OK and all, but in that setting, it all just hit pride in what I did in my past, my love for this country and what it means to be free, and the sacrifice many have made to keep it that way, some of whom were very good friends. I just never expected to cry over it.


Tim Tebow for Heisman

Personally, I'll lose no sleep whether or not Tim Tebow wins the Heisman Trophy. I think he deserves it, but if they give it to someone else, I'll shrug my shoulders and move on. I see the guy play a lot..moreso than I see any of the other possible candidates and he's from J'ville, so I suppose I'm a bit biased. I think he's good. I think he's real good. I think he's better than any of the other players discussed as an alternative.

All I ever hear from the talking heads on TV though is, "Well, he's only a sophomore. He'll have more chances."

That's bullshit. The only question is, is he the best college player in the country or isn't he? Up until last week, the only other player in the discussion was Dennis Dixon of Oregon, but Dixon got hurt and won't finish the season, dimming his chances. It's hard to be the best player when you don' Since that happened, there have been several other guys mentioned, and it seems like all of a sudden we have to find another credible alternative to Tebow, because...well, he's a sophomore and he'll have his chances.

The kid is the only player in college football history to have 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns in the same season. That's freakin' phenomenal. I think he is the best player in college football, bar none. The fact that he's a sophomore shouldn't have anything to do with it. Yes, he may have more chances, but he may not. He may blow out his knee in spring practice and never play football again in his life. Nobody knows what the future holds.

If the Heisman voters honestly believe someone else had a better year than Tebow, by all means, vote for them. Vote for them, though, because in your heart of hearts, you believe your guy is the better player. Don't vote for him because he's a year or two older.


Monday, November 19, 2007

please remember them, when you're thinking of things to be thankful for

family pictures time

The church we go to is assembling a family directory. The deal is, if you go get your pictures taken, you get a free directory and one free picture of the family. The people taking the pictures hope you will then buy a package from them, which more than makes up for the cost of the venture. Doing this right before the holidays, when you might want Christmas cards that are pictures of the family, or send pictures out with other kinds of cards, or whatever...helps their cause.

We hadn't done a family picture like that in about 5 or 6 years, so we bought into the whole package thing, but what caught me is when the girl asked if we wanted our pictures retouched, because if we did, there was some fee. I declined. I asked her..."Well, if you touch them once and that doesn't do the trick, why would I want you to re-touch them?"

Blank stare....nobody gets me (except the youngster, who rolled his eyes and said under his breath, "Dad please stop. It's embarassing.") You'd think they'd have heard some variation of that a thousand times, so maybe she was patronizing me. Then again, if it works on the same theory as twice baked potatoes, maybe there's something to it. Those things are tasty.

Then I got a monologue on what retouching is, because, I guess, she didn't know what else to do. Sometimes being a smart ass backfires.


Friday, November 16, 2007

oh the Hollywood Le.....ummmm...people

Dan Rather is, once again, proving to be a perfect example of everything I find vile about celebrities who inflict the world with their politics.

Dan Rather gleefully slandered George Bush on 60 Minutes, got called on it and left CBS in shame. Now he wants to say he got less and less air time at CBS in an effort to push him out, to placate George Bush. He wants to sue them for it. Excuse me? Since when would CBS, or either of the other major networks, do anything to placate George Bush? All three, along with CNN, do just about anything they can to make him look like an idiot. Granted, he's taken a lot of the challenge out of that effort, but still...the last people doing anything to get on George W. Bush's good side would be CBS, ABC and NBC. I mean, we're talking about the same people who have no problem hanging an "America Loves Hillary" banner behind their newscast.

So of course, in true Hollywood 'deny any responsibility for your actions' (I'm trying very hard to stay away from the 'L' word) fashion, Dan doesn't want the blame for forgetting (is "forgetting" a good politically correct way of putting it? I'd hate to infer that he wilfully or negligently did anything wrong.) to check his sources before he trashes someone he loathes, because he doesn't know the meaning of personal responsibility. He sees no reason to be held accountable for his actions. It has to be someone else's fault. Who can he blame besides himself? Who can he...sue for his ineptness? Somebody needs to be sued, dammit, and he can't sue himself. Suuure...CBS! That's because they were busy placating George Bush, and they did that by forcing Dan out and replacing him with long time Bush cheerleader.....Katie Couric?? Yeah, I'm sure everyone in the Bush administration was dancin' in the streets with that move.

There's a sieve of an argument looking to hold water.


I don't wanna say I told ya so, but....

For all you Barry Bonds apologists who kept saying, "Lay off the guy, they haven't proven he did anything wrong"...

It's showtime.

Karma's a bitch when you're staring at her ass. There are probably several other people the feds could go after, but they're after Bonds, partially because he's the new home run king, but I'd be willing to bet, even more because he dared them to go after him. Being an egotistical dick who thinks he's untouchable can have a down side.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

no good deed goes unpunished

There's a park on the north side of J'ville. It's in a not very nice part of town and had suffered from neglect. The building there was in disrepair and the park was essentially abandoned.

Tony Boselli, ex-Jaguar and all around good guy went to the community and asked to fix the place up. He got the approval of the city council rep, and several charitable organizations to work with him and they cleaned up the park, fixed benches and turned the dilapidated building into a small community center for after school programs. They turned it back into a park that can be enjoyed. Now 15 kids are enrolled in the after school program there. Boselli wants to make it bigger, hiring a second teacher and bringing in more kids. All he asks is to lease the building that he renovated for $1 a year.

Well, the new city council woman is balking. She says the community has no say in what programs happen there, and it's their park. Tony should be denied his lease and sent packing. A flier was "anonymously" distributed saying he wanted to control the park and get it named after himself. They didn't quite know what the name would be though, because they misspelled Tony's name in the flier. He has denied that claim.

Back to the point though, and my getting indignant about it all.....
These folks had nothing. Someone came in and made lemonade out of their lemons and now they want that guy out? Rumor has it this is a racial issue. The council woman, who is black, allegedly wants the rich white athlete out of her neighborhood, and back in Ponte Vedra where he belongs. She would allegedly be OK if he were black, but no rich black athlete stepped up to that plate. Now, saying that isn't fair either. Jaguar players of all races do an awful lot to help a lot of people in the community of Jacksonville. This project just happened to be something Boselli wanted to do. It's not quite fair to call it a racial issue, either. Although it's a widely held belief, I can't call it fact. The councilwoman won't confirm or deny it. In fact, she won't answer her phone or door when anyone from the media comes calling.

I know this though. No matter what else it is, it's a power grabbing selfish issue. There was an overgrown park with a run down building that nobody cared about. Boselli went in and made something of it and now everybody (or at least one new councilwoman and her cronies) wants it. These people were nowhere to be found when he was fixing park benches. They weren't there when he was picking up trash. They weren't offering to help when he renovated the building. Now that it's something worth having, these people are more than willing to take it away from him. That's just wrong.


health care - too much of a good thing

Many years ago I was in the military. Health care was a no brainer. You went to the base hospital or clinic or whatever and they took care of you and you never saw a bill.

The wife is a health care professional. When we moved here we still used the military health care system, because it was free, even though she worked for a fairly prominent hospital in town. When I left the Navy though, we used her health care plan. It was better than most, but not exactly free. Then I got a real job, and signed up for the health care plan. Huge mistake (lumberyard public service message - don't ever have two health care plans in the same family). We couldn't get anyone to pay for anything. Her insurance company wouldn't pay until they saw what mine did, and mine wouldn't pay until they saw what hers did. Nobody got paid and we had angry doctors looking at us for money. After one year of too much of a good thing, we just stuck with hers.

Over the years, health care being what it is, the wife would come home from her annual benefits meeting all pissed off. All the costs have gone up and her plan wasn't as good as it used to be, and she'd want to see mine. Then she'd realize it's not just her. That's happening to everyone, and relatively speaking, her plan still ain't so bad.

We still use hers, and it's with all that backdrop that I go into today's health fair at work. It's geared toward people who use the health care plan, trying to get stats from it to say we're getting healthier (or not) as a company, so we can get a cheaper plan next year. Those of us who don't use the plan are sort of left on the side. We don't do all the stuff the other folks do, because we don't fit into the calculations. We still get to go, and we get some benefit from the thing. I'll get a free flu shot, cholesterol screen, PSA and a few minutes with a counselor based on a questionnaire I did a week or so ago...and I'm all about the free I'll go and get poked and measured. Hopefully all it does is confirm what I hope is true...that this exercise binge I'm on is actually making me healthier. After all, hell started freezing over yesterday.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hear there are frost warnings in hell

I went to see Mr. My Doctor, for my semi-annual humiliation. That's where I actually drive to this guy's office and pay him to tell me I'm fat and need to lose weight.

Funny thing happened this time. He didn't say any of that. He told me 'good job' and sent me on my merry way. He did say I could stand to lose a bit more, but overall, he was uncharacteristically complimentary.

Tell me that wasn't a snowball that just hit me in the back.


who are you, and what did you do with the youngster?

The youngster and school...I'm living in Bizarro World, but I'm not complaining.

This morning, 5 minutes before we left for school, he comes up to me and asks for help. He can get extra credit in Life Management if he can write a paragraph about a vitamin or mineral...benefits, recommended daily allowance, where you find it, what happens if you get too much/take too little. That sort of thing. He thinks dad's going to yank that stuff right out of his ass and rattle it off for him. He's quick to tell me it's not homework. It's nothing he has to do. It's just a paragraph and if he writes it, it's extra credit.

First, yes, it would be nice if we thought of this last night instead of 5 minutes before we need to leave the house. It would be nicer if he found the information himself (I mean really, it's not very hard and he knows how to use a search engine). Still, the kid is looking for...extra credit. MY kid has a decent grade in a class, and is doing extra credit. Not because he has to, because he's failing (and we've been there...lots of times), but because he wants to make a good grade better. Who is this kid, and what did he do with my son?

We jumped on the computer fast and filled in the blanks I didn't know off the top of my head. We talked about it on the drive to the bus stop (a few minutes later than usual, but still before the bus got there) and he wrote his paragraph. Yes, there is hope.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

running hot and cold

A man is showing a long cylindrical thing to a blonde and she asks, "What is it?"
"This, my dear, is a thermos?"
"What do you do with it?"
"If you put a hot drink in it, it keeps it hot. If you put a cold drink in it, it keeps it cold."
"Ooooohhhhh. Well, how does it know which one to do?"

So I was pondering what to do about my cycling in cold weather quandary. I don't want to get a bunch of cold weather bike clothes, but I want to cycle through winter. I was discussing it with one of my coworkers who is very into Star Wars. This person has one of those storm trooper outfits and wears it in parades, and wears stuff underneath to stay cool, or warm, depending on the weather. Whatever floats your boat.

So I asked for advice and I got, "Go get some Under Armour. They have this stuff that's great. They have heat gear and cold gear, so you can get whatever you need, but the stuff works."

So I asked, "OK, I want the heat gear to stay warm, or do I want the cold gear because it's cold outside?"

I got a blank stare, but I suppose if you have heat gear and cold gear, it knows which one to do, even if I don't know which one it's doing.

Turns out I wanted the cold gear because it's cold outside. I went to my local Sports Authority store and bought this shirt to wear cycling. I'm here to tell you, the sucker works (but doesn't look near as good on me as it does the invisible mannequin). It was 50 bucks, but it's worth it. I only bought one, because I didn't know what I was getting into, and because it was 50 bucks. I think I'll be buying at least one more though, so I'm not doing laundry every time I ride my bike. It's still cheaper than most of the cycling specific stuff out there. Back to the point though, I wore the thing under my jersey Saturday morning. The only reason I put the jersey over it was because I needed the pockets to keep my ID and cell phone with me....oh, and to look cool. It was chilly and windy, and I wasn't bothered a bit. I didn't feel cold or sweaty, and didn't even notice I had been sweating until I took the thing off, and it was wet on the outside. That shirt has the lumberyard seal of approval.


Monday, November 12, 2007

hope springs, yet again

While the rest of the NFL watching world was watching Dallas beat new york, or the Steelers pull one out from under the Browns, or Peyton Manning's 6 interceptions in San Diego (and Peyton's still a girl's name), Fred Taylor quietly surpassed 10,000 career rushing yards for the Jaguars in Nashville, and every one of those yards was in a Jaguar uniform - something that doesn't happen often these days. Not only that, the Jaguars won a game that I will not nit-pick to death. I'm still too busy doing the happy dance.

In a very classy move I honestly didn't think they had in them, some Titans fans actually got up and applauded the accomplishment (the 10,00 yard accomplishment...not the win). I tip my hat to those fans, for a great show of sportsmanship. We tend to dehumanize those we really want to dislike, and there's not much love lost between Titans and Jaguar fans. I'll admit I have to give those folks a lot of credit.

So where does that leave us, after the dust settled. It leaves us once again one game behind the Colts and in decent shape to make the playoffs. The fact that we pulled that win off without Marcus Stroud while he serves his suspension was a big plus. The defense managed to look pretty damn good against the same team that shredded them in week 1. They also did it without Matt Jones, who was inexplicably inactive for the game. I mean, he was a first round draft pick and he's not injured. I don't know why that man is still on the team. I don't see him being there after this season. Why not just cut him now? Quinn Gray did OK. He pulled two out of three games out on the road, which was more than I could ask for. I thought the picture was pretty gloomy, but the kid is getting us through the David Garrard injury. Make no mistake though, I'm ecstatic about the probable Garrard return next week. We need that guy under center, especially with the Chargers coming to town.

Speaking of the Chargers, I gotta thank those guys for doing a number on Peyton and the Colts. Now, if they could just help us out one more week, I won't ask any more of them.


Friday, November 09, 2007

why did I waste my time?

Every year at work we have this "health fair." It's one day where out health care provider and several vendors come and set this stuff up to make us all more health conscious. I usually go and spend about half an hour there. I get my cholesterol and blood pressure checked, and a flu shot. Overall, good stuff.

So this year we get a health assessment questionnaire from said health care provider. It's an online questionnaire thing, to take in preparation for the health fair. I think you get 5 minutes with a counselor at the thing to help you figure out how to be healthier. Going in I'm thinking...I got this puppy nailed. I've been exercising a lot this year. My weight's down. I rock. So I took the thing and....

It correctly said I need to watch what I eat. Admittedly, I'm a chocoholic. I blame part of that on growing up far too close to Hershey, Pa., but the brunt of the blame falls squarely on me. I'm the one who willfully puts the chocolate in my mouth. The next part floored me though. It said, "Do you have any time to get in some exercise?" I thought, you gotta be kidding me. I exercise at least 3 times a week, for well over an hour each time...sometimes biking for 2 to 3 hours at a clip, and you ask if I have any time to exercise? Then I thought...where in the assessment did you ask if/how much I exercise, and the answer was...nowhere. It asked what kinds of activities I enjoy, and I said cycling, walking and golf, but nowhere did it ask how much time I spend engaged in those activities.

Nice assessment of my health.


sky stuff

Wednesday, on the day off, like I said, I went bicycling. When I got home, I took a shower and was getting dressed afterward when I head this noise. I thought something fell in the garage downstairs, or off the wall or something because it was loud. Two quick crashes going BA-BOOM. I was in the middle of putting my jeans on, so I finished and ran downstairs, looked around...nothing. Opened the garage door and looked around...nothing. Then the door started going up. In perfect timing, it was the wife coming home from a friend's house and there I am, standing in the garage barefoot and shirtless.

"What are you doing?"

"Well, I was getting dressed and I thought I heard something fall, but everything looks fine. I don't see anything on the floor."

"Well, as I was driving through the neighborhood, people were outside looking at the sky and then I heard it too. I think you heard the shuttle."

That was it. I forgot the shuttle was coming home. It's not every time that it flies over our part of Florida, so we don't always get the double sonic boom (and it had be a while), but we did Wednesday.

Last night, I tried yet again to see the Holmes comet thing. It's been out there for a while, but we've been clouded over in the evenings, making it impossible to see stars. The last three nights though, it's been clear, so at dusk I've been peering to the northeast and seeing...a lot of stuff, but nothing I could point to and say "Eureka, I found it!" Last night I think I found it, but I'm still not sure. It wasn't as bright as I thought it'd be, but if this map is right, I got it with the naked eye.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

the day off

Yesterday the youngster had half a day at school, so the wife and I took a vacation day. She was helping a friend get to the doctor in the morning, and I went bike riding, in what was probably the coldest weather I've done that in yet. OK, all you folks up north, it wasn't that cold, but it was 50°, and in those bike shorts and a paper thin jersey, it's a bit chilly. After I got going though, the cold wasn't bothering me too much. The wind, however, was a killer. It was kickin' out of the north, and pedaling into it was brutal, but I did 50 miles, came home and showered just in time to go to lunch with the wife and pick the youngster up at the bus stop.

This morning, however, it is cold...or what we consider cold, especially for November. It was about 42° when the youngster and I got in the car this morning, and I actually had to pull out a jacket. Yes, January will see us dip below freezing, so it will get worse, but this is our first wake up call announcing the time to put the shorts away and dig out the jeans.

Now that I've turned into one of those people who ride bikes, I'll have to figure out what they do in the winter. I don't want to invest a bunch of money in cold weather cycling clothes. I mean...I live in Florida and winter lasts two months, maybe, and I'm not even talking winter with snow involved. Maybe I just hang it up and spend more time in the gym. All I know is, I lost a fair amount of weight since I started doing this, and I don't want to put that back on...and...I got myself in decent shape in the process, and I don't want to sink back into couch-potato-hood (yes, I know that isn't anything close to a word, but you get the idea). I put too much effort into getting where I am to fall off the wagon.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

quotes from sports talk radio

"I went out to get the paper this morning and there was a Jaguar passed out in my driveway."

Bada boom - but it's freakin' true. Last Friday night, two were found passed out in their cars. One was in a McDonald's drive thru and another was on a highway exit ramp. I know crap like this gets magnified when you're having a mediocre season, but still...our boyz don't seem to know how to behave themselves. I know they're young and I did stupid things when I was young too, but I know I never went to the extent of passing out in my car, let alone at a McDonald's drive thru or on an exit ramp. One positive that was noted on the radio (in a big shout out to you, Detroit) least our guys weren't naked when they passed out in their cars. Nice reach. The thing is, people are blaming the team for not reacting harshly enough (although they have, since) when this kind of thing happened in the past. It's not the team's place to punish them, but it is the team's place to protect their own interests. It's not the teams fault that these people are idiots. It's the players' fault they are idiots and it's the law's place to punish them. Now, is it their fellow team members' place to criticize them for what their punishment does to the team's performance? Absolutely. Is it their place to criticize the idiots for the effect it has on the team's image in an entertainment industry? Absolutely. Does the team have a right to punish them monetarily for the effect they have on the team's image and therefore bottom line? Absolutely. Should they? I think so. Is there an obligation? Not necessarily.

In honor of Sally Field's 61st birthday, the question was asked..Sally Field in Smokey and the Bandit, or Dolly Parton in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? I was thinking Sally Field...but in The Flying Nun.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

ups and downs with the youngster

The youngster wants to ride the MS Bike Ride next year. To that end we've started training. Yes, I know it's way early. The ride won't be until next September, but I need the exercise anyway and he's anxious to start, so we're riding. It's fun, really...getting out there with him and doing something like this together. We haven't gone big distances yet, but we're doing more than a trip around the block. Saturday morning we did 24 miles...not bad. The thing is, on the way home one of our neighbors rolled down her window as she passed us and yelled "Go Red Sox!" and the youngster gave her a hand gesture. No, it wasn't the one finger salute, but it was clear he wasn't happy. I was behind him (because that way I can't lose him) and I pedaled up next to him and asked, "What's that all about?"

"She knows I'm a Yankees fan."

Excuse me? You're a what? When did you morph into a storm trooper minion of the evil empire? I'm reminded of the joke about a kid telling his class his dad's a male prostitute in a gay bar because he doesn't want to admit he's really a Bengals fan, and male prostitute sounded better. My son is a Yankees fan. Oh the shame. He used to be a Cubs fan. I don't know what happened or when, and where was I when it did? All of a sudden Andy Reid's plight takes on a new perspective (but I spend lots of time with the youngster). You really can't control when your kids go bad.

I explained Mr. Steinbrenner to him and the evil of it all, and he sluffed it off. The weird thing is, I don't think the boy has ever watched a Yankees game. If he has, I don't know where he did it. Not in MY house! I didn't want to get into an argument with him about it all, but I doubt he could name the current Yankee infield. I don't know what it is about them he likes. Maybe it's just a phase...something like his way of being rebellious. I guess, if that's as bad as that gets, I should be thankful. It has to be just a phase. Hopefully he'll grow out of it soon.

Sunday it was beautiful outside, so I asked the youngster if he wanted to go bike riding again. He declined, and I didn't argue too much, because I really wanted to do more than 25 miles, and I knew with him, we wouldn't go much more than that. He'll get there, but he's not ready yet. I took off on my own and did 45, half because I wanted to and half because I'm starting to gain weight. Damn that Halloween candy, but thank God for the accompanying Catholic guilt that got me on the bike to burn some of it off.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

crossing our fingers

I don't know how long it's been since I posted my rant about our company dress code. It comes to mind now because we have just changed from summer "casual" to...ummm...whatever is not "casual".

The standard around here is shirt and tie. I hate ties. I'd rather go without, but that's how it is. In most companies, when you go casual, it means dockers and a golf shirt. Our company is a bit different. We work in the golf industry, and some knucklehead in upper management believes if we dared wear golf shirts to work, the perception (I'm not sure from whom) would be we don't do any work, but rather play golf all day. Nobody would think that of the banks or insurance companies in town, where golf (or polo...pick your sport) shirts are the norm, because...well, because they don't work near golf courses, or polo ponies. The fact that we are very productive and can show the results of days spent hard at work and not playing golf doesn't seem to matter much.

My personal opinion is that train of thought should be derailed. It's a crock of shit. First of all, there are people who believe we play golf all day here. There always will be. They think that now, without the added window dressing of golf shirts, and nothing is going to change that opinion. We could show up in Armani suits, or we could show up in leather thongs straight off a Chippendales calender (my apologies for the mental image that accompanied that part of my argument), and these people would still think we play golf all day. Our version of "casual" comes in about three pages of legalese that can be boiled down to three words. Lose the tie. Still the same kind of dress shirt, capable of supporting a tie. Still the same pants. You just don't have to wear the tie. For that reason I boycott the summer "casual" policy. I wear a tie all summer, and when people ask me why, I tell them.

I refuse to be appeased by the half-assed excuse for a casual dress policy. I want it all dammit. I want to dress like the rest of corporate America in the summer. I want my goddamn golf shirt. Until I get it, as much as I hate ties, I will wear one in protest. I refuse to participate. Some boycott the policy and wear golf shirts despite the rules. The beauty of my boycott is it is well within the dress code rules. There's nothing illegal about it, and yet, my protest draws attention. If I could get everyone to participate, upper management would have to scratch their head and wonder why...why nobody is satisfied with their attempt to appease the masses with something that isn't what they want. Alas, most of the lemmings gobble up the scraps they are offered and won't hold out for steak.

For that reason, some consider me strange. I wouldn't argue against them. You will now, too, because none of that is the topic of the day, but it does set it up.

It seems at least once a year (and very recently), the newspaper here has an article in the lifestyle section that argues against my viewpoint. It says corporate America is tired of the informal look and the pendulum is swinging back. Men miss their suits and ties. They bring in experts from..where? Retail outlets for business apparel, of course...the very people who stand to profit if this trend was indeed out there. Is it? Hell no!

I have many friends who work in the business world. We occasionally meet for lunch, and my lack of a golf shirt in the summer makes me the object of friendly jokes, and some half heartedly wish me luck in my protest exercise. None of them are yearning for a suit and tie. They're happy, at least apparel-wise, that they aren't me. So who is spotting this trend? NOBODY! The people who say they are, are the people who sell suits and ties. They're crossing their fingers, hoping their prophesy becomes self-fulfilling, because they have inventory that isn't moving. Nobody wants their suits and ties. Nobody will wear them if not forced to by convention. They thank God for weddings and funerals. They're hoping to stir up some business.

Please, enough with the new trend. That emperor has no clothes.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

quick hits on a Thursday

A new study infers that obesity is bad for you. Der! Oh, excuse me. This one relates to cancer. So, if you're obese, you knew you run a much higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. That ought to be reason enough to change your diet/exercise habits. I know it was for me. Is the knowledge that, if you dodge those bullets, cancer is still out there looming, going to make a difference?

Marcus Stroud is expected to get hit with a 4 game suspension from the NFL for ingesting some illegal performance enhancing stuff. I know I'm naive when it comes to stuff like this. I never expected anyone on my team to use anything illegal. This hits me as hard as it did when Jimmy Smith got busted for cocaine. The guys who play for the Jaguars are supposed to be squeaky clean, dammit.

Halloween - I saw more Peyton Manning jerseys than witches, goblins, skeletons and demons all put together. Maybe it's a sign. Peyton Manning is Satan. He's scary enough, in any NFL town not named Indianapolis. I still contend that 'Peyton' is a girl's name.

Just how out of touch am I? I got a spam e-mail yesterday from something called "Bud Shop." Out of curiosity I clicked on it, thinking it might have some Budweiser gear...maybe humorous t-shirts or something like that worth a laugh. I started reading and realized...we weren't talking about the kind you drink. We were talking the kind you smoke.

Apparently it's butt month at babe of the day and Stare magazine over there on the right. I always considered myself a leg man, butt I'll admit, I look forward to butt month. It's had an effect on my appreciation of all things booty-ful.